The Science of Success

Are Babies Racist? Is Empathy Bad for Society? And More with Dr. Paul Bloom

February 23, 2017
In this episode we start with a dive into evolutionary psychology and how biases have been programmed into you by millions of years of evolution, look at why our guest condemns the concept of Empathy, how the science demonstrates that empathy has no correlation with doing good in the world, how empathy creates disastrous outcomes, and more with our guest Dr. Paul Bloom

Dr. Paul Bloom is a Professor of Psychology and Cognitive Science at Yale University and received his PhD from MIT. Paul is the coeditor of the journal Behavior and Brain Sciences and author of several books including Just Babies: The Origins of Good and Evil, and most recently Against Empathy: The Case For Rational Compassion.
  • We dig into Paul’s research on babies and their innate sense of right and wrong
  • A surprising and extremely powerful source of bias that babies innately have
  • The in-group vs out-group and how babies slice up and divide the world
  • How dividing a group by coin flips can create serious behavioral biases towards your own group
  • Evolutionary psychology and how biases have been programmed into you by millions of years of evolution
  • The morality of evolution and how kindness evolved 
  • How people, from an evolutionary point of view, think about strangers
  • The definition of empathy and how Paul defines it
  • Why Paul criticizes the concept of empathy
  • Why feeling the feelings of others is a really lousy moral guide
  • Why the science shows that empathy has no correlation with how much good people do in the world
  • What happens when soccer fans see someone shocked and how they're brains respond completely differently if its a fan of their team vs their opponents team
  • How our natural empathy response is riddled with extreme bias
  • How empathy creates disastrous political outcomes
  • The "Willy Horton incident" and how the empathic response resulted in more rapes and murders
  • Why Paul says controversially that mass shootings are objectively less than a rounding error
  • Why being against empathy doesn't mean we should turn into cold blooded monsters
  • The distinction between empathy and compassion and why its so critical
  • How Buddhist philosophy lead Paul to move away from empathy and towards compassion
  • Why its so critical to be aware of your biases before you can shift them and overcome them
  • Why we are more than just our biases and limitations
  • Pauls vision for the human future and how an awareness of our biases is critical to build a future where rational and logical thinking can move us to a better future
  • And more!