I think you got it right on the mark, Yoav. There's a reason why I never mention the actual name of the center where this talk was given - it is because I am not talking about anyone in particular and any group in particular.
Interdisciplinary discussions often turn into verbal slapstick at best and complete nonsense at worse. And this is precisely the point. Sometimes it seems that the only way we can actually "talk" is by dumbing things down.
Now, this is not as perilous for neuroscience as it is for neuroethics. Taken at the introductory level, the latter suffers from being so easily declared as shallow and/or banal. And you know what? can't blame anyone here.
I'll say it as it is: some versions of "Neuroethics for the people" are a heap of platitudes, empty slogans, and often not-so-subtle flatery to well-funded neuroscientists. It is very hard to avoid this in our work, and this is why we often shun away from getting the "for the people" part right.
The post you read is really a tongue-in-cheek introduction to a semi-tongue-in-cheek discussion of this problem: the dumbing things down. Some work this out beautifully, but it still seems to plague many interdisciplinary conjunctions- we are all high-Q-no-clue really: the question is whether we want to be low-key high-Q-no-clue.
I could easily get to the non-dramatized but equally dramatic facts: I would only have had to copy paste from my mailbox, quote from actual conversations and so on. I will not do that. ever. I am "mocking" precisely because I respect the persons involved. But I did learn a lot from the endless exchanges I had for almost a year with the afore-non-mentioned center's faculty. These are all very bright people, corteous and really good-willed. And no sarcasm there. I have not one bad thing to say about them. The issue isn't really this seminar in particular, neither is it about me in particular, nor is it about this audience in particular. It is about having exchanges where both sides learn and teach, teach and learn.I mean not as a thank-you-ma'am seminar, but as a more serious, engaging, effortful process.
By sharing with you a sneak into last year's via dolorosa, I hope we get to think about the issue of disciplinary gaps (i.e. both epistemological and methodological gaps) and how they REALLY affect interdisciplinary projects in neuroethics (such as is represented by this blog).