The view that randomness impacts and shapes our lives in profound ways has been gaining traction since 2002 when Daniel Kahneman (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daniel_Kahneman) won the Nobel prize in Economics (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nobel_Memorial_Prize_in_Economics) for his work with Amos Tversky (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amos_Tversky) in characterizing our failings when facing uncertainty. Leonard Mlodinow (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leonard_Mlodinow) strongly defends the thesis in his 2008 bestseller The Drunkard's Walk: How Randomness Rules Our Lives (at Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/Drunkards-Walk-Randomness-Rules-Vintage/dp/0307275175/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1322264982&sr=8-1); at Alibris (http://www.alibris.com/booksearch?qwork=10469848)). We will review and discuss Mlodinow's argument to assess its validity, its implications for philosophy, free will, and determinism, and its implications for economic and social policy.
Inspired, in part, by Mlodinow's book, I wrote an essay Are Randomness and Uncertainty fundamental and pervasive (http://blog.cjfearnley.com/2011/04/20/are-randomness-and-uncertainty-fundamental-and-pervasive/) where I explored some of these issues.
I am open to "sponsoring" volunteers to lead future Ben Franklin Thinking Society meetups. If you have a topic of interest, please send me an e-mail ([masked]) outlining your subject.