Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Reasons to be cheerful

Apparently, there's a website called Edge.org. Now, you might expect this to be a site devoted to the woolly-capped fellow who plays the guitars in U2, but in fact, it's an on-line scientific 'salon'. (I think this means that it's got four doors; if it had two, it would be a coupe). Anyway, in the January 1st edition of The Times, they report that Edge.org has asked numerous scientists to answer the question 'What are you optimistic about?' www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2-2525859,00.html The Times prints a selection of the answers given, and most amusing they are too.

Steven Pinker writes about "the most important and under appreciated trend in the history of our species: the decline of violence." If you listen carefully, you can hear the sound of Saddam's neck snapping in the background, and the concussion of a car-bomb in Baghdad.

Somebody called 'Simon Baren-Cohen' writes that "it has never been a better time to have autism. Why? Because there is a remarkably good fit between the autistic mind and the digital age." Fantastic! I shall henceforth claim to be autistic in all my job applications.

Daniel Dennett writes that "I expect to live to see the evaporation of the powerful mystique of religion. I think that in about 25 years almost all religions will have evolved into very different phenomena." Of course they will, Daniel; you can see the early signs of that happening even now, in all the Mosques and Synagogues of the Middle East.

And so on.


Anonymous said...

It's certainly a great time to be a slave of mindless idiocy. Though of course, thanks to such wondrous devices as the television, a golden age doth approach. Nature abhors a vacuum, and in place of man's faith in life and the Absolute, we give you Celebrity Big Brother. Then Utopia can really kick into action. Because as we all know, nothing will then stand in the way of peace, love and wisdom.

Anonymous said...

a IT friend of mine says there are high incidences of autism in Silicon Valley, possibly because scientists have autistic tendencies, and when they breed with each other, the result tends to be Rainman.