Open Learning Commons
The Center for Ethics in Science and Technology is partnering with San Diego schools, libraries, colleges, and universities to spur deliberate dialogue on issues that reside at the intersection of science, technology, and humanity. “If we hope to balance the risks and benefits of science and technology it is essential to create conversations inclusive of scientists, engineers, humanists, artists, social scientists, and the general public,” contends Ethics Center Director, Dr. Michael Kalichman. As we now know, many of the issues and challenges that we face require multiple perspectives to clearly understand the critical challenges and to identify the most promising solutions. Given the rich biotechnology base of San Diego, the urgency of the conversation is all the more relevant, and pressing.
Why have a community-wide conversation?
We all benefit from mutual points of reference, a common intellectual foundation and a communal historical context. Shared experience allows us to carry on an intelligent conversation, a deliberate dialogue, on big and difficult questions, and perhaps anticipate and avoid the barriers that ensue from having community members with nothing in common.
Why structure the conversation by way of a common book?
Philosopher Allan Bloom, in The Closing of the American Mind, argues that “The failure to read good books both enfeebles the vision and strengthens our most fatal tendency—the belief that the here and now is all there is.” By engaging our community with thoughtful texts, at the same time as we promote dialogue, helps us to build a foundation for the future: an ability to perceive not only what is, but also what could be.
How do I join the conversation?
The most direct route for participating is to register for and attend the monthly lectures hosted by the Ethics Center at the Fleet Science Museum in Balboa Park, on the first Wednesday of each month. From September 2011 – April 2012 each month’s Exploring Ethics forum will capture some facet of the science-technology-humanity themes as embedded in Rebecca Skloot’s book. In particular, Skloot will be the featured speaker for the November forum (November 2, 2011). To follow the entire Exploring Ethics schedule, please navigate to the Center for Ethics in Science and Technology website.
If you wish to consider lectures, events, exhibits beyond the Fleet Center, then please navigate to the “Contact” section of this website.
And if you wish to propose, organize, or post relevant talks, book clubs, school discussions, intellectual salons, or the like, you should know that all of the resources posted in this learning commons (writing prompts, curriculum guides, video resources, etc.) are freely available to all, and many of the events posted there are open to everyone.