How the Iran Deal Differs from the Earlier North Korean One

People desperate to reject the nuclear agreement with Iran claim that since the one with North Korea failed, this one will, too. Here are a dozen reasons why they're very wrong.

What Would the Buddha Do?

It's a kind of dog-car problem: a dog who chases cars eventually catches one. What does he do with it? Similarly, when we catch a violent perpetrator, what should we do with him?

Women Rising

My own daughters' accomplishments reflect what's going on in American society generally

The Delusion of a Savior Nuclear and Otherwise

It's a common delusion: there exists a potential savior that/who will swoop in and rescue us. This error is depicted in a fascinating new sci fi novel, even as it is acted out in today's nuclear policies.

The Doomsday Clock and Me

The hands of the Doomsday Clock are now at 3 minutes to midnight. This means that famous scientists think that the threat of global extinction is as close as it was during the Cold War. Nuclear weapons modernization, global warming, and international tensions have created this threat. The only sane response is to work to abolish nuclear weapons, and reduce global warming.

Rats and Responsibility (And a Bit of Camus)

People can get motivated to deal with serious immediate problems, but then, soon enough (often, too soon), they decide the problem is solved and move on. But problems, like rats, have a nasty habit of coming back. Cases in point: Ebola and nuclear weapons. In such cases, we can all learn a lesson from Albert Camus.

Does Evolution Preclude Religious Faith?

Does evolutionary science preclude traditional religious belief? In my opinion, it doesn't, although it does make such belief substantially more difficult than it had been in pre-Darwinian days. In this post, I reprint an op-ed article I wrote for The New York Times, which generated a response avalanche - much of it misunderstanding what I was saying. Do you understand?

Nuclear Awareness Days

Nuclear awareness: we desperately need it. And what better days to begin than the anniversaries of when we bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki? Moreover, there is much that the US can do to make all of us safer.

What Would it Take for Geostrategic Jerks to Be Discredited?

Our national life is infested with prominent zombies, soulless examples of the ethical undead, who are responsible for some of the most intolerable malfeasance in U.S. history, and yet who are persistently treated with respect.

Bloomsday: A Celebration of Everyday Heroism

Great novels don't necessarily deal with "great events." Quite the opposite: Unlike in older "romances," greatness in literature is nearly always demonstrated via day-to-day, quotidian events, where most heroism actually resides. And the iconic example is James Joyce's "Ulysses" and his/our hero, Leopold Bloom. Happy Bloomsday, everyone!

Helping Each Other, Using This Forum

People may find answers and help beyond my blog. Please send these ideas and experiences in! We can help one another find improved cures and treatments for Crohn's Disease!

Making a New Life in Costa Rica

Making a new life in Costa Rica can be the best of times, or the worst of times.


Either/Or seems like a firm, strong, defensible assertion, consistent with existential thought and appealing to those of us who long for simple (simplistic?) answers. But some of the most interesting and important matters aren't so readily disposed of.

Kindness in an Unkind World

There is much in nature that is positive and wonderful, but at the same time, there is much that is awful and painful. Evolutionary biologists understand this...and so do Buddhists.

Darwin, Dillard, and Dukkha

Biologists and Buddhists alike know that the living world is gorgeous and wonderful - but that it is also filled with pain and suffering. And natural selection, sometimes brutal and always amoral, is behind both life's glory and its misery.

Darwin and Dukkha, What's That?

Let's agree: life is terrific! But let's also acknowledge that it is full of bad stuff as well: predation, parasitism, infanticide, senility, disease, and a whole lot of other things that Buddhists call "dukkha." On this (and other things, too), Buddhism and biology converge, so that each helps illuminate the other.

Buddhism 2.0

Although in its early stages, Buddhism emphasized personal enlightenment and, if anything, withdrawal from the world, modern "engaged Buddhism" (aka "Buddhism 2.0") does anything but. And both Buddhists and the world are better off as a result.

Engaged Buddhism

Compared with the Abrahamic Big Three (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam), Buddhism is by far the most pro-biology and nature-friendly. This, in turn, leads to an important recent development: "engaged Buddhism."

Savoring the Present Moment

Should we savor the present moment, even though it is going to end? How do we reconcile savoring a present moment, when others are suffering or impoverished?

Treating Crohn's Disease

People with Crohn's Disease may want to look into the RedHill Bio Study of antibiotics for Crohn's Disease.

Buddhist Ecology, Or Ecological Buddhism 101

Ecologists and Buddhists are almost literally on the same page - as noted (both Buddhistically and ecologically) by Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh, when he observed that there is literally a cloud in a sheet of paper: looking closely, one can see the tree that produced it, the rainwater and sunlight that produced the tree, the logger who felled it, and so forth.

Are Post-Modernists the Most Recent Version of Lysenkoists?

Lyseko is dead and so—hooray!—is Lysenko-ism. At the same time, it is worth bearing in mind that the West, too, is vulnerable to anti-science and hucksterism: just consider the absurdities of post-modernism and the undying appeal of Special Creation.

Chris Christie and the Biology of Payback

Gov. Chris Christie's "Bridge-gate" offers a good example of payback: not only as a political phenomenon but also a psychological syndrome—and one whose underlying biology is also becoming increasingly clear.

Meditation as Medicine for Loneliness

Just revealed: mindfulness meditation improves the neural functioning of elderly patients suffering from depression and loneliness. In a sense, no great surprise; in another, wonderful news!

Existential Bio-Buddhism: a Mindful, Meaningful Mouthful

Karma, free will, Buddhism, existentialism and biology all meet - more or less - in a curious mash-up that I call "Existential Bio-Buddhism" ... not only a mouthful, but a mind-full as well.

Karma, Anyone? In Fact: Everyone!

Although early Buddhists didn't know genes from genis, their concept of karma—once divorced from its metaphysical mumbo-jumbo—maps remarkably well upon the modern biological understanding by which living things are precisely the living embodiment of the lives (and deaths) and differential reproduction of their ancestors: their karma!

I Am Not Boycotting Israel

Academic or other boycotts of Israel will not help the Palestinians. We need to support Israeli social and scientific research that benefits humankind. A fair, just, safe solution for both the Israelis and the Palestinians must be found, but it will not happen by isolating Israel or making Israel feel less secure.

A Country Without a Military? You Bet!

Most Americans are so accustomed to the heavy military footprint of the United States, that they cannot imagine the existence of another country that is "demilitarized." But one such country exists right here in the Western Hemisphere: Costa Rica. This small independent state abolished its military 65 years ago, and its people are much better off as a result.

Karma is as “Natural” as Natural Selection

Seen correctly, karma and natural selection are fundamentally the same! Many biologists won’t like this idea; ditto for many Buddhists, but that doesn’t make it less true, or less portentous.

Buddhist “Reincarnation” and the Silliness about Souls

Let's have a little talk about Buddhist "reincarnation," or as it is more accurately labelled, "rebirth." In the process, let's also get rid of the sorry silliness about souls and other mumbo-jumbo, and consider the potentially real, biologically valid concepts of biogeochemical cycling and - more intriguing yet - how karma equates to natural selection: coming next.