The Science of Good and Evil by Michael Shermer
Why People Cheat, Gossip, Care, Share, and Follow the Golden Rule

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Synopsis

From bestselling author Michael Shermer, an investigation of the evolution of morality that is "a paragon of popularized science and philosophy" The Sun (Baltimore)

A century and a half after Darwin first proposed an "evolutionary ethics," science has begun to tackle the roots of morality. Just as evolutionary biologists study why we are hungry (to motivate us to eat) or why sex is enjoyable (to motivate us to procreate), they are now searching for the very nature of humanity.

In The Science of Good and Evil, science historian Michael Shermer explores how humans evolved from social primates to moral primates; how and why morality motivates the human animal; and how the foundation of moral principles can be built upon empirical evidence.

Along the way he explains the implications of scientific findings for fate and free will, the existence of pure good and pure evil, and the development of early moral sentiments among the first humans. As he closes the divide between science and morality, Shermer draws on stories from the Yanamamö, infamously known as the "fierce people" of the tropical rain forest, to the Stanford studies on jailers' behavior in prisons. The Science of Good and Evil is ultimately a profound look at the moral animal, belief, and the scientific pursuit of truth.

 

About Michael Shermer

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Michael Shermer is the author of The Believing Brain, Why People Believe Weird Things, The Science of Good and Evil, The Mind Of The Market, Why Darwin Matters, Science Friction, How We Believe and other books on the evolution of human beliefs and behavior. He is the founding publisher of Skeptic magazine, the editor of Skeptic.com, a monthly columnist for Scientific American, and an adjunct professor at Claremont Graduate University. He lives in Southern California.
 
Published January 2, 2005 by Times Books. 372 pages
Genres: Health, Fitness & Dieting, Science & Math, Law & Philosophy, Professional & Technical. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Science of Good and Evil

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The origins of morality and ethics, common to every society on Earth, must then lie in human institutions, Shermer concludes.

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Publishers Weekly

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Drawing on evolutionary psychology, Skeptic publisher and Scientific American contributor Shermer (Wh

Nov 17 2003 | Read Full Review of The Science of Good and Evil:...

BC Books

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At the end of The Science of Good and Evil, Shermer says something quite nice: “I believe in the heroic nature of humanity and in the ability of human intelligence, reason, and creativity to triumph over problems and obstacles.” Whether philosophers and scholars, scientists and theologians, groun...

Jul 25 2010 | Read Full Review of The Science of Good and Evil:...

BC Books

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An ethics or moral system (or science of morality) often follow two opposing logics.

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Examiner

Word-play in saying things like earthquakes aren't evil, but "the effects of the earthquake on our fellow humans that we judge to be evil" actually do more harm than good toward making his point...on a Shermer "fuzzy logic" scale where 0 is failing to make a point and 1 equals success, this write...

Jan 11 2011 | Read Full Review of The Science of Good and Evil:...

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