What we're about

This meetup is for interesting conversations with people whose worldview does NOT contain any of the following:

- Global warming is not real. (And if it's real, it's not because of us, and/or it's not something to worry about. Science can't know. Nature decides. The sun is to blame. Etc.)
- Guns should not be as restricted as they are now in e.g. European countries. Guns don't kill people. People kill people.
- 9/11 might have been an inside job, who knows?
- Vaccines are dangerous / full of damaging chemicals / cause autism. I fear it’s not safe. It’s probably best for my kids to not have them vaccinated.
- One or more powerfull people and/or companies are hiding the cure for cancer, so big pharma can make more money.
- Homeopathy works as proclaimed. Science just doesn’t understand, it’s different from science. It’s not just placebo!
- A manufacturer of an "alternative medicine" doesn't have to prove that it works, because it's different than “science”.
- The pyramids might be made by an alien race. Who knows, right?
- I have some doubts about evolution. I don’t believe humans and great apes have a common ancestor, I don’t believe mankind evolved through evolutionary processes.
- I believe one or more of the following ideas are real phenomena: astrology, karma, chakras, telekinesis, telepathy, premonition.
- Deepak Chopra does not speak quantum-jibberish, he is the man that speaks many of mankinds greatest truths.
- The moonlanding was fake / a secret elite rules the world / the earth is flat
- If I walk underneath a ladder I get bad luck
- The religion I believe in (out of the thousands upon thousands we've cooked up over the millenia) is the one true religion. It's also definitely not filled with contradictions that are rationalized away.
- If I just pray hard enough, I can make things come through / The Law of Attraction will provide, if I want it hard enough / The universe gives me what I need.
- Homosexuality is not natural. It's always a choice. It's a disease that should be adressed. It's the doom of society. We should try to prevent our kids from choosing that lifestyle.
- "The government" should be abolished. "Anarchy" today will give us the ultimate freedom and makes the best life possible.
- Donald Trump is not doing a bad job. He was the lesser of two evils. He's a businessman and knows what he is doing. At least he's a man of action! Right?
- Brexit is a good thing. More countries should leave the EU. The EU is the way backwards!

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In summary, this meetup is for people who are "realists”, but also have a progressive outlook on the world. From this starting point, we can have meaningfull talks about superinteresting subjects, without having to waste time on the things in the list above. And without having to find out the other person believes the moonlanding was fake – after having talked about space exploration for twenty minutes. Or finding out the other person believes 9/11 was an inside job - after having talked about international politics for twenty minutes. Etc.

Anyway, if that get's you excited, come and have a chat!

This meetup is sponsored by Books in Belgium (https://www.booksinbelgium.be/), the lokal marketplace for used and antique books. New attendees get a bookmark and giftcard for their first purchase!

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WHEN DID THIS MEETUP START?

Started in 2018, with now more than a dozen succesfull meetups under our belt and still going strong.

WHAT DOES A MEETUP LOOK LIKE?

In the event calender, you’ll find a number of meetups planned around subjects or books. I usually start off with a short intro about the subject/book at hand. Result: very interesting talks that go far beyond the initial subject!

DO I NEED TO BE AFRAID?

No, nobody will bite you and everybody is always very friendly and considerate. The above list might come across as a bit aggressive maybe, but it's just to be very clear what this meetup is not about.

WHATS THE PURPOSE?

To get to know other people "with a realistic world view". To engage your mind into a respectfull exploration of all kinds of topics. To improve your social skills, to crack a joke or two, to drink a beer or a tea, etc.

WHO COMES TO THESE MEETUPS?

Usually expats living in Belgium, or people visiting Belgium for a short or longer period of time. Some Belgians attend, but they are usually a minority in meetups in Belgium.

WHAT IF YOU DO BELIEVE IN SOME OF THE THINGS IN THE LIST ABOVE (OR DON'T KNOW WHAT TO BELIEVE ANYMORE)

Inevitably some of these subjects will come up while discussing other topics. Nuanced talking about them is welcome, but these subjects will not be the center of the meetup. If you want to find out more about the subjects in the list, I recommend doing a proper Google search and inform yourself properly (e.g. with "[topic] conspiracy debunked" or "[topic] debunked"). You could end up reading this one: I Used to Be An Anti-Vaxxer. Here’s What Changed My Mind ( https://tinyurl.com/uo2h3hp ).

