What we're about

This is a discussion group based on articles, essays, podcasts, videos, and films. And the source material will be based on ideas, in other words substantial stuff. The choice of topics will be eclectic and wide-ranging.

*Please note: A priority of the group is a rational (reason-based) approach (scientific and/or critical thinking). Intelligent, informed conversations are the point of this meetup, so if that’s not your ‘cup of tea’ you’d probably find another group more enjoyable.

The meetings will always be on weekends, someplace on the Westside, at a café, pub, or restaurant.

The group is intentionally kept small, but new members are always welcome! If you’re interested, please be sure there's a recent photo of yourself. And please answer these questions, which will appear when you click on the ‘join’ button:

1) What are the most interesting non-fiction books, articles, or essays you’ve read recently?

2) What about podcasts, videos, and films?

3) What sorts of topics do you most like to talk about?



Upcoming events (1)

Sean Carroll: Can any human ‘meaning’ be derived from physics?

Canopy by Hilton Portland Pearl District

Arrow of time (past to future) = Increasing entropy This basic explanation of the arrow (direction) of time can certainly tell us a lot about the physical universe and, of course, the dimension of time. But can it tell us anything about the process of life on this planet? And, particularly, anything about human-oriented meaning? Our source material for this discussion is a lecture by Sean M. Carroll, the theoretical physicist (and long-time public intellectual) at the California Institute of Technology (CalTech). This 35 minute lecture is a very concentrated summary of his recent book, ‘The Big Picture: On the Origins of Life, Meaning, and the Universe Itself’: "Cosmologist Sean Carroll, one of the greatest humanist thinkers of his generation, ties together the fundamental laws of physics governing the workings of the cosmos with the everyday human experience we all share. He’ll take us on a breathtaking journey from the origin of the universe, through the evolution of life and consciousness, to the eternal question of what it all really means." https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y2Bkp8BdIaU To consider after watching the lecture: Since we just happen to have fallen in the sweet-spot of the evolution of the universe, and also in the sweet-spot of the evolution of life on our planet (having been presented with self-reflective consciousness and imaginative cognition), could we be justified in saying that these rare ‘emergent phenomena’ qualify human life as having ‘meaning’? What we’re really asking is not just if there’s more meaning, but a qualitatively different sort of meaning than exists in the lifeless phenomena of the rest of the cosmos? This, I think, might be what Carroll is hinting at. But is it true? We must keep in mind that Science and most scientists would not ascribe any ‘meaning’ at all to the workings of the universe, including our tiny corner of it. This is because ‘meaning’ is considered to be a philosophical word and typically not used and not considered relevant in Science. Of course many philosophers, humanists of other stripes, and religionists believe there is meaning in human existence, largely because of the emergent characteristics mentioned above. But can Carroll, or anyone, posit this kind of meaning and still remain within the legitimate boundaries of science? In addition to the content of Carroll’s lecture, we will also discuss what people think about this ‘big’ question. *For any meeting of this group that you’d like to attend, please come prepared by reading or listening to the source material – this makes sure that people actually know something about the topic and helps to keep the conversation focused on the topic. Thanks… Michael

Past events (12)

Why Many Employees Feel Devalued in Today’s Work World

Canopy by Hilton Portland Pearl District

Photos (1)