Should you choose to own a gun? The fantasy many Americans have of facing down an intruder with a firearm is belied by the fact that a gun is 22 times more likely to be used in a criminal assault, an accidental death or injury, a suicide attempt or a homicide than it is for self-defense.
Are We All Potentially Evil? A new dramatic film based on the Stanford Prison Experiment reveals why good people turn bad. Michael Shermer discusses the film, the original experiment by Philip Zimbardo, and the triad of general principles behind evil posited by Zimbardo: the Person, the Situation, and the System.
At the book party to launch The Moral Arc on Monday night January 19 in New York City, the host Gerry Ohrstrom and the sponsor the Reason Foundation wanted to liven up the party so they brought in a couple of remarkable magicians and the famous science rap artist Baba Brinkman, famous for his “Rap Guide to Evolution” and, more recently, his “Rap Guide to Religion”, which is now an off-Broadway production in New York. To my utter surprise, before Steve Pinker and I launched into our “In Conversation” about science and moral progress, Baba got up and performed a rap song tribute to The Moral Arc, which, he said, he wrote on the drive over to the party! Now that’s creativity on the fly.
In 1919, with the smoke still clearing from the battlefields of the First World War, the German sociologist Max Weber began a systematic study of the nation-state by defining a state as any “human community that successfully claims the monopoly of the legitimate use of physical force within a given territory.” But what constitutes legitimate [...]
When eyewitness testimony collides with contradictory evidence Psychologists have known for decades that memory does not operate like a video camera, with our senses recording in high definition what really happens in the world, accurately stored in memory awaiting high fidelity playback on the viewing screen of our mind. Instead, fragments of scenes are processed [...]
In response to the December 14, 2012 massacre at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT, in which 20 children and six adults were murdered, President Obama vowed to do everything in his power to prevent such an event happening again, “Because what choice do we have? We can’t accept events like this as [...]