As a staff writer for Scientific American, John Horgan has a window on contemporary science unsurpassed in all the world. Who else routinely interviews the likes of Lynn Margulis, Roger Penrose, Francis Crick, Richard Dawkins, Freeman Dyson, Murray Gell-Mann, Stephen Jay Gould, Stephen Hawking, Thomas Kuhn, Chris Langton, Karl Popper, Steven Weinberg, and E. O. Wilson, with the freedom to probe their innermost thoughts? This is the secret fear that Horgan pursues throughout this remarkable book: Have the big questions all been answered? Has all the knowledge worth pursuing become known? Will there be a final "theory of everything" that signals the end? Is the age of great discoveries behind us? Is science today reduced to mere puzzle solving and adding details to existing theories? Scientists have always set themselves apart from other scholars in the belief that they do not construct the truth, they discover it. Their work is not interpretation but simple revelation of what exists in the empirical universe. But science itself keeps imposing limits on its own power. Special relativity prohibits the transmission of matter or information at speeds faster than that of light; quantum mechanics dictates uncertainty; and chaos theory confirms the impossibility of complete prediction. Meanwhile, the very idea of scientific rationality is under fire from Neo-Luddites, animal-rights activists, religious fundamentalists, and New Agers alike. As Horgan makes clear, perhaps the greatest threat to science may come from losing its special place in the hierarchy of disciplines, being reduced to something more akin to literary criticism as more and more theoreticians engage in the theory twiddling he calls "ironic science." Still, while Horgan offers his critique, grounded in the thinking of the world's leading researchers, he offers homage, too. If science is ending, he maintains, it is only because it has done its work so well.
In story after story after story, one powerfully persistent meme of the 2012 American presidential election was that the GOP faced a significant “demographics problem” in which the growing numbers of former minorities such as African-Americans and...
What's the Latest Development? Spain is the latest European country to propose offering residency permits -- which would allow freedom of movement across most of Europe -- to foreigners willing to invest in real estate properties.
Robin Good: Curaqion is a new curated web magazine, available monthly also in PDF format, that focuses on curating unique, rare and fascinating questions and answers from Quora.
What Curaqion does is to syntesize, edit, filter and re-assemble interesting set of answers to a Quora question in a way that creates a whole, organic and comprehensive content unit that is better than a long and unsorted list of disjoined answers.
For a couple of days, I was inclined to buy the theory that Obama won the election because his campaign was so "metric driven." Metric driven in this case seems to mean the Machiavellian science of manipulation of the voters.
What's the Latest Development? Researchers at the University of Washington have used a new medical procedure to remove the extra copy of chromosome 21 in cell cultures derived from a person affected by Down syndrome.
What's the Latest Development?Just in time for the holiday shopping frenzy comes news that five major fashion brands in Europe and the US are using the EyeSee, which looks like a regular mannequin on the outside but contains a camera on the inside...
I think we should not bother too much looking at the small everyday problems and solving the next steps. We need people who look at the bright at the whole picture in order to have bright solutions for the big problem.
What's the Latest Development? The last year has seen major changes in France's funeral industry, with an influx of companies now offering its services for prices that would have been unthinkable a few years ago.
What's the Latest Development? After weeks of arguments for and against, last week the European Union approved a draft law that will increase the number of women working at various levels in Europe's 5,000 publicly-traded companies.
Casual observations of American political scandals seem to suggest that Democrats are more likely to be involved in sexual scandals, while Republicans are more likely to be involved in financial scandals, with the exception that Republicans appear...