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Distinguished Science Lecture Series Archives

The Bridge to Humanity: How Affect Hunger Trumps the Selfish Gene

Walter Goldschmidt

Anthropologist Walter Goldschmidt argues that culture is the product of deep biological mechanisms that came into being by an evolutionary process. Central to Dr. Goldschmidt’s thesis is the recognition of the separate evolutionary origin of what we call love: sexual and nurturant. These ancient heritages demand very different forms of behavior; one essentially competitive and the other concerned with mutuality. Underlying nurturance is the phenomenon of “affect hunger,” an urge to seek the affection that is needed for the proper development of the neurological system in humans and other social mammals. Goldschmidt shows that affect hunger not only provides a reward system for learning language and other cultural information, but also remains a motive for social behavior throughout life.

Dr. Goldschmidt is Professor Emeritus at UCLA in both Anthropology and Psychiatry. He is the author of The Human Career, Exploring the Ways of Mankind, As You Sow, The Sebei, and Comparative Functionalism. He has served as editor of American Anthropologist, Ethos, Journal for the Society of Psychological Anthropology, and was president of the American Anthropological Association.

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Detecting Baloney

Baloney Detection Kit Sandwich (Infographic) by Deanna and Skylar (High Tech High Media Arts, San Diego, CA)

The Baloney Detection Kit Sandwich (Infographic)

For a class project, a pair of 11th grade physics students created the infographic shown below, inspired by Michael Shermer’s Baloney Detection Kit: a 16-page booklet designed to hone your critical thinking skills.

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Wisdom of Harriet Hall

Top 10 Things to Know About Alternative Medicine

Harriet Hall M.D. discusses: alternative versus conventional medicine, flu fear mongering, chiropractic, vaccines and autism, placebo effect, diet, homeopathy, acupuncture, “natural remedies,” and detoxification.

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Science Based Medicine vs. Alternative Medicine

Science Based Medicine vs. Alternative Medicine

Understanding the difference could save your life! In this superb 10-part video lecture series, Harriet Hall M.D., contrasts science-based medicine with so-called “complementary and alternative” methods.

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The Top 10 Weirdest Things

The Top Ten Strangest Beliefs

Michael Shermer has compiled a list of the top 10 strangest beliefs that he has encountered in his quarter century as a professional skeptic.

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Reality Check: How Science Deniers Threaten Our Future (paperback cover)

Who believes them? Why? How can you tell if they’re true?

What is a conspiracy theory, why do people believe in them, and can you tell the difference between a true conspiracy and a false one?

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The Science Behind Why People See Ghosts

The Science Behind Why People See Ghosts

Mind altering experiences are one of the foundations of widespread belief in the paranormal. But as skeptics are well aware, accepting them as reality can be dangerous…

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Top 10 Myths About Evolution

Top 10 Myths About Evolution (and how we know it really happened)

If humans came from apes, why aren’t apes evolving into humans? Find out in this pamphlet!

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Learn to be a Psychic in 10 Easy Lessons

Learn to do Psychic “Cold Reading” in 10
Easy Lessons

Psychic readings and fortunetelling are an ancient art — a combination of acting and psychological manipulation.

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