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DALL·E 2024-04-28 08.22.05 - Imagine a thought-provoking and visually striking image that

Neural Ethics

Training Ethical Scientists

Knowing the science is important. Being ethical in the application of the science is vital. Learning how to bring in scientific evidence into the ethical debates of our time is important for students to become informed citizens. Below are some resouces I have used to prime deep discussions about the ethical debates of our time.

The Ethical Brain

Despite being nearly 20 years old, "The Ethical Brain" by Michael Gazzaniga does a phenomenal job of framing ethical debates that are still relevant today. By taking the chapters one at a time, students will debate the ethics of genetic enhancement, privacy of thought, and issues of abortion and death. I find that combining the chapter with some of the resources below leads to deep discussions both inside and outside of the classroom about the ethical debates that are still going on today.

Affiliate link for the Ethical Brain

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Ethics of Crispr

Radiolab offers a great introduction to Crispr while also discussing some of the ethical implications of editing our DNA. While they actually have 2 episodes, they play them both back to back in "Update: CRISPR"

The Documentary "A World Without Down Syndrome" also provides a unique, but biased, perspective against eliminating down syndrome through genetic tools.

Ethics of Death

Playing God describes 2 specific stories that add great nuance to how we determine when someone has died in "the Girl who died twice".

They then follow this up with a great discussion around living wills in "I would've let you die too"

Ethics of Brain Stimulation

Radiolab covers a great introduction to non invasive brain stimulation, although its a little too positive in "9-Volt Nirvana".

Invisibilia adds a phenomenal and intense example of using DBS to treat anxiety in "The Remote Control Brain". This episode comes with a trigger warning but always leads to great discussion. 

Ethics of Cochlear Implants

This pair of videos offers different perspectives about growing up and living with cochlear implants.

Between Silence and Sound

Deaf Children Need Sign Language

Identifying Neurobunk

Neurobunk is the process of using science to justify nonsense. This can be bad science which does not properly test an idea, or good science which gets extended beyond what the evidence can support. As the media constantly uses "science" to support different stories it is important to be able to identify good science from Neurobunk. I start with Molly Crockett's excellent ted talk explaining what neurobunk is and providing some examples of it

Differentiating Neurobunk

After watching the video, I use "In The News" assignments to help students practice differentiating good science from Neurobunk. Students find their own news stories or products related to the topics we are discussing in class. Some topics include:

1

Smart Drugs

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Anti Aging

3

Enhancing Movement

Interview

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Mind Reading

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Enhancing The Senses

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How to Learn

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