In August, 1832, my master attended as Methodist camp-meeting held in the Bay-side, Talbot county [Maryland], and there experienced religion. I indulged a faint hope that his conversion would lead him to emancipate his slaves, and that, if he did not do this, it would, at any rate, make him more kind and humane. I was disappointed in both these respects. It neither made him to be humane to his slaves, nor to emancipate them. If it had any effect on his character, it made him more cruel and hateful in all his ways; for I believe him to have been a much worse man after his conversion than before. Prior to his conversion, he relied upon his own depravity to shield and sustain him in his savage barbarity; but after his conversion, he found religious sanction and support for his slaveholding cruelty. – Frederick Douglass, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave
Another advantage I gained in my new master was, he made no pretensions to, or profession of, religion; and this, in my opinion, was truly a great advantage. I assert most unhesitatingly, that the religion of the south is a mere covering for the most appalling barbarity – a sanctifier for the most hateful frauds – and a dark shelter under, which the darkest, foulest, grossest, and most infernal deeds of slaveholding find the strongest protection. Were I to be again reduced to the chains of slavery, next to that enslavement, I should regard being the slave of a religious master the greatest calamity that could befall me.
I was startled to hear the sportscaster’s comments while athletes were preparing for their second jump: “Norway had a great first jump; he will be tense, hoping to protect his lead and will probably do worse” or “Sweden had a bad first jump and he knows he has nothing to lose and will be relaxed, which should help him to do better.” The commentator had obviously detected regression to the mean and had invented a causal story for which there was no evidence.
Anything that makes it easier for the associative machine to run smoothly will also bias beliefs. A reliable way to make people believe falsehoods is frequent repetition, because familiarity is not easily distinguished from truth.
The battle with Mr. Covey was the turning-point in my career as a slave. It rekindled the few expiring embers of freedom, and revived within me a sense of my own manhood. It recalled the departed self-confidence, and inspired me again with a determination to be free. The gratification afforded by the triumph was a full compensation for whatever else might follow, even death itself. He only can understand the deep satisfaction which I experienced, who has himself repelled by force the bloody arm of slavery. I felt as I never felt before. It was a glorious resurrection....
We were linked and interlinked with each other. I loved them with a love stronger than any thing I have experienced since. ... I believe we would have died for each other.Common experience, recognition of one another as human beings, and their shared desire for freedom for knowledge and freedom bound them to each other.