Q and A

One of the most interesting features of the website Edge.org has been the Edge Annual Question, which each year presents a stimulating question to an assortment of the world’s brightest minds. Past posers have included What Do You Believe Is True Even Though You Cannot Prove It?, What Questions Have Disappeared?, What Is The Most Important Invention In The Past Two Thousand Years? (that would be the air-conditioner, if you ask me), and What Is Today’s Most Important Unreported Story?, among others.

The question for 2008 has just been revealed: it is What Have You Changed Your Mind About? Why?, and it has been answered, at my count, by no fewer than 163 savants. There is something there for just about everyone; the responses range from highly specific technical commentary to broad meditations about the nature of truth.

I have only had time to look at a few of them so far. Dennis Mangan, in a post today over at Mangan’s Miscellany, called our attention to a response by British philosopher Helena Cronin, in which she defends the same notion that Harvard president Larry Summers was pilloried and sacked for suggesting. The idiotic feminist outcry that attended his thoughtful remarks has bothered me no end, and it is refreshing to see a woman defend his sensible point.

Read Daniel Goleman on the remarkable abilities of Tibetan lamas, Paul Davies on the origins of the laws of nature, Richard Dawkins on flamboyant handicaps and sexual selection, Esther Dyson on online privacy, Sam Harris arguing that nature is not our friend, Nicholas Humphrey on the hard problem of consciousness, and 157 more. It’s all right here.

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