The Reverse CBT Hypothesis

Greg is prone to depression, and after hospitalization for a serious episode in 2007, Greg learned CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy). In CBT you learn to recognize when your ruminations and automatic thinking patterns exemplify one or more of about a dozen “cognitive distortions,” such as catastrophizing, black-and-white thinking, fortune telling, or emotional reasoning. Thinking in these ways causes depression, as well as being a symptom of depression. Breaking out of these painful distortions is a cure for depression. 

What Greg saw in 2013 were students justifying the suppression of speech and the punishment of dissent using the exact distortions that Greg had learned to free himself from. Students were saying that an unorthodox speaker on campus would cause severe harm to vulnerable students (catastrophizing); they were using their emotions as proof that a text should be removed from a syllabus (emotional reasoning). Greg hypothesized that if colleges supported the use of these cognitive distortions, rather than teaching students skills of critical thinking (which is basically what CBT is), then this could cause students to become depressed. Greg feared that colleges were performing reverse CBT


After examining the evidence, including the fact that the same trends happened at the same time in Britain, Canada, and Australia, Goldberg concluded that “Technology, not politics, was what changed in all these countries around 2012. That was the year that Facebook bought Instagram and the word “selfie” entered the popular lexicon

Read more at Why the Mental Health of Liberal Girls Sank First and Fastest
Evidence for Lukianoff’s reverse CBT hypothesis


DNA Evidence That Humans & Chimps Share A Common Ancestor: Endogenous Retroviruses

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Posted by on August 2, 2022 in creationism, Evolution


Ivermectin: Much More Than You Wanted To Know

Confound it!
The Summary
  • Ivermectin doesn’t reduce mortality in COVID a significant amount (let’s say d > 0.3) in the absence of comorbid parasites: 85-90% confidence
  • Parasitic worms are a significant confounder in some ivermectin studies, such that they made them get a positive result even when honest and methodologically sound: 50% confidence
  • Fraud and data processing errors are of similar magnitude to p-hacking and methodological problems in explaining bad studies (95% confidence interval for fraud: between >1% and 5% as important as methodological problems; 95% confidence interval for data processing errors: between 5% and 100% as important)
  • Probably “Trust Science” is not the right way to reach proponents of pseudoscientific medicine: ???% confidence

Read the whole post at Astral Codex Ten

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Posted by on November 17, 2021 in economics/sociology, scientific method


Enlightenment and the Righteous Mind | Steven Pinker & Jonathan Haidt

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Posted by on October 27, 2021 in cognitive science


Religiosity is associated with a more feminine intelligence profile in men

Many studies have found a small negative correlation between religiousness and intelligence measured by IQ tests, and many others have found that females are more religious than males. Still other studies have demonstrated that the IQ profile of females is different from that of males, with females tending to be higher than males in some abilities and lower in others. This raises the intriguing question of whether religiousness may be correlated with a more stereotypically female intelligence profile. We tested whether this was the case using the NLSY 79 (N = 12,686). The NLSY shows that religiousness, using the proxy of regular church attendance, is not only higher among females but is also associated with a female profile of abilities even among males (r = 0.92). We argue that this is potentially consistent with evidence that Autism Spectrum Disorder is negatively associated with religiosity.

Read more at Science Direct

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Posted by on September 9, 2021 in cognitive science, religion


The Cult Deficit

Using a dataset derived from the long-running “Cults” podcast by Parcast, I find that the number of new cults began to increase in the 50s, peaked in the 70s/80s, and has been in steady decline in recent decades. I discuss various factors (historical, technological, cultural, psychedelic drugs) that may have played a role in the rise and fall of cults since the 1950s and speculate on the future of cults.

Read more at Secretum Secretorum

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Posted by on June 23, 2021 in religion


Atheists Are Sometimes More Religious Than Christians

A woman gets baptized near the Cup Foods store where George Floyd was killed in Minneapolis, Minn.

America is a country so suffused with faith that religious attributes abound even among the secular. Consider the rise of “atheist churches,” which cater to Americans who have lost faith in supernatural deities but still crave community, enjoy singing with others, and want to think deeply about morality. It’s religion, minus all the God stuff. This is a phenomenon spreading across the country, from the Seattle Atheist Church to the North Texas Church of Freethought. The Oasis Network, which brings together non-believers to sing and learn every Sunday morning, has affiliates in nine U.S. cities.

In April 2018, almost 1,000 people streamed into a church in San Francisco for an unprecedented event billed as “Beyoncé Mass.” Most were people of color and members of the LGBTQ community. Many were secular. They used Queen Bey’s songs, which are replete with religious symbolism, as the basis for a communal celebration—one that had all the trappings of a religious service. That seemed completely fitting to some, including one reverend who said, “Beyoncé is a better theologian than many of the pastors and priests in our church today.”

Read more at the Atlantic.

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Posted by on April 28, 2021 in religion


Religion is a driving force behind the gender wage gap, study finds

New research published in the Academy of Management Journal indicates that religion perpetuates the gender wage gap. The findings provide evidence that men tend to earn significantly more than women in societies with heightened religiosity.

Read more at PsyPost

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Posted by on April 4, 2021 in religion


Changing Function of Religious Beliefs — Trajectory from primitive to advanced societies

If a proposition is going to be taken to be unquestionably true, it is important that no one understand it. — Roy Rappaport, Ritual, Sanctity, and Cybernetics The context of that assertion is a discussion about how religious beliefs function to keep a community of diverse populations together. The fundamental belief that binds must at…

Changing Function of Religious Beliefs — Trajectory from primitive to advanced societies
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Posted by on March 24, 2021 in religion


The Identity Hoaxers

The Identity Hoaxers

The notion of needing “to be associated with the victims rather than the perpetrators” is what sent me down the rabbit hole of identity hoaxers. You would be surprised at how many there are: the “pretendians,” who claim Native American ancestry, including the former Klansman who reinvented himself as a best-selling “Cherokee” author; the Syrian blogger “Gay Girl in Damascus,” who turned out to be a straight American man named Tom MacMaster; Scott Peake, who presented himself as a fluent Gaelic speaker from a remote Scottish island when he took over the Saltire Society, which promotes Scottish culture. (He was really from South London, and couldn’t speak Gaelic.)

Read more at The Atlantic

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Posted by on March 16, 2021 in economics/sociology

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