Category Archives: morality

Must you be religious to be moral?: A worldwide survey, and its lesson

A post by C. J. Werleman at Alternet called my attention to a new study by the Pew Research “Global Attitudes Project” that polls people on the perennial (and already answered) question, “Do you need God to be moral”? Pew’s answer, however, is a general “yes,” but that answer is far more common in poorer than richer countries. […]

Paul Bloom claims that we’re not biochemical puppets because we can reason. He’s wrong.

Paul Bloom is a noted psychologist at Yale, specializing in morality and its development in young children (see an earlier post on that topic here). Now, in the new Atlantic, Bloom has published a longish piece, “The war on reason,” that describes a purported war on rationality incited by the findings of neuroscientists, determinists, and […]

Another paper on “folk intuitions” about free will: Nahmias et al.

To complement the paper of Sarkissian et al., which I wrote about the other day, I’ll present as briefly as I can the results of an earlier paper on beliefs about free will by Eddy Nahmias et al. (references to both papers are at bottom, free download on this one). In contrast to the results […]

Bizarre Mormon anti-masturbation video narrated by BYU President

We all know the Catholic strictures about masturbation, and how you can suffer eternally for unconfessed onanism. What I didn’t realize is that the Mormons also regard “self abuse,” depicted in the video below as an implied consequence of watching online pornography, as something with dire consequences. This video, narrated by Kim B. Clark, president […]

Save a life in 3 minutes

A reader who is taking Paul Bloom’s free online course “Moralities of everyday life” (it started Jan. 20), sent me this short video that Bloom uses in the course.  It’s based on Peter Singer’s argument on why we’re obligated to help strangers, and I find it very convincing. The link at the end to The […]

Paul Bloom debunks the “Moral Law argument for God”

I’ve just finished reading Paul Bloom’s short book, Just Babies: The Origins of Good and Evil, which was published last November by Crown Publishing. Bloom, who works at Yale, is a well-known psychologist, specializing in the development of morality—especially in infants. I recommend his book, especially if you’re interested in how much of human morality is […]

Hospital agrees to withdraw life support from brain-dead pregnant woman

On January 9 I wrote about the sad case of Marline Munoz, a paramedic from Texas who died in November of a pulmonary embolism, but was pregnant at the time. She a living will stating her desire for no artificial means of keeping her alive after brain death, but her pregnancy kept the hospital from […]

Ohio executes inmate with drug untested for executions; results are both predictable and unjustifiable

The state of Ohio executed convicted murderer Dennis McGuire yesterday by lethal injection.  Because some the drugs used in the lethal cocktail (usually three) are made overseas, and foreign countries are increasingly unwilling to export drugs used for genuine medical purposes to the U.S., where they can be used to kill people, American states are […]

Why not donate organs?

I think most states in the U.S. now provide a place on your driver’s license to verify that you’d be willing to donate organs, corneas, etc. in the case of a fatal crash (or other cause of death). I routinely check that box, of course, as should everyone, for what better use for a dead […]

Only in Alabama

Well, maybe in Mississippi, too. The Washington Post reports an unusual agreement between a college in Alabama and its new president: Gwendolyn Boyd, the new president of Alabama State University, signed a contract with the school’s trustees that forbids her from allowing a lover to “cohabitate” with her in the presidential home being provided to […]


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