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What Is Your Dangerous Idea? Today's Leading Thinkers on the Unthinkable (1914)

by John Brockman (Editor)

Other authors: Alun Anderson (Contributor), Philip W. Anderson (Contributor), Scott Atran (Contributor), Mahzarin R. Banaji (Contributor), Simon Baron-Cohen (Contributor)104 more, Samuel Barondes (Contributor), Gregory Benford (Contributor), Jesse Bering (Contributor), Jeremy Bernstein (Contributor), Susan Blackmore (Contributor), Paul Bloom (Contributor), David Bodanis (Contributor), Stewart Brand (Contributor), Rodney Brooks (Contributor), David Buss (Contributor), Philip Campbell (Contributor), Leo M. Chalupa (Contributor), Andy Clark (Contributor), Gregory Cochran (Contributor), Jerry A. Coyne (Contributor), Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (Contributor), Paul C. W. Davies (Contributor), Richard Dawkins (Afterword), Daniel C. Dennett (Contributor), Keith Devlin (Contributor), Jared Diamond (Contributor), Denis Dutton (Contributor), Freeman J. Dyson (Contributor), George Dyson (Contributor), Juan Enriquez (Contributor), Paul W. Ewald (Contributor), Todd E. Feinberg (Contributor), Eric Fischl (Contributor), Helen Fisher (Contributor), Howard Gardner (Contributor), Joel Garreau (Contributor), David Gelernter (Contributor), Neil Gershenfeld (Contributor), Daniel Gilbert (Contributor), Marcelo Gleiser (Contributor), Daniel Goleman (Contributor), Alison Gopnik (Contributor), April Gornik (Contributor), John Gottman (Contributor), Brian Greene (Contributor), Diane F. Halpern (Contributor), Haim Harari (Contributor), Judith Rich Harris (Contributor), Sam Harris (Contributor), Marc D. Hauser (Contributor), W. Daniel Hillis (Contributor), Donald D. Hoffman (Contributor), Gerald Holton (Contributor), John Horgan (Contributor), Nicholas K. Humphrey (Contributor), Piet Hut (Contributor), Marco Iacoboni (Contributor), Eric R. Kandel (Contributor), Kevin Kelly (Contributor), Stephen M. Kosslyn (Contributor), Kai Krause (Contributor), Lawrence M. Krauss (Contributor), Ray Kurzweil (Contributor), Seth Lloyd (Contributor), David Lykken (Contributor), Thomas Metzinger (Contributor), Geoffrey Miller (Contributor), Oliver Morton (Contributor), David G. Myers (Contributor), Tor Nørretranders (Contributor), Randolph M. Nesse (Contributor), Richard E. Nisbett (Contributor), James J. O'Donnell (Contributor), John Allen Paulos (Contributor), Ernst Pöppel (Contributor), Irene Pepperberg (Contributor), Clifford Pickover (Contributor), Steven Pinker (Introduction), David Pizarro (Contributor), Jordan Pollack (Contributor), Carolyn C. Porco (Contributor), Robert R. Provine (Contributor), V. S. Ramachandran (Contributor), Martin Rees (Contributor), Matt Ridley (Contributor), Carlo Rovelli (Contributor), Rudy Rucker (Contributor), Douglas Rushkoff (Contributor), Karl Sabbagh (Contributor), Scott D. Sampson (Contributor), Roger C. Schank (Contributor), Charles Seife (Contributor), Terrence Sejnowski (Contributor), Robert Shapiro (Contributor), Rupert Sheldrake (Contributor), Michael Shermer (Contributor), Clay Shirky (Contributor), Barry C. Smith (Contributor), Lee Smolin (Contributor), Dan Sperber (Contributor), Paul J. Steinhardt (Contributor), Steven Strogatz (Contributor), Leonard Susskind (Contributor), Timothy Taylor (Contributor), Frank J. Tipler (Contributor), Arnold Trehub (Contributor), Sherry Turkle (Contributor), J. Craig Venter (Contributor), Philip G. Zimbardo (Contributor)

