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Posted inPsychology, Science

Science denialism at a skeptic conference – shame!

Reading Time: < 1 minute Rebecca Watson, a speaker at skeptical conference and events, and someone who has courted controversy before (I think she was involved in the Elevatorgate issue, though I know almost nothing about it since it holds little interest to me)., has taken it upon herself at the recent Skepticon conference to diss Evolutionary Psychology (EP). I use the term diss, because that’s about the sum of it. There seemed to be no real desire to interact with the required academia or methodology involved in critiquing scientific findings. This is sad coming from the source and the event that it did.

Posted inPsychology

Why do normal people believe ridiculous things?

Reading Time: 6 minutes Why, indeed, do normal people believe ridiculous things? We have heard much from John Loftus about the OTF – the Outsider Test for Faith – which essentially illustrates that religion is a (geographical) accident of birth. It claims that if believers used the same critical powers they use to assess, and dismiss, other religions and their claims, then they are obliged to turn those critical faculties on their own. If they did, John would claim, then they would surely end up dismissing the claims of their own religion (this is a simplistic view of the OTF, no doubt).

What is interesting to me here is not so much the fact that people do special plead their own religion in this way (though that is incredibly interesting and important in itself), but how this comes about. I will put forward a theory which is fairly well accepted anecdotally, and see what you think. I will use an example which I experienced the other night which should show the theory with clarity