Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Interview with Dr. Paul Offit about Vaccine Safety

autismsfalseprophets I am including the latest episode of my Books and Ideas Podcast (Episode 25) in the feed for the Brain Science Podcast because I think it may be the most important interview I have ever recorded. My guest was Dr. Paul Offit, author of Autism's False Prophets: Bad Science, Risky Medicine, and the Search for a Cure. This book examines the history of on-going controversy about whether vaccines cause autism.

listen-to-audio Listen to Dr. Offit's Interview

Episode Transcript (Download PDF)

I recommend Dr. Offit’s book Autism’s False Prophets to everyone because of its thorough examination of the vaccine-autism controversy. He examines the evidence from both sides, while showing compassion for why parents are easily confused and frightened by claims that physicians and scientists have dismissed. The book is unlikely to dissuade those who are convinced by the tactics of vaccine opponents, but it will be a valuable resource to parents who want a clear explanation that includes a sober account of the risks of not vaccinating their children. Physicians and scientists will also benefit from reading this book because it provides an important case study in how lack of scientific literacy can threaten public health.

Click here for detailed show notes and to learn more about the Books and Ideas podcast.


Sunday, January 18, 2009

Brain Science Podcast #53: Neuroscience and Free Will

bsp-300-hi Episode 53 of the Brain Science Podcast is a discussion of Did My Neurons Make Me Do It?: Philosophical and Neurobiological Perspectives on Moral Responsibility and Free Will by Nancey Murphy and Warren S. Brown. This book challenges the widespread fear that neuroscience is revealing an explanation of the human mind that concludes that moral responsibility and free will are illusions created by our brains. Instead the authors argue that the problem is the assumption that a physicalist/materialistic model of the mind must also be reductionist (a viewpoint that all causes are bottom-up). In this podcast I discuss their arguments against causal reductionism and for a dynamic systems model. We also discuss why we need to avoid brain-body dualism and recognize that our mind is more than just what our brain does. The key to preserving our intuitive sense of our selves as free agents capable of reason, moral responsibility, and free will is that the dynamic systems approach allows top-down causation, without resorting to any supernatural causes or breaking any of the know laws of the physical universe. This is a complex topic, but I present a concise overview of the book's key ideas.

listen-to-audio Listen to Episode 53

Episode Transcript (Coming Soon)

Visit the Brain Science Podcast website for detailed show notes and links.

Subscribe to the Brain Science Podcast:

itunes-badge-30 zunelogo-70 feed-icon32x32 mail-sticker-tiny

Send email feedback to Ginger Campbell, MD at docartemis at gmail.com

Share your comments on the Discussion Forum