Dealing with complicated issues is a complicated issue. I find that it is impossible for a non-expert to rationally debate a complicated issue. Instead, it all comes down to belief.
Take global warming, for instance. There are people in the world who have spent their lives studying this: climatologists. As scientists (the real climatologists anyway) they posit a theory, test it against empirical evidence, publish the results, and let their peers (other real climatologists) analyze, critique, and collectively approve or reject it. The Wikipedia article references a separate page that cites hundreds of scientific organizations who collectively agree that the world is warming overall, the climatological system is changing, and that these changes are attributable to human activities. More conclusive, though, is that aside from four groups who stand by non-committal statements, "no scientific body of national or international standing has maintained a dissenting opinion" (the last was the American Association of Petroleum Geologists who updated their stance in 2007 with a non-committal statement.)
However, I am not a climatologist by any means. As such, I'm left to judge by belief alone: I believe that climatologists have studied this issue and agreed that humans are causing climate change, and that these climatologists do not have sufficient ulterior motives to lie. I don't think it's possible to predict exactly how these changes will manifest themselves, but as a believer that humans are well-suited to the current climatological situation, I can't see any change being likely to give advantage to us — almost all climatological changes will be unpleasant to our situation.
Some people choose instead to believe what they hear through the media, or from someone they respect (regardless of their true expertise as a climatologist), or from a celebrity or public figure, or from their personal experience, or from their non-climatological-expert analysis. Some believe much more strongly in the predictions than the assessment. But in all those differences, people are trying to debate with insufficient information. Belief is irrational and can't be debated: all that can be done is to explain one's rationale and listen to another's rationale and decide for yourself whether you want to change your mind.
Health care, on the other hand, has three sets of experts: one for the health facet, one for the money facet, and one for the moral facet: I have not encountered rigorous scientific analysis from any group, nor on the system as a whole. Doctors (while their medical practice is scientifically based) can only say that most people will live a comfortable life and may need temporary corrective care to maintain that, that any corrective effort is exponentially less severe the earlier it is started, and that a few people will require more constant care to permit a comfortable existence. Insurance companies and nations with nationalized health systems provide data indicating cost; as best I can tell, any system has approximately the same cost across its whole population. Finally, philosophers can provide the moral facet by asking, "is health valuable?" The answer transcends the other two groups as doctors' Hippocratic oath implicitly declares it so, and it is certainly a lucrative proposition as no parent would keep any wealth or a specific possession in preference to their child's life and health.
Without the benefit of a quality analysis, we are left to muddle through argument without full knowledge, again leaning on belief. Do we have more faith in government or corporations (as if they are different masters)? Should we help strangers? Will people we don't know exploit our generosity? Would we be willing to watch our own child die? Would we wish that on someone else?
My point of this exercise is to say that we all select where we get our knowledge and we use our beliefs to decide which knowledge informs our decisions. Implicit in that statement is my own belief that rational, reasoned discourse is the superior form of changing opinions.
Nextstage at Geva (75 Woodbury Blvd.) is continuing its Festival of New Theatre 2010 with House on Stilts tonight and Saturday at 7 p.m., and Lake Effect Friday at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m.
Geva Theatre website]
The Dryden Theater at George Eastman House (900 East Ave.) will be showing Let the Good Times Roll starting at 8 p.m. According to the Eastman House calendar, "this underappreciated 'rockumentary' revolves around a 1973 revival tour of 1950s heavyweight rock 'n' roll entertainers, including Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley, Fats Domino, The Shirelles, and The Coasters."
Dryden Theater calendar][all ages]
Tonight at 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m., The Little (240 East Ave.) is screening The Beast Pageant — an evocative, dreamlike film about a man reconnecting with his natural side with the help of his miniature cowboy doppelgänger which suddenly bursts from his side one day. (And I'm in the film, helped with the sets, and helped produce it.)
Little Theatre calendar][all ages]
This page is Jason Olshefsky's list of things to do in Rochester, NY and the surrounding region (including nearby towns Irondequoit, Webster, Penfield, Pittsford, Victor, Henrietta, Gates, Chili, Greece, and Charlotte, and occasionally other places in Monroe County and the Western New York region.) It is updated every week with daily listings for entertainment, activities, performances, movies, music, bands, comedy, improv, poetry, storytelling, lectures, discussions, debates, theater, plays, and generally fun things to do.
Music events are usually original bands with occasional cover bands and DJ's with musical styles including punk, emo, ska, swing, rock, rock-and-roll, alternative, metal, jazz, blues, noise band, experimental music, folk, acoustic, and "world-beat."
Events listed take place during the day, in the evenings, or as part of the city's nightlife as listed.
Although I'm reluctant to admit it, it is a Rochester blog and I'm essentially blogging about Rochester events.
I also tend to express opinions, review past events, make reviews, speak of philosophy or of a philosophical nature, discuss humanity and creativity.
Oh, and it's spelled JayceLand with no space and a capital L, not Jayce Land, Jaycee Land, Jace Land, Jase Land, Joyce Land, Jayce World, Jayceeland, Jaceland, Jaseland, Joyceland, Jayceworld, Jayceeworld, Jaceworld, Jaseworld, nor Joyceworld. (Now if you misspell it in some search engine, you at least get a shot at finding it.)
It's also not to be confused with
Jake's World or JakesWorld which is a site of a Rochester animator.
While I'm on the topic of keywords for search engines, this update includes information for Thursday, November 11, 2010 (Thu, Nov 11, 2010, 11/11/2010, or 11/11/10) Friday, November 12, 2010 (Fri, Nov 12, 2010, 11/12/2010, or 11/12/10) Saturday, November 13, 2010 (Sat, Nov 13, 2010, 11/13/2010, or 11/13/10) Sunday, November 14, 2010 (Sun, Nov 14, 2010, 11/14/2010, or 11/14/10) Monday, November 15, 2010 (Mon, Nov 15, 2010, 11/15/2010, or 11/15/10) Tuesday, November 16, 2010 (Tue, Nov 16, 2010, 11/16/2010, or 11/16/10) and Wednesday, November 17, 2010 (Wed, Nov 17, 2010, 11/17/2010, or 11/17/10).
indicates an event that's a preferred pick of the day ... probably something worth checking out.
indicates a "guaranteed" best bet for the particular genre of the indicated event.
links to a band's page on GarageBand.com which offers reviews and information about bands.
links to a band's page on MySpace.com which is a friend-networking site that is popular with bands.