Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The Benefit of Doubt for Decision Making in a Civil Society

Doubt is an important part of scientific inquiry, in part because it causes the investigator to consider different variables and conditions necessary to test a hypothesis and evaluate research results. Sociologist Peter Berger argues (with not a small amount of certainty) that doubt is just as necessary in civil discourse. Listen to a provocative interview between Berger and Diane Rhem on the second segment of today's Diane Rhem Show (National Public Radio on WAMU.org). Podcast or transcripts are available approximately one hour after the end of the show.

From the Web site: "Civil discourse today is in danger of being shouted down by talking heads and single-minded bloggers. How doubt can help people on opposite sides of an issue to disagree more agreeably." Peter Berger is a faculty member at Boston University and founder of Boston University's Institute of Culture, Religion, and World Affairs. His newest book: In Praise of Doubt: How to Have Convictions Without Becoming a Fanatic. A very timely message as we witness the distinctly un-civil discourse around Town Halls on health care reform.

Find other books by Peter Berger in the college library [this newest title is not yet ordered].

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