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Posts tagged "Robert Wright"


Another Week Ends: Stubborn Optimists, New Parents, Non-Parents, Backwards Empathy, Future Anxious Thoughts, and a Tale of Two Churches

1. First off, we have from the New York Review of Books “A Tale of Two Churches.” This one doesn’t go where you think it’s going to go, and so much the better. It tells the story of two North Carolina pastors, Jay Stewart and Derrick Hawkins, one white, one black, and the joining of […]

Another Week Ends: Tribal Morality, Passports to Eden, Reflektor, Spufford in the Times, Social Wiring, Hemingway’s Granddaughter, Anxious Simpsons, and Heisenberg on Ice

1. Next week, Harvard psychologist Joshua Greene is slated to release a new book on behavioral morality, examining the everyday irrationalities and subconscious biases that Kahneman, Tversky and company have popularized over the last few decades (aside: are all titles/covers copying Malcolm Gladwell?). A common behavioral problem, the “trolley experiment”, asks people to make a hypothetical […]

Another Week Ends: Monastic (Olympic) Masochism, Successful Children, Justified Paranoia, Mumford and Sons, Edward Gorey, Creedal Colbert and the Return of PZ’s Podcast

1. As the Olympics wind down (and Morrissey gets his London back), we would do well to read Heather Havrilesky’s jaw-droppingly insightful piece “The Loneliness of the Person Watching the Long Distance Runner” that appeared in the NY Times Magazine last week. She absolutely nails the religiosity at the heart of much contemporary athleticism. And […]

Steven Pinker on Romans 2:14-15

In his fascinating op-ed in yesterday’s NY Times, “A Grand Bargain Over Evolution”, Robert Wright quotes the well-known experimental psychologist Steven Pinker:

“There may be a sense in which some moral statements aren’t just … artifacts of a particular brain wiring but are part of the reality of the universe, even if you can’t touch them and weigh them.” Comparing these moral truths to mathematical truths, he said that perhaps “they’re really true independent of our existence. I mean, they’re out there and in some sense — it’s very difficult to grasp — but we discover them, we don’t hallucinate them.”