We are bombarded daily by news reports of bad behavior, from sexual harassment in the workplace to racist attacks on public transportation to bullying in schools. Although it’s easy to blame these acts on evil people, it’s far more complicated to understand why so many people fail to speak up in the presence of such behavior and how significant a role this silence plays in perpetuating the behavior itself. Using empirical research from psychology, biology, neuroscience, and economics, this talk examines the factors that lead most of us to stay silent in the face of bad behavior, and how the tendency to stay silent allows such acts to continue.
As Martin Luther King Jr. said, “History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people.” Finally, this talk will describe how to overcome the very natural human tendency to remain bystanders in the face of bad behavior and practical strategies we can all use to step up and show moral courage.
Catherine Sanderson / Amherst College
Catherine Sanderson is the Manwell Family Professor of Psychology at Amherst College. Her research has received grant funding from the National Science Foundation and the National Institute of Health. Professor Sanderson has published over 25 journal articles and book chapters in addition to four college textbooks, a high school health textbook, and a popular press book on parenting. In 2012, she was named one of the country’s top 300 professors by the Princeton Review. Professor Sanderson speaks regularly for public and corporate audiences on topics such as the science of happiness, the power of emotional intelligence, the mind-body connection, and the psychology of good and evil. More information on these talks is available on her website: SandersonSpeaking.com.
Modern science has its roots in western religious thought, was nurtured in universities established for religious reasons, and owes some of its greatest discoveries to scientists who themselves were people of faith. Nonetheless, on one issue after another, from evolution to the “big bang” to the age of the Earth itself, religion is often on a collision course with scientific thought. On one side, religious believers have constructed pseudosciences to justify narrow interpretations of scripture or to support specific religious claims. On the other, non-believers have used scientific authority to label faith a “delusion” to be set aside.
Can science and religion truly coexist or are they forever locked in conflict? This one-time-only presentation will approach this question by focusing specifically on a few of today’s most contentious issues. Can science today be understood in a religious context, or have we finally reached the end of faith? Public opinion continues to demonstrate a surprising unwillingness to embrace the scientific consensus on issues affecting the well-being and prosperity of the world. While it might seem logical to attribute anti-science attitudes to dogma or factual unawareness, the roots of this problem go far deeper.
Kenneth Miller / Brown University
Kenneth Miller is a professor of biology at Brown University. He has received 6 major teaching awards at Brown, the Presidential Citation of the American Institute for Biological Science, and the Public Service Award of the American Society for Cell Biology. In 2009 he was honored by the American Association for the Advancement of Science for Advancing the Public Understanding of Science, and also received the Gregor Mendel Medal from Villanova University. In 2011 he was presented with the Stephen Jay Gould Prize by the Society for the Study of Evolution.
Following his death in 1799, George Washington was eulogized as “first in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countryman.” His name is invoked 220 years later as much as a symbol as an actual person.
Few figures in American history are surrounded by more well-intended mythology than George Washington. An examination of Washington must begin with an exploration of his life as a Virginian, military leader, and the first President of the United States, not to mention as a husband and a slaveowner. Any study of Washington must also consider celebrated myths, such as whether he chopped down a cherry tree or wore wooden dentures, as well as famous images, such as Washington Crossing the Delaware. In his lifetime, Washington became a hero unlike any other and although he was very much an eighteenth-century man, he has much to teach us in our own time!
Louis Masur / Rutgers University
Louis Masur is a Distinguished Professor of American Studies and History at Rutgers University. He received outstanding teaching awards from Rutgers, Trinity College, and the City College of New York, and won the Clive Prize for Excellence in Teaching from Harvard University. He is the author of many books including “Lincoln’s Last Speech,” which was inspired by a talk he presented at One Day University. His essays and articles have appeared in the New York Times, Boston Globe, Dallas Morning News, and Chicago Tribune. He is an elected member of the American Antiquarian Society and serves on the Historians’ Council of the Gettysburg Foundation.