Sat Nov 19th Phact meeting 2pm Belief, Intention and Reality
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Don't forget Saturday a week, a lecture from the other side:
Saturday Nov 19th 2pm Belief Intention and Reality
Synopsis: Until recently, there has been a clear divide between science, which posited an objective universe that was separable in principle from the observer, and "spirituality" or religion, which held that intentions, beliefs, prayers and so forth affect or even create reality. Today, this divide is crumbling. In this talk, I will draw on some extraordinary (and some mundane) anecdotes from my personal experience to illustrate the inseparability of belief and reality. I will also argue that a major sea-change is occurring in our civilization's conception of self, a transition from the discrete and separate self of Descartes to one conceived in terms of interconnectedness or even interbeingness. The result will be a collapse of the matter/spirit distinction, which has rendered spirit into a separate and therefore materially inconsequential realm, and rendered matter into a despiritualized and dispirited arena of self-interest and survival.
Speaker's Bio: Charles Eisenstein is a faculty member of Penn State's Department of Science, Technology, and Society, and the author of The Yoga of Eating (NewTrends 2003). His next book, The Ascent of Humanity, will be published in April 2006, and explores the history and possible future of civilization from the perspective of the cultural concept of self.
Although I'm not aware of any "crumbling" in the mechanistic-Cartesian model of reality - I'm interested to hear our speakers talk as he is quite well read on the skeptical position. He introduces his students to the general message of organized skepticism. Having met him in person - I found it fascinating how he seemed to take the opposite position from me in every single societal, historical or political issue we discussed. Those are the people I learn more from.
The solstice party for this year will be at Bonnie's house again at 1021 Melrose Ave in Elkins Park 6:30pm December 17th. Because of changing road construction in the area, directions will be emailed later. Email RSV P's to me at erickrieg@...
As a possible coming PhACT investigation, we are negotiating with Bich Ba Do, a local QiGong practitioner who has applied for the Randi million dollar prize. Randi would like us to perform an initial test. We hope to agree to fair terms for a test of his claimed paranormal ability to induce a tingling sensation in subjects.
As always, we could use some web help, more money for future projects, more speakers and submissions for Phactum.
In other news: the battle is on to protect schools from creationist foot in the door. I don't think the schools should have to promote fringe challenges to established science - especially religious ones. Organized skeptics groups have been trying to hold a line on this issue for years. The follow fake news story makes some good points:hoping to see you at the next meeting