For a significant portion of human history, society’s morals were derived from a variety of locations; each civilization had its own unique set of beliefs on important aspects of civic life. As a result, principles of equality and justice were often determined by unscientific beliefs rooted in revelation and tradition. In the book "The Moral Arc," author Michael Shermer contends that though religion was usually expected to keep moral order, it often resulted in some of the worst infringements of human rights the world has ever seen.
Shermer is no stranger to controversy, and as an adjunct professor at Claremont and Chapman Universities, he encourages his students to question what they’ve been told about human morality and how it holds up to scientific analysis. Now, in his newest publication, The Moral Arc, Shermer takes an in-depth look at the concept of an ever-expanding “moral sphere” of humanity that developed shortly after the Enlightenment period. He argues that, since this major paradigm shift, people have become considerate and caring, working harder to extend rights to and improve the living conditions of all people, and even animals.
Shermer joins Larry today to discuss how truth, justice and freedom are all byproducts of a more scientifically-minded society, and looks ahead to what the world of tomorrow can look like if the moral momentum continues.
Michael Shermer, author of “The Moral Arc,” and adjunct professor at Claremont Graduate University and Chapman University