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There was a young man from Moldavia
Who couldn’t believe in the saviour
So he erected instead
With himself as the head
A religion of indecorous behaviour. Author unknown, cited Professors A C Grayling, Hawkins & Dawkins v Neuberger & Spivey & Scrutton
You don’t need religion to behave with ordinary decency and morality. And anyone who says you do, says that you need dictatorial permission to do the right thing. And then you are a serf. Christopher Hitchens v Peter Hitchens 2008
A belief in hell and the knowledge that every ambition is doomed to frustration at the hands of a skeleton have never prevented the majority of human beings from behaving as though death were no more than an unfounded rumour. Aldous Huxley
It’s called the Transylvania Effect ... Does the moon really change our behaviour? Sadly, I don’t think so. Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock, Do We Really Need the Moon? BBC 2011
What is the appropriate behavior for a man or a woman in the midst of this world, where each person is clinging to his piece of debris? What’s the proper salutation between people as they pass each other in this flood? Buddha
In humans the brain has taken over in such a big way that it becomes positively misleading to try to explain human behaviour in a simple-minded naive vehicle for the genes ... What governs how humans behave is an extremely complicated mixture of our genetically provided brains overlain by a massive infusion of culture. Professor Richard Dawkins
A group of thinkers came on to the scene who believed that society could be cured and that human behaviour could be improved. One of these was anthropologist Margaret Mead. Great Thinkers: In Their Own Words 1/3 Human, All Too Human, BBC 2011
In the latter part of the twentieth century a group of British thinkers would emerge who would offer radical new ideas about what makes humans tick. These thinkers would take their cues not from humans but from animals. Enter Desmond Morris who started his career as a zoologist. ibid.
This is where a century of enquiry into human behaviour fought out on the airwaves has brought us. We are undoubtedly products of our biology, and the potential for human failing will always be there. But that doesn’t mean we’re slaves to our nature. The sophistication of the human brain and the ways in which we live together have given us the power to recognise and master our worst impulses. This after all is what being human is all about. ibid.
Now psychiatrists in Britain are using methods very similar to that used on the pigeon to get children to be obedient. Horizon: Breaking In Children, BBC 1981
In the UK behaviour therapy is unpopular in spite of the fat that in America it’s widely used to help parents cope with disobedient but otherwise normal children. ibid.
Children came with a wide variety of behaviour and disorders and symptoms: some were homicidal, quite a few were suicidal, some were non-speaking and mute, others were widely delusional, all had a most traumatic history behind them which explained their behaviour. Although it was sometimes difficult to ascertain their story. Horizon: Bruno Bettelheim: The Man Who Cared for Children, BBC 1987
Modern human behaviour had not started in Europe 40,000 years ago but in Africa at least 30,000 years earlier. The human revolution theory had to be wrong ... Like everything else in Nature thought and language had emerged gradually just as the laws of evolution said they should. Horizon: The Day We Learned To Think, BBC 2003
Mother: They don’t listen to a word I say. I need some help with disciplining them. Horizon, Little Angels, BBC 2004
This is Liam. Aged five he was disruptive, hyperactive, and unable to focus ... Now, five years later, Liam’s life has been transformed. His new-found ability to concentrate is largely due to a drug called Methylphenidate. Best known to most of us as a brand name: Ritalin ... These drugs were originally designed fifty years ago for the treatment of adults with depression. Horizon: Pill Poppers, BBC 2010
ADHD is believed to be caused by an imbalance of key chemical messengers in the areas of the brain that control attention and memory. Ritalin appears to make these messengers more effective, helping to restore attention. Like all drugs, Ritalin comes with a cost. ibid.
In the 1970s and ’80s the rise in new liberal ideas about discipline left a lot of more ordinary families struggling to manage their children’s naughty behaviour. Carrot or Stick? A Horizon Guide to Raising Kids, BBC 2011
Scientists believe a lack of the brain chemical dopamine makes it hard for children with ADHD to control their impulses. ibid.
Scientists now think ADHD has a strong genetic component and can often run in families. ibid.
More testosterone exposure makes your behaviour more male. Horizon: The Nine Months That Made You, BBC 2011
Humans have essentially got more behaviour which is learnt and less behaviour which is programmed. Professor Alice Roberts, Horizon: What Makes Us Human? BBC 2013
Women do not find it difficult nowadays to behave like men, but they often find it extremely difficult to behave like gentlemen. Compton Mackenzie, Literature in My Time, 1933
You have to remember, rights don’t come in groups we shouldn’t have ‘gay rights’; rights come as individuals, and we wouldn’t have this major debate going on. It would be behaviour that would count, not what person belongs to what group. Ron Paul
Fundamentalists long for the return of a more moral America, an America that may never have been. All around them they see what they perceive as declining morality and spirituality. They reason that if humans share ancestry with the other animals, we have no reason to behave as anything other than animals. This view neglects the fact that humans are the only known animals with the ability to contemplate the consequences of their own actions. It also fails to recognize that there is a great deal of good in the world, the nightly news notwithstanding. Crime existed long before the theory of evolution, even before the writing of the Bible, and biologists do not like crime any more than the creationists do. Evolutionary theory is not a license to run amok, and neither is a belief in the literal interpretation of the Bible a guarantor of moral behavior. Tim Berra, Evolution and the Myth of Creationism
Test the way our brains interpret the world and its complex systems. Dara O’Briain’s Science Club: Mindbending s2e1, BBC 2013
The science behind unconscious group behaviour or swarming is new and fascinating. ibid.
It would appear that the left logical hemisphere can be persuaded or manipulated into believing a certain belief or behaviour was logically correct. Once this is established in the mind of the individual, then it appears possible to carry out any form of atrocity under the cloak of it being justifiable. David Pederson, Cameral Analysis
A man’s ethical behaviour should be based effectually on sympathy, education, and social ties and needs; no religious basis is necessary. Man would indeed be in a poor way if he had to be restrained by fear of punishment and hope of reward after death. Albert Einstein, attributed
Add to the fact that to have conscientiously studied the liberal arts refines behaviour and does not allow it to be savage. Ovid
In 2001 Frontline reported on the dramatic rise in the number of children being given behaviour modifying medications. Frontline: The Medicated Child, 2008 PBS
A teacher suggested he was hyperactive ... In pre-school another teacher suggested medication ... and prescribed Ritalin .. It made him anxious. ibid.
A steep rise in the diagnosis and treatment of childhood mental illnesses of all kinds. ibid.
Tens of thousands of children are being prescribed powerful medication to control hyperactivity and improve their behaviour. According to the latest figures prescriptions for these drugs have almost doubled in the last five years. But now Britain’s leading psychological societies are calling for an urgent review. So is medication being used as a chemical cosh for kids? Tonight: Chemical Cosh for Kids? ITV 2011
The number of prescriptions for drugs to combat ADHD has gone up from four hundred and eighty thousand to eight hundred thousand in the last five years. Most of the drugs are stimulants, and work like the illegal drugs speed or cocaine. But for ADHD sufferers they radically increase focus and help concentration in the classroom. ibid.