As I expect you both know, I have been invited to take part in a festival called How The Light Gets In, which takes place in Hay-on-Wye between 22 and 25 May. This festival, which is distinct from the better known Hay Festival, is a grand conglomeration of music, comedy and ideas. This year’s festival theme is Uncharted Territories, which is very much my kind of thing. Now, I was to have attended physically and in person, but, well, I can’t, and neither can anyone else.
But don’t worry! The programme has moved into cyberspace, and you can catch a lot of very important people and me by registering at the Festival Website and buying the appropriate tickets.
Here are the events at which I shall be making an appearance:
The Key To Progress (Friday 22nd at 8:30pm; discussion at 9:20pm) It was the vehicle of progress and the solution to the world’s ills. The core philosophy of the West and our time. But the halo has slipped. Science is now seen by some as a potentially malevolent force. A key element of the industrial military complex, challenging the environment and supporting a damaging raid on world resources. While many doubt the idea that science is the single objective version of the truth. Should we welcome this shift in our perception of science as the end of an unquestioned belief in a false god? Or is it a dangerous and potentially disastrous slide into prejudice and superstition, that will leave us poorer, less safe, and less in control of our lives? Senior editor of Nature Henry Gee; Scientist Gunes Taylor and philosopher and author of Galileo’s Error Philip Goff evaluate the scientific establishment.
After the debate come and join the speakers and chat.
Extinction and Renewal (Saturday 23rd at 13:00) Citing evidence that species are becoming extinct at a thousand times faster than the background rate, many argue the Sixth Great Mass Extinction is already upon us. And for the first time caused by a single species, humankind. Others contend that at current rates – 100 species a year – it would take a 1000 years to lose just 1% of current species. In the meantime the number of new species is continuing to grow – exceeding the number of species lost. Are we facing a profound crisis? Do we need to radically change our behaviour and way of life to save the planet’s animal life? Or are our conservation efforts proving effective and nature stronger than we suppose and capable of creating entirely new life forms without our help? Green Party Peer Natalie Bennett; senior editor of Nature Henry Gee and co-founder of the World Transhumanist Association David Pearce get to the bottom of the apparent extinction crisis.
On Sunday 24th at 3pm I’ll be giving a solo talk entitled The Limits of Knowledge:
The more we discover, the more we realise we have yet to learn. So says Nature editor, Henry Gee, as he explores the limits of knowledge, and dares us to look over the edge.
Just after that, at 4.45pm, I’ll be taking part in a more intimate Inner Circle seminar:
What makes humans special? According to senior editor of Nature and author of The Accidental Species Henry Gee: absolutely nothing. Join him to discuss humankind’s place in the world.
So now you know.
The Festival website has all the details and is constantly being updated, so visit it often. You can also follow it on Twitter at @HTLGIFestival, just as you can follow me at @EndOfThePier.