Thoughts on Dr Giles Fraser at Westminster Skeptics:
He is a great speaker. It’s easy to see why he rose to the position of Canon of St Pauls.
His talk was roughly based around the idea that an evidence-based approach was not helpful in the case of romantic love.
He needs to spend some quality time with the works of Karl Popper on the nature of evidence and the scientific method. Descartes is all very well but there has actually been significant work done since then.
Othello is interesting, but as a work of fiction he doesn’t even rise to the status of anecdote. If you are trying to convince a room full of skeptics that evidence-based reasoning isn’t always helpful it would be nice if you presented some .. I don’t know .. evidence?
Love was repeatedly conflated with monogamy. With a group as diverse as the Westiminster Skeptics I bet not everyone would agree with that assertion. Except the assertion was never even properly made. Giles repeatedly admitted that he refused to define what Love even was. If we can’t even define the limits of what we are talking about then no useful discussion can occur.
It was a very good talk and the resulting discussion was one of the feistiest I’ve heard at #westskep but ultimately his refusal to define what he wanted to talk about moved him towards the usual kind of clumsy apologetics we’ve all heard before. A sort of loosely philosophical brand of special pleading.
This episode brought to you by the letter ‘beer’ and the number ‘too damn late’.