We’ve long been told never to discuss politics or religion in public.
These have always been sensitive areas where beliefs are often more important than facts. Lately, it seems dangerous to try to have a rational discussion on a wider range of topics. People seem to hold onto their beliefs tighter than ever, and will not often listen to points of view significantly different than their own.
Richard Revel is a scientist (Professor Emeritus of the Faculty of Environmental Design or the University of Calgary) who, as scientists do, feels it should be possible to test every hypothesis through a reasoned evaluation of the evidence and a non-emotional discussion of alternative interpretations.
While it is only human to embrace the position of someone you agree with, we may discover a better alternative by examining a different point of view.
This concept of viewing issues in a rational rather than an emotional manner most definitely extends into the arena of environmental management. Whether it be oil, climate change or fish, there are groups of people who are no longer able to enter a discussion with an open mind. They can only speak to facts that support their position or, more frequently, their beliefs. They dismiss facts or beliefs contrary to their own.
Join the Philosophers’ Café Dec. 12 at 7 p.m. at Berwick by the Sea, Tyee Lounge, as Richard Revel asks us to try to set aside our preconceived ideas about nearly everything and explore the concept of rational discussion about emotionally charges issues.
Once a month a speaker will introduce a theme to the Café, and then all who attend can join in respectful, non-partisan conversation, or just sit back and listen. You are welcome to propose topics and introduce them at future Cafés. Themes should be of broad interest and national significance, and have an element of controversy to them.
As with each Café, Richard Revel will have just 10 minutes to introduce the topic, and then the floor is open for 50 minutes of moderated discussion.