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LAAG TALK: (N.B 12/5 CHANGED): HUMAN NATURE FROM A SCIENTIFIC PERSPECTIVE

UPDATE 12/5: Our scheduled Speaker, John Shook, sends his apologies for being unable to make this event due to health issues. THE EVENT IS STILL GOING AHEAD, and with a similar topic...

THIS EVENT:

HUMAN NATURE FROM A SCIENTIFIC PERSPECTIVE

This is the first of two talks on the struggle for control over the meaning of the concept Human Nature by religion, philosophy, political ideologues and power elites.

In this first talk, Graham Bell shows how the theory of Evolution by Natural Selection gradually provided a unifying principle for biology. However, Darwin’s inability to provide a mechanism for biological altruism and social cooperation left, and in the minds of some still leaves, a theory weighted heavily towards individual competition, individual acquisition and ‘the devil take the hindmost’.

In C20 this allowed an opportunistic self-serving misapplication of evolutionary theory to mankind by power elites with tragic consequences for millions of people.  Furthermore, lack of experimental evidence to resolve the nature/nurture debate permitted the century to be dominated by two systems of psychology now discredited by the scientific community.

The 1960s genetic explanation of altruism led to a new gene-centred synthesis in evolutionary theory, providing psychology with a unifying principle supported by ever increasing evidence and leading to a better understanding of what it means to be human. The presentation concludes with the ‘Story of the 5 Puppies’ to open up a general discussion on what you think is the nature of Human Nature.

Next month’s talk will present a naturalistic view of human nature and will explore how relevant it is to talk about two human natures - one female, the other male.

ABOUT THE SPEAKER

Graham Bell is a retired Physics teacher and a regular speaker for many Nontheist Organisations. His previous talks for us have been very popular and we're delighted to welcome him as speaker for this pair of events ( May and June).

Graham is part of LAAG's organisers' Team.

_______________________________________________________

ENTRY:

£5  non members/ non RSVP'd
£3  LAAG/CLHG members, £2 NUS (RSVP'd)

Please note:

People who are no shows more than twice in a year (From Sep 13) will not be eligible for discount, so please update RSVP's ;-)

RSVP facility will close automatically, at 17:00 on the day of the event. ★★ If you have a genuine issue after that time, or are a 'maybe' for some reason, just comment in the boxes below & that'll be just fine.

This is guide only & we won't be draconican, but it is a csmall ourtesy that we do ask for to help with seating etc, especially as these events are often fully booked __________________________________________________

19:00- 19:20 General arrival upstairs (please get drinks and order any food DOWNSTAIRS first)

19:30 Discussion /Talk starts PROMPTLY, till latest 21:30 (but flexible)

Social time, drinks & nibbles, till 22:30

_________________________________________________

Feel free to add your own questions or comments in the comments boxes below (these comments boxes are for pre and post event discussion TO DO WITH THIS PARTICULAR MEETUP - please use the forum to start discussions about anything else)

These midweek events are structured talks/debates/discussions, they are nevertheless fairly informal.  Feel free to order food (it will be brought upstairs for you) ...it's classic pub food and pretty good we've been told: MENU HERE).

We start the discussion promptly at 19:30. As a courtesy to others, please try to turn up by 19:20 ... if at all possible :-)   If a late arrival can't be helped, no worries, just come in quietly :-)

The usual end time for discussion is around 21:30pm, Followed by social drinks and chat till close at 22:45  (This is flexible if people want to continue with the discussion)

The meetup fee either goes towards costs of running the group and our activism.

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  • Jorge

    Great talk, made me learn a lot of good stuff to start learning about! :) Cheers to Graham!

    May 20, 2014

  • Kieron

    A huge thanks to Graham for 'Coming off the bench' at very short notice and putting on such a presentation. As the event was recorded, perhaps we should send John Shook a copy,,, just so he knows the calibre of our 'Sub',,, and also,,, the calibre of our audience.!

    May 15, 2014

    • Georgi L.

      Indeed. Though it was for a different talk (now coming later), Graham was originally booked in this spot anyway, and he choose to move himself in order to accommodate Shook on his short visit. Hopefully John Shook will make plans to come to the UK soon but we have plenty of great talks coming up this year...

      (For those who don't know how to see them, just choose 'calender' from the top menu ...Graham's back next month to discuss whether there is are two Human natures - a male and female, then we have a Muslim Imam speaker (!), then our AskFor Evidence Campaign with SenseAbout Science.org, ...plenty more, all on our calendar :-)

      May 16, 2014

  • Steve C.

    Chomsky's recent books are very depressing. Suggest you read in order. Blank Slate, Guns Germs and Steel, then Chomsky

    May 15, 2014

    • Roger

      I have The Blank Slate on my Kindle, though not started reading yet - awaiting GG&S in hardcopy.

