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The title's question was posed on Edge.org (an online intellectual clearing house), challenging more than 100 intellectuals of every stripe—from Richard Dawkins to Ian McEwan—to confess the personal theories they cannot demonstrate with certainty. The results, gathered by literary agent and editor Brockman, is a stimulating collection of micro-essays (mainly by scientists) divulging many of today's big unanswered questions reaching across the plane of human existence. Susan Blackmore, a lecturer on evolutionary theory, believes "it is possible to live happily and morally without believing in free will," and Daniel Goleman believes children today are "unintended victims of economic and technological progress." Other beliefs are more mundane and one is highly mathematically specific. Many contributors open with their discomfort at being asked to discuss unproven beliefs, which itself is an interesting reflection of the state of science. The similarity in form and tone of the responses makes this collection most enjoyable in small doses, which allow the answers to spark new questions and ideas in the reader's mind. It's unfortunate that the tone of most contributions isn't livelier and that there aren't explanations of some of the more esoteric concepts discussed; those limitations will keep these adroit musings from finding a wider audience. (Mar.)
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In this informative and often surprising book, more than 100 notable scientists and scholars answer the question, "What do you believe even though you cannot prove it?" The responses range from the thought-provoking to seemingly trivial (or just plain silly). Professor of cosmology and astrophysics Martin Rees, for example, admits that he believes intelligent life is unique to our world (in sharp contrast to many of his fellow contributors). Alun Anderson, senior consultant to New Scientist magazine, believes cockroaches are conscious. Mathematician and science-fiction novelist Rudy Rucker believes in a multiplicity of universes. Susan Blackmore, who has written widely on the subject of consciousness, appears to believe that she doesn't exist. The contributors touch on a broad spectrum of subjects, from religion to science and many points in between. Although some of the responses are arrogant or nitpicky, the majority are thoughtful, honest, and revelatory of the contributors' own intellectual and philosophical biases. And the book certainly gets us thinking about our own deeply held, if entirely unprovable, beliefs. David Pitt
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YEAYEA..........BUY IT READ IT LOVE IT WELL MOST OF IT AND FOR ME THATS A RARITY.Published 12 days ago by Fredrick H.
First off - fantastic cover design. John Brockman has done some good work with the Edge Foundation. As an author, he's the Rick Riordan of pop-sci publishing, cranking out title... Read morePublished 10 months ago by Rob Fitzgibbon
If you can get this at a low price, it's worth getting. It's not so much a book than a collection of essays by prominent scientists at the website Edge. Read morePublished 12 months ago by J. Davis
Nice to know some of the smartest people alive often don't have a clue and have the good sense to admit it.Published 12 months ago by D. L. Ross
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book.
The length of each author's contribution varies (some go the point very directly, and some others take the opportunity to be a little... Read more
Wonderful little book that can be picked up anytime one has a moment for some
stimulating ideas. Should be in everyone's library. Good gift for an intellectual friend.
Some very interesting ideas and thoughts inside, but the cover make's it look like a cartoon. It's not a cartoon is it?Published 24 months ago by Kenny A. Chaffin
The book is based on a good premise: Scientists discussing their beliefs that they can't prove. Some simply told about the next step in their own discipline; some dealt with... Read morePublished on June 3, 2013 by Alan Stringer