If - after an honest effort - you still "believe" in some of the stuff in the list, I would warn not to get lost in rabbit holes and instead read up on the psychology and history of conspiracy theories. Good starting point is the Rational Wiki page on conspiracy theories: https://tinyurl.com/ya2j3o3z . Or try these excellent breakdowns: "The truth about conspiracy theories- 15 min. video" ( https://tinyurl.com/rw8fydm ) - "Scientists aren’t stupid, and science deniers are arrogant" ( https://tinyurl.com/uo2h3hp ) - "

"Anecdotes aren't data" ( https://tinyurl.com/y2v9aocy ) - "No, you're not entitled to your opinion" ( https://tinyurl.com/kpzbofn ).

Too abstract? How about these people whose lifes were wrecked by falsehoods ( https://tinyurl.com/ybj3bul2 ).

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I know for some people it's politically incorrect to state facts as facts (and not as beliefs/opinions/ideology). One person told me once the title of this meetup is misleading. So I will unapologetically clarify it even more: the more things of that list you believe in, the less realistic your view on our world is - you are missing some cornerstone facts. Ask yourself: is it arrogance to say the emperor has no clothes, when he indeed HAS - NO - CLOTHES...

Q&A (some questions I got in 2018)

“You put these points as presenting statements rather than open questions”

Indeed, that is entirely the point. If you think the things in the above list are opinions or open questions, then – respectfully – this meetup is not for you. There’s no shortage of people that - no matter how old they get or how much information is available - keep talking & thinking about the things in that list, and cannot draw conclusions. That is fine, it is what it is. But I'm not looking for those people and those discussions in this particular meetup.

“This is so dogmatic”

That’s one way of putting it. Reality does indeed have a way of being quite unescapable ;)

"So I believe your focus is to discuss the nuances of these issues rather than having to argue about the basics"

Actually, this meetup is specifically NOT to discuss these issues. E.g. plenty of people still want to debate homeopathy after thousands upon thousands of studies that did not find any evidence for it. If you can’t make up your mind after the facts are clear, and want to get lost in nuances, then this meetup is not for you. And all the other statements in the list are – for me – in the same category. I’m quite done with them, there is no point for me in debating them further. Or at least, the effort necessary to honestly engage in these talks – all too often very one-directional and emotional – does not bring enough added value anymore (for me). If I wanted to create a meetup about these issues, I would have done so. If you think I should change the purpose of the meetup, then I – respectfully – think you should think again, take action, and organize a meetup according to your own wishes.

"When this 'Brexit is a good thing. More countries should leave the EU.' then it feels dogmatic. Can't join in such discussions." (sic)

Like the Trump bullet point, the Brexit phenomena is too broad to be an actual "fact” fact. But that does not mean it's out of mans ability to reach valid conclusions about complex issues. Of course, it’s also not out of mans ability to keep rationalizing the most dishonest, misguided, self-centered and destructive backwardness as is portrayed by the leading forces of Brexit & Trump. These forces trap a lot of people in their web of slogans, constructed out of cherrypicked & mangled pieces of reality. A reality which is by it’s nature complex enough to provide these forces with neverending opportunities to spin, to lead you into a labyrinth of cheap, empty, fake, misleading arguments. They keep you trapped, walking about, never reaching an exit, never reaching… a proper conclusion. The result: egotistical, insensitive, narrow-minded, powerhungry, corrupt, cunning, crude, damaged human beings that are completely incompetent for the actual purpose of the job, get in positions of power and stay there long enoough to do some serious damage. They make all of our circumstances worse, inscrease suffering, and waste valuable years and resources that should have been used to move us forward to a better world for all.

Upcoming events (4)

Most impactfull books as a child / teenager

The Duke of Antwerp

What were the books that influence you most as a child / teenager? What books penetrated your soul, forged your values, fueled your sense of adventure, burned your heart with vision of love, made you sense the middle ages, etc. Roald Dahl, Michael Ende, J.K. Rowling, Tolkien, Annie M.G. Schmidt, Astrid Lindgren,... On Books in Belgium, we highlight the children books (https://www.booksinbelgium.be/nl/s/t/beste-kinderboeken) and youth books (https://www.booksinbelgium.be/nl/s/t/beste-jeugdboeken) that won at least one prize. This is a good indicator of quality books, but I'd like to hear from people personally what books they will forever remember! ------------------------------- PLEASE only set yourself to "attend" if you actually plan to attend... If you can't make it last minute, change your status or send me a message (meetup app or 0489/[masked]). ------------------------------- You can read the meetup group description to know what this group is (not) about: https://www.meetup.com/nl-NL/discussion-based-on-realistic-worldview/ ------------------------------- HOW DOES IT WORK? You can see a bunch of subjects, each about three weeks apart. I’ll start each subject with a little intro, which will serve as the conversation starter. Purposes are to get to know random people while sharing stories around interesting subjects, and learning a thing or two about that subject and perspectives other than your own. Proposals for subjects always welcome!

