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According to founder and editor, John Brockman, the Edge Question was first posed in 1998: "What questions are you asking yourself?" There are 110 contributors and then, after editing, their responses were published in this volume. Each year since then, another question was asked and responses to it were published, also be Harper Perennial.

There were 155 contributors and 154 responses to the 2006 Edge Question, suggested by the psychologist Steven Pinker:

"The history of science is replete with discoveries that were considered morally, or emotionally dangerous in their time; the Copernican and Darwinian revolutions are the most obvious. What is your dangerous idea? An idea you think about (not necessarily one you originated) that is dangerous not because it is assumed to be false, but because it might be true?" What was Pinker's choice? "The year 2005 saw several public appearances of what I predict will be the most dangerous idea of the next decade: that groups of people may differ genetically in their average talents and temperaments." (Page 13)

Here are some of the others, each of which is discussed further in context:

o John Horgan: "The dangerous (probably true) idea I'd like to dwell on is that we humans have no souls." (Page 1)

o Paul Bloom: The idea that "mental life has a purely material basis. The dangerous idea, then, is that Cartesian dualism is false. If what you mean by `soul' is something immaterial and immortal, something that exists independently of the brain, the souls do not exist." (4)

o David Buss: "The idea that evil has evolved is dangerous on several counts...The danger comes from people who refuse to recognize that there are dark sides of human nature that cannot be wished away by attributing them to the modern ills of culture, poverty, pathology, or exposure to media violence. The danger comes from failing to gaze into the mirror and come to grips with the capacity for evil in all of us.7 & 9)

o V.S. Ramachandran: "An idea that would be `dangerous if true' is what Francis Crick referred to as the `astonishing hypothesis' - that notion that our conscious experience and sense of self consists entirely of the activity of 100 billion bits of jelly, the neurons that constitute the brain." (22)

o Daniel Goleman: "The dangerous thought: The Internet may harbor social perils that our inhibitory circuitry was not evolutionarily designed to handle." (75)

o Kevin Kelly thinks that "more anonymity is good; that's a dangerous idea." (82)

o Ray Kurzweil: "My dangerous idea is the near-term inevitability of radical life extension and expansion. The idea is dangerous, however, only when contemplated from current linear perspectives." (215)

o Freeman J. Dyson: "There are two severe and obvious dangers: First, smart kids and malicious grown-ups will find ways to convert biotech tools to the manufacture of lethal microbes; ambitious parents will find ways to apply the biotech tools to the genetic modification of their babies. The great unanswered question is whether we can regulate domesticated biotechnology so that it can be applied freely to animals and vegetables but not to microbes and humans." (218)

o Howard Gardner: Although sustaining two hopeful assumptions about the prospects for human survival, "Yet I lie awake at night with the dangerous thought that pessimists might be right. For the first time in history (as far as we know), we humans live in a world we could completely destroy." (290)

o Richard Dawkins: "Dangerous ideas are what has driven humanity onward, usually to the consternation of the majority in any particular age who thrive on familiarity and fear change. Yesterday's dangerous idea is today's orthodoxy and tomorrow's cliché." (297)

Although taken out of context, these brief excerpts do suggest the thrust and flavor as well as the diversity of perspective of the contributions by these and other cutting-edge thinkers. If asked to answer the given question, what would your response be?
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on April 30, 2016
Very Good answers by very intelligent and qualified people.
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on January 26, 2017
Thought provoking, deep, eye opening, and "Dangerous" ideas is what drives humanity forward, questions demand answers in the quest for "truth"!
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on August 20, 2016
Excellent service. The product was as promised.
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on January 15, 2017
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on September 12, 2007
Ever wanted to go to a conference and hear 25 of the top people in their fields talk about what's on their minds? This book does exactly that, and saves you all the aggravation of travel and lodging. You might be surprised how hard it is to put this book down--unlike actual conferences, where so many speakers take forever to get around to something really surprising...
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on May 22, 2014
Awesome. Although it's one of the books that I need to read for the assignment for my class, I'll still recommend other to read it!
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on March 26, 2012
Essays written by academics, philosophers, scientists and more, pushing the boundaries of conventional wisdom and thought.

Worth a read, but I personally feel a lot of the essays could have "pushed the boundaries" a bit more.

3 Stars. Rick says check it out.
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on October 21, 2014
Interesting ideas, they make you think/
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on November 1, 2010
I bought this and the "Believe But Can Not Prove" version of this book at the same time. I had I bought either first I probably wouldn't have bought the other. Although I found this one a little more interesting, the passages are too short and the ideas not given enough development to hold my attention.
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