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Small tear to cover. Spellbound , Pennsylvania, United States Seller rating: Ships from the UK. Shows some signs of wear, and may have some markings on the inside. Your purchase also supports literacy charities. Very Good - Condition. Binding tight, pages clean. Crease down front cover. Diffferent cover design than shown. Textbooks may not include supplemental items i. CDs, access codes etc Ships from Reno, NV. Shipped to over one million happy customers. Your purchase benefits world literacy!

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Shows definite wear, and perhaps considerable marking on inside. Bacobooks , California, United States Seller rating: Ergodebooks , Texas, United States Seller rating: BookVistas , India Seller rating: More tools Find sellers with multiple copies Add to want list. Didn't find what you're looking for? In brief pieces, writers express what they regard as dangerous ideas, ranging from changing scientific world pictures, such as the dominance of evolutionary biology and the anthropic principle, to matters of practical relevance, such as media violence and "the near-term inevitability of radical life-extension and expansion.

Scientific revolutions and interpretations of natural phenomena often alter traditional beliefs and make us doubt long-held religious beliefs. But are they dangerous on that account? The real dangers lurk largely in what could diminish or erase our quality of life and render precarious our survival on the planet--both implicit in technology--and in the hatred and animosity between peoples, races, and religions intensified by Internet free-for-all and repeated political blunders.

It is surprising that there are not many contributors touching on these matters. The absence of any non-Western thinker is glaring in this century. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty. Copyright American Library Association. Jul 21, Stewart rated it really liked it.

What Is Your Dangerous Idea? : Today's Leading Thinkers on the Unthinkable

One hundred eight writers, most of them scientists and academics, contributed to this book. As can be expected, the short essays, ranging from one to five pages each, vary in interest. But many of the essays examine fascinating ideas that may challenge our beliefs and the status quo hence, their danger. Daniel Golman, for instance, notes the difference between having a disc One hundred eight writers, most of them scientists and academics, contributed to this book. Daniel Golman, for instance, notes the difference between having a discussion with someone in person and by e-mail. The dangerous idea is that perhaps we understand half of a percent and all the brain and computer power we can muster may take us up to one or two percent in the lifetime of the human race.

They forget to send radio signals or colonize space because they're too busy with runaway consumerism and virtual-reality narcissism. They don't need Sentinels to enslave them in a Matrix; they do it to themselves, just as we are doing today. Oct 30, Rebekah rated it liked it.

What Is Your Dangerous Idea? : Today's Leading Thinkers on the Unthinkable by John Brockman

Despite the lame name, this book is pretty rad. For example, the idea that women in general are innately less adept at maths and sciences might be true, but people would rather reject it for fear that acceptance might lead to ear Despite the lame name, this book is pretty rad. For example, the idea that women in general are innately less adept at maths and sciences might be true, but people would rather reject it for fear that acceptance might lead to early educational "tracking" or to job discrimination; or the idea that people's actions are determined by their genetic makeup and their earliest experiences rather than an actual self or soul creates difficulties for holding people accountable for their actions, both in our personal relationships and in legal matters.

Each "dangerous idea" is just two to four pages, so if one doesn't capture your imagination, another one is just a page away. Now that I'm about halfway through, I must say that some of the writing is pretty bad and the editing is atrocious, BUT bear in mind that the articles were originally intended for a web site, so I think the authors were more casual than they might have been had they been thinking about their essays in terms of a print copy. I still recommend the book pretty highly- it's easy to tell from the first sentence or two whether the essay is crap or not, so don't feel bad about skipping half of them!

There are some real gems. A great toilet-side tome to dip into as you defecate. Each pundit has about 2 pages to get their 'dangerous idea' out. Some are dull some are striking- most you have heard before; some regurgitate ancient philosophical conundrums.

What Is Your Dangerous Idea?

The ones that are most enjoyable are generally by the best writers; who may not be the most original thinkers. As a Sam Harris fan I place his contribution higher than most of the others simply on the merit of his prose; he is always interesting even when going over fam A great toilet-side tome to dip into as you defecate. As a Sam Harris fan I place his contribution higher than most of the others simply on the merit of his prose; he is always interesting even when going over familiar ground. There was one essay in here that made me laugh with derrision.

By a woman called Judith Rich Harris who she? The thesis which she expounds with no little pride hubris one might say is that nurture as opposed to nature has zero effect on the young. This is self evidently wrong of course.

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A parent who brain-damages a child with a blunt object must be conceded to have effected their subsequent development. And one can obviously scale back on the drama into greyer yet still obvious realms- for example a parent who witholds all education from his child might be suppposed to have had some effect on that childs later intellectual life. I'm not sure how this ridiculous piece got into this book- the author appears to have no qualifications to rank her alongside the other alumini- she is listed as an 'independent investigator'??

Do you like ideas? Cause I do and, boy, have I found a few in this book. My curiosity was more than entertained by ideas of influence that parents have on children, unconscious on free will and anti-depressants on love. How neatly, by the way, was this edition framed by a combined erudition of Richard Dawkins and Steven Pinker that encaptured well the essence of many essays in this book.

When it comes to danger of these ideas, entertaining as they are, I couldn't say I got scared all that much by Do you like ideas? When it comes to danger of these ideas, entertaining as they are, I couldn't say I got scared all that much by them. Not to say that I am stupidly brave nor brilliantly ignorant. It is that most of the ideas that could be considered treathening from this book have already crossed my mind with the help of movies, books and intuition long ago.

