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What We Believe but Cannot Prove: Today's Leading Thinkers on Science in the Age of Certainty (2006)

af John Brockman (Redaktør), The Edge Foundation

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Serier: The Edge Foundation Annual Question (2005)

MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingOmtaler
8071427,210 (3.3)7
More than one hundred of the world's leading thinkers write about things they believe in, despite the absence of concrete proof Scientific theory, more often than not, is born of bold assumption, disparate bits of unconnected evidence, and educated leaps of faith. Some of the most potent beliefs among brilliant minds are based on supposition alone -- yet that is enough to push those minds toward making the theory viable. Eminent cultural impresario, editor, and publisher of Edge (www.edge.org), John Brockman asked a group of leading scientists and thinkers to answer the question: What do you believe to be true even though you cannot prove it? This book brings together the very best answers from the most distinguished contributors. Thought-provoking and hugely compelling, this collection of bite-size thought-experiments is a fascinating insight into the instinctive beliefs of some of the most brilliant minds today.… (mere)
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Engelsk (13)  Italiensk (1)  Alle sprog (14)
Viser 1-5 af 14 (næste | vis alle)
9781416522614
  archivomorero | Nov 9, 2022 |
I find the Edge Question to be a very odd format - it doesn't lead to particularly revealing writing. Most pieces here seem to be either obvious or controversial but unable to defend themselves due to space restrictions. ( )
1 stem mrgan | Oct 30, 2017 |
A collection of just over a hundred short essays (ranging from half a page to four pages) in answer to the question "What do you believe even though you cannot prove it?" The answers include topics such as belief or non belief in a deity, whether there is a personal life after bodily death, whether life or even intelligent life exists outside the solar system, the nature of consciousness, our similarity to or difference from other primates, and speculations on future developments in science, technology and society.

Perhaps better as a dipping-into rather than reading book. It's probably ideal for keeping in the loo, if you have that sort of loo. Some answers were interesting, some were overly technical descriptions of what someone thought was going to be the next big development in their field. there were enough different answers regarding some topics to make one realisee that a definitive answer to some questions is not possible in our present state of knowledge however dogmatic some people might get. The book was published in 2005, and I would like to know whether some of the contributors would give the same answer now. ( )
1 stem Robertgreaves | Jul 23, 2017 |
4 stars: Very good.

Another from the exemplary edge.org series. This was the first I received (though not first read) give to me by Lynne. A wonderful series.

From the back cover: Scientific theory, more often than not, is born of bold assumption, disparate bits of unconnected evidence, and educated leaps of faith. Some of the most potent beliefs among brilliant minds are based on superstition alone--yet that is enough to push those minds toward making the theory viable.

John Brockman, editor of the Edge, asked a group of leading scientists and thinkers to answer the question: what do you believe to be true, even though you can't prove it? This book brings together the very best answers from the most distinguished contributors. Thought provoking and hugely compelling, this collection of bite size though experiments is a fascinating insight into the instinctive believs of some of the most brilliant minds of today.

-----------------------

I find this series to be wonderful. It's hard to rate the book as a whole, as certain essays are more compelling and interesting than others. Certainly as noted above, the thought experiement is fascinating. There are trends in responses, about existence, or not, of God, about existence, or not, of life on other planets, on the nature of consciousness and free will (or lack thereof). The latter caused me food for thought.

A few excerpts/ essays that appealed to me particularly:

Randolph Neese: I can't prove it, but I'm pretty sure that people gain a selective advantage from believing in things they can't prove. Those who occasionally are consumed by false beliefs do better in life than those who insist on evidence before they believe and act. Those who are swept away occasionally by emotions do better than those who calculate every move. ...I'm not advocating irrationality or extreme emotionality. Many, perhaps most, of the problems plaguing individuals and groups arise from actions based on passion. ... People who lack passions suffer several disadvantages.

Daniel Goleman: I believe but cannot prove that today's children are unintended victims of economic and technological progress. ... Even as the average IQ of the american child has steadily increased over the last century, the past 3 decades have seen a major drop in their most basic social and emotional skills--the very abilities they need to become effective workers and leaders, parents, and spouses, members of the community.

Daniel Dennett: I believe, but can't yet prove, that acquiring a human language (an oral or sign language) is a necessary precondition for consciousness.-- in the strong sense of there being a subject, an "I"... It would follow that nonhuman animals and prelinguistic children--although they can be sensitive, alert, responsive to pain, and cognitively competent in many ways, are not really conscious in the strong sense. ... This assertion is shocking to many people who fear it would demote animals and prelinguistic children from moral protection, but this would not follow. ( )
  PokPok | Oct 29, 2016 |
Boring. Brief thoughts that would have been more fun to explore among college sophomores. The editing was the most carefully done bit, in that Brockman made sure that related thoughts were together and that each segued into the next, imitating the flow of discussion just a bit. Mainly just a blog forum & showcase for the personalities, however.

If I were in the mood to do so, I could increase the size of my 'to-read' list quite a bit by looking up the the works cited in the intro. of each author - but none were sufficiently compelling - none of the authors had anything particularly insightful or provocative to share. ( )
  Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Jun 6, 2016 |
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» Tilføj andre forfattere (2 mulige)

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Brockman, JohnRedaktørprimær forfatteralle udgaverbekræftet
The Edge Foundationhovedforfatteralle udgaverbekræftet
McEwan, IanIntroduktionmedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet

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In 1991 I suggested the idea of a third culture, which "consists of those scientists and other thinkers in the empirical world who, through their work and expository writing, are taking the place of the traditional intellectual in rendering visible the deeper meanings of our lives, redefining who and what we are." (Preface, John Brockman)
Proof, whether in science, philosophy, criminal court or daily life, is an elastic concept, interestinglly beset with all kinds of human weakness, as well as ingenuity. (Introduction, Ian McEwan)
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More than one hundred of the world's leading thinkers write about things they believe in, despite the absence of concrete proof Scientific theory, more often than not, is born of bold assumption, disparate bits of unconnected evidence, and educated leaps of faith. Some of the most potent beliefs among brilliant minds are based on supposition alone -- yet that is enough to push those minds toward making the theory viable. Eminent cultural impresario, editor, and publisher of Edge (www.edge.org), John Brockman asked a group of leading scientists and thinkers to answer the question: What do you believe to be true even though you cannot prove it? This book brings together the very best answers from the most distinguished contributors. Thought-provoking and hugely compelling, this collection of bite-size thought-experiments is a fascinating insight into the instinctive beliefs of some of the most brilliant minds today.

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