No. 15, Montag, 20. Januar 2014
Von Andrian Kreye
Once a year, the New York literary agent John Brockman on his online forum for science and culture edge.org, asks one question. He gets answers from his network of scientists, intellectuals and artists. For 2014 was the question was "What Scientific Ideas Should We Retire?" Among the 174 responses received to date by the evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins ("Essentialism"), the science historian George Dyson ("Science and Technology"), the neuro-scientist Sarah-Jayne Blakemore ("Left Brain/Right Brain"), as well as the response of the SZ-Feuilleton Editor, Andrian Kreye" Moore's Law.)
The latest assault on our uniqueness comes from Edge.org, which asked the world’s supposedly most “brilliant minds” to come up with ideas that should be retired in science.
We must accelerate the pace at which science corrects itself. Because science can remain reliable. For this is as the strategic question that arises Edge this year, the community of researchers led by John Brockman: what scientific theories are ripe for retirement? Over 130 scholars - including Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Aubrey de Grey, Sherry Turkle, Nassim Nicholas Taleb, Stewart Brand, Richard Dawkins, Matt Ridley, Steven Pinker, George Dyson, Kevin Kelly - responded. Surprises abound. The findings are published edge.org .
Domingo, 19 2014
From culture to altruism, to the left and right hemispheres of the brain, to universal grammar, to the very notion of scientific progress: for some of the brightest minds in the world, these concepts deserve to retired from the scientific conversation.
This is the result provocateur who this year had the question which, like all the years, proposed Edge - a web site associated with a Publisher that promotes thought and discussion of cutting-edge science, arts and literature - partners usual and invited, to those invited to think "what scientific idea is ready to retire?". About 170 scientists, philosophers, academics and writers responded with brief essays, that they can be read online (www.edge.org) and that, like other years, they will probably soon its publication on paper. Here, a selection of some of the responses.
This is this year's provocative result of the question, which is proposed every year, by Edge, a website associated with a literary agent that promotes thinking and discussion of cutting-edge science, arts and literature, who invited his usual collaborators and guests , to think about "What scientific idea is ready to retire?". Some 170 scientists, philosophers, scholars, and writers responded with short essays that can be read online (www.edge.org) and, as has happened in previous years, will surely soon be published as a book. Here, a selection of some of the answers.
Climatologist, NASAs Goddard Institute
Associate Professor of Journalism, New York University
Markets Are Bad; Markets Are Good
Michael I. Norton
Associate Professor of Marketing, Harvard Business School
The Illusion of Scientific Progress
Certainty. Absolute Truth. Exactitude.
Richard Saul Wurman
Founder, TED Conference; eg Conference; TEDMED Conferences
Nicholas G. Carr
Author, The Shallows and The Big Switch
Novelist; Author, Sweet Tooth; Solar; On Chesil Beach
What scientific idea is ready for retirement? Read responses to that inquiry from the likes of Jared Diamond, Richard Dawkins, Alison Gopnik, Max Tegmark, Freeman Dyson, June Gruber, and many other brilliant people over at Edge.org, legendary book agent John Brockman's hub for really smart scientists and other big thinkers to share ideas with each other and the public. From the intro:
Science advances by discovering new things and developing new ideas. Few truly new ideas are developed without abandoning old ones first. As theoretical physicist Max Planck (1858-1947) noted, "A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it." In other words, science advances by a series of funerals. Why wait that long?
Yesterday, I discussed some of this year's "Annual Question" answers at Edge.org, which was:
What scientific idea is ready for retirement?
The responses were a diverse set of scientific ideas from scientists and thinkers across a wide range of disciplines.
It is unrealistic to believe that everything science believes today will continue to be believed into the future ... and I frankly know of no scientist (except perhaps Sheldon Cooper) who believes such a thing. New evidence will cause scientists to revise the thinking and models, and the understanding of reality will shift accordingly. This is as it should be.
But which current assumptions or theories are, here and now, most ready to be retired?
That's the question posed by this year's "annual question" over at Edge.org. You can find the responses from the 176 respondents - amazing intellects from all over science and academia - over at the website, and they are all extremely fascinating.
"Take a look. No matter who you are, you are bound to find something that will drive you crazy."
