TED Conversations

Claudio Tarris

Artistic Director, Orquesta de Camara de la UANL

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For the first time I find a talk in TED lacking scientific basis and elemental logic.

For the first time a TED talk is so dissappointingly mediocre in it's logic and scientific basis.The author starts pointing out his obsession with Morality and brings in the quote of beleivers and atheists. So the whole point is connecting endocrinology with Morals.To start with, the triggering of exytocin is common to all mamals, but the concept of morality and Good or Evil only exists in the human specie.
The whlole talk misses the basic fact that the most intense blasts or "shots" of exytocine to the blood stream in all mamals happen in two specific situations : at childbirth in the mothers, and in the stimulation of the nipples by the newborn needing to be fed. This happens for two reasos : if you as a mother have been carrying for months an ever "inflating" stomac, and finally , the release of this unbearable load comes in the form of an unbearable pain and the apearance of a disgusting moving creature, a powwerfull shot of oxytocin is what you need to accept it in a motherly fashion. Just minutes after that, there comes this little monster biting your oversized and painfull breast so, there you need your second shot of oxytocin to really feel empathy for all this horrible experience.
On the other hand, going back to Good and Evil, the author tells us that peace and empathy are very conditions for social animals. Again, he is showing a complete lack of animal and human behavior knowledge: as important as empathy in social annimals and humans is Aggresion, as explained by Konrad Lorenz in his book "the so call Evil". The establishment of an Alfa male and of an Alfa female is fundamental for the survival and evolution of any social group : for protection, best gene combination, best imune system, and best food supply. Agression doesn't mean Evil, and emphaty, and tollerating a little monster like I said is not morally Good. So it may be interesting to know thaw Oxytocin makes the mamals more friendly with one another but is has NOTHING to do with Morality

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    Nov 3 2011: You may be right. I don't think something as large and intricate as 'human morality' is entirely reducible to a particular chemical compound. There is certainly evidence that oxytocin manipulates behavior and mood, but 'human morality' is one of the most complicated and intricate social / psychological / neurological systems on the planet. These chemistry experiments are just another piece of a much larger puzzle.

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