At the 2013 Electric Universe Conference in Albuquerque, there was a talk by James Sorensen. He was supporting the pronouncements of the late Halton Arp in being critical of the scientific consensus of the Big Bang Theory.
I like mavericks, and not just because trainees sometimes describe me as one. I warm to those who plough their own furrow and spurn the knee-jerk following of the flock.
Sorensen begins with an amalgam of laying-out his stall mixed in with a bit of ethos – or rather, lack of it. He isn’t a scientist: he wasn’t even a particularly good student: he has read a lot of books. Sorensen’s ethos is that of a maverick. One of the books that strongly influenced him was Worlds in Collision by Immanuel Velikovsky. This is turning into a mavericks’ convention.
Sorensen is a member of Toastmasters. He tells us so just before the turn of the 8-minute mark.
I am often asked about Toastmasters, and my opinion of it. I have no real answer. I have seen some good speakers and some bad speakers emerge from their membership. I simply don’t know how much the quality of their clubs varies. I don’t know whether there is any real tuition and if so by whom. I understand that much of the members’ speