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Tag Archives: ethics
God didn’t prevent the Holocaust, but we would have. And God didn’t prevent the 2004 Christmas tsunami that killed over 100,000 people, but we would have. And Nature doesn’t care if death is the engine of evolution, but we do. … Continue reading
Breeding for Intelligence? A Google Employee Asks the Question to Researcher Stephen Hsu of the Beijing Genomics Institute
In the below Google Tech Talk, Stephen Hsu talks to Google employees about the search for the genes behind intelligence (and seeks to recruit them into an ongoing study being conducted at the Beijing Genomics Institute). I shit you not. … Continue reading
The reason I still like Jesus, though I’m an agnostic, is because Jesus was a victim, not a victimizer, and so proved a trailblazer to three key moral insights: (1) respect of conscience (Jesus called people to his cause, but … Continue reading
Most people believe in God and are even prepared to declare very particular beliefs concerning him: he knows your future; has written a holy book; disapproves of shrimp eating, etc. And God almost always swings a ding (is a dude). In … Continue reading
Why Read Literature or Watch Good Films? Martha Nussbaum on the Role of the Imagination in the Cultivation of Empathy
Here’s a great quote from Martha Nussbaum’s new book, From Disgust to Humanity: Sexual Orientation and Constitutional Law (Oxford 2010, xvii): That ‘terrified’ gay teenager needs, and deserves, equal respect, and a sphere of liberty equal to that enjoyed by … Continue reading
Sam Harris has of late generated a lot of public discussion by reopening this can of worms: In the realm of values, is Hume right that no “is” should be governing our “oughts”? Put another way: Can science ever really arbitrate a human moral question? If science, for … Continue reading
Nietzsche’s Revenge: PZ Myers v. Sam Harris on whether science can assist a person in deriving an “ought” from an “is”
PZ Myers, backing the physicist Sean Carroll in the argument, says no: Sam Harris recently and infamously proposed that, contra Hume, you can derive an ‘ought’ from an ‘is’, and that science can therefore provide reasonable guidance towards a moral … Continue reading
I thought this was an excellent answer. It came from a recent interview at The Freethinker: It is actually very easy to identify and to act upon the moral baselines. Moral baselines derive from our understanding of what it is … Continue reading
I think that Richard Rorty is right about this, but it’s a bit jarring to read it stated so directly and matter-of-factly. The quote comes from Rorty’s essay, “Kant vs. Dewey” (in the last collection of his papers, Philosophy as Cultural … Continue reading
Darwinian eugenics is making a serious comeback. We better start thinking about it again—hard. Here’s a reminder of how all that went the first time around:
Julian Savulescu has a new term for eugenics: procreative beneficience. And according to Oxford Today: The University Magazine, eugenics—I mean procreative beneficience—may be making a comeback in academic circles: ‘There is a significant chance that my own children will live beyond … Continue reading
Was the following said by Ralph Waldo Emerson, Charles Darwin, or Hitler: Power is in nature the essential measure of right. Nature suffers nothing to remain in her kingdoms which cannot help itself. Answer: Ralph Waldo Emerson in “Self Reliance” … Continue reading
Big News from the NY Times: Neanderthal Genome Recovered, and George Church of HARVARD is Quoted as Saying a Neanderthal Can Now Be Brought Back to Life, with Current Technology, for about 30 Million Dollars!
This is stunning. The NY Times today: Possessing the Neanderthal genome raises the possibility of bringing Neanderthals back to life. Dr. George Church, a leading genome researcher at the Harvard Medical School, said Thursday that a Neanderthal could be brought … Continue reading
Where do the ethical sensibilities and VALUES of scientists, in doing their work, come from? In other words, why do scientists (for example) value such things as VIGOROUS DEBATE and SEEKING OUT CONTRARY LINES OF EVIDENCE? In a science essay in the NY Times … Continue reading
There is an anecdote associated with the philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre that goes something like this: During the occupation of France by the Nazis, a young man encounters Sartre along a road and asks him, “Should I join the resistance movement … Continue reading