Friday, April 24, 2020

Katia Guadalupe Book Report: This Idea Must Die

In This Idea Must Die by John Brockman presents ideas that should retire. Throughout the book, Brockman includes a variety of scientific theories and stories from different authors. I found this book interesting because there are different ideas that most believe should die. As I scattered through the book, my favorite excerpts had to be “Cause and Effect”by Daniel Hillis, “Science Can Maximize Our Happiness” by Paul Bloom, and “Humaniqueness” by Irene Pepperberg. 
The idea of “Cause and Effect” by Daniel Hillis explains that as humans we are storytellers and we enjoy organizing events that have consequences because we like to assign credit and blame. He explains Newton’s idea leads to mass to accelerate allowing to give a story of how apples fall from trees or how hard a rocket engine needs to push to get to its destination. These inputs that are created allow an output of the situation because of the “creation of our imagination.” Hillis states that cause and effect do not exist in nature.  These situations that are created to have consequences are just situations created for the satisfaction of being able to have credit and assign blame. 
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Adding on, the idea that “ Science Can Maximize Our Happiness” by Paul Bloom explains that creating a scientific solution to allow happiness will put a limit on our true happiness as humans. Bloom mentions the concerns of many and how happiness for everyone would be implemented even for those that are miserable with their life already. He goes on to explain that science does not provide a recipe for overall happiness. He continues his discussion by explaining the sacrifices humans make day to day and how most do things at their expense of their own happiness. Then Bloom asserts that having a society that is extremely happy and a portion that is just about happy would be unjust; science would not be the solution at all for this. He ends his claim explaining that there are many factors to consider before there is chaos. 
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At last, the idea of “Humaniqueness” by Irene Pepperberg talks about humans being unique in their own way because of things that other species are not capable of doing. She explains this idea must die and there should be a new definition because of things that are now animal species are capable of doing. For instance she mentions the definition of  "man, the tool-user” explaining that it was once used and credited to humans until dolphins and crocodiles are able to lure other animals. She adds that birds are capable of learning through “imitation” and it is not just limited to mankind anymore. Pepperberg continues her argument by stating that there should be more research done to truly find out what makes humans “unique” from other species. 
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Overall, this book was a good choice to do for my book report. Some of the excerpts from the novel were difficult to understand. Other than the difficulty of some excerpts, there are so many ideas that I would have never thought of myself that need to be worked on or even eliminated. I believe I learned a good amount of information as it allowed me to decide and implement my own opinion to the beliefs of these scientists. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone that desires to learn more about the many misconceptions of the world we live in and if it should be redefined.

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