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Cross-Check

Cross-Check

Critical views of science in the news

  • The Risks of Nuclear Weapons: An Exchange

    The Risks of Nuclear Weapons: An Exchange

    By John Horgan | 16 hours ago |

    Do we fear nuclear weapons too much or too little? Too little,  I argued in a recent post  inspired by an exchange I had with counter-culture icon Stewart Brand, who suggested that the risks of nuclear war--and even the effects of nuclear detonations--have been exaggerated. […]

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  • Science versus Religion: Excerpts from an Interview

    Science versus Religion: Excerpts from an Interview

    By John Horgan | July 22, 2015 |

    “We believe science is rational. But, like the church it once fought, it has its own established power structures and its own politics to defend. Has it become the new church, with beliefs tended by the faithful and heretics excluded from publication?” That’s how the Institute of Art and Ideas introduces an interview with me, titled “ Science: Power and Politics .” The IAI is a British non-profit engaged, it says, “in changing the current cultural landscape through the pursuit and promotion of big ideas, boundary-pushing thinkers and challenging debates.” Count me in! […]

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  • Much-touted Deep-Brain-Stimulation Treatment for Depression Fails Another Trial

    Much-touted Deep-Brain-Stimulation Treatment for Depression Fails Another Trial

    By John Horgan | July 9, 2015 |

    Deep-brain stimulation (DBS) is a highly invasive procedure, which involves drilling holes in the skull and inserting electrodes deep inside the brain.  A pacemaker-style device delivers pulses of electricity to specific neural regions. For years, journalists and researchers have touted this technique’s potential for treating depression, largely based on the work of neurologist Helen Mayberg. […]

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  • Meta-Meditation: A Skeptic Meditates on Meditation

    Meta-Meditation: A Skeptic Meditates on Meditation

    By John Horgan | July 8, 2015 |

    What do you call it when you try to meditate but can't stop thinking about meditation? Meta-meditation. I've meditated on and off, mostly off—okay, almost entirely off--since my early 20s, when I learned Kundalini yoga (which has a meditation component). […]

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  • Why

    Why "Color Cures" for Mental Illness Endure

    By John Horgan | July 6, 2015 |

    I recently reported  on the proliferation—or persistence—of treatments for mental illness that involve stimulating the brain with electromagnetism. These electro-cures (my term) confirm a thesis I advanced in my 1996  Scientific American  article “ Why Freud Isn’t Dead .” Freudian psychoanalysis has been vilified as a pseudo-science ever since its inception. […]

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  • Are We Too Afraid of Nuclear Weapons?

    Are We Too Afraid of Nuclear Weapons?

    By John Horgan | July 1, 2015 |

    I recently attended the annual Dialogue of the Breakthrough Institute, a think tank that challenges conventional green thinking . What appeals to me most about Breakthrough isn’t its specific positions—such as its embrace of nuclear energy—but its optimism. […]

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  • Return of Electro-Cures Exposes Psychiatry's Weakness

    Return of Electro-Cures Exposes Psychiatry's Weakness

    By John Horgan | June 24, 2015 |

    Delving into the history of treatments for mental illness can be depressing. Rather than developing ever-more-potent therapies, psychiatrists and others in the mental-health industry seem merely to recycle old ones. Consider, for example, therapies that stimulate the brain with electricity. […]

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  • Oliver Sacks on Stage Fright

    Oliver Sacks on Stage Fright

    By John Horgan | June 20, 2015 |

    Neurologist and best-selling author Oliver Sacks, about whom I’ve recently written two posts ( here and here ), has been a public figure for decades now. He has given countless lectures and interviews, including one at my school in 2008, when I asked him about his book Musicophilia and other topics. […]

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  • Cancer Kills More-and Costs More--in U.S. than in Europe

    Cancer Kills More-and Costs More--in U.S. than in Europe

    By John Horgan | June 8, 2015 |

    On this blog, I’ve often dwelled on the disturbing fact that Americans pay far more for health care per capita than any other nation in the world and yet have a relatively low life expectancy. We spend more, and yet we’re less healthy. […]

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  • Book by Biologist Jerry Coyne Goes Too Far Denouncing Religion, Defending Science

    Book by Biologist Jerry Coyne Goes Too Far Denouncing Religion, Defending Science

    By John Horgan | June 1, 2015 |

    Do we really need another book telling us how awful religion is? Biologist Jerry Coyne apparently thinks so. In Faith vs. Fact: Why Science and Religion Are Incompatible , he berates not only religious believers but even “accomodationists,” non-believers who think science and faith can find common ground. […]

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