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Sunday
Feb142010

RS02 - Love, a Skeptical Inquiry

Release date: February 14, 2010


Will science ever really be able to explain love? Science has already found correlations between particular hormones and certain forms or stages of love. However, no matter how many correlations we find between brain activity and love, correlation does not imply causation. And what does it mean to explain love scientifically -- would that change our attitude towards it?  We realize that raising this subject risks fueling the widespread and irritating misconception that “skeptic” = “cynical killjoy,” which is the last thing we want to do. As good skeptics though, what do we do when faced with a mysterious and unexplained phenomenon? We look for explanations!

Comment on the episode teaser.

Julia's pick: The book What is this thing called science

Massimos pick: Making college 'relevant'

References (1)

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Reader Comments (11)

Great podcast, but you guys really need to think about changing the music..... so bad!

February 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterChris Kimsey

I agree with the first comment, great podcast but good God what terrible music.

February 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKordan

Ever since watching the independent film "Dopamine", the topics discussed here have been a point of fascination to me. Thank you for an enlightening podcast!

March 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSSharp

First we should define LOVE, since the word doesnt mean the sme to everybody.

August 1, 2010 | Unregistered Commentermonica

Massimo is a closet Deepak Chopra fan! Thank goodness for Julia, the true rationalist.

September 30, 2010 | Unregistered Commentersgtobin

Common sense is not very scientific in itself. It is, as Einstein said, it is merely an accumulation of prejudices.

Having clarified that, I think this podcast was good. It opened out a view which questions the stereotypical things people say about love. On the other hand, love causes a mental state which compromises rational thinking. I thought that would´ve been an very interesting aspect to cover.

I must say I think most people do understand the difference between a scientific explaination and personal experience...it is condescending to assume otherwise. Perhaps the reason you assume people have a smug attitude towards things science can´t explain is because rather than to objectively explore these phenomenon, some scientists think their world view is superior to other perspectives. Whereas as Massimo pointed out, there are various levels of understanding, experiencing and thinking about anything. Maybe this is what people intend to convey when they talk about science not being able to address every question at every experential level.

It most surely is not the role of science to address all of them. But then scientists must also put themselves into perpective of a larger world in which scientific exploration is merely a part.

May 23, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJanani

When asked "What is love?" Noam Chomsky, who is one who "loves" to elaborate, answered "I can't explain it, but life without it is empty".

May 21, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRaymond Arruda
Very interesting topic. Isn't Love really just about CommUnity to make it easier for us to stay in Groups and take care of one another rather than people just fending for themselves in an unpredictable World ..

Thanks =)
August 24, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterErnesto
Very interesting topic. Isn't Love really just about CommUnity to make it easier for us to stay in Groups and take care of one another rather than people just fending for themselves in an unpredictable World ..

Thanks =)
August 24, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterErnesto
discuss https://t.co/qjjeTQMPpv
July 5, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterSamantha
Actually, this podcast has good music.

Even with a scientific understanding, lots of phenomena have beauty. In fact, the scientific explanation itself may contribute additional beauty.

The Triangular Theory of Love explains why Love will essentially always have aspects beyond mere biochemistry. The Triangular Theory of Love posits that Love consists of Passion (Infatuation), Intimacy (Friendship), and Commitment (Trust). Although hormones, MHC Factors, and the physical characteristics of a potential mate may largely determine the Sexual Desire that leads to obtaining physical pleasure from sex, Friendship and Trust require a much more complex and intellectual relationship. Furthermore, no matter how attractive someone initially appears, if they have a rotten personality or horrible ethics, that will break down any Infatuation someone else has for that person. Or perhaps one could say that Love not only depends upon the science of Biology, but also Psychology as well.

Employers definitely want more STEM skills, but in most STEM classes students don't spend enough time learning how to reason and communicate. Perhaps we need to change the way we teach STEM.
February 13, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJameson

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