Student - February 28, 2013


What? Explained in four lectures : Why smart people believe silly things by Herman de Regt and Hans Dooremalen, philosophers of science at the Tilburg University Where? Impulse, Building 115 on campus When? 12, 19 and 26 March and 2 April, starting at 20:00 hours Cost? Free

Uri Geller
'This is not yet a scientific age,' physicist and Nobel Prize winner Richard Feynman once mused aloud. He meant that there are still very few  people who realize how adventurous and valuable science can be. But it is worse than that, as we'll see at Studium Generale next month. Four lectures based on the book Wat een onzin! [What nonsense!] will show that irrational and pseudo-scientific ideas  are still harboured in all echelons of society. Philosophers of science Herman de Regt and Hans Dooremalen will illustrate this by drawing on examples such as popular charlatans Derek Ogilvie and Uri Geller, the success of the pseudoscience homeopathy, and as crowning example: God.
The aim of the lectures is not just to debunk nonsense. De Regt and Dooremalen will actually use pseudoscience to show what good science is. Moreover, they will talk about why human beings are such bad scientists by nature. Our brains can call up false memories with alarming ease, and evolution seems to have hardwired us to see causal connections everywhere, whether they exist or not. The philosophers see it as the task of scientists to learn to recognize and avoid these pitfalls. As long as even the cleverest among us are still holding on to nonsensical ideas, the scientific age is still a long way off.