Bafflegab 101

An initial exploration into "How do we know what we know?". For the 101 experience, we will view the video

"What the Bleep do we know?" and then review it from a skeptical perspective. This movie presents a discussion of the nature of reality with a thin veneer of story to exemplify the concepts. Narrated by a number of well known, and less well known pundits, some of whom may actually know what they are talking about. See (this) Syllabus at: This class begs for ongoing dialog, to join this activity go to:

Bafflegab inspired by a Michael Shemer column in Scientific American, which also references "Truthiness", and quotes Harry Frankfurt who observed: "It is impossible for someone to lie unless he thinks he knows the truth." Shemer makes it a point that "skepticism is an approach to claims, not a position". Note that sometimes the critical first question is not "is this true", but "how would I decide?"

2017 4 Tuesdays: 3/28-4/18; 12:30-3:00 PM; Granite State College Concord, 25 Hall Street, Concord

2016 Fall: Manchester OLLI - (Mondays: 11/21-12/12 10:00 AM- Noon)

2+ Hour class sessions to permit the viewing of videos and discussion

  1. Week 1 (2 hrs) - View What the Bleep video
  2. A few Questions
    1. "What is the One Thing do you know for sure?"
    2. (corollary: how do you know it?)
    3. Imagine a robot transports (think Star Trek) into your living room and has the answers to all possible knowledge,
    4. it allows you one question: what do you ask?
  3. Week 2 - Some Rabbit-hole*, some discussion -- Science/Religion; scale; time/causation;
    1. powers of ten video (1977 9 minutes)
    2. double slit experiment
  4. Week 3 - Some Rabbit-hole, some discussion
    1. Entanglement, Superposition
    2. intention imprinting
    3. Water
  5. Week 4 - Some Rabbit-hole, some discussion
    1. Brain, peptides, emotions, plasticity
    2. flow, meditation, in-the-moment
    3. free will
    4. Flatland

* rabbit hole -- you can go to various level's of depth in the discussion of the topics arising in this class, so the "rabbit hole" (taken from the movie) reflects this digging into things deeper.

Relevant Resources:

Some interesting terms

  • Notic - of or relating to mental activity or the intellect
  • Gnosis - Greek noun for knowledge In mystic systems, gnosis generally signifies a spiritual knowledge or "religion of knowledge"- mystical enlightenment
  • Shaman - synonyms: priest, therapist, healer, kahuna, - intermediary between the natural and supernatural -- "One who knows"