Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Magic of Numbers

Our next meeting is on Thursday 10th July at the normal time of 7.00pm at the White Rock Hotel

The subject this month will be:  The magic of numbers

If the Scientific Method is a key to the philosophy of Humanism,
and Maths is the language of Science,  
then numbers are the alphabet of maths.

Numbers have the capacity to reveal a type of truth that is independent of opinion, even overwhelming conventional wisdoms. To make the point we will start with a short quiz on the facts that ‘everybody knows’ and compare them to the actual facts… then a gallop through some interesting stuff about numbers:

                    The history of numbers and the resulting change in human understanding
o   Roman numerals that could not be manipulated,
o   The invention of zero and negative numbers
o   The concept of infinity
o   The maths concept of ‘i’ (square root of -1)
                    Universal constants like Pi that a clever alien would be able to recognise and understand even though there are no other reference points.
                    A definition of what numbers are…Bertrand Russell’s ‘Principia Mathematica’
                    New facilities for making maths easy to access and might lift the fear for future generations  – Khan academy and Wolfram
                    And fun things to do with numbers

I know a lot of people find the whole concept of maths totally off-putting and scary. But I think it is like any other language; once you understand a little bit of the vocabulary, you might end up loving the simplicity and poetry of its better writers.

Stephen Milton

Monday, 2 June 2014

Scientific Methods in Medicine

Our next meeting is on Thur 12th June at the normal time of 7.00pm at the White Rock

The subject this month will be:  The application of scientific methods to Medicine?
And it will be introduced by Leonard Sterling

The practice of medicine has arguably been one of the greatest achievements of modern man, largely liberating us from the tyranny of pain that formed a backdrop to everything from toothache to childbirth.  Today we in the UK spend 9% of GDP on health care (the USA spends 19% of GDP) and in part as a result, we live longer and better.

We will review how medicine has progressed from opinion and prejudice  to peer group review of a major scientific industry.  And let’s think about  the implications of future developments, the role of complimentary medicines and the placebo effect.

Stephen Milton.