Tag Archives | Ideas

Edge.org Annual Question 2014: What Scientific Idea is Ready for Retirement?

Hartwig HKD (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Hartwig HKD (CC BY-ND 2.0)

via Edge.org:

Science advances by discovering new things and developing new ideas. Few truly new ideas are developed without abandoning old ones first. As theoretical physicist Max Planck (1858-1947) noted, “A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it.” In other words, science advances by a series of funerals. Why wait that long?

What Scientific Idea is Ready for Retirement?

Ideas change, and the times we live in change. Perhaps the biggest change today is the rate of change. What established scientific idea is ready to be moved aside so that science can advance?

Read More: http://edge.org/responses/what-scientific-idea-is-ready-for-retirement

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Can Ideas Get You High?

Jacob Hnri 6 (CC)

If the answer is positive, there must be some very stoned disinfonauts out there! Jason Silva writes at CNN:

…I want big ideas to have aesthetic relevance. I want to tickle people’s intellectual sensibilities and instill a sense of wonder. I think big ideas should get people high!

My short videos, which I call shots of philosophical espresso, are trailers for these ideas. They are not a substitute for a book or academic paper — they are instigators. My work is simply another way for wider audiences to engage with these ideas. My goal is for those who might not be inclined toward heady discourse to find a way still to connect to these ideas.

Psychologist Nicholas Humphrey coined the term “the biological advantage of being awestruck” to describe his theory on why our unique ability to be enthralled was, somehow, biologically selected for in a Darwinian sense.

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Intellectual Incest

Via Skeptical Analysis:

Natural selection tends to avoid incest. Incest — more properly, inbreeding — allows recessive genetic traits to accumulate, often to the detriment of affected individuals. If a child gets a bad gene (doesn’t make a needed protein) from one parent, it’s best if the other parent doesn’t also contribute the bad gene.

Popular literature suggests wild populations, such as wolves, seek mates from outside their own packs. Also, primitive peoples may raid neighboring clans for wives, and friendly exchanges of eligible women between ruling European families provided genetic diversity while maintaining royal status.

Cultural and intellectual incest is a problem of a slightly different nature. Lack of cultural diversity can deprive a nation of the benefits of innovation and can also result in the development and retention of perverse cultural traits. Open societies are the fix. Honor killings within some European societies have lost fashion as a result of the cultural dilution that resulted from advances in communications and exchange of populations in the twentieth century.

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