Questions of good and evil, right and wrong are commonly thought unanswerable by science. But Sam Harris argues that science can — and should — be an authority on moral issues, shaping human values and setting out what constitutes a good life.
We are more concerned about the well being of our counterparts because we believe we are exposed to a wider breadth of happiness and sadness than less intelligent biological creatures, which may not be capable of interpreting such things.
Culture changes us by changing our brain. Therefore, these changes can be understood through neuroscience.
There are 21 states where corporal punishment is still legal in the classroom.
“Well-being” can be objectively defined. Because we haven’t clearly defined it does not mean it can’t be clearly defined – for example, the difference between a person who alive and dead is clear as day.
It seems unlikely that science could ever answer the question to things like “it’s not good to lie”. However, in chess, it is recommended to “not lose your queen”. However, in a game so mathematical as chess, it is still sometimes fundamentally correct to lose your queen.
We do something different when we talk about morality. When we talk about morality, we value differences of opinion more than other areas. However, when we look at Dali Lama vs. Ted Bundy, the differences seem like chocolate vs. vanilla.
How have we convinced ourselves that in the moral sphere there is no such thing as moral expertise? How have we convinced ourselves that every opinion has to count? How is the Taliban’s ignorance any more obvious in the domain of human well being?
It is possible for entire cultures to have needs and beliefs that are wrong and misguided when considering human well being.
Just admitting that this is possible will transform our ideas of morality.
We can no more respect and tolerate vast differences in notions of human well being. We simply must converge on the answers we give to the most important questions of human life. To do that, we must admit these questions have answers.
Women say they like wearing burkahs and it reigns in male lust and the like. What would your response be to this? He responds – What is voluntary in a context where men have certain expectations, and if the women don’t do it, they are punished? Would they really want to wear that in 120 degree heat? If it’s voluntary then we can really talk about it.
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A new way to think about creativity Elizabeth Gilbert: A new way to think about creativity
What is about creative ventures that makes us extremely worried about the creator’s mental health? “Are you afraid of failure?”
Teach every child about food
2/3rds of America is statistically obese. We spend our life worried about homicide but it is such a minor part of why we die (other than natural causes) in the United States.
Obesity costs us ...
Are we in control of our decisions? Dan Ariely asks, Are we in control of our decisions?
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