For God or Morality? On Those Who’d Hold Morality Hostage For Faith

In his recent critique of Francis Collins, the Christian Evangelical and geneticist recently appointed by Obama to head the National Institutes of Health, Sam Harris referenced the slides from one of Collins’s speeches.  I want to take two posts (but possibly more if there are comments or if I otherwise have extra relevant ideas on [Read More...]

A Lie Detector Test (And How To Cheat It)

Here’s how it works: First, he’s shown true and false statements unrelated to his allegiance in the war: “I am at a computer;” “I am at the tea house.” The task is to press a button identifying the statement as quickly as possible: A for true or L for false. Next he reads statements indicating [Read More...]

Linking Color and Shape

A fascinating study seeks to explain why young children use the “wrong” colors for various objects when they color: Young children may colour trees blue or grass red because their memories can’t “bind” together the colour and shape of an object. Because the brain stores colour and shape in different groups of neurons, Vanessa Simmering [Read More...]

Psychotic Reasoning, The Will To Believe, And Religious Interpretations Of The Mentally Ill

Yesterday morning, The Friendly Atheist’s Hemant Mehta analyzed stories of mothers who murdered their babies under religiously interpreted delusions with a critical eye towards the religions which put certain fantasies in their heads.  In reply to criticisms of his making this connection that came from skeptigirl (in this terrific post on psychosis you should read), [Read More...]

Absurdities And Atrocities

This story is beyond horrific: The scene was so gruesome investigators could barely speak: A 3 1/2-week-old boy lay dismembered in the bedroom of a single-story house, three of his tiny toes chewed off, his face torn away, his head severed and his brains ripped out. Officers called to the home early Sunday found the [Read More...]

An Argument For Gay Marriage And Against Traditionalism

I am puzzled by appeals to history to oppose gay marriage because history is only the story of what people have done and never of itself directly tells us anything about right or wrong.  Results of history can serve as warnings about effective and uneffective approaches to goal x or goal y but what people [Read More...]

Seeing God Like Seeing Different Colors, Or How Beliefs Change The Brain

One of The Daily Dish readers posed an exceptionally provocative hypothesis: An interesting angle you haven’t mentioned concerns how belief systems concretely affect the development of the brain. People raised in cultures with distinct words for certain color tones see them more clearly than those in which just one word suffices (the most well-known example [Read More...]

Is Privacy The New Nudity?

Jennie Yabroff offers an interesting theory as to why a grainy spy video of a nude ESPN anchor, Erin Andrews (who they say is barely identifiable in the video), brushing her hair is in such high demand on the internet given the wide array of available high resolution porn on the internet: What’s really provocative [Read More...]

Stephen Pinker Makes The Case Against The “Blank Slate”

Thanks to AtheisTube for the find. Your Thoughts? [Read more...]


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