It's not often area students have the chance to "pick the brain" of a world renowned philosopher, but Mid-Plains Community College has secured the mind of Dr. Richard Carrier for an interactive video presentation on "Bayesian Reasoning," at several MPCC locations Dec. 5.
McCook Community College mathematics instructor Michael Jonckheere said he is excited the college was able to help provide this opportunity for any area high school or college student interested in math, statistics and philosophy or any member of the public.
"Bayesian Reasoning is based on a mathematical formula from probability theory, but Dr. Carrier's talk won't require background knowledge in either," Jonckheere said.
MPCC is opening up six locations for this presentation, including two rooms each in the McDonald-Belton Building (rooms 136 and 141) and Health and Science Center (rooms 102 and 108) in North Platte and in Barnett Hall (rooms 223 and 224) in McCook.
The talk from 7:30 – 8 p.m. Dec. 5 will be followed by a half hour of questions and answers.
"Modern psychology tells us that human thinking is buggy," Jonckheere said. "The good news is that philosophers have written software patches for these bugs: the techniques of critical thinking."
He said Bayesian reasoning is one such software patch and one of the five pillars of critical thinking and tells us how to use probabilities to combine evidence to draw a conclusion.
"We invite anyone to join us to listen to Dr. Carrier and learn a little more about how to spot quackery, illogic, deception, confusion, and nonsense," Jonckheere said.
Carrier is the author of Sense and Goodness without God, On the Historicity of Jesus, Proving History, and many other books, chapters, and articles. With a Ph.D. in ancient history from Columbia University, he now specializes in the modern philosophy of naturalism, the origins of Christianity, and the intellectual history of Greece and Rome.
The video-cast is open to the public and free.