Cover image for This idea must die : scientific theories that are blocking progress
Title:
This idea must die : scientific theories that are blocking progress
Author:
Brockman, John, 1941- , editor.
Edition:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York, NY : Harper Perennial, [2015]
Physical Description:
vii, 568 pages ; 21 cm
Summary:
The bestselling editor of This Explains Everything brings together 175 of the world's most brilliant minds to tackle Edge.org's 2014 question: What scientific idea has become a relic blocking human progress? Each year, John Brockman, publisher of Edge.org--"The world's smartest website" (The Guardian)--challenges some of the world's greatest scientists, artists, and philosophers to answer a provocative question crucial to our time. In 2014 he asked 175 brilliant minds to ponder: What scientific idea needs to be put aside in order to make room for new ideas to advance? The answers are as surprising as they are illuminating.
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780062374349
Format :
Book

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Central Library Q173 .T54 2015 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
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Summary

The bestselling editor of This Explains Everything brings together 175 of the world's most brilliant minds to tackle Edge.org's 2014 question: What scientific idea has become a relic blocking human progress?

Each year, John Brockman, publisher of Edge.org--"The world's smartest website" (The Guardian)--challenges some of the world's greatest scientists, artists, and philosophers to answer a provocative question crucial to our time. In 2014 he asked 175 brilliant minds to ponder: What scientific idea needs to be put aside in order to make room for new ideas to advance? The answers are as surprising as they are illuminating. In :

Steven Pinker dismantles the working theory of human behavior Richard Dawkins renounces essentialism Sherry Turkle reevaluates our expectations of artificial intelligence Geoffrey West challenges the concept of a "Theory of Everything" Andrei Linde suggests that our universe and its laws may not be as unique as we think Martin Rees explains why scientific understanding is a limitless goal Nina Jablonski argues to rid ourselves of the concept of race Alan Guth rethinks the origins of the universe Hans Ulrich Obrist warns against glorifying unlimited economic growth and much more.

Profound, engaging, thoughtful, and groundbreaking, This Idea Must Die will change your perceptions and understanding of our world today . . . and tomorrow.


Reviews 3

Booklist Review

One detects no small measure of glee in the latest Edge.org anthology. Each year, Brockman, the founder of the online science salon, poses a provocative question--last time, it was What Should We Be Worried About? (2014) and invites leading scientists, philosophers, and artists to respond in concise and lucid essays. This time, he really struck a chord, inviting contributors to kill off scientific ideas that are outdated to the point of obstructing new advances. One hundred and seventy-five intellectual assassins eagerly stepped forward. Anthropologist Scott Atran calls for the demise of the IQ measurement. Quantum mechanics engineer Seth Lloyd says the idea of the universe is obsolete. Biological anthropologist Nina Jablonski says race has no place in science. Journalist Nicholas Carr has had it with science's anti-­anecdotalism because anecdotes connect science to the actual experience of life. Physics, statistics, robotics, linguistics, medicine all are zestfully scrutinized in this exuberant, mind-blowing gathering of innovative thinkers, which even includes novelist Ian McEwan, who tries to put the kibosh on the entire murderous exercise, declaring, Every last serious and systematic speculation about the world deserves to be preserved. --Seaman, Donna Copyright 2010 Booklist


Publisher's Weekly Review

Brockman (What Should We Be Worried About?), founder of the Edge Foundation, has compiled a series of humorous and thought-provoking short essays from a wide array of scientists, science writers, and assorted academics. Several essays deal with concepts that aren't fully understood, even by experts; string theory, for instance, is addressed in several sections, each from a slightly different angle. More philosophical topics receive consideration as well, such as free will, nature vs. nurture, and the difference between the brain and the mind (if there is one). Even economics is included. Some topics, like the lament over the term rocket scientist or the problem with artificial intelligence, are arguments about definitions, while other discussions contemplate the morality of certain practices in science. One fascinating result of having several authors address the same topic is seeing firsthand the ways experts disagree with one another. A common thread throughout is the reminder that science and its practitioners do not exist in a vacuum: those who work in areas that many consider esoteric still fight traffic and worry about what their work will do to make the world better. Brockman succeeds in presenting scientific work that will appeal to a variety of readers, no matter their background. Agent: Max Brockman, Brockman Inc. (Feb.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Library Journal Review

"What scientific idea is ready for retirement?" was the question chosen by edge.org publisher Brockman (This Explains Everything) in 2014 as part of an annual exercise to solicit original thoughts from a wide range of people. The result is 175 short essays by individuals from fields dominated by science. These include 43 psychologists, 27 physicists, and 16 neuroscientists, as well as others from such disciplines as business, economics, mathematics, and Asian studies. Participants include individuals who are broadly well known, such as Steven Pinker, Richard Dawkins, Lawrence Krauss, and the actor/writer Alan Alda, among others acclaimed within their disciplines. The writers were given free rein, leading to examinations of evidence-based medicine, the uncertainty principle, and "our narrow definition of science." Some pieces, such as Robert Kurzban's "Cartesian Hydraulicism," delve into areas that would require most lay readers to do parallel research to pick up the threads. Contrarian novelist Ian McEwan suggests: "Beware of Arrogance! Retire Nothing!" VERDICT The brevity of the essays and the apparent attempt to make most understandable to a general audience have produced a provocative and informative compilation. Readers will find plenty here to both agree and disagree with.-Richard Maxwell, Porter Adventist Hosp. Lib., Denver (c) Copyright 2015. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


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