Engaging Creationists: Should You?

"Unlike my other lectures, this one will not present much science but rather look into motivation and psychology of why we believe what we believe. I hope to do some audience interaction also.  Those who know me may be somewhat surprised by what I have to say."

Our friends at the Humanists of Greater Portland have invited our CFI-Portland Advisory Board Member, Jon Peters M.D., to give a very interesting presentation.

It often happens that we hear or read something about scientific origins that is so erroneous that it takes us by surprise. Do we remain silent or do we speak up?

If we decide to challenge a statement from a creationist, we should ask ourselves certain questions first. What are our goals? Are they different from the other side? How effective will we be? Are there any dangers?

We will discuss motivated reasoning, confirmation bias, and how presenting evidence can backfire against you.

Dr. Peters has been active promoting secular humanism and rational thought with the Center For Inquiry (Portland). In 2008 he founded Secular Humanists of East Portland.

After the lecture we'll help Jon celebrate his 60th birthday!

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  • Dave D.

    Again, for those who missed (or want to review) the presentation: HGP records virtually all of their programs (which is what this was), and makes the videos available for free on their web page at www.portlandhumanists.org -- just go to the left column link that says "view past programs", and type in "Peters" for the speaker name. (This particular program isn't there yet, as I type this, but will almost certainly be within a few weeks, and his previous ones are there and are also worth reviewing.) Unfortunately (or fortunately!), Jon had so much to say this time that there was no time for the usual Q&A.

    December 9, 2013

  • Gayle M.

    Well presented and thought out talk about a complicated subject. Jon did an excellent job about how to deal with this challenging situation.

    December 9, 2013

  • Nancy and Mike L.

    What Nancy and Mike Lezak is saying about this Meetup Group
    Love it! Jon Peters is a very impressive and engaging speaker with a great grasp of his subject matter! Really enjoyable, thought provoking and cautiously motivating!

    December 8, 2013

  • Marlayne M.


    We missed this exciting lecture and I hope I can receive some email of the content of the lecture. It sounds very interesting and I would love to at least read some of it. Our car would not start and we had to have emergency mechanical work done on it. If anyone video tape it we would be glad to borrow the video to watch the lecture too. [masked] or email: [masked]

    Anyone that has met and known Jon appreciates what a joy it is to know him and listen to him speak. He is so interesting and has such a broad base of knowledge. He has also done so much for the Humanist Group and has given so many people with similar thinking to be able to connect with each other.

    December 8, 2013

  • Dorm

    I like the approach of looking at intensions and reasoning. There is also the problem that "science" is not a comprehensive whole. We are limited historically by William of Ockham's razor. "The hypothesis with the fewest assumptions should be chosen." Gravity and motion are not thought of as basic assumptions. The description of the motion of earth, moon, solar system, and galaxies should be thought of in this context. The conflict has been thought to be evolution. It, the conflict, has the context of physics.

    December 8, 2013

  • Jason

    I'm so disappointed that I never seem to be able to join these events. I guess it's just my busy schedule but I love this topic and hope it is productive for all attendees.

    November 26, 2013

    • Gretchen

      My understanding is that some of the presentations are available online at the H.G.P. website. There may be DVD's available as well. Check with the folks in charge.

      1 · November 26, 2013

    • Jason

      Change of plans so now I can make it!

      December 6, 2013

  • Marsha

    I'm so happy to see CFI announce this event, but it is "sponsored by Humanists of Greater Portland." We are always happy to have Jon speak and very happy to have any and ALL other groups in town announce HGP's weekly Sunday lectures! Y'all come December 8, for the lecture and snacks and conversation with Jon and other freethinkers afterward! Marsha

    December 2, 2013

    • DaniT

      I tried to convey that this is an HGP event. No good?

      December 2, 2013

    • Marsha

      When I first looked at this (or was there another MeetUp announcement? I'll look) it said "by Join CFI" at the bottom. OR I could be going batty...

      December 2, 2013

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