Episode 98 - Cold-Blooded Kindness

October 24, 2011

A disturbing exploration of deadly codependency … and benevolence gone awry. Are some people naturally too caring? Can science help us understand how our concerns for others can hurt everything we hold dear?

These issues are probed in a lecture by Barbara Oakley an associate professor of engineering at Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan. Her work focuses on the complex relationship between neuro-circuitry and social behavior. She is the author of the best-selling Evil Genes: Why Rome Fell, Hitler Rose, Enron Failed, and My Sister Stole My Mother’s Boyfriend, and of Cold-Blooded Kindness: Neuroquirks of a Codependent Killer, from which this lecture is drawn.

This presentation was presented by the Center for Inquiry – Grand Rapids in Grand Rapids, Michigan, on October 14, 2010.


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Episode 98 - Cold-Blooded Kindness



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Comments from the CFI Forums

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From this podcast, it seems that Dr. Oakley is advocating a hypothesis that is not very different from the neocon/libertarian worldview, that altruism is misguided and that selfishness is good. Moreover, in the talk she frequently criticized the practices of modern science as being unscientific, but in her own talk, all of her evidence was anecdotal. I could be wrong, since I am not familiar with her work, but it seems to me that she is promoting Objectivism.

Posted on Oct 26, 2011 at 1:53pm by Gallant Skeptic Comment #1

Good podcast, good topic.  The “cold blooded kindness” needs more study IMO;  Humanists do have a tendency to become hysterical over altruism.

Posted on Oct 26, 2011 at 7:10pm by mid atlantic Comment #2