Everyone has the experience of trying to convince someone of something. It could be for something as trivial as renting the movie you want, to something as important as deciding on whether or not to give your child a vaccine. Strongly-held beliefs can be incredibly difficult to shake, but how might one be able to do so effectively? One of the most widely-used strategies is probably the most ineffective – yelling “No, you’re wrong!” or calling them names. As astronomer Phil Plait once said in a speech during a skeptic conference in 2010, yelling at or insulting people won’t persuade them. New research is suggesting that, in fact, if you really want to persuade someone, you should agree with them to the extreme.
I know what you’re thinking – how could you suggest that the average teacher in any country is incompetent? Such things depend on the way you define “competence,” and how you measure it. How could you suggest that one of the most advanced countries in the world be considered “incompetent in their ability to educate? Of course, I certainly don’t want to say that they are incompetent, but according to a new survey, Japan’s teachers would agree with me if I did.
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Are Japanese Teachers Less Competent than their Foreign Counterparts?
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Countries that are extremely peaceful and those in utter political disarray are subjects of much fascination all across the world. Luckily, the Vision of Humanity came out with their eighth edition of the Global Peace Index (GPI), a ranking of 162 countries. Considering this list includes 99.6 percent of the world’s population, it should certainly be taken seriously. First, let’s look at the most and least safe nations, and then consider the changes that the GPI shows overtime, in a global perspective.
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The World’s Most Peaceful and Dangerous Countries of 2014
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Police raids on clubs in Tokyo have been gradually increasing in recent years. This isn’t particularly abnormal, because in virtually every country in the world, clubs often close down (and often open later under a different name) for certain things like unfortunate violence or other illicit activities within such establishments. However, the illicit activities that are most commonly the subject of police crackdowns is something that the dance clubs probably were not expecting – dancing.
Rarely do I make new articles based on my interactions with commenters, but a recent one warranted a full response. From my article “Read a Bible – Become an Atheist (In That Order)” one commenter said:
Sorry, atheism is a religion, as it is a system of belief…a very simple one (not saying that everyone’s beliefs are simple, but the simple fact being that one chooses NOT to believe in God). It takes great leaps of faith to believe that there is no God.
Psychology has finally become recognized as an study necessary to become a doctor, according to the non-profit organization AAMC (Association of American Medical Colleges). This has ramifications for the rest of the world, as its famous medical exam – the MCAT (Medical College Admissions Test) – is used in 114 countries across the world. The test has undergone major changes that will come into effect in 2015, and one of the changes is the substantial addition in testing psychology knowledge.
Transitioning to the New MCAT
The Current (i.e., soon-to-be-outdated) MCAT
In the current edition of the MCAT, there are three sections:
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Wanna Be a Doctor? You Need Psychology – Guide to the new MCAT
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Atheists and Christians may not agree on everything, but one thing is certain: They want you to read the bible. When I first decided to write this article, I was planning to compare quotes about why a Christian and an atheist may want others to read the bible. But considering the fact that (as I wrote in my last article) I was threatened with a lawsuit from a Christian website, I won’t be doing that. Instead, I’ll just use my own words: Christians think that reading the bible will make you believe in God. Studies show otherwise.
Forgive me father, for I have sinned. I took the words of a fellow Christian in an article I wrote almost a year ago without permission. Plagiarism? Such blasphemy would not escape my fingers, no. Linking to the very page the text came from, and giving the name of the website (BibleStudy.org) was no problem, but showing the text itself (which is pretty much the reason people write blogs) was too offensive for the sensibilities of my good Christian brethren. Indeed, I may have just become a “man;” a true blogger. Because today, I was threatened with my first lawsuit.
Edward Snowden has just been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize – an award that has certainly lost credibility because of some of the recent recipients, including U.S. President Obama. Snowden is a man who gave up his cozy life snooping on the private data of people within and outside of his country, and was smart enough not to stick around to see what kind of damage the American government would do to him, like they did to others who blew the whistle on illegal behaviour. Though there are indeed others who also deserve such praise, I hope at least the nomination helps Snowden’s cause.