Archive for December, 2014

This Friday is our final meeting before Xmas: from 7.40 at the Friends Meeting House, Daniel Merlo will return to the Phil Soc to talk about the experience of self-transcendence; those brief moments listening to a classic concerto, or gazing at speckles of light in a great Monet, when one loses oneself and feels elevated from the mundaneness of everyday life to a higher level where time stands still and one senses a  connection to the wider universe.

Daniel will explore whether these moments give a glimpse into the true nature of a higher reality, or whether in fact they can be more satisfyingly explained by evolutionary processes.

I hope you can make it


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This Friday, at 7.40pm at the Friends Meeting House, Kevin Lister will be speaking on “The Cost of the Illusion” and positing the further question – can we avoid a decent into a totalitarian state.

Kevin says that the talk comes at an apposite time: shortly after the government’s autumn spending statement and the climate change talks in Peru. In the spending statement, the government revealed the many stark conflicting messages it must manage. The Chancellor claims that GDP has increased, yet tax receipts are down, wages are down and the budget deficit is worse than expected. But, we are told not to worry because it will be okay be 2018. The talk will explain why these contradictions in financial policy exist and that things will definitely not be okay in 2018. In fact, the opposite is true; things will be an awful lot worse driven by the economic impacts from climate change. However just as the Chancellor does not want to acknowledge these drivers, nor do the organisers of the UN climate change conference. The result is that an illusion of affordability is created, which is masking a dangerous drift towards a new form of totalitarianism.

Come along this Friday to hear more.

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This Friday, 5th December, from 7.40pm at the Friends Meeting House, Paul Archer will be speaking on ‘Climate Change Optimism’.

There are many reasons to believe in human progress and to be optimistic about the future of humanity – for those who need reminding, a good 5 minute introduction is this presentation from Hans Rosling:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jbkSRLYSojo

The shadow story to human progress is climate change – fossil fuels powered human development but maybe fossil fuels will be the end of us.  Paul wants to think critically about how we approach climate change working on the (well-justified) assumption that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change are right about the science.  Are there any reasons to be optimistic and does it matter whether we are optimistic?  What is to be done?


I hope to see you there.

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