Tag Archives: stephen law

Stephen’s Law

13 May

Stephen Law © Calyx Picture AgencyI worry about the crowd at Stephen Law’s philosophical talk last night on Believing Bullshit: how not to get sucked into an intellectual black hole (also the title of his book).

Stephen is keen to provide ‘immunity to indoctrination’ by encouraging more critical thinking. So he took us through possible ways we could have baseless beliefs.

After, he asked us to discuss which of these created the better belief. Answers included peer pressure, repeated soundbites (‘strong and stable’ times 100), generational belief, bigging up the dominant belief and discrediting other belief (fake news), pleasure (a giant dangling carrot), and fear.

No one suggested science and reason, said Stephen, the best way to filter out falsehood. Continue reading

Think! It’s the Law.

13 May

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The always intriguing Think Slam posed answers and gave questions in its usual, unusual way.

A packed Arts Centre seemed thankful for the thinkful competitors whose bravery in the face of thought never ceased to amaze.

Sara-Jane Arbury introduced the 8th ‘Think Slam’ incarnation and was quick to point out that the Swindon Festival of Literature hosts the only event of its kind in the country.

A chill must have coursed the collective spines of the Think Slammers as philosopher Stephen Law was press-ganged into the role of judge supremo – his latest book is Believing Bullshit: How Not To Get Sucked Into An Intellectual Black Hole.

But bullshitters these thinkers were not, as they presented a typically varied and at times surprising window on their world. Each competitor had a three-minute time slot in which to make their argument in the most effective way possible.

John Yates, a self-identifying Remainer still stunned by BREXIT got proceedings underway with a suggestion that a byproduct of dramatic political change could be the dismantling of our political system. Continue reading