John Horgan, former senior writer at Scientific American, discusses his new book The End of War; why war is a solvable scientific problem, not the inevitable result of resource struggles, religious differences, or biological imperatives; the near-abolition of slavery, another ancient barbaric practice; preventing war by fighting militarism first, and working for social and economic justice second; and the reason why men take up arms, at the behest of chickenhawks, to fight people on the other side of the world.
MP3 here. (24:29)
John Horgan is a science journalist and Director of the Center for Science Writings at Stevens Institute of Technology, Hoboken, New Jersey. A former senior writer at Scientific American (1986-1997), he has also written for The New York Times, Time, Newsweek, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, The New Republic, Slate, Discover, The London Times, The Times Literary Supplement, New Scientist, and other publications around the world. He writes regular columns for Scientific American online, the Chronicle of Higher Education and BBC Knowledge Magazine and does video chats for Bloggingheads.tv.
Horgan’s most recent book is The End of War, published in 2012 by McSweeney’s Books. His other books include Rational Mysticism: Dispatches from the Border Between Science and Spirituality, The End of Science: Facing the Limits of Science in the Twilight of the Scientific Age, and its followup The Undiscovered Mind: How the Human Brain Defies Replication, Medication, and Explanation.
He is the co-author with the Reverend Frank Geer of Where Was God on September 11?, edited by Robert Hutchinson, Brown Trout, 2002. He contributed essays to Within the Stone, a collection of photographs of mineral cross sections by Bill Atkinson, one of the creators of the original MacIntosh computer.
His publications have received international coverage, including front-page reviews and news articles in The New York Times, London Times, Washington Post, and Chicago Tribune. He has been interviewed hundreds of times for print, radio, and television media, including The Lehrer News Hour, Charlie Rose, and National Public Radio’s Science Friday. He has lectured and participated in debates with prominent scientists and journalists before dozens of institutions in North America and Europe, including MIT, Caltech, Princeton, Dartmouth, McGill, the University of Amsterdam, and England’s National Physical Laboratory.
His awards include the 2005 Templeton-Cambridge Journalism Fellowship in Science and Religion; the American Psychiatric Association Certificate of Commendation for Outstanding Reporting on Psychiatric Issues (1997); the Science Journalism Award of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (1992 and 1994); and the National Association of Science Writers Science-in-Society Award (1993). His articles have been selected for The Best American Science and Nature Writing in 2005, 2006 and 2007.
Horgan was an associate editor at IEEE Spectrum, the journal of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, from 1983 to 1986. He received a B.A. in English from Columbia University’s School of General Studies in 1982 and an M.S. from Columbia’s School of Journalism in 1983.