CFI/Argentina Report (Partial)
August 29, 2014
During March 2014, I held a course on “How Are We Cheated By Charlatans”, explaining the methods, hoaxes and fallacies they appeal to, in order to convince people of their supposed powers or “techniques” and “treatments”. The course dealt with alternative medicine therapies, parapsychology, astrology and so on.
During April and May 2014, I held the classical course called “Beliefs, Pseudoscience and Critical Thinking”, a course held every year, explaining the relationship between our beliefs and how they affect our decisions. Also I dealt with pseudoscience and critical thinking, explaining the basis of pseudoscience and the main goal of critical thinking: how to recognize a fallacy or a bad reasoning.
On the next month I organized “Groups of Reflexion”, a series of lectures, “Why We Believe What We Believe”, and a more philosophical one:“Politically correct: what is useful for?”, and so on. I will continue to hold these lectures as people can express what they think about these items and another ones. That´s because is was named “Groups of Reflexion”.
All these events took place at the Scientific Society of Argentina, in Buenos Aires.
I've also took part on a television show about “Black Magic” and a supposed case of witchcraft involving Umbanda, an African-Brazilian religion that is also popular in Argentina.
In the next months, October and November 2014, I will give a seminar, which I gave last year, based on philosopher Bertrand Russell's book “The Conquest of Happiness”, which was a very successful one. The book is really great dealing with things that ordinary people experience every day: What does make people feel unhappy? What does people feel happy? My interest is to point that a philosopher not necessary must be an “academic” one. On the contrary, he must be able to divulge and analyze ordinary but important things of life.
On the other hand I was invited to give a TED Conference at the UCES University (University of Social and Business Sciences) on next November 12th. The name of the TED Conference will be: “The Matrix Enigma: Beliefs and Illusions”, where I will talk about what is reality, and how can we can be deceived as very bad observer of reality, talking about our beliefs and showing optical illusions and the functions of our brains.
The main goal for me is to organize a Congress on Critical Thinking next year, 2015, which will be the third CFI organize. The first was in Buenos Aires, Argentina (2005) and the next was in Lima, Perú (2006). I hope that we can achieve this goal in order to call the attention of the scientific and journalist community.