Not So Fast on That Study on Altruism and Atheism

The study that came out recently that purports to show that atheist kids are more altruistic than religious ones has been gleefully greeted by many in the atheist community, but Matthew Faciani, who has a background in social psych research, says not so fast. The study has some pretty serious flaws in it that undermine the validity of its conclusions. … [Read more...]

Why Carson is Right — and Wrong — About Memories

Credit: Michael Vadon

Ben Carson on Sunday admitted that while some of the things he's written about himself aren't "100% accurate," they also aren't lies. And he does have a point, of course, given what we now know about the way memory works. Our memories are not recorded like a DVD, where they don't ever change. They can and do change as we tell those stories and as they interact with others who were there. … [Read more...]

Stupid Atheist Memes, Part…I Don’t Remember


This edition of Stupid Atheist Memes is kind of mixed, actually. The meme does make a very good point about prayer and how confirmation bias leads believers to consider absolutely any outcome as a successful test of its efficacy. But then it goes and ruins it in the last line by pretending that confirmation bias is an indicator of a "cult mentality" rather than of routine human thought processes. … [Read more...]

Let’s All Pretend the Shooter is Nothing Like Us

I write very little about gun control or about mass shootings, but one thing that fascinates me about them is how everyone immediately tries to pretend that anyone who commits an act of mass violence is nothing at all like them and just like their political enemies. And it isn't just conservatives who do it, or just Christians -- people on our side do it too, each and every time. But here's Rush Limbaugh: … [Read more...]

White People Claim More Hardships After White Privilege is Shown

From the Department of Totally Unsurprising Results comes a study that shows that white people respond to being shown that white privilege is real by conjuring up more examples of their own terrible hardships. They do this, of course, in order to deny that their skin color has ever helped them and to show that they are the ones who are truly oppressed and downtrodden. … [Read more...]

Bailey is Back With More ‘Warrior Chieftain’ Nonsense

Kent G. Bailey, a "paleopsychologist," has a second column in the Worldnetdaily declaring Donald Trump to be the "warrior chieftan" that America is longing for, in contrast to Hillary Clinton's maternal softness. I'm not even going to quote it because...I can't even. Go read it for yourself and see just how stupid it is. … [Read more...]

Donald Trump: Warrior King?


Kent Bailey, a professor emeritus of clinical psychology at Virginia Commonwealth University, has written one of the most fatuous diatribes of drivel you are ever likely to encounter. It's published, of course, at the Worldnetdaily, and it offers up a cartoonish version of evolutionary psychology to justify calling Donald Trump the "quintessential warrior male" that we've all supposedly been waiting for to defeat "the pagan forces of progressivism and political correctness." … [Read more...]

Tribalism and the Myth of the Diseased Immigrant

As we watch the right wing unconscionably attack thousands of child refugees who have come here for safety and opportunity, partly with the old trope about diseased immigrants, Jesse Singal notes that this reaction is based on tribalism and fear of the other that is deeply ingrained in us. … [Read more...]

The Backfire Effect and Human Nature

Big Thing has an essay about the backfire effect, the name given to a well-established psychological phenomenon whereby people actually become more entrenched in a false belief when confronted with evidence that shows that belief to be incorrect. … [Read more...]

Even Atheists Distrust Atheists?

Hemant calls attention to a new study from Will Gervais, a psychologist at the University of Kentucky who has focused much of his scholarly attention to atheism and atheists. That study finds that people will jump at the chance to view a bad person as an atheist even in the absence of any evidence of that -- and that atheists do it too! The abstract: … [Read more...]

Stop Calling Religion a Mental Illness

Chris Stedman has a column in which he lists five reasons atheists should not call religion a mental illness. He quotes quite a bit from FTB's own Miri Mogilevsky and I agree with both of them and I wish that people would stop saying this. … [Read more...]

Sully on Cheney and Rumsfeld

Here's a great example of why, despite his sometimes irritating grandiosity and other flaws, I still really respect Andrew Sullivan. In two recent posts he takes on Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld and the fact that neither of them has the slightest inclination to ever question themselves or their decisions. On Cheney: … [Read more...]