Very good analysis. I did find McWhorter's lack of definition for the word "religion" the weak point of his otherwise superbly written book. How is he a linguist and a proud atheist, but can't define what religion is?

Another thing about tribalism and religious beliefs is that the more detached from logical reasoning the belief is, the more the believer "proves" themselves. For example, a Christian that believes that the Earth is 6000 years old "proves" that the believer is a very dedicated Christian, compared to a Christian that believes in evolution. Someone who believes every interaction is filled with white supremacy is considered more of a "true believer" and thus affirms their status in the tribe. The more irrational the belief, the more status is given to them.

And as you've mentioned before, the whole "Believe All Women" edict fell apart when Tara Reade accused Joe Biden of sexual assault. People have an instinctive urge to set double standards depending on if someone is part of their ingroup or their outgroup.

This all makes sense from an evolutionary standpoint. Someone who chose "rationality" or "logic" over the beliefs of the tribe would have been a danger to the stability of the tribe. So humans evolved to prioritize tribal beliefs over objectivity as a result. Being loyal to a tribe and its beliefs is more important than being "right".

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Feb 16Liked by K. Liam Smith

Do you think part of what happened is that more of the public is aware that the the number of non latino African Americans murdered doubled between 2014 and 2021 to about 14 1/2 thousand? And there was also a massive increase in African Americans raped and violently assaulted between 2014 and 2021?

FYI, the CDC has just released 2021 homicide data and they have a lot of granular data on homicide that was not previously available.


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Mr. Mystal is a race baiting grifter who soils the pages of The Nation.

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