Blame the Brain, Not Bolsonaro, for Brazil’s Riots

Neuroscience Shows That We’re Wired to Rebel—But Also That We’ve Evolved to Do Better

Why do people take part in insurrections, like the January 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol, the storming of the presidential residence in Sri Lanka, or January’s sacking of Congress, the Supreme Court, and the presidential palace in Brazil?

Sometimes, that question is answered by pointing to precipitating events—elections and their results, protests that descend into anger, or the speeches of powerful demagogues. On other occasions, we blame insurrections on prejudices, or bigotries—racism, xenophobia, anti-Semitism, white nationalism.

I’d suggest that we think about insurrections differently—because they originate in our brains.

Indeed, I’d …

How Hawai‘i Forces Us to Redefine the Meaning of ‘Native’

An Environmental Historian Argues That Being Indigenous Is More Alchemy Than Fact

I was born in the Territory of Hawai‘i, three weeks before statehood. As a kid I played in its dirt, ran around in the rain (my hometown of Hilo is …

Chimpanzee Behavior Isn’t Just Monkey Business. It’s Culture.

Grooming, Using Tools, and Fishing for Termites Show the Humanity of Our Primate Cousins

In 1961, famed primatologist Jane Goodall discovered that wild chimpanzees were fashioning tools from sticks and using them to fish termites out of their nests—revolutionizing our understanding of culture and …

How the Evolution of the Human Brain Led Us to God

Advances in Neuroscience Link Our Cognitive Development to Our Idea of the Divine

The human brain is the most intriguing object in the universe, populated with 100 billion neurons connected by nerve fibers, which, if laid end to end, could circle the earth …

Empathy’s Evolution in the Human Imagination

What Began as an Aesthetic Response to Art Is Now a Highly Complex Neurochemical Reaction

Empathy seems to be one of the most “natural” emotions, but before 1908, no one in the English-speaking world had heard of it.

And when it did appear, “empathy” was …

Why Scurvy Is Still a Snake in Our Nutritional Lost Paradise

To Absolve Mankind’s Genetic Original Sin, Drink Your Orange Juice

At some time in the evolution of the human organism, the gene that had allowed the body to synthesize vitamin C mutated, and the liver enzyme responsible for the synthesis …