Bucket Course October 11 & 25 “BS and How to Recognize It” and “BS and How to Avoid Stepping In It”


On October 11 and 25, Dr. James R. Paulson presents a pair of Bucket Courses titled “BS and How to Recognize It” and “BS and How to Avoid Stepping In It”.  The talks, held in the Caulkins Room at the Drake Community Library, run from 10:00-11:30 am both Wednesdays.

Bucket Courses are open to everyone in the community; no preregistration or fee is required. Donations toward refreshments are welcome.

Dr. Paulson uses philosopher Harry G. Frankfurt’s short book On Bullshit as a jumping off point.  Paulson says, “We now live in a world that pays increasing attention and credence to ‘fake news’, social media opinions, and a myriad of ‘conspiracy theories’ from politics to pseudoscience.  Reliance on scientific reasoning, skepticism, and good old-fashioned critical thinking seem to be in a dramatic decline.”

In the first lecture on October 11, Paulson will address why the identification of BS is so important and how it can be harmful and even dangerous.  The second lecture, on October 25, will cover how to better detect BS and deal with those who spread it.  Paulson’s goal is to help people become better BS detectors and to learn strategies to communicate effectively with others without spreading BS ourselves.

Dr. J.R. Paulson is a recently-retired family practitioner.  He served as hospice medical director in the Grinnell area for more than thirty years and is an advocate for accessible mental health care.  Paulson created the Grinnell Area Mental Health Consortium-JPK which enables individuals to access mental health care regardless of ability to pay. He majored in philosophy at the University of Michigan, and earned a master’s degree there in science and education.  After working as an elementary and high school teacher for four years, he entered medical school and received his MD from Michigan State University.  He has worked and lived in Grinnell since 1981.

Bucket Courses are sponsored by Grinnell’s Community Education Cooperative whose members include UnityPoint Health Grinnell, Grinnell College, Drake Community Library, Grinnell-Newburg Community School District, Grinnell Area Arts Council, Mayflower Community, Grinnell Education Partnership, Read to Lead, and Iowa Valley Community College. Videos of previous Bucket Courses are available on the YouTube channel Grinnell Community Education Cooperative.


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