science Archives - Ethics & Public Policy Center

A Scientist’s Mind, A Poet’s Soul

Except for Aristotle, no scientist before or since Alexander von Humboldt can boast an intellect as universal in reach as his and as influential for the salient work of his time. His neglect today is unfortunate but instructive.

Getting Beyond Darwin

The empirical evidence suggests that the notions of a purposeful Creator and a purposeful creation cannot be dismissed as mere pre-modern mythology.

A Contagion of Folly

Vaccines are one of the greatest gifts of the modern age. Why do so many people ignore their benefits?

What Happened to Bioethics?

Twenty years ago, even ten years ago, bioethics was a prominent national issue, and an active and intensely contested political question. Such intense focus on bioethics seems almost strange now. But in order to think about why, and about what lessons we can learn about where things stand today, we might recall a couple of facets of that unusual period of intense focus on bioethics, particularly the stem cell debate in the first decade of this century.

Stephen Hawking’s Surprise

No matter how much a mess we make of history, there is a grandeur to the cosmos that human stupidities and infidelities cannot obscure. To imagine that that grandeur just happened is to think too low.

Jonas Salk, the People’s Scientist

Jonas Salk’s achievement, a triumph of character as well as of mind, ought never be forgotten. The least impressive intellect among the famous scientists of the twentieth century, he was — aside from Marie Curie — the most impressive human being.

Richard Feynman and the Pleasure Principle

The modern world is sometimes called disenchanted, denuded of magic, because science has annihilated the invisible homeland of the spirits, where angels, demons, and God himself were believed to dwell. But Richard Feynman spoke unabashedly of the wonders and miracles to be found in nature as modern science describes it.

Feynman at 100

Physics was glorious play for Richard Feynman, as he declared repeatedly, and trying to make some sense of the physical world was his inborn response to what he called the wonder and miracle of Nature.

Pursuing the Truth Requires Modesty about Ourselves

Truth is not subjective. But we should be modest about our grasp of the truth, mindful of our limited understanding and our own tendency to reach conclusions first and find evidence second.

Sofia Vergara, Frozen Embryos, and Forced Procreation

As often happens, in vitro fertilization technology developed faster than the social wisdom to handle it.