Opinion (From edge.org): Paul Steinhardt, Albert Einstein Professor of Physics, Princeton University:
“I believe that our universe is not accidental, but I cannot prove it.
“The universe is governed by a simple set of physical laws that are the same everywhere and that these laws derive from a simple unified theory.
“A simple universe demands a simple explanation. Why do we need to postulate an infinite number of universes with all sorts of different properties just to explain our one?”
Carlo Rovelli, Physicist; Institut Universitaire de France & University of the Mediterraneum; Author, Quantum Gravity:
“I am convinced, but cannot prove, that time does not exist.
“I am convinced space and time are like the surface of the water: convenient macroscopic approximations, flimsy but illusory and insufficient screens that our mind uses to organize reality.”
Lee Smolin, Physicist, Perimeter Institute; Author, Three Roads to Quantum Gravity:
“Finally, what of time? I have been also unable to make sense of any of the proposals to do away with time as a fundamental aspect of our description of nature. So I believe in time, in the sense of causality. I also doubt that the “Big Bang” is the beginning of time, I strongly suspect that our history extends backwards before the Big Bang.”
Daniel C. Dennett, Philosopher, Tufts University; Author, Freedom Evolves:
“I believe, but cannot yet prove, that acquiring a human language (an oral or sign language) is a necessary precondition for consciousness–in the strong sense of there being a subject, an I, a ‘something it is like something to be.’ It would follow that non-human animals and pre-linguistic children, although they can be sensitive, alert, responsive to pain and suffering, and cognitively competent in many remarkable ways–including ways that exceed normal adult human competence–are not really conscious (in this strong sense): there is no organized subject (yet) to be the enjoyer or sufferer, no owner of the experiences as contrasted with a mere cerebral locus of effects.”
Alun Anderson, Editor-in-Chief, “New Scientist”:
“Strangely, I believe that cockroaches are conscious. …I believe that many quite simple animals are conscious, including more attractive beasts like bees and butterflies.
“I don’t mean that they are conscious in even remotely the same way as humans are; if that were true the world would be a boring place. Rather the world is full of many overlapping alien consciousnesses.”
David Buss, Psychologist, University of Texas, Austin; Author, The Evolution of Desire:
I’ve spent two decades of my professional life studying human mating. In that time, I’ve documented phenomena ranging from what men and women desire in a mate to the most diabolical forms of sexual treachery. I’ve discovered the astonishingly creative ways in which men and women deceive and manipulate each other. …But throughout this exploration of the dark dimensions of human mating, I’ve remained unwavering in my belief in true love.
“While love is common, true love is rare, and I believe that few people are fortunate enough to experience it. The roads of regular love are well traveled and their markers are well understood by many—the mesmerizing attraction, the ideational obsession, the sexual afterglow, profound self-sacrifice, and the desire to combine DNA. But true love takes its own course through uncharted territory. It knows no fences, has no barriers or boundaries. It’s difficult to define, eludes modern measurement, and seems scientifically wooly. But I know true love exists. I just can’t prove it.”