April 15
How Belief Systems Work
Meeting # 3,420 - essay by Chicago-based author David Ramsay Steele
Examples of belief systems include Scientology, Seventh-Day Adventism, Marxism, Global Warming, 9/11 Truth, the Paleo Diet, Zen Buddhism, Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, Romanticism, Darwinian evolution, and Phenomenology. 

Religions, political ideologies, conspiracy theories, scientific theories, popular diets, brands of psychotherapy, doctrines about the arts, and philosophical schools—these are all belief systems. 

David Ramsay Steele will show that all belief systems have a lot in common.   All belief systems involve an emotional commitment arising out of a conversion experience. All belief systems brush aside evidence which obviously conflicts with the belief system and focus their attention on evidence which confirms it.   All belief systems have privileged authorities—persons or texts—which they revere and which they refer to when any doubt arises as to the correct way to interpret the belief system.  All belief systems which have formal organizations to promote them are organized as oligarchies, with a handful of people calling the shots and the rest usually falling into line.  All belief systems display a conservative tendency, arising from the determination to stop the belief system from changing, but despite this, all belief systems do evolve, so that what they believe today is never precisely what they believed fifty years ago.  The leaders of the belief system go to immense trouble to freeze the doctrine of the belief system, or at least what they take to be its most essential points, and prevent these from being changed, but they are always unsuccessful: every belief system evolves.   All belief systems are prone to schisms and splits.


April 22
Special Earth Day Debate
Meeting # 3,421 - Dennis Nelson vs.Tim BOlger

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Program Co-Sponsored by the
April 8
Book Talk: “Global Capitalism and the Crisis of Democracy” 
by Jerry Harris
Meeting # 3,419 - "Global Capitalism and the Crisis of Democracy is a seminal work which addresses the major questions raised by neoliberal globalization. This volume should be read and used in classrooms and study groups to stimulate a conversation about the new era of globalization, and the prospects for building twenty-first century socialism."
        This wide-ranging book makes a critical contribution to understanding the times in which we live and possible solutions to the increasingly acute crisis of global capitalism. Harris critiques with great perspicacity the ideology and destructive practices of hegemonic neo-liberalism as well as the failure of 20th century socialism to provide a viable alternative and the limitations of anarchism. All three ideologies are found wanting in the quest for human liberation. In this new globalized information age our emancipatory potential, he suggests, lies in freeing democracy from the constraints of capitalism through a more balanced relationship between the state, market and civil society. 
        Jerry Harris is a preeminent scholar on global studies, particularly on global capitalism and transnational class theory.
April 1
The Homeless Encampments of Chicago
Meeting # 3,418 - Photojournalist Lloyd DeGrane and Tribune Reporter Kari Lydersen
who for more than a year visited with the residents



April 29
Learning from South America:  Lessons from the Cone
Meeting # 3,422 - Peter Pero gives his insights based upon his recent trips, with photographs
"South America offers much more than the tango, Gouchos, samba and steaks.  There are many more aspects to thIs southern region that are vital to North America and the world.  As suppliers of food staples, natural resources, industrial products and the arts, Latin American countries that comprise the "Cone" of the Southern Hemisphere  are social, economic and political trend setters. With a special focus on Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil, globetrotter ...Peter Pero will unpack a suitcase full of observations."