The science of good and evil. The Science of Good and Evil: Excerpt » Michael Shermer 2022-11-17

The science of good and evil Rating: 9,8/10 528 reviews

The concept of good and evil has been a subject of philosophical and religious discourse for centuries. At its core, the question of good and evil is concerned with determining what actions and behaviors are morally right or wrong. While different societies and cultures may have varying definitions of what is good or evil, there is also a scientific basis for understanding these concepts.

One approach to understanding good and evil from a scientific perspective is through the study of moral psychology. This field seeks to understand how we make moral judgments and how our moral values influence our behavior. Research in moral psychology has identified several factors that contribute to our sense of moral responsibility and our evaluations of good and evil. These include our emotions, our social and cultural context, and the ways in which we process and evaluate information.

One key aspect of moral psychology is the role of emotions in our moral judgments. Emotions, such as empathy and compassion, can lead us to act in ways that are seen as good, while negative emotions, such as anger and resentment, can lead us to act in ways that are seen as evil. In this sense, good and evil can be seen as the products of our emotional responses to different situations.

Our social and cultural context also plays a significant role in shaping our moral values and understanding of good and evil. The values and beliefs of the groups and communities to which we belong can influence our moral judgments and actions. For example, in some cultures, certain actions, such as lying or stealing, may be seen as morally wrong, while in other cultures, these same actions may be seen as acceptable or even necessary.

Another important factor in our moral judgments is the way in which we process and evaluate information. Our brains are designed to quickly and efficiently process information, and this can lead us to make judgments that may not always be completely rational or objective. For example, we may be more likely to view an action as good or evil based on our initial emotional response to it, rather than considering all of the relevant facts and circumstances.

In conclusion, the science of good and evil is a complex and multifaceted field that encompasses a wide range of factors, including our emotions, social and cultural context, and the way in which we process and evaluate information. Understanding these factors can help us to better understand and navigate the moral complexities of the world in which we live.

The Science of Good and Evil » Michael Shermer

the science of good and evil

But few people say they would kill a healthy man in order to distribute his organs to five patients who will otherwise die, even though the logic—kill one, save five—is identical: a region in our emotional brain rebels at the act of directly and actively taking a man's life, something that feels immeasurably worse than the impersonal act of throwing a switch in an air duct. And the final "in general" is that people's ethical decision making is strongly driven by gut emotions rather than by rational, analytic thought. As long as religion does not make quasi-scientific claims about the factual nature of the world, then there is no conflict between science and religion. Unfortunately, in complex human and social issues, separating fact from opinion is not so easy, and for no subject is this more apparent than morality and ethics. Some participants did balk at following the command to torture their partner.

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[The Science of Good and Evil]

the science of good and evil

We live in the Age of Science, and Scientism is our mythology. Although explanations for this remarkable trend are as varied and complex as the theorists proffering them, a general causal vector can be found in the second purpose of religion, that is, its social mode. Since differential reproductive success is the ultimate product of natural selection, and natural selection is the primary driving force behind evolution, we have reached an ultimate level of causal thinking in trying to answer these questions. The first half of this book deals primarily with morality, the second half with ethics. The framework of a moral landscape guarantees that many people will have flawed conceptions of morality, just as many people have flawed conceptions of physics.

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The Science of Good and Evil

the science of good and evil

Under the belief that I can choose my own goods and evils, nobody can tell me that this is wrong, and therefore I could not be punished under a law because law would only be relative. De Waal once saw a chimpanzee pick up an injured starling, climb the highest tree in her enclosure, carefully unfold the bird's wings and loft it toward the fence to get it airborne. Read an Excerpt From The Science of Good and Evil: Examples of pre-moral sentiments among animals abound. Shermer is also the producer and co-host of the 13-hour Fox Family television series Exploring the Unknown. To date, the prayer and healing studies have all proved either nonsignificant or significant but harboring deep methodological flaws.

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The Science of Good and Evil: Excerpt » Michael Shermer

the science of good and evil

The British naturalist and evolutionary theorist Charles Darwin, in a letter to his friend Henry Fawcett, dated September 18, 1861, responded to an accusation made against him in a meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science. The divorce rate for born-again Christians was 27 percent, according to Barna, while the rate was only 24 percent for non-Christians. That may be because altruism and its cousin, generosity, seem to reflect less who you are than what you see. The Science of Good and Evil is ultimately a profound look at the moral animal, belief, and the scientific pursuit of truth. It is a word many people use to delude themselves. If there is no outside source to validate moral principles, does anything go? The Science of Good and Evil picks up where How We Believe left off. Need is has two meanings.


