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Stories by John Horgan

Are We Doomed to Wage Wars over Water?

Water, water, everywhere. But will we always have enough to drink? Wash away our waste? Grow crops and raise livestock? Some prominent progressives are warning that, as our population grows and our planet warms, water will become increasingly scarce, and humans will inevitably start fighting over it.

March 26, 2012 — John Horgan

Why I Won't Get a Colonoscopy

I recently visited a doctor for one problem, and, as doctors are wont to do, he recommended tests for completely unrelated problems. My hearing has seemed muffled lately, so I wanted the doctor to peer in my ears.

March 12, 2012 — John Horgan

Are Psychiatric Medications Making Us Sicker?

Anatomy of an Epidemic: Magic Bullets, Psychiatric Drugs, and the Astonishing Rise of Mental Illness in America (Crown 2010), by the journalist Robert Whitaker, is one of the most disturbing, consequential works of investigative journalism I've read in a long time.

March 5, 2012 — John Horgan

Let's Begin Talking about How to End Wars

Are you a war pessimist? Odds are you are. For almost a decade now, I've been asking people if they think war will ever end. I've surveyed thousands of people, young and old, liberal and conservative, hawks and doves, male and female.

February 20, 2012 — John Horgan

Education Isn't Helping Americans Overcome Deepening Inequality

In Remaking Eden (Harper Perennial, 1998), geneticist Lee Silver envisioned a future in which humanity has split into two species: "Naturals," the poor slobs who muddle along with the genes that nature gave them, and the "GenRich," who can afford to boost their physical and mental talents via genetic engineering.

February 13, 2012 — John Horgan

Is Robert Trivers Deceiving Himself about Evolutionary Psychology's Flaws?

In 1995, I critiqued evolutionary psychology in "The New Social Darwinists," an article in the December issue of Scientific American. Afterwards I got a scathing letter from Robert Trivers, whose work on altruism, parent-offspring conflict and other tendencies helped lay the foundations for evolutionary psychology, which like its precursor sociobiology attempts to explain human thought and behavior in Darwinian terms.

January 6, 2012 — John Horgan

How I Used to Celebrate Winter Solstice-and Life's Improbability

I just realized today is Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year. To celebrate it, I'm posting the following column, adapted from something I wrote for The New York Times nine years ago: Three years ago, my wife, who is a pagan, decided that our family should celebrate Winter Solstice.

December 22, 2011 — John Horgan

Does the "Goddamn" Higgs Particle Portend the End of Physics?

What does it say about particle physics that the Higgs boson has generated so much hullaballoo lately? Physicists at the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland have reportedly glimpsed "tantalizing hints" of the Higgs, which might confer mass to quarks, electrons and other building blocks of our world.

December 17, 2011 — John Horgan

In Physics, Telling Cranks from Experts Ain't Easy

All science writers, especially those of us who cover particle physics and other fields that purport to reveal ultimate reality, hear from cranks. Pre-email, I got envelopes stuffed with manuscripts, sometimes hundreds of pages long, from people unaffiliated with any research institution known to me.

December 11, 2011 — John Horgan

Why I Don't Dig Buddhism

I've been brooding over Buddhism lately, for several reasons. First, I read that Steve Jobs was a long-time dabbler in Buddhism and was even married in a Buddhist ceremony.

December 2, 2011 — John Horgan

R.I.P. Lynn Margulis, Biological Rebel

The biologist Lynn Margulis died on November 22 at the age of 73. I adapted the following essay about her from my 1996 book The End of Science.

November 24, 2011 — John Horgan

Can Science Solve-Really Solve-the Problem of Beauty?

Last summer, I wrote about my run-in with a rabid skunk, which reinforced my disbelief in a benign, all-powerful God. If such a God exists, why does He allow some people to suffer so much, through no fault of their own?

November 13, 2011 — John Horgan

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