tv Book Discussion on The Moral Arc CSPAN February 1, 2015 7:45pm-9:01pm EST
u tell them whatever corner of the world they go into someone with the stars and stripes on their shoulder will be there to put a bullet between their eyes. that is the only they understand and the only thing to keep the country protected. it was al-qaeda now isis, what is next? you will get another radical islamic terrorist groups non-state, non-uniform belligerent that believe their sfrigz vision for the world is the right one. think about being a christian in the oldest christian civilizations in the world and for the first time in a there is not a christian there.
we are sitting back and watching this happen. we have to kill them. >> you can watch this and other programs online at booktv.org. >> michael sherman is discussing how science influences the way he think about human rights democracy, freedom, education and prosperity. this program is next on booktv.
>> welcome to the the cato institute. it is my honor to introduce and moderate this program. we hear a lot these days for the past few decades, about moral decline in america or the world, and covers a lot of different eras. not clear that those are always the most relevant areas to what we might consider public mortally. bill bennett made a career out of talking about moral decline. lots of radio talk shows have it as a common theme. most days there is an opt-ed in the washington times decrying moral decline in america. and indeed i saw as a poll that said three quarters of americans think we are in a period of moral decline. so it seems pretty con advance advance -- convincing but there is an arm fe argument we are in
an area of moral progress. and i think more people are speaking up on the side of moral progress and economic tangible progress in the world. as i point out in my forthcoming mind the libertarian mind we have seen a reduction in the world in war slavery, violence a tendency toward individual rights/economic freedom/democracy. those are important elements of progress including moral progress. the new issue of cato policy support, the news letter for cato sponsors includes a transcript of a speech given by steven pinker in which he said the world is getting better and better so why is everyone pessimistic. and the cato institute created a
website called humanprogress.org with seven sets of data on his website. everything from child birth to women's right toes democracy that suggest a great deal of progress in the world -- rights to -- i am not sure the website tells you why this progress has come about. and that is one of the topics in a new book from henry holt. pup pooh publishers we will talk about tonight. the writer here is a regular con tributer for magazines. and he authored the believing brain from ghost to god to policy and conspiracy theories
and how we we enforce the truth. the mind of the market on evolutionary economics. why darwin matters. and the skinscience of good and evil. please welcome, the author of our book we will talk about today, michael shermer. >> thank for having me. thank for it snow. it was 80 when i left southern california and i forgot a jacket. i don't have a jacket. just this. you make adjustments. the human progress website is really good. there is quite a few of us talking about moral progress. it is not really poplar. there is reasons why being a
pessimist sells better than being an optimistic. science and reason is my thing and i have written and talked about pseudo science and science and religion and science and morality and what extent science can have anything to say about morality and it has nothing to say about right and wrong and human values. that is part of thunone of the theisis in my book. my title comes from the inspiration speech probably the second great-est speech, martin luther king gave and the march from selma which is in a film
now. i thought it was a great story of watt it was taken. the speech wasn't on the steps of the capital. everything says from the selma march he gave the speech on the capital steps but he didn't. they had to do it on the back of a flat bed truck parked in front on the street. he was in a 19 getahth century creature named theodore parker and he said his eye reaches little ways and i cannot tell but it looks like the arc of the moral universe bends toward just. it worked. the civil rights movement the demanding of equal rights resulting in the voting rights act of 1965 and about four or five months later you can see
doctor king looking over his shoulders. and granting the franchise to all adults in a society is what we mean by a liberal democracy where everyone votes. i will have a few data sets here and it shows there were none in 1800. it wasn't until after the first and second world warp was there a burst in democracy. some are more transparent and some more corrupt. money doesn't influence ours you know. i think mish america shred from an eight to a seven. that is a sign of moral progress if you think expanding the spear to let more people have equal rights that is a part of it.
