We look at heroes and do-gooders as a special sort of breed: people who possess extraordinary traits of altruism or self-less concern for the well-being of others, even at the expense of their own existence. On the other end, sociopaths also have an extraordinary set of traits, such as extreme selfishness, lack of impulse control, no respect for rules, and no conscience.
In his talk at the Festival of Dangerous Ideas, philosopher and bioethicist Julian Savulescu, Uehiro Professor of Practical Ethics at the University of Oxford., examines the nature of human beings as products of evolution, in particular their limited altruism, limited co-operative instincts and limited ability to take account of the future consequences of actions. He argues that humans’ biology and psychology are unfit for the kind of society we live in and we must either alter our political institutions, severely restrain our technology or change our nature. Or face annihilation by our own design. Festival of Dangerous Ideas, Sydney Opera House, October 2009
Wielded by an expert, the sharp sword of rationality cuts deep, exposing underlying layers of confusion, intellectual laziness, or willful misunderstanding in what might on the surface appear to be logical arguments.
Abstract: “Classical” border/boundaries theories examine conflicts that arise between the domains of work, family and so-called third places such as clubs, sports and other social activities outside home or work life. I have argued for consideration of a fourth place, namely the virtual. In this presentation I will consider the impact of the “unrealness” of the experience of being “in” the virtual world of Second Life. I will further suggest that this experience of being “in world” invites a comparison with the diagnostic criteria for dissociation disorders such as depersonalization and derealization as described by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-IV-TR.
Bio: Professor Greg Garvey teaches in the Department of Computer Science and Interactive Digital Design at Quinnipiac University. Previously at Quinnipiac University he was the Visiting Fellow in the Arts and also was an Associate Artist of the Digital Media Center for the Arts at Yale University.
The Hartford Ethics Group is a monthly discussion group on bioethics themes coordinated by James Hughes and Miller Brown of Trinity College. For more information, or to submit a topic, please contact James Hughes at: james.hughes at trincoll.edu”
How do you design a society for the really long term? There are a couple of levels to consider: notably, decision-making and economics. And it doesn’t look as if we’ve got any good solutions to either.
So the Large Hadron Collider has been shut down yet again – this time on account of a bird dropping a piece of a bagel onto some sensitive outdoor machinery. The incident is not expected to keep the LHC out of commission for too much longer, but it represents yet another strange event that has kept the world’s most infamous particle accelerator out of service. In fact, the LHC has yet to function at full operational capacity since its completion over a year ago.
Greg Barns is an author, political commentator and barrister. He was an advisor to NSW Premier Nick Greiner and also for the Howard Government. He is also a spokesperson for the Prison Action and Reform Group.
Michael Duffy is an Australian radio presenter and newspaper columnist. He presents the Counterpoint program on ABC Radio National. He was originally hired in an attempt by Radio National management to find, in the words of Australian Prime Minister John Howard, a “right-wing Phillip Adams.”
Norm Stamper is the former Chief of the Seattle Police Department. He is an advisory board member for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition and is the author of Breaking Rank: A Top Cop’s Expose of the Dark Side of American Policing.
Dr. Alex Wodak is the Director of the Alcohol and Drug Service at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Sydney. He is also President of the International Harm Reduction Association and the author of Drug Prohibition: A Call for Change.
Ever since the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, West Germans as well as East Germans are regularly polled on their stance toward religion. When asked whether they believe in God, most East Germans simply respond by saying: “Nope, I’m perfectly normal.”
Click here to get quick lessons from real cheerleaders on 18 important science concepts, then test your knowledge by taking a 26-question multiple choice quiz created by George Mason University physics professor James Trefil as part of Science Cheerleader’s Brain Makeover project.
It’s all too easy to get one’s own narrative wrong. A pattern-seeking brain takes the raw materials of a messy life, viewed in retrospect, and knits a script with you-know-who in the heroic lead. It’s like a tornado blowing through a junkyard and assembling a 747.
Dr. J. chats with Bruce Katz, author of Neuroengineering the Future: Virtual Minds And The Creation Of Immortality. They discuss augmented cognition, induced bliss, and the elusiveness nature of personal identity. (MP3)
Fear is a great motivator. Throughout history, successful leaders have known how to use fear to unite and to manipulate their followers. Usually this fear is of “the other,” a group that looks different, talks different, or worships a different god.