Give Up Blog - for scientists like these!

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Maps and Figures

"Hitler or Coulter?" Quiz
Map1 - Teen Pregnancy
Map2 - Incarceration
Map3 - Homicide Rates
Map4 - Drop-out Rates
Map5 - Bankruptcy Rates
Map6 - Driving Distances
Map7 - Energy Use
Map8 - Gonorrhea!
Map9 - Tax Burden
Map10 - State GDP
Map11 - DHS funding
Map12 - Adult Illiteracy.
Map13 - Abortion Bans:
Map14 - ER Quality
Map15 - Hospital Quality
Map16 - Coal Burners
Map 17 - Infant Mortality
Map 18 - Toxic Waste
Map 19 - Obesity
Map 20 - Poverty
Map 21 - Occupational safety
Map 22 - Traffic deaths
Map 23 - Divorce
Figure 1 - Wages vs Right to work
Figure 2 - Unemployment vs Right to work
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Thursday, February 22, 2007

Everyone over at the scienceblogs (Orac, MarkCC, PZ, Tim Lambert, Thoughts from Kansas, Mike the Mad Biologist, Stranger Fruit etc.), has been having a field day with the Conservapedia. Created by conservatives to oppose the liberally biased Wikipedia (reality has a liberal bias), it consists of "conservative" viewpoints on everything from evolution, to abortion, to George Washington (did you know "Washington is perhaps the person other than Jesus who declined enormous worldly power"?, I bet he really did cut down that apple tree too.)

I suggest you join them. I'll take nominations for most absurd article, and evolution is just too easy.

The best part is, this fits with the Give Up philosophy better than anything I could have ever done. Andrew Schlaffy (Crazy Phyllis' boy) is seeking to single-handedely undermine modern religious fundamentalism/conservatism simply by exposing the crazy, unscientific, and plain outlandish things they believe to the light of day. Not to mention their approach to truth. Basically, if you don't like the truth, just change it to whatever you want it to be.

Anyway, undermine the modern right wing movement by exposing to the world the crazy shit these people actually believe!

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Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Those crazy conservatives
I like this article, basically it says that conservatives are whiny little scaredy cats who can't deal with uncertainty or mortality, and people who are able to maintain rational thought in the face of death are politically liberal (The source paper by Jost's group is great - via Coturnix).

Following 9/11, most lifelong liberals did not go through outright conversion or shift their preferred candidate. Yet many liberals who didn't become all-out conservatives found themselves nonetheless sympathizing more with conservative positions, craving the comfort of a strong leader, or feeling the need to punish or avenge. Many in the political center moved to the right, too. In aggregate, over an electorate of millions—a large proportion of whom were swing voters waiting to be swayed one way or the other—even a subtle shift was enough to tip the balance of the Presidential election, and the direction the country took for years. "Without 9/11 we would have a different president," says Solomon. "I would even say that the Osama bin Laden tape that was released the Thursday before the election was sufficient to swing the election. It was basically a giant mortality salience induction."

If we are so suggestible that thoughts of death make us uncomfortable defaming the American flag and cause us to sit farther away from foreigners, is there any way we can overcome our easily manipulated fears and become the informed and rational thinkers democracy demands?

To test this, Solomon and his colleagues prompted two groups to think about death and then give opinions about a pro-American author and an anti-American one. As expected, the group that thought about death was more pro-American than the other. But the second time, one group was asked to make gut-level decisions about the two authors, while the other group was asked to consider carefully and be as rational as possible. The results were astonishing. In the rational group, the effects of mortality salience were entirely eliminated. Asking people to be rational was enough to neutralize the effects of reminders of death. Preliminary research shows that reminding people that as human beings, the things we have in common eclipse our differences—what psychologists call a "common humanity prime"—has the same effect.

"People have two modes of thought," concludes Solomon. "There's the intuitive gut-level mode, which is what most of us are in most of the time. And then there's a rational analytic mode, which takes effort and attention."

The solution, then, is remarkably simple. The effects of psychological terror on political decision making can be eliminated just by asking people to think rationally. Simply reminding us to use our heads, it turns out, can be enough to make us do it.

If the psychologists keep this up they're going to turn conservatives into Scientologists.

**Update** I'm enjoying the source paper so much, especially how conservatives have long been understood to be proto-fascists - and by long I mean that the Nazis used to look for conservative behaviors in recruits because they made good Nazis. Ha!

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