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Thread: The End of Science

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
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    The End of Science

    I'm presently reading this book by John Horgan.

    Anyone else read it?
    Where the telescope ends, the microscope begins. Which of the two has the greater view?

  2. #2
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    Oct 2001
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    29,960
    I've read it. If it's the one I'm thinking of, it's interesting to read now because it's dated slightly so you get a real feel of how science has progressed since then (despite the title!).
    Everything I need to know I learned through Googling.

  3. #3
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    Nov 2002
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    I'm only 100 or so pages into it (having just finished the chapter "The End of Physics") and although some 10yrs have passed since publication, it seems mostly accurate insofar as Physics is concerned.

    "The End of Cosmology" is next.
    Where the telescope ends, the microscope begins. Which of the two has the greater view?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
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    11,545
    I have two copies of the book, the paperbook edition has an afterword writen Jan. 1997.

    Horgan displays an incredible hubris--here's a quote from page 5: "After all, who really knew what the ultimate limits of knowledge might be? But gradually, I began to imagine that I knew; I convinced myself that one particular scenario was more plausible than all the others."

    In the afterword, he defends himself against the critics ("Clinton's science advisor, the administrator of NASA, a dozen or so Nobel laureates and scores of less prominent critics in every continent except Antarctica") but still says "One might think that this sort of benign rebuke would nudge me toward self-doubt. But since my book's publication last June, I have become even more convinced that I am right and almost everyone else is wrong, which is generally a symptom of incipient madness."

    Incredibly, he ends the afterword with these three sentences: "Let me be completely frank here. My real purpose in writing The End of Science was to found a new religion, 'The Church of the Holy Horror.' Being a cult leader should be a nice change of pace from--not to mention more lucrative than--science journalism."

    I'm sure that's a joke, but, still, he ruined the joke with that "completely frank" remark. I read the book twice, so it's not a complete waste of time, but if you find yourself needing a little extra room in your schedule, removing this book might be a good place to start.

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