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Last September I wrote my first column for Scientific American, and this September marks my last one. In writing on science issues relevant to our culture and society, there is an inevitable tension between sticking just to science issues and commenting on potentially hot-button social issues. I have tried during the past 12 months to strike some balance, but without fail those issues that stir the greatest outrage also stir the greatest interest.
Nothing seems to stir more discussion than pieces about science and religion, an observation that reminds me of the comment that Henry Kissinger reputedly made about academic disputes: they are so vicious because the stakes are so small. After all, science will continue irrespective of religious opinions, and I expect organized religion will continue to be a part of the cultural landscape, too, largely unaffected by the ongoing march of human knowledge, as it has been for centuries.

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