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: The Edge Foundation Annual Question (2006)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
632837,798 (3.79)12
From Copernicus to Darwin, to current-day thinkers, scientists have always promoted theories and unveiled discoveries that challenge everything society holds dear; ideas with both positive and dire consequences. Many thoughts that resonate today are dangerous not because they are assumed to be false, but because they might turn out to be true. What do the world's leading scientists and thinkers consider to be their most dangerous idea? Through the leading online forum "Edge" (www.edge.org), the call went out, and this compelling and easily digestible volume collects the answers. From using medication to permanently alter our personalities to contemplating a universe in which we are utterly alone, to the idea that the universe might be fundamentally inexplicable, "What Is Your Dangerous Idea?" takes an unflinching look at the daring, breathtaking, sometimes terrifying thoughts that could forever alter our world and the way we live in it.… (more)
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» See also 12 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
A collection of short pieces from leading thinkers and intellectuals in a wide range of fields, on what they think are the most exciting, boundary-pushing, or even disruptive. Some of them, like Darwinian evolution, may seem old hat, but apparently the counter-scientific push-back has made even these accepted scientific theories causes of strife in today's world. This volume is somewhat dated, as it was written before the social networking revolution, but it is instructive as an example of what people think will happen and what actually transpires, and the time frames envisaged. As a bonus is the Introduction by Steven Pinker, and an Afterword by Richard Dawkins. ( )
  Dilip-Kumar | Jul 23, 2022 |
interesting that both the existence of god and nonexistence can be unthinkable at this time
  ritaer | Aug 24, 2021 |
Very interesting indeed. Great coffee table books that could be read over days or months. The new ideas are still very dangerous in this modern world fucked up by Christian and Islamic religions.

Science is the only way to advance humankind and hopefully we will not destroy it out of stupidity. The rational thinking of the brightest minds reminds us that we are still animals, come along in the last few seconds of the evoluation history. Look how much we have destroyed on Earth already. We are not good for Earth for that matter because we destroyed more than we could build, yet we are the only specie that could have the chance to find solutions to the problems we created.

