Cosmological Evolution and the Future of Life

Could life have a natural transcendent purpose? If so, what would the implications be for human morality and destiny?

Could Morality Have a Transcendent Evolved Purpose?

Evolutionary theory can explain morality in terms of survival and reproduction. Could it also explain morality in terms of some larger purpose?

Does Science Really Say There’s No Purpose to Life?

Many scientists see humanity as just a cosmic accident. But in a recent journal article, I describe a natural process that could have endowed humanity with an ultimate purpose.

Science and Religion: Compatible or Not?

Is there a worldview that would satisfy our psychological cravings for religion, without requiring us to sacrifice any dedication to science? There probably is, so stay tuned.

To Understand Everything, Understand Evolution

To understand psychology, culture, and maybe even the universe, we need to understand evolution.

Why Progressive Humanist Values Will Ultimately Prevail

Increasing geopolitical instability may threaten progressive, Humanist values in the short-term. But here's why I'm optimistic that these values will ultimately prevail.

Did Religion Evolve to Benefit the Weak or the Powerful?

Who benefits most from religion? You may think you know, but these three observations will make you reconsider.

Surprised These Rockers Are Still Alive?

Why do we so often wait until someone is gone before we openly declare how much they meant to us?

Star Wars, Christmas, and Constraints on Secular Influence

People cherish their beliefs in a destiny-controlling higher power. But does this power have to be supernatural?

Can Life Have Meaning Without God?

Compared to traditional religions, naturalistic philosophies aren't very good at providing a transcendent meaning of life. Does this ruin their ability to complete with religion?

The Pros and Cons of Polygamy

With gay marriage now legal across the USA, some are suggesting that legal polygamy should be next. But would this really be a good idea?

Does Human Nature Make Genocide Inevitable?

I just appeared in a BBC debate about whether future genocide is inevitable. I said that it wasn't, especially if we utilize knowledge about human nature. Here's why I'm so optimistic about our evolved psychology and potential for peace.

The World Needs a Secular Community Revolution

The decline of religious community has made people less happy and less healthy. The solution is to create more naturalistic, secular, quasi-religious communities.

All Psychology Is Evolutionary Psychology

‘Evolutionary psychology’ is a redundancy, in that all psychology is evolutionary psychology. I mean this in the same sense that all anatomy is ‘evolutionary anatomy'.

The Real Reason People Think Promiscuity Is Wrong

Why do many people think promiscuity is morally wrong? STDs may sound like the simplest explanation, but it's probably not the correct one.

Does Science Really Say That Hot Guys Are Jerks?

There have been many recent media stories—with titles like "Science Says: Hot Guys Are A-Holes"—about a new study on attractiveness and behavior. I was lead author on this study, and I'll clarify here what our study really showed.

How Evolutionary Science Can Make Us Morally Better

Because morality is so important, we ought to make sure that we're doing it right. Evolutionary science can help us with that.

Sugar, Salt, and Multiple Wives

In the human evolutionary past, certain resources (such as sugar, fat, and multiple mates) would have been great for survival and reproduction but difficult to acquire. How has the past elusiveness of these resources shaped human appetites for them?

Can Darwin Reveal the Meaning of Life?

What's the meaning of life? An evolutionary approach suggests three possible answers.
The Surprising Source of Our Sexual Morals

The Surprising Source of Our Sexual Morals

Why is promiscuity often regarded as morally wrong? A new study suggests an evolutionary explanation.

Did Leaders Evolve To Be Good Or Evil?

Did the human leader-follower relationship evolve as a kind of mutually-beneficial exchange interaction? And if so, why are we so often plagued by leaders who focus more on exploiting their followers than on benefiting them? A new paper provides answers.

Can Morality Be Based on Reason? My Response to Sam Harris

'New Atheist' Sam Harris recently offered $20,000 to anybody who could convince him, in a 1,000-word essay, to change his mind about how morality can be based on scientific reasoning. Here's the essay I submitted.

What Should the Function of Morality Be?

What is morality supposed to accomplish, and for whom? Too often we're expected to behave morally, without having any understanding of morality's purpose.
Morality Should Manage Human Competitiveness, Not Ignore It

Morality Should Manage Human Competitiveness, Not Ignore It

Many evolution-minded moral philosophers have implored us to maximize the happiness of others, and to suppress our own competitiveness. But is this approach to morality really the best way forward?

How Evolution Enables Morality: A Talk With Jonathan Haidt

Jonathan Haidt, one of the world's best-known psychologists and public intellectuals, wants to know how evolution enables human morality. I interviewed him to find out more about his approach to evolutionary moral psychology.

Is Equality Boring?

Income inequality apparently leads to diverse social problems, from obesity to murder. So why don't Americans prioritize it as an economic problem? Maybe they just think equality sounds boring.

Why Does Morality Focus So Much on Sex?

People often question why so much of morality is focused on sex. Evolutionary science provides an excellent answer.

Human Herding: How People are Like Guppies

Like guppies and many other species, humans herd in order to obtain resources and evade threats. But while herding seems like a safe and prudent strategy to the individuals doing it, it can create massive risks for societies that depend on market economies.

The Simplest Way to Fix Banking: End Bonuses

EU countries are currently considering placing strict limitations on the size of banker bonuses. Is this a good idea? If you value the survival of (Western?) civilization, then the answer in yes.

Punish the Shirkers! Especially the Low-status Ones

When politicians speak of punishing freeloaders, they portray it as a matter of fairness. But their moralizing is too often undermined by a status-based selectivity that isn’t fair at all: low-status people don't freeload more than high-status people, but they're more likely to get punished for it. Why does this bias exist?