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 … Continue reading The Demarcation Problem

Peace and the Scientific Worldview

I am sitting on a balcony in Haifa, Israel. Looking westward, I can see a sleepy haze obscuring the horizon where the Mediterranean meets the sky. The atmosphere here is calm – it is Saturday, a holy day. Occasionally I hear the blaring of a car horn, or the happy squeal of a child, or … Continue reading Peace and the Scientific Worldview

Why Humans Go To War

Humans, chimpanzees, and wolves are the only mammals that form coalitions with other members of their species to inflict deadly violence on yet other members of their species. Why do we do it? We may have evolved an instinct for war. Support for this idea comes from what anthropologist Richard Wrangham calls the Chimpanzee Violence Hypothesis. The … Continue reading Why Humans Go To War

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 … Continue reading The Ethics of Cognitive Enhancement: Part 3

The Ethics of Cognitive Enhancement: Part 2

Go back to Part 1.  In Part 1 of this series on the ethics of cognitive enhancement, I pointed out that it is not logical to deny people access to new methods of cognitive enhancement as they become available, because such methods would not be categorically different from methods of cognitive enhancement that are currently legal and … Continue reading The Ethics of Cognitive Enhancement: Part 2

The Ethics of Cognitive Enhancement: Part 1

"Smart drugs" like Adderall and Modafinil are just the beginning of the cognitive enhancement revolution. Though they were initially developed to alleviate the symptoms of cognitive disorders, these and similar drugs are increasingly being used by the cognitively healthy to boost memory, focus, and wakefulness over long periods of work. With the commercial use of … Continue reading The Ethics of Cognitive Enhancement: Part 1

You’re Not As Rational As You Think: Political Philosophy and the Neuroscience of Irrationality

Cognitive scientists have known for decades that humans are inherently irrational when it comes to making economic decisions. This may seem obvious to a good poker player, who will likely utilize mathematical probability to make economic decisions during a poker game, but to most people the fact that they have systematic economic biases might come as … Continue reading You’re Not As Rational As You Think: Political Philosophy and the Neuroscience of Irrationality