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...]

How I Relate To People Socially

Meditations on my personal experience with introversion, extroversion, friendship, interpersonal intimacy, small groups, large groups, social anxiety, social media, and public speaking. [Read more...]

The Higgs Boson

I figured with the big Higgs Boson news today, I would repost this fantastic video explaining what the Higgs Boson is and then round up some more resources for learning more about it and about what the discovery of a new particle today was and what it means. Go to PhD Comics for individual images from the [Read More...]

A Question for Former Believers Who Were Once Religious Proselytizers

Last weekend I was talking with someone who insisted to me that the urge to proselytize signals a weak faith. He argued that if someone was truly strong in their faith, they would not feel any such strong need to have everyone else around them agree with them. I said in reply that he must [Read More...]

The Psychologies of Afterlife Beliefs

While some people are religious at least in part because they desperately want to believe in an afterlife that their religion promises them, not all religious people believe in an afterlife and not all those who believe in an afterlife are as blithely optimistic as the average contemporary American that of course they themselves will [Read More...]

Neil deGrasse Tyson, "The Most Astounding Fact" and "We Stopped Dreaming"

At around 5am this morning on Facebook, Neil deGrasse Tyson posted links to these videos and wrote (with good reason), “I continue to be moved by what creative videographers have done with my words.” The first video is about how astonishing it is that the elements that made our emergence as physical life possible, and [Read More...]