Why Do People Behave Honestly?

A new study by Joshua Greene and Joseph Paxton investigates the mental processes behind honest behavior: They recruited 35 people and asked them to predict the result of computerised coin-flips while sitting in an fMRI scanner. They were paid in proportion to their accuracy. In some ‘No-Opportunity trials’, they had to make their predictions beforehand, [Read More...]

Kantian Reasons To Lie To The Murderer At The Door?

Michael Cholbi thinks he has some: First, the lie is not meant to advance the happiness either of the liar or of the potential murder victim, but to thwart the abuse of the victim’s autonomy that her murder would represent. Hence, if lying to the murderer is manipulation at all, it is manipulation in the [Read More...]

Making It Illegal To Create Centaurs, Mermaids, and Spider-Man

Dammit. Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.) — an ardent anti-abortion activist — is worried that the Obama administration’s loosening of restrictions on stem cell research will result in the creation of a new race of bio-engineered “human-animal” hybrid freaks. Or beautiful mermaids. The bill — modeled on an inexplicably overlooked effort by Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal [Read More...]

“Should You Try To Cure Gays?”

Your Thoughts? [Read more...]

Dawkins vs. Collins (Obama’s New NIH Selection)

RichardDawkins.net has reprinted a 2006 debate between Richard Dawkins and Francis Collins, the prominent (and now powerful) proponent of compatibility between religion and science who has recently been selected by Obama to head up the NIH.  The article has some really interesting moments, so I recommend you read it in full.  Here is what I [Read More...]

The Cognitive Dissonance Argument Against Modern Religious Thinking

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“Wanted: Non-Philosophers To Do Philosophy”

The National Endowment for the Humanities is offering grants to academics outside of philosophy to develop courses on “enduring questions” that have long been the domain of philosophers and philosophy classes: They make the dubious and ambiguous claim that these questions are “pre-disciplinary” because they are, supposedly “questions to which no discipline or field can [Read More...]

The Pope Not Interested In “Perfect Ideological Conformity?”

Russ Douthat has a strange column in The New York Times today arguing that because the pope’s views cross the standard political lines of America’s left and right wings (denouncing both environmental destruction and embryonic) that he shows “that truth may not be served by perfect ideological conformity.” The church is not a think tank, [Read More...]

You Are Not A Bible Character

Father Stephen Freeman gives a well-deserved epistemological and moral rebuke to the haphazard, self-serving, and hermeneutically arbitrary way that Mark Sanford, like many other religious people throughout history, has taken biblical stories as justifications for his decisions: The problem with such use of Biblical imagination is that it simply has no controlling story. Nothing tells [Read More...]


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