Category Archives: Volition

January 6 and the fallacy of ‘No True Scotsman’

Scotland

A recent Suffolk University/USA TODAY poll found that 58% of self-identified Trump supporters believe that the January 6, 2021, assault on the U.S. Capitol was “mostly an antifa-inspired attack that only involved a few Trump supporters.” Aside from being just plain factually false, this belief is an example of a classic “brain fart,” a well-documented logical fallacy that can affect… Read more »

Affective risk aversion and Covid vaccine denial

Rollercoaster

After several unsuccessful attempts in the confused and governor-hobbled Florida vaccine roll-out, my spouse and I were recently able to get the first of two Moderna jabs. Despite the tragic (and up to 40% unnecessary) loss of life and the trashing that our economy has suffered because of the coronavirus over the last year, the number of people who are… Read more »

Betting your life on “The Truth”

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Junction

One of the unnecessary tragedies arising from the January 6 storming of the U.S. Capitol was the shooting death of Ashli Babbitt, a documented QAnon conspiracy theorist. Ms. Babbitt was the first to enter through a glass door into the secured House Speaker’s Lobby, which had been smashed by her fellow insurgents. Capitol police assigned to protect the U.S. “line… Read more »

When your coronavirus theology kills people

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Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz

Perhaps there are two kinds of normal people…There are those who don’t believe in free will and thereby don’t have free will, and there are those who do believe in free will and thereby actually have free will. ” Daniel Dennett, Freedom Evolves. I will be upfront about my definition of “bad theology” here: Bad theology is a belief system… Read more »

The moral conversation around coronavirus vaccine priorities

Who Am I?

It did not take long for the difficult moral questions around who gets the Covid-19 vaccination first to get ugly. At Stanford University an algorithm for distributing the vaccine prioritized older doctors working remotely over young interns and residents who are in daily contact with Covid patients, resulting in a public shaming demonstration. After the bad public attention, the university… Read more »

Watching yourself watch yourself

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Harold Lloyd Clock

“Life is just one damn thing after another!” – Anonymous [1] With the U.S. presidential election basically over and the coronavirus crisis response stuck in political denial (despite a new surge), I am overdue for a science-geeky post on a neglected recurring topic here, that of human volition (i.e., “choice” or “free will”). [2] The impetus for this post is… Read more »

Rescuing moral probity

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Republican coalition vectors

In a recent post I used a graphic illustrating what I call six traditional Republican “vectors” of general directional agreement over time. Three of these have been virtually obliterated (the red X’s) from public party conversation in the four years of Trump. The bottom vector shown is my contention that pre-Trump Republicans had long put a high value on the… Read more »

The Covid attack on empathy, sympathy and compassion

Empathy-Sympathy-Compassion

It is now official. The coronavirus mitigation policy of President Trump and state governors like Iowa’s Kim Reynolds is now essentially, “Sorry, old folks and immigrant workers, a lot of you are gonna die.” As a member of that honored class, pardon me if I am angry today. The coronavirus has taken a huge hit on three bedrocks of human… Read more »

How bad are we really? Humankind by Rutger Bregman

Garden of Eden

An ages-old morality play has started a new season of “reality shows,” run on television every night since May 25, 2020. Was George Floyd a bad man or a good man? How about the four policemen who killed him on the street? Were the street protestors outside the White House on June 1 patriots expressing their constitutional First Amendment rights… Read more »

Is it time for you to go back to cash?

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Woody Guthrie

Especially when the economy is going to hell, money is just a quantification of the choices available to you at this moment. And your array of personal choices may not look very good at this particular time. My CPA hat has been in retirement, but I think it is time to put it back on and talk about some financial… Read more »