We’re Inside-Out Crustaceans

Observing Mobility. The recent death of the renowned evolutionary theorist, Stephen J. Gould, recalls his intriguing comment that we’re inside-out crustaceans. A crustacean’s skeleton is on the outside, ours is on the inside. Our soft tissue and appendages are out where we can readily observe them. Llinas (2002) expands briefly on this concept in his…

“Good Work” is a Good Book

The computer revolution of the past quarter of a century has profoundly changed our culture, and a recent book by three respected scholars takes readers on an intriguing, thought-provoking exploration of two related elements of the revolution that are becoming increasingly important to our society. Harvard’s Howard Gardner is perhaps best known for his Theory…

Neurotheology: Brain Science and Religious Belief

We’ve historically tended to separate mental and spiritual processes from biological processes. We had no choice. Scientific technology that could examine body parts and functions couldn’t observe the biology of thought and belief. Philosophers and theologians thus explored a disembodied mind and soul, and biologists focused on body systems. Mind and brain merged during the…

How Mass Media Affect Our Perception of Reality — Part 2

We gather and dispense information about our intimate environment through personal and electronic contact with family, friends, and associates. Mass media (MM) provide much of our knowledge of the larger environment. Last month’s column focused on MM as a cultural phenomenon that we must understand if it’s to inform but not unduly influence our cognitive…

How Mass Media Affect Our Perception of Reality — Part 1

The U.S. mass media were focused on sports, the lives of various celebrities, and a Congressman’s relationship with a missing staff member just before September 11. Then everything changed. A skyscraper complex, militant group, and distant country suddenly dominated mass media as people sought to understand what had occurred, what to make of passenger planes…