Are Religious People Happier?

In religious countries, including the U.S., religious people describe themselves as happier. In relatively godless countries, such as the Netherlands, or Denmark, religious people are not happier. So does religion help people cope with their problems, or not?

Can We Expect Powerful Men Not to Have Affairs?

The Petraeus scandal is a recent example of a well-worn theme from evolutionary psychology. Socially successful men parlay their prestige into conquests in the bedroom. Moralists claim to be appalled. Should they be? Or are we merely observing one of the great truths of human sexual psychology playing out?

Are There Universals in Human Behavior?

Karl Popper defined scientific paradigms as shared belief systems. As science progresses, scientists realize that these beliefs are mostly false and move to a new paradigm. In physics Einstein replaced Newton and was superseded by Max Planck Evolutionary psychology follows cultural determinism but its faith in universals makes it vulnerable.

Does Marriage Have a Future?

The most developed countries point to the future—where they are going, less developed countries inevitably follow. That is true of urbanization, technology, religion, infrastructure, health, life expectancy, and family size to name a few. It is also true of marriage.

The Three Reasons for Polygamy

Both candidates for the presidency owe their very existence to polygamy. President Obama’s father belonged to the polygamous Luo tribe. Mitt Romney’s paternal great grandfathers moved to Mexico to continue the Mormon practice of polygamy then outlawed in the U.S. So the time is ripe to ask what advantages polygamy has over monogamy.

Are You a Sucker?

Social psychologist Robert Cialdini is an expert on manipulative communications (1). Yet, he was the first to admit that he was more vulnerable than most. He was the man accepting the “free” rose from a cult member when accosted in the street.

Why Liberal Hearts Bleed and Conservatives Don't

Political liberals are “bleeding hearts” because they empathize so strongly with the sufferings of others. As Bill Clinton so succinctly phrased it, “I feel your pain.” When Republicans wanted to compete in the empathy department, they had to invent a new terminology to identify this strange bird. They called it a “compassionate conservative.”

Does Religion Protect Against Teen Childbearing?

Just because religious people endorse restrictive views on sexual behavior does not mean that they are going to live up to them.

Sex and the White Elephant Effect

Blocking undesirable thoughts can be tricky. Say that you tell someone not to think about a white elephant. Chances are that the image of a white pachyderm hovers in their consciousness.

Sex and Societies

Why could women in a Mozart opera from the 1790s (The Magic Flute) expect stable marriage versus the high divorce rates of American females in the 1970s? The reason is a relative scarcity of men, according to a new Discover article (1) by fellow blogger Robert Epstein. Such scientifically meaningful patterns strengthen sociology as a science.

Voodoo Death I

Most of us are preoccupied with prolonging our lives by remaining fit and healthy. We are led to believe that a healthy body guarantees long life. Yet, there is evidence that some people die despite being young and in good health. When they lose the well to live, they perish as surely as though they had been asphyxiated.

A Life Without Fear?

Organized religion offers a life without fear. The key question is not whether it delivers on that promise, but how.

Do Religious People Have a Hotter Sex Life?

On the surface, major religions discourage primal impulses. They speak out against violence—and unbridled sexuality. Despite prohibiting homicides, religious societies can be quite violent and warlike. Are they any better at controlling sexual impulses?

Have Americans Turned Against Religion?

Older Americans are not all that religious by some criteria. Younger Americans are considerably less religious. They point to a future where religious people will be a minority.

The God Spot Revisited

Media coverage hyped the importance of findings suggesting that spiritual experiences have a brain basis. Even so, an evolved capacity for self-transcendence fits in well with what we know about the evolutionary role and function of religion.

Why Cults Are Mindless

Mindless obedience helps religious cults to stay together.

What We Have Learned About Rampage Killings

Every instance of senseless mass killing prompts soul searching about possible causes with a view to prevention. The Sandy Hook Elementary School rampage killing is no different.

Is the Debate on Gay Marriage Effectively Over?

If you want to know what the future holds, talk to young people. On social issues, young American adults today are far more liberal than their parents.

The Security Blanket Concept of Religion

According to the security blanket concept of religion, supernatural belief systems provide peace of mind and help believers to cope with the more stressful events in their lives.

How Religious Are Americans, Really?

Is it easier to pretend that we go to church?

Religion as Social Glue

Decadence is supposed to destroy civilizations. If religion is the enemy of decadence, perhaps it keeps entire societies on the rails. That is what religious people often claim. Are they right?

Why Mixed-Sex Sports Never Took Off

Apart from mixed doubles tennis, there are virtually no sports in which men and women routinely compete as equals on the same playing field. Why do men and women choose same-sex competition over mixed sport?

Atheists: The Last Minority to Get Civil Rights?

In America, freedom of religion does not yet include freedom from religion. If you doubt that try spending time in a very religious state such as Alabama.