His answer to the question was “Yes and No!” His wasn’t placing a bet
each way – just stressing that the answer depends on how “science”
is defined. Science interpreted in the narrow way it normally is
can’t answer these questions. However, it can – if science is
interpreted to mean “unreligion.” And many people is this debate do
interpret science that way. Pinker starts by explaining how
religion cannot tell us right from wrong. He then goes on to argue
that why while science, determined narrowly, can’t either it has
helped us make these decisions. Its an interesting presentation –
only 12 mins long.
Steven Pinker is Harvard College
Professor and Johnstone Family Professor of Psychology at Harvard.
His research is on visual cognition and the psychology of language.
Among his books are ’The Language Instinct: How the Mind Creates Language,’ ’How the Mind Works’ and ’The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature.’ He has been named Humanist of the Year, and is listed in Foreign Policy and Prospect magazine’s ’The World’s Top 100 Public Intellectuals’ and in Time magazine’s ’The 100 Most Influential People in the
World Today.’ His latest book is ’The Stuff of Thought: Language as a Window into Human Nature.’
- Telling right from wrong? (openparachute.wordpress.com)
- Can science shape human values? (openparachute.wordpress.com)