Baby Drug Addicts; Religion Does Not Breed Compassion

Discovered: Baby drug addicts, atheists can love their neighbors, too, these brand new lizard species are already dying, and humans are evolving. 

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Discovered: Baby drug addicts, atheists can love their neighbors, too, these brand new lizard species are already dying, and humans are evolving. 

  • America has a baby drug addict problem. We're talking newborns, too. Each hour every single day a baby is born already addicted to opiates. That number has tripled since 2000, which correlates to the increase in sales for pain killers like OxyContin and Vicodin, which have quadrupled. And not only do these kids come into this world already addicted to something they didn't even get to enjoy, their very first experience as a human being is withdrawal. "You can often stand in the hallway and know which babies are experiencing withdrawal. They are irritable, their cries are different, and they appear uncomfortable," explains researcher Stephen W. Patrick. That doesn't seem very fair. [University of Michigan Health System]
  • The super religious are not super compassionate. That seems like the opposition of what it should be, right? Turns out atheists aren't heathens, after all. In fact, the less religious a person, the more motivated this ungodly human by compassion. "Overall, we find that for less religious people, the strength of their emotional connection to another person is critical to whether they will help that person or not," explains researcher Robb Willer. "The more religious, on the other hand, may ground their generosity less in emotion, and more in other factors such as doctrine, a communal identity, or reputational concerns." Basically, science has proven that people do not need religion to "love thy neighbor." Also, it means you can trust atheists now. "Overall, this research suggests that although less religious people tend to be less trusted in the U.S., when feeling compassionate, they may actually be more inclined to help their fellow citizens than more religious people," added Willer. [Social Psychology and Personality Science]
  • These brand new lizard species are about to die off. Just when we thought the world got a brand new animal to artificially inseminate, science goes ahead and tells us these creatures are dying out. After discovering 24 new species of lizard in the Caribbean, science says over half of them already may be extinct or are close to extinction. In this sad story, we have a villain to blame other than humans, the usual culprit for this type of mass animal death. "The mongoose is the predator we believe is responsible for many of the species' close-to-extinction status in the Caribbean," explains researcher Blair Hedges. But actually the Mongoose is only over in these parts because humans brought them here to control rats. So, humans, we've done it again! [Penn State]
  • Humans are evolving. It's kind of obvious, but when you really think about it, from the people we sleep with, to what we eat, humanity's actions are motivated by evolution. "We have shown significant selection has been taking place in very recent populations, and likely still occurs, so humans continue to be affected by both natural and sexual selection," explains researcher Dr Virpi Lummaa. But, as the world has evolved to include less nature, and more other stuff, so have evolution. "Although the specific pressures, the factors making some individuals able to survive better, or have better success at finding partners and produce more kids, have changed across time and differ in different populations," adds Dr. Lummaa. [University of Sheffield]

Image via Shutterstock by Angela Waye.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.