When Lesley Allan was studying at University back in the 1980s, he subscribed to a view called ‘hard determinism’. One tenet of that view is that human beings never exercise ‘free will’. At the time, he believed that is what a scientific understanding of the universe and our place in it leads a rational person to believe. As he progressed beyond first year studies, he got to appreciate that the hard questions in philosophy are hard for a reason. He came to appreciate nuances in the debate that had escaped him in his novice years. He now spends a fair amount of time engaging with fellow naturalists, humanists and atheists. Seeing many of them fall into the same traps that he did as a novice prompts him to write and give talks challenging the idea that we are devoid of free will.
Leslie Allan operates the Rational Realm (http://www.rationalrealm.com/) website, where he explores the big questions in philosophy, history and science from a rational perspective.
From a very early age, He was drawn to the sciences. His passions included astronomy, chemistry and electronics, with his interest in the latter leading to his first career. While studying electronics and physics at RMIT, Leslie became more and more intrigued by the intersection of science and religion.
He went on to study philosophy and history of religions at La Trobe University in Melbourne, Australia, receiving the David Hume prize for outstanding achievement in philosophy. During this period, Leslie's key interests lay in theories of knowledge, ethics and philosophy of mind. In his later professional career, Leslie assisted a variety organisations develop their people capability and improve their systems and processes.
His current interests are in exploring the boundaries between science and philosophy. The beginnings of the universe, the seemingly absurd nature of the quantum world and the mystery of consciousness fascinate him immensely and now take up his time. He also created and now maintains the RationalRealm.com web site as a way of sharing his passion for learning and discovery and connecting with like-minded souls.
Please note that CVAF has moved to a new venue - the Victoria Hotel in Woodend. The Albion in Kyneton served us well for more than five years but the Albion's function room was awkward, and some of our long-time attendees could no longer cope with the old and rickety stairs.
The Vic still has stairs, but its elegant steel spiral should be manageable by any disabled person that is still ambulant. Additionally, the Vic is close to the Woodend Station carpark, will accommodate more attendees, (arguably) has a better menu, and is significantly closer to a station for those who might prefer to use the train (e.g., from Castlemaine, Bendigo or the metropolitan area). Being a bit closer to Melbouorne, we may also find it easier to attract interesting speakers from the metropolis. To further tempt us to try out the new venue, management has promised us a discounted menu....
Past speakers invited via our networks range from a Nobel Laureate, other internationally recognized figures and Australian politicians, to local members who are happy to present on subjects of interest.
Our tentative schedule for the rest of 2018 includes:
August: Zoltan Bexley...Busting the Federal government money myths.....the real inter-generational theft.
September : Vidura Jaratne on why he switched from Buddhism to Atheism to Christianity, agreed in principle.
October: Meet candidates for the Victorian Election (to be arranged).
November: David Miller on the history of the early Christian church, confirmed.
December: Nothing planned - open for suggestions
It isn't too soon to begin lining up speakers for 2019. We welcome suggestions for speakers or offers to help organise a meeting around a current issue.