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Posts Tagged "religion"

Anthropology in Practice

Editor’s Selections: Speaking In Tongues, Bi-Gendered Individuals, And The Prisoner’s Dilemma

Highlighted in my ResearchBlogging.org column this week: At Geneaology of Religion, Cris Campbell has a nice summary of dissociative speech patterns—in layman’s terms, that’s to say he breaks down different ways of “speaking in tongues.” The Neuroskeptic discusses a small, self-selected study on “bi-gendered” individuals which highlights the ways social pressures can color our identities. At NeuroDojo, Zen Faulkes [...]

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Anthropology in Practice

Editor’s Selections: Roman health, Anatomical offerings, and Mental illness

Part of my online life includes editorial duties at ResearchBlogging.org, where I serve as the Social Sciences Editor. Each Thursday, I pick notable posts on research in anthropology, philosophy, social science, and research to share on the ResearchBlogging.org News site. To help highlight this writing, I also share my selections here on AiP. This week: [...]

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Anthropology in Practice

Ashes, Yarmulkes and the Hijab: Communitas and Religious Symbols

Ed Note: As today is Ash Wednesday, it seemed an appropriate time to re-post this piece from the AiP archives. Today is Ash Wednesday, the start of the Lenten season for Western Christians—the 40 days (or 46 if you count weekends) leading up to Easter. Last year, I discussed the actions of a local homeless [...]

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Anthropology in Practice

Editor’s Selections: Snakes, Dangerous Honey, And Friendly Rats

Part of my online life includes editorial duties at ResearchBlogging.org, where I serve as the Social Sciences Editor. Each Thursday, I pick notable posts on research in anthropology, philosophy, social science, and research to share on the ResearchBlogging.org News site. To help highlight this writing, I also share my selections here on AiP Great reads this week! [...]

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Bering in Mind

Of Cultures Destroyed by Western Sexual Exploitation and Violent Religious Prudery

H. Laval (1807-1880)

In working on my latest book Perv, some of the saddest material I came across involved the stormy cross-cultural conflicts erupting between Western ideals of sex and those discovered among other “exotic” societies. The field of cultural anthropology has its own dark history in this regard. For an embarrassingly long time, in fact, some unethical scholars [...]

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Bering in Mind

Imaginary Presidents and Imaginary Gods: The Real “Empty Chair Effect”

If you were to have told me just last week that one of my psychology experiments would soon be brought to life on stage by none other than Clint Eastwood at the Republican National Convention, all to the fêted laughter and applause of tens of millions of people who, in the true spirit of literalism for [...]

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Bering in Mind

“Natural Theologians” Are God’s Psychoanalysts

The following is an edited excerpt from The Belief Instinct, which will be released as a paperback on Feb. 20. When I moved to my previous house in a small village in Northern Ireland in late 2007, there was still quite a bit of work to be done, including laying flooring in an intolerably small, [...]

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Bering in Mind

“In God We Trust” (At least until the government gets its act together)

One of the more predictable outcomes of a government shutdown—in fact, the hyperbolic chatter alone regarding the uncertainties of such a major disruption is enough to do the trick—is that there will be a noticeable surge in the nation’s religious beliefs. According to Duke University psychologist Aaron Kay and his colleagues, God and government are [...]

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Bering in Mind

Signs, signs, everywhere signs: Seeing God in tsunamis and everyday events

It’s only a matter of time—in fact, they’ve already started cropping up—before reality-challenged individuals begin pontificating about what God could have possibly been so hot-and-bothered about to trigger last week’s devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan. (Surely, if we were to ask Westboro Baptist Church members, it must have something to do with the gays.) [...]

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Bering in Mind

God may work in mysterious ways–but cognitive science is getting a handle on them

Author’s note: The following excerpt is the Introduction to my new book, The Belief Instinct: The Psychology of Souls, Destiny and the Meaning of Life. God came from an egg. At least, that’s how He came to me. Don’t get me wrong, it was a very fancy egg. More specifically, it was an ersatz Fabergé [...]

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Bering in Mind

God’s little rabbits: Religious people out-reproduce secular ones by a landslide

What’s that famous quote, by Edna St. Vincent Millay? Oh, yes: "I love humanity but I hate people." It’s a sentiment that captures my normal misanthropically tinged type of humanitarianism well, but it roars apropos on some particular occasions. For example, making conversation at the pizza shop in my small village in Northern Ireland one [...]

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Bering in Mind

Creationism Feels Right, but That Doesn’t Make it So

Psychological researchers suggest that evolutionary thinking is unnatural

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Bering in Mind

Is Religion Adaptive? It’s Complicated

A group of Darwinian theorists discuss religion in Edinburgh, Scotland

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Cross-Check

Be wary of the righteous rationalist: We should reject Sam Harris’s claim that science can be a moral guidepost

Say what you will about Sam Harris, the man’s got guts. In The End of Faith (W. W. Norton, 2005) and Letter to a Christian Nation (Knopf, 2006), Harris, a neuroscientist, rejects the notion that science and religion can coexist. We can’t believe in science, Harris says, and still believe in supernatural beings that part [...]

