A bit of a neuroscience debate regarding where evil resides in the brain ran across a couple of publications this weekend. A bit in Slate regarding fMRIs ability to find evil acts in the brain pronounced:
The new neuroscience represents the latest chapter in a millennia-old and still divisive cultural conflict over the problem of evil, the latest chapter in the attempt by science to reduce evil to malfunction or dysfunction rather than malevolence.
Will Wilkinson at the Big Think responded with a big simplistic tch-tch:
About evil specifically, it seems obvious that people with perfectly normal brains do evil all the time.
It seems inevitable that neuroscientists will eventually discover a pattern of neural activity that coincides with what we deem evil acts or evil thoughts. If science can identify and address the neural activity that coincides with “evil”, it could also identify and intervene with the neural activity of the perception of “evil”. Theoretically, evil, as we know it today, could go on and science could negate human capacity to perceive it just as easily as it could be used for a prevention scenario a la “Minority Report”.
The question once again is: how will science in the hands of humans be used and who will be using it?