Can science keep going on at an ever accelerating rate, or will the flow of new ideas dry up in the near future? Horgan asks plenty of well known scientists but doesn't listen to their answers - he's already decided in his own mind, in which science seems to be a form of post-modernist literary criticism. Science is called naïve
when dealing with something which is well known, ironic
when it's more speculative, so you can't win either way. There's not much here if you want a map of how science will progress in the coming decades, but the book is worth reading for the interviews with such a diverse range of scientists - Horgan manages to get them to answer some awkward questions without being thrown out of the door.
The book covers a wide range of subjects, starting with philosopy and moving through physics and cosmology to evolution, social science and neuroscience. In the later chapters on chaos and artificial intelligence there's more scope for Horgan's criticism of excessive speculation. There's also a chapter on the 1994 Santa Fe conference on the Limits to Scientific Knowledge. In the final chapter, in his responses to his critics, Horgan's arguments seem much more cogent than at the start of the book. Unfortunately the end of the book is reached before this new mode of reasoning makes much progress.