What We Believe But Cannot Prove

Author: Mr. John Brockman
Publisher: Harper Collins
ISBN: 0061828106
Size: 46.60 MB
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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.

What Is Your Dangerous Idea

Author: Mr. John Brockman
Publisher: Harper Collins
ISBN: 0061844802
Size: 22.50 MB
Format: PDF
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The world's leading scientific thinkers explore bold, remarkable, perilous ideas that could change our lives—for better . . . or for worse . . . From Copernicus to Darwin, to current-day thinkers, scientists have always promoted theories and unveiled discoveries that challenge everything society holds dear; ideas with both positive and dire consequences. Many thoughts that resonate today are dangerous not because they are assumed to be false, but because they might turn out to be true. What do the world's leading scientists and thinkers consider to be their most dangerous idea? Through the leading online forum Edge (www.edge.org), the call went out, and this compelling and easily digestible volume collects the answers. From using medication to permanently alter our personalities to contemplating a universe in which we are utterly alone, to the idea that the universe might be fundamentally inexplicable, What Is Your Dangerous Idea? takes an unflinching look at the daring, breathtaking, sometimes terrifying thoughts that could forever alter our world and the way we live in it. Contributors include Daniel C. Dennett • Jared Diamond • Brian Greene • Matt Ridley • Howard Gardner and Freeman Dyson, among others

What Are You Optimistic About

Author: Mr. John Brockman
Publisher: Harper Collins
ISBN: 006187003X
Size: 54.48 MB
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The nightly news and conventional wisdom tell us that things are bad and getting worse. Yet despite dire predictions, scientists see many good things on the horizon. John Brockman, publisher of Edge (www.edge.org), the influential online salon, recently asked more than 150 high-powered scientific thinkers to answer a vital question for our frequently pessimistic times: "What are you optimistic about?" Spanning a wide range of topics—from string theory to education, from population growth to medicine, and even from global warming to the end of world—What Are You Optimistic About? is an impressive array of what world-class minds (including Nobel Laureates, Pulitzer Prize winners, New York Times bestselling authors, and Harvard professors, among others) have weighed in to offer carefully considered optimistic visions of tomorrow. Their provocative and controversial ideas may rouse skepticism, but they might possibly change our perceptions of humanity's future.

Perspectives On Science And Culture

Author: Kris Rutten
Publisher: Purdue University Press
ISBN: 1557537976
Size: 22.56 MB
Format: PDF
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Contributors to the volume analyze representations of science and scientific discourse from the perspectives of rhetorical criticism, comparative cultural studies, narratology, educational studies, discourse analysis, naturalized epistemology and the cognitive sciences. The main objective of the volume is to explore how particular cognitive predispositions and cultural representations both shape and distort the public debate about scientific controversies, the teaching and learning of science, and the development of science itself. The theoretical background of the articles in the volume integrates C. P. Snow's concept of the two cultures (science and the humanities) and Jerome Bruner's confrontation between narrative and logicoscientific modes of thinking (i.e., the cognitive and the evolutionary approaches to human cognition).

Newton S Principia Revisited

Author: Michael Schmiechen
Publisher: BoD – Books on Demand
ISBN: 3837053091
Size: 22.87 MB
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PROBLEM. The treatise is devoted to the reconstruction of our 'instinctive beliefs' in classical mechanics and to present them 'as much isolated and as free from irrelevant additions as possible'. The same motivation has driven many authors since the publication of Newton's Principia. IMPORTANCE. Classical mechanics will remain the basic reference and tool for mechanics on terrestrial and planetary scale as well as the proto-theory of relativistic and quantum mechanics. But it can only serve its purpose if it is not considered as obsolete, but if its foundations and implications are understood and made 'absolutely' clear. METHOD. Based on the 'instinctive belief' that the foundations of classical mechanics cannot be found and reconstructed within mechanics itself but only 'outside', classical mechanics is 'understood' by embedding it into an adequate theory of knowledge and adequate proto- and meta-theories in terms of the 'language of dynamics'. Evidence is produced that available philosophical expositions are not adequate for the purpose at hand. Mechanics is treated as part of physics, not of mathematics. Not sophisticated mathematical artifacts, necessary for solving specific problems, but the intellectually satisfactory foundation of mechanics in general is subject and purpose of the exercise. The goal is reached using axiomatic systems as models. SCOPE. Following an account of the unsatisfactory state of affairs the treatise covers the epistemological foundations, abstract proto-mechanics, i. e. the theories of time and space, meta-mechanics, i. e. the theories of state space models and of quantities proper, and, as an instance of the latter, abstract elementary mechanics, the theory of translational motions of 'small' solid bodies in three-dimensional Euclidean space, including classical general relativity. Subsequently the theory of classical kinematics is developed as basis for interpreted proto-mechanics and interpreted elementary mechanics. As an amus

