Is Religion Good or   Bad for Society?Oct. 9, 2012Presented by:Tim Zebo, PhD EEhttp://www.slideshare.net/jerseyguyhttp://w...
Which Religion? Which Society?                  22 Major “Religions”!                  22 Major “Religions”!              ...
Informal Survey of 9 Friends          What’s Good? What’s Bad?     Good for Society?     Good for Society?                ...
Paleontologist Gregory Paul          “Why Does Religion Persist?”                                                   2005: ...
Gregory Paul’s Insight -1“22 Major Religions?”=>Measure “Religiosity”   ISSP: 1998   ISSP: 1998                   Nine Mea...
Gregory Paul’s Insight - 2“Religion’s Benefits?”=>Measure “Success”          25 “Successful Society” Indicators    ••Homic...
Gregory Paul’s Insight-3 “Which Society?”   17, Prosperous, 1st World Democracies          Western Europe          Western...
Surprise          http://aspiritualbrain.com/2009/03/page/5/10/9/12                                                tjz-8
Religiosity vs Successful Societies Scale                                                      Successful Societies Scale ...
U.S.A. Poverty & Importance of Religion                http://datacenter.kidscount.org/   http://religions.pewforum.org/ma...
Gregory Paul’s Conclusion   ••4/10/10, Essay: Why Belief in God is Not Innate      4/10/10, Essay: Why Belief in God is No...
Religion’s past “Goods?” or “Bads?”       Religion’s past “Goods?” or “Bads?”      Who Cares! History can’t be changed!   ...
Lester Brown’s Plan B 4.0                   http://www.earthpolicy.org/10/9/12                                          tj...
A Civilization in Trouble• World is facing huge social and  environmental problems    – Rapid population growth, rampant p...
Lester Brown’s Plan B:                    What’s Our Future?                              Mostly in Poor &                ...
Plan B to Save Civilization: Four Goals   1. Stabilize Population   2. Eradicate Poverty   3. Restore the Earth’s Natural ...
Will Religion Help or Hinder?      Good for Society      Good for Society                                 Bad for Society ...
Will Religion Help or Hinder?                                                                                             ...
Will Religion Help or Hinder?Lester Brown’s Plan B 4.0 : Four Goals1. Stabilize Population2. Eradicate Poverty3. Restore t...
Will Religion Help or Hinder?        Teaching & Promoting Science - 1“Perhaps deception, even more than violence, is the c...
Will Religion Help or Hinder?       Teaching & Promoting Science - 2                                     U.S. House of Rep...
Will Religion Help or Hinder? Lester Brown’s Plan B 4.0 : Four Goals 1. Stabilize Population 2. Eradicate Poverty 3. Resto...
Action Anyone?          Image: http://www.speedwaybikes.com/tracks/actionpark2008.htm10/9/12                              ...
How Can We Individually Help?          Take Action to Support…•   Reproductive Health Care and Family Planning:     – Inte...
How Can We as a Community Help? Apply Critical Thinking & “The Science of Morality” to      Social Justice & Human Rights ...
Harris’ “Moral Landscape” is a 3D Map of         Outcomes of “Human Flourishing”      Terrific Lives                   Bad...
How to Discover What’s Moral (terrific peaks)?   “Philosophy is not enough” – Sam Harris UTILITARIANISM    LIBERTARIANISM ...
The Moral Landscape on Religion                 Chapter 4 Notes                 Chapter 4 Notes••“Religion brings benefits...
The Moral Landscape: Science vs Religion          World Sciences                      World Religions Contradictions in th...
The Moral Landscape: “Introduction”          ?          ? “Human flourishing depends on the brainstates of conscious creat...
The Moral Landscape: “Moral Truth”      “In theory, moral truth can be measured”      “In theory, moral truth can be measu...
Googleplex: A Human Flourishing Testbed?   (Google takes employee brain states seriously!)     Google Rule #1: “Food must ...
“Homework”: Watch Two Terrific Videos                                                           Greta Christina asks, "Why...
Let’s Dialog
Dialog Topics: Implementing Social justice,    Human Rights & Human Flourishing1. What is the complete set of dimensions f...
Reference Slides
Judgments of Facts & Values           Facts: the way things are            - “This DVD weighs .5 ounces”           Value...
Chapter 5: “The Future of Happiness”          Chapter Text          Chapter Text •• Hard problem: well-being &     Hard pr...
Comments by Steven Pinker Harvard Philosopher; Author, “How the Mind Works”              Agrees              Agrees       ...
