Even Atheists Distrust Atheists?

Hemant calls attention to a new study from Will Gervais, a psychologist at the University of Kentucky who has focused much of his scholarly attention to atheism and atheists. That study finds that people will jump at the chance to view a bad person as an atheist even in the absence of any evidence of that — and that atheists do it too! The abstract:
[Read more…]

Sully on Cheney and Rumsfeld

Here’s a great example of why, despite his sometimes irritating grandiosity and other flaws, I still really respect Andrew Sullivan. In two recent posts he takes on Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld and the fact that neither of them has the slightest inclination to ever question themselves or their decisions. On Cheney:
[Read more…]

You Will Be Cheerful, Or Else!

Barbara Ehrenreich takes on the ridiculous and downright creepy ideology of “positive thinking,” which is closely related to the colossal fraud of motivational speaking and “life coaching” and other ways to separate credulous losers from their money. A world without Dale Carnegie, Ziz Ziglar and Tony Robbins would be a much better place (yes, I know the first two are already dead, but their influence continues).
[Read more…]

Why It’s Easier to Be Religious

Chris Mooney has an interesting article at Mother Jones listing seven reasons why it’s easier to believe in God and reject evolution. I think most of this is right on the money and it speaks to the question of whether religious belief is, in at least some sense, innate in human beings. A few of the very human traits that suggest this:
[Read more…]

Can Free Will Truly Exist In a Mechanical Universe?

This is one of the key questions in science and philosophy, but I confess that I have not thought deeply about it at all. I read Daniel Dennett’s Consciousness Explained more than a decade ago, but didn’t understand much of it. And I’d really like to hear thoughtful people who have grasped with this question comment on this article by social psychologist Roy Baumeister, who says of course free will exists.
[Read more…]