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‎The Science of Good and Evil on Apple Books

the science of good and evil

In fulfilling the first purpose, myths explicate the origin and nature of the world and life, and have been, for the most part, displaced by science. For a group of people there would be considerable problem with the initial agreement. Can we be good without God? Although our species is arguably the most complex on earth at least in terms of brain and behavior, especially as expressed in social systems , we are nonetheless animals, and as such we are not exempt from the forces of evolution. It urges us to stand firm in the face of irrationality and intellectual lethargy as we reason and empathize our way through crises, great and small, judging them individually according to their particular challenges. And then she faced the prospect of petting a tarantula. October 2, 2010 SUBSCRIBE TO THE MAKING SENSE PODCAST. Evolutionary ethics is a sub-division of a larger science called evolutionary psychology, which attempts a scientific study of all social and psychological human behavior.

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Saints and Sinners: The Science of Good and Evil

the science of good and evil

Both philosophy and science provide viable solutions. The specific choices are based on the individuals experience with consequences. Once a fundamentalist Christian, Shermer now describes himself as an agnostic nontheist and an advocate for humanist philosophy. Some cultures will tend to produce lives that are more worth living than others; some political persuasions will be more enlightened than others; and some worldviews will be mistaken in ways that cause needless human misery. They go out at night in hoards seeking large sleeping mammals from which they can suck blood. As one of them, World War II veteran Joseph Dimow, recalled decades later, "I refused to go any further.

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Sam Harris

the science of good and evil

Moral principles require moral reasoning. Explanations of the origin and nature of the world and life are not final truths passed down through generations by Mendicant monks preserving the knowledge and wisdom of the ancients; instead, they are always provisional and ever changing, and are best couched in empirical evidence, experimental testing, and logical reasoning. It defines religion as a social institution, one that evolved as an integral mechanism of human culture to create and promote myths, to encourage altruism and cooperation, to discourage selfishness and competitiveness, and to reveal the level of commitment to cooperate and reciprocate among members of a community. They do not explain why a Tibetan monk who had been incarcerated for years by the Chinese said in a story the Dalai Lama is fond of telling that his greatest fear during captivity was that he would lose his compassion for the prison guards who tortured him. I define morality as right and wrong thoughts and behaviors in the context of the rules of a social group. Nothing is truly good nor evil, it depends on the perception of the individual. That is, this book tackles two deep and essential problems: 1 The origins of morality and 2 the foundations of ethics.

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The Science of Good and Evil: Why People Cheat, Gossip, Care, Share, and Follow the Golden Rule by Michael Shermer

the science of good and evil

Drawing from history, anthropology, science, and common sense in the finest tradition of intellectual eclecticism, Shermer adeptly demonstrates that ethics originate from neither gods nor religion, but rather from the same source as humanity itself—evolution. If we will only allow that, as we progress, we remain unsure, we will leave opportunities for alternatives. But in these cases, whether you are likely to be forgiving or vengeful, compassionate or cold, may depend less on having a role model and more on emotion. Is there justice in the world beyond the social order? But this split between facts and values is an illusion. Shermer is familiar with Ponerology.


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The Science of Good and Evil: Why People Cheat, Gossip, Care, Share, and ...

the science of good and evil

For example, we kill someone for life insurance money. Moral and Religious Universals as a Subset of Human Universals, supplements Chapter 2 in providing additional evidence of the evolutionary nature of our moral behavior in the form of human universals related to religion and morality. Is economics a true science yet? While antisocial types including monotheistic fundamentalists would surely benefit from serious consideration of these principles, much as they would from the reigning king of moral banalities, the Golden Rule, I think such standards are mostly intuitive for readers of this review. Do bad people ultimately get away with doing bad things if there is no final judgment? Sulloway and I on why people are moral. Psychological and social behavior — including and especially moral behavior — is another genera of problem altogether. What is surprising is how little attention science has paid to the dissenters in Milgram's experiments.

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