Humanities and sciences have traditionally been seen as “two cultures”, though as early as 1959, in his book The Two Cultures and the Scientific Revolution, physicist and novelist C. P. Snow was calling for them to close the communication gap to answer the big questions facing humankind. Some 30 years later, literary agent John Brockman coined the term “the third culture”. Over the past few years, his network of scientists and thinkers has been tackling questions that have traditionally been the preserve of religion and philosophy: the origins and meaning of life and what human nature – and human ethics – really are.
Update: Boing Boing reader Jennifer Forman Orth, Ph.D., who is an Invasive Plant Ecologist, says, "That's actually a scan of the seedheads of a Clematis vine. So not a flower, not anymore - already pollinated and gone to fruit. But a small technicality for that beautiful image."
edge.org | A deep dig into evolution, social learning and creativity.
Including THE MAGIC OF REALITY by Richard Dawkins, THE BEST OF EDGE: CULTURE edited by John Brockman, FUTURE SCIENCE edited by Max Brockman. [more]
.... According to Pinker, new studies that quantify the increase and decrease in violence over the course of history lead to the conclusion that it is in constant decline. As evidence of this, he notes that many forms of violence have disappeared from the world, or have at least become rare and are condemned in the West... - as he wrote in an article titled A History of Violence (on www.edge.org ). [more]
....Haidt began reading political psychology. Karen Stenner’s The Authoritarian Dynamic, “conveyed some key insights about protecting the group that were particularly insightful,” he said. The work of the French sociologist Emile Durkheim was also vital. In contrast to John Stuart Mill, a Durkheimian society, as Haidt explains in an essay for edge.org, “would value self-control over self-expression, duty over rights, and loyalty to one’s groups over concerns for out-groups."[more]
"A bold scientific humanist vision combined with the microcosm of life sciences."
In 2006 Dr. Pinker was invited to write an essay on the theme “What Are You Optimistic About?” His answer: “The decline of violence.” [ED note: you can see his answer to the Edge question here].
The reaction to the essay was swift and surprising. “I started hearing from scholars from fields that I was barely aware of, saying, ‘There’s much more evidence on this trend than you were aware of,’ ” he said. [more]
.....A winning combination of good writers, good science and serious broader concerns. (Starred Review, November 15, 2011).