I want you to consider the possibility that your parents did not shape you as a person. Despite how it feels, your mother and father (or whoever raised you) likely imprinted almost nothing on your personality that has persisted into adulthood. Pause for a minute and let that heresy wash across your synapses. It flies in the face of common sense, does it not? In fact, it’s the type of claim that is unwise to make unless you have some compelling evidence to back it up. Even then it will elicit the ire of many.
James A. Lindsay, who wrote Dot, Dot, Dot, with its foreword by the late Victor Stenger, has written another cracking…
Hitting the news today was research using data from around the word which showed that children from non-religious families were more altruistic and empathetic than their religious counterparts. This is interesting because it fits into a wider picture as to how religion works in tandem with identity, psychology and religion.
James A. Lindsay is author of Dot, Dot, Dot: Infinity Plus God Equals Folly which is a book I edited and released on Onus Books. He has recently written a book due for imminent publishing called Everybody Is Wrong About God. I was lucky enough to see a draft version of the manuscript which I worked on with James. It’s great.
I know this has done the rounds. I often refer back to similar experiments which have show that TMS can alter moral judgements, as this BBC article shows:
Scientists have shown they can change people’s moral judgements by disrupting a specific area of the brain with magnetic pulses.
I gave a talk last night to the Portsmouth Skeptics in the Pub group on my Case Against God. It went down an absolute treat. Packed to the rafters to almost twice its small capacity (people sitting on the floor and all), there were some great questions and audience interaction. I really loved it and I gather so did the audience. Woo hoo! However, it was really interesting that there were a number of committed Christians in the audience, not least a woman in the front row.
The greatest podcast on the internet, Reasonable Doubts, has sadly come to a close. If you have not delved into…
John D. Bargh is a psychologist with an interest in matters concerning free will. He edited a superb book on psychology and free will which I would advise anyone to get called Are We Free? From it, this excerpt was interesting, especially given recent conversations defending naturalism with a fellow Tippling Philosopher by email who thinks that human minds are too far removed from the rest of the animal kingdom to be explicable by naturalistic evolution (pp. 145-146):
This will definitely be TL;DR (Too long; didn’t read), but…
In discussing some thing on a private thread with a fellow Tippling Philosopher, I have written quite a bit on free will, evolution and evolutionary psychology which I would hat to go to waste and would love to keep for reference and posterity. None is ground-breaking or anything you wouldn’t know, but there are some good links to refer to in future conversations.
Consciousness — the internal dialogue that seems to govern one’s thoughts and actions — is far less powerful than people believe, serving as a passive conduit rather than an active force that exerts control, according to a new theory proposed by an SF State researcher.
As the annals of history have it, in the sixth century Emperor Justinian had all the schools of philosophy that competed with Christianity finally closed. This was the last we heard of the Epicurean School, whose tradition had remained culturally vibrant for seven centuries. Epicurus had been among the first to propose the atom—2,300 years ago—the social contract as a foundation for the rule of law, and the possibility of an empirical process of pursuit of happiness: a science of happiness. These progressive schools were oases of tranquility, reason and pleasure known as Gardens, where the ideals of civilized friendship flourished and men, women and even slaves engaged in philosophical discourse as equals.
I did an interview yesterday on the popular UK podcast Godless Spellchecker mainly on the topic of free will, but…
Religion is a highly psychological affair. In fact, I would argue that the entirety of that which religion really is, to humanity, is psychological. Everything that religion is and does for its adherents is psychological in nature. One of the strongest dimensions of religion is its dealings with death. I have talked about this before with regard to Terror Management Theory.
The general election is only just over, and I am sorry for being off my usual topics. I will return to them shortly. I would like to provoke thought on what motivates voters to vote for particular parties, briefly and rather anecdotally and theoretically.
With the rise and rise of UKIP, even despite their consistent foot-in-mouth propensity (and perhaps because of it), I have written a piece looking at UKIP in a skeptical light and am now due to write about the subject which concerns them the most. Immigration. This is quite a useful thing to do because in some respects I am not fundamentally sure where I stand on the minutiae of this core election Pandora’s Box.
I did a podcast segment for the Skepticule podcast (my regular counter-apologetics segment called Pearced Off) on the self-authenticating inner witness of the Holy Spirit. Something that William Lane Craig often uses to argue for God from a personal point of view that has the handy characteristic of trumping all evidence. See my previous post on this or the podcast to understand further.
Dr Caleb Lack has had three books published on my Onus Books imprint and I am glad to announce his fourth; this time he has edited and contributed to an important anthology dealing with the psychology and treatment of OCD. This book provides a vital reference of experts and students in the field, to psychologists seeking an academic companion to their work or studies. Here is Caleb’s post welcoming its publication:
A new piece of research has come out which looks to take the landmark Milgram experiments to the next level…
I have told you before that Reasonable Doubts is my favourite podcast. Well, here is a great RD Extra podcast with Luke Galen, psychologist, looks skeptically at claims of religious people being kinder, more charitable, prosocial. So very worth a listen:
Just World Theory is a core reason as to why theists believe in God. It is this desire for balance and fairness which is psychologically ingrained into us, no matter what ancillary beliefs we have. As a result, we see the world, the universe, as a thing which must be, on balance, fair.