      May 15, 2014

    • Andre

      There's Chomsky the linguist and there's Chomsky the political commentator. Graham was talking about the work of the linguist. They're two separate bodies of work, which are not relevant to each other.

      1 · May 15, 2014

  • Roger

    Stimulated by this presentation & the resulting discussion I've ordered books by Chomsky, Pinker and Diamond! :)

    2 · May 15, 2014

  • Serah

    Very good presentation by Graham it was really informative, easy to understand, looking forward to the second part

    May 14, 2014

  • Georgi L.

    A thoroughly researched and informative talk from Graham, as usual. I learned a lot and look forward to continuing the debate next month...

    Here's the Pinker vs Spelke debate "THE EDGE OF GENDER & SCIENCE" about female or male human nature that Steve Clapman mentioned (& pertinent to next month's talk): http://edge.org/3rd_culture/debate05/debate05_index.html

    May 14, 2014

    • Julie M.

      Thanks for putting this up Georgi. And thanks very much Graham. I learned lots and it gave me more threads to explore - critically of course! See you next month...

      1 · May 14, 2014

  • stells d.

    Great talk by Graham Bell.

    1 · May 14, 2014

  • Yussef

    Absolutely beautiful. It was great to see you all. :-)
    Oh yes! Here's one of the latest videos of mine that you applaud me for today, haha. Thank you guys!
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q55ffCSxDog

    4 · May 14, 2014

    • Georgi L.

      Yussef, well done! You are now 'officially' "Physics Joe"...and here is your very own LAAG thread so all your videos can be found in one place :-) http://www.meetup.com...­]

      2 · May 14, 2014

    • Yussef

      Oh, what a name! Thanks a lot Georgi :-)
      I'll definitely be posting on it.
      Thanks again Georgi xoxo

      May 14, 2014

  • Georgi L.

    Featured in new scientist magazine: "Losing our religion: Your guide to a godless future"

    "Like being able to breathe or learning one's native language, faith in god is one of those things that comes naturally.

    Why is that? In recent years, cognitive scientists have produced a comprehensive account of the human mind's receptivity to religious ideas. Called cognitive by-product theory, it holds that certain features of human psychology that evolved for non-religious reasons also create fertile ground for god. As a result, when people encounter religious stories and claims, they find them intuitively appealing and plausible."

    ....

    May 3, 2014

    • Georgi L.

      Here's the full article : http://www.meetup.com...­]

      May 4, 2014

    • David G.

      Interesting article ending in a beautiful example of the Fallacy of Association: A is a B, A is also a C, therefore all Bs are Cs. Some childhood concepts turn out to be real, God is a childhood concept, therefore God is real.

      1 · May 14, 2014

  • Georgi L.

    OFWHAT?? If you want to see the submitted answers to this month's CAPTION COMPETITION so far, or submit your own: http://www.meetup.com/London-Atheist-Activist-Group-friendly-community/messages/boards/thread/43859932

    And plenty of debate, news and views in our various forums ( don't be shy to start your own or to be candid in your replies!) : http://www.meetup.com/London-Atheist-Activist-Group-friendly-community/messages/boards/

    Well done to Jorge for another smart-remarks (smartarse ;-)) prize win (Alexandra is his inspiration he tells us :-)). And to Yussef a well-deserved prize for his amusing and informative videos.

    May 14, 2014

  • Cloe

    Sorry, can no longer come!
    I miss you guys!! Please drink excessively for me! Xo

    May 13, 2014

    • Georgi L.

      Cloe, we simply CAN'T drink excessively without you ;-) xx

      May 14, 2014

    • Andre

      "I miss you guys!!" Liar!

      May 14, 2014

  • Brian

    Sorry missed it

    May 14, 2014

  • rodney k.

    interesting but a little off our course

    May 14, 2014

    • Georgi L.

      Yes not about atheist activism as such this time Rodney, but LAAG is also about learning and debating about related issues, and rationalism in general. The discussion did get a liiiiitle ;-) side-tracked into politics at times, LOL , but then ....religion IS politics so I suppose the two can't really be separated.

      May 14, 2014

  • Andy B.

    I'm poorly so I have to drop out. Shame.

    May 13, 2014

    • Georgi L.

      Hope you feel better Andy, see you soon

      May 14, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    Something has come up and I'm now a "maybe" for this event. I'll try to update my RSVP before the deadline so someone else can take my place but I may not know in time.

    1 · May 13, 2014

    • A former member
      A former member

      Definitely can't make it. Such a pity. I would love to have heard this talk. Will hopefully make it to an event soon.

      May 13, 2014

    • Georgi L.

      Thanks Elka, we will put up the recording soon and perhaps see you for part two next month :-)

      May 14, 2014

  • Phil W.

    I cannot now make it, sorry

    May 13, 2014

    • Georgi L.

      Thanks for letting us know in advance Phil, see you soon

      May 14, 2014

  • Oliver S.

    Thank you Graham Bell for the informative talk.

