January 04, 2005

What Scientists Believe

NYT has an entertaining abridgement of this year's annual question asked by the Edge, an online science forum run by literary agent and author John Brockman. The question: "What do you believe even though you cannot prove it?" The full response on the Edge site contains 117 replies, 60,000 words total, including replies from Nicholas Humprhey (who wrote the question), Benoit Mandelbroit, Richard Dawkins, Howard Gardner, Mihaly Csikzszentmihalyi, and others of comparable stature.

Some samples:

Roger Schank does not believe that people are capabale of rational decision-making.

Joseph LeDoux believes that animals have emotions and consciousnesss, however different from ours.

Donald Hoffman believes that consciousness is all that exists.

Nicholas Humphrey believes that consciusness is "a conjuring trick."

Alsion Gopnik believes that babies and young children are more conscious than adults.

David Buss believes in true love, though he believes it's very rare.

I don't know which of them to believe.