Esprit de devination

"What do you believe is true even though you can't prove it?" That was the 2005 Edge Annual Question posed to 119 scientists by John Brockman, editor of, a website committed to discussing intellectual, philosophical, artistic, and literary issues. The responses to this question made up a document of 98 pages when I saved it to a .pdf file.

From the Edge website: "Great minds can sometimes guess the truth before they have either the evidence or arguments for it (Diderot called it having the "esprit de divination"). What do you believe is true even though you cannot prove it?"

A snapshot of a couple answers:

Alun Anderson: "Strangely, I believe that cockroaches are conscious...."

David Buss: "True love...."

Verena Huber-Dyson: "Most of what I believe I cannot prove, simply for lack of time and energy...."

Paul Steinhardt: "I believe that our universe is not accidental...."

Click here to link to a printable copy of all 116 responses.