Archives for posts with tag: rationalization

Study documents early puberty onset in boys“Pediatricians recorded the earliest stage of puberty as occurring in non-Hispanic white boys at age 10.14 years; in non-Hispanic African-American boy at age 9.14 years, and in Hispanic boys at age 10.4. Overall, African-American boys were more likely to start puberty earlier than white or Hispanic boys.”

When Europeans turned white” White European skin evolved relatively fast during the last ice age, specifically from 19,000 to 11,000 years ago…. These color traits—white skin and a diverse palette of hair and eye colors— are not adaptations to a cooler, less sunny climate. They are adaptations by early European women to intense mate competition, specifically a shortage of potential mates due to a low polygyny rate and a high death rate among young men.” — from peter frost.

Intelligence and fertility by class, over time – from the awesome epigone.

The Stupidity of the Discontented? — higher iq people are happier on average — @the breviary.

What Are You So Scared of? Saber-Toothed Cats, Snakes, and Carnivorous Kangaroos“The evolutionary legacy of having been prey.”

Roots of Post-Trauma Resilience Sought in Genetics and Brain Changes – genetics and ptsd.

Young blood really is the key to youth“[G]iving young blood to old mice can reverse some of the effects of age-related cognitive decline.”

Seeking a Chief Exec with the Right Stuff?: Look for a Touch of Psychopathy“An Emory University psychologist recounts why ‘fearless dominance,’ a personality trait used to screen for psychopaths, may be a quality to consider in our next chief executive.”

Desire for revenge, not anger, helps explain why men are more physically aggressive – from the inductivist.

Head and Heart: Are Conservatives More Moral?“‘Intuitions come first, strategic reasoning second.’”

What Is War Good for? Ask a Chimpanzee. — some interesting points in this article — and the cuuuuutest picture of a baby spider monkey! aaaaawwww! (^_^)

bonus: Seed shrimp thought extinct has been living in cave for 40 mil. years – coooooool!

bonus bonus: First life may have survived by cooperating

bonus bonus bonus: Martian genome: Is there DNA on the Red Planet?

bonus bonus bonus bonus: Corruption Continues Virtually Unchecked in Greece“‘We Are Greedy and Asocial’”

bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus: No Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership“This week, for the third time in four years, the Mo Ibrahim Foundation announced that its prize for achievement in African leadership would not be awarded.” — well, at least they’re not completely crazy like the peace prize people. *roll eyes*

bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus: British man arrested for punching Darth Vader’s wife — really!

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The Ignorance of Voters“Why does more education lead to less accurate beliefs? The answer returns us to the difference between rational voters (what we think we are) and rationalizing voters (what we really are). It turns out that the human mind is a marvelous information filter, adept at blocking out those facts that contradict what we’d like to believe.”

Single Out-of-Africa origin of humans: more trouble for the theory – from dienekes

Our own status affects the way our brains respond to others“People of higher subjective socioeconomic status show greater brain activity in response to other high-ranked individuals, while those with lower status have a greater response to other low-status individuals.”

Code rage: The “warrior gene” makes me mad! (Whether I have it or not) – behavioral genetics on dr. phil! whoa.

Predictors of closeness to whites among whites – from inductivist: “What predicts greater closeness to whites is: being female, being younger, having more income, being less intelligent, and more church attendance.”

Animals have personalities, too – duh.

Alcohol, Mood and Me (Not You)“Adolescents with behavioral problems drink more in general, irrespective of mood, but only adolescents without behavioral problems drink more often when feeling depressed.”

Prejudice and the president – white people are soooo waaaaaaycist

The Rewards of Doing “Something”“People don’t really care what they’re doing — just as long as they are doing something.”

Like father (country), like son – from the audacious

Monkeys, too, can recollect what they’ve seen“The researchers say that the ability of rhesus monkeys to recall what they’ve seen in the past suggests that the ability to recollect does not depend on language and may have been present in our common ancestor 30 million years ago.”

Fat, race and vitamin D – @diversity is chaos

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…he is a rationalizing animal.” [source]

ed yong wrote about some neat self-deception research the other day (People don’t know when they’re lying to themselves.)

in his post, he highlighted a couple of high-profile (probable) self-deceivers, gaddafi and sheen, as examples of self-deceivers. which seems to illustrate that ed missed the point entirely: we’re aaaaaaaaaaaallllllllllllllllll self-deceving self-deceivers! if not 24/7, then pretty d*mn close to it.

we’re rationalizers.

take religious belief, for example. if you ask them, most believers will tell you their reasons for believing. and most non-believers will tell you their reasons for not believing.

but religious belief is heritable! there’s probably very little rational thinking involved in “deciding” to be religious or not! the “reasons” given by these two groups are just after-the-fact rationalizations — people trying to explain to themselves, and others, why the h*ck they believe or not. the reasons might feel really real, but that’s the beauty of self-deception.

i remember when i became a non-believer (i’m an agnostic). it suddenly just dawned on me one day when i was a young teenager that we can’t possibly know for sure if there’s a god or not. i wasn’t thinking about the question. i hadn’t even been pondering about the issue beforehand. it just came to me — an epiphany. (or, a reverse epiphany, i guess.) there was no reasoning involved. it just sorta happened.

looking back on it now, i can see that my “moment of clarity” prolly had something to do with how my brain was developing at a time. it was on a trajectory that was, no doubt, mostly outlined by my genes. i grew up in an affluent western world, so most environmental factors, like poor nutrition, can be ruled out as having had any strong influence on my development. my genes were probably allowed to express themselves to their fullest, agnotic little selves. i even grew up in a typical religious household! not overly religious, but the family attended regular sunday services.

but, there was just something in my genome that made me think: hmmmmmm? (my a-religious tendencies come, i think, from one of my grandfathers who, reportedly, wasn’t much of a church-goer. he died when i was very small, so he couldn’t have been much influence on me.)

so, i never give anyone a reason for why i’m agnostic. when they ask why, i tell them that i just am. sometimes i throw in that my genes made me this way. (~_^)

humans are not rational creatures. far from it! a few of us try real hard to be, and on occasion maybe we sometimes succeed. most of the time we don’t. ’cause it ain’t easy to overcome nature!

a helluva lot (most?) of the reasons we consciously give to explain our actions do not reflect the reality of the situation. that is why reductionism works: all of the “causes and ideals” that people say they have are not truly explanatory, but merely after-the-fact rationalizations.

previously: “know thyself” and word iv

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