Force and Reason

In previous posts (like Rational Passional Persuasion and On Zealously, Tentatively, and Perspectivally Holding Viewpoints) I have argued that there is a proper place for emotional appeals as part of a rational argument. In the last couple of weeks, though, I have also argued firmly against certain kinds of emotional appeals that I consider abusive, counter-productive, and hypocritical [Read More...]

“The Shifting Sands of Evidence & Argument” (Why Religious Arguments Fail to Persuade)

How can we go about persuading better in debates about religious beliefs?  ProfMTH develops and, in some cases, rightfully disagrees with ideas from Jennifer Faust: Your Thoughts? [Read more...]

Rational Passional Persuasion

Andrew writes: So atheists don’t have emotions which inform them of the truth of something? And their rhetoric is completely dispassionate to the point where logic and reason are not fully objective? I have addressed the proper ways to consult the emotions in looking for truth in the post, Disambiguating Faith: Heart Over Reason, so for [Read More...]

Is Debate Between Believers And Non-Believers Inevitably Futile?

Z from It’s The Thought That Counts gets discouraged: I’ve been having these long, philosophical conversations with some of my Christian friends about exactly what their religion means to them (I was happy to find that these friends were open to such discussions!) There’s no way that people’s moral beliefs are actually formed by Christianity’s [Read More...]

The Evolutionary Advantages And Present Disadvantages Of Our Conformist Minds

John Wilkins has a good post on the value of our minds’ readinesses to defer to authorities from an evolutionary standpoint: The evolutionary justification for this is, of course the following: if evolution were a designer, trying to ensure that thinking beings learned and knew what they had to to survive, a cheaper rule than [Read More...]

10 Basics Of Group Dynamics

Go here for the explanations of each of the 10 basic “psych 101″ points and also to find further articles on the topic.  I found point 6 most interesting and so included it in full below: 1. Groups can arise from almost nothing 2. Initiation rites improve group evaluations 3. Groups breed conformity 4. Learn [Read More...]


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