April 27th. 2023- Doug Larson: The Dogma Ate My Homework
The meeting started at 9:55 am with John Sneyd, President, chairing and 45 members present. President John welcomed Doug Larson, our presenter for today, as well as guests David Churchill, and Alan Cheyne. He then introduced the two newest members of the Club; Mike Finoro and Peter Diemand.
Bob Berry, Chair of the House Committee asked the members of the House Committee to stand and be recognized: Ken Alsop, Bill Rowley, Doug Davidson, Julian Sale and Nigel Morris.
Announcements – John Sneyd reminded members that the newest version of the bivalent COVID-19 booster is now available and members should consider keeping vaccinations up to date.
Activities Committee – Ken Marchant - The Annual General Meeting is approaching on June 8th and will be combined with the Anniversary Luncheon. The AGM will start at 9:30 am (a half hour earlier than usual) with coffee available at 9:00 am but the speaker will still be from 10:00 to 11:00; - the buffet luncheon will be served at 11:30 am and the cost for the luncheon is $22 plus tip jar; - Hamilton Family Theatre is on May 20th to see Beautiful: The Carole King Story; The cost per ticket will be $45; - Other events planned for Drayton Theatre Group are Joseph, Evita, and Fiddler on the Roof - Warren Gregg informed the membership that Mike Marcolongo has organized a clean-up along the Hanlon for the coming Saturday (April 29th) between 10:00 am and noon followed by a BBQ at his farm. The starting location will be from his farm which is on Gordon Street next to Springfield Golf Club. - The Trinity United Church fund-raiser – Chicken Dinner is scheduled for this evening and if you registered, you will have received an email with the time of your pick-up. - Coffee at the Boathouse is scheduled for next Thursday at 9:30am
Nominations Committee - Julian Sale, Chairperson - The slate of nominations proposed by the Board is as follows: President - Bob Berry Vice-President ? Past-President John Sneyd Secretary Kerry Gennings Treasurer David Moller Speakers’ Committee Doug Davidson Activities Committee Ken Marchant Membership Committee Martin Alderwick House Committee ? Communications Committee Ritchie Zelk Members-at-Large Warren Gregg Ron Heipel - Nominations for any position are open except for President, and Past-President which are stipulated by the Constitution.
Bio Doug Larson retired from the University of Guelph 13 years ago after a 34 year teaching and research career. He is best known for the discovery of the ancient forests of the Niagara Escarpment. Four books and 130 research papers formed the core of the academic career while he was working. His teaching involved introductory ecology, physiological ecology and ecological methods. While not conducting research and teaching, Doug was heavily involved with woodworking, instrument building, songwriting, and recording. Five albums with Kid Coma (see iTunes for Complete Metamorphosis) were recorded over 8 years, and the material in those records covered many environmental and political topics. Most recently Doug has recorded an album whose goal was to initiate a war against dogma(Things that need to be said, with Steve Knox of the Kramdens). That battle has now culminated in a new book entitled "the dogma ate my homework" whose goal is show how hope for our species and for the planet we love is dependent allowing science to destroy dogma. The book was coauthored by Doug's son Nicholas who is a scholar, engineer, and infrastructure economist in his own right actively working for the Ontario Water Quality Association.
Dr. Doug Larson He began his talk by saying that there is an old adage which is a piece of dogma that says: “You can’t teach an old dog a new trick.” He says this is pure bull shit. He told us about retiring from the University of Guelph and being bored so he took up making guitars from buckthorn wood and then being told that it wasn’t very good. This caused him to try to make a better guitar. He embraced the idea of getting better because that was way more fun.
When the project started to write this book about dogma, he decided that he would learn as much as possible about dogma. People don' t really know what dogma means and how it is confining our species.
In the beginning of the book he gives definitions of terms. Science is knowledge about structure and behavior of the natural and physical world based on facts that you can prove by experiment. So in a way, science is what delivers us to the truth. The Scientific method is at the core of our biology. Dogma is a set of beliefs held by a group or organization …. or a political party, or a religious organization or a series of economists … that others are expected to accept without argument. Dogma is the ultimate summation of this other thing that some refer to a bull-shit. One author says that we a bull-shit dependent species. Why? Because bull-shit tastes better than the truth. The truth is bitter because the truth requires us to think and to question ourselves. This tendency is held by our species which is the want to be right. Hope is the feeling of expectation of desire for a certain thing to happen. Hope can not be used as a method, it is a product. Hope isn’t a good strategy, hope is an outcome. Hope can’t be done by dogma. One doesn’t have an opportunity to escape the dogma if it is held strongly. The only way to grow hope is through the use of the fundamental principles of science.
Dr. Larson then said he was now making a claim that because of the way that the younger generation is using social media, we are swimming in ocean of bull-shit. There’s dogma in religion, there’s dogma in economics, there’s dogma in politics. Everywhere we look people are making claims that they wish people to not argue with, and yet, if you say to them: How do you know that? they get angry. They don’t want their claim to be challenged.
He provided several stories to illustrate his point of view, and these are found in his book.
Doug Larson gave everyone in attendance a copy of his book, “The Dogma Ate My Homework” and said and said he would give a copy to any member wanting one who wasn’t present by going through Soren Sondergaard for the request.
John Sneyd thanked Doug Larson for his presentation and gave him a token of the Club’s appreciation.
Next meeting: Thurs., May 11th, 2023 with Zhongwei Chen – How to Make Batteries More Sustainable
Adjournment @11:05 am Recording Secretary: Kerry Gennings