To the Best of Our Knowledge: Are Humans Innately Good?

  • by Jim Fleming
  • 0 hrs and 52 mins
  • Radio/TV Program

Publisher's Summary

In this hour, it's a question that has kept generations of philosophers and college students up at night: are humans innately good? Ron Shaich, the founder of Panera Bread Company, has come up with a new business model: cafes where customers pay what they want or can afford. He tells Jim Fleming why he expects Panera Cares Cafes to work.
Next, for centuries religions set moral boundaries. In his new book The Moral Landscape prominent atheist Sam Harris argues that science should set them. He tells Steve Paulson there are right and wrong answers and they are found in science.
Then, primatologists and evolutionary biologists often point to chimpanzees to explain human nature. They are our closest living non-human relatives, and their behavior is remarkably similar to ours. But we have another family of ape relatives, the bonobos, who are gentle, pacifist, and matriarchal. Researcher Vanessa Woods, author of Bonobo Handshake, tells Anne Strainchamps we all need to ask ourselves are we chimp or bonobo?
After that, if evolution is a game called survival of the fittest, how do you explain altruism? The "altruism equation" is a mathematical rule discovered by George Price. A brilliant and remarkable man, he eventually gave up everything he owned and became homeless. Biographer Oren Harmen, whose new book is The Price of Altruism, tells Steve Paulson George Price really wanted to know why people help each other?
And finally, religious historian Karen Armstrong doesn't like the either/or, good/evil dichotomy. She believes we are hard-wired to be both selfish and kind. Her new book is called 12 Steps to Compassion and she tells Anne Strainchamps the cornerstone of everything is the Golden Rule. [Broadcast Date: February 1, 2012]


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Book Details

  • Release Date: 02-01-2012
  • Publisher: Wisconsin Public Radio (To the Best of Our Knowledge)