...Here are some concepts you might consider tossing out with the Christmas wrappings as you get started on the new year: human nature, cause and effect, the theory of everything, free will and evidence-based medicine.
Those are only a few of the shibboleths, pillars of modern thought or delusions — take your choice — that appear in a new compendium of essays by 166 (and counting) deep thinkers, scientists, writers, blowhards (again, take your choice) as answers to the question: What scientific idea is ready for retirement?
The discussion is posted at edge.org. Take a look. No matter who you are, you are bound to find something that will drive you crazy. ...
...The whole thing runs more than 120,000 words. You can dip into it anywhere and be maddened, confused or stirred. If there is an overall point, it is that there is no such thing as a stupid question. ...
This year, I was invited to contribute to the Edge Foundation’s Annual Question. Other contributor include Helen Fisher, Irene Pepperberg, Alan Alda, Nina Jablonski, Jay Rosen, and, well 150 others: http://www.edge.org/responses/what-scientific-idea-is-ready-for-retirement
The question was, “What scientific idea is ready for retirement?”
My contribution: The Way We Produce And Advance Science
It's the start of the new year, and that means it's time for the Edge's annual Big Question — and as always, it's a provocative one. Nearly 170 prominent thinkers were asked: "What scientific idea is ready for retirement?" Here's what they said.
"Science advances by a series of funerals," writes Edge.org editor John Brockman. "Ideas change, and the times we live in change. Perhaps the biggest change today is the rate of change. What established scientific idea is ready to be moved aside so that science can advance?"
Unlike rock stars, scientific ideas do not usually burn out. They fade away and outlast their usefulness.
This is what motivated a new survey of 166 scientists and intellectuals, asking which ideas ought to be “retired” from science, not quite because they are wrong, but because they are old and ineffective, like nature versus nurture, left-brain versus right-brain, or carbon footprints.
As with Newton’s law of gravity, which gave way to Einstein’s, many of these ideas were once on the cutting edge, but have since been revealed as incomplete, outdated and bland. So the survey, released Tuesday by U.S. literary agent John Brockman, founder of the web salon Edge.org, is like spring cleaning for science. The point is to clear away junk, but sometimes you rediscover something useful under the couch.
Each year, the magazine Edge.org poses a question to the brightest minds on the planet. On this occasion, the editor John Brockman and his team has raised the following question: What scientific idea is time to retire? In the prestigious intellectual survey involved scientists from the likes of British biologist Richard Dawkins and the novelist Ian McEwan.
As explained in the Brockman own The Observer , Edge.org was founded in 1996 as the online version of The Reality Club, an informal meeting of intellectuals between 1981 and this year were cited in Chinese restaurants, artist studios , investment banks, dance halls, museums, halls and other places. "
Although events have moved into cyberspace, the spirit of Reality Club remains in the lively discussions back and forth on topical today pivots on intellectual debate issues, "says Brockman.
"The online salon Edge.org is hosted on a living document of the millions of words he produced conversation Edge in the last 15 years. Available for free to all Internet users."
To summarize the vision that inspires the draft annual Edge question, Brockman quotes a sentence of James Lee Byars: "To achieve great things, you have to look for extraordinary people."
"Through the years, Edge.org has had a very simple criterion for choosing their partners. Sought people whose creative work has expanded our understanding of what and who we are. Some are best selling authors and celebrities of mass culture. Most do not. preferstimulate work on the cutting edge of culture and research ideas that are not usually exposed. interested in us' think smart ', not the topics of' received wisdom, "Brockman says.
Here are some of the best answers to the Edge.org annual question, assigned to the online edition of THE WORLD through an agreement with the digital magazine. The responses of all participants in this project can be read in English here .
Great investors, such as Warren Buffett and his partner Charlie Munger, don't just read annual reports or books on investing. Reading broadly can make you a smarter person and a better investor:
"This Will Make You Smarter: New Scientific Concepts to Improve Your Thinking" by John Brockman (Harper Perennial, $16). Short concepts are presented by some 150 influential thinkers, covering biology, technology, negotiation and more.
Be imaginative, exciting, compelling, inspiring: That's what John Brockman expects of himself and others. Arguably, the planet's most important literary agent, Brockman brings its cyber elite together in his Internet salon "Edge." We paid a visit to the man from the Third Culture.