Most of the human on Earth do not think rationally. That's just sad and make the future that much more dangerous. ( )
  XOX | Jun 7, 2011 |
A collection of short essays about the next "dangerous idea". Copernicus's idea that the earth went round the moon and Darwin's idea of evolution are given as the stock examples of ideas that were dangerous in the past. What will be proved true in the future that we would find difficult to believe today? I found the articles to be very hit and miss. They variously seemed too obvious, too esoteric or barely worth mentioning. And too many were of the navel gazing "the idea of a dangerous idea is dangerous" or variations. One of the problems is that there are a lot of short articles and they've been arranged so that the themes follow on from one writer to the next; this makes for some degree of redundancy. There is a lot here that's interesting to read but the book as a whole wasn't gripping.
  nocto | Dec 8, 2010 |
Every year the Edge website gathers together a large number of "scientists and other thinkers in the empirical world," many of them giants in their fields, asks them to answer some broad, philosophical question, and then collects all the answers together into a book. 2006's question was "What is your dangerous idea?", defined as "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." The result is a bit of a mixed bag. A lot of the answers failed to strike me as either particularly shocking or remotely likely to lead to social destabilization. There was a fair amount of repetition, as multiple people offered essentially the same answers in different words. A number of folks seem to have subtly misinterpreted the question, choosing to talk more about other people's false ideas than their own true-but-dangerous ones. And a few of them were just plain wacky. On the other hand, there were also quite a few answers that were both intriguing and provocative, and the book as a whole is interesting as a snapshot of what really smart people are thinking about and finding themselves disturbed by here in the early 21st century. The central question itself is also interesting, since it raises the further question -- which a number of respondents addressed explicitly -- of whether "dangerous" ideas ought to be suppressed or embraced. ( )
1 vote bragan | May 1, 2009 |
Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Brockman, JohnEditorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Anderson, AlunContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Anderson, Philip W.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Atran, ScottContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Banaji, Mahzarin R.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Baron-Cohen, SimonContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Barondes, SamuelContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Benford, GregoryContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bering, JesseContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bernstein, JeremyContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Blackmore, SusanContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bloom, PaulContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bodanis, DavidContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Brand, StewartContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Brooks, RodneyContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Buss, DavidContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Campbell, PhilipContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Chalupa, Leo M.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Clark, AndyContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Cochran, GregoryContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Coyne, Jerry A.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Csikszentmihalyi, MihalyContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Davies, Paul C. W.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Dawkins, RichardAfterwordsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Dennett, Daniel C.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Devlin, KeithContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Diamond, JaredContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Dutton, DenisContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Dyson, Freeman J.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Dyson, GeorgeContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Enriquez, JuanContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Ewald, Paul W.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Feinberg, Todd E.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Fischl, EricContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Fisher, HelenContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Gardner, HowardContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Garreau, JoelContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Gelernter, DavidContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Gershenfeld, NeilContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Gilbert, DanielContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Gleiser, MarceloContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Goleman, DanielContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Gopnik, AlisonContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Gornik, AprilContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Gottman, JohnContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Greene, BrianContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Halpern, Diane F.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Harari, HaimContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Harris, Judith RichContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Harris, SamContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Hauser, Marc D.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Hillis, W. DanielContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Hoffman, Donald D.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Holton, GeraldContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Horgan, JohnContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Humphrey, Nicholas K.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Hut, PietContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Iacoboni, MarcoContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Kandel, Eric R.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Kelly, KevinContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Kosslyn, Stephen M.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Krause, KaiContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Krauss, Lawrence M.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Kurzweil, RayContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Lloyd, SethContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Lykken, DavidContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Metzinger, ThomasContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Miller, GeoffreyContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Morton, OliverContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Myers, David G.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Nørretranders, TorContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Nesse, Randolph M.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Nisbett, Richard E.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
O'Donnell, James J.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Paulos, John AllenContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Pöppel, ErnstContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Pepperberg, IreneContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Pickover, CliffordContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Pinker, StevenIntroductionsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Pizarro, DavidContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Pollack, JordanContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Porco, Carolyn C.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Provine, Robert R.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Ramachandran, V. S.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Rees, MartinContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Ridley, MattContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Rovelli, CarloContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Rucker, RudyContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Rushkoff, DouglasContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Sabbagh, KarlContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Sampson, Scott D.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Schank, Roger C.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Seife, CharlesContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Sejnowski, TerrenceContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Shapiro, RobertContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Sheldrake, RupertContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Shermer, MichaelContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Shirky, ClayContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Smith, Barry C.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Smolin, LeeContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Sperber, DanContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Steinhardt, Paul J.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Strogatz, StevenContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Susskind, LeonardContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Taylor, TimothyContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Tipler, Frank J.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Trehub, ArnoldContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Turkle, SherryContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Venter, J. CraigContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Zimbardo, Philip G.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Holl, Hans GünterTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kerkhof, MarianneTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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From Copernicus to Darwin, to current-day thinkers, scientists have always promoted theories and unveiled discoveries that challenge everything society holds dear; ideas with both positive and dire consequences. Many thoughts that resonate today are dangerous not because they are assumed to be false, but because they might turn out to be true. What do the world's leading scientists and thinkers consider to be their most dangerous idea? Through the leading online forum "Edge" (www.edge.org), the call went out, and this compelling and easily digestible volume collects the answers. From using medication to permanently alter our personalities to contemplating a universe in which we are utterly alone, to the idea that the universe might be fundamentally inexplicable, "What Is Your Dangerous Idea?" takes an unflinching look at the daring, breathtaking, sometimes terrifying thoughts that could forever alter our world and the way we live in it.

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