the women's rights and the franchise granted to women is another part of this. i have the slide clicker thing here. do i need -- here we go. sorry about that. >> that is okay. i am just use my hands. you can see this isn't passed until 1920 but we are ahead of everyone else. the areas in the 1800s where women were granted the right to vote. in pick island with 12 people there so it is easy toget. now every country almost has it perhaps the saudi arabian area and i like the vatican said never. how do rights come about? they start from the bottom up'.
it is the process of the people that don't have the rights demand they have them. they march protest and say this isn't right and we will not put up with it anymore. i came across this amazing photograph of one of the early right revolution leader in a march in washington, d.c. in 1913 leading it on this white stallion. i would follow her anywhere on the white stallion. it would be hard to object and stand in front of that. horses are big. and sense then i have chapter on civil, gay, animal rights and i will talk about those. but the turning point in the mid-1990s when the percentage of 24-25
2434-year-old women with a klemm college degree doped to a 7% gap ahead of men and crossed the line in the early 1990s. and having a college degree correlated with the economic prosperity so the gap of the 24-38 year olds. 67% difference in 1980 to 93% difference in 2012. you will see a smaller number hike 77% but that is because they are counting all age groups. what the rights revolution often happened is there is a gap demographically-cross time but this is the most important one that shows progress i think. now we have in the middle of another right's revolution and we can see this unfolding and keep track of who is against it who is for it and how the
change comes about. it started in 1979 in new york with the protests at stone wall and you can see the changing attitudes from the early 1970s when most people believed that gays should not have equal opportunity and gay marnl shouldn't be legal to a crossing over of 20most percent. even the president changed his mind. in 2008 he said i believe marriage is between a man and a woman and i am not in favor of gay marriage. now in 2012 he said i concluded it is important for me to go ahead and affirm i think same-sex couples should be able to get married. you can see where it crossed. right around the time he changed his mind that is of course, what politicians do but that is
what everybody does. people just get swept along with the tide of the changing rights revolution. and chose a-- those -- opposed just quit talking about it. rarely do you come out and say you changed your mind unless you are the president. in germany, gay marriage and same-sex marriage and gay rights is not controversial. these are friends of my wife who is german. they got married and there is lots of seism-sex marriage there. it is no big deal. no one talks about it. it is a non-event and they look at us like we are barbaric for having the conversation. you can see how it comes about in age. people born after 1981 are in most favor. generation x is slowly behind.
the baby boomers are being slowly pulled on and the old school silent generation is holding on for dear life. not like to give it up but they will be gone soon enough anyway. that is an old observation called the plunk problem that mark plunk observed in science revolutions only change when the old garde dies out. whew poses this? of course primarily religious fundamentalist and literalist. white evangelicals and catholics are largely against it. the revolution is led by the religiously unaffiliated and the secular jews and apis cupailians were in favor of jews long ago. and by the way, i have good news
for you libertarians in favor of the legalization of pot and gay marriage -- i found biblical support for both. in luviticus, it says if a man lies with another man he must be stoned. [laughter] >> so other signs of progress, the abolition of torture collapsed by the mid-19th century. the united states injunction against cruel and unusual punishment includes torture, not including enhances interrogation. breaking on the wheel used to be common. after you poke him through of hol holes, burn him and strap him to a wheel.
>> at. >> that's is still approved by the way. has well as the savior of the argument of the death penalty and in europe the death penalty is dead and in the united states is on its way to extinction. here are the more corrupt cadres to miss a practice killing each other. the earliest portrayal of an execution ever found and it is interpreted as the execution of lying on the ground.
and that is ours with hunters and gatherers. the reason for this is because to have the relatively and peace society to do with the bullies. and to embarrass them were not inviting them to your party. and those that play nice by the rules and almost every group practices capital punishment. and then by chance somebody who is a real bastard lot come around, really there are stories how they do it is an eye opener. they'll have more remain
techniques like a guillotine or firing squad or the electric chair or process of botched executions through drugs but is said they take amount for a hunting expedition and do not come back with them. , fill them with arrows, throw them over the cliff but that is a fairly barbaric way to deal with problems like that. in the united states the death sentence has been collapsing dropping dramatically since the mid 90's that was reflecting the crime wave of '70s and '80s as moret death penalties were handed out in behind better the executions actually carried out hour on the decline. most criminals on death row die of old age before they are executed which is like
100 percent more cost to house someone on death row so i am predicting if you follow that curve and the way the rape -- the states are changing their stance it will be the mid 2025 there will be no more death penalty in the united states. that is my prediction. with the abolition of slavery of course, and is driven by quakers and mennonites but there were religious people who promoted the abolition of slavery but really look at the abolitionists they were inspired by the declaration of independence and the french revolution.
