It may be time to begin consideration of whose side our own brains are really supporting. After learning that MRI brain images can now identify psychopaths, we have a brand new report of research in which scientists have identified the specific brain cells that trigger human obesity. The researchers have in fact, by stimulating those cells, forced mice to eat “whether or not they were hungry.”
We worried, with respect to the psychopaths, whether this will lead to aborting such infants or any coercive policies affecting known-to-be-psychopathic people if some sort of cure is not forthcoming. Then, we saw the report that brain imaging can measure intelligence. That gave rise to Orwellian fantasies indeed. But today’s report goes beyond any of these– if the researchers can force mice to eat by stimulating their brains, what will they be able to do with people?
It may be that all this will prove a house of cards that dissolves overnight into some future discovery that will leave us laughing at such concerns as these, but the results are coming in from many places and many researchers at an increasing rate, and each new result reinforces what has already been laid down. Future laughter does not seem the way to bet.
Perhaps you are one who will say: “Our government would never do that!” I’m fairly sure plenty will say that. Especially those who’ve never read of Federal disease experiments or the NSA. But the obvious are not the only issues in this kind of news. In addition to government misuse, consider the mischief just knowing of these things will work upon society, even if no one actually ever uses them.
For instance, once it is generally known that brain imaging identifies psychopathy, intelligence and a compulsion toward obesity, will that not bring various interested parties to demand screening? What will happen to churches that insist that sin is punished because it is freely chosen? How will we justify prisons with the same basis? In fact, the whole concept of human rights and duties seems up for grabs if many of these discoveries hold up.
Maybe we’d best pray for a strain of disobedient lab mice that don’t seem to care when their brains are stimulated… And while awaiting those, perhaps I’ll restrain my giggles about folks wearing tinfoil hats.