Psychology is complicated and other reasons anti-theism doesn’t work

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Because I've been working on a paper where this is relevant and it's fresh in my mind, let me start with an illustrative example (which you can probably skip past the line-break if you're lazy). I don't talk about this very often, but I work with Dan Ariely at Duke University, which is fucking dope because Dan Ariely is fucking dope and my lab is smart and great and we work on awesome projects. I try to avoid wearing I-work-for-Dan-Ariely on my sleeve because it's not (usually) relevant to this b … [Read more...]

Atheists should pray (in randomized, controlled trials)

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Over at Cafe, Jess Whittlestone summarizes a paper on whether atheists should pray by Oxford philosopher Tim Mawson. The argument isn't about expressing gratitude, co-opting religious rituals to cultivate mindfulness, or taking part in some metaphysically spooky form of positive thinking. Instead, Mawson thinks prayer is an important way to collect evidence about whether or not God exists. He writes: If you think that there's a non-negligible chance that God exists, and you think that whether or … [Read more...]

A few thoughts on evolutionary psychology, being aware of our biases, and casual sex

A recent talk by Rebecca Watson has been sparking a bit of controversy. Though it's not particularly related to interfaith work or atheism, it's a topic I have some background in. So to contribute a bit to the discussion, I thought I'd be a bit self-indulgent and talk about some cool science.Ed Clint says Rebecca's talk is science denialism, and though I disagree with that assessment, he makes a few points that I appreciate: first, that sciences can't be judged by their interpretations in th … [Read more...]

How research in psychology can help fight prejudice against stigmatized groups

To avoid feeling so hideously unproductive when I waste my time on the internet, I subscribe to a few psychology journals in my Google Reader feed. I try to skim through them every so often, at the very least scanning the abstracts to get a sense of what's going on outside of my little research niche. Reading through the other day, I found a really cool study in Psychological Science by University of Kent psychologists, Michele D. Birtel and Richard J. Crisp. There's been a lot of research in re … [Read more...]

Common Ground in the Non-Religious Movement?

Today's post in our series of guest contributors is by Vladimir Chituc, President of the Secular Student Alliance at Yale. Like previous guest contributors Lucy Gubbins and Heidi Anderson, Vladimir wrestles with the issue of how atheists, agnostics, humanists, skeptics and the like should approach religion and the religious, and how the larger movement might work toward establishing some shared goals. Without further ado:As a relative newcomer to the broader skeptic and humanist movement, … [Read more...]

Religion and Secular Roundup: Stalkin’, Chalkin’, and… Nothing About Richard Dawkins

It's been a long minute since I've done one of these, so I'm bringing it back. Below, some recent highlights (and lowlights) relevant to secularism, interfaith and religion:Will Atheism replace religion? That's the claim made by Nigel Barber over at Psychology Today. What do you think? His points are well made, but I don't agree with all of them. Religion meets some fundamental needs and is continuing to adapt to contemporary context, as it always has. His portrayal of religion as … [Read more...]

Does Religion Make People Dysfunctional? A Psychological Perspective

I recently came across an article titled “Population Secularity and Individual Religiosity Predict Human Flourishing.” The purpose of this survey of studies, written by Dr. David Meyers of Hope College and published in the Spring 2010 edition of the official newsletter of the Journal of the Psychology of Religion, American Psychological Association Division 36, was to explore the fundamental claim of New Atheists that religion is innately problematic and whether such claims were reflected in psy … [Read more...]