Join the Prometheum Foundation’s Steve Bowling for an evening of lively discussion and debate at the Westport Library. This month’s topic: In a free society, should government stop, limit, warn against, and/or punish the spread of “misinformation”?
Questions to keep in mind as you prepare: Do we as a society need to guard against misinformation?; If so, what types of misinformation need we guard against?; Should our government be involved? Does it have the authority?; Who defines misinformation? Who decides what and whom?; What, if any, criteria should be used? Would the same rules apply to a foreign source as to a domestic source? To political speech as to commercial speech? In times of war as in times of peace?; Would a “solution” become more consequential than the “problem”?; How should we guard against misinformation?
The Franklin Forum is based on a simple premise-Democracy Demands Discussion, Discourse, and Debate. A representative democracy needs citizens who discuss and evaluate issues and vote with an educated opinion. Unfortunately, the climate of political discussion today is prohibitive, often degenerating into name calling. Discourse has become coarse. The Franklin Forum changes that dynamic. Participants are placed in the arena of public debate; allowing them to test their opinions, hear opposing views, and debate current issues. The Forum creates a unique equality among the participants, regardless of age, position, or status - all opinions are equal. There are no titles used so no one has an advantage, everyone is called by their first name. Each person must stand on the merits of their reasoning and how their opinion is viewed, explained and defended. This is not a formal debate; you can re-evaluate, change your mind or stick to your opinion. The Franklin Forum helps people engage and allows them to disagree and still be agreeable.
Stephen G. Bowling has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from Brandeis University. He is an entrepreneur who has worked on, and holds several U.S. Patents. He heads The Prometheum Foundation, a non-profit philosophical organization that helps teach students critical and analytical thinking, freedom of thought, and entrance into the marketplace of ideas.
He moderates discussions and debates of all types. He has been conducting the Franklin Forum high school programs for over 15 years. This Forum places students in the arena of public debate in which they are obliged to think about issues and public policy. It allows them to test their opinions, hear opposing views, and debate current issues, all in a setting with a free and open exchange of ideas. The Forum teaches civility in civil discourse; the ability to disagree and still be agreeable even in a passionate exchange of views. Students develop self-confidence, self-esteem, respect for the opinion of others and the ability to effectively communicate their views.
Steve is also an author of children's books. Steve has a passion for writing. He says, “I want to create children’s books that are fun to read and instill fond childhood memories. I write to help children learn to read, and to encourage a lifelong habit and love of reading.” You can learn more about him at his website.