Roy Moore’s Systemic Danger to Our Democracy

  The front-runner candidate for Alabama Senate, Republican Roy Moore, called The Washington Post “fake news” after the newspaper published a thorough investigation reporting on sexual encounters between Moore and multiple teenage girls, one as young as 14. Moore’s attacks on this highly-reputable newspaper are part of a recent broader pattern of prominent public figures using the label of “fake news” to denounce quality investigative journalism. Research suggests such attacks pose an urgent and systemic danger to our democracy, as… Read more

Celebrations, Rituals, and Constructing Meaning in Life

  My family emigrated from the former Soviet Union to the US when I was 10, and our cultural heritage of ritual celebrations comes from that background. The most important Soviet celebration was New Year’s Eve, a combination of Thanksgiving and Christmas rolled into one. A few hours before midnight, close family and friends gathered together. There was always a big New Year’s tree with a bright red star on top, and a huge dinner table piled with delicious food…. Read more

Which Politicians Should We Trust in the November 7 Election: The Pro-Truth Pledge

__________________________________________________________________ In these dark days of “fake news” and “alternative facts,” it’s hard to trust any politicians. How can we tell apart the ones who spout bald-faced lies from those who actually tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth? Fortunately, we now have a science-based tool for telling which politicians are comfortable committing to the truth, and which are not: the Pro-Truth Pledge. Let’s get the myths out of the way: we can’t trust our gut on… Read more

Knowing Just Enough to be Dangerous: How Overconfidence Subverts Rational Politics

By Joel Lehman   ______________________________________________________________ “The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool.” -Shakespeare It happens every year. It’s the beginning round tryouts on the talent show American Idol, and a man confidently takes the stage, sparks in his eyes. He thinks he’s destined for greatness, this is his moment. The music starts, and with anticipation quaking, he smiles full of composure, and boldly unleashes — a cracked and cringe-worthy voice!… Read more

Fighting the Normalization of Post-Truth Politics

_____________________________________ Donald Trump’s rally speech in Phoenix on August 22 was full of falsehoods. The lack of outrage over his deceptive statements points to the normalization of post-truth politics, when appeals to personal beliefs and emotions wins out over objective facts. To avoid this normalization, we need to borrow the successful tactics of the environmental movement in dealing with the pollution of our environment. During this speech, according to highly credible fact-checking organizations such as and Politifact, Trump misled… Read more

Trump’s Transgender Gaslighting

__________________________________________________________________ President Donald Trump signed a directive on Friday August 25 following up on his earlier tweets that he “will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military.” Whatever you think about the decree, the spin from the Trump administration about it amounts to gaslighting of the transgender community. Consider the terms of this order. It prevents any new openly transgender recruits from joining the armed forces. It also order the military to… Read more

The One Thing Trump Got Right on Charlottesville

Caption: Photo of car involved in car ramming attack (Wikimedia commons) _______________________________________ Both Democratic and Republican leaders roundly denounced President Donald Trump’s statement putting “blame on both sides” about the violence at the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, NC on August 12. However, while I personally find reprehensible various forms of white nationalism, racism, and neo-Nazism, Trump’s words that both sides deserve a degree of blame have some validity. A broader context provides more clarity on where Trump is… Read more

What Would Gandhi Do About Trump? High-Time for a Science of Wisdom

Caption: Mahatma Gandhi, close-up portrait (image credit) Written by Charles Cassidy MPhys, Director of Evidence-based Wisdom   ______________________________________   It was 3:30 AM, and my wife and I were crumpled in stunned silence in the back of a taxi, racing through the deserted streets of South London. Our all-night US election party on November 8, 2016 had taken an unexpected turn from a celebration to a tragedy. Black comedy was fast becoming a dark reality. In defiance of all expectations,… Read more

Rumors About Me in the Secular Community

  Caption: Meme saying “I don’t always engage with rumors about me, but when I do, I pull out all the stops” (From   ____________________________________________________________________________   As I wrote earlier, rumors abound in the secular community, ranging from true to half-true to mostly false to completely false, and I have been the target of some myself.   The situation is so problematic that in 2013, the Secular Coalition for America published an Open Letter signed by a host of major… Read more

Advice That Works for Anyone

Guest post by Max Harms   ______________________________________________________-   When was the last time you got bad advice from someone? How did it feel to be the target of advice that you knew just won’t work for you, even if you might not have been able to say why? Or maybe you didn’t realize the advice was bad until you tried it, and had it backfire! Of course, the person had good intentions, but does it really matter when you suffer… Read more

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