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" I never outgrew my conversion to atheism at 13, but at various times was a serious cultural Jew. "
" There is a correlation between economic inequality and personal violence. The explanation for the correlation isn't completely clear; there are a number of possibilities. "
" Students do everything on laptops these days, so I definitely think electronic books are a trend that's going to expand. "
" Heritability pertains to the entirety of the genome, not to a single gene. "
" Personality and socialization aren't the same thing. "
" Academics lack perspective. In a debate on whether the world is round, they would argue, 'No,' because it's an oblate spheroid. They suffer from 'the curse of knowledge': the inability to imagine what it's like not to know something that they know. "
" Broadly speaking, the Southern and Western desert and mountain states will vote for the candidate who endorses an aggressive military, a role for religion in public life, laissez-faire economic policies, private ownership of guns and relaxed conditions for using them, less regulation and taxation, and a valorization of the traditional family. "
" M.I.T. has a reputation for turning out Dilberts. They may be brilliant in what they do, but no one can understand what they say. "
" The decline of violence is a fractal phenomenon. You can see it over millennia, over centuries, over decades and over years. "
" You could think of an ecosystem as a bunch of antagonistic arms races, almost: Everything that an animal depends upon for food is the body part of some other animal or plant who would just as soon keep that body part for itself. "
" Morality is not just any old topic in psychology but close to our conception of the meaning of life. Moral goodness is what gives each of us the sense that we are worthy human beings. "
" Climate change could produce a lot of misery and waste without necessarily leading to large-scale armed conflict, which depends more on ideology and bad governance than on resource scarcity. "
" 'Capitalism' is a dirty word for many intellectuals, but there are a number of studies showing that open economies and free trade are negatively correlated with genocide and war. "
" I try to jog in every city I visit, and I particularly enjoy harbour-front paths that let me ogle big ships, railroad bridges and the ruins of factories and warehouses. "
" Today we take it for granted that war happens in smaller, poorer and more backward countries. "
" I suspect music is auditory cheesecake, an exquisite confection crafted to tickle the sensitive spots of... our mental faculties. "
" Evolutionary psychologists seem to want to unmask our noblest motives as ultimately self-interested - to show that our love for children, compassion for the unfortunate and sense of justice are just tactics in a Darwinian struggle to perpetuate our genes. "
" The decline of violence isn't a steady inclined plane from an original state of maximal and universal bloodshed. Technology, ideology, and social and cultural changes periodically throw out new forms of violence for humanity to contend with. "
" Everywhere you look for comparisons of life under anarchy and life under government, life under government is less violent. "
" The rules of friendship are tacit, unconscious; they are not rational. In business, though, you have to think rationally. "
" No one knows what the nongenetic causes of individuality are. Perhaps people are shaped by modifications of genes that take place after conception, or by haphazard fluctuations in the chemical soup in the womb or the wiring up of the brain or the expression of the genes themselves. "
" I have never been a fan of science fiction. For me, fiction has to explore the combinatorial possibilities of people interacting under the constraints imposed by our biology and history. When an author is free to suspend the constraints, it's tennis without a net. "
" The art of photography is all about directing the attention of the viewer. "
" A decent government with an effective, but not gratuitously violent, police force and a fair court system are essential. This deters and incapacitates psychopaths, bullies and hotheads - and if it earns the confidence of the people, they don't have to become violent in self-defence. "
" We know about every massacre that has taken place close to the present, but the ones in the distant past are like trees falling in the forest with no one to hear them. "
" Everyone's pedigree merges into everyone else's pedigree. So if you go back far enough, everyone is related. "
" One of the things that people complain about is loneliness, disconnectedness. If you live in a society where your life is rarely threatened and most of your relationships are more on an economic exchange basis, then this could leave people feeling less connected. "
" I would argue that nothing gives life more purpose than the realization that every moment of consciousness is a precious and fragile gift. "
" The connections I draw between human nature and political systems in my new book, for example, were prefigured in the debates during the Enlightenment and during the framing of the American Constitution. "
" I don't consider myself to be that radical a thinker. "
" My politics were pretty anarchistic until 1969 when the Montreal police went on strike. Within hours, mayhem and rioting broke out and the Mounties had to be called in to restore order. It instilled in me that one's convictions can be subjected to empirical test. "