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We are Big Idea Hunters…

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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Crazy Ideas

The Big Idea for Monday, November 18, 2013

In 1950, Dr. Immanuel Velikovsky postulated that around 3,500 years ago, Jupiter ejected a planet-sized "comet" that danced around the planets of the inner solar system for thousands of years, altering Earth's orbit and axis in the process, and causing various mythological events described in Biblical texts, including the cinematic Parting of the Red Sea. 

To make such a situation physically possible, Velikovsky also contended that electromagnetism is just as integral to celestial mechanics as gravity. He based all of this on absolutely nothing. You can't really blame scientists for being vexed. Almost a quarter-century after Worlds in Collision stirred the pot, Velikovsky's erroneous ideas had become so pervasive in the U.S. that the American Association for the Advancement of Science addressed the situation, devoting a session to debunking his ideas at their annual conference. 

However, in today's lesson, we look at how the backlash against Velikovsky was unwarranted. When confronted with stances counter to our own cherished thoughts and beliefs, it's often our first impulse to lash out verbally or even physically, to quell any challenging, disquieting notions. But that is not the proper course. Instead, we must respond calmly and sensibly, using evidence, logic, and reason as guides. Heck, we might even learn something, or realize that we were wrong!

 

Perspectives

  1. 1 Science Should Not Suppress Ideas, No Matter How Crazy
    Ross Pomeroy Experts' Corner
  2. 2 Embracing Crazy Ideas
    Farsight 2011
  3. 3 Dispatch from the Ideas Economy
    Brian Hoffstein Think Tank
  4. 4 Legalize Prostitution, Polygamy, Incest and Bestiality
    Jacob Appel In Their Own Words
 

Crazy Ideas

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