Vulnerability, Victim Blaming, and The Just World Fallacy

Trigger Warning: What follows are speculations about the implicit philosophies and psychologies underpinning victim blaming. Years ago I read an article by a rape survivor who talked about how after she was raped she would obsess over what she should have done differently to prevent the attack. By beating herself up over what was done [Read More...]

Philosophical Advice About Not Appearing Closed Minded (Part 1)

Dear Dr. Fincke, I’m a big fan of your blog and I absolutely adore your articles. I have a bachelor’s degree in Philosophy myself, and I am always up for a rigorous debate. I pride myself on being able to keep an open mind on a lot of issues and entertain assertions and their logical [Read More...]

The Neuroscience of How Personal Attacks Shut Down Critical Thinking

Psychologist Nicole Currivan is the organizer of the Pittsburgh Freethinkers. She spoke at the 2012 Pennsylvania State Atheist/Humanist Conference (keep apprised on the details about the upcoming September 2013 conference as they become available here. While at the American Atheists convention a week ago, I had the pleasure of sitting down for a long chat with the [Read More...]

A Powerful Account of One Ex-Christian’s Journey to Apostasy

Above is a beautifully made video that Prpl Fox made about his deconversion from Christianity. As I did, Prpl Fox deconverted as a 21 year old college senior. I recommend this video summing up his story to Christians who want to learn how to love and understand apostates and to the many atheists who identify [Read More...]

Childhood

Prefacing his analysis of Wes Anderson’s films in The New York Review of Books, Michael Chabon writes: The world is so big, so complicated, so replete with marvels and surprises that it takes years for most people to begin to notice that it is, also, irretrievably broken. We call this period of research “childhood.” There [Read More...]

A Study Provides Evidence That Incivility Closes Minds

A study shows that name calling and “flaming” makes people double down on their orignal positions. What I’ve been arguing for a long time. But many atheists do not want to hear it. They insist on perpetuating obstacles to objective critical thinking. They are promoting the very emotionalism and tribalism that they were supposedly appalled by in religious people. [Read more...]

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...]

Testing the Effects of Meditation on Pain Experiences

In The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can’t Stand Positive Thinking (Kindle Locations 940-956), Oliver Burkeman discusses research about the effects of meditation on the brain’s subjective perception of pain. [Read more...]

What Is Physics?

Padawan Physicist, a physics graduate student with a love of philosophy and Camels With Hammers, has started a new blog to explain physics and its relevance to everyday atheists’ worldviews. In his inaugural post, he defines physics and what its three basic jobs are. In his follow up post, of special interest to Schrödinger fans, he gives a State of the Cat address. [Read more...]


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