We Have to Talk About Doubt
How to tell the difference between scientific and conspiratorial skepticism.
Playing Go with Darwin
New research elevates evolution from a tactical process to one of strategic possibility.
The Damage We’re Not Attending To
Scientists who study complex systems offer solutions to the pandemic.
The Hidden Life of Viruses
The COVID-19 crisis has made the dark energy of evolution visible.
The Case for Professors of Stupidity
Bertrand Russell’s quip prefigured the scientific discovery of a cognitive bias—the Dunning–Kruger effect—that has been so resonant that it has penetrated popular culture.Wikicommons On this past International Holocaust Remembrance Day, I reread a bit of Bertrand Russell. In 1933, dismayed at the Nazification of Germany, the philosopher wrote “The Triumph of Stupidity,” attributing the rise […]
The Case Against Geniuses
Once you’re called a “genius,” what’s left? Super genius? No, getting called a “genius” is the final accolade, the last laudatory label for anyone. At least that’s how several members of Mensa, an organization of those who’ve scored in the 98th percentile on an IQ test, see it. “I don’t look at myself as a […]
The Typewriter’s Love of the Desert
Reflections on Sam Shepard’s time at the Santa Fe Institute I was first introduced to Sam by our mutual friend Valerie Plame Wilson. Sam had played Valerie’s father in the cinematic adaptation of her book, Fair Game. On the phone inviting Sam to SFI his first question to me was whether there would be sufficient desk […]
Five Short Stories About the Life and Times of Ideas
A complexity theorist explores how science and culture co-evolve.
Ingenious: David Krakauer
The systems theorist explains what’s wrong with standard models of intelligence.