2020/02/23: Trump, Evangelicals, and Their Moral Compass

We nonbelievers are often questioned about our “moral compass,” yet the vilest immoral acts committed by our President are somehow perfectly acceptable to his conservative white Evangelical base. How is his behavior OK with them? Some say conservatives value loyalty over fairness; others say it’s the “abortion bargain”— that anything is OK as long as Trump stacks the Supreme Court with anti-abortion justices.

Sacramento State University philosophy professor Matt McCormick will analyze cognitive biases, fallacies, motivated reasoning, confirmation bias, and the epistemology of conspiracy theories, with special attention to how these problems have manifested in our political environment during the Trump era. Reasoning mistakes are not confined to the Republican side of the political spectrum. Liberals are not inherently better reasoners or less biased than conservatives. But there are some psychological features of people on the right that make them susceptible to the manipulations that have contributed to the rise of Trump.

Dr. McCormick has worked extensively on atheism, the philosophy of religion, and critical reasoning for decades. His published works include Atheism and the Case Against Christ (Prometheus Press 2013), and many articles on atheism, disproofs of God’s existence, and the epistemology of religious belief. More recently, he has been teaching inductive logic, critical reasoning, and exploring the philosophy of artificial intelligence. His YouTube channel includes his Philosophy of Religion course and many other lectures, and in his blog, he discusses a wide range of issues related to atheism, belief in God, and artificial intelligence (see ProvingTheNegative.com). He wrote an entry on atheism for the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy and is an amateur robot builder/hacker with a fully functioning, screen accurate R2D2.


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