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...]

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...]

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...]

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...]

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...]


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