David Ropeik, New York Times contributor and Instructor at Harvard, will speak on 'Risk and Human Behavior' at our November Lunch and Lecture. Please join us on SUNDAY, November 18 at NOON for a free pizza lunch (including vegetarian) to be followed by a lecture at 1 PM and a subsequent discussion.
We Humanists pride ourselves on our rational approach to problems. However, the dilemma of RISK seems to be controlled in some degree by a program in the human brain which does not necessarily subscribe primarily to reason.
For instance, many people are inordinately fearful of flying despite the absolutely sensational safety record of the United States commercial air travel industry. It is certainly more dangerous to drive between most American cities than to fly between them, but elements of the two travel modes and elements of the human cognitive schema seem to militate against a rational evaluation and application of the relevant safety statistics.
Similar considerations apply to the issue of immunizations, so that we are now seeing a recrudescence of long-nascent infections diseases.
We'll hear from Mr. Ropeik, author of "How Risky Is It, Really? Why Our Fears Don't Always Match the Facts", and discuss the ways 'reason' must take into account human behavioral limitations, and the implications for secular society.
DAVID ROPEIK is a Lecturer at Harvard and a correspondent of the New York Times. He has a special interest in issues of risk evaluation and the human behavioral interpretation of relative risk.
LOCATION: Phillips Brooks House is in Harvard Yard near the Science Center.
FREE PARKING in the Littauer Lot, between the Harvard Law School and the Harvard Science Center. Enter the Dworkin Science Quadrangle from Oxford St. and proceed to the end of the road to the parking area near the Science Center behind Littauer Library.
NOTE: After the lecture, some of us will walk over to Radcliffe College (SOCH Radcliffe Quadrangle, 59 Shepard St.) to join the Humanist Community at Harvard in their Values In Action meal packing event to help fight hunger in Massachusetts.