Friends and Fans — I have retired from my work as a public intellectual, so Philosophy in Action is on indefinite hiatus. Please check out the voluminous archive of free podcasts, as well as the premium audio content still available for sale. My two books — Responsibility & Luck: A Defense of Praise and Blame and Explore Atlas Shrugged — are available for purchase too. Best wishes! — Diana Brickell (Hsieh)


Evolution

  • Chat: Design Arguments for the Existence of God, Part 4: 11 Dec 2014
  • Summary: Does the complexity, delicacy, and purposefulness of living organisms prove the existence of God? William Paley argues that it does in his Analogical Argument from Design. Here, we explore philosophical objections to his argument, as well as the alternative explanation of evolutionary theory.

    This podcast is part of ReligionCasts – my series of podcasts on the philosophy of religion.

    Tags: Biology, Christianity, Creationism, Evolution, Evolution, God, Metaphysics, Philosophy, Physics, Religion, Science, Theology

  • Q&A: Evolution and Objectivism: 4 Aug 2013, Question 2
  • Question: Does evolutionary theory contradict the principles of Objectivism? I am new to atheism and Ayn Rand's philosophy of Objectivism, and I embrace both wholeheartedly. However, I take issue with the theory of evolution. Atheism seems to imply evolution, but evolution seems to clash with Objectivism. Evolution holds that man is an insignificant piece of the larger, grander picture of the randomness that is life, that man is just one small insignificant step in the collective evolution of the earth, and that man is one with Mother Earth, not superior to it. In contrast, Objectivism holds that man has a purpose and that man is the most significant being, supreme over all other life. Also, Objectivism holds that "A is A" and that "Existence exists." Evolution, in contrast, claims that life came from non-life, fish came from non-fish, and man came from non-man – meaning that A came from non-A. Am I correct in my criticisms? Might some theory other than evolution be more compatible with Objectivism?

    Tags: Egoism, Epistemology, Ethics, Evolution, Human Nature, Logic, Meaning, Metaphysics, Objectivism, Rationalism, Science

  • Q&A: People Too Young to Raise Children: 23 Jun 2013, Question 3
  • Question: What's the rationale for declaring some physically mature people too young to have children? Given that nature has dictated that both male and female humans can procreate in their early teens and given that morality is deduced from reality, why would sex and procreation at that young age be immoral? Isn't that what nature intended? More generally, is there a rational basis for moral judgments about the proper age of procreation? Or is it purely subjective?

    Tags: Biology, Children, Ethics, Evolution, Family, Independence, Parenting, Parenting, Rationalism, Young Adults

  • Interview: Dr. Monica Hughes on Myths about Evolutionary Theory: 19 Jun 2013
  • Summary: Many Americans are woefully ignorant of the basics of evolutionary theory, even while they criticize or reject it. Biologist Monica Hughes explained the basics of evolutionary theory, including some fascinating examples of evolution in action. Then she discussed and dispelled some common myths about it.

    Tags: Biology, Creationism, Evolution, God, Religion, Religion, Science

  • Interview: Dr. Doug McGuff on Strength Training Using Body by Science: 5 Dec 2012
  • Summary: Most people suppose that fitness requires long "cardio" sessions of running, biking, stair-climbing, or the like. In contrast, Dr. Doug McGuff advocates brief, infrequent, and high-intensity weight training using slow movements. Does this approach work? What are its benefits and costs compared to other fitness regimens?

    Tags: Diet, Evolution, Fitness, Health, Paleo, Science, Sports

  • Q&A: Genetic Influences on Thinking: 2 Oct 2011, Question 3
  • Question: Do our genes affect our reasoning? Evolution makes fruit taste sweet and burning human flesh smell awful. Presumably, evolution can hard wire pleasures and pains because interaction with that thing has caused our ancestors to live longer or die earlier. Wouldn't this same process make certain actions easier or more difficult, such as sacrificing yourself to save your child versus watching your child die? Couldn't evolution affect that decision by making focus more difficult, so that a person is easier impelled by his immediate emotions?

    Tags: Evolution, Free Will, Psychology, Rationality, Science, Values

  • Q&A: Evolutionary Psychology: 20 Feb 2011, Question 2
  • Question: What is your opinion of evolutionary psychology? For example, a recent study claims that there is a gene for being a political liberal. Or another claim is that studies show that women are "hypergamous" in that they are "wired" to seek out the most "socially dominant" men that they can find in the "sexual market". What is your opinion on all this?

    Tags: Evolution, Free Will, Psychology, Science, Sex

  • Podcast: Design Arguments for the Existence of God, Part 3: 2 Nov 2009
  • Summary: Does the complexity, delicacy, and purposefulness of living organisms prove the existence of God? William Paley argues that it does in his Analogical Argument from Design. Here, I explain his argument, including his analogy between living organisms and machines.

    This podcast is part of ReligionCasts – my series of podcasts on the philosophy of religion.

    Tags: Biology, Christianity, Creationism, Evolution, God, Metaphysics, Philosophy, Physics, Religion, Science, Theology


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