Author to speak on the science of good and evil
RELEASED: Sept. 14, 2006
DANVILLE, KY—Dr. Michael Shermer will present The Science of Good and Evil, a lecture based on the third volume in his trilogy on the power of belief, on Sept. 20 at 7:30 p.m. in Vahlkamp Theatre. The first two volumes in the series were Why People Believe Weird Things and How We Believe: Science, Skepticism, and the Search for God.
In his books Shermer, a psychologist and historian of science, tackles two of the deepest and most challenging problems of our age: (1) The origins of morality and (2) the foundations of ethics. Embedded within these two problems are questions that have occupied the greatest minds in history: Is it in our nature to be moral, immoral or amoral? If we evolved by natural forces, then what was the natural purpose of morality? If we live in a determined universe, then how can we make free moral choices? Does evil exist, and if so, what is the nature of evil? Why do bad things happen to good people? Is there justice in the world beyond the social order? If there is no outside source to validate moral principles, does anything go? Can we be good without God?
In this intriguing conclusion to an intellectual journey into the mind and soul of humanity, Dr. Shermer peels back the inner layers covering core being to reveal a complexity of human motives—selfish and selfless, cooperative and competitive, virtuous and vicious, good and evil, moral and immoral. Shermer relates how these motives came into being as a product of both our evolutionary heritage and cultural history, and how we can construct an ethical system that generates a morality that is neither dogmatically absolute nor irrationally relative—a provisional morality for an age of science that provides empirical evidence and a rational basis for belief.Dr. Shermer is a science writer, historian of science, founder of The Skeptics Society and editor of its magazine Skeptic. This publication is largely devoted to investigating pseudoscientific and supernatural claims. Shermer is also the producer and co-host of the 13-hour Fox Family television series "Exploring the Unknown" and is a monthly columnist for Scientific American magazine. Shermer was once a fundamentalist Christian, but according to his book The Science of Good and Evil, is now an agnostic and an advocate for humanist philosophy.
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