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 […]Read More Why Machines Could Be – But Aren’t – Conscious
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 […]Read More The Demarcation Problem
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 […]Read More Love In A World Of Atoms
We tend to think about the history of science as something that started in Ancient Greece, did fairly well in Ancient Rome, was forgotten in the world during the Middle Ages, and was then revived during the European Renaissance. What’s often neglected in this story is the vital role that medieval Muslims played in preserving and […]Read More On the Golden Age of Islamic Science
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 […]Read More Why Humans Go To War
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. […]Read More Information and the Emergence of Life
I recently had the pleasure of talking to Mark Baxter, Ph.D. about the status of neuroscience as a field. Mark is a neuroscientist who studies the molecular mechanisms of learning and memory. This is my second conversation with Mark. Several months ago, we discussed a controversial paper on the effects of marijuana consumption on the […]Read More Is Neuroscience a Mature Science?