What Is Your Dangerous Idea?: Today’s Leading Thinkers on the Unthinkable (Edge Question Series)

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Such false ideas should obviously not be encouraged, but there are also plenty of true ideas that should not be spread--ideas about how to cause terror and pain and chaos, ideas of how to better convince people of things that are not true. Daniel Hillis "The most important thing about [climate change] is that it hurts people; the basis of our response should be human solidarity. The planet will take care of itself.

The doctrine in question is this: that it is undesirable to believe in a proposition when there is no ground whatever for supposing its true. While religious tolera nce is surely better than religious war, tolerance is not without its liabilities. Our fear of provoking religious hatred has rendered us incapable of criticizing ideas that are now patently absurd and increasingly maladaptive.

It has also obliged us to lie to ourselves--repeatedly and at the highest levels-- about the compatability between religious faith and scientific rationality. Religious fundamentalism inflames conflict and prevents solution; the more extreme and irrational one's position, the stronger one's faith. When you are in possession of absolute truth, compromise is not an option Space exploration is a goal of sufficient grandeur to unite people of all nations. This is all there is. The sooner we accept this dangerous idea, the sooner we can get on with the essential task of making the most of our lives on this planet.

Science is not particularly well suited to deal with people's existential anxieties, including death, deception, sudden catastrophe, loneliness, or longing for love or justice. It cannot tell us what we ought to do, only what we can do. They were the ones who seemed to hav I am a bit disappointed with this book. They were the ones who seemed to have an interesting proposition but did not elaborate much.

Dangerous Idea #8: Work Is Serious Play

This book is a collection of short essays from working scientists with the simple question "What is your dangerous idea? It is ended by a good afterword by Richard Dawkins. As with all collections some I really liked and some I didn't. I found it interesting to read and I learnt a lot. The Edge magazine seem to do these kind of books every year and I will keep an eye out for them This book is a collection of short essays from working scientists with the simple question "What is your dangerous idea? The Edge magazine seem to do these kind of books every year and I will keep an eye out for them in the future.

Jan 14, Sean Hagey rated it it was ok. Some of the essays are interesting, some are thought-provoking, but very few are "dangerous" or daring to venture into the "unthinkable. May 09, Jen rated it liked it Shelves: read , nonfiction , 3-star. Such a great concept to read about and particularly good a decade and change after the fact where I could see some of these ideas had reached a larger society. Three stars primarily because some of the science essays were so academic and specific as to be nearly unreadable. But, this is a series of essays that I really enjoy and I'm looking forward to reading the next one.

Nov 20, Sarah Rigg rated it liked it. As other reviewers have said, it's a mixed bag. Some pieces are better than others.

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It's difficult to have a book like this be both cutting-edge but able to stand the test of time. I expect it's somewhat outdated by now. It's certainly thought-provoking, though. May 31, Jack rated it it was ok. Too short to have useful thoughts. Lots of unimportant cliches.

Interesting essays. Some of them are more true today than when the book was published. Dec 14, Elizabeth rated it it was ok Shelves: get-again.

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I read with great anticipation because I was wating for something dangerous or at least really new. I only got to p out of pages so maybe there is still something there. Contributors include the human genome's decoder, a physicist on reducing global climate change via engineerin from the library I was mostly bored. Contributors include the human genome's decoder, a physicist on reducing global climate change via engineering; a computer scientist arguing that mind is everywhere; and an artist on the unpredictable consequences of art.

Richard Dawkins reminds us that: "Yesterday's dangerous idea is today's orthodoxy They are also part of a growing class of intellectuals--the so-called "third culture"--who articulate issues and sometimes suggest solutions to difficult social, scientific, and cultural problems.

In brief pieces, writers express what they regard as dangerous ideas, ranging from changing scientific world pictures, such as the dominance of evolutionary biology and the anthropic principle, to matters of practical relevance, such as media violence and "the near-term inevitability of radical life-extension and expansion. Scientific revolutions and interpretations of natural phenomena often alter traditional beliefs and make us doubt long-held religious beliefs.

But are they dangerous on that account? The real dangers lurk largely in what could diminish or erase our quality of life and render precarious our survival on the planet--both implicit in technology--and in the hatred and animosity between peoples, races, and religions intensified by Internet free-for-all and repeated political blunders. It is surprising that there are not many contributors touching on these matters.

