Author Archives: John Horgan

Yes, Make Psychedelics Legally Available, but Don’t Forget the Risks

Psychedelics have psychological and spiritual benefits, as a new best seller claims, but they’re far from a panacea

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Why Does Jim Holt Exist?

A connoisseur of science, math and philosophy takes on the really big questions

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How Physics Lost Its Way

Physicist Sabine Hossenfelder claims desire for beauty and other subjective biases have led physicists astray

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Bloomsday Tribute to James Joyce, Greatest Mind-Scientist Ever

Ulysses doesn’t solve the hard problem, but it conveys with unsurpassed vividness what it feels like to be human.

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Do Our Questions Create the World?

Quantum theorist John Wheeler’s “it from bit” hypothesis anticipated ongoing speculation that consciousness is fundamental to reality

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How Google Could Help End War

By renouncing military contracts, Google could catalyze a much-needed discussion about how the U.S. and other nations can move beyond militarism

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Was Wittgenstein a Mystic?

The philosopher’s greatest work, Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, only makes sense in the light of mysticism

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Freeman Dyson’s Solution to the Problem of Evil

Dyson’s principle of maximum diversity says that without hardship and suffering, life would be too dull

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A Super-Simple, Non-Quantum Theory of Eternal Consciousness

A sleepy philosopher inspires thoughts on how consciousness could endure forever

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Is Science Hitting a Wall?, Part 1

Economists show increased research efforts are yielding decreasing returns

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Dear Trump, Make World Peace Your Mission

The president has the deal-making skills to end war between nations once and for all

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Can Meditation Make Us Nicer?

A new study raises questions about meditation’s moral and social benefits. 

 

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Cosmic Thinker Worries about the Ends of Science and Humanity

Cosmologist Martin Rees holds forth on multiverses, biothreats, AI, utopia, God and “posthuman” science

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My Alarming, Inspiring Encounter with the Late Stephen Hawking

After having a seizure in my arms at a meeting in Sweden, the paralyzed physicist lectured on how we live in a “superspace” with infinite dimensions

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The More We Know, the More Mystery There Is

Physicist Marcelo Gleiser muses over the paradoxes of scientific progress

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How Technology Can Make Valentine’s Day Much, Much Better

Brain implants could eliminate miscommunication between lovers

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Who Invented the Mind–Body Problem?

Germans were debating the “body–soul problem” by the mid-19th century, but Socrates pondered the problem first

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Is Science Infinite?

Science will never tell us who we really are, and that is why it will last forever

 

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The Infinite Optimism of Physicist David Deutsch

The quantum theorist thinks we’ll solve war, global warming and consciousness—and that will be just the beginning

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The Weirdness of Weirdness

Is weirdness only in the eye of the beholder or is it an objective quality of reality?

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Do Women Want to Be Oppressed?

Evolutionary theorists propose that female desire for domineering males helped create a patriarchal world

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We Have Souls, and So Do Crows

A meditation for the Winter Solstice

 

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Jellyfish, Sexbots and the Solipsism Problem

As long as we lack a "consciousness meter," we can’t resolve debates about what is or isn’t conscious

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Do Fish Suffer?

Speakers at a meeting on animal consciousness dive into a deep ethical debate

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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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Do We Need Brain Implants to Keep Up with Robots?

Neuroscientist Christof Koch calls for a “crash program” in brain technologies to make us smarter

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Does Buddhism Give Us Answers or Questions?

An encounter with a Buddhist teacher provokes a meditation on the nature of spirituality

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Bizarre Brain-Implant Experiment Sought to "Cure" Homosexuality

In 1970 a psychiatrist at Tulane University electrically stimulated the brain of a gay man while he had sex with a female prostitute

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Lax U.S. Gun Controls Pose a Greater Threat Than Terrorism

U.S.-made guns wreak havoc around the world as well as in the U.S.

 

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Tribute to Jose Delgado, Legendary and Slightly Scary Pioneer of Mind Control

Neuroscientist based at Yale in 1960s controlled bulls, monkeys and humans with brain implants and envisioned a “psychocivilized society”

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