Great Minds Answer the Question “What Scientific Idea is Ready for Retirement?” in a New Film

At the start of 2014, Edge.org posed its annual question to 176 scientific minds: “What Scientific Idea is Ready for Retirement?” The question (as we noted in January) came prefaced by this thought:

Science advances by discovering new things and developing new ideas. Few truly new ideas are developed without abandoning old ones first. As theoretical physicist Max Planck (1858-1947) noted, “A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it.” In other words, science advances by a series of funerals. Why wait that long?

As is its custom, Edge initially gathered and published the responses (in text format) from thinkers like Steven Pinker, Kevin KellySherry TurkleRobert Sapolsky, and Daniel Dennett. Now, as the sun sets on 2014, filmmaker Jesse Dylan has created a four-minute film based on the project, featuring some of the same figures mentioned above. Watch it up top.

In a few short weeks, we’ll bring you the Edge question of 2015.

via io9

Dan Colman is the founder/editor of Open Culture. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus and share intelligent media with your friends. Or better yet, sign up for our daily email and get a daily dose of Open Culture in your inbox.


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  • Bruce Watson says:

    Very interesting but the graphics competed with the ideas, making it hard to focus. And the graphics won.

  • Gerry Burge says:

    Along the lines of the comment above about the competing graphics, I found myself looking for a transcription of the words. I wanted to read them without distraction, and without having a film moving me along to the next quote. I need more time to absorb the nuances and power of the words, and wrap my mind around the concepts. My science field was behavioral (psychology and sociology), but statistics was my least appreciated subject, probably because it was so mathematical, and I still had the anxiety which math provoked–causing brain gridlock. Therefore, I like to sit with a thought, absorbing and probing its nuance and meanings. However, I loved the question, and the concept of posing it. It is my first time learning of your annual queries.

  • Oma Rose says:

    On this New Year’s Eve I am most grateful that I live in a country where such an important question can be asked through a forum such as this one. I appreciate the graphics but agree the disruptive aspect to them is causing a need to replay the video over and over to focus on the words and concepts – an interesting problem in itself! For Gerry who will understand, I am an INTJ so overloading distractions are difficult for me to handle.

  • mark says:

    Science wishes God would die so they can go on there progressive way.
    The fact is, science can say anything they want without fear of persecution.
    My theory is, the more intelligent the scientist is the more he or she should realize that the complexities of our existence are not a chance happening. Only ego stops an intelligent person from admitting there is a being greater than man.

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