so what you see in their literature and there is nothing then says that slavery is wrong. in that sense with the creator wrote of book as a guide to morality the not only is it not mentioned but how you treat your slaves it doesn't come about until enlightenment philosophers of equal treatment under the law that people should not be treated as a means to an end. so how far is that moral are bent?
today's conservatives a more liberal than liberals were in the '50s. think about that. with social attitudes alone not policy but how they treat blacks and women and minorities and so forth. compared to the '50s. there is exceptions. what about terrorism? because it is in the news every day. fisker i am not sure it is the problem really are what we should be concerned about all though it could work by terrorizing government spending trillions of dollars but supposedly the real threat was to quantify political scientist who had an amazing data sets of
campaign for political change of violent and non-violent to track those successful campaigns where about twice successful than partially successful then failed attempts at political change with filing campaigns are much more likely to fail. tracking over time you can see where in the '50s it continues on much more genetically today. pointing out that no terrorist organization has overturned a state to establish a new government for example,. the few are worried about terrorist taking over the country that will not happen. even isis is not really a state but like a case of the
nazis but it is different then the terrorist threat. as the existential threat unless you want to argue spending trillions of dollars but we have stories in the news donald sterling lyon from los angeles you know, the owner of the clippers he was in the news every night and leaders were calling for a crisis intervention and in private to his mistress complaining as the and men as gay.
weber not private inner pretty vocal. not like donald sterling but they were not quiet about their attitudes it was understood that is how they thought and they don't think like that anymore. these are tragedies put on the other hand, with police brutality it was much higher than it is today also to attract optimistic trends with civilization with the data set with the late 1800's his heroes out remember interracial marriage was a controversy? i don't because it was so long ago but they would say that blacks and whites
should not be allowed to marry. in 1959 i know anybody to even discuss is it any more. although i am perplexed by the 87 percent figure that is 13% that said they would not approve of a marriage between a black-and-white? why not 100 percent? i don't know. i magazine publisher also don't really deal with his long to portray famous people and a nasty sarcastic way end as the real issue
was about jesus days budapest's arrives atheist rule so this is the elephant in the room. all of my friends are wringing their hands. liberals are in favor of free speech sometimes they will conflict but to verify what we are criticizing whenever you're style but the ideas we should focus not the people but the
problem is too broad so even religious extremist they are a way out there they will kill anything not even above. but in particular those believed to violence is a problem. with a part of the sharia law was so we should be focused on. the analogy and make it in the book is if you believe women cavorting with demons in the middle of the night
causes bad weather and disease then you are insane or 500 years ago everybody believed that. they did believe they're doing something to help our group and community but then to think of their cavorting it causes bad weather but to have a deeper principle of human flourishing in equal rights. but often moral problems people think this is a good way to treat people and it is not a real has been effective and it won't. as my friend said and islam is the mother lode of bad ideas.
but few of those percentages with the moral -- "the moral arc" dening backwards but to get the general sense this is not a tiny handful of bad apples that we don't have to worry about. it is something to be concerned about. the higher support for sharia law is higher or islam is a favored religion. 91% in malaysia they are not trivial numbers even though it is the real world but -- word of god so it goes
backwards against the indictment idea not the guys radio of how that works and those to leave on the right for corporal punishment. you can see these nine new to where the guy is sitting there bent over so it is not really punishment. but there really is painful and destructive. but the moderates are enabling the extremist. >> host: i believe is sharia law does somebody
else says i believe it also. it is the small step once you believe the bad idea that is why we should be focused on these bad idea is if you shall not murder our freedoms. and the independents had this powerful bull europeans ever doing anything remotely like this so from the land of free speech people are terrified about offending people. that is a concern that is a debatable subject. so we publish the things that's how we make progress. the second part of the talk
is what caused all of this good news. so for the most part it is spending. with the expanding laurel's ear concern for the self when going now to your extended family the basic evolutionary model goes out to the curve with the first moral principle is to help in the seconded is reciprocity. so that takes care of everybody but you're teams are more likely to be propagated by helping to be genetically related or friend that will help you when you are in need. that has been worked out mathematical biologist.
