At the Edge.org, some of the world’s most prominent and creative thinkers answer the question,
"WHAT DO YOU BELIEVE IS TRUE EVEN THOUGH YOU CANNOT PROVE IT?"
Here are exerpts from some of my favourite entries:
Editor-in-Chief, New Scientist
"Strangely, I believe that cockroaches are conscious. That is probably an unappealing thought to anyone who switches on a kitchen light in the middle of the night and finds a family of roaches running for cover. But it’s really shorthand for saying that I believe that many quite simple animals are conscious, including more attractive beasts like bees and butterflies."
Neuroscientist, New York University; Author, The Synaptic Self
"For me, this is an easy question. I believe that animals have feelings and other states of consciousness, but neither I, nor anyone else, has been able to prove it. We can’t even prove that other people are conscious, much less other animals. In the case of other people, though, we at least can have a little confidence since all people have brains with the same basic configurations. But as soon as we turn to other species and start asking questions about feelings, and consciousness in general, we are in risky territory because the hardware is different."
Biologist, Schumacher College, Devon, UK; Author, How The Leopard Changed Its Spots
"Nature Is Culture.
I believe that nature and culture can now be understood as one unified process, not two distinct domains separated by some property of humans such as written or spoken language, consciousness, or ethics.
Understanding species as cultures that have experienced 3.7 billion years of adaptive evolution on earth makes it clear that they are repositories of meaningful knowledge and experience about effective living that we urgently need to learn about in human culture. Here is a source of deep wisdom about living in participation with others that is energy and resource efficient, that recycles everything, produces forms that are simultaneously functional and beautiful, and is continuously innovative and creative.
…The goal is to make human culture as integrated with natural process as the rest of the living realm so that we enhance the quality of the planet instead of degrading it."
I’m a little concerned about this one being in the "Cannot Prove It" category, though:
Technology Editor, The Economist
"I believe that the radiation emitted by mobile phones is harmless."