Lawrence KraussPhysicist, The Origins Project, Author, “Quantum Man:          Richard Feynman’s Life in Science”          ...
Simon Blackburn, Bertrand Russell Professor ofPhilosophy at Cambridge, Author, “How to Read Hume”:             Moral Lands...
Religiosity: 17 Countries          “Absolutely Believe in God”                                           “Test of the West...
Religiosity: 16* Countries    “Absolutely Believe in Life After Death”                                          “Test of t...
Religiosity: 17 Countries  Accept “Humans Evolved from Animals”                                               “Test of the...
Successful Societies: 4 Countries                    6 Indicators                                                         ...
2009 Pew Research U.S. Survey     “Accept Humans Evolved from Animals”              http://pewresearch.org/pubs/1105/darwi...
Will Religion Help or Hinder?             Teaching & Promoting Science   • Stories from October 2008 meeting of 60 U.S.   ...
Tools for Critical Thinking - 110/9/12           http://confront.intel-research.net/Dispute_Finder.html                   ...
Tools for Critical Thinking - 2     Understanding Claims that Defy Science and Reason  “Nun healed after a                ...
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Is Religion Good or Bad for Society?

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Some folks say, “Of course, religion’s good for society – it fosters a strong sense of community, feeds the hungry, houses the homeless and promotes the moral education of our children.” Others say, “Are you kidding? Religion deceives people about the true nature of reality, inspires sectarian violence, teaches dangerous and misleading sex education, and causes endless cultural disputes over abortion, gay marriage and stem cell research - of course, it's bad for society.” Drawing on recent social science research by Gregory Paul, and the “Plan B” Initiative by Lester Brown, this talk suggests a fresh approach to answering this question.

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  • The 'Good for Society' list seems to assume some moderate Methodist. Most religions work to increase poverty by telling people birth control is sinful. Only a handful of sects teach respect for the environment. And people already have sports to do on Sunday.

    The 'Bad for Society' side again assumes fo Western Christian religion. It doesn't mention Sharia, honor killings, homophobia, killing witches, sacrificing animals,...
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  • It's telling that the map of the world's religion has an inset showing that non-believers are 16% of the population, more numerous than Hindus and Jews. Yet on the map there is not a single country shown as non-believing. Countries like France, German, Sweden, and the U.K. where non-believers are almost certainly the plurality are shown as 'protestant' or 'catholic'.
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Is Religion Good or Bad for Society?

  1. 1. Is Religion Good or Bad for Society?Oct. 9, 2012Presented by:Tim Zebo, PhD EEhttp://www.slideshare.net/jerseyguyhttp://www.facebook.com/tim.zebotzebo@usa.net Image: http://www.earthzine.org/2008/04/29/noctilucent-cloud /
  2. 2. Which Religion? Which Society? 22 Major “Religions”! 22 Major “Religions”! 200 Countries! 200 Countries! http://www.adherents.com10/9/12 tjz-2
  3. 3. Informal Survey of 9 Friends What’s Good? What’s Bad? Good for Society? Good for Society? Bad for Society? Bad for Society? •• Gives desperate people hope Gives desperate people hope •• Preaching hope prevents change Preaching hope prevents change •• Makes dying easier Makes dying easier •• Creates fear of dying Creates fear of dying •• Offers a sense of community Offers a sense of community •• Creates us vs. them mentality Creates us vs. them mentality •• Instills an ethical code Instills an ethical code •• Makes for benighted brains Makes for benighted brains •• Promotes love thy neighbor Promotes love thy neighbor •• Promotes bad public policy Promotes bad public policy •• Offers “comforting” tools Offers “comforting” tools •• Promotes patriarchal hierarchy Promotes patriarchal hierarchy (pray for help when afraid) (pray for help when afraid) •• Oppresses women Oppresses women •• Works to eliminate poverty Works to eliminate poverty •• Deceives people about our Deceives people about our Feeds the hungry Feeds the hungry relationship to the natural world relationship to the natural world •• Houses the homeless Houses the homeless •• Fosters endless culture wars: Fosters endless culture wars: •• Encourages respect for Encourages respect for abortion, gay marriage, stem cells abortion, gay marriage, stem cells environment environment •• Teaches dangerous, misleading Teaches dangerous, misleading •• Gives people something to do Gives people something to do and wasteful sex education and wasteful sex education on Sunday on Sunday •• Inspires violence around the world Inspires violence around the world •• Gets people up early on Sunday Gets people up early on Sunday10/9/12 tjz-3
