Edge was recently in Venice for the 2nd World Conference on the Future of Science which was held on September 20th-23rd 2006, at the Fondazione Giorgio Cini on the Isle of San Giorgio Maggiore. The Isle of San Giorgio lies in the St.Mark’s Basin, facing the Doges’ Palace (Palazzo Ducale, Opening Ceremony), the main city’s monument. A number of the members of the Edge community were in attendance including Lisa Randall, Steven Pinker, Marc D. Hauser, Michael Gazzaniga, Antonio Damasio, and Daniel C. Dennett. The participated in the three day program that covered Evolution of Matter: The Universe from the Big Bang to the Future; Evolution of Life: Darwinism in the Light of Modern Genetics; and Evolution of Mind: A Natural History of Culture. The videotaped talks are now available online.

Lisa Randall
The Evolution of the Universe
Steven Pinker
The Cognitive Niche
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Marc Hauser
Evolution of a Universal Moral Grammar
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Michael Gazzaniga
Are Human Brains Unique?
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Antonio Damasio
The Emotions in Evolution: a Neurobiological Perspective
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Daniel Dennett
The Domestication of the Wild Memes of Religion
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Daniel C. Dennett, Cardinal Ratzinger, and Paris Hilton

Daniel C. Dennett, who took on Cardinal Ratzinger in his book Breaking the Spell, had hoped some day to confront him personally on his own turf, but due to a sudden promotion, Ratzinger was unavailable and sent his deputy, Monsignor Sanchez Sorondo, Chancellor of the Vatican. Dennett, was on his game when he delivered the final talk of the conference on "The Domestication of the Wild Memes of Religion" in front of the packed audience. Later, back at Hotel Monaco and Grand Canal, Dennett, Michael Gazzaniga, the Monsignor, among others, were relaxing around the bar, when a posse of Italian paparazzi suddenly stormed through the bar heading to the dock outside. Two speedboat taxis pulled up and deposited Paris Hilton and her entourage on the dock. In one Fellini moment: end of discussion of natural selection, of Charles Darwin, of the Pope, of Daniel C. Dennett. The Edgies went tabloid for the rest of the evening.

Fortunately for Edge readers, Professor Dennett, who bonded with the paparazzi, was there with his digital camera to capture the moment.

Daniel C. Dennett
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Paris Hilton Arriving Hotel Monaco
[photo by Daniel C. Dennett]


John Brockman, Editor and Publisher
Russell Weinberger, Associate Publisher

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