The disadvantages of being a purely rational person

Scientists and atheists are among groups of people who value rational thinking, the former because being rational and logical in one’s thinking is essential if one is to be able to navigate one’s way through the complexities of trying to understand the workings of nature, the latter because taking a rational approach to life would make the absurdities of religious beliefs and the behaviors they generate more manifest. But of course, none of us can be purely rational beings in every aspect of our lives. The emotional centers of our brains respond to stimuli in ways that can overpower the centers that govern rational and logical thinking, as all of us can testify from personal experience when we have done soothing impulsive and stupid.
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Netanyahu’s strategy backfires

There was a time not so long ago when there were three rigid dogmas in elite US government and media circles: 1. The interests of the US and Israel were identical. 2. Anything that the government of Israel did must be given unquestioned support. 3. One must never mention even the existence of the Israel lobby, let alone its role in enforcing the first two dogmas. To violate any of these dogmas was to be prima facie guilty of anti-Semitism.
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“I am so mad at God for making me do bad things!”

One of the benefits of religion, if you want to think of it that way, is that it enables one to shift responsibility to god if things go wrong. A new study by my friend and colleague Julie Exline and her graduate student Joshua Grubbs, who are in the department of religious studies at my university, finds that “people are likelier to blame God for their bad moral behavior when they believe they were born to act that way.”
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The US war against Venezuela

If there was ever an example of the psychological state known as projection (where one attributes to another one’s own state of mind) applied to nations, it is how the US describes Venezuela. Just yesterday, president Obama declared that Venezuela poses an “extraordinary threat” to US national security and used that to impose further sanctions on that country.
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Crazy car chase

Via Jonathan Turley I came across this video of a crazy driver of a car speeding through Los Angeles recently, where a news helicopter followed the car as it wove through busy streets and intersections, going the wrong way, with the driver not seeming to care in the least that he was damaging other vehicles and putting people’s lives at risk, even taking over a new car when his was involved in an accident.
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2015 World Cup update #16: Bangladesh knocks England out of the tournament

Bangladesh finally put an end to England’s misery in this World Cup by defeating them in an exciting game that ended this morning (my time). England won the toss and sent Bangladesh in and did well to restrict them to 275/7 off their 50 overs. As we have seen, a first innings score of 300 has become the minimum target, with 350 preferred on these batting-friendly pitches. Bangladesh had scored only 197/4 at the 40-over mark, and while a century by Mahmudullah and 89 by Mushfiqur Rahim pushed the score up, they could not step on the gas enough in the last ten overs as the England bowlers restricted them to just 78 more runs even though they had wickets in hand.
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