Fisticuffs have broken out in The Guardian between two intellectual big shots, philosopher John Gray and psychologist Steven Pinker. The fight, which features lots of rhetorical flourishes and high dudgeon, addresses a serious issue: Is humanity achieving moral progress?...
Philosopher Daniel Dennett once asked: Would you rather be remembered for being right about something, or for being “original and provocative”?
In a column last week, I argued that journalists and other non-scientists have the right and even in some cases the responsibility to question the authority of scientific experts; after all, “even the most accomplished scientists at the most prestigious institutions often make claims that turn out to be erroneous or exaggerated.” My post criticized [...]..
Years ago I was blathering to a science-writing class at Columbia Journalism School about the complexities of covering psychiatric drugs when a student, who as I recall had a medical degree, raised his hand...
In 1993, when I was a full-time staff writer for Scientific American, my boss, Jonathan Piel, asked, or rather, commanded me to write an in-depth feature on something, anything, mathematical...
In 1990 The New York Times published a front-page article by Lawrence Altman, a reporter with a medical degree, announcing that scientists had discovered “a link between alcoholism and a specific gene.” That was merely one in a string of reports in which the Times and other major media hyped what turned out to be [...]..
A charming article about northern goshawks by James Gorman of the New York Times has dredged up a memory of my run-in with one of these fierce creatures.
For years, I’ve been getting e-mails from people who praise my brilliant research on terrorism and then ask me tough questions about the topic
My last column outlined points I made in a February 18 debate at my school, Stevens Institute of Technology, about whether religion and science are compatible.
Last week I “debated” the question above at my school, Stevens Institute of Technology, in an event sponsored by the Christian group Veritas.
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