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Stories by John Horgan

If You Want More Higgs Hype, Don't Read This Column

So it's finally, probably, maybe, happened. Although they are still hedging a bit, physicists at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, announced this morning that they had found the long-sought Higgs boson...

July 4, 2012 — John Horgan

If Natural Gas Is Less Noxious Than Coal, Don't We Have to Frack?

Opinions are my stock-in-trade. Early in my career, I pretended to be objective, but as time went on I thought it would be more fun telling readers exactly what I think about psychiatric drugs, "progress" in psychology, multiverse "theories", war-is-in-our-genes malarkey, free will and so on...

June 25, 2012 — John Horgan

Why B. F. Skinner, Like Freud, Still Isn't Dead

Behaviorism is back! That's what David Freedman proclaims in the June Atlantic cover story, "The End of Temptation: How the creepy science of behavior modification is reshaping our desires." The article is, on one level, a hyperbolic report on apps that are "transforming us into thinner, richer, all around-better versions of ourselves" by helping people (including Freedman's brother) overcome overeating, smoking and other bad habits...

June 1, 2012 — John Horgan

What Thomas Kuhn Really Thought about Scientific "Truth"

In 1991, when I was a staff writer for Scientific American , I wrote a letter to Thomas Kuhn, then at MIT. I said I wanted to profile him for Scientific American and "tell readers how you developed your views of the process of science." When he didn't respond, I called...

May 23, 2012 — John Horgan

What Are Science's Ugliest Experiments?

When I teach history of science at Stevens Institute of Technology, I devote plenty of time to science's glories, the kinds of achievements that my buddy George Johnson wrote about in The Ten Most Beautiful Experiments (Alfred A...

May 14, 2012 — John Horgan

Why You Should Choose Optimism

I've been bashing determinism and fatalism a lot lately, so I thought I'd write about an "ism" I like: optimism. For most of my career as a science journalist, I've been a pessimist, harping on all the goals that scientists will probably never attain...

April 17, 2012 — John Horgan

Christof Koch on Free Will, the Singularity and the Quest to Crack Consciousness

I met Christof Koch in 1994 at the first of series of big conferences on consciousness held in Tucson, Ariz. A professor at Caltech, Koch had helped popularize consciousness as a topic for serious scientific investigation—instead of windy philosophical supposition—through his collaboration with the great Francis Crick, who had already cracked the genetic code and now wanted to solve the riddle of mind as well...

April 2, 2012 — 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.War-correspondent-turned-antiwar-firebrand Chris Hedges expressed this idea during a radio interview with Brian Lehrer of WNYC radio, NPR's affiliate in New York City...

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
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