Promoting ‘the free and responsible search for truth and meaning,’ Crackerbarrel is UCE’s long-running Sunday morning discussion forum. Topics are suggested and discussions are facilitated by members of the group. Meets Sunday mornings. Contact: Scot Campbell, Gordon Mallett.

Sunday, April 9 – “Blueprint for Revolution”
Armed with only a hammy sense of humor and the goal of toppling dictator Slobodan Milosevic, Popovic contributed to the autocrat’s ousting in 2000. Throughout the book, Popovic weaves in bits of his own experience leading Otpor! In Serbia and later as a founder of CANVAS (Centre for Applied Nonviolent Action and Strategies), helming training sessions in Otpor! Methodology to burgeoning dissident groups from Egypt, the Maldives and Syria. Popovic’s penchant for absurdity and troublemaking is balanced by his criteria for effectiveness. Could Popovic’s approach be useful in today’s contentious time? Discussion Leader: Jim Kepler

Sunday, April 16 – “Why Facts Don’t Change Our Minds”
Elizabeth Colbert’s New Yorker article tries to explain why people are often totally irrational (that includes you, not just the other guy) and once formed, why impressions are remarkably perseverant. Facts are facts but are selected to fit into one’s preferred narrative, not dispassionate truth. The article takes an evolutionary perspective and suggests that reason evolved to help humans cooperate in large groups, not to enable us to solve abstract, logical problems that we often confront in a modern society. What is the best way for us to incorporate our rational knowledge of our own irrationality into human institutions? Discussion Leader: Suzanne Hess & Scot Campbell

Sunday, April 23 – “Accessibility and Hearing at UCE”

Sunday, April 30 – “Identical Twin Studies”
A number of identical twins have been adopted from China, and reared in separate environments, often in different countries. This is among the most recent work on twins following the groundbreaking Minnesota twin studies in 1979 to 1999. The studies point broadly to the same conclusions, with 70% of the variance in intelligence being attributed to genes, and about 50% of religiosity, happiness and well-being. We will also discuss some of the other types of studies as to the impact of environment and heredity on life outcomes. Discussion Leader: Scot Campbell & Gordon and/or Grant Mallet, (they are interchangeable)

Sunday, May 9 – “Rules”
Have you ever thought about how changing the rules of a game can change how you play? We will look at this phenomenon from several perspectives, from silly to serious, and end up with a discussion of how changing some of the rules of our democracy might change how our politicians behave. Discussion Leader: Robb Geiger