The Cutting Edge of Thought: 45 Mind-Bending Theories & Hypotheses


Hydraulic Empire theory

Hydraulic Empire theory

Hydraulic Empire theory states that civilizations developing in areas with a low abundance of water are fated to develop regulating systems and ultimately despotism and that Europe developed republicanism due to a large excess of it.

27. Morphogenesis is the math behind the giraffe's spots or a zebra's stripes. This theory coined by Turing found that these apparently random patterns have a mathematic order.

28. Blackstone's Formulation suggests that it is much worse to punish an innocent man than to let a guilty man go free.

29. There is a theory which suggests that cats became domesticated because they adapted to hunting the vermin found around humans in towns and villages. They were tolerated by people and gradually diverged from their wild relatives through natural selection.

30. The Portia Hypothesis is a scientific theory that claims that women with masculine sounding names, do better in male-dominated fields such as law and engineering, than women with feminine names. It is named after a female Shakespeare character who dresses up as a male lawyer and wins a trial.

31Attachment theory

Attachment theory

Attachment theory is a psychological, evolutionary, and ethological theory concerning relationships between humans. Its most important tenet is that a young child needs to develop a relationship with at least one primary caregiver for social and emotional development to occur normally.

32. According to the genetic bottleneck theory, around 75,000 years ago, a supervolcano eruption at Lake Toba in Sumatra, Indonesia resulted in the early human population dropping to 3000-10,000 unique genetic individuals.

33. Piaget’s theory of development suggests that infants in the early stages of development lack object permanence (the understanding that people and things still exist even when you can’t see them). This would explain why peekaboo is so intriguing for them.

34. Nominative determinism as a hypothesis postulates that people are drawn to jobs that match their names.

35. "Queueing Theory," refers to the mathematical study of waiting for lines or queues. It was initially developed by a Danish engineer in 1909. Applications for the theory include telecommunication, traffic engineering, computing, and industrial engineering.

36Amazon rainforest

Amazon rainforest

One theory with regards to the origins of Amazon rainforest posits that it may be a giant ‘orchard’, the legacy of people who flourished there between 450 B.C. and 950 A.D.

37. Occam’s broom is an anti-thinking tool as opposed to Occam’s razor. It alludes to the process whereby inconvenient facts that don’t fit into one’s hypothesis are swept under the rug.

38. The rare earth hypothesis argues that the origin of life and the evolution of biological complexity on Earth required an improbable combination of events and circumstances. It rejects the Mediocrity Principle, which argues that the existence of life on Earth is nothing special.

39. According to the “lead-crime hypothesis,” researchers have found that the elimination of leaded gasoline in the US accounted for up to a 56% drop in violent crime rates between 1992 and 2002.

40. The God gene hypothesis proposes that human spirituality is heritable, and is influenced by a gene known as VMAT2, which might have provided an evolutionary advantage by providing humans with an innate sense of optimism and the will to keep on living and procreating, despite the inevitability of death.

41Germ Origin for Alzheimer’s

Germ Origin for Alzheimer’s

Despite being studied since its discovery in 1906, scientists have yet to rule out a germ origin for Alzheimer’s disease. The infectious hypothesis could explain why neurosurgeons are twice and a half more likely to die from it than the general population.

42. According to the shirky principle, institutions will try to preserve the problem to which they are the solution.

43. Alberto Brandolini, a programmer from Italy, in 2013 formulated the Bullsh*t Asymmetry Principle a.k.a. Brandolini’s law which states: “The amount of energy needed to refute bullsh*t is an order of magnitude bigger than to produce it”. It highlights the difficulty of debunking bullsh*t.

44. Anthropic principle posits the idea that any data we collect about the universe is filtered by the fact that, in order for it to be observable in the first place, it must be compatible with the conscious thinking life that observes it. In short, we see, only because we are in a universe that can be seen.

45. Pareto Principle a.k.a the 80/20 rule states that for many events, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. For example, Microsoft has noted that by fixing the top 20% of the most-reported bugs, 80% of the related errors in a given system would be eliminated.