Advances in Human Embryo Technology Rekindle Ethical Debate

Recent advances have allowed scientists to keep human embryos alive longer in the laboratory.  This raises philosophical questions about the ontological and moral status of human embryos.  It also raises long-term questions about artificial wombs and the like.  Think Brave New World.

Here are the links to the relevant articles:

http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2016/05/04/476539552/advance-in-human-embryo-research-rekindles-ethical-debate

http://www.nature.com/articles/nature17894.epdf?referrer_access_token=WfUzf1Vz13qXgr-rHmQuFNRgN0jAjWel9jnR3ZoTv0MAKMqR86sjveS-ESetrmIKqQaq3DATJvUDgDzNgE6sDZDe19rZtCOiqt61KSa1O-H5v9TpRNpMJ-iC_dGEbW64vRkIZTvx9S9HMVocT6ExAbAJqLeldmNTwtBsowKeFfywcxyWX9v5-YAvWY_QPINlzBxMB-UGyUlYll-yzDG1RkYeu-xlgpNq65kOXp-7ZDiQcEN99jEAj7_STLHKj6SovRmtJuwTNgpFI87CUfyQUw%3D%3D&tracking_referrer=www.npr.org

“The Case Against Reality”

A very interesting interview with Donald D. Hoffman, Professor of Cognitive Science at my alma mater, UC Irvine.  He claims that quantum mechanics should lead us to the view that there is no objective reality; rather, there are only our experiences.

http://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2016/04/the-illusion-of-reality/479559/?utm_content=buffer15f86&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_campaign=buffer

Lots of interesting stuff at his website: http://www.cogsci.uci.edu/~ddhoff/

Soul Machine: The Invention of the Modern Mind

Check out the review of this new book that traces the history of the words an concepts used in psychology, philosophy of mind, etc. to theorize about the mind.  This review goes well beyond the scope of the book and attempts to show the place of computers and artificial intelligence in the history of the mind.  Very interesting.

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/constructing-the-modern-mind/?wt.mc=SA_Facebook-Share&utm_content=buffer218ea&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_campaign=buffer

The Hunter Captain (A Short Story)

http://escapepod.org/2016/03/29/ep526-the-hunter-captain/

This is an impressive short story that explores issues of consciousness, intelligence, and moral status as they apply across species (aliens).  It can be read in many ways, but it can certainly be read as an indictment of humans as cruel masters of intelligent animals.