In Beyond Bad author Chris Paley explores how morals are holding humanity back.
Morality is the driving force in every story worth your time: Cinderella to Crime and Punishment; Macbeth to Breaking Bad. Morality's what we're doing when we shout at the telly, gossip about our boss or leave comments online. It's held empires together, kept soldiers marching under fire, fed the hungry, passed laws, built walls, welcomed immigrants, destroyed careers and governed our sex lives.
But what if morality's all meaningless rubbish, a malfunctioning relic of our evolutionary past? This is the provocative argument that Chris makes. This isn't an attack on one set of moral codes or one way of thinking about ethics: it's a call for abolishing the whole caboodle. He uses evolutionary psychology to show how and why morality emerged - to help tribes and other small groups survive and prosper. Our morals, he says, constrain us, biases us, and pushes us in the wrong direction because we fail to understand what limited aims. The biggest challenges our species faces, whether global warming, nuclear proliferation or the rise of the robots, are pan-human. These challenges are beyond what our moral minds were designed to cope with. You can't build smartphones with stone-age axes, and you can't solve modern humanity's problems with tools that are designed to create primitive, competitive groups.
Chris holds an MSci and a PhD from the University of Cambridge. Whilst at Cambridge, the student newspaper listed him as one of the twelve 'movers and shakers' of the year. Chris has written articles for The Times and the Guardian, and has 19,000 Facebook followers. His first book, Unthink, explained why we have consciousness and was published in six languages. FHM wrote that Unthink would leave you 'happier than a rabbit on a carrot farm'. Cardinal Cormac Murphy O'Connor described it as 'an extraordinary thought-provoking book... quite startling. It is a book well worth reading... I look forward to reading his next one on "Freedom and Moral Choices"'