The evolution of human morality | The Darwin Day Lecture 2018
About the lecture
Human morality developed in small face-to-face groups in which humans lived for the last hundreds of thousands of years. In these environments, those who succeeded protected themselves against hostile outgroups, butchered animals, prioritized the welfare of themselves and their kin and managed to maintain a moral reputation while finding available opportunities for cheating. Humanity's moral limitations are plain in a world that is so different compared to the environment in which we evolved. Now that we are aware of the suffering of billions of strangers and trillions of animals, our moral inconsistencies are magnified by surveillance, and we must prevent artificial agents developing a morality completely antithetical to our survival. How does our evolved morality cope with this novel ethical landscape, and will we allow ourselves moral enhancement?
An evolutionary psychologist at the University of Portsmouth, Diana’s work focuses on developing a better understanding of what it means to be human, including the biology and psychology of topics such as sexuality, disease, and disgust.
About Professor Jim Al-Khalili
Jim Al-Khalili OBE is a British scientist, author and broadcaster. A well-known science communicator, he is a leading theoretical physicist based at the University of Surrey, where he teaches and carries out research in quantum mechanics, and also holds a chair in the Public Engagement in Science. He has written a number of popular science books, including Pathfinders: The Golden Age of Arabic Science and Quantum: A Guide for the Perplexed. He has presented several television and radio documentaries, including the BAFTA-nominated Chemistry: A Volatile History and The Secret Life of Chaos. He is a Vice President of Humanists UK, having been President from 2012 to 2015.
Please note that doors open at 19:00 for a 19:30 start.
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