What scientists now believe, but can not prove

For twenty years, beginning in 1991 founder of Edge Foundation, John Brockman, supports research in science and technology, the world's leading intellectuals asked the question: "Great minds sometimes guess the truth before they appear facts or arguments in its favor. The great philosopher Denis Diderot called this ability "spirit of prophecy."

What do you believe, though can not prove it? "Scientists share their hypotheses on various topics — from the mystery of love to the other life in the universe. It turned out that the authorities did not even ashamed to believe in something that looks like sheer nonsense. We, in turn, asked the same question to our experts.

Intellectual evolution breed SOLARIS

Director of the Institute of Gerontology, Academy of Medical Sciences Vladimir Shabalin:

— Today came to replace the biological intellectual evolution. Brain — that are interested in nature today. She is interested in its development and improvement. For us to develop the brain, evolution has given us a unique opportunity to even later age: the age classification WHO current 44-year old man — young, and before he was considered an old man. And the number of the older age group from 60 to 90 years increased by 4 — 5 times faster than the overall population. After all, it is they — the owners of brain development, intelligence, experience, finally! So evolution shows its interest in the qualitative development of intellectual qualities of humanity. And in the future, I think, the brain merges with the computer, and we will be bio-robots. One way or another, but as a result of intellectual evolution will be created not really people or no people — being far removed from the now well-known biological forms. And in the future, perhaps, will Solaris — thinking ocean planet, like a science fiction writer Stanislaw Lem. Intellectual matter merge into a single governing body of the biosphere. This I believe, but I can not prove it.


Professor, Department of Psychology, University of Texas, an evolutionary psychology of human mating strategies David Bass:

— I believe in true love. During the 20 years of his scientific career, I researched a variety of phenomena — from the ingenious ways in which men and women manipulate each other, to the most diabolical forms of sexual betrayal. But all these dark side of human nature was not defeated by my faith in true love. It is rare — very few lucky survive it. Expensive "normal" love trodden, and the signs are well known: the hypnotic attraction, obsession with our favorite, sexy glow. But true love is his way. It is difficult to determine, it eludes scientific measurements, avoiding any standards.

God plays dice

Professor of theoretical physics at Stanford University and author of the book "Introduction to the theory of black holes," Leonard Susskind:

— If I throw in a coin a million times, what, exactly, the eagle will not drop a million times. I do not hazardous, but I'm so sure of it that did not hesitate to put it on his salary for a year or your soul. I am absolutely convinced that the laws of large numbers — that is, the theory of probability — will work and will not let me in the offense. Based on these laws all science. But I can not prove it, and in fact have no idea why they work. Maybe this is why Einstein said that God does not play dice. Probably still is.

Freeze your body, will become immortal

Biophysicist, director of Russia's first cryostorages Igor Artyukhov:

— One way to achieve immortality becomes cryonics — freezing the remains of the deceased. Today in cryostorages contains about 200 bodies, including twenty in Russia. The main thing — to wait for the right technology defrost them to come back to life the healthy. Here we hope to nanomedicine: running into the body microrobots can fully restore the cells of the body and the brain.


Ph.D. from Stanford University and Dr. Neurobiology, University of California, author of "The End of Faith: Religion, Terror and the Future of Reason" Sam Harris

— 44 percent of Americans believe that the next 50 years, Jesus will return to earth to judge the living and the dead. But what it means to believe? I think that faith — is a process that does not depend on the content of what we believe. I think that our view of God is no different from the concepts of numbers, penguins or cheese tofu. However, I believe that the neural processes by which a particular statement is recognized as true, based on a more fundamental, related to the remuneration of the activity of the frontal lobes of the brain — perhaps the same parts that are responsible for how pleasant or unpleasant tastes and odors. For example, it is possible that the truth — it is beauty, and beauty — the truth, and not just in a metaphorical sense. A false statements make us disgusted in the truest sense of the word. Therefore, we believe in the beautiful and the ugly in there.


Professor, Doctor of Medical Sciences, Head of the Department of Medical Genetics of the First Moscow State Medical University. Sechenov Aliy Asanov:

— We will never create clones of themselves. The reason is that man is a result of the interaction between their genetic and multiple environmental factors. For example, we can reproduce the exact genetic copy of Mozart, if we find the bones of it. But to repeat his career — from the suffering of pneumonia in infancy to first love — will not succeed. Namely different things are the amount of money genius. It is also not able to create double and one hundred percent of any other person. Therefore, the idea of cloning human race refuses. Clone will only animals — for meat and milk.

We must live not real, but the future and past

Doctor of Psychology, winner of the highest award of the Royal Photographic Society of Great Britain Kai Krause:

— I always thought, but I can not prove that the slogans in the spirit of "here and now", "live in the present" — confusing. Quite the opposite: I think the most important thing — what was before and what is after. Important prediction of the moment and the memories of him, but not the second.

In German, there is a beautiful word Vorfreude. This is not just a "pleasure" or even a "foretaste". This "prednaslazhdenie" moment "to joy", so to speak, "predschaste." This word describes the relationship over time, the joy of waiting for the next moment, impatience. And when the moment passes, before you could blink, he will remain on as a memory. Therefore live in the eternal blessing of anticipation, cherish hope, dream of what yet. At the same time, relive memories, appreciate them, share them.

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Professor at Tufts University (Medford, USA), a physicist, cosmologist Alexander Vilenkin:

— There are many reasons to believe in allowing infinite universe. If so, it means it consists of an infinite number of regions like ours. Such a picture deprives our civilization to claim the uniqueness: like us, scattered throughout the cosmos innumerable.

Doctor of Physics at Princeton University, Paul Steinhardt:

— I am convinced that our universe is not accidental. Her life is governed by immutable laws of physics, and these laws are a special case of some single theory. Thus, the universe is very simple works. And there is no need to invent an infinite number of universes, all classes in order to explain the arrangement of a single universe.


Marseille University physics professor and author of "Quantum Gravity" Carlo Rovelli:

— I am absolutely certain that there is no time. Mankind invented it as convenient, but flimsy, misleading constraints that uses the mind to somehow organize reality.

Physicist and author of "Three Ways to quantum gravity," Lee Smolin:

— I believe in the existence of time, I believe in the cause. I also doubt that before the Big Bang there was no time. In my opinion, our story began long before him.

On Consciousness

Professor of Philosophy and Director of the Center for Cognitive Studies at Tufts University, author of "The interpretation of consciousness", "Darwin's Dangerous Idea" and "The Evolution of Freedom" Daniel Dennett:

— I do, but I can not yet prove that the possession of human language (oral or written) — a prerequisite of consciousness. Therefore, animals and children, who can not yet speak, have no consciousness. In other words, they can not suffer or enjoy, not able to survive the experience and comprehend it intellectually.

The former editor of the magazine "New Scientist" Alan Andersen

— I believe that the bees, butterflies and cockroaches are conscious, can experience stress and can even die from it. Of course, their consciousness is not the same as a human. Rather, the world is full of many different kinds of consciousness. I call a sense of consciousness, as we see the world and its relationships.

Part of the quote is taken from the book "What we believe but can not prove. XXI century intellectuals of modern science "

Category: Scientists, experts, science

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