  4. 4. Paleontologist Gregory Paul “Why Does Religion Persist?” 2005: Cross-National Correlations of 2005: Cross-National Correlations of Quantifiable Societal Health with Quantifiable Societal Health with Popular Religiosity and Secularism in Popular Religiosity and Secularism in the Prosperous Democracies the Prosperous Democracies 2008: The Big Religion Questions 2008: The Big Religion Questions Finally Solved Finally Solved 2009: Theodicy’s Problem: A 2009: Theodicy’s Problem: A Philosophy & Theology Philosophy & Theology Statistical Look at the Holocaust of the Statistical Look at the Holocaust of the (published bi-annually by (published bi-annually by Children and the Implications of Children and the Implications of Marquette University) Marquette University) Natural Evil For the Free Will and Best Natural Evil For the Free Will and Best of All Possible Worlds Hypotheses of All Possible Worlds Hypotheses 2009: The Chronic Dependence of 2009: The Chronic Dependence of Popular Religiosity upon Popular Religiosity upon Dysfunctional Psychosociological Dysfunctional Psychosociological Conditions Conditions http://www.gspaulscienceofreligion.com/index.htm l10/9/12 tjz-4
  5. 5. Gregory Paul’s Insight -1“22 Major Religions?”=>Measure “Religiosity” ISSP: 1998 ISSP: 1998 Nine Measures of “Religiosity” Nine Measures of “Religiosity” •• International International ••Belief in God Belief in God Social Survey Social Survey ••Regular prayer Regular prayer Program (ISSP) Program (ISSP) •• 45 Countries 45 Countries ••Belief in the literal truth of Bible Belief in the literal truth of Bible •• 800 million 800 million ••Regularly attend religious services Regularly attend religious services people people •• 35 Questions 35 Questions •• 1000-2800 1000-2800 ••Belief in life after death Belief in life after death responses/ responses/ ••Belief in heaven Belief in heaven country country ••Belief in hell Belief in hell Evolution Evolution •• Pew Pew ••Agnostic or Atheist Agnostic or Atheist •• Eurobarometer Eurobarometer ••Accept evolution Accept evolution10/9/12 http://www.epjournal.net/filestore/EP073984414.pdf tjz-5
  6. 6. Gregory Paul’s Insight - 2“Religion’s Benefits?”=>Measure “Success” 25 “Successful Society” Indicators ••Homicides Homicides ••Marriages Marriages ••Incarceration Incarceration ••Marriage duration Marriage duration ••Suicides: ages 15-24 Suicides: ages 15-24 ••Divorces Divorces ••Suicides: all ages Suicides: all ages ••Alcohol consumption Alcohol consumption ••Under age 5 mortality Under age 5 mortality ••Life satisfaction Life satisfaction ••Lifespan Lifespan ••Corruption Corruption ••Gonorrhea: ages15-19 Gonorrhea: ages15-19 ••Per capita income Per capita income ••Gonorrhea: all ages Gonorrhea: all ages ••Income inequality Income inequality ••Syphilis: ages 15-19 Syphilis: ages 15-19 ••Poverty index Poverty index ••Syphilis: all ages Syphilis: all ages ••Employment levels Employment levels ••Abortions: ages 15-19 Abortions: ages 15-19 ••Average hours worked Average hours worked ••Births: ages 15-17 Births: ages 15-17 ••Resource exploitation Resource exploitation ••Fertility Fertility10/9/12 http://www.epjournal.net/filestore/EP073984414.pdf tjz-6
  7. 7. Gregory Paul’s Insight-3 “Which Society?” 17, Prosperous, 1st World Democracies Western Europe Western Europe North America North America ••Austria Austria ••United States United States ••Denmark Denmark ••Canada Canada ••France France ••Germany U.K. U.K. Germany ••Holland ••Great Britain Great Britain Holland ••Italy ••Ireland Ireland Italy ••Spain ••Australia Australia Spain ••Switzerland ••New Zealand New Zealand Switzerland Scandinavia Scandinavia Far East Far East ••Norway Norway ••Japan Japan ••Sweden Sweden10/9/12 tjz-7
  8. 8. Surprise http://aspiritualbrain.com/2009/03/page/5/10/9/12 tjz-8
