John Horgan: a proud agnostic

Here’s a new Scientific American column by science writer John Horgan who, unlike many of his fellow op-ed writers on the magazine, at least has the decency to stick to science and not foist social justice dogma on the  science-minded readers. (There a dreadful Sci. Am. column this week on that issue, and we’ll deal … Continue reading John Horgan: a proud agnostic

John Horgan makes a strawman argument against “consilience”

The science writer John Horgan became well known for his 1996 book The End of Science, in which he claimed that the era of “fundamental science”—the kind of science that yielded big discoveries like the structure of DNA, evolution, and quantum mechanics—was coming to an end. That is, all the paradigm-changing views of the universe … Continue reading John Horgan makes a strawman argument against “consilience”

Francis Collins, new Templeton Prize winner, pushes woo in a Scientific American interview

As I reported two days ago, NIH head Francis Collins, an evangelical Christian, just nabbed the lucrative Templeton Prize, usually given to people who are both science minded and blather on about the “Big Questions”:  metaphysical “why” questions like “Why are we here?” or “What is our purpose?” Designed to exceed the Nobel Prize in … Continue reading Francis Collins, new Templeton Prize winner, pushes woo in a Scientific American interview

Self flagellation in Canada

This link, from Canada’s National Post via the news agency The Canadian Press, was sent to me by reader Rich Harkness, who noted, “As they say about the influx of critical race theory/intersectionality:   We are all on campus now!” Well, we’re both on campus and also in a procession of penitentes from the Church … Continue reading Self flagellation in Canada

Claire Lehmann and Debra Soh dismantle John Horgan’s indictment of sexism in science

The mandatory disclaimer first: I’m not claiming that science is free of sexism. No area in which men labor is, since there are always some sexist men. I would argue, though, that we’re doing our best to free the discipline of sexism (most hiring committees, for example,  have a keen look-out for women candidates, and … Continue reading Claire Lehmann and Debra Soh dismantle John Horgan’s indictment of sexism in science

Krauss on Horgan

Lawrence Krauss, Michael Shermer, and Steve Pinker have written responses to John Horgan’s splenetic Scientific American blog post arguing that skeptics are criticizing the Wrong Things. Lay off Bigfoot, homeopathy, global warming, and GMOs, he says; we should be going after physics, medicine, and—war! (Horgan seems to have overlooked pervasive skepticism of physics and medicine.) One of … Continue reading Krauss on Horgan

Shermer responds to Horgan

 This is the second of three responses to John Horgan’s piece of hauteur in Scientific American. In his blog post, he explained why he’s become “nuts”: The biological theory that really drives me nuts is the deep-roots theory of war. According to the theory, lethal group violence is in our genes. Its roots reach back millions … Continue reading Shermer responds to Horgan

Criticizing skeptics, John Horgan officially becomes an Internet troll

I’ve had my contretemps with science writer John Horgan on this site, but, except for what’s in the title above, I’ll try to refrain from ad hominems. But I will characterize Horgan’s latest post on his Scientific American blog, “Dear ‘Skeptics’, Bash homeopathy and Bigfoot less, mammograms and war more,” as contrarian, ill-informed, and misguided. (This … Continue reading Criticizing skeptics, John Horgan officially becomes an Internet troll

HorganGate: The troll pretends to answer his critics

Well, I’m trying not to get too deeply sucked into the fracas about John Horgan’s Admonition to Skeptics, so I’ll just note that there are two good critiques, one by Orac on Respectful Insolence and the other by Steve Novella on Neurologica.  They’re similar, but both worth reading, and both make the point that Horgan’s complaints … Continue reading HorganGate: The troll pretends to answer his critics

Steve Pinker demolishes John Horgan’s view of war

As you may recall, Science Contrarian John Horgan’s notorious “admonition to skeptics” blog post at Scientific American criticized the entire skeptical community for its supposed failure to campaign against war. That “hard target”, said Horgan, should take precedence over our attempts to attack “soft targets” like homeopathy, global warming denialism, and opposition to vaccination and GMO foods.  But he also … Continue reading Steve Pinker demolishes John Horgan’s view of war