The seeks to ask brilliant minds interesting questions and then we all learn from their responses.

To arrive at the edge of the world's knowledge,
seek out the most complex and sophisticated minds,
put them in a room together, and have them ask each,
other the questions they are asking themselves.

The 2005 Edge Annual Question...


There is also an abbreviated publication in the NY Times titled, God (or Not), Physics and, of Course, Love: Scientists Take a Leap.

From the here are a few snippets of interesting responses (see the site for complete quotation and discussion):
This is a treacherous question to ask, and a trivial one to answer. Treacherous because the shoals between the written lines can be navigated by some to the conclusion that truth and religious belief develop by the same means and are therefore equivalent. To those unfamiliar with the process by which scientific hunches and hypotheses are advanced to the level of verifiable fact, and the exacting standards applied in that process, the impression may be left that the work of the scientist is no different than that of the prophet or the priest.

Of course, nothing could be further from reality.

Planetary Scientist; Leader, Cassini Imaging Team; Director, CICLOPS, Space Science Institute, Boulder
There are good reasons to believe that the universe is infinite.

If so, it contains an infinite number of regions of the same size as our observable region (which is 80 billion light years across). It follows from quantum mechanics that the number of distinct histories that could occur in any of these finite regions in a finite time (since the big bang) is finite. By history I mean not just the history of the civilization, but everything that happens, down to the atomic level. The number of possible histories is fantastically large (it has been estimated as 10 to the power 10150), but the important point is that it is finite.


Another thing that I believe to be true, but cannot prove, is that our part of the universe will eventually stop expanding and will recollapse to a big crunch. But this will happen no sooner than 20 billion years from now, and probably much later.

Physicist; Institute of Cosmology, Tufts University
I believe nothing to be true (clearly real) if it cannot be proved.

I'll take the question and make a pseudo-invariant transformation that makes it more apt to my brain. When Bohr was asked what is the complementary variable of "truth" (Wirklichkeit) he replied with no hesitation "clarity" (Klarheit). Contrary to Bohr, and since neither truth nor clarity are quantum mechanical variables, real truth and comprehensive clarity should be simultaneously achievable given rigorous experimental evidence. [In particular since "Wirklichkeit" means reality, and "Klarheit" is clarity in the sense of good understanding.]


Physicist, currently at CERN

Great question!

I believe it is true that holding opinions and beliefs about what is true, whether rightly or wrongly, is the God given right of all humans.

In Japan
Mike in Japan,
I believe it is true that holding opinions and beliefs about what is true, whether rightly or wrongly, is the God given right of all humans

If one believes that God exists, I suppose.

Interestingly, many of the responses from these brilliant minds dealt with the very questions man has always dealt with, namely, are we alone in the universe? Is there is a God? And why are we here?

An interesting opening question, perhaps, but a darn difficult question to answer with any meaningful insight or perception.

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And dare I say IMPOSSIBLE to earnestly answer without any.


In Japan
I believe that there is a God, but for me to tell you what that means would be egotistic, and impossible. When we as people try and put a human, personification, and the unknown, we find ourselves in a spiritual paradox, and frustrated. I think the native americans speak of God in most the accurate light when they refer to it as The Great Mystery, but a mystery worth trying to solve.
I believe that out of a household of three my son was the one who ate my chocolate, but I can't prove it!
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