This presentation looks at what we must do to adapt to climate change-the size of the threat, and what we can do. It attempts to answer two fundamental questions: first, how must our lifestyle change in order to live with climate change and, second, can developing countries limit their emissions as they strive to improve living standards?
In the period that witnessed the rise of communism and its transformation into Stalinism, the emergence of fascism, and two momentous "interwar wars," numerous African American intellectuals met their counterparts in Europe. Encounters include: Counte Cullen and Claire Goll (Paris), Claude McKay, Alain Locke, and George Grosz (Paris, Berlin, Moscow), McKay, Vladimir Mayakovsky, and Leon Trotsky (Soviet Union), Horace Cayton and Nancy Cunard (Paris and Hamburg),Alain Locke and the "Black Watch on the Rhine" (French-occupied Rhineland), Langston Hughes, James Yates, and the Spanish Civil War,and W.E.B. Du Bois in Nazi Germany. Common human misunderstandings create a comedy of intellectuals against the climate of political violence in interwar Europe.
In modern high-tech health care, patients appear to be the stumbling block: an uninformed, anxious, noncompliant folk with unhealthy lifestyles who demand treatments advertised by celebrities, insist on unnecessary but expensive imaging, and may eventually turn into plaintiffs. Patients’ lack of health literacy has received much attention. But what about their physicians? I show that the majority of doctors are innumerate, that is, they do not understand basic health statistics. An estimated 70%–80% of them do not understand what the results of screening tests mean. This engenders superfluous treatment, anxiety, and healthcare costs. As a consequence, the ideals of informed consent and shared decision-making remain a pipedream; both doctors and patients are habitually misled by biased information in health brochures and advertisements. I argue that the problem is not simply in the minds of doctors, but in the way health statistics are framed in journals and brochures. A quick and efficient cure is to teach efficient risk communication that fosters transparency as opposed to confusion. I report studies with doctors, medical students, and patients that show how transparent framing helps them understand health statistics in an hour or two. Raising taxes or rationing care is often seen as the only viable alternative to exploding health care costs. Yet there is a third option: by promoting health literacy, better care is possible for less money.
A main intellectual scandal today is that we do not have, in philosophy or neurobiology, a generally accepted account of consciousness. In this lecture, John Searle will offer the philosophical core of such an account, and explain the difficulties in getting a neurobiological account. Along the way, he will expose half a dozen really outrageous mistakes about consciousness.
Scientists working on climate change and other environmental issues often speak of the risk of “crying wolf,” concerned about losing credibility if the threats they are documenting do not turn out to be as serious as current research suggests. However, the opposite worry—that they might fiddle while Rome burns—is hardly ever mentioned. Yet from the standpoint of social responsibility, understating a threat might be worse than overstating it, so why are scientists more concerned with losing credibility than with failing to adequately warn against risk?
Moreover, history shows us that scientists in the past often were willing to speak out strongly and clearly about perceived threats relevant to their scientific expertise. This talk explores the origins and historical development of the current tendency of scientists towards reticence, and the asymmetry of scientific anxiety.
Frances Moore Lappé shares her journey from an awakening that led to the three-million-copy Diet for Small Planet in 1971. Starting with events triggering her to ask, “why hunger?”, she describes how this question led her to a life-long quest probing “the question behind the question.” She identifies both the progress in both understanding and partially realizing holistic solutions to food and hunger as well as shocking, backward motion worsening ecological destruction and human health. The actions she advocated in 1971 as positive choices are now absolute essentials, Lappé explains. Throughout she stresses the “power of ideas” guiding human action—how limiting ideas have trapped us on the wrong path as well as how a new, more holistic “story” is emerging. From courageous actions across the planet, some in surprising places, she identifies a positive remaking of our understanding of human capacities that can inspire our effective action.
Compared to other mammals, human offspring are slow-maturing and outrageously costly to rear, yet men's motivation to care for children is highly variable. Some fathers will do anything to remain nearby and care for their children while others (even men certain of their paternity) act as if they don't know they have children. Most fall someplace in between, prompting evolutionists to ask how Darwinian natural selection could have favored production of such costly children without concurrent selection pressures on fathers to provide what progeny need to survive? Resolving this paradox of “facultative fathering” requires us to consider the deep history of the human family, and in doing so to rethink the tremendous potential for nurture that resides in human males.
Studies of genes and social behavior, aided by new genomic resources, are coming of age. Here, I highlight three of the insights that have emerged from these studies that shed light on the evolution and mechanisms governing social life: 1) Nature builds diverse social brains from common genetic blocks in insects and vertebrates, including those related to metabolism and transcriptional regulation; 2) Changes in the wiring of gene regulatory networks are involved in the evolution of insect societies; and 3) The social brain is addicted to altruism.
James Timberlake’s lecture, FULLNESS: Next, explores how FULLNESS: The Art of the Whole might be interpreted through unbuilt work, future work, and current research – revealing the art, science, and beauty of architecture in data, fact, and logic, and in the seams of program, life, work, and production.