Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Pants Afire

Since moving to Nashville I have never met more liars and frauds in my life an irony not lost here in the buckle of the belt of the bible bashers.

My largest focus has been the former fundie friend Ethan but he has cohorts that blow my mind as their stories veer into pathological with each passing convo. 

But to understand why is to understand the affects religion has on the cerebral cortex.  I have already written about how hard core fundamental religiosity affects development as the greater hippocampal atrophy in selected religious groups might be related to stress. And yes Ethan has tremendous anxiety disorders, depression and in turn it affects his cognitive processes and emotional stability.   And in turn the reality is that the brain then becomes wired in the same way to the point it affects how the brain thinks and behaves in ways that define irrationality and often delusional.

In much the same way, Christian fundamentalism is a parasitic ideology that inserts itself into brains, commanding individuals to act and think in a certain way—a rigid way that is intolerant to competing ideas. We know that religious fundamentalism is strongly correlated with what psychologists and neuroscientists call “magical thinking,” which refers to making connections between actions and events when no such connections exist in reality. Without magical thinking, the religion can’t survive, nor can it replicate itself. Another cognitive impairment we see in those with extreme religious views is a greater reliance on intuitive rather than reflective or analytic thought, which frequently leads to incorrect assumptions since intuition is often deceiving or overly simplistic.
We also know that in the United States, Christian fundamentalism is linked to science denial. Since science is nothing more than a method of determining truth using empirical measurement and hypothesis testing, denial of science equates to the denial of objective truth and tangible evidence. In other words, the denial of reality. Not only does fundamentalism promote delusional thinking, it also discourages followers from exposing themselves to any different ideas, which acts to protect the delusions that are essential to the ideology.
 Knowing Ethan as I do his intense rages, his defensiveness and his consistent need to be alone tells me that he also hides other truths, such as his sexuality and the abuse that exists in his family that is all part of the issues of control and authority that exists in said Bible to support the antiquated concept of male patriarchy in the home.

I found another parallel in the biographical story of Clarence Thomas that in turn supports much of this type of magical thinking process and his own bizarre sexual obsession, his lack of continuity in thought and of course his glomming on to Scalia when he sat on the court. He and Kavanaugh must have fun times  in the Judges chambers talking smack about women.

Religion's damage crosses all genders, races and classes and it requires a conformity of thought and an ability to be manipulated which in turn teaches one how to manipulate others a skill set Ethan has highly developed.  I would say that in his case I would offer thoughts and prayers to him that he finds his way out of this but then again they have no affect either.  Well you get what you pay for.

I often think that much of the lying is both ordained in religion and in turn the tribalism of the south that comes from not just the Church one belongs but the family traditions and history tied to this region that dominates the dialog: "Who are your people?" And: "What Church do you belong?"  Those two questions determine how you will be perceived and believed and in turn the liars who lie feel they are forgiven as you are not a member so it does not matter.  Lying here is an affectation and just a part of living here in the good Christian South.  Bless their hearts!

But they lie as their brain is already damaged and in turn it makes it easier to do so and regardless they are forgiven. No wonder I am Atheist as I believe in Science.  

Why liars lie: What Science tells us about deception

William Wan and Sarah Kaplan
The Washington Post 
August 24, 2018

We all do it sometimes, even though we know it’s wrong.

But here’s the problem with lying: Research shows that the more you lie, the easier it gets, and the more likely you are to do it again.

“The dangerous thing about lying is people don’t understand how the act changes us,” said Dan Ariely, behavioral psychologist at Duke.

Lying is in the news this week after President Trump's longtime lawyer testified that Trump had directed him to pay hush money to a porn star named Stormy Daniels just before the 2016 election. The courtroom admission not only implicated Trump in a crime, it also exposed months of denials by Trump and his aides as lies.
Sanders dodges question about Trump lying: 'That's a ridiculous accusation'
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said on Aug. 22 that, "the president did nothing wrong," and called questions about him lying "ridiculous." (Reuters)

Psychologists have documented children lying as early as age 2. Some experts even consider lying a developmental milestone, like crawling and walking, because it requires sophisticated planning, attention and the ability to see a situation from someone else’s perspective to effectively manipulate them. But for most people, lying gets limited as we develop a sense of morality and the ability to self-regulate.

A 2010 study on the prevalence of lying in America found that in a given 24-hour period, most adults reported not telling any lies. Almost half the lies recorded in the study could be attributed to just 5 percent of participants. And most people avoided lying when they could, turning to deception only when the truth was troublesome.

Harvard cognitive neuroscientist Joshua Greene said for most of us, lying takes work. In studies, he presented study subjects with a chance to deceive for monetary gain while examining their brains in a functional MRI machine, which maps blood flow to active parts of the brain.

Some people told the truth instantly and instinctively. But others opted to lie, and they showed increased activity in their frontal parietal control network, which is involved in difficult or complex thinking. This suggests that they were deciding between truth and dishonesty — and ultimately opting for the latter.

For a follow-up analysis, he found that people whose neural reward centers were more active when they won money were also more likely to be among the group of liars — suggesting that lying may have to do with the inability to resist temptation.

Scientists don’t really know what prevents all of us from lying all the time. Some believe truth-telling is a social norm we internalize, or a result of conflict in our brains between the things we want and the positive vision of ourselves we strive to maintain. But the curious thing about this preventive mechanism is that it comes from within.

“We are our own judges about our own honesty,” said Ariely, the Duke psychologist. “And that internal judge is what differentiates psychopaths and non-psychopaths.”

External conditions also matter in terms of when and how often we lie. We are more likely to lie, research shows, when we are able to rationalize it, when we are stressed and fatigued, or when we see others being dishonest. And we are less likely to lie when we have moral reminders or when we think others are watching.

“We as a society need to understand that when we don’t punish lying, we increase the probability it will happen again,” Ariely said.

In a 2016 study in the journal Nature Neuroscience, Ariely and colleagues showed how dishonesty alters people’s brains, making it easier to tell lies in the future. When people uttered a falsehood, the scientists noticed a burst of activity in their amygdala. The amygdala is a crucial part of the brain that produces fear, anxiety and emotional responses — including that sinking, guilty feeling you get when you lie.

But when scientists had their subjects play a game in which they won money by deceiving their partner, they noticed the negative signals from the amygdala began to decrease. Not only that, but when people faced no consequences for dishonesty, their falsehoods tended to get even more sensational.

“If you give people multiple opportunities to lie for their own benefit,” said Tali Sharot, a cognitive neuroscientist at University College London who led the research, “they start with little lies and get bigger and bigger over time.”

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