This Idea Must Die: Scientific Theories That Are Blocking by John Brockman

By John Brockman

Reporting from the leading edge of clinical discovery, trendy visionary thinkers objective the best roadblocks to innovation.

Few really new rules are built with out first forsaking previous ones. some time past, discoveries usually needed to watch for the increase of the subsequent new release to determine questions in a brand new gentle and permit pass of outdated truisms. this day, in a global that's outlined through a quick fee of switch, staying at the leading edge has as a lot to do with laying off superseded notions as adopting new ones. during this spirit, John Brockman, writer of the web salon Edge.org ("the world's smartest website"—The Guardian), requested one hundred seventy five of the world's so much influential scientists, economists, artists, and philosophers: What clinical thought is prepared for retirement?

Jared Diamond explores the various ways in which new rules emerge * Nassim Nicholas Taleb takes down the traditional deviation * Richard Thaler and novelist Ian McEwan demonstrate the usefulness of "bad" principles * Steven Pinker...

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They focus attention on differences and distinctions. In contrast, the exploration of relationships and process feeds rapid scientific developments—systems biology, epigenetics, neurology and brain research, astronomy, medicine, quantum physics. Complex relationships also shape the urgent challenges we face: global epidemics, climate change, species extinction, finite resources—these all comprise integral interconnections. Approaching such problems demands an appreciation of diversity, complexity, relationships, and process.

Widely embraced and often repeated, the cliché reflects the public’s comfort with divorcing science from personal experience. The cliché imposes a boundary (of brilliance) between the scientist and everyone else. This makes for popular movies and television shows, but it’s insidious. Artificially constructed boundaries isolate. They focus attention on differences and distinctions. In contrast, the exploration of relationships and process feeds rapid scientific developments—systems biology, epigenetics, neurology and brain research, astronomy, medicine, quantum physics.

As always, thanks to Stewart Brand, Kevin Kelly, George Dyson, and Steven Pinker, for their continued support. I also wish to thank Peter Hubbard of HarperCollins for his encouragement. I am also indebted to my agent, Max Brockman, who saw the potential for this book, and, as always, to Sara Lippincott for her thoughtful and meticulous editing. JOHN BROCKMAN Publisher & Editor, Edge THE 2014 EDGE QUESTION Science advances by discovering new things and developing new ideas. Few truly new ideas are developed without abandoning old ones first.

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