Religion and self-regulation: a model (and a trip to Norway)

Last week, I had the good fortune to attend a conference in Norway. For four days, I hung out near the shore of a beautiful lake with around 300 other scholars, caught up with friends, and heard presentations. I also gave a presentation myself: an overview of a computer model I recently built with my partner in crime, Saikou Diallo. This model simulates the way that self-regulation, the basic psychological process that guides human behavior and stabilizes emotions, is affected… Read more

Science Is Classist. Here’s a Solution

Science is an incredible thing. But classism and prejudice against working-class people are endemic in science, harming both science and democracy. Read more

Science and democracy go hand-in-hand – and democracy is in danger

Science and democracy are mutually entwined. Both require independent thought and reasoned consensus. When democracy is in trouble, what’s next for science? Read more

Call for fellows: Sinai and Synapses

A few years ago, out of the blue, a rabbi named Geoff Mitelman wrote me an email. He was starting a fellowship program in New York, and wanted to know whether I’d be interested in joining it. The fellowship, called “Sinai and Synapses,” was focused on religion and science and would bring scientists, scholars, and religious leaders together for lectures and conversations three times per year in midtown Manhattan. Travel and hotel would be covered in full! I said yes…. Read more

Supernatural punishment and the evolution of cooperation

Scientist Dominic Johnson thinks belief in supernatural punishment drove the evolution of cooperation. A new paper and simulation tested this hypothesis. Read more

In the 21st Century, Should We Be Patriotic?

Why be patriotic, since countries are often unfair, unjust, and warlike? Because humans need groups to live & good groups take commitment, work, and belief. Read more

Rituals boost self-control

Maybe you’ve heard of the “marshmallow experiment” for testing people’s self-control. In this classic psychology study, scientists offered young children a choice: either eat a single marshmallow immediately, or wait for a few minutes and get to eat two. Findings have shown a remarkable correlation between children’s ability to delay gratification and a plethora of positive outcomes later in life, from higher SAT scores to better physical health. But where does self-control come from in the first place? A new… Read more

Religious beliefs are a kind of play

Why do people believe in God or gods? One philosopher argues that religious beliefs are actually more like play or metaphor than literal claims. Read more

Science and religion really are in conflict, people

The culture of science breaks ties with the past, while religion cherishes them. So for those who need a coherent meaning in life, science can be rough. Read more

Cognitive biases don’t explain religion, after all

A new study finds that the reason why Slovakians are religious, but their close neighbors the Czechs aren’t, is because of culture – not cognitive biases. Read more

Follow Us!