, we have a dark side by the bullies and the free riders. so we have a dual nature of good and evil cooperative bank competitive altruistic and greedy that we have better angels and you were demons now i will show you a video clip that captures the dual nature that we have the sense of wanting to help somebody not hurt but impose justice on somebody who hurt somebody else. one day i a stumble across this short video clips it is only 20 seconds while i was watching cat videos. [laughter] you will see the three people talking for but i think it is in europe somewhere he reaches out to shoveler backwards she stumbles back the guy misses her and then she goes.
then he stops then another urge bubbles up like that no good bastardy and he called cocks the guy. twice. then he says looks like summer also was supposed to be in people's morale of the pit. he asks her if she is okay i will show with twice because there is a guy at the top of the screen looks the key is running to help but then all the sudden he turns and chases the guy. here we go. ♪
an experiment and you may have seen this before which the capitular and monkeys are taught to associate these little pebbles with food that they like. it is like money then they have a dollar than they get a cucumber or a great. they like grapes better than and cucumbers. who doesn't? and also i write about this there is supply in and demand curve that goes along with this that there is way more supply and then demanded changes they're deeply ingrained but then no one on the left changes and he is happy when changes his
[laughter] so we'll have this instinct and i can prove it had ever fantasize about killing someone that you don't like? be honest. come on. that is a right to a level solid you. this is the research reporting in the books the murderer next-door y n y designed to kill. here is the data set males vs. emails men are twice as likely to frequently think about killing somebody but then the women start to catch up to provide colorful examples like one guy said he would 80 percent of the way he would break every bone in his body then
punctured his lungs and other organs to inflict as much pain as possible before killing him. she thought about running to kill a boyfriend to threaten to make public their sexual videos. then i was peeling the carrots to make a salad i came to him laughing gently city with the suspect anything. thought about grabbing penknife quickly stabbing in in just until he was dead but he saw my intentions and ran away. [laughter] so the idea that the mind is designed to kill we want revenge and as speaker says it isn't that we don't have enough morality but there is too much moralizing and most homicides about 90 percent
are moralistic in nature that the victim deserves to die. so we all want justice but if there is not a civil state to adjudicate properly execute justice then we will do with ourselves that is self-help justice so where the committee does not believe that the courts are fair and day undertake justice themselves leading to an increase of violence and one of the reason our rates of homicide are eight times higher than europe we have eight per 100,000 because we have guns and illegal drugs so for another rival gang violates your turf you cannot go to the police say you have to
settle yourself my argument is ever since the scientific revolution we have been solving social problems homicides are problem to be solved in these are all scientist but i have all whole chapter on this they were inspired in their field and they wanted to do what they did with biology to apply science to solve economic and political and social problems so one of the books is called lifeline
is us senator to have a legitimate use of force this explains a lot why did ferguson happen? it is a violation so there is only one result that will happen and that is why this is installed to the police are fair but a decrease is incentives for explicative attacks reduces the need for vengeance in replaces selfie hope justice's criminal justice with the culture of honor and a lot. we need a shadow of the enforcement to be sure we are nice to one another and moral you cannot rely on human nature of lot. with altruistic punishment
he may be familiar with these experiments but if each player gets $10 it is that you can make an anonymous contribution however much you want into the envelope anonymously nobody knows how much you gave. so whatever amount is in there i will multiplied times 1.five then distributed equally among everybody. so if all four give $10 that is $60 and we divided equally so we each get $15 a year $5 richer. but what happens there is no way to punish the free riders but if one says i will the $5 but the other
