Hope to take myself into the city tomorrow for a little intellectual stimulation.
The Dublin Alchemist Cafe, as it says itself:
is a forum for the discussion of important and interesting scientific issues that is much more informal and accessible than a public lecture.
Tomorrow Steve Fuller, Professor of Sociology at University of Warwick will discuss Human Nature:
“There has been undoubtedly a recent rise in interest in biological approaches to understanding the human condition. Many, if not, most of these efforts attempt to reinvigorate the idea of ‘human nature’. But is this idea feasible in light of recent developments in the biological and social sciences? Regardless of the answer one gives, the question raises the larger issue of whether ‘the human’ is itself a category worth defending for scientific or even political purposes. I shall argue that ‘the human’ is indeed worth defending but that much recent thinking and research challenges rather than aids such a project”.
Professor Fuller has indirectly been responsible for introducing me to the schools of History, Philosophy and Sociology of science. I didn’t even know these areas of knowledge existed, but in hindsight this shouldn’t be too surprising; it appears that the Republic of ireland is one of the few countries in the western world which doesn’t have even one of these departments in one of their universities. Queens in Belfast has a History of Science department, or at least they had one ten years ago.
Anyway, back to Fuller; he tends to enjoy provoking scientists out of their comfort zone and forces them to defend not only what they know, but more importantly tries to get them to say why their area of expertise is more secure (‘better’) than other forms.
Lately he has been defending Intelligent Design as a legimate area of knowledge. Here he relates this discussion to the fall-off in the number of students taking Science at secondary level and in college.