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Stories by John Horgan

Are We Ready for a World in Which Everyone Spies on Everyone Else?

Recent events have me rethinking the benefits of a fully transparent world, in which everyone electronically monitors everyone else. In 2010, I blogged about my hopes that "grassroots spying" could help us create a safer, more just society, in which citizens can spy on people in power rather than just vice versa...

January 7, 2013 — John Horgan

Need a New Year's Resolution? Choose to Believe In Free Will!

We're approaching the end of one year and the beginning of another, when people resolve to quit smoking, swill less booze, gobble less ice cream, jog every day, or every other day, work harder, or less hard, be nicer to kids, spouses, ex-spouses, co-workers, read more books, watch less TV, except Homeland , which is awesome ...

December 28, 2012 — John Horgan

Psychedelic Prophet of 2012 Doom Was Goofing! But For a Good Reason

It's the day before the doomsday, as supposedly prophesied by ancient Mayans. Scientific American has been dutifully mocking the prediction, while also cannily capitalizing on it by offering discounted subscriptions in an "End of the World Flash Sale." Brilliant!I figured I'd take advantage of apocalypse fever by reprinting something I posted last June about a prominent popularizer of the 2012 meme, psychedelic scholar-entertainer-guru- Scientific-American -fan Terence McKenna...

December 20, 2012 — John Horgan

Will Connecticut Massacre Give Politicians the Guts to Take on the Gun Lobby?

It's happened again: a lone gunman has carried out a massacre, this time in an elementary school in Newtown, CT. A young man killed 18 children and eight adults, reportedly including his mother, a teacher at the school, before taking his own life.And so once again I'm dragging out my plea for gun control, just as I did last summer, after James Holmes shot 12 people to death in a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, and in January 2011, after Jared Laughner killed six people and wounded 14 others, including Representative Gabrielle Giffords, in Tucson, Arizona.Every time a deranged American male goes on a rampage, shooting down dozens of people, gun lovers trot out the familiar excuses: Guns don’t kill people, people do...

December 14, 2012 — John Horgan

What Should Teachers Say to Religious Students Who Doubt Evolution?

I'm teaching Darwin again this semester, in two separate courses, and I'm confronted with a familiar dilemma: How should I respond to students who reject evolutionary theory on religious grounds?One course is a freshman survey of the humanities and social sciences, and the other reviews the history of science and technology...

November 20, 2012 — John Horgan

Does Sandy Mean We Should Have Fewer Nukes, or More?

I've been trying to come up with something to say about Sandy that hasn't already been asserted and questioned and reasserted and so on. So I thought I'd talk about how nuclear plants weathered the storm.As I mentioned in a previous post, environmentalists in my hometown and throughout New York want to permanently close the Indian Point nuclear plant, which they see as a potential "Fukushima on the Hudson," as the green group Riverkeeper put it...

November 2, 2012 — John Horgan

Ethicist Peter Singer Critiques Roe v. Wade, Obamacare, Romney

Last week the man whom The New Yorker called "the most influential living philosopher" came to my school, Stevens Institute, to talk about "Ethics and the Election." Peter Singer, who was raised in Australia and now teaches at Princeton and the University of Melbourne, espouses utilitarianism, an ethics that seeks to minimize suffering and maximize wellbeing.Singer's work is challenging, not because his writing is difficult to understand but because it is all too clear...

October 22, 2012 — John Horgan
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