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What We Believe but Cannot Prove: Today's Leading Thinkers on Science in the Age of Certainty

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What We Believe but Cannot Prove: Today's Leading Thinkers on Science in the Age of Certainty Cover

ISBN13: 9780060841812
ISBN10: 0060841818
Condition: Standard
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Review-A-Day

"It is interesting reading the explanations as well as the answers themselves. Some are philosophically intriguing....To me, what makes this book most interesting is how it sparks questions and answers within myself. Sure, it's interesting to know what Richard Dawkins believes (Darwinian natural selection is universal — surprise), but reading the various answers reveals assumptions we all make about the world." Doug Brown, Powells.com (read the entire Powells.com review)

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

More than one hundred of the world's leading thinkers write about things they believe in, despite the absence of concrete proof.

Scientific theory, more often than not, is born of bold assumption, disparate bits of unconnected evidence, and educated leaps of faith. Some of the most potent beliefs among brilliant minds are based on supposition alone, yet that is enough to push those minds toward making the theory viable.

Eminent cultural impresario, editor, and publisher of Edge (www.edge.org), John Brockman asked a group of leading scientists and thinkers to answer the question: What do you believe to be true even though you cannot prove it? This book brings together the very best answers from the most distinguished contributors.

Thought-provoking and hugely compelling, this collection of bite-size thought-experiments is a fascinating insight into the instinctive beliefs of some of the most brilliant minds today.

Review:

"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." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"[An] informative and often surprising book....[T]he majority [of responses] are thoughtful, honest, and revelatory....And the book certainly gets us thinking about our own deeply held, if entirely unprovable, beliefs." Booklist

Review:

"For the most part, it reads like a bunch of blog entries — sound bites as short as a sentence that either state the obvious or cut off just as things get interesting, random bursts of intellectualizing designed for compulsive channel surfers." Los Angeles Times

Synopsis:

More than one hundred of the world's leading thinkers write about things they believe in, despite the absence of concrete proof.

Thought-provoking and hugely compelling, this collection of bite-size though-experiments is a fascinating insight into the instinctive beliefs of some of the most brilliant minds today.

About the Author

John Brockman is a writer, agent, and publisher of Edge, the "Third Culture" website (www.edge.org), the forum for leading scientists and thinkers to share their research with the general public. He is the author of By The Late John Brockman and The Third Culture and has edited several previous anthologies including The Next Fifty Years, Curious Minds, and My Einstein." He lives in New York City.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

MK, December 2, 2011 (view all comments by MK)
Great book! Even if you're not schooled in science, a thoroughly enjoyable read that will make you think laterally. I'm not sure why under product into it says this is for ages 3 to 5, though.
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(0 of 1 readers found this comment helpful)

Product Details

ISBN:
9780060841812
Subtitle:
Today's Leading Thinkers on Science in the Age of Certainty
Author:
Brockman, John
Editor:
Brockman, John, Ed.
Editor:
Brockman, John, Ed.
Author:
Brockman, John, Ed.
Author:
by John Brockman
Author:
Edwards, Julie Andrews
Author:
Hamilton, Emma Walton
Author:
Brockman, John, Ed.
Author:
Walton, Tony
Author:
Randig, Ruby
Publisher:
Harper Perennial
Subject:
General
Subject:
Philosophy
Subject:
Science
Subject:
Philosophy & Social Aspects
Subject:
General science
Subject:
Science -- Philosophy.
Subject:
General Psychology & Psychiatry
Subject:
General Juvenile Fiction
Subject:
Science Reference-Philosophy of Science
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade PB
Series:
My First I Can Read
Publication Date:
March 2006
Binding:
Paperback
Grade Level:
from PreS
Language:
English
Pages:
272
Dimensions:
8.08x5.36x.66 in. .45 lbs.
Age Level:
from 3 to 5

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Related Subjects

Humanities » Philosophy » General
Reference » Science Reference » General
Reference » Science Reference » Philosophy of Science
Science and Mathematics » Popular Science » Essays

What We Believe but Cannot Prove: Today's Leading Thinkers on Science in the Age of Certainty Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$3.50 In Stock
Product details 272 pages Harper Perennial - English 9780060841812 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "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." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review A Day" by , "It is interesting reading the explanations as well as the answers themselves. Some are philosophically intriguing....To me, what makes this book most interesting is how it sparks questions and answers within myself. Sure, it's interesting to know what Richard Dawkins believes (Darwinian natural selection is universal — surprise), but reading the various answers reveals assumptions we all make about the world." (read the entire Powells.com review)
"Review" by , "[An] informative and often surprising book....[T]he majority [of responses] are thoughtful, honest, and revelatory....And the book certainly gets us thinking about our own deeply held, if entirely unprovable, beliefs."
"Review" by , "For the most part, it reads like a bunch of blog entries — sound bites as short as a sentence that either state the obvious or cut off just as things get interesting, random bursts of intellectualizing designed for compulsive channel surfers."
"Synopsis" by , More than one hundred of the world's leading thinkers write about things they believe in, despite the absence of concrete proof.

Thought-provoking and hugely compelling, this collection of bite-size though-experiments is a fascinating insight into the instinctive beliefs of some of the most brilliant minds today.

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