About This Episode
Explore the intersection of science and morality when host Neil deGrasse Tyson answers fan questions with the help of guest Michael Shermer, the founder of Skeptic Magazine and author of The Moral Arc. Co-host Eugene Mirman has picked some of your deepest, most thought provoking questions to throw at Neil and Michael, like, “With evidence proving we’re all equally the same, why do racism and bigotry remain strong in certain groups?” Find out about the brain mechanism known as ‘one-trial learning,’ why we’re evolutionarily prone to pigeonholing, and why racism is actually the nefarious hijacking of an evolutionary force, tribalism. Can the scientific method be applied to political systems, society, and human behavior? Compare scientific discoveries that have shaped our morality, and contrast both the concepts of mutually assured destruction with supernatural beliefs that court death and the fears of terrorism with gun violence. What are the ethics and morality of cloning and bioengineering? Would clones have rights? Next, Neil, Michael and Eugene ponder whether aliens would be good or evil, and how we look at that question through the lens of human history filtered by imperialism and colonialism. You’ll learn about phrenology, the eugenics movement and repeated anti-immigration movements. It’s not all bad news, though: you’ll also hear about the Flynn Effect: data indicating that the general population is getting smarter and more scientifically literate, and why that might be.
NOTE: All-Access subscribers can listen to this entire episode commercial-free here: Cosmic Queries – Science and Morality.