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Science Salon

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In the tradition of the Enlightenment salons that helped drive the Age of Reason, Science Salon is a series of conversations between Dr. Michael Shermer and leading scientists, scholars, and thinkers, about the most important issues of our time.

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Phil Zuckerman — What it Means to be Moral: Why Religion is Not Necessary for Living an Ethical Life
In What It Means to Be Moral: Why Religion Is Not Necessary for Living an Ethical Life, Phil Zuckerman argues that morality does not come from God. Rather, it comes from us: our brains, our evolutionary past, our ongoing cultural development, our social experiences, and our ability to reason, reflect, and be sensitive to the suffering of others. By deconstructing religious arguments for God-based morality and guiding readers through the premises and promises of secular morality, Zuckerman argues that the major challenges facing the world today―from global warming and growing inequality to religious support for unethical political policies to gun violence and terrorism―are best approached from a nonreligious ethical framework. In short, we need to look to our fellow humans and within ourselves for moral progress and ethical action. Shermer and Zuckerman discus: what is morality and what does it mean to be good? the evolutionary origins of morality the “naturalistic fallacy,” or the “is-ought fallacy” and why it need not always apply how we’ve made moral progress over the centuries thanks to secular forces why religion is always behind the wave of moral progress (but takes credit for it later) the origin of good and evil how to solve crime, homelessness, and other social problems through science, reason, and secular forces, and the seven secular virtues. Dr. Phil Zuckerman is the author of several books, including The Nonreligious, Living the Secular Life, Society without God, and his latest book, What it Means to be Moral. He is a professor of sociology at Pitzer College and the founding chair of the nation’s first secular studies program. He lives in Claremont, California, with his wife and three children. Listen to Science Salon via iTunes, Spotify, Google Play Music, Stitcher, iHeartRadio, TuneIn, and Soundcloud. You play a vital part in our commitment to promote science and reason. If you enjoy the Science Salon Podcast, please show your support by making a donation, or by becoming a patron.  
Bruce Hood — Possessed: Why We Want More Than We Need
You may not believe it, but there is a link between our current political instability and your childhood attachment to teddy bears. There’s also a reason why children in Asia are more likely to share than their western counterparts and why the poor spend more of their income on luxury goods than the rich. Or why your mother is more likely to leave her money to you than your father. What connects these things? The answer is our need for ownership. Award-winning University of Bristol psychologist Bruce Hood draws on research from his own lab and others around the world to explain why this uniquely human preoccupation governs our behavior from the cradle to the grave, even when it is often irrational, and destructive. What motivates us to buy more than we need? Is it innate, or cultural? How does our urge to acquire control our behaviour, even the way we vote? And what can we do about it? Possessed is the first book to explore how ownership has us enthralled in relentless pursuit of a false happiness, with damaging consequences for society and the planet — and how we can stop buying into it. Dr. Hood and Dr. Shermer also discuss: who owns your body and mind how the military draft, conscription, is a way of the state taking possession of your body suicide and bodily ownership: why states prohibit you from killing yourself organs and bodily ownership: why states prohibit you from selling your organs prostitution: why states prohibit people from selling their bodies for sex slavery: why historically states have legalized owning other people marriage & children: why historically states have sanctioned men owning women and children children’s sense of ownership income inequality objects vs. money vs. social capital as possessions money is not a possession so much as a means of getting possessions. jealousy as a form of possession xenophobia as a fear of loss of ownership who owns the land, air, water, minerals, etc.? intellectual Property: who owns your ideas? what wills and trusts tell us about the psychology of the transfer of ownership the tragedy of the commons and environmental protection through private ownership: Ducks Unlimited, game reserves, licenses for killing big game in Africa why original art is more valuable than fakes or duplicates, and the Arab-Israel conflict and what happens when God ordains ownership of a piece of land to two different peoples. Listen to Science Salon via iTunes, Spotify, Google Play Music, Stitcher, iHeartRadio, TuneIn, and Soundcloud. You play a vital part in our commitment to promote science and reason. If you enjoy the Science Salon Podcast, please show your support by making a donation, or by becoming a patron.  
Bryan Walsh — End Times: A Brief Guide to the End of the World
End Times: A Brief Guide to the End of the World is a compelling work of skilled reportage that peels back the layers of complexity around the unthinkable—and inevitable—end of humankind. From asteroids and artificial intelligence to volcanic supereruption to nuclear war, 15-year veteran science reporter and TIME editor Bryan Walsh provides a stunning panoramic view of the most catastrophic threats to the human race. Walsh and Shermer discuss these existential threats to humanity and what to do about them: nuclear weapons killer diseases climate change artificial intelligence biotechnology asteroids and volcanos extraterrestrials, and preparing for doomsday: should we all be doomsday preppers? A graduate of Princeton University, Bryan Walsh worked as a foreign correspondent, reporter, and editor for TIME for over 15 years. He founded the award-winning Ecocentric blog on TIME.com and has reported from more than 20 countries on science and environmental stories like SARS, global warming, and extinction. He lives in Brooklyn, NY, with his wife and son. Listen to Science Salon via iTunes, Spotify, Google Play Music, Stitcher, iHeartRadio, TuneIn, and Soundcloud. You play a vital part in our commitment to promote science and reason. If you enjoy the Science Salon Podcast, please show your support by making a donation, or by becoming a patron.  
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Podcast Details
Started
Nov 22nd, 2015
Latest Episode
Sep 3rd, 2019
Release Period
Weekly
No. of Episodes
88
Avg. Episode Length
About 1 hour
Explicit
No

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