Yes, religion is connected with morality. Here’s how

One of the most common ideas about religion is that it’s somehow intrinsically connected with morality. Showcasing just how widespread this assumption is, a recent study found that people around the world tend to implicitly (or not-so-implicitly) believe that, compared with religious believers, nonbelievers are less moral and more prone to criminality. One of the study’s co-authors, anthropologist Dimitris Xygalatas, summed up the study’s results last week in the web magazine The Conversation. There, he argued that in fact religion isn’t… Read more

Individualism Is on the Rise Worldwide

Individualism is on the upswing all across the world, new research shows. How will this change affect the future of religion? Read more

How the Brain’s Predictions Shape Religion

A cognitive process called predictive processing may be how the brain generates religious and spiritual experiences, according to a pair of neuroscientists. Read more

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

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