This item is pre-posted to appear while I’m away. I’ll return on the 10th or thereabouts.
John Brockman’s Edge poses annual questions to the scientific community. (Last year’s — what do you believe that you can’t prove? — inspired international discussion and a book.) The question for 2006 focuses on dangerous ideas.
The history of science is replete with discoveries that were considered socially, morally, or emotionally dangerous in their time; the Copernican and Darwinian revolutions are the most obvious. What is your dangerous idea? An idea you think about (not necessarily one you originated) that is dangerous not because it is assumed to be false, but because it might be true?
On a related note, some U.S. companies still believe Charles Darwin’s ideas are dangerous. The Museum of Natural History never found a corporate sponsor for its Darwin exhibition because American businesses “are anxious not to take sides in the heated debate between scientists and fundamentalist Christians over the theory of evolution.”