The End of War
Far from being ancient, innate and inevitable, war is a cultural phenomenon that culture can help us transcend.
A Murky Critique of Darwin
A critique of a critique of Darwinian theory.
So Many Links, So Little Time
An essay on the pros and cons of the Internet.
Does Peace Have a Chance?
An optimistic summary of findings about trends in warfare.
The Shape of Things to Come
Review of collection of essays on future of humanity.
The Consciousness Conundrum
Critique of the science behind the Singularity.
War: What Is It Good For?
What science can tell us about the roots of war.
Toward a Unified Theory of Einstein's Life
Review of two new biographies of Albert Einstein by Walter Isaacson and Jurgen Neffe, Chronicle of Higher Education, May 4, 2007.
Spirit Tech: How to Wire Your Brain for Religious Ecstasy
A survey of electromagnetic, genetic and chemical methods for inducing mystical experiences, posted on Slate.com, April 26, 2007.
Francis Collins: The Scientist As Believer
Horgan asks Francis Collins, a born-again Christian, how he reconciles his religious and scientific perspectives.
The God Experiments
A survey of cognitive, evolutionary, genetic, neural and biochemical theories of mystical and religious experiences, Discover, December 2006.
The Final Frontier
Horgan examines how the arguments in his controversial 1996 book The End of Science have held up.
A review of The Jasons: The Secret History of Science's postwar elite, by Ann Finkbeiner, New York Times Book Review, April 16, 2006.
The Templeton Foundation: A Skeptic's Take
An essay that considers whether it is ethical for an agnostic to accept money from the Templeton Foundation, which seeks to reconcile science and religion.
Einstein Has Left the Building
An essay on the question, provoked by the end of the centennial of Einstein's "miraculous year," of whether we will ever see Einstein's like again. New York Times Book Review, January 1, 2006.
Horgan says that Chris Mooney's controversial book, The Republican War on Science, "addresses a vitally important issue and gets it basically right."
The Forgotten Era of Brain Chips
An account of the pioneering research on brain implants in humans and other animals by Jose Delgado and others, Scientific American, October 2005.
In Defense of Common Sense
An essay arguing against the tendency of that some modern physicists and other scientists to denigrate common sense as a guide for judging theories.
Can a Single Brain Cell Think?
Researchers at UCLA have found evidence for the controversial "grandmother-cell" hypothesis.
Brain Chips and Other Dreams of the Cyber-Evangelists
A critique of books that claim we are the verge of a dramatic merger of brains and machines.
Do Our Genes Influence Behavior?
A critique of the claims of behavioral geneticists such as Dean Hamer, the "discoverer" of the gay gene and the God gene.
Keeping the Faith in My Doubt
An essay on whether atheists, agnostics, and other un-believers need their own movement. Published in the New York Times, oped page, Sunday, December 12, 2004.
The Myth of Mind Control: Will Anyone Ever Decode the Human Brain?
A critical examination of whether scientists will ever have such complete understanding of the neural code, the brain's secret language, that they will be able to monitor and manipulate minds in ways envisioned in The Matrix and other science fictions.
Why I Can't Embrace Buddhism
An essay examining Buddhism's reputation as the religion most compatible with science and modern humanistic values. Published in Slate (slate.mas.com) February 12, 2003.
Peyote on the Brain
Published in Discover Magazine, February 2003. The author travels to Navajo Nation with the Harvard psychiatrist John Halpern, who is just completing a five-year study of the effects of peyote on members of the Native American Church.
More Than Good Intentions: Holding Fast to Faith in Free Will
A rumination on whether free will is an illusion, inspired by recent readings on the topic. Published in the science section of the New York Times, December 31, 2002.
A Holiday Made for Believing
A winter solstice celebration triggers thoughts on the meaning of Christmas and other holidays. Published on the oped page of the New York Times Christmas Day, 2002.
Selected Articles, 1986-Present
An annotated list of articles, reviews, and essays written over the past two decades for Scientific American, The New York Times, Washington Post, Times Literary Supplement, Slate, and other magazines and newspapers.
Why I Gave Up On Zen
Horgan describes his trials and tribulations in a Zen class taught by a Japanese-American woman in his hometown.
The Psychedelic Sorcerer
A breakfast conversation in Basel, Switzerland, with the anthropologist Christian Ratsch.
Horgan talks to the authors of The Guru Papers about the dangers of cults, gurus, and spiritual authority.
A Modern Catholic Mystic
John Horgan visits the reclusive Benedictine monk Brother David Stendl-Rast, a former teacher at Esalen and leader in the effort to establish a Catholic dialogue with Buddhism, at a monastery in western New York.
John Horgan describes meeting Stephen Batchelor, author of The Faith to Doubt and Buddhism Without Beliefs.
