Is faith essential – even if you don’t believe in the supernatural?

Yuval Noah Harari’s book Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind covers an enormous range of topics in 400 plus pages. But one (of many) ideas that got me thinking is his claim that we all believe in things that aren’t objectively real. Money is a cultural myth. Take money. Why do we think a green piece of paperContinue reading “Is faith essential – even if you don’t believe in the supernatural?”

We are a tribal species. But it doesn’t have to be our downfall.

Us vs. them is human nature. Human rights, equality & democracy are the answers. – Us versus them is one of the most common themes in politics, history, sports, business, music – in human nature in general. But people also can be amazingly generous, compassionate, and cooperative. In the 1970s E.O. Wilson proposed sociobiology to explain this contradiction.Continue reading “We are a tribal species. But it doesn’t have to be our downfall.”

Lack of Diversity in Social Science Research

In college, friends majoring in biology told me I should switch majors because social science isn’t real science. It’s too subjective. Your personal biases will cloud the data. They had a point. But researchers from a wide array of backgrounds can question each other’s assumptions, which can mitigate personal bias somewhat. Over the past 50Continue reading “Lack of Diversity in Social Science Research”

Can A Moralistic Attitude Lead to Violence?

Sounds like a dumb question. Everyone knows that violent people are immoral. They lack empathy, are selfish, and some are even psychopaths. But what if the research doesn’t support these assumptions? Harvard professor Steven Pinker, giving a talk for the Economist, says we need less moralizing. He says that most murders happen for moralistic reasons:Continue reading “Can A Moralistic Attitude Lead to Violence?”