players each get $10 so now you have $35 the the first one has $18 because he kept his first $5 if you cheat a little bit you could have an advantage over other people. do people really do that? yes. of lsi is the data showing contributions over six rounds, declined quickly if somebody doesn't somebody will doesn't then they say i am not getting as much so i will hold some back and will cascade. to have an element of transparency we know who gave how much it and opportunity to punish after
words said people got very generous. and that we need a civil society based on the rule of law and the scales the blindfold saluted as the sword to enforce the rules. we don't like any government that is too general to say religion is the problem. it is the same with the live on state. with the killings were the murders of civilians by governments have been to the 20th century saw it is not fair to say that so actually to make the distinction and death by government to tell us how many have been murdered by their own government is staggering in the hundreds of millions but then to show democracy as
the method of nonviolence says was first put forth by the book ironically titled perpetual peace that democracy trade and international community was confirmed by many political scientist to use the of interstate disputes and the project that assigns the scale for each democracy done. when both countries are fully democratic conflicts decrease by 50% when the last democratic member catholics increase by one of the percent so the formula was as it increases the violence decreases.
you cannot just say no to democracy's ever fight. yes they do see you can see what happened with the decline just at the time when democracies with the autocracy in the number of states around 1992. of course, we all love this one the second element is trade which is good because it costs money to steal people's stuff we could invade canada it is an open border and take their nickel but it is cheaper to buy it. to improve the technology to allow ideas over long distances as people can benefit but the moral
concern is then other people are more valuable life than dead so we have seen a result of this not so concerned about the hockey stick of wealth that is the reproduction of the world gdp i found this graph projecting into the 21st century homage richer everybody will be sold will see more wealth accumulated than all previous entries combined but my point is i should point out because of the income inequality debate which is a popular one it is true the rich have gotten richer but has been in the top quintile so if you break
them down the super rich are getting super richer but the bottom quintile did i get bored their richer solo is a debatable topic it is not as bad as it seems party will be extinguished according to the gates foundation by 2050, 94 percent of the world lived in poverty and the rest in extreme poverty is moral progress so with the democracy and trade in the third is governmental organization to tell the ipo to run the regression analysis to find democracy favors peace with
governmental organizations that favor peace those in the top tenth of the scale was all variables are less likely than the average pair to have a militarize dispute in a given year. that is tracking the number of membership level intergovernmental organizations and it is a good test case with the comparative method to see the difference of the autocracy and democracy from space that is in their height switches to 3 inches shorter from the crappy diets and a difference of there per-capita ndp of 19,600 how would you like this 1700 percent raise of your standard of living? these are economic arguments in part but a different argument that if we know
spreading democracy is good because it is better than the autocracy the matter is what we ought to do to expand trade with cuba democracies place more on individual liberty than any other form of government with is the foundation of right and wrong? i start with the individual that can suffer to feel pain races don't suffer individuals suffer gender's don't have a brain but people do races don't vote that women vote people but it is the individual to imagine and natural selection that is a minor
wrinkle but the conclusions ought to be built on human nature and i conclude from and though kay, jr. about the dual nature with a great burden of life is to keep that higher selfie in command every time the lower self accept to tell us to do wrong that we were made for the stars to create for the everlasting born for eternity. with those that ended their allies in spectacular supernova are explosions through those solar system's of planets and capable of knowledge and moral wisdom we are stardust dan goldin
and billion here old carbon. you know, the rest some morality as much carbon atoms can embody and that is "the moral arc" thank you. [applause] >> we will take some questions now the book is "the moral arc" we have copies outside but if we runout is online. but then announce your name and affiliation.
