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for each of the past eight years or so, the people at www.edge.org have been asking a question.

this year’s poser is simple, elegant and profound, and rests at the heart of everything we do. the responses-from more than 120 scientists, writers, philosophers, thinkers range from the heartbreaking to the prosaic.

What do you believe is true even though you can not prove it?

how would you respond?

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PUBLISHED ON Jan.23.2005 BY graham
M Kingsley’s comment is:


Full stop.

On Jan.23.2005 at 04:32 AM
Jeff Gill’s comment is:

I believe but cannot prove that Jesus Christ was God-incarnate and that eternal salvation comes only through him.


Graham, thanks for the post. The contributions on edge.org make for a fascinating, brain bending read.

On Jan.24.2005 at 10:33 AM
Armin’s comment is:


Serious Response:

Things happen for a reason. Good or bad. Why or how they happen, or with what intent, I have no idea. And I wouldn't call it destiny either, it's something else…

Non-serious response:

Horizontal type-scalers, and those who defend it, will go to hell.

On Jan.24.2005 at 11:27 AM
Andrew Twigg’s comment is:

Horizontal type-scalers, and those who defend it, will go to hell.

Hey Armin, what about vertical type scaling. Hmmm?

What do you think about that? Huh????

On Jan.24.2005 at 11:41 AM
Paul’s comment is:

That things don't happen for reasons, that all gods/afterlives are mythical, and that people are essentially good.

On Jan.24.2005 at 11:53 AM
Darrel’s comment is:

I believe, but can not prove, that humans are way down on the scale of intelligent life in the universe.

Actually, maybe we've already proved that. ;o)

On Jan.24.2005 at 12:06 PM
Lorenzo’s comment is:

I believe that when babies begin to babble, they are revealing factual and complex data regarding our existence in this universe. These sounds are the answers to the questions that we’ve been asking ourselves.

The way I look at it, babbling is a global language for newborn babies; doesn't matter what country the baby is from, it all sounds the same. More than likely it's all numbers.

On Jan.24.2005 at 12:35 PM
marian’s comment is:

That is a really fascinating collection of thoughts over at edge. I don't believe anything nearly as interesting as what many of those people believe (I have printed the entire thing and intend to read it all) ... although I do suspect or wonder about some of those things.

"Belief" is a strong word, and counter to Mark, my initial response is "nothing," but I'm sure that would be a lie.

This requires some thought.

Add'ly I wonder if there's anything I believe about *design* that I can't prove. Hmm .... Hmmmm .....

On Jan.24.2005 at 02:24 PM
Tan’s comment is:

I believe in destiny — everyone has one, but not everyone finds theirs. Whether or not you find yours depends on the decisions you make and risks you take.

I also believe that good things can happen to bad people, and bad things can happen to good people — there's not a reason to explain why some things happen. They just do.

Design-wise, I believe that there's an ideal balance to type that makes things look and feel "right" — and it's universal, no matter what type of designer you are or where you work from.

The 42 reference comes from the Hitchhiker's Guide book, right Graham?

On Jan.24.2005 at 02:27 PM
graham’s comment is:

marian: definitely interesting to turn the question towards design . . . have a think . . .

tan: yes-it's the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe and everything. thing is, they don't know the actual question.

On Jan.24.2005 at 02:39 PM
marian’s comment is:

OK ... I believe that there is language inherent in graphics (outside of words) and that this language is a mixture of "hard-wired" universal, cultural, and learned ... and further I believe that we have a long way to go in understanding and using this language.

On Jan.24.2005 at 06:02 PM
agrayspace’s comment is:

I believe but cannot prove that aliens built the pyramids and engineered us from apes, modern ufo's are human time travelors from the future, and our government and all governments of industrialized nations are a million times more corrupt and evil than any of us reali..... oh nevermind American Idol is on.

On Jan.25.2005 at 11:57 AM
John Gordon’s comment is:

I denying the idea that physical, observed manifestations prove anything more than an emotional manifestations. And to the point this may be what I believe. The evidence of the power of emotional, non-language realities is impossible to deny, only the meaning of them.

On Jan.25.2005 at 12:58 PM
Tom B’s comment is:

Belief is a strange and ambiguous concept.

To some people, belief means 'I am prepared to accept that this is true, even though I can't prove it'.

