Monday, October 20, 2008

The Edge: The Big Ideas of Science

"Edge Foundation, Inc., was established in 1988 as an outgrowth of a group known as The Reality Club. Its informal membership includes of some of the most interesting minds in the world.

The mandate of Edge Foundation is to promote inquiry into and discussion of intellectual, philosophical, artistic, and literary issues, as well as to work for the intellectual and social achievement of society."

Each year, the Edge Foundation poses a question on its website ( to members of the "third culture". According to Brockman "the third culture consists of those scientists and other thinkers in the empirical world who, through their work and expository writing, are taking the place of the traditional intellectual in rendering visible the deeper meanings of our lives, redefining who and what we are." The 2006 question (published in July 2007 ) is "What is your dangerous idea? The references to both Dennett and therefore Darwin is obvious. If this seminar is the who's of who presenters, this books could easily be the companion piece with contributions from Daniel Dennett himself as well as Jared Diamond and Richard Dawkins who writes the afterword.

The book is engaging and well worth the read. I'm interested to see if there will be another installment and what the next question will be.

--Pamela Alexander-Beutler

Update! Next installment due in bookstores any time now... Go to to see the questions that have followed since 2006...

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