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Cross-Check

If religion is a side effect of sex, does that mean God doesn’t exist?

sculpture The Ecstasy of Saint Theresa by Gianlorenzo Bernini

In a post on Asperger’s syndrome, my fellow blogger Karen Schrock manages to knock both religious believers and nonreligious rationalists in just a few paragraphs. Kudos, Karen! People with Asperger’s, a mild form of autism, tend not to attribute events in their lives to a "higher power or supernatural force," Karen reports. Conversely, the tendency [...]

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Food Matters

Breaking Food Down

Original Image U. Huddersfield.

What is food? The Merriam-Webster Dictionary entry says “Something that nourishes, sustains, or supplies.” How beautiful. That statement captures much of the emotion and feeling surrounding food, yet it’s only part of the full definition. So where does food begin? As with most big questions, it depends who you ask. Let’s start down the reductive [...]

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Molecules to Medicine

From Tel Aviv to Boston Bombings: Connections at TEDMED

Of the roller coaster of emotions that has marked the past few weeks, personally and for the nation, one talk at TEDMED tied them all together for me, with the theme of our interdependence and how much we can accomplish if we work together. I’d like to share with you several seemingly unrelated events, with [...]

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Molecules to Medicine

Plan B: My politically incorrect take on the news

Protest over Savita Halappanavar's death - separation of Church and State

Sometimes I feel like Alice in Wonderland, staring into distorting mirrors. The ongoing fight over Plan B has again precipitated this disquieting feeling. There is such a disconnect between some stated outcomes that are claimed as being desirable and actions that don’t support that. In this case, probably most people would agree that elective abortions [...]

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Molecules to Medicine

Molecules to Medicine: When Religion Collides with Medical Care: Who Decides What Is Right for You?

San Carlos Church-VinceAlongi

The recent presidential candidate debates, fights over insurance coverage for contraceptives, and the Virginia and Texas legislatures’ imposition of intrusive, unnecessary ultrasounds prior to any abortions are highlighting the fundamental issue of the role of religion in health care and the separation of Church and State. While the emphasis has been on reproductive care, the [...]

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Molecules to Medicine

Molecules to Medicine: “Conscience” Clauses versus Refusal: An Historical Perspective

The struggle between conscience and refusal, or individual rights vs. that of the community good, goes far back, and is not limited to reproductive choices. It also forms the foundation of civil rights rulings—prohibiting discrimination and segregation, and discrimination based on race or religion. Unfortunately, there are still ongoing battles regarding discrimination based on sexual [...]

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Observations

Smartphone App Takes Morality Science out of the Lab and into the Real World

Image of the Smartphone Experience-Sampling Signal (SMS linking to smartphone survey). Courtesy of Wilhelm Hofmann.

Just when it seems there’s a mobile app for just about everything, psychologists have shown there’s room for one more: they are using smartphones to help them better understand the dynamics of moral and immoral behavior out in the community. A team of U.S., German and Dutch researchers has used Apple iOS, Google Android and [...]

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Observations

Scientific American–Then and Now

Excerpt from the first issue of Scientific American

Thoughts on the first issue of Scientific American, from 1845, now available online. Nature Publishing Group (which publishes Scientific American) announced today that it has now digitized all of Scientific American’s archive, going back to Volume 1, Issue 1 from 1845. I decided to take a look at the first issue, which was targeted to [...]

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Observations

Evolutionary psycho-logy: Commandeering genetics to explain why Obama really is a Muslim

Okay, here’s one for the annals, something that is going to make it even more difficult for evolutionary psychology to get the respect the field thinks it deserves. A controversial academic from the London School of Economics has recently penned a blog post for Psychology Today called "If Barack Obama Is Christian, Michael Jackson Was [...]

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PsySociety

Atonement, Forgiveness, And Our Most Fundamental Error.

goodintentions

Today is the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur. Although it is often called the “holiest day of the Jewish year,” what is notable about Yom Kippur is not the fact that it is particularly holy, nor is it the fact that many Jews you know might be particularly hungry today. Yom Kippur is notable because [...]

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PsySociety

Fighting Fair: How To Tackle Crucial Conversations On Facebook & Twitter

ArguingPeople

When’s the last time you had an online fight?       Unfortunately, most of us probably won’t have to try particularly hard to recall the last time that this happened.  In a recent survey, 76 percent of almost 2,700 respondents indicated that they have witnessed an argument over social media, 88 percent of respondents [...]

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Streams of Consciousness

Can Atheists Be Happy? And Other Answers from Scientific American MIND

Pretty young woman

The May/June issue of Scientific American Mind makes its online debut today. As usual, it contains an array of delicacies to sate your curiosity about people. Here are three mouth-watering morsels of brain food from its pages. Knowing Ourselves. How we see ourselves—physically, that is–can play a significant role in our lives. Our body image [...]

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