  9. 9. Religiosity vs Successful Societies Scale Successful Societies Scale vs Religiosity “Test of the West” “Test of the West” (17 Countries) 8.5 ••Every 10 unit Every 10 unit Healthy ===> Norway increase in increase in 7.5 Denmark Religiosity is Religiosity is associated Sweden Holland associated Successful Societies Scale 6.5 Japan France Great Britain with a 7 unit with a 7 unit Canada Decrease in Switzerland 5.5 Germany Decrease in Austria Italy Ireland “Success” as “Success” as<=== Dysfunctional New Zealand Spain Australia 4.5 a society. a society. 3.5 …but…Correlation is NOT Causation. …but…Correlation is NOT Causation. USA 2.5 0.0 2.0 4.0 6.0 8.0 10.0 <=== More Secular More Religious ===> Religiosity Scale http://www.epjournal.net/filestore/EP073984414.pd f 10/9/12 tjz-9
  10. 10. U.S.A. Poverty & Importance of Religion http://datacenter.kidscount.org/ http://religions.pewforum.org/maps …but…Correlation is NOT Causation. …but…Correlation is NOT Causation.10/9/12 tjz-10
  11. 11. Gregory Paul’s Conclusion ••4/10/10, Essay: Why Belief in God is Not Innate 4/10/10, Essay: Why Belief in God is Not Innate ••“In every prosperous democracy with: “In every prosperous democracy with: •• Universal health care Universal health care •• Job and retirement security Job and retirement security •• Low levels of social ills Low levels of social ills •• People abandon churches because they no People abandon churches because they no longer need protection and assistance of longer need protection and assistance of supernatural powers. supernatural powers. “Faith is (largely) a side-effect of “Faith is (largely) a side-effect of socio-economic conditions!” socio-economic conditions!” Great!........but is Religion Good or Bad for Society? Great!........but is Religion Good or Bad for Society? http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304222504575173890997846742.html10/9/12 tjz-11
  12. 12. Religion’s past “Goods?” or “Bads?” Religion’s past “Goods?” or “Bads?” Who Cares! History can’t be changed! Who Cares! History can’t be changed! How will religion impact our future? How will religion impact our future?10/9/12 Image: http://www.wilsonsalmanac.com/aha/aha1.jpg tjz-12
  13. 13. Lester Brown’s Plan B 4.0 http://www.earthpolicy.org/10/9/12 tjz-13
  14. 14. A Civilization in Trouble• World is facing huge social and environmental problems – Rapid population growth, rampant poverty, hunger and disease in many countries – Climate change – Water tables falling and rivers running dry – Forests shrinking – Soils eroding, grasslands turning to desert – Species disappearing, fisheries collapsing http://www.earthpolicy.org/ Photo Credit: iStockPhoto / Steven Allan10/9/12 tjz-14
  15. 15. Lester Brown’s Plan B: What’s Our Future? Mostly in Poor & Mostly in Poor & - Very Religious – - Very Religious – 2050: 2.4 Billion 2050: 2.4 Billion Countries Countries More People More People With Collapsing With Collapsing Resources Resources & Hunger & & Hunger & Poverty Poverty10/9/12 http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304222504575173890997846742.html tjz-15
  16. 16. Plan B to Save Civilization: Four Goals 1. Stabilize Population 2. Eradicate Poverty 3. Restore the Earth’s Natural Support Systems 4. Stabilize Climate Will Religion Help or Hinder? Will Religion Help or Hinder?10/9/12 http://www.earthpolicy.org/ ; Image Credit: iStockPhoto / Joe Gough tjz-16
  17. 17. Will Religion Help or Hinder? Good for Society Good for Society Bad for Society Bad for Society •• Gives desperate people hope Gives desperate people hope •• Promotes bad public policy Promotes bad public policy •• Offers a sense of community Offers a sense of community •• Promotes patriarchal hierarchy Promotes patriarchal hierarchy •• Instills an ethical code Instills an ethical code •• Oppresses women Oppresses women •• Offers “comforting” tools Offers “comforting” tools •• Teaches dangerous, misleading Teaches dangerous, misleading and wasteful sex education and wasteful sex educationNo more darkness;No more darkness; no more night. no more night.Now Im so happyNow Im so happy no sorrow in sight. no sorrow in sight.Praise the Lord, IIsaw the light!Praise the Lord, saw the light! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LuntDNsQGcc&feature=channel10/9/12 tjz-17
