If someone develops a brain tumor that affects their decision-making, how responsible are they for their actions? Is a sense of meaning more important than a sense of right and wrong? How does religion change the way we talk about questions of good and evil?

These are a few of the questions that the Winter 2015 Sinai and Synapses Discussion Forum explores.

A Moral Life? Or a Meaningful Life?

Meaning of Life  While meaning is certainly subjective, morality is also not completely objective, either.

This Week in Science and Morality – 2/9/15

Whether “harmless wrongs” exist, reason as a force for morality, and why it’s dangerous to be certain of your own salvation — here’s what’s new this week in the world of science and morality.

Why We Should Value — But Not Worship — Reason

Chapel Hill ShootingA “reasonable” person killed three people — and that fact should scare any of us who think pure rationality can make our world better.

This Week in Science and Morality – 2/17/15

Why morality can lead to violence, how anxiety can lead to ethical behavior, and why we need compassion for online trolls — here’s what’s new in science and morality this week.

This Week in Science and Morality – 2/23/15

What ISIS truly wants, why we need sophisticated religion, and why work can bring out the worst in us — here’s what’s new in science and morality this week.

Barry Freundel and the Dangers of Power

Barry FreundelWhen we are in a position of power, we need to be that much more attuned to our responsibility to be empathetic and compassionate.

This Week in Science and Morality – 3/2/15

Why your heroes weren’t so great, whether violence can be moral, and whether right and wrong is a question of fact or opinion — here’s what’s new in science and morality this week.

Science, Religion and the Moral Arc – An Interview with Michael Shermer

Moral-Arc-banner-eSkepticIs the world becoming more just? Michael Shermer, author of the new book “The Moral Arc” thinks so. But can science truly make the world better? And if so, what role does religion play?

This Week in Science and Morality – 3/9/15

The mentality of mass murder, how religion can foster climate denial and why the Catholic Church is saying “capital punishment must end” — here’s what’s new in science and morality this week.

The Genius of Good and Evil

Genius of Good and EvilAs part of the 92nd St. Y’s “7 Days of Genius” Festival, get to the very heart of right and wrong with Professor Michael Shermer and Rabbi Geoffrey A. Mitelman on “The Genius of Good and Evil.”

This Week in Science and Morality – 3/16/15

Moral robots, strengthening morality through biological enhancement, and the science of forgiveness and gratitude — here’s what’s new in science and morality this week.

To Overcome Evil, We Need to Rethink Shame

Bronze Serpent 2Rev. Dr. Gawain de Leeuw, an Episcopal priest in White Plains, suggests that perhaps evil is rooted in our need to cover up that which threatens to make us discardable and invisible.

This Week in Science and Morality – 3/24/15

How being moral helps a company’s bottom line, what “the mind of God” truly cares about, and how our eyes reflect our moral choices — here’s what’s new in science and morality.

This Week in Science and Morality – 3/30/15

james_inhofe_snowballRight and wrong in 2115, whether our rights come from God or the state, and where religion fits into the morality of climate change — here’s what’s new in science and morality this week.

“From Shame to Praise” – Trevor Noah, Monica Lewinsky and Us

Trevor NoahOur reaction to Trevor Noah or Lena Dunham is not so much about them as it is about us.

This Week in Science and Morality – 4/6/15

Indiana CakeComplexities from Indiana’s RFRA law, finding toxic employees before they are hired, and how millenials view sexual ethics — here’s what’s new in science and morality this week.

This Week in Science and Morality – 4/13/15

Firearms Enthusiasts Practice Shooting At Gun RangeUnderstanding the brains of killers, using “religious liberty” to encourage tolerance, and the possible historical link between affluence and moral religions – here’s what’s new in science and morality this week.

The Dark Side of Sacrifice

Suicide_Bomb_VestSacrifice necessarily implies a level of altruism towards others, a commitment to a larger organization, and devotion to a greater cause. But there can be a dark side to these values, as well.

This Week in Science and Morality – 4/20/15

iRobot_G_07The good things we can learn from psychopaths, the different ways we talk about God vs. facts, and robot ethics — here’s what’s new in science and morality this week.

Is Religion Evolutionarily Adaptive?

Progress of lighting with candle, tungsten, fluorescent and LEDConnor Wood argues that religion’s evolutionary adaptiveness (or lack thereof) shouldn’t have the slightest bearing on the epistemic credibility of religious beliefs, or the ultimate goodness of religion.

This Week in Science and Morality – 4/27/15

Whether Dzhokar Tsarnev had free will, how “Star Wars” explores and subverts Christian themes, and the constant battle of America’s culture wars — here’s what’s new in science and morality this week.

This Week in Science and Morality – 5/4/15

The moral questions surrounding technological advances that advance life, maximizing goodness using reason and logic, and the complicated nature of goodness and power — here’s what’s new in science and morality this week.

Anthropology, Not Demagoguery, Is the Way to Understand ISIS

ISIS FlagConnor Wood believes that instead of writing off the enemy as evil animals who are motivated by greed or mental illness, an anthropologist actually tries to understand where ISIS is coming from, so as to better interpret their motives.