To others, it means 'based on the limited proof I have, I will accept this as true until I am convinced otherwise'.

To others, it means 'This IS true, and anything that seems to suggest otherwise must therefore be false'.

It is this third meaning that causes us so many problems. If we start with the answers, and then try to find the questions, we'll never learn anything.

THE TRUTH is a dangerous idea that has been used to justify some of the worst horrors our species has brought about - and we need to be very careful with it.

Declaring a belief without evidence seems to me to be incredibly foolhardy - like juggling with hand grenades.

Of course we all have theories of the truth (lower case), by which we live our lives; and these could be called beliefs - if looked at from a certain angle - but these are constantly in flux, constantly adapting to new bits of knowledge. Quite different from dogmatic beliefs that claim to be THE TRUTH.

Interestingly, the beliefs of the Edge contributors are all very much grounded in scientific evidence, and as such they feel a lot more like theories than beliefs.

I think we need to learn, as a species, that we're never going to achieve THE TRUTH (the meaning of life, the universe and everything). We need to concentrate instead on working out how to get along better with one another, and how to stop fucking up the planet.

And this is design's role, believe it or not: working out how to do things better.

On Jan.25.2005 at 07:42 PM
nick’s comment is:

I believe civilisation will be devastated by runaway climate change within my children's lifetime.

On Jan.26.2005 at 08:04 AM
ben’s comment is:

I believe, but cannot prove, one could sneeze, cough, fart, and yawn at the same time.

On Jan.26.2005 at 08:35 AM
Pesky Illustrator’s comment is:

Transdimensional interpenetration, and vodka.

On Jan.26.2005 at 08:41 AM
Randy’s comment is:

Acting responsibly and in the interest of others on any scale, big or small, can make the world a better place.

On Jan.26.2005 at 08:42 AM
Zoelle’s comment is:

Success is achieved through the mastery of failure.

Money is a Russian Olive branch.

Jesus sucked at carpentry.

On Jan.26.2005 at 01:22 PM
Tom B’s comment is:

According to Mel Gibson's film, Jesus invented the long-legged table.

(although he can't prove it!)

On Jan.26.2005 at 01:27 PM
Steve Mock’s comment is:

I believe but cannot prove that there exists such a thing as objective morality.

On Jan.26.2005 at 02:26 PM
Jerry’s comment is:

I believe but can't prove that…

Most people that have money lack manners and consideration for others.

It's no coincidence Africa has the largest epidemic of AIDS.

There's no good reason as to why we are still using oil to power our vehicles.

On Jan.26.2005 at 03:29 PM
graham’s comment is:

i believe that children are our are future-teach them well and let them lead the way: show them all the beauty they possess inside. give them a sense of pride to make it easier-let the children's laughter remind us how we used to be

On Jan.26.2005 at 06:45 PM
szkat’s comment is:

in 2002 i was in cambodia, wandering through ankgor wat. i passed a room in a temple whose blueprint would look like a U shape with an open ceiling. i stood inside it and faced the open side at the joint of four tiles, each about 2' sqare. on an impulse, i made a fist and hit my chest, and the echo felt like the molecules were trembling. i almost fell over; the force of it shocked me.

a professor of mine, of indian architecture, saw me do this and told me about a rumor that she has seen referenced in several places. the 'urban legend' i suppose you could call it, said that the egyptians would, in the pyramids, play certain notes on certain days and use certain precious stones to make things levitate. but there's not enough information to say anything conclusive about it.

i don't know. i kind of believe in that, and i kind of believe i touched it in a jungian, alchemist way. it was pretty amazing.

On Jan.27.2005 at 01:53 PM
John’s comment is:

thats interesting graham , but do you believe in life after love ?

On Jan.28.2005 at 03:10 PM
Tan’s comment is:

No, but he believes that "Crack is whack!"

On Jan.28.2005 at 03:58 PM
Albert B Jr’s comment is:

I believe:

1. much of man's ancient history is untold and purposely hidden by historians and scientists

2. life has denied me privileges that everyone around me takes for grant

3. aliens w/ their flying saucers are human time-travelers from the distant future

4. mankind is not meant to live with the control and power of money

5. in the words of Newman from an episode of Seinfeld, zip codes are meaningless. just kidding.

On Feb.08.2005 at 04:31 PM