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How do you know? Peter Boghossian Panel Discussion Evening

02/07/2015 @ 18:00 - 21:00


 “How do you know?” is an important question that affects all aspects of our lives, every day.

On the 2nd of July, the Brisbane Skeptic Society, in association with the City Bible Forum, and the Rationalist Society of Australia present a panel discussion featuring Philosopher Dr Peter Boghossian, Scientist and Researcher, Dr Maggie Hardy, Anaesthetist Dr Garth Thomas, City Bible Forum Director Glenn Hohnberg, and Barrister Stewart Webster.

This panel consists of individuals from differing, and often opposing, world-views, whose professions place them on the front line of answering “how do you know?”

By the end of the evening, your world-view will certainly be stirred, and perhaps even a little shaken.

How do you know?

We all have a world-view that informs our actions, thoughts, beliefs and ethical values. But how do we know if our world-view stands up? How do we know if the assumptions that inform our world-view are even valid?

“How do you know?” is easily the most fascinating and aggravating question – simultaneously intellectually stimulating and frustrating, this question forces us to question the motivations behind everything we do, and everything we think is true.

Why does this matter?

Our lives, our decisions and actions are informed by important ethical and moral questions. But do these world-views have integrity, do they stand up? Could they be wrong?


  • Is it ever okay to lie? When and why?
  • Is there ever a time when free speech should be stopped? How do we decide this?
  • Is there ever a time when the minority of a society can dictate to the majority?
  • Is the scientific method the most accurate way to determine what is real?
  • Is there ever a time when the death penalty could be more ethical than imprisonment?
  • Is abortion wrong? On what basis?
  • Is euthanasia wrong? On what basis?
  • How do we know what has happened in the past? Can we trust the past?

Many of us may have reached conclusions on these questions, perhaps on insticnt. But have we ever questioned our underlying assumptions? Are we even sure what they are?

The night will provide a robust discussion around how the panellists, whose professions rely on answers to the question, “how do you know?” come to a conclusion on the above questions, and many more. By the end of the evening, your world-view may not be shaken, but it will be stirred.

The discussion, followed by an audience Q&A will be moderated by podcast host, Jake Farr-Wharton.

Dr. Peter Boghossian’s main focus is bringing the tools of professional philosophers to people in a wide variety of contexts. Peter has a teaching pedigree spanning more than 20 years and 30 thousand students – in prisons, hospitals, public and private schools, seminaries, colleges and universities, Fortune 100 companies, and small businesses. His fundamental objective is to teach people how to think through what often seem to be intractable problems. Peter was a Councillor for the State of Oregon (LSTA), the Chairman of the Prison Advisory Committee for Columbia River Correctional Institution, an advisor to Sockeye Magazine and The Weekly Alibi, wrote national philosophy curricula for the University of Phoenix, and was a research fellow for the National Centre for Teaching and Learning. He teaches Critical Thinking, Science and Pseudoscience, the Philosophy of Education, and Atheism and New Atheism at Portland State University, is an Affiliate Research Assistant Professor at Oregon Health Sciences University in the Department of General Internal Medicine, is a national speaker for the Centre for Inquiry, a national speaker for the Secular Student Alliance, and an international speaker for the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science. http://peterboghossian.com/about/

Dr Maggie Hardy – Originally from Boston, Massachusetts in the United States, she is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Division of Chemistry and Structural Biology at the Institute for Molecular Bioscience. She holds a PhD in Chemistry, University of Queensland and an MSc in Entomology, University of Hawai`i. Her research program is focused on insecticide discovery, with particular emphasis on compounds for biosecurity and sustainable agriculture. She is an advocate for evidence-based science policy and the importance of science engagement, actively working toward increasing the proportion of persons in research careers from traditionally underrepresented groups. In addition to her research she is a wife and mother.

Glenn Hohnberg – Director of City Bible Forum, Brisbane. After working in business and IT working in this field for 6 years, he started working with his local church and went on to complete a degree in theology. For the last seven years Glenn has directed the City Bible Forum in Brisbane whose motto is ‘ask the bigger questions’; whether in the areas of history, ethics, philosophy or life. These are questions Glenn loves to engage with in the CBF. He is married to Kathryn, has four sons and also leads Ann Street City Church in the CBD, Brisbane.

Stewart Webster – A barrister, practicing mainly in the field of commercial law. He regularly appears as counsel in the State and Federal Courts of Australia and in Royal Commissions/Commissions of Inquiry. He represents a range of clients which have included IBM Australia, Flight Centre, Glencore, Anglo American, AGL, Boral and the State of Queensland. Before becoming a barrister, Stewart worked in Tokyo for a major Japanese law firm, Nishimura & Asahi, before serving a year as the Associate to Federal Court Justice John Dowsett AM and then joining a leading national commercial law firm, Allens, as a solicitor. He holds a Bachelor of Laws (with first class honours) and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Queensland. In 2007, during his time at UQ, he served as the President of Evangelical Students. Stewart is married to Amy. They have a young son, Micah, who recently turned one.

We’ll be situated in room P421, QUT, Garden’s Point.




Please note that QUT’s only involvement in this event is as the venue provider. This event is neither organised by, nor endorsed by QUT.


18:00 - 21:00
Event Category:


Brisbane Skeptic Society


QUT Gardens Point
2 George Street
Brisbane, Queensland 4000 Australia
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