Increasing Human Rationality

Although nuclear war is seen as irrational because the consequent destruction could extinguish human civilization and perhaps all human life, the advent of nuclear war is a real and present danger. We cannot depend on human rationality to avoid it any more than we could to avoid past wars. The problem, then, is how to improve the chances for rational behavior. I don't believe that we will become twice as rational by haying half as many missiles, or by moving them twice as far from their intended

Herbert Meltzer
Dec 14, 1986

Although nuclear war is seen as irrational because the consequent destruction could extinguish human civilization and perhaps all human life, the advent of nuclear war is a real and present danger. We cannot depend on human rationality to avoid it any more than we could to avoid past wars.

The problem, then, is how to improve the chances for rational behavior. I don't believe that we will become twice as rational by haying half as many missiles, or by moving them twice as far from their intended targets. Rational behavior depends on the fine structure and organization of the human brain, and will be improved only by selective changes in that structure. Is such a change possible? From my perspective in the neurosciences, I believe that it is.

Many behavior patterns in adult life are determined by neurochemical and environmental events that occur in the perinatal period and in the...

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