Blogger Roundup: Dangerous Ideas

Overall I’d say that these essays are likely to be among the most interesting things you will read this year.

Eric Boyd, Digital Crusader, The EDGE: Your Dangerous Idea

Tagged “dangerous” on Flickr [Squicker/Flickr]

Edge asks a question every year to spark debate. This year, moderated by Steven Pinker, they ask “What is your dangerous idea?” (See our show on the same topic.) Here’s what we found in reaction to Edge‘s question:

My response: God is a God who hides himself. I can’t take credit for my dangerous idea. It was written by Isaiah about 2,700 years ago:

Truly you are a God who hides himself, O God and Savior of Israel. ~ Isaiah chap. 45

Michael W. Hobson, seedlings, My dangerous idea

Our civilization is in its final century [John Gray]

Nature always bats last [Kenny Ausubel]

The crowd is always wiser than the experts [James Surowieki]

You never change things by fighting the existing reality [Bucky Fuller]

No one is in control

Dave Pollard, How to Save the World, Blinded by science: what’s your dangerous idea?

My dangerous idea is: Put the health, education and welfare of a child as the core strategy for every country in the world. This will shape how we grow value, transform the challenges facing us today, and create an opportunity for a brighter, safer, and healthier way of life.

Colby Stuart, Quantum-Playshuns, What is your Dangerous idea?

Dangerous ideas — absurd to fantastic to subtle — turned up on Slashdot, too. Fido the Yak posted a critique of Steven Pinker’s own idea, and some bloggers didn’t like the question — or even Edge — in the first place.

Perhaps if Edge proprietor John Brockman could get past the idea that his beloved “Third Culture”, the blending of elite intellectuals from both the scientific and literary world, doesn’t need the collective intelligence of the great unwashed rest of the world to inform, provoke, qualify, amplify and act on its ideas, and, as Einstein expounded and exemplified, to keep us all self-critical and humble, Edge might stand a chance of once again becoming relevant to the real world. In the meantime, the most dangerous idea that emerges from this self-referential group is the propensity of elites to groupthink and to exaggerate their own awareness, knowledge, importance, power, authority, and relevance.

Dave Pollard, How to Save the World, Blinded by science: what’s your dangerous idea?

The love of the “dangerous” has become so prevalent that “sexy” ideas with little or no empirical support can get published in some cognitive science and social psychology journals. In addition, that love for “dangerous” science has also led the media and certain uneducated groups of people to treat ideas such as evolution as dangerous, even when they aren’t. That means that good scientists, and good scientific ideas, have to struggle to win public relations debates against fear mongerering idiots in order to make sure that science wins out in the classroom and elsewhere. And that’s just sad.

Chris, Mixing Memory, The Dangerous Ideas of Cognitive Scientists


2 thoughts on “Blogger Roundup: Dangerous Ideas

  1. I second that comment about the dangerous hubris of elites. THe world looks very different to me 20 yrs out of an ivy institution, and from each of the 5 or 6 worlds I’ve seen since. The mind alone is so deceptive. Pls see my earlier comment.

    Further comment– The integrative intelligence that is rep’d by a good jazz musician, or any other classical tradition– intellectual learning and memory, body memory and intelligence doing the processing and the emotional function of the person not secondary in importance but cohering and giving impetus and raison to the whole– is an intelligence which never could have been created by the techonoligcal mind. I say ‘classical” not from elitism, but to highlight an areas of music where the received tradition and the necessity of thinking is high. –not more valid than roots music; merely what stands toe to toe, and should trump, the tech approach to reality.

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