Author Archives: John Horgan

An Elbow Injury Exposes the Exorbitant Costs of Health Care

Bills totaling $287,365.08 provide insights into the dysfunctional economics of American medicine

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Big Data, Questionable Benefits and My Girlfriend’s Magic Ring

Wearable devices that track our health may do more harm than good

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Death, Physics and Wishful Thinking

Fear of mortality might underlie physicists’ fondness for the anthropic principle, multiverses, superdeterminism and other shaky ideas

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Is There a Thing, or a Relationship between Things, at the Bottom of Things?

Quantum mechanics inspires us to speculate that interactions between entities, not entities in themselves, are fundamental to reality

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Talking to My Daughter Can Be Harder Than Learning Quantum Mechanics

Ordinary human dilemmas are tougher to solve than the most difficult problems of physics and mathematics

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What God, Quantum Mechanics and Consciousness Have in Common

Theories that try to explain these big metaphysical mysteries fall short, making agnosticism the only sensible stance

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What Is a Question?

A 92-year-old essay provokes musings on the nature of knowledge, reality—and uptalk

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Quantum Mechanics, Plato’s Cave and the Blind Piranha

Can we ever really know the world?

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My Stupid Elbow and the Crisis in Health Care

A lingering hockey injury forces a science writer to reconsider his criticism of American medicine

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Science Should Not Try to Absorb Religion and Other Ways of Knowing

Our diverse ways of seeing reality will never, and should never, meld into a monolithic worldview

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Can Science Survive the Death of the Universe?

Three physicists envision ways in which the quest for knowledge can last forever

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Quantum Mechanics, the Chinese Room Experiment and the Limits of Understanding

All of us, even physicists, often process information without really knowing what we’re doing

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Quantum Mechanics, Free Will and the Game of Life

Some thoughts triggered by the death of the mathematician John Conway

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Premature Freak-Outs about Techno-Enhancement

Debates about whether to “improve” our mind and body often exaggerate the feasibility of doing so

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Will Artificial Intelligence Ever Live Up to Its Hype?

Replication problems plague the field of AI, and the goal of general intelligence remains as elusive as ever

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Thanksgiving and the Myth of Native American “Savages”

Prominent scientists exaggerate the violence of Native Americans, whom European invaders ravaged.

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Has the Drug-Based Approach to Mental Illness Failed?

Journalist Robert Whitaker is more concerned than ever that psychiatric medications do more harm than good

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A Liberal East Coast Science Writer Talks to a Pro-Trump Texan Strength Coach about COVID-19

A weight-lifting guru, author and podcaster calls the U.S. response to the pandemic an “exercise in hysteria” that might do more harm than good

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The Coronavirus and Right-Wing Postmodernism

Does right-wing skepticism toward the coronavirus have anything to do with the postmodern philosophy of Thomas Kuhn?

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Pluralism: Beyond the One and Only Truth

Some big questions, such as how matter makes mind and what quantum mechanics means, may not have a single, definitive answer

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The Delusion of Scientific Omniscience

As time passes, the claim that science can comprehend everything looks increasingly nutty

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We Should All Be Science Critics

A Harvard scholar says viewing science and technology with a critical eye can make the world a better place

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Cancer Medicine Is Failing Us

Our aggressive, expensive approach to cancer is doing more harm than good

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Was Thomas Kuhn Evil?

Filmmaker Errol Morris, once Kuhn’s grad student, accuses him of being a bad philosopher and bad person.

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The Great Hunger and the Randomness of the World

A science journalist walking through Lower Manhattan ponders the meaning of the Irish Hunger Memorial

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The Deep Roots of Fake News

A new history of the U.S. traces mass media’s destabilizing effects back to the nation’s birth

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Cypher’s Choice: Painful Reality or Pleasant Delusion?

The care of people with dementia poses an agonizing philosophical dilemma

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Can Art Solve the Hard Problem?

A play dramatizes the deepest of all mysteries, the mind–body problem

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Noam Chomsky Calls Trump and Republican Allies “Criminally Insane”

The great linguist and political critic remains hopeful that we can overcome global warming and other threats

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Philosophy Has Made Plenty of Progress

Philosopher Tim Maudlin sees advances in free will, morality and the meaning of quantum mechanics

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