At the age of three John Brockman announced: "I want to go to New York!" For decades he has been a leading light behind the scenes in the city's intellectual life. Foto wowe
...Like the idea of the Internet—which was slowly acquiring contours during these rambling 1960s discussions—the idea of Edge, the Internet salon around which Brockman's life now revolves, was also taking shape. Edge is the meeting place for the cyber elite, the most illustrious minds who are shaping the emergence of the latest developments in the natural and social sciences, whether they be digital, genetic, psychological, cosmological or neurological. Digerati from the computer universe of Silicon Valley aren't alone in giving voice to their ideas in Brockman's salon. They are joined in equal measure by other eminent experts, including the evolutionary biologists Richard Dawkins and Steven Pinker, the philosopher Daniel Dennett, the cosmologist Martin Rees, the biological anthropologist Helen Fisher, the economist, psychologist and Nobel Prize winner Daniel Kahneman, the quantum physicist David Deutsch, the computer scientist Marvin Minsky, and the social theorist Anthony Giddens. Ranging from the co-founder of Apple Steve Wozniak to the decoder of genomes Craig Venter, his guest list is almost unparalleled even in the boundless realm of the Internet. Even the actor Alan Alda and writer Ian McEwan can be found in his forum.
The bridge of the third culture
A question is sent out to all salon members at the start of every year. This year it is: "What scientific idea ready to be retired?" The "editorial marching orders," written by Brockman, reveal the heart of Edge: "Go deeper than the news. Tell me something I don't know. You are writing for your fellow Edgies, a sophisticated bunch, and not the general public. Stick to ideas, theories, systems of thought, disciplines, not people. Come up with something new, be exciting, inspiring, compelling. Tell us a great story. Amaze, delight, surprise us!" ...
"The online salon at edge.org is a living document of millions of words charting the Edge conversation over the past 15 years. It is available, gratis, to the general public.
"As the late artist James Lee Byars and I once wrote: 'To accomplish the extraordinary, you must seek extraordinary people.' At the centre of every Edge project are remarkable people and remarkable minds—scientists, artists, philosophers, technologists and entrepreneurs."
Every year, the American literary agent John Brockman asks the Cyber-Elite year the Edge question. Read a selection of the most exciting and surprising answers.
I recommend Edge.org where the best brains in the world comes together to talk to each other and let us listen. Do not miss their conversations. Very interesting video about encapsulated universes Lera Boroditsky. According to her, the 7,000 languages in the world create parallel universes based on different conceptions of their customs and history.
According to Lera, is likely to set the language we speak the way we think.
In the 90s, John Brockman sought to promote a range of activities and meetings to set the "third culture" that spoke CP Snow in his book The Two Cultures, back in the '60s, in which he expressed his hopes for a new culture to cover the gap between scientists and intellectuals. Since then, it has been developing and expanding group of researchers looking for the meeting of disciplines.
But, as said Brockman and against what one might expect, the bridges towards a comprehensive knowledge and integrity are not being stretched from shore humanistic as Snow thought, but from the scientific side. Here that which humanists discuss enclose themselves and then complain that the world suffers from "scientistic" is true, but do not do anything about it, much less to offer reasons to defend the claim that Brockman, against intellectual inbreeding of academic humanists, closed in themselves and in defense of ideas alien to all empiricism, scientists are more open:
Maybe their egos are so colossal as the iconic representatives of the academic humanities, but his way of dealing with that hubris is very different.Anytime an argument can sift, because they work in an empirical world of facts, reality-based world.They have fixed, immovable stances, they are both creators and critics of the company held in common. Ideas come from them, and it is they who call into question the respective ideas. Through the process of creativity, criticism and debate, decide which ideas must be eradicated and which become part of the consensus that leads to the next level of discovery. Unlike the humanities academicians who speak about about others, scientists speak of the universe.
(Brockman, The New Humanism )
If you're a consumer of various types and genres of media like me, we're probably thinking along the same lines - enough with the Best Of 2013 lists already! I've decided to take the opposite approach this week and look ahead at some of the books our staff and sales reps are most excited about for the first part of 2014. I've already read some, the rest are waiting in my to-read pile. Here's what we'll be reading:
What Should We Be Worried About? ed. by John Brockman.
The next installment in the groundbreaking science series by the founder of Edge.org. (February)