William Shatner As Stanley Milgram In The 1975 Film “The Tenth Level”

Stanley Milgram was the psychologist who performed the famous obedience experiments which involved getting normal people to go through with administering (what they thought were) extraordinarily painful shocks to other people out of deference to calm but firm orders from an authority figure.  Now Mind Hacks points our attention to The Tenth Level a fascinating bit [Read More...]

Love, Polygamy, And Arranged Marriage In The Tanzanian Maasai Tribe

Cultural variation is amazing: Your Thoughts? [Read more...]

Why I Think Theistic Religion’s Psychological Grip Can Be Weakened Or Broken

In a recent comments section, Gregory Wahl argued to me that religion is so deeply rooted in psychological needs, specifically the longing for immortality, that there is an inherent limitation to the ability of all my philosophical arguments to dissuade the faithful.  As this line of reasoning goes, they do not believe for intellectual reasons [Read More...]

If I Could Read Only One Atheist Blogger, It Would Be…

…Richard Wade of Friendly Atheist, whose “Ask Richard” column turns one fantastic year old today.  It is a column by a retired therapist who gives atheists advice about atheistic parenting, the effects of one’s religious past on one’s present life and the way to go forward constructively in the future as an atheist, and, probably most [Read More...]

Tom Rees On Why Loss Of Faith Might Be A Two Generational Process

The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life study this February revealed that less than one fifth of all American adults under 30 report regular church attendance.   But they still also overwhelmingly claim belief in God.  Tom Rees thinks that despite their beliefs, their abandonment of the pews may indicate that a multi-generational secularization [Read More...]

Unconscious Influences

Time ticks off some observed ways in which people have been shown to be susceptible to irrational subconscious influences: Studies have found that upon entering an office, people behave more competitively when they see a sharp leather briefcase on the desk, they talk more softly when there is a picture of a library on the [Read More...]

Contrasting Muslim And Western Psychologies: The Locus Of Control

Nicolai Sennels spent several years working with criminal Muslims in Copenhagen (where as of March 2009 “70% of the prison population in the Copenhagen youth prison consists of young man of Muslim heritage.”)   He writes the following about the different ways that Westerners and Muslims view the locus of control: There is another strong difference between the [Read More...]

Putting Social Brain Mechanisms To The Task Of Figuring Out Unknown Natural Phenomena

Last fall, Wired reported on a study published last fall (“Neuroanatomical Variability of Religiosity.” By Dimitrios Kapogiannis, Aron K. Barbey, Michael Su, Frank Krueger, Jordan Grafman. Public Library of Science ONE, Vol. 4 No. 9, September 28, 2009) which finds religious people have extra activity in the neurological brain regions indispensable for social intelligence: Brain scans [Read More...]

Some Suspicions About The Superiority Of Liberal Moral Values

Earlier today, I drew attention to Greta Christina’s article formulating some ideas she picked up from Rebecca Newberger Goldstein.  If you have already read either or both of those posts, you can just skip the next two paragraphs meant to catch up new readers. The Goldstein/Greta Christina argument built off of Jonathan Haidt’s theory of [Read More...]


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