What is Your Dangerous Idea?

The absence of any non-Western thinker is glaring in this century. Summing Up: Optional. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty.

Copyright American Library Association. Jul 21, Stewart rated it really liked it. One hundred eight writers, most of them scientists and academics, contributed to this book.


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As can be expected, the short essays, ranging from one to five pages each, vary in interest. But many of the essays examine fascinating ideas that may challenge our beliefs and the status quo hence, their danger. Daniel Golman, for instance, notes the difference between having a disc One hundred eight writers, most of them scientists and academics, contributed to this book. Daniel Golman, for instance, notes the difference between having a discussion with someone in person and by e-mail.

On "flaming": "The hallmark of a flame is that the same person would never say the words in the e-mail to the recipient were they face to face. Fifty percent? Five percent? The dangerous idea is that perhaps we understand half of a percent and all the brain and computer power we can muster may take us up to one or two percent in the lifetime of the human race. They forget to send radio signals or colonize space because they're too busy with runaway consumerism and virtual-reality narcissism. They don't need Sentinels to enslave them in a Matrix; they do it to themselves, just as we are doing today.

Oct 30, Rebekah rated it liked it. Despite the lame name, this book is pretty rad. For example, the idea that women in general are innately less adept at maths and sciences might be true, but people would rather reject it for fear that acceptance might lead to ear Despite the lame name, this book is pretty rad.

For example, the idea that women in general are innately less adept at maths and sciences might be true, but people would rather reject it for fear that acceptance might lead to early educational "tracking" or to job discrimination; or the idea that people's actions are determined by their genetic makeup and their earliest experiences rather than an actual self or soul creates difficulties for holding people accountable for their actions, both in our personal relationships and in legal matters.

Each "dangerous idea" is just two to four pages, so if one doesn't capture your imagination, another one is just a page away. Now that I'm about halfway through, I must say that some of the writing is pretty bad and the editing is atrocious, BUT bear in mind that the articles were originally intended for a web site, so I think the authors were more casual than they might have been had they been thinking about their essays in terms of a print copy.

I still recommend the book pretty highly- it's easy to tell from the first sentence or two whether the essay is crap or not, so don't feel bad about skipping half of them! There are some real gems. A great toilet-side tome to dip into as you defecate. Each pundit has about 2 pages to get their 'dangerous idea' out. Some are dull some are striking- most you have heard before; some regurgitate ancient philosophical conundrums. The ones that are most enjoyable are generally by the best writers; who may not be the most original thinkers.

As a Sam Harris fan I place his contribution higher than most of the others simply on the merit of his prose; he is always interesting even when going over fam A great toilet-side tome to dip into as you defecate. As a Sam Harris fan I place his contribution higher than most of the others simply on the merit of his prose; he is always interesting even when going over familiar ground.

There was one essay in here that made me laugh with derrision. By a woman called Judith Rich Harris who she? The thesis which she expounds with no little pride hubris one might say is that nurture as opposed to nature has zero effect on the young. This is self evidently wrong of course. A parent who brain-damages a child with a blunt object must be conceded to have effected their subsequent development. And one can obviously scale back on the drama into greyer yet still obvious realms- for example a parent who witholds all education from his child might be suppposed to have had some effect on that childs later intellectual life.

I'm not sure how this ridiculous piece got into this book- the author appears to have no qualifications to rank her alongside the other alumini- she is listed as an 'independent investigator'?? Do you like ideas? Cause I do and, boy, have I found a few in this book. My curiosity was more than entertained by ideas of influence that parents have on children, unconscious on free will and anti-depressants on love. How neatly, by the way, was this edition framed by a combined erudition of Richard Dawkins and Steven Pinker that encaptured well the essence of many essays in this book. When it comes to danger of these ideas, entertaining as they are, I couldn't say I got scared all that much by Do you like ideas?

When it comes to danger of these ideas, entertaining as they are, I couldn't say I got scared all that much by them.

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Not to say that I am stupidly brave nor brilliantly ignorant. It is that most of the ideas that could be considered treathening from this book have already crossed my mind with the help of movies, books and intuition long ago. So that I was accustomed to facing them by the time I had to face them once more when reading this book. Hence the lack of fear. So, it seems to me, at least, that a wheel perhaps was not created in this book, yet that which was, is worthy of curious attention, too. Jul 03, Deborah rated it it was amazing.