When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson

02 January 2006

What is your dangerous idea? (The Edge - 2006)

Last year, The Edge asked 120 scientists, philosophers, and thinkers, "What do you believe is true even though you cannot prove it?"

This year's question is, to me, even more interesting:
The history of science is replete with discoveries that were considered socially, morally, or emotionally dangerous in their time; the Copernican and Darwinian revolutions are the most obvious. What is your dangerous idea? An idea you think about (not necessarily one you originated) that is dangerous not because it is assumed to be false, but because it might be true?
A few of my favorite "dangerous ideas":

Martin E.P. Seligmen: Has relativism gotten to a point that it is dangerous to the scientific enterprise and to human well being?

David Gelernter: What are people well informed about in the Information Age?

Michael Shermer: Where goods cross frontiers, armies won't.

Irene Pepperberg: The differences between humans and nonhumans are quantitative, not qualitative.

George Dyson: I predict we will reach a complete understanding of molecular biology and molecular evolution, without ever discovering the origins of life.

Eric Kandel: Free will is exercised unconsciously, without awareness.

Daniel Dennett: There aren't enough minds to house the population explosion of memes.

J. Craig Venter: Revealing the genetic basis of personality and behavior will create societal conflicts.

THE WORLD QUESTION CENTER 2006: What is your dangerous idea?

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