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morality

eSkeptic for eSkeptic for April 29, 2015

Historically, the arc of the moral universe has been bending toward justice because we have stopped treating people based on who they are by nature, such as gender, race, and most recently by sexual preference. The recent legal imbroglio over the right of businesses in Indiana and other states to refuse service to people based on their sexual preference (gay versus straight) illuminates how quickly this rights revolution is unfolding.

eSkeptic for eSkeptic for April 8, 2015

Marc Hauser and Michael Shermer dialogue about the problem of whether science can help determine moral values.

eSkeptic for 15-02-25

Hang out with Lawrence Krauss at the Skeptics Society’s conference, May 29–31, 2015; On The Moral Arc Blog: “Why Islam?” by Michael Shermer; The Daily Beast’s Jake Whitney Reviews The Moral Arc; “Poes, Trolls, and Dinosaur Deniers,” by Donald Prothero; “Gotcha! Thinking About Skeptical ‘Stings’,” by Daniel Loxton; “Considering a Complaint About Skeptical Tactics,” by Daniel Loxton; io9 interviews Daniel Loxton

Past Lecture
The Moral Arc: How Science Leads Humanity Toward Truth, Justice, and Freedom

In this provocative and compelling talk—that includes brief histories of freedom rights, women’s rights, gay rights, and animal rights, along with considerations of the nature of evil and moral regress—Shermer explains how scientific ways of thinking have moved us ever closer to a more just world.

Past Lecture
The Moral Molecule: The Source of Love and Prosperity

A revolution in the scientific study of good and evil, Dr. Paul Zak’s lecture, based on his book, The Moral Molecule, answers such questions as: Why do some people give freely while others are cold hearted? Why do some people cheat and steal while others you can trust with your life? Why are some husbands more faithful than others—and why do women tend to be more generous than men? Could the key to moral behavior lie with a single molecule?

Past Lecture
Moral Origins: The Evolution of Virtue,
Altruism, and Shame

If the human instinct to survive and reproduce is selfish, why do people engage in self-sacrifice, and even develop ideas like virtue and shame to justify that altruism? In this lecture, Christopher Boehm offers an elegant new theory that traces the development of altruism and group social control over 6 million years.

eSkeptic for 11-06-08

Into the trenches of a rousing, blood-flecked battle in the ongoing war between good science and bad science, a new book reminds us that the stakes of the game have always been nothing less than life and death. In this week’s eSkeptic, Stephen Beckner reviews Douglas Starr’s new book, The Killer of Little Shepherds: A True Crime Story and the Birth of Forensic Science.

Past Lecture
Braintrust: What Neuroscience Tells Us about Morality

WHAT IS MORALITY AND WHERE DOES IT COME FROM? Neurophilosopher Patricia Churchland argues that morality originates in the biology of the brain: Moral values are rooted in family values displayed by all mammals — the caring for offspring. The evolved structure, processes, and chemistry of the brain incline humans to strive not only for self-preservation but for the well-being of allied selves — first offspring, then mates, kin, and so on, in wider and wider “caring” circles.

Reading Room
Religious Belief & Societal Health:
New Study Reveals that Religion
Does Not Lead to a Healthier Society

In this article, we report the results of a study examining the relationship between a nation’s religiosity and its “moral health.” The received wisdom would lead one to predict a positive correlation between national religiosity and national moral health — as one goes up the other goes up. In fact, that appears not to be the case, and the example of the United States is most striking; Americans are among the most religious people in the Western world, and yet we have among the highest rates of homicide, abortion, and teen pregnancies. To the extent that these measures are related to something that might be called “national moral health,” the intuitive thesis that links religiosity to morality would seem to be gainsaid.

eSkeptic for 11-02-02

In this week’s eSkeptic Massimo Pigliucci reviews Sam Harris’ latest book The Moral Landscape: How Science Can Determine Human Values.

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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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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. The lectures each range from 32 to 45 minutes.

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Top 10 Myths of Terrorism

Is Terrorism an Existential Threat?

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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 why do they tend to proliferate? Why does belief in one conspiracy correlate to belief in others? What are the triggers of belief, and how does group identity factor into it? How can one tell the difference between a true conspiracy and a false one?

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Do you know someone who has had a mind altering experience? If so, you know how compelling they can be. They 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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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
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Psychic readings and fortunetelling are an ancient art — a combination of acting and psychological manipulation.

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