God Does Not Play Dice

Author: David A. Shiang
Publisher: eBookIt.com
ISBN: 0980237343
Size: 11.63 MB
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In this revolutionary and provocative work, David A. Shiang claims to offer final answers to many of humankind's most enduring mysteries. He argues that Einstein was right in rejecting the randomness of quantum theory, and he shows that Stephen Hawking (A Brief History of Time) and Brian Greene (The Fabric of the Cosmos) are mistaken in saying that evidence shows nature to be probabilistic. He takes on Richard Dawkins (The God Delusion) and Daniel Dennett (Breaking the Spell), contending that Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection is neither scientific nor correct. He also maintains that worry and regret can be overcome, following in the footsteps of T.S. Eliot and other pioneers of the mind. Odds are high that the logical and elegant solutions Shiang presents to our deepest riddles will cause you to rethink your most fundamental beliefs. "Very provocative, erudite, and solidly based on intelligent and logical thinking! Congratulations on making an excellent contribution to understanding the role of a higher intelligence in organizing the affairs of the universe!" - Pat McGovern, IDG Founder and Chairman, Co-founder of The McGovern Institute for Brain Research at MIT "His lucidity and logic are breathtakingly devastating. He is not afraid to defend the mind of God, either.... I cannot overstate the importance of Shiang's work and its deep influence." - Len Klikunas, Cultural Anthropologist

What Have You Changed Your Mind About

Author: Mr. John Brockman
Publisher: Harper Collins
ISBN: 0061984906
Size: 42.32 MB
Format: PDF, ePub
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Even geniuses change their minds sometimes. Edge (www.edge.org), the influential online intellectual salon, recently asked 150 high-powered thinkers to discuss their most telling missteps and reconsiderations: What have you changed your mind about? The answers are brilliant, eye-opening, fascinating, sometimes shocking, and certain to kick-start countless passionate debates. Steven Pinker on the future of human evolution • Richard Dawkins on the mysteries of courtship • SAM HARRIS on the indifference of Mother Nature • Nassim Nicholas Taleb on the irrelevance of probability • Chris Anderson on the reality of global warming • Alan Alda on the existence of God • Ray Kurzweil on the possibility of extraterrestrial life • Brian Eno on what it means to be a "revolutionary" • Helen Fisher on love, fidelity, and the viability of marriage • Irene Pepperberg on learning from parrots . . . and many others.

The Meaning Of It All

Author: Richard P. Feynman
Publisher: Basic Books
ISBN: 0786739142
Size: 44.85 MB
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Many appreciate Richard P. Feynman's contributions to twentieth-century physics, but few realize how engaged he was with the world around him—how deeply and thoughtfully he considered the religious, political, and social issues of his day. Now, a wonderful book—based on a previously unpublished, three-part public lecture he gave at the University of Washington in 1963—shows us this other side of Feynman, as he expounds on the inherent conflict between science and religion, people's distrust of politicians, and our universal fascination with flying saucers, faith healing, and mental telepathy. Here we see Feynman in top form: nearly bursting into a Navajo war chant, then pressing for an overhaul of the English language (if you want to know why Johnny can't read, just look at the spelling of “friend”); and, finally, ruminating on the death of his first wife from tuberculosis. This is quintessential Feynman—reflective, amusing, and ever enlightening.

This Will Make You Smarter

Author: Mr. John Brockman
Publisher: Harper Collins
ISBN: 0062109405
Size: 11.96 MB
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Edge.org presents brilliant, accessible, cutting-edge ideas to improve our decision-making skills and improve our cognitive toolkits, with contributions by Nassim Nicholas Taleb, Richard Dawkins, Brian Eno, Steven Pinker, and more. Featuring a foreword by New York Times columnist David Brooks and edited by John Brockman, This Will Make You Smarter presents some of the best wisdom from today’s leading thinkers—to make better thinkers out of the leaders of tomorrow.