    1 · May 14, 2014

  • David G.

    It was an enjoyable talk, straightforward exposition with slides, followed by an open discussion which was well handled, with a number of pretty ridiculous questions being dealt with elegantly and courteously. Most questions were pertinent and sensible and the discussion after the talk was very good. The speaker was lucid and well-prepared and had a pleasant and relaxed manner.

    2 · May 14, 2014

  • Andre

    Well done, Graham! Very informative and comprehensive presentation. I'm glad I was there.

    2 · May 13, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    Fantastic! Looking forward to the next round.

    2 · May 13, 2014

  • Marcus O.

    Great talk 10 out of 10 even if Graham dissed my premise.

    1 · May 13, 2014

  • Mihai M.

    A very interesting talk that has offer me a good supply for things to read in the future. Hats off to Graham for a really excellent presentation.

    2 · May 13, 2014

  • Jason

    I would really like to have heard this and raised some questions but will be sorry to miss it. I'm picking up a couple of the same fallacies that mar Jonathan Haidt's generally excellent "The Righteous Mind". 1. The straw man of atheists believing in a Manichean battle between reason (good) and unreason (bad). We know that intuition comes before reason, but so what? . 2. naturalistic fallacy of something being good for us simply because it's natural/normal. Asbestos? Radon? Witch-hunts? I would also interested to hear how anthropology can help atheists, as opposed to telling us that science is just a social construct with no more validity than voodoo.

    April 11, 2014

    • David G.

      I only joined today though I've been to one other event at the Devereux. I'll understand if there isn't room for me tonight.

      May 13, 2014

    • Georgi L.

      David, there is room for you, see you tonight

      May 13, 2014

  • Neil M.

    Sorry, but I can't go, I have to help my daughter prepare for her GCSE exams.

    May 11, 2014

    • Georgi L.

      Enjoy the swatting Neil, see you at the party on the 25th!

      May 13, 2014

    • Neil M.

      Definitely

      May 13, 2014

  • Stephen Y.

    Sorry I can't make this event. I'm on holiday and just checked online. I get back on wednesfay. I've just changed my rsvp to not going.

    1 · May 13, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    Ah it's a shame was looking forward to the previous talk.

    May 12, 2014

    • Kieron

      And like the airlines, there will always be a few who have said 'yes', but for one reason or another, will find out late in the day that they cannot make it.

      May 12, 2014

    • Brian

      I will be late.......so whats new.........

      May 12, 2014

  • Daniel

    I have also changed my rsvp as can no longer make it if anyone is waiting for a space.

    1 · May 12, 2014

  • Adam

    Sorry, I cannot go this time, there has been a sudden change in my schedule. I might make the social side, but not sure.

    May 12, 2014

  • Sid R.

    shame John couldn't make it. I'll look forward to the rescheduling.

    May 12, 2014

  • Norman H.

    I was looking forward to meeting up as well as the talk so I am happy to come along to whatever is happening.

    2 · May 11, 2014

    • Georgi L.

      Look forward to seeing you Norman, the talk is still going ahead with Graham Bell as speaker and the topic will be in the same field of human nature from a scientific perspective.

      1 · May 12, 2014

    • Norman H.

      Brilliant Thanks!

      May 12, 2014

  • Kieron

    I assume this event is now cancelled as John was unable to travel due to (hopefully) a minor health issue.

    May 11, 2014

    • Kieron

      Yes, a shame Yussef, but cant be helped, and I'm sure an official announcement will be made very soon as to whether the meetup will go ahead with another topic or if it will be cancelled completely.

      1 · May 12, 2014

    • Georgi L.

      Hi all, meetup is still going ahead, and with a very similar topic. Details will be appearing on the board this morning.

      3 · May 12, 2014

  • Georgi L.

    LAAGers should have priority so we've cleared the waitlist but PLEASE UPDATE YOUR RSVP's promptly if you can't make it. Three places available...

    May 9, 2014

  • Serah

    I think this is a very interesting topic to debate I've heard this argument sometimes used to justify religion, to me it is totally unacceptable. It is one thing for primitive minds to wonder about how the wold around them worked that is natural and to be expected, but go to the length that religion has go to over the ages to deliberately create falsehood nothing natural about that it is just deliberate and selfish deception

    1 · May 8, 2014

  • Fiona W.

    If you were too late to book for this or otherwise engaged (like me), you can hear John Snook the next day at his lecture for the CLHG at Conway Hall.

    May 8, 2014

    • Georgi L.

      Yes, that's noted above in our text - he's talking about Humanism on the 14th, so it'll be an entirely different subject.

      May 8, 2014

  • Grumpy G.

    ok..get it.

    April 20, 2014

  • Grumpy G.

    hum....religion 'humanly' natural? I struggle to see how.

    April 20, 2014

44 went

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This covers: This is to help with LAAG's activism and the Ministry of Reason project.

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