What We Believe But Cannot Prove

“What We Believe But Cannot Prove” is an interesting book which brings a lot of thoughtful and wise answers to its question by some of the leading scientists, thinkers and writers. You will find contributions of Ian McEwan, Richard Dawkins, Tor Nørretranders, Leonard Susskind etc.

Some examples of contributors’ beliefs:

Douglas Rushkoff: “… I believe that evolution has purpose and direction.”
Stephen Petranek: “I believe that life is common throughout the universe and that we will find another Earthlike planet within a decade.”
Ian McEwan: “… no part of my consciousness will survive my death.”
David Buss: “I believe in true love.”
Bruce Sterling: “We’re in for climatic mayhem.”
Charles Simonyi: “I believe we are writing software the wrong way.”
Christine Finn: “I believe that modern humans greatly underutilize their cognitive capabilities.”
Alun Anderson: “I believe that cockroaches are conscious.”
Alison Gopnik: “I believe, but cannot prove, that babies and young children are actually more conscious, more vividly aware of their external world and internal life, than adults are.”

The first of two favorite contributions comes from Daniel Goleman, who wrote: “I believe but cannot prove that today’s children are unintended victims of economic and technological progress.” Later on, he reasons that increasing mobility means fewer children live in the same neighborhood and thus no longer have surrogate parenting from close relatives. “Middle-class childhood has become overly organized, a tight schedule of dance and piano lessons and soccer games, with children shuttled from one adult-run activity to another, making for less free time in which they can play together on their own, in their own way.” Wonderfully put!

The second favorite contribution comes from Kai Krause, who believes that everything is about “the anticipation of the moment and the memory of the moment, but not the moment”. He talks about the pleasure of waiting for something to happen, “they can’t wait moments of elation, of hoping for something, someone, some event to happen”. He asks us to make sure we have new points on the horizon and that we relive our memories. “Make plans and take pictures.”

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