The Myth of the Totally Enlightened Guru
John Horgan describes his meeting with the guru Andrew Cohen, founder of the journal What Is Enlightenment? and advocate of the myth of the totally enlightened guru. This article includes brief digressions on Yogi Bhajan, popularizer of kundalini yoga, and Amrit Desai, founder of Kripalu.
Rational Mysticism: Dispatches from the Border Between Science and Spirituality
John Horgan seeks out experts from a wide range of fields, ranging from neurochemistry to theology, in an effort to get to the bottom of mysticism. Can mysticism be reconciled with science, and, more broadly, with reason? If so, what sort of truth would a rational mysticism give us? What sort of consolation? These are the questions that Rational Mysticism addresses. "A marvelous book... Horgan tackles this impossible subject journalistically --critically but with an open heart." Dick Teresi, New York Times Book Review, March 23, 2003.
The End of Science: Facing the Limits of Science in the Twilight of the Scientific Age
"[In this] intellectually bracing, sweepingly reported, often brilliant and sometimes bullying book, John Horgan makes the powerful case that the best and most exciting scientific discoveries are behind us." Natalie Angier, New York Times Book Review, front page review
The Undiscovered Mind: How the Brain Defies Replication, Medication, and Explanation
In this followup to The End of Science, John Horgan offers an in-depth critique of psychiatry, neuroscience, evolutionary psychology, artificial intelligence, and other fields of science that attempt to explain us to ourselves.
Where Was God on September 11? A Scientist Asks a Ground-Zero Pastor.
Where Was God on September 11? is the transcript of an actual conversation between a science journalist and a clergyman engaged in the work of comforting those whose lives were shattered by the attacks of September 11, 2001.
Houghton Mifflin, January 2003.
With Reverend Frank Geer. Edited and with an Introduction by Robert Hutchinson. Brown Trout, 2002. Royalties go to Help the Afghan Children Inc.
Review of The Beginning of Infinity, by David Deutsch, Wall Street Journal, July 20, 2011
Review of The Information by James Gleick, Wall Street Journal, March 1, 2011
Review of "The Moral Landscape" by Sam Harris, Globe and Mail, Oct. 8, 2010.
Review of "What Darwin Got Wrong," by Jerry Fodor and Massimo Piattelli-Palmarini, Philadelphia Inquirer, June 27, 2010
Review of "The Shallows," by Nicholas Carr, Wall Street Journal, June 4, 2010.
Article in Slate, Aug. 4, 2009
Review of "Year Million," Wall Street Journal, June 13, 2008
Neuroscientific critique of the Singularity, IEEE Spectrum Magazine, June 2008.
Article in Discover Magazine, April 2008
Review of biographies of Einstein by Walter Isaacson and Jurgen Neffe, Chronicle of Higher Education, May 4, 2007.
A report on "mystical technologies" for inducing religious experiences, Slate, April 26, 2007.
Q&A with Francis Collins, Director of the Human Genome Project, National Geographic, February 2007.
Article on scientific explanations of religious experiences, Discover, December 2006.
Tenth-anniversay update of The End of Science for Discover, October 2006.
Review of The Jasons: The Secret History of Science's Postwar Elite, by Ann Finkbeiner, New York Times Book Review, April 16, 2006.
Essay in the Chronicle of Higher Education, April 7, 2006.
Essay in the New York Times Book Review, January 1, 2006.
Review of The Republican War on Science by Chris Mooney. New York Times Book Review, December 18, 2005
Profile of Jose Delgado, a pioneer of brain implants, Scientific American, October 2005.
An essay inspired by the Centennial of Einstein's revolutionary papers on relativity and quantum mechanics. New York Times, August 12, 2005
Researchers have found evidence for the controversial "grandmother-cell" theory. Discover, June 2005.
An essay in the Chronicle of Higher Education, June 3, 2005
An essay published in the Chronicle of Higher Education, November 26, 2004.
An essay published in the New York Times, December 12, 2004
Cover story for Discover Magazine, October 2004.
A critique of Buddhism, published online by Slate (slate.msn.com) February 12, 2003.
Published in Discover Magazine, February 2003. A profile of the Harvard psychiatrist John Halpern and his five-year study of peyote use by members of the Native American Church.
An essay published in the New York Times, December 31, 2002.
An essay published on the oped page of the New York Times Christmas Day, 2002.
A list of articles written for Scientific American and other publications.
Outtakes from Rational Mysticism
(published here only)
An account of Horgan's efforts to achieve satori in a Zen class.
A profile of the German anthropologist and authority on shamanism Christian Ratsch.
A profile of Diana Alstad and Joel Kramer, authors of The Guru Papers.
A profile of the Benedictine monk Brother David Steindl-Rast.
A profile of the British Buddhist Stephen Batchelor.
A profile of the guru Andrew Cohen, founder of What Is Enlightenment?, with digressions on Yogi Bhajan and Amrit Desai.