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Jonathan D. Moreno
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Jonathan D. Moreno is the David and Lyn Silfen University Professor at the University of Pennsylvania where he teaches bioethics and the history of science. He is also a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress. His most recent book is Impromptu Man: J.L. Moreno and the Origins of Psychodrama, Encounter Culture, and the Social Network. His previous books include Undue Risk (2000), The Body Politic (2011) and Mind Wars (2012). He is a member of Institute of Medicine/National Academy of Sciences and a past president of the American Society for Bioethics and Humanities. Moreno has served as senior staff for three presidential commissions and was a member of President Barack Obama's transition team.

Entries by Jonathan D. Moreno

Imaging Trump's Brain

(1) Comments | Posted April 1, 2016 | 3:33 PM

When Donald Trump said he went to a "good school" I was flattered, because that's where I teach. When he said he has a "good brain" it got me thinking. What would modern brain science say is going on in there?

I'm not a psychiatrist but if I were I...

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GOP - Bioethics = Trump

(1) Comments | Posted March 19, 2016 | 5:04 PM

Okay, that's a slight exaggeration. But hear me out.

The three-legged stool that defined the Republican Party since Reagan was made up of social conservatism, economic conservatism, and defense conservatism. Donald Trump threatens economic conservatism by defending Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security and defense conservatism with his isolationist remarks. So...

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How a Zika Virus Breakthrough Vindicates Stem Cell Research

(0) Comments | Posted March 15, 2016 | 6:20 PM

Modern biology needs tools. One of the most controversial of those tools has proven to be crucial to explaining how the Zika virus causes brain damage in newborns.

Zika is poised to dwarf the threat of Ebola, which was never a significant danger to the United States in...

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The Power of an Empty Podium

(0) Comments | Posted January 27, 2016 | 1:57 PM

The Republican National Committee and Fox News say there won't be an empty podium on the stage during the Iowa Republican debate to symbolize the absence of Donald Trump. The implication is that that's not fair game. In 1980, Jimmy Carter refused to appear in a League of Women Voters...

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Can Science Predict Political Turmoil?

(3) Comments | Posted January 4, 2016 | 10:19 AM

The big brain pundits are engaged in their annual round of new year-predictions about major world events. But if the past is any measure they will fail miserably. A legion of experts on the Middle East failed to predict the rise of the Islamic State, much less the attacks in...

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Why the New Gene Editing Technology Matters

(0) Comments | Posted December 2, 2015 | 10:03 AM

The biologists have done it again. Not so long ago it was cloning and embryonic stem cells that challenged moral imagination. These days all eyes are on a powerful new technique for engineering or "editing" DNA. Relatively easy to learn and to use, CRISPR has forced scientists, ethicists and policymakers...

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Dr. Carson, Dr.Paul, Meet Dr. Hippocrates

(0) Comments | Posted September 18, 2015 | 11:25 AM

When doctors become politicians do they forget their oath, the part that says "I will keep them from harm"? So it seems.

In the Republican debate last Wednesday, the two doctors on the stage dangerously hedged on vaccinations. They have put children at risk, confused some parents, and made life...

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Warning: My Class Is One Big Trigger

(2) Comments | Posted September 7, 2015 | 10:57 AM

We've been hearing a lot these days about trigger warnings as a phenomenon in American higher education, that teachers are being expected to warn their students if assigned material might upset them. Respected social scientists have argued that trigger warnings pose a serious problem with modern academic culture by impeding...

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How Bioethics Has Pushed America Left

(0) Comments | Posted July 29, 2015 | 2:21 PM

The recent controversy about Planned Parenthood and fetal tissue donation suggests that highly publicized bioethical issues generally benefit conservatives. In fact, quite the opposite is the case. Since 2000, when bioethics issues (apart from abortion) have come on on the radar, they have aided the country's leftward move on social...

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Which GOP Candidate Will Adopt the 'Three-Parent Embryo'?

(3) Comments | Posted February 13, 2015 | 9:18 AM

If there's room for a cultural issue in the upcoming Republican primary cycle, this might be it.

The news from England is that Parliament has approved high-tech treatments that would replace a tiny portion of a mother's DNA with genetic material from another woman (the "third parent"). The procedure would...

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Who Will Be the GOP's Conservative Culture Hero?

(0) Comments | Posted January 5, 2015 | 5:14 PM

And they're off! Or so it seems, even before they've announced.

Maybe it's no way to run a democracy, and just maybe the founding fathers are turning in their graves, but here we are at the start of another endless presidential cycle. Just as Thanksgiving prevents Christmas from starting in...

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How the 'Psychological Drama' Taught Peter Lorre How to Act

(0) Comments | Posted November 10, 2014 | 9:52 AM

Even if you don't know his name, and even if you were born 30 years after he died, chances are you recognize the actor who played the creepy guy in the 1942 film Casablanca.

Peter Lorre 's life ended 50 years ago this year. A few weeks ago the British...

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The Most Influential Psychiatrist of the 20th Century Might Be Someone You've Never Heard Of

(0) Comments | Posted November 5, 2014 | 7:39 AM

One hundred years ago, a 23-year-old University of Vienna medical student attended a lecture by Professor Sigmund Freud. It was a dream analysis. As the students filed out of the lecture hall, the famous psychoanalyst asked the young student, later known as J.L. Moreno, what kind of work he was...

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Support Our Troops in West Africa!

(0) Comments | Posted October 10, 2014 | 4:13 PM

Too often, American politics lacks a sense of history. Critics of the president's decision to send several thousand military personnel to West Africa to build temporary medical centers and treat Ebola patients forget that American military medicine has long been a crucial instrument of foreign policy. When U.S. national security...

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The Biopolitics of Beheading

(0) Comments | Posted September 19, 2014 | 9:32 AM

In his book Discipline and Punish, the historian and philosopher Michel Foucault described the way the French penal system underwent the transition from chaotic public execution and torture to a carefully managed prison regimen from which the public was largely veiled. In Foucault's telling, the transition took place relatively quickly,...

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The Piketty Panic on the Left

(32) Comments | Posted April 25, 2014 | 2:24 PM

I'm a philosopher and historian, not an economist, and I'm far from a Nobel Laureate, but I was surprised that Paul Krugman's column about French economist Thomas Piketty's influential new book described only the problem Piketty's thesis creates for conservatives: that the facts show American society...

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Private Science and National Security

(0) Comments | Posted March 19, 2014 | 5:19 PM

As recently sketched in a welcome New York Times article, America's longstanding approach to funding science is being overtaken by a combination of underinvestment in the public sphere and private investment by a few enthusiastic and very wealthy individuals. As compared to so many frivolous things that these...

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On the 4th, Let's Celebrate Privacy

(2) Comments | Posted July 3, 2013 | 8:25 AM

It looks as though this country is in for a lengthy and unpleasant period of sorting out the balance between privacy and security. In the run up to the 4th of July it's worth remembering why privacy is every bit as American a value as our national security.

Privacy is...

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Has the Politics of Cloning Turned the Corner?

(15) Comments | Posted May 29, 2013 | 12:21 PM

A couple of weeks ago, after a group of scientists in Oregon announced that they had created a human blastocyst using techniques sometimes called cloning, something remarkable happened.


Just two or three years ago this development would have reverberated through our political culture, stiffening the spines of social conservatives...

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Taking the Silencer Off Gun Research

(7) Comments | Posted January 10, 2013 | 4:07 PM

Does the National Rifle Association fear science?

So it appears from a powerful letter from 100 experts on gun violence that was delivered to Vice President Biden today. As the letter points out, the Centers for Disease Control and the National Institutes of Health have had their...

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