Keith Stanovich holds the Canada Research Chair of Applied Cognitive Science at the Department of Human Development and Applied Psychology, University of Toronto. His research areas include the psychology of reasoning and rationality and the psychology of reading, which explores what happens in the brain and to the brain through the process of reading. Recently, he was named one of the 25 most productive educational psychologists. His many books include How to Think Straight about Psychology, Who Is Rational?: Studies of Individual Differences in Reasoning, and The Robot’s Rebellion: Finding Meaning in the Age of Darwin.
In this discussion with D.J. Grothe, Stanovich talks about his book The Robot’s Rebellion: Finding Meaning in an Age of Darwin, which is about “Universal Darwinism” and its implications for widely and deeply held beliefs such as God, free-will, and the concept of the self. He explores the gene’s eye view of life and also memes as self-replicating units of culture, and how these selfish replicators use humans as vehicles for their own purposes, even as they might not be in the best interest of humans. He shows some ways that we may overcome, or rebel, against these forces to construct meaning from our existence.