He has a point. I am always amazed when these over-educated academic skeptics endorse some totally goofy theory like many-worlds quantum mechanics.
Steve Pinker rebuts the war argument:
John Horgan says that he “hates” the deep roots theory of war, and that it “drives him nuts,” because “it encourages fatalism toward war.” ...I would not blame the USA for all those wars, but it has been the Clinton-Bush-Obama policy to destabilize Mideast governments, aid the radical Muslim forces of our choosing, and to provoke Putin. This has been a disaster in Libya, Syria, Egypt, and now also Kosovo, Iraq, and Afghanistan. Sometimes I think that Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are seeking a World War III between Islam and Christendom. Or maybe just to flood the West with Moslem migrants and refugees.
Gat shows how the evidence has been steadily forcing the “anthropologists of peace” to retreat from denying that pre-state peoples engaged in lethal violence, to denying that they engage in “war,” to denying that they engage in it very often. Thus in a recent book Ferguson writes, “If there are people out there who believe that violence and war did not exist until after the advent of Western colonialism, or of the state, or agriculture, this volume proves them wrong.” ...
And speaking of false dichotomies, the question of whether we should blame “Muslim fanaticism” or the United States as “the greatest threat to peace” is hardly a sophisticated way for skeptical scientists to analyze war, as Horgan exhorts them to do. Certainly the reckless American invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq led to incompetent governments, failed states, or outright anarchy that allowed Sunni-vs-Shiite and other internecine violence to explode — but this is true only because these regions harbored fanatical hatreds which nothing short of a brutal dictatorship could repress. According to the Uppsala Conflict Data Project, out of the 11 ongoing wars in 2014, 8 (73%) involved radical Muslim forces as one of the combatants, another 2 involved Putin-backed militias against Ukraine, and the 11th was the tribal war in South Sudan. (Results for 2015 will be similar.) To blame all these wars, together with ISIS atrocities, on the United States, may be cathartic to those with certain political sensibilities, but it’s hardly the way for scientists to understand the complex causes of war and peace in the world today.
Pinker has his own dubious theories about war.
I do agree with Horgan that these supposed skeptics are not really very skeptical about genuine science issues.
Another problem with them is that they are dominated by leftist politics. They will ignore any facts which conflict with their leftist worldview, and even purge anyone who says the wrong thing.
The conference where Horgan spoke had disinvited Richard Dawkins because he retweeted a video that had some obscure cultural references that did not pass some leftist ideological purity test. They did not like Horgan either and denounced him on the stage. It is fair to assume that he will not be invited back.