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Critical views of science in the news

Why New Year Resolutionaries Should Believe in Free Will

Why New Year Resolutionaries Should Believe in Free Will

New Year’s Day is approaching, a time when weby which I mean I–brood over past failures and vow to improve ourselves: I will be less judgmental with my kids and more romantic with my girlfriend.

December 27, 2013 — John Horgan
How an Agnostic Celebrates Winter Solstice, the Year’s Darkest Day

How an Agnostic Celebrates Winter Solstice, the Year’s Darkest Day

To celebrate Winter Solstice, darkest day of the year, Im posting an edited version of a column I originally wrote for The New York Times more than a decade ago, before I got divorced and moved to Hoboken, New Jersey, from a Hudson Valley hamlet: Garrison, New York.

December 20, 2013 — John Horgan
Thanksgiving and the Myth of the Savage Savage

Thanksgiving and the Myth of the Savage Savage

The approach of Thanksgiving, that quintessential American holiday, has me brooding over recent scientific portrayals of Native Americans as bellicose brutes.* When I was in grade school, my classmates and I wore paper Indian headdresses and Pilgrim hats and reenacted the “first Thanksgiving,” in which supposedly friendly Native Americans joined Pilgrims for a fall feast [...]

November 27, 2013 — John Horgan

We Need Leaders Who Share John F. Kennedy’s Vision of World Peace

To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the death of President John F. Kennedy, I’m reposting a column about his “Peace Speech,” which he gave less than six months before his assassination: I’m not a big fan of the literary sub-genre of political rhetoric, even the best examples of which usually reduce to schmaltzy, self-aggrandizing propaganda.

November 22, 2013 — John Horgan
We Must Start Thinking Again about the Unthinkable

We Must Start Thinking Again about the Unthinkable

For those titillated by Strangelovian fantasies of nuclear apocalypse, the early 1980s were a golden age. That was the height of the Cold War, when nuclear arms and rhetoric escalated, and President Ronald Reagan envisioned a space-based anti-missile “shield”—promptly dubbed “Star Wars” by skeptics—that could thwart attacks by the “Evil Empire,” also known as the [...]

November 18, 2013 — John Horgan
Are “Big Data” Sucking Scientific Talent into Big Business?

Are “Big Data” Sucking Scientific Talent into Big Business?

Over the last few years, we’ve heard a lot about how “Big Data”—which as far as I can tell is just data mining in a glossy new wrapper–are going to revolutionize science and help us create a better world.* These claims strike me as all too familiar.

November 8, 2013 — John Horgan

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