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April 2: "Talk Me Down, Talk Me Up"

Our values, opinions and convictions: solid or fragile? Are we blinded by “presentism”, dumbly confident that our views will always hold? Parishioner Peter Brooks, a former CNRS and biotech geneticist, and now lecturer in neurobiology for Stanford and St. John’s, will relate some personal flip-flops (such as conversion from hawk to dove, and a radical revision of his view of genetic determinism) to a concern about the fragility of adhesion to enlightenment values. We will look at narratives of change and methods of persuasion by essayist Nicholson Baker, economists Sachs and Shiller, anthropologist Sapolsky, behavioral psychologist Kahneman, and parabolist Jesus. Ample time for discussion will encourage all to share relevant experience.