So that I was accustomed to facing them by the time I had to face them once more when reading this book. Hence the lack of fear. So, it seems to me, at least, that a wheel perhaps was not created in this book, yet that which was, is worthy of curious attention, too. Jul 03, Deborah rated it it was amazing. 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.


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What do the world's leading scientists and thinkers consider to be their most dangerous idea? Through the leading online forum Edge www. 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?

Dec 03, James Ottaway rated it really liked it Shelves: This book is an amazing collection of responses to the question "What is your dangerous idea? The question was posed to a collection of very impressive names, and the goal I had in reading the book of being mentally stimulated and challenged was certainly met. There are some incredibly interesting excerpts from responses touching on topics such as whether the concept of the soul is a valid one, and whether the notion of free will even exists.

Of course the science vs. And who can resist reading responses with titles such as 'Everything Is Pointless' or 'Parental Licensure'? Overall this is a great book to force you to think of where you sit in regards to a wide range of topics you didn't even know existed, let alone truly understand. Mar 11, Holmes rated it really liked it.

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If you want thought-provoking ideas, this book surely delivers them magnificently; in fact, some ideas can be downright mind-boggling and even incomprehensible. Some do not seem dangerous at all, and some will certainly raise a lot of eyebrows. Some are explained almost in scientific rigour, and some are dispensed in just a short paragraph. All in all, this book is a very good one to get you thinking about ideas that you did not realize are even able to be imagined - provided that you are an ope If you want thought-provoking ideas, this book surely delivers them magnificently; in fact, some ideas can be downright mind-boggling and even incomprehensible.


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  • All in all, this book is a very good one to get you thinking about ideas that you did not realize are even able to be imagined - provided that you are an open-minded person and will not be offended easily by "dangerous" ideas. After all, as Aristotle said, "It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it. Where are the economists, historians and artists? Jul 22, John Kaufmann rated it it was amazing Shelves: Contributions from pre-eminent scientists and thinkers, pages each, relating an idea that, if either 1 true but not currently widely known or accepted by society, or 2 eventually found to be true, would have significant implications.

    A glance at the Table of Contents can give you a taste of the breadth of the ideas: Aug 03, Jafar rated it liked it. Dangerous meaning that the idea is not self-evidently wrong, but by being proven right, or even just by being discussed, it may upset the accepted norms or the current way of thinking or the existing moral order. What if different groups of people differ genetically in their average talents and temperaments? Not all ideas were dangerous. A lot of the entries were just plain self-promotion by the writers. There were also a lot of repetitive and similar ideas. Not a bad book, overall.

    Apr 05, Graham Polando rated it liked it. Very hit or miss, but more hits than misses. Some authors didn't really seem to get the question, which, at least as Steven Pinker introduced it, was about ideas thought to be disruptive, but which the moral order can, at least in theory, accommodate: Pinker cites heliocentrism as a historical example. A disconcerting number of the essays even focus on what to do about those rubes in the Midwest who maintain a semblance of theology; no one seems to appreciate that the apparent universal agreemen Very hit or miss, but more hits than misses.

    A disconcerting number of the essays even focus on what to do about those rubes in the Midwest who maintain a semblance of theology; no one seems to appreciate that the apparent universal agreement certainly detracts from that particular idea's "dangerousness. This collection of responses forms the entirety of the book possibly with some excluded because of the great number of posts. The basic concept behind the book is "to gather a hundred of the most brilliant minds in the world in a room, lock them in, and have them ask each other the questions they were asking themselves".

    The question was suggested by Steven Pinker , a psychologist. People answered to this question in entries, some of which lasted several pages. These entries were posted in the Edge community forum. The ideas which were best expressed on the forum were posted in the book, organized according to subject. These ideas cover topics in physics, biology, religion, and other subjects. Several of the contributors are well-known within the realm of science and philosophy.

    The existence of the soul is discussed by John Horgan and Paul Bloom. John Horgan discusses the possibility that the soul does not exist, while Paul Bloom further expands by discussing how the implication of the soul's nonexistence can have serious consequences. Another topic many entries were based on is human behavior.

    What really matters at the end of life

    Craig Venter discussed the genetic base of how humans act; Jerry Coyne also wrote on the idea that people are predisposed to act in certain ways because of genetics. Several authors wrote on the morals of people, consciousness, and human values. Many authors discussed how ideas themselves can be dangerous, or the idea that ideas can be dangerous. One such author, Daniel Gilbert , states, in his entry:. Several key ideas in biology were written about in the book, such as genetics, other life in the universe, and the origin of life.

    The origin of life was discussed by two authors, Robert Shapiro and George Dyson. Robert Shapiro believes that the origin of life will be found in the next five years, and George Dyson believes that we do not need to understand the origin of life to make progress in molecular biology. The anthropic principle was discussed by Leonard Susskind as well as Carlo Rovelli , who mentions it in his essay. The anthropic principle claims that the universe is the way it is because if it was not specifically like how we see it, we would not be here to describe it. Leonard Susskind expands by talking about the idea that the anthropic principle can be seen as a threat to the mentality that every law governing the cosmos is set in stone; thus being unalterable.

    Susskind expresses in his entry the possibility that our universe is not the only universe also expressed in an idea labeled "The Multiverse ". This is an idea where a large amount of universes are located in "the Landscape"; he expands by communicating that each universe has different physics laws that govern each of them, as can be seen in the quote above.

    The anthropic principle is also present in the idea. He claims, for example, that we are only here because our universe has the precise set of laws of physics that it has, and that very few universes have the laws of physics needed for intelligent life. Several different beliefs were mentioned in the essays such as the relationship between science and religion.