What we did in February
We got through a lot in February, starting with our first guest speaker of the year and ending at the beginning of clubs week, where we had a busy RSS stall every day.
Matthew Flannagan, a Christian philosopher, ethicist and theologian (and popular blogger) joined us to talk about Divine Command Theory (DCT), a topic in ethics and the philosophy of religion. Matt spoke gave a talk defending DCT, especially explaining why he thinks the Euthyphro objection is not all it’s cracked up to be. The video for the talk is online if you missed it or want to watch it again. We had a two hour long meeting, most of it involving discussion with the audience, many of us objecting to DCT.
In the next week of February we had another guest speaker – this time a returning speaker, Matthew Dentith from the philosophy department. Matthew is in the final stages of completing his PhD on conspiracy theories, a topic he spoke about at RSS last year. This time he talked about appeals to authority – when they’re valid and when they’re not.
On the 18th we discussed the future of the internet, after watching a video on the subject by Kevin Kelly at TED talks. Some of his themes for the future of the web were personalization and a smarter (semantic) web. We also talked about other aspects like the role of the internet in politics.
At our 4th meeting of the month we discussed Facebook, the social networking website that started from a Harvard dorm room and became one of the biggest websites and social phenomenons of the decade (and even had a movie made about it). We touched on various issues including privacy and its role in politics. If you’d like to read more about Facebook’s history, I recommend the book The Facebook Effect.
On Monday 28 Feb we set up our RSS stall. With a gazebo, table and chairs provided by various RSS members, and a shiny new banner (our first club asset, paid for by donations from members) we looked pretty organized. We signed up at least 50 people on the first day and took in lots of guesses for our jelly bean jar fundraiser. We gave out fliers to interested people, which were designed a week earlier by some enthusiastic RSS members.
That evening we had our first meeting of the semester in iSpace of the Kate Edger IC, with a surprisingly big turnout of over 30 people, easily a record for the club. Natasha gave a talk and showed videos relating to interpersonal attraction, touching on subjects such as the role of smell, voice and personality. Here’s one of the videos we watched, from The Science of Attraction presented by Derren Brown.
We also had a couple of administrative meetings with the newly formed committee of twelve. We’ll continue to have these throughout the year as RSS grows and develops.