This week’s TED talk is by moral psychologist Jonathan Haidt. He argues that there are five foundational values that provide the moral “draft” for the mind.
He then shows convincingly that liberals and conservatives respond to them very differently. While all five are important to conservatives, only the first two are important to liberals and this difference can help explain the divide between the two groups and their political choices. Haidt further mentions that it can be very difficult if not impossible to see “across” the divide because of our innate self-righteousness.
Impossible to cross chasms are not only the property of politics. As readers of this blog know they are also quite apparent in the science and religion dialogue. But are the divides really impossible to cross?
Near the end, Haidt quotes the Zen master Seng-ts’an. And it’s a doozy.
“If you want the truth to stand clear before you, never be for or against. The struggle between for and against is the mind’s worst disease.”
No, we cannot really escape ourselves and no we can never be completely objective. And Haidt’s talk didn’t end nearly as well as it began because he had no real proscriptive method for overcoming the differences. However, to solve a problem requires acknowledgement that a problem exists. And Haidt has done just that by identifying the moral psychology underpinnings that play a role in politics.
I have argued on this blog that a similar issue is at play in the creation-evolution debate within the church. These underpinnings are both psychological AND philosophical. Does that make solving the problem even more impossible? We’ll just have to wait and see.
In the meantime, enjoy Haidt’s talk…😉
I am looking for a blog partner and/or several folks that would like to contribute to the blog as they are available. In a partner, I would prefer someone coming from theological side but this is not essential. For others that are interested in making more sporadic contributions, having a specific background is not important. And students you are more than welcome to be involved!
There are only two requirements to those that would like to post on my blog.
- You must be committed to dialogue between the disciplines. If you want to write that science and religion are incompatible and at war with each other, this isn’t your blog. Go away.😉
- Academics are welcome, but the writing needs to be accessible. Humor is welcome, if not required. We discuss serious and high-level topics here but we are also playful and/or stupid and we like our Dilbert, xkcd, 70s music, Seinfeld, and obscure pop culture references.
I recommend that folks write posts less than 1000 words and multiple part posts are encouraged. Many different kinds of posts are encouraged including book reviews, essays, or short blurbs about recent scientific or theological articles of interest to the other discipline.
If you are interested in potentially participating leave a comment on this post or DM me on Twitter!
I liked this link on discontinued Olympic events and the rabbit trail it took me down so much I decided I had to put it on my blog. No way Phelps is the leader in gold medals if some of these were still on the docket…🙂
My favorites from the list have to be the following. What are yours?
Thanks to Top End Sports for compiling this list!
This week’s TED talk is by historian Laura Snyder who introduces us to the “philosophical breakfast club,” her name for the four natural philosophers who collectively introduced four major principles into scientific inquiry and became the first modern “scientists.”
Go for the principles, enjoy the fascinating historical rabbit trail, and most certainly stay for the ending. I don’t want to steal her thunder but she’s absolutely right. I hope that scientists agree and they will be welcomed with open arms. Tear down the wall!!!¹
Check out her Wikipedia page. “Narrative-driven non-fiction books about the way that science is intertwined with the rest of culture?” Yes times 10.
(1) I can’t help but link to that creepy part of the Pink Floyd song. Too much of a great effect.