Posts Tagged ‘What We Believe But Cannot Prove’

This week’s book (and last week’s as it’s taken a while!) is a non-fiction and has led me to re-evaluate some of my thoughts about the world…

Book 10 – What We Believe but Cannot Prove, edited by John Brockman. The book is a range of responses from ‘leading scientists and thinkers’ to the question ‘What do you believe is true, even though you cannot prove it?‘.  This question was posed via Edge, a website focussed on the sharing of thoughts and ideas based on empirical data collection and investigation.

What We Believe But Cannot Prove

The responses range from short, wry answers to in-depth discussions about the nature of thought, interaction, consciousness and belief itself. From very early on in my reading it started to challenge me about what I even think of as scientific proofs. By the end, I no longer even know if I truly exist in the way I think I do – or indeed, if anyone else does!

Some of the information was extremely hard for me to grasp, which is why it has taken a while to get through – especially the answers related to computer science. I can cope with the nature of reality being challenged much more easily than software paradigms being explained!

Part of the joy, of course, is being challenged in your thinking about the world, and to see how people have come to their own, differing, conclusions. I particularly found the discussions on consciousness and belief really fascinating – I have an academic background in Sociology and find the discussions about culture and reality really stimulating.

This book is not light reading. It’s not a quick read, it may challenge your perception of the world and it may force you to look things up! I found the introduction by Ian McEwan difficult to read – I don’t know that it added to my understanding or enjoyment – but on the other hand, you can read a couple of responses then put the book down or skip a few pages and find another subject if something doesn’t get your imagination going.

Overall, I am glad I have tackled it. I haven’t read every single response but I can go back and read them because the book doesn’t require a chronological approach. It has made me question the nature of reality, my suppositions in relation to human interaction, and my beliefs about what has, and has not, been proven. That’s not bad for 250-odd pages!

Happy reading,

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