What is Big Think?  

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.

Big Think Features:

12,000+ Expert Videos

1

Browse videos featuring experts across a wide range of disciplines, from personal health to business leadership to neuroscience.

Watch videos

World Renowned Bloggers

2

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

Go to blogs

Big Think Edge

3

Big Think’s Edge learning platform for career mentorship and professional development provides engaging and actionable courses delivered by the people who are shaping our future.

Find out more
Close
With rendition switcher

Transcript


Question:
As a “bright,” what do you believe?

James Randi: The term "bright" I don’t much care for, but hey, we did the best we could with it.  I was with Richard Dawkins in Clearwater, Florida and a few other people who brainstormed and came up with idea of having the "brights."  I think I was maybe the third or fourth person to sign the membership roster. 

And a "bright" is someone who thinks logically and rationally; bases his or her decisions on rationality, upon logic, and upon evidence—that’s the major thing right there.  And if we don’t have evidence, we can express our belief or lack of belief in it, but it has to be provisional.  I believe that this is probably true, though I don’t have any evidence for or against.  It’s a perfectly safe statement.  And so, brights base all of their decisions and their beliefs on logic, rationality, and evidence.  That’s the thing in which they differ from the average person who takes anything that comes along that looks attractive.  “Oh, I like that; I think I’ll believe in it.”

Question:
As the scientific picture of the universe gets weirder, could any religious claims ever be verified?

James Randi: Not that I know.  I am an atheist, tried and true.  I have been since I was, oh I guess about this tall.  I’m only about this tall now.  And I made up my mind that I was going to investigate all of these things and question them.  I went to Sunday school.  I was tossed out of Sunday school immediately.  But it gave me 25 cents that I could have put in the contribution plate there, so when they pass the plate around, and I found out that at Purdy's Drug Store, you could buy a two-flavored ice cream sundae for 25 cents.  And that was a great discovery of my childhood, I must say, and I took full advantage of it.  My parents, bless them, never found out and I went off every Sunday morning as if going to Sunday school, but I lied.  And I’m ashamed to admit it now, and if my dad and mom are up there someplace, or down there someplace, I have no idea, I ask them to forgive me.

Recorded April 16, 2010
Interviewed by Austin Allen

 

Science Will Never Support ...

Newsletter: Share: