• An atheistic faith?
    An atheistic faith?
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    The Atlantic

    Religious beliefs are remarkably various. But sometimes it can seem that there is only one way to be an atheist: asserting, on the basis of reasoned argument, that belief in God is irrational. The ageing “new atheists”-Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins, and Daniel Dennett, for example-pit reason against faith, the science against superstition, and declare for reason and science.

    It pictures the universe as a natural system, a system not guided by intelligent design and not traversed by spirits; a universe that can be explained by science because it consists of material objects operating according to physical laws.

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  • Why your sex life could be worth $50,000 — or more…
    Why your sex life could be worth $50,000 — or more…
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    Back in 2004, they examined the data on the self-reported levels of sexual activity and happiness of 16,000 people and found that sex “enters so strongly (and) positively in happiness equations” that they estimate that getting it on just once a month more is equivalent to the amount of happiness generated by receiving an additional $50,000 in income for the average American.

    Their paper, “Money, Sex, and Happiness: An Empirical Study,” which appeared in the National Bureau of Economic Research, not only estimates the dollar amount that happiness from sex can bring you, but it also debunks the old myth that having more money means that you’ll have more sex.

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  • You know you need to apologize…
    You know you need to apologize…
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    “The basic idea is that we are highly motivated to maintain a positive image of ourselves – an image of self-integrity, morality, and adequacy,” Schumann said in an email. And this, she reasons, is why apologizing can suck so very much: Having to admit that our words or actions hurt someone else threatens the image of our ideal self. So it makes sense that so many apologies are so bad. We get defensive, so we justify our behaviour, all to protect our egos.

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  • How to really stop abortion.
    How to really stop abortion.
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    So the debate boils down to this: Which approach can overcome the weakness of human nature? Can the abstinence crowd find a way to keep people chaste? Can the contraception crowd find a way to make people stick to their birth control? Can either side deliver the bottom line: fewer abortions?

    A study published Thursday in the New England Journal of Medicine (and outlined in Slate by Darshak Sanghavi and Amanda Marcotte) strikes a major blow for the contraception camp.

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  • Irresistibly drawn to Mr or Ms wrong?
    Irresistibly drawn to Mr or Ms wrong?
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    Psychology Today

    All of us are attracted to a certain type that stops us dead in our tracks, be it a physical type, an emotional type, or a personality type. Let’s say that there is a “spectrum of attraction,” from 1 to 10; the people at the far end aren’t physically or romantically attracted to us at all, but those at the upper end are icons-they’re compellingly attractive, leaving us weak in the knees and triggering both our longing and our insecurity.

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  • Empathy — minus reason?
    Empathy — minus reason?
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    The Week

    “Empathy is about standing in someone else’s shoes, feeling with his or her heart, seeing with his or her eyes,” writes author and prominent business-world thinker Daniel Pink. “Not only is empathy hard to outsource and automate, but it makes the world a better place.”

    A lovely thought. But new research suggests it isn’t always true.

    A paper just published in the journal Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin provides evidence that feelings of empathy toward a distressed person can inspire aggressive behaviour.

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  • The frightening power of the parenthood religion
    The frightening power of the parenthood religion
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    Sometime between when we were children and when we had children of our own, parenthood became a religion in America. As with many religions, complete unthinking devotion is required from its practitioners. Nothing in life is allowed to be more important than our children, and we must never speak a disloyal word about our relationships with our offspring. Children always come first. We accept this premise so reflexively today that we forget that it was not always so.

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