>> i'm a retired educator and journalist. you have a good case and people don't believe it. it is not really necessary but why do you think that? is a religion? of the 24/7 new cycle? so with the average person. >> than he gave a beautiful talk on that question. it is a byproduct of the news media and the blocks that the reports on so here we are standing in front of the school without one
shooting today. so you only hear the bad news so those the lowe's are risk averse, as the way it is phrased that losses hurt twice as much as the gains and feel good. but it probably paid in our past to be more focused on things that take is out of the gene pool because of natural selection would have taken over. so of those to underlings things that is not just religion per se but the sense also depending on your id -- ideology.
also for fund-raising and nonprofits that we don't use the money that match that people are starving and dying. >> congratulations on another excellent book. since martin luther king made famous his speech 400,000 blacks have been killed by other blacks. with that demographic issue so to seeing the crime rate going down but i want to ask
the question of the problem that could stifle future progress. those that cause inner-city pathology into it and do the same thing. >> what about the same value? >> it is individual autonomy and of personal irresponsibility i am not responsible for myself with the number of factors spirit there are factors on both sides. >> i generally try to look
to be believed i think they had it with michael brown walking down the street i don't think we know exactly how he said its then all of a sudden because if you don't we are the enforcers of the rules. but once you reach for a cop's gun is over you're likely to be shot. that is when forward panic like the amygdala in the limbic system it will flood your brain with hormones said it is survival the classic example is rodney king beating for but it is a
culmination of long periods of things that got the cops all riled up to the super emotional. and just to keep it in check. the other is slightly different but maybe some poverty or what is deeper so with those inner-city is perhaps with those family issues for fatherhood something like two were three times worse from when moynihan first published
it was a cover-up. >> first of all, i am glad you are doing that to control the three writers and of police -- and police -- bullies but. >> for the most part mistakes were made but not by me. [laughter] this is a third person reference to the direct action as something happen and i am sorry if you misinterpreted that is say half-assed apology. so the answer is the moment you are committed to the action it is almost
impossible to back out to change our mind every explain why that is also to be discovered from leon schlesinger from 1954 in chicago wait for the mother ship to come. so curious what will happen the fed does not come. to think that is a stupid idea but no with the intensity of the belief tuesday know it is next year. so they rationalized to get back to the loss aversion to get back when it is wrong
but it is counter intuitive and irrational. >> the people come to us to reverse so actually you can show that they profit somehow when celebrities do something stupid then they go on this in a show to apologize with is the cause a correlation between "the moral arc" bending toward justice so is their empathy or isolating? para talk about bendy because of technology with
those book publications with the literacy rates this is part of it to go up for abstract reasoning. and counting on you young students before the baby boomers hit though wall. but the increase of the ability and power is one of the drivers to reason the impulse and i have the data set on experiments with people that read a lot of literature and the ability to mind read or facial expressions are other tasks
themselves after the scientific revolution. a consciously made an analogy the articulation of the blood the money circulating is like blood through the human body too much government restriction on the economy and that it impedes from the rational scientific perspective. what is the best way? that is the big driver. >> i just want to see this
any of that. i just have this feeling so the hon there were the sexual impulse is a basic devotion that drives everything through natural selection in. but morally motions are the same way. so your genetic contribution is not compromised or your relationship with your significant other or deal with the justice or the unfairness. you really have to strike back but to kick the other organism so you have to be careful who or what you are kicking. it is not like a defect in the nature yellen to stand up to be a social primate to
thinking when you finally got away that we really should not drown the stages people to see some of the trial said judges basically did not believe witchcraft was a real phenomenon. so can you reflect. >> i have a story about a german the mayor of the town or the magistrate that may be torturing the women is not such a good idea but the jesuit in charge of fell whole in position they were
told believers. he said i have strong feeling these two men are warlocks, 40 with satan executioner crank up the torture we'll. what do you say now? >> oh, yes. i have seen both of them the work of 40 with a double and turned into goats. you still think it is a good idea? that started the abolition of witchcraft there are still some with superstition
and that will all go away. >> richard kennedy retired analyst. also why people believe we're a things i loved that book. that is to get marijuana legalized with while in graduate school i just wander from your perspective any reason why it has taken so long? >> it is social and political with a puritan streak but once you go down the path we have spent against it for half a century committed to