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Edge World Question 2008: Things you have changed your mind about?

by PhilipJ on 2 January 2008

From the Edge World Quesiton Center, 2008, clever minds have been asked: What have you changed your mind about? Some of my favourites:

Joseph Ledoux used to believe that memory is something stored in the brain and then accessed when used.

Piet Hut: I used to pride myself on the fact that I could explain almost anything to anyone, on a simple enough level, using analogies.

Colin Tudge changed his mind on the omniscience and omnipotence of science.

Irene Pepperberg, I’ve begun to rethink the way we teach students to engage in scientific research..

Ed Regis, I used to think you could predict the future.

Arnold Trehub, I have never questioned the conventional view that a good grounding in the physical sciences is needed for a deep understanding of the biological sciences. It did not occur to me that the opposite view might also be true.

Haim Harari used to think that if something is clear and simple, it must also be provable or at least well defined, and if something is well defined, it might be relatively simple.

Thomas Meitzinger: There are no moral facts.

“[W]hen planning a new research project, I always start by going fishing”, Robert Provine.

“In the last few years I have changed my mind about nuclear power”, Peter Schwartz.

Stewart Brand has decided that Good Old Stuff Sucks.

Rebecca Goldstein: It had long seemed to me that the falsifiability test was basically right and enormously useful.

Richard Wrangham, “I used to think that human origins were explained by meat-eating.”

Brian Goodwin, “I have changed my mind about the general validity of the mechanical worldview that underlies the modern scientific understanding of natural processes.”

“I used to view the scientific literature as a collective human effort to build an enduring and expanding structure of knowledge”, Robert Shapiro.

Paul Ewald no longer trusts experts.

Adam Bly, “Technology Is Not So Bad.”

“I used to think what I am doing is `useless’”, Anton Zeilinger.

Roger Highfield: This idea that science is an objective fact-driven pursuit is laudable, seductive and – alas – a mirage.

George Johnson, “I used to think that the most fascinating thing about physics was theory — and that the best was still to come. But as physics has grown vanishingly abstract I’ve been drawn in the opposite direction, to the great experiments of the past.”

“I used to believe that you could find out what is true by finding the smartest people and finding out what they think”, Randolf M. Nesse.

There are far more than I’ve listed here, so feel free to browns them all here, particularly if you are keen on neuroscience, which seemed very over-represented!

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