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We live in a time of information abundance, which far too many of us see as information overload. With the sum total of human knowledge, past and present, at our fingertips, we’re faced with a crisis of attention: which ideas should we engage with, and why? Big Think is an evolving roadmap to the best thinking on the planet — the ideas that can help you think flexibly and act decisively in a multivariate world.

A word about Big Ideas and Themes — The architecture of Big Think

Big ideas are lenses for envisioning the future. Every article and video on bigthink.com and on our learning platforms is based on an emerging “big idea” that is significant, widely relevant, and actionable. We’re sifting the noise for the questions and insights that have the power to change all of our lives, for decades to come. For example, reverse-engineering is a big idea in that the concept is increasingly useful across multiple disciplines, from education to nanotechnology.

Themes are the seven broad umbrellas under which we organize the hundreds of big ideas that populate Big Think. They include New World Order, Earth and Beyond, 21st Century Living, Going Mental, Extreme Biology, Power and Influence, and Inventing the Future.

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Big Think’s contributors offer expert analysis of the big ideas behind the news.

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Charting Crickets, Critics, and Talk-Show Hacks With Richard Dawkins

October 26, 2009, 4:37 AM
Bill

Richard Dawkins is perhaps the world’s preeminent voice in one of our weightiest debates—‘how did we get here?’ So, how does the spearhead of modern atheism feel we are doing at handling such ‘big’ issues? As long as Bill O’ Reilly and other rating-hungry hacks are on the air, Dawkins remarks in his Big Think interview, not well.

If we want to advance public discourse beyond the lowly impasse at which it has stalled for years, Dawkins suggests, we could start by ending the prolonged and increasingly bizarre obfuscation of evolution’s status as a ‘fact’—and not, by any logical measure, a ‘theory’—and hopefully bury the moral absolutism and insularity that plague our ‘serious’ debates.

In a world unburdened with religious extremes and biases, Dawkins envisions a morality and sense of human duty that is informed by scientific reasoning, wherein we could rationally gauge and grapple with issues ranging from politics and human suffering to education and the meaning of history in a much more realistic and efficacious manner.

Dawkins also shed some light on many of evolutionary biology’s fascinating mysteries—such as why sex is entirely irrational and inexplicable from an evolutionary perspective and why nobody can figure out just how or why humans became conscious in the first place. He also takes us on a personal journey of his development as a scientist, uncovering his first inspirations, favorite research projects, and his long-lost attempt to chronicle the songs of crickets—the experience, did however, allow him to give us some great impressions of the insect’s surprisingly nuanced melodies.

 

 

 

Charting Crickets, Critics,...

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