Science is a Collective Human Endeavor – And That’s Beautiful

A philosopher of science once told me, “Science is like a big, ornate building. Unless you’re an Einstein or a Newton, all you can do is etch away at a little flourish on the building’s facade - and then you die.” Though bleak, his thought did speak to a curious truth about the lives of [...]

Why Machines Could Be – But Aren’t – Conscious

I recently had a brief back-and-forth with Bobby Azarian about his new article on Raw Story. Azarian, a neuroscientist at George Mason University, argued that artificial intelligence (AI) could never be conscious. I highly recommend reading Azarian’s article: it’s a great distillation of some key concepts in the philosophy of mind, and he makes an [...]

The Demarcation Problem

Below is the text of my newest article for the Berkeley Science Review:   In October, 2004, the Dover Area School District in York County, Pennsylvania decided that intelligent design would be taught in their classrooms as an alternative to evolutionary theory. In response, a group of Dover parents sued the school district, claiming that [...]

Love In A World Of Atoms

The threads that weave the cloth of our mentality are soulless. Our experience of the most beautiful sunset, our most fervent desires, our loftiest thoughts, and our most expansive feelings of love are storms of neural activity, nothing more. Science – and neuroscience in particular – has stripped our mental lives of a soul. But [...]

The Future of Spirituality

What will spirituality look like in 100 years? What will it look like when technology is fully woven into the fabric of our world and our biology, when our scientific understanding of the world and of ourselves will have progressed far beyond what we can imagine? What will the temples of such a world look like? Or its [...]

Information and the Emergence of Life

Scientists don’t yet know how life emerged on Earth. Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection explains how life evolved once it emerged, but it does not explain how life emerged in the first place. But science presses on. One of the main challenges in figuring out how life emerged from chemistry is defining what life is. [...]

The Ethics of Cognitive Enhancement: Part 3

Go back to Part 1. Go back to Part 2. From the discussion in the last two parts of this series on the ethics of cognitive enhancement, we can draw three conclusions. The first is that we should allow all forms of cognitive alterations that aren’t lethal and don’t lead you to harm others. As [...]