According to Taoist philosophy good and evil are equal and should both exist because one cannot exist without the other. However, according to traditional ethics good is better than evil and we should strive for a world with as much good and as little evil as possible. My question is: do you think that good is better than evil, as traditional ethics says, or do you think good and evil are equal as the Taoists think, and why? Should we strive for a world with as much good and as little evil as possible or should we let both good and evil exist?

A good question! On at least one plausible reading, the Taoist claim is that our distinctions and judgements - e.g. of things as good/evil, beautiful/ugly etc. - belong to human judgment rather than to the nature of reality: so these moral distinctions are pragmatic conventions for organising our life, but don't, in themselves, reflect any real features of the world. If so, it's not that good and evil are real and interdependent, but rather than they only appear through a certain perspective on the world, in this case, that of human beings living in societies. But the Taoists do still offer moral guidance in that they do praise certain virtues and argue that certain ways of life are aligned with or responsive to 'tao' - virtues like spontaneity and humility and therefore ways of life that include and are guided by these virtues rather than their opposing vices. A clear and accessible introduction is David E. Cooper, 'Convergence with Nature' (Green Books, 2012).

I sent a small donation by cheque to someone specifically for cancer research and left payee line open for them to fill name of project in. It now transpires cheque was made payable to that persons partner. I suspect this was to cover postage of collected goods to another part of world also for charity although I had made it known that would not be acceptable to me. It came to my notice only when I checked my accounts. How should I broach this with friend and is it acceptable for someobe to take money for one charitable cause and use it for another?

People often donate money to charities because they (i) have a special concern for the focus of the charity and/or (ii) because they research the charity and choose carefully the one they want - for instance people often donate money to charities for diseases that have affected their life somehow. In these cases, it would be wrong to redirect that money to other charities because (i) one misleads the donor about the destination of the money and (ii) one ignores the donor's wishes - and their right to determine to which good cause their money goes. One can imagine, too, cases where a person donates money to honour the memory of a deceased relative - one who died from the disease that one then donates money to the research of - and that would make it much worse. But even in a case where a person donates money to a charity chosen arbitrarily or capriciously - well, that's still surely a violation of trust.

What does allow scientist to make moral and ethical judgements? I always thought that science is purely neutral and objective(yes I know this is an illusion, even if we destroy all bias and all string pullers(government, private/commercial sector) still even scientists unconsciousness can make the objectivity of his work biased without him even being aware of it), yet I see scientists making moral and ethical(which seem purely subjective to me[based on belief or opinion]) judgements nearly everywhere...

You ask a very good question! Much depends here on (first) how one defines 'objectivity' and (second) what objectivity might mean in the case of science and (third) the standing of moral beliefs. Objectivity has lots of possible senses - e.g. being free from biases and prejudices, or being impartial and 'non-subjective', and so on - and it's not clear which of these senses of objectivity are defensible, and not clear either how they feature within science (for instance, perhaps scientists only need to be objective in a particular sense at a particular point in their research, such as its practical application). There is a very good history of the concept of objectivity by Lorraine Daston and Peter Galison called 'Objectivity' - beautiful but a little pricey - which explores three of the main senses of objectivity in the recent history of science. The standing of moral beliefs - whether they are or can be 'objective' or whether they are merely belief and opinion - is both easier and harder. Easier...

If you are at a conference and somebody behind you says something that you feel is offensive is it okay to take their picture and post that to the Internet so that a lot of people know that somebody said that offensive thing?

This is an interesting question - and an important one, given how often one overhears offensive comments (at conferences, on trains, in coffee shops, and so on!) There might be two sets of issues to separate, though. The first set of issues concern what was said, in what context, and why, and whether one can determine the motivation and intent, and so on. In some cases, though of course by no means all cases, there are further factors - not always apparent - which might affect our judgments about the offensiveness of a given remark (though, granted, this won't apply in cases of obviously offensive remarks). Given that fact, sometimes the best response is to confront the question - to confirm the moral judgement and establish that no moderating factors apply in this case - rather than just go straight into an online exposure. Due process, one might say. The second is the question of (for wont of a better term) enforcement. There are many ways to enforce good moral and social conduct, and shaming - e...

Do you think there is too little applied ethics being studied and researched in academia? I think analytic philosophy still has not recovered from the ideas of logical positivism. If ethics is still a worthwhile field of study, why then shouldn't it connect as much as possible to the public by advising every facet of human behavior?

Applied ethics is in fact in rude health! Over the last thirty or so years there has been (firstly) a revival of applied ethics as a distinct discipline in its own right and (secondly) a diversification of new areas of applied ethical theorising, such as environmental ethics, business ethics, agricultural ethics, engineering ethics, and so on - so happily applied ethics is now firmly back on the philosophical agenda and well-served by a range of established conferences, journals, and so on. Moreover there is an increasing sense of the need to connect applied ethical debate with (firstly) developments in economics, the cognitive sciences, medical research and so on and (secondly) with a variety of professional bodies and public policy-makers - for instance when philosophers of archaeology engage with archaeological professional bodies, cultural resource managers, aboriginal peoples groups, museum curators, and so on.