Robert A Burton

Neurologist and Author,

Robert A Burton is a neurologist, author and the former associate director of the department of neurosciences at the University of California, San Francisco Medical Center at Mount Zion. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, Salon, and Nautilus, among others. His latest book is A Skeptic’s Guide to the Mind: What Neuroscience Can and Cannot Tell Us About Ourselves (2013).

Written by Robert A Burton

Recent Comments

Our world outsmarts us

Robert A Burton

Thanks for the wide range of fascinating comments. As usual, it is more fun and enlightening to read the comments than it is to write the essay.

A few casual observations:

* On professional jargon: readers are absolutely on point as to the downside of experts mystifying simplicity through complex language. In part, I chose this example because of this semantically confusing phrase– false positive rate. The phrase can be used either to denote the percentage of people in a given population who test positive but do not have the disease, or as as a statistical comment upon the accuracy of the test (the lower the false positive rate, the higher the presumed reliability of the res...

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