What forces have shaped humanity most?

Question: What forces have shaped humanity most?

Dan Gilbert: Well certainly science and religion are the two big ones that come to mind, and I think, unfortunately, pulling us in opposite directions. I mean for me, the large story that has been playing out for several centuries, and that continues to play out today on the world stage, is the battle between the rational and the irrational. For me, science represents one of these. Religion, I’m afraid, represents the other. So I think it would be hard to tell the story of human civilization without talking about science and religion. Very easy to tell most of the story without talking about these two things. there are certainly signal events in both science and religion. As a scientist, one can point to Darwin. One can point to Einstein. I don’t think single events are what either of these forces are about. I think these . . . these two things are ways of thinking. It’s not about the discoveries that science has produced because, as I always tell my students, half of what I’m going to teach you today is wrong. I just don’t know which half yet. You know, science is about constantly revising our beliefs. So I wouldn’t point to single discoveries and say, “Wasn’t this important?” What science really has to teach us is a way of knowing. And it’s a way of finding out what the truth is about the world. Science is not infallible, but it’s . . . it’s as close as we can get. You know, Winston Churchill, I believe it was, who said, “Democracy is the worst form of government except all the others.” Well science is the worst way of knowing except for all the other ways of knowing.

Recorded on: 6/12/2007

Science is the worst way of knowing except for all the other ways of knowing.

Russian robot, promoted as high-tech by state tv, turns out to be a man in a suit

The Russian robot named "Boris" was revealed to be an actor.

Technology & Innovation
  • A state-owned channel showed a report on a "robot" which turned out to be an actor in a suit.
  • The robot "Boris" was supposed to be good at math and dancing.
  • Russian journalists who raised questions ultimately found out the truth.
Keep reading Show less

Study finds heterosexual women prefer benevolently sexist men

It’s been demonstrated that women are more attracted to men with attitudes of benevolent sexism. A new study asks why.

Just relax, young lady. We men can sort you out. (Credit: Wikimedia Commons)
popular

It’s a minefield: Another new study presents evidence of what heterosexual women want. Still, the lead author of the study is a woman, Pelin Gul. (Her co-author is Tom R. Kupfer.) The study, recently published in Sage Journals, is called “Benevolent Sexism and Mate Preferences: Why Do Women Prefer Benevolent Men Despite Recognizing That They Can Be Undermining?” Previous studies suggest that this happens more often than you’d expect.

Keep reading Show less

Helen Riess, M.D. – Empathy in the brain and the world

Empathy makes us human. Humans make structures that rob us of empathy when we need it most. Helen Riess is trying to reverse that trend.

Think Again Podcasts
  • Heart – mind = emotional quicksand. Mind – heart = greeting card sympathy
  • The doctor burnout epidemic and how to fix it
Keep reading Show less