Source: The Edge Question 2011
WHAT SCIENTIFIC CONCEPT WOULD IMPROVE EVERYBODY'S COGNITIVE TOOLKIT?
The term 'scientific"is to be understood in a broad sense as the most reliable way of gaining knowledge about anything, whether it be the human spirit, the role of great people in history, or the structure of DNA. A "scientific concept" may come from philosophy, logic, economics, jurisprudence, or other analytic enterprises, as long as it is a rigorous conceptual tool that may be summed up succinctly (or "in a phrase") but has broad application to understanding the world.
[Thanks to Steven Pinker for suggesting this year's Edge Question]
That's the question asked by this year by Edge. With 159 answers to the question, I set out to find which scientific concepts were most useful to me. Here is my pick which are mostly related to scientific method. Clicking the link opens the article (and asks if you want to print).
Richard Dawkins :
Evolutionary Biologist; Emeritus Professor of the Public Understanding of Science,...
Professor, Claremont McKenna College; Past-president, American Psychological...
David Pizarro :
Psychologist, Cornell University
People tend to recognise a pattern where a pattern doesn't really exist. Recognising that this Apophenia occurs often, could help us to overcome our bias to recognise patterns where they don't exist.
Antony Garrett Lisi :
we don't understand risk.