Wanna Change Someone’s Mind? Agree With Them

youre-doing-it-wrongEveryone 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.

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Are Japanese Teachers Less Competent than their Foreign Counterparts?

Incompetent teacher... you didn't use the method I showed youI 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.

Posted in Culture, Japan | Tagged , , , , , , | 4 Comments

The World’s Most Peaceful and Dangerous Countries of 2014

geysir-strokkur-sky-landscape-iceland-christian-oeserCountries 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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In Tokyo, Dancing is a Crime

dancing-wallpaperPolice 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.

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Is Atheism a Religion? (Hint: No)

atheism religion baldness hairstyleRarely 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.

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The Psychology of Studying – Writing vs. Typing Your Notes

m4s0n501

Computer typing colourful BG ResearchBlogging.orgWhen it comes to studying, time is a major issue. For students with a high volume of information to study, cramming is sometimes required. For example, medical students don’t have the luxury of time to study one subject and absolutely nail it, because they have eight other subjects they’re simultaneously being tested on. The real secret to studying, however, is that the quantity of time spent is not nearly as important as the quality of it. If you ever wondered whether or not typing your notes can stack up to writing them by hand, let this be a lesson to you.

Posted in Psychology, Science, Technology | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Wanna Be a Doctor? You Need Psychology – Guide to the new MCAT

doctor-BG-blue-worldPsychology 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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Read a Bible, Become an Atheist (in That Order)

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.

Posted in Culture, Skepticism | Tagged , , , , | 5 Comments

Did I Just Lose my Blogger’s Virginity?

christian cross

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.

Posted in Blogging, Legal Issues | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Edward Snowden: A Man of Peace

Thank you Snowden bus

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.

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