Research Suggests Verbal Abuse Hinders Brain Development

Results of a study “revealed that those individuals who reported experiencing verbal abuse from their peers during middle school years had underdeveloped connections between the left and right sides of their brain through the massive bundle of connecting fibers called the corpus callosum. Psychological tests given to all subjects in the study showed that this same group of individuals had higher levels of anxiety, depression, anger, hostility, dissociation, and drug abuse than others in the study.”

I make the case we shouldn’t be perpetuating that damagin abuse (or ruled by our own trauma from experiencing it) as adults. We need to conscientiously work to eradicate verbal harassment, including name-calling, from both children’s and adults’ lives. [Read more...]

How Ethics Is More Like Physics Than Faith

People who use the free speech that they take for granted in free societies to disparage moral philosophy as useless, superfluous, and incapable of progress since it does not function like a natural science are as naive and guilty of practical contradiction as people who use the internet to talk about how science can not attain any genuine truths because it cannot square its own metaphysical foundations or tell us about the meaning of life. [Read more...]

Is Anything Intrinsically Good or Bad? An Interview with James Gray

James Gray blogs at Ethical Realism. He is passionate about advancing philosophy education and exploring moral realism both in ways accessible to beginners and engaging for advanced philosophy students. The interview below was done as part of a blogathon to support the Secular Student Alliance. Please donate to this worthy organization! And see more links [Read More...]

On Unintentionally Intimidating People

While most of us rightly want to be exceptional in some way or another, we often feel a lot of social and moral pressure not to think of ourselves as generally better than others. And, even more urgently, we feel pressure not to convey to others that we think ourselves superior and not to be [Read More...]

Deriving a Naturalistic, Realistic Account of Morality

This is a repost from January 2011. The post is a nice overview of my account of moral philosophy, written as a reply to Christian doubts about the possibility of an atheistic moral philosophy. I have worked out a number of important nuances since writing this but it should serve as a nice introduction for [Read More...]

How Faith Theoretically Makes People Less Likely To Be Trustworthy

I am learning that there are a lot of people out there who are surprisingly willful in believing whatever they want and who actively resist information or ideas that they highly suspect (or outright know) would have the power to disabuse them of their errors. We all probably do this to one extent or another [Read More...]

Do We Live In The Age of Sociopaths?

Seems like either a pessimistic assessment of the age or a loose use the word to me, but I still found this New Inquiry excerpt from Why We Love Sociopaths: A Guide To Late Capitalist Television a bit thought provoking: My greatest regret is that I’m not a sociopath. I suspect I’m not alone. I have written [Read More...]

The Dubious Value of Interpersonal Charity

I am reading Alain de Botton’s Religion for Atheists: A Non-believer’s Guide to the Uses of Religion chapter by chapter and blogging about it as I go. In the book he is trying to collect insights from religions that might inform the lives of convinced atheists. There are several points of contention I have about his analysis [Read More...]

Moral Offense Is Not Morally Neutral

A couple weeks ago I challenged the notion that everyone has the moral right to be offended by whatever they happen to feel offended by. I acknowledged, of course, that we do (and should) have the legal right to feel whatever feelings we do. But morally, I argued, we are not justified to take offense unless [Read More...]


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