Robert Wright


American Journalist, Scholar, and Author of best-selling books about science, evolutionary psychology, history, religion, and game theory

Author Quotes

I don?t argue that religious belief is a pre-requisite for this moral progress; atheists are presumably just as responsive to the underlying dynamic as believers. The values system in question?religious or secular?is a kind of ?neutral medium? through which underlying social dynamics find their moral manifestation.

Sensual pleasures are the Whip natural selection uses to control US, US to Keep in the Thrall of ITS Warped values ??system.

We don't have any plans to make acquisitions at this scale, but we will look at smaller acquisitions of tools or other things that enhance the site.

If it be any part of religion to believe that man was made ??by a good being, it is more consistent with that faith to believe, that this being gave all human faculties that they might be cultivated and unfolded, not rooted out and consumed, and he that takes delight in every nearer approach made by his creatures to the ideal conception embodied in them, every increase in any of their capabilities of comprehension, of action, or of enjoyment.

The Chukchee, a people indigenous to Siberia, had their own special way of dealing with unruly winds. A Chukchee man would chant, Western Wind, look here! Look down on my buttocks. We are going to give you some fat. Cease blowing! The nineteenth-century European visitor who reported this ritual described it as follows: The man pronouncing the incantation lets his breeches fall down, and bucks leeward, exposing his bare buttocks to the wind. At every word he claps his hands.

What you'll learn tonight is it doesn't stop with technical solutions, but that relationships really matter. If we can do anything, it would be to encourage you to develop strong, healthy, deep relationships with your children.

If there?s one thing I can encourage everyone to do: ? Expand the moral imagination.

The idea is that human culture as broadly defined - art, politics, technology, religion, and so on - evolves in much the way biological species evolve: new cultural traits arise and may flourish or perish, and as a result whole institutions can form and belief Systems Change.

When I dropped her off at the shelter, I went to see how our house was. We have nothing except for a chimney... Pretty much, we had nothing left.

If Trivers is right, if the formation of the conscience of a young man partially includes instruction on favorable fraud (and the best protection against fraud), it can be expected that young children will easily learn the practice of deception. And this is perhaps an understatement. Jean Piaget, in his study of moral development in 1932, wrote that the tendency to lie - a natural tendency ... casual and versatile. Subsequent studies have confirmed this? The point here is that these children of iniquity - is not only a stage harmless offense, which we close our eyes, but the first of a series of tests on the self-serving dishonesty. Through positive reinforcement (for undetected and fruitful untruths) and negative reinforcement (for wrongs that open teammates or imply reprimand family) we learn where you can and where you cannot escape the consequences, and that our family is considering (or not) as a legitimate deception. The fact that the parents of the children rarely read a lecture about the lies and virtue, does not mean that they do not teach them to lie. Children obviously continue to lie, if it is not strongly suppressed. And not only those children whose parents are lying more often than the average, have a chance to become chronic liars; but also children who grow up without proper parental supervision. If parents do not prevent injustice children obviously beneficial to them, and if they say such untruth in their presence, they give them an advanced course of lies.

The main goal is to give young people hope ... to give them skills.

When you listen to the way some of the lawmakers have talked about it, they've been talking about it as if this company is going to control the whole port of New York and New Jersey. That's very far from the case.

If two people stare at each other for more than a few seconds, it means they are about to either make love or fight. Something similar might be said about human societies. If two nearby societies are in contact for any length of time, they will either trade or fight. The first is non-Zero-sum social integration, and the second ultimately brings it.

The sages may have been self-serving, like the rest of us, but that does not mean they were not sages.

Whereas modern cynicism brought despair about the ability of the human species to realize laudable ideals, postmodern cynicism does not - not because it's optimistic, but because it cannot take ideals seriously in the first place. The prevailing attitude is Absurdism. A postmodern magazine may be irreverent, but not bitterly irreverent, for it's not purposefully irreverent; its aim is indiscriminate, because everyone is equally ridiculous. And anyway, there's no moral basis for passing judgment. Sit back and just enjoy the Show.

Canada and the U.S. are violating the international laws designed to protect our shared lakes and rivers from pollution. An independent inquiry by the CEC (North American Commission for Environmental Cooperation) will uncover why Canada and the U.S. have failed to resolve the dispute by not enforcing the century-old treaty.

If you watched evolution on this planet unfold from a distance (and on fast-forward), you would find it strikingly like watching the maturation of an organism: there would be directional movement toward functional integration. So why can?t the part of Paley?s argument that can be validly applied to an organism?s maturation?the idea that it suggests a designer of some sort?be applied to the whole system of life on Earth?

There are many verses in the Koran suggesting that Jews and Christians are eligible for salvation. Three of those verses add Sabeans to the list, and of the three, this one verse adds Zoroastrians as well. . . It?s possible that all three verses carrying salvation beyond the Abrahamic compass were indeed uttered by Muhammad. Maybe near the end of his career he found small pockets of Sabeans and Zoroastrians within the ambit of his conquests, or maybe he found himself in alliance with towns populated by these non-Abrahamics. But, regardless of whether these verses come from Muhammad?s time or later, the best explanation for them is an expanded scope of non-zero-sumness. Whether by allying with non-Abrahamics or governing them, Islamic leadership seems to have acquired an incentive to stay on cooperative terms with them. This is reminiscent of the growing inclusiveness we saw in the Hebrew Bible.

With P [the Priestly source of the Bible], it seems, Abrahamic monotheism has been converted from a fiercely nationalistic and exclusive theology ? the theology present at its creation ? to a more international and inclusive one. If so, this is yet another tribute to the malleability of God. Monotheism had emerged as a tool for elevating Israelites above their neighbors, and now it was becoming a way of putting Israel on the same platform as its neighbors. The Abrahamic God was growing.

Edward Tylor noted in 1874 that the religions of savage societies were almost devoid of that ethical element which to the educated modern mind is the very mainstream of practical religion. Tylor was not saying that savages lack morality. He stressed that the moral standards of savages are generally well-defined and praiseworthy. It's just that these ethical laws stand on their own ground of tradition and public opinion, rather than on a religious foundation.

If you?re in a position where you can?t remove yourself, do you really hold those kids responsible?

There is in the world today a great and mysterious force that shapes the fortunes of millions of people. It is called the stock market.

Your brain may give birth to any technology, but other brains will decide whether the technology thrives. The number of Possible Technologies is Infinite, and Only A few Pass this test of Affinity with human nature.

Even before there were homo sapiens, feelings like compassion and love and sympathy had earned their way into the gene pool.

Is there something? Is there anything? Is there any evidence of something? Any signs that there's more to life that the sum of its subatomic particles - some larger purpose, some deeper meaning, maybe even something that would qualify as divine in some sense of the word?

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American Journalist, Scholar, and Author of best-selling books about science, evolutionary psychology, history, religion, and game theory