New York City Atheists Meetings Message Board › APRIL 28, 2011 (THUR.) 6:30 PM - NYC ATHEISTS MONTHLY MEETING - How to Live
New York, NY
SPEAKER: TYSON GILL
SUBJECT: How to Live Your Life as a Fact-Based Thinker
Scientist Decries ‘Belief-Based Thinking’
After Peace Corps Stint in Africa
When he left the Peace Corps in 2009, for whom he had been teaching science in several rural villages of South Africa, Dr. Tyson Gill, a chemist by training, came out of Africa with a deep conviction that he had to combat what he calls “belief-based thinking.”
“I have lived and worked in more than 50 countries around the world. But it was my Peace Corps work in rural South Africa, where I taught science in a very challenging environment of belief-based thinking, that got me thinking about how to encourage fact-based thinking worldwide,” Dr. Gill says.
The result of the African experience was his book, “Belief in Science and the Science of Belief,” and his passionate conviction that he should be “a life-long evangelist for science and fact-based thinking.”
Religion Just One Superstition
It’s not just religion that is perpetrating belief-based thinking, Dr. Gill notes: ”Even if Atheists removed all religion from our planet, it would still not mean that people are engaged in more fact-based thinking than before. I would argue that religion is a symptom of belief-based thinking, but there is all sorts of New Age and superstitious thinking that is just as damaging.”
In fact, he says, “I challenge my fellow Atheists in particular about whether their own thinking is sufficiently fact-based. I challenge them to expand their mission from just combatting religion to actively resisting non-fact-based thinking in all its forms.”
Beliefs Interfere With Reasoning
Dr. Gill will speak at the April 28 meeting of New York City Atheists on the origins and dangers of belief-based thinking, which he claims not only results in superstition, ignorance and fear, but also diminishes our reasoning capacity and compromises our decision-making capacity, both in personal matters and in critical public policy.
Dr. Gill will explore the conflict between fact and belief, emphasize the importance of fact-based thinking, identify the subtle dangers of belief-based thinking and examine the many ways that facts are under attack in society.
He will analyze why we humans are so good at believing and dismantle a lot of the rationalizations we hold for believing things. He will reaffirm the importance of advocating for facts in our culture and offer insights and practical guides to aid in that mission.
Download the Book
Dr. Gill, an NYCA member, has a doctorate in Inorganic Chemistry from the University of Wisconsin and worked for many years as a research scientist in the field of computational chemistry, winning recognition for innovation. He has written numerous scientific papers and authored or contributed to books in the fields of laboratory automation and neural networks.
In an unusually generous move, Dr. Gill has made his book, “Belief in Science and the Science of Belief,” available as a free download at http://www.lulu.com/tyson. It is also available as a Kindle download on Amazon.com. It can be purchased in hard copy from Lulu.com. Dr. Gill feels it is important that the ideas in his book be promulgated to a wider audience. “I’m not here to sell anything. I’m just trying to do my part for the world,” he notes.
Come to the NYCA meeting on Thursday, April 28, and find out how you too can hone and refine your fact-based thinking. Are you engaging in some subtle belief-based thinking? Now is the time to eliminate every tiny, barely noticeable superstition that may be clogging your mind and your ability to evaluate things clearly!
LOCATION: SLC Conference Center–352 Seventh Ave./16th Floor-(29/30th St.)
COST: We would appreciate a donation of $5 to help cover the cost of room rental.