Effective Altruism

The Duke of Antwerp

In this meetup, let's talk about effective altruism. Either read the book, or read the introduction to effective altruism linked to below, or do some research online. Let's talk about it, and also about some of the things you (could) do to make the world a better place! This meetup is sponsored by Books in Belgium (https://www.booksinbelgium.be/), the lokal marketplace for used and antique books. New attendees get a bookmark and giftcard for their first purchase! ------- BOOK: "The Most Good You Can Do: How Effective Altruism Is Changing Ideas About Living Ethically is a 2015 Yale University Press book by moral philosopher and bioethicist Peter Singer describing and arguing for the ideas of effective altruism." - Wikipedia --------- EFFECTIVE ALTRUISM: Effective altruism is about answering one simple question: how can we use our resources to help others the most? Rather than just doing what feels right, we use evidence and careful analysis to find the very best causes to work on. But it's no use answering the question unless you act on it. Effective altruism is about following through. It's about being generous with your time and your money to do the most good you can. More info: https://www.effectivealtruism.org/articles/introduction-to-effective-altruism/ ----------------------------------- PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE use the RSVP correctly, it really helps me out organizing this. Don't set yourself to attend if you are not planning to actually show up. Also, if u are very prone to last minute cancellations, set yourself NOT to attend please, just decide last minute to go or not. Thanks for being considerate in this!

Nuclear energy - DEBATE NIGHT

The Duke of Antwerp

A controversial topic! This time we will be discussing a subject that can be very divisive, even for "realists". The challenge is to keep discussion civil, based on facts and the broad context, not on misconceptions or outdated knowledge. For this to succeed, everyone needs to inform themselves PROPERLY. Do not just read one article or watch one video... To make it very concrete: - Read one erudite article pro, and one contra - Watch one proper youtube video pro, and one contra I will bring a laptop to do live fact checking if necessary (it will be). Because without having the facts clear, it is a little bit ridiculous discussing. I would also propose to add some stoïcism to our attitude, before we explore the topic: - The reality is out there, irrespective of what we think. - The outcome of our discussion will not influence reality, so no need to become too emotional. - We are humans and amateurs, and can only do our utmost best to try to come as close as possible to the facts and make a balanced conclusion. Curious to see how we will fair! See you then. -------------------------- This meetup is sponsored by Books in Belgium (https://www.booksinbelgium.be/), the lokal marketplace for used and antique books. New attendees get a bookmark and giftcard for their first purchase! -------------------------- PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE use the RSVP correctly, it really helps me out organizing this. Don't set yourself to attend if you are not planning to actually show up. Also, if u are very prone to last minute cancellations, set yourself NOT to attend please, just decide last minute to go or not. Thanks for being considerate in this!

[BOOK] The Irrational Ape - Why Flawed Logic Puts us all at Risk

In this meetup, let's talk about the book from David Grimes - The Irrational Ape: : Why Flawed Logic Puts us all at Risk and How Critical Thinking Can Save the World. 'Grimes’s book addresses an all-too-urgent contemporary political question: how do we protect our societies and ourselves from charlatans and fools?...It brings a fresh perspective, and has been painstakingly researched. This spirited cocktail of data leavened with anecdotes is served up in Grimes’s trademark provocative, combative style...a highly creditable debut from a skilled communicator.' (John Gibbons Irish Times) --------- David Robert Grimes shows how we can be lured into making critical mistakes or drawing false conclusions, and how to avoid such errors. Given the power of modern science and the way that movements can unite to protest a cause via social media, we are in dangerous times. But fortunately, we can learn from our mistakes, and by critical thinking and scientific method we can discover how to apply these techniques to everything from deciding what insurance to buy to averting global disaster. This book, packed with fascinating case studies and examples, helps ensure we are ready for the modern world. --------- This meetup is sponsored by Books in Belgium (https://www.booksinbelgium.be/), the lokal marketplace for used and antique books. New attendees get a bookmark and giftcard for their first purchase! ----------------------------------- PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE use the RSVP correctly, it really helps me out organizing this. Don't set yourself to attend if you are not planning to actually show up. Also, if u are very prone to last minute cancellations, set yourself NOT to attend please, just decide last minute to go or not. Thanks for being considerate in this!

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