Coulter, Lewandowski Fall for Fake News Website

It's bad enough that people on my Facebook feed fall for sites like (notice those extra two letters, they're kind of important), but when a major conservative figure and the campaign manager for the leading Republican presidential candidate do it, that's far worse. And that's what just happened. … [Read more...]

Donald Trump’s Biggest Supporters: Authoritarians

Matthew MacWilliams, a PhD candidate in political science at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, has an article at Politico about a study he did recently to find out what traits defined Donald Trump supporters. And he found that one trait determined whether someone was likely to support Trump: a penchant for authoritarianism. This comes as no surprise to me whatsoever. … [Read more...]

Why People Feel God’s Presence

Josh Zepps has an interview on Point of Inquiry with John Wathey, a biologist and neuroscientist, about his new book, The Illusion of God's Presence: The Biological Origins of Spiritual Longing. Prometheus Books sent me a copy of the book and I've read just a bit of it, but I suspect that he is on to something in explaining why people intuitively "feel" God's presence. … [Read more...]

On the Development and Distribution of Bullshit

Gordon Pennycock, a grad student at the University of Waterloo, has a piece at Aeon on the subject of bullshit. He's done a study on the matter and discusses that, but starts out with an example of bullshit that may not, in fact, be bullshit. We have no way of knowing. But the core of this statement is undoubtedly true, that we swim in a sea of bullshit: … [Read more...]

Conservative Psychology and the Appeal of Donald Trump

Thomas Edsall asked a group of experts on social psychology to weigh in on the secret of Donald Trump's appeal and they're pretty much unanimous in pointing to the studies on the psychology of political conservatives that show those on the right are highly reactive to disgust and perceived external threats, crave purity in every sense, and seek out authoritarian leaders. Jonathan Haidt: … [Read more...]

The Dangers of Tribalism

I have written endlessly about tribalism over the last few years, particularly about the way in which it can subvert our ability to think rationally about a subject. I see it do so in myself and others every single day. David Ropeik has a post at Big Think about that same subject and he is convinced of the same thing. … [Read more...]

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

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...]