The Dalai Lama is known for supporting peace, as his 1989 Nobel Peace Prize attests. But he is finding himself at the center of a skirmish over his invitation to speak at this November's Society for Neuroscience (SfN) meeting in Washington, DC. Last month, a group of neuroscientists organized an online petition to cancel the Dalai Lama's talk on the neuroscience of meditation, and many of them plan to boycott the meeting.

The petition says that the Dalai Lama's talk – one of 11 featured lectures – will "highlight a subject with hyperbolic claims, limited research, and compromised scientific rigor." Yi Rao, an originator of the petition at the Northwestern University Institute for Neuroscience, says via E-mail that "the Dalai Lama has no more qualification to lecture on 'the Neuroscience of Meditation' than the Pope to lecture on 'the Neuroscience of Sex': one based on meditative experience and the other...

Interested in reading more?

Magaizne Cover

Become a Member of

Receive full access to digital editions of The Scientist, as well as TS Digest, feature stories, more than 35 years of archives, and much more!
Already a member?