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Science, Human Rights and the Military

February 10, 2010

Emily Badger in Miller-McCune:

Neuroscience and national security go together somewhat uneasily. Stick the two in a single sentence, and University of Pennsylvania historian Jonathan Moreno starts getting e-mails from all kinds of people who are sure they’ve been brainwashed by the CIA. (It might not help his inbox that he wrote a book called Mind Wars: Brain Research and National Defense.)

“It’s hard to talk about these issues in part because we have kind of a paranoid popular-culture background,” Moreno said. Maybe you’ve seen The Manchurian Candidate, or, more recently, The Men Who Stare at Goats.

Neuroscience and national security, though, sit at the forefront of the complex relationship between science and the military, bedfellows that have produced not just compelling fiction, but also real dilemmas for the researchers who bridge them.

The American Association for the Advancement of Science hosted a conference today of its year-old Science and Human Rights Coalition, a group whose joint concerns are embodied most starkly in the application of science to war. [More]

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