  18. 18. Will Religion Help or Hinder? Sun, Sep. 16, 2012 Speaking at the Values Voter Summit last week in Washington D.C., Rep. Steve King (R-IA) claimed that, “A victory over President Obama is a victory for God.” http://www.amazon.com/Attack-Theocrats-Religious-Right-Harms/dp/0984493247 https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10151179646692435.467390.46347342434http://www.opposingviews.com/i/religion/christianity/video-rep-steve-king-claims-victory-over-presobama-victory-god10/9/12 tjz-18 http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/10/08/contraception-makes-unattractive-turns-men-gay-bestiality-and-murder-_n_1947457.html
  19. 19. Will Religion Help or Hinder?Lester Brown’s Plan B 4.0 : Four Goals1. Stabilize Population2. Eradicate Poverty3. Restore the Earth’s Natural Support Systems4. Stabilize Climate Science & Engineering10/9/12 http://www.earthpolicy.org/ ; Image Credit: iStockPhoto / Joe Gough tjz-19
  20. 20. Will Religion Help or Hinder? Teaching & Promoting Science - 1“Perhaps deception, even more than violence, is the chief enemy of human cooperation.” - Sam Harris, “The Moral Landscape”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9D8AeiAamjY 10/9/12 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uYtYQ0a7btQ tjz-20
  21. 21. Will Religion Help or Hinder? Teaching & Promoting Science - 2 U.S. House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) – “Every member and every subcommittee will be on the frontlines as we take on federal agencies to target areas to immediately cut spending." Subcommittee on Environment and Economy Chair - John Shimkus (R-IL) Vice Chair - Tim Murphy (R-PA)“Science & religion are in conflict because evidence & reasoning trump ‘faith’ when it comes to understanding reality.” – Sam Harris, “The Moral Landscape” 10/9/12 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_7h08RDYA5E tjz-21
  22. 22. Will Religion Help or Hinder? Lester Brown’s Plan B 4.0 : Four Goals 1. Stabilize Population 2. Eradicate Poverty 3. Restore the Earth’s Natural Support Systems 4. Stabilize Climate10/9/12 http://www.earthpolicy.org/ ; Image Credit: iStockPhoto / Joe Gough tjz-22
  23. 23. Action Anyone? Image: http://www.speedwaybikes.com/tracks/actionpark2008.htm10/9/12 tjz-23
  24. 24. How Can We Individually Help? Take Action to Support…• Reproductive Health Care and Family Planning: – International Planned Parenthood Federation (http://www.ippf.org/en/ ) – Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice (http://www.rcrc.org/ ) – Amnesty International (http://www.amnesty.org/ )• Separation of Science and Religion in U.S. Education: – National Center for Science Education (http://ncse.com/ ) on – Teach Them Science (http://www.teachthemscience.org/ ) sli des &• Separation of Church and State: S CA issues f. call – Americans United for Separation of See en’s J con m Church and State (http://www.au.org/ ) wo nthly N – Secular Coalition for America (SCA) (http://secular.org/ ) mo – Freedom from Religion Foundation (http://www.ffrf.org/ ) – Center for Inquiry (http://www.centerforinquiry.net/ )• Equal rights for all - including same-sex couples – Human Rights Watch (http://www.hrw.org/ )• Humanists – Red Bank Humanists (http://www.redbankhumanists.org/ ) – NJ Humanist Network (http://www.njhn.org/ ) – American Humanist Association (http://www.americanhumanist.org/ ) 10/9/12 tjz-24
  25. 25. How Can We as a Community Help? Apply Critical Thinking & “The Science of Morality” to Social Justice & Human Rights Problems"Formidable as the task may seem at present, the long-term need is to persuade Americans that having evidence for your beliefs is a good idea.” -- Peter Singer, Princeton Univ. http://www.criticalthinking.org/ 10/9/12 tjz-25
  26. 26. Harris’ “Moral Landscape” is a 3D Map of Outcomes of “Human Flourishing” Terrific Lives Bad Lives Good Lives Horrible Lives10/9/12 tjz-26
  27. 27. How to Discover What’s Moral (terrific peaks)? “Philosophy is not enough” – Sam Harris UTILITARIANISM LIBERTARIANISM SOCIAL CONTRACTCOMPLEX EQUALITY FEMINIST ETHICS CHRISTIAN OF CARE REALISM CATHOLIC SOCIAL LIBERATION BIBLICAL NOTIONS THOUGHT THEOLOGY OF JUSTICE 10/9/12 tjz-27
  28. 28. The Moral Landscape on Religion Chapter 4 Notes Chapter 4 Notes••“Religion brings benefits to developing “Religion brings benefits to developing societies, but the data shows that the happiest societies, but the data shows that the happiest and most secure societies are the most secular” and most secure societies are the most secular”••“Best predictor of social well-being is “Best predictor of social well-being is tolerance of differences (e.g., gays, lesbians, tolerance of differences (e.g., gays, lesbians, women, other religions, etc.). Tolerance does women, other religions, etc.). Tolerance does NOT flourish under orthodox religions.” NOT flourish under orthodox religions.”••“Religion is why we’re talking about gay “Religion is why we’re talking about gay marriage instead of a national energy policy.” marriage instead of a national energy policy.” 10/9/12 tjz-28
  29. 29. The Moral Landscape: Science vs Religion World Sciences World Religions Contradictions in the Bible •• Even fundamentalists have to Even fundamentalists have to “cook the books”: “cook the books”: •• Love neighbor as self Love neighbor as self •• Stone any bride who’s Stone any bride who’s not a virgin on her not a virgin on her wedding night wedding night “Religion cannot be the source for moral truth.” – Sam Harris10/9/12 http://www.project-reason.org/gallery3/image/105/ tjz-29
  30. 30. The Moral Landscape: “Introduction” ? ? “Human flourishing depends on the brainstates of conscious creatures” – Sam Harris10/9/12 tjz-30
  31. 31. The Moral Landscape: “Moral Truth” “In theory, moral truth can be measured” “In theory, moral truth can be measured” •• “Even educated people today mistakenly think “Even educated people today mistakenly think there is only moral preference.” – Sam Harris there is only moral preference.” – Sam Harris •• Human flourishing, like health, lies on a Human flourishing, like health, lies on a continuum defined by goals & both can be continuum defined by goals & both can be measured using science & reason as tools measured using science & reason as tools •• “Does anyone doubt we can measure the “Does anyone doubt we can measure the difference in human flourishing for a woman difference in human flourishing for a woman living in a cloth bag vs not living in a cloth bag?” living in a cloth bag vs not living in a cloth bag?” •• The degree of human flourishing is derived from facts about: The degree of human flourishing is derived from facts about: (a) brain states, (b) the world (c) behavior (a) brain states, (b) the world (c) behavior ••Values do derive from facts: illegal DVD copies result in Values do derive from facts: illegal DVD copies result in measurable harm measurable harm ••“David Hume (“Can’t get an Ought from an Is”) & Stephen Jay “David Hume (“Can’t get an Ought from an Is”) & Stephen Jay Gould (“Non-Overlapping Magisteria”) are simply mistaken.” Gould (“Non-Overlapping Magisteria”) are simply mistaken.”10/9/12 http://tbknews.blogspot.com/2007/10/violent-oppression-of-women-in-islam.html tjz-31
  32. 32. Googleplex: A Human Flourishing Testbed? (Google takes employee brain states seriously!) Google Rule #1: “Food must be within 100 ft of every employee!” What dimensions useful for human flourishing should we capture?10/9/12 http://www.scrigroup.com/limba/engleza/124/Life-in-the-Googleplex81893.php tjz-32
  33. 33. “Homework”: Watch Two Terrific Videos Greta Christina asks, "Why are atheists Psychologist Jonathan Haidt studies how angry?" Is it because theyre selfish, joyless, we evolved to be moral. He asks a simple, lacking in meaning, and alienated from but difficult question: Why do we attempt to God? Or are they driven by a passion for lose ourselves in a group? Using the empathy and justice? She speaks not only science of evolution by group selection, he to atheists, but also to believers who want to proposes a provocative answer. understand the so-called new atheism. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GUI_ML1qkQE http://www.ted.com/talks/jonathan_haidt_humanity_s_stairway_to_self_transcendence.html“If society lacks the commitment of mens wills to a common objective, then it is no“If society lacks the commitment of mens wills to a common objective, then it is no more than a pile of sand that the least jolt or the slightest puff will scatter.” more than a pile of sand that the least jolt or the slightest puff will scatter.” —Émile Durkheim —Émile Durkheim 10/9/12 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C3%89mile_Durkheim tjz-33
  34. 34. Let’s Dialog
  35. 35. Dialog Topics: Implementing Social justice, Human Rights & Human Flourishing1. What is the complete set of dimensions for human flourishing?  Social & Political Dimensions <= Universal Declaration of Human Rights • Friendly & healthy family, friends, neighbors, churches, clubs, strangers, etc. • Unfriendly & unhealthy family, friends…(Sociopaths = 2% Males, 1% Females) Health Dimensions • Physical: Eating & exercise behavior keeping you at a healthy weight • Emotional: Thoughts & behaviors keeping you feeling good • Cognitive: Thoughts & behaviors keeping you thinking rationally ?  Financial Dimensions • Working & spending behaviors keeping you out of debt  Environmental Dimensions  Etc.!2. How to add new “Googleplex dimensions” to ISSP & other surveys?3. Is a new Universal Declaration of Human Rights to include them feasible?4. Any new insights from a map of “U.S. States: Societal Success vs Religiosity”?5. What risks does “faith” (belief without evidence) pose to human flourishing?6. Does a moral society need any other “rules” than the Science ethos: honesty, openness, creativity, anti-authoritarianism, full disclosure?7. What, if anything, should the U.S. do about “Women in cloth bags”?10/9/12 http://www.un.org/en/documents/udhr/ tjz-35
  36. 36. Reference Slides
  37. 37. Judgments of Facts & Values  Facts: the way things are - “This DVD weighs .5 ounces”  Values: what’s worthwhile (or not)? • Aesthetic - “This is great science fiction” • Comparative - “Star Wars #1 is better than #2.” • Instrumental - “Netflix can easily mail this.” • Interpretive - “War will always be with us.” • Moral -”It’s wrong to copy this DVD based on harm, fairness & authority.”10/9/12 tjz-37
  38. 38. Chapter 5: “The Future of Happiness” Chapter Text Chapter Text •• Hard problem: well-being & Hard problem: well-being & satisfaction depend on history: satisfaction depend on history: --drug addict or Oprah? drug addict or Oprah? •• Easier to speak of “moving up” or Easier to speak of “moving up” or “moving down” “moving down” •• “Happiness” Science finds: “Happiness” Science finds: We very poorly: We very poorly: --remember past remember past --perceive present perceive present --predict future predict future •• Our experiencing self & Our experiencing self & remembering self often disagree! remembering self often disagree! Possible Dialog Topic Possible Dialog Topic•• Is it ethical to prolong minor suffering to create happier memories? Is it ethical to prolong minor suffering to create happier memories?10/9/12 tjz-38
  39. 39. Comments by Steven Pinker Harvard Philosopher; Author, “How the Mind Works” Agrees Agrees Reservations Reservations •• Terrible reasons to believe Terrible reasons to believe •• If “science” is ONLY biology, If “science” is ONLY biology, what’s “right” & “wrong” are: what’s “right” & “wrong” are: chemistry & physics, it’s chemistry & physics, it’s •• Faith (belief without Faith (belief without necessary, but NOT sufficient, to necessary, but NOT sufficient, to evidence) evidence) determine right from wrong determine right from wrong •• Subjective certainty Subjective certainty •• Reasoning (NOT science or Reasoning (NOT science or •• Scripture Scripture religion) that brought about religion) that brought about •• Authority Authority changes in our criminal justice changes in our criminal justice •• Science has informed Science has informed system system advances in our morality: advances in our morality: •• Only administer enough Only administer enough •• Torture Torture punishment to deter without a punishment to deter without a •• Racism Racism perverse incentive structure perverse incentive structure •• The worse the crime, the The worse the crime, the worse the punishment worse the punishment10/9/12 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8fbplK-J5IA tjz-39
  40. 40. Lawrence KraussPhysicist, The Origins Project, Author, “Quantum Man: Richard Feynman’s Life in Science” Agrees that: Agrees that: •• Our morality is constrained by our biology AND the social contract Our morality is constrained by our biology AND the social contract •• It’s impossible to define morality without science (=“secular empiricism”) It’s impossible to define morality without science (=“secular empiricism”) •• Science is the way to determine the consequences of our actions Science is the way to determine the consequences of our actions •• Science ethos: honesty, openess, creativity, anti-authoritarianism, full Science ethos: honesty, openess, creativity, anti-authoritarianism, full disclosure==a moral society disclosure==a moral society •• When humans behave irrationally it’s usually based on incomplete When humans behave irrationally it’s usually based on incomplete information (e.g., Stem cell debate: Blastocysts cannot be used for information (e.g., Stem cell debate: Blastocysts cannot be used for reproduction; there is no “moment of conception” – huge number of reproduction; there is no “moment of conception” – huge number of steps between the union of sperm and egg and a new entity steps between the union of sperm and egg and a new entity •• Questions science can ask & answer: Questions science can ask & answer: •• Is a woman safer ififshe’s in a cloth bag? Is a woman safer she’s in a cloth bag? •• Is her self-worth improved? Is her self-worth improved? •• Is she freer to manifest her capabilities as a human being? Is she freer to manifest her capabilities as a human being? 10/9/12 tjz-40
  41. 41. Simon Blackburn, Bertrand Russell Professor ofPhilosophy at Cambridge, Author, “How to Read Hume”: Moral Landscape Comments Agrees Agrees Reservations Reservations •• Empirical investigation is Empirical investigation is •• Two kinds of mental states: Two kinds of mental states: good idea good idea •• Beliefs: knowledge about the Beliefs: knowledge about the •• We should be more charitable We should be more charitable world world & loyal & loyal •• Desires/Concerns: motivators Desires/Concerns: motivators •• Recognize that charity often Recognize that charity often to change the world to change the world goes awry (e.g., Biafra food goes awry (e.g., Biafra food •• Values reflect desires; things that Values reflect desires; things that aid) aid) “must” be done “must” be done •• Benefits come when values Benefits come when values •• Difficulty: What IS human Difficulty: What IS human are tempered by science (e.g., are tempered by science (e.g., flourishing? Drugged zombie?; flourishing? Drugged zombie?; male & female brain studies male & female brain studies Fool’s Paradise (Delusion)?; Fool’s Paradise (Delusion)?; will help break down gender will help break down gender Suppressed desires (Stoic)?; Suppressed desires (Stoic)?; barriers) barriers) Greediness? Greediness? •• How to prioritize well-being of self How to prioritize well-being of self vs family vs friends vs world? vs family vs friends vs world? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W8vYq6Xm2To tjz-41 10/9/12
  42. 42. Religiosity: 17 Countries “Absolutely Believe in God” “Test of the West” “Test of the West” ••God belief is NOT God belief is NOT an inherited or an inherited or cultural property cultural property of humans of humans ••There is no “God There is no “God gene”! gene”!10/9/12 http://www.epjournal.net/filestore/EP073984414.pdf tjz-42
  43. 43. Religiosity: 16* Countries “Absolutely Believe in Life After Death” “Test of the West” “Test of the West” ••Millions of people Millions of people in Western in Western democracies democracies don’t believe in a don’t believe in a “soul”. “soul”. ••There is no There is no “spirituality gene”! “spirituality gene”! * No data for Australia10/9/12 http://www.epjournal.net/filestore/EP073984414.pdf tjz-43
  44. 44. Religiosity: 17 Countries Accept “Humans Evolved from Animals” “Test of the West” “Test of the West”10/9/12 http://www.epjournal.net/filestore/EP073984414.pdf tjz-44
  45. 45. Successful Societies: 4 Countries 6 Indicators “Test of the West” “Test of the West” http://www.epjournal.net/filestore/EP073984414.pdf10/9/12 tjz-45
  46. 46. 2009 Pew Research U.S. Survey “Accept Humans Evolved from Animals” http://pewresearch.org/pubs/1105/darwin-debate-religion-evolution tjz-4610/9/12
  47. 47. Will Religion Help or Hinder? Teaching & Promoting Science • Stories from October 2008 meeting of 60 U.S. high-school science teachers in Atlanta: – “Students burst into tears when told they’d be studying evolution.” – “Students repeatedly screamed ‘No!’ when he began talking about evolution.” – “Churches train students to come to school with questions to ask to sabotage my lessons.” • Creation Museum in KY is taxpayer-subsidized scientific falsehood and mis-education center.10/9/12 Dawkins, Richard, “The Greatest Show on earth”, Pg. 436 tjz-47
  48. 48. Tools for Critical Thinking - 110/9/12 http://confront.intel-research.net/Dispute_Finder.html tjz-48
  49. 49. Tools for Critical Thinking - 2 Understanding Claims that Defy Science and Reason “Nun healed after a Person night of prayer to with Pope John Paul II Cancer shortly after his death.” .1% 1,000,000 people (1,000 People) develop cancer Spontaneously 999,000 People Recovered die from cancer 1% 1% (10 people) (9,990 people) were were prayed for prayed for Death rate (deaths/week) http://trueslant.com/michaelshermer/2010/04/03/would-i-ever-pray-for-a-miracle-watch-abc-2020-special-on-miracles-to-find-out/10/9/12 tjz-49
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