Fall 2020 Reads

These are the articles and questions covered during our Fall 2020 Zoom meetings.

To join the reading group listserv and attend the meetings, please email us at

fake news

December 4, 2020 Meeting

Why Do People Fall for Fake Science News?

This week's article will focus on the spread of health-related science misinformation and fake science news. Specifically about facts and science being disregarded or easily thrown to the side by saying “fake news”. We will be discussing how to address seeing false information, how it’s infiltrated academia and discussing how to overcome it.

Discussion questions can be found here.


November 13, 2020 Meeting

This Is the Casual Racism That I Face at My Elite High School

This meeting we will discuss an article on restorative justice in a school setting. According to the Centre for Justice and Reconciliation, "Restorative justice repairs the harm caused by crime. When victims, offenders and community members meet to decide how to do that, the results can be transformational. It emphasizes accountability, making amends, and involves a collaboration between victim and offender." The process is often focused on prison reform but a similar process can be applied to racism, sexual harassment, and offenses in academia. The process is uncomfortable but has potential for a transformative result. I also highly recommend the following podcast from the Ezra Klein Show for further information about Restorative Justice.

Discussion questions are available here.


October 30, 2020 Meeting

Why Socialism?

This week we will discuss an article written by Albert Einstein dating back to 1949 for the first edition of Monthly Review. In this essay Albert discusses the problems he sees arising with the continued maintenance of a capitalist society and his thoughts as to how a socialist economy may possibly help to alleviate these issues. Given that Einstein was a physicist and not an expert on economic and social issues, this article helps to not only inform us as the nature of his thoughts on what socialism could be, but also as to the manner in which we as neuroscientists who are not experts on economic and social issues, could voice our own thoughts and ideas on society.

Discussion questions are available here.


October 16, 2020 Meeting

Academics Are Really, Really Worried About Their Freedom

In this meeting's article, John McWhorter discusses some potential drawbacks to the influence of "cancel culture" in academia. McWhorter explains why some academics believe that their freedoms of expression are threatened in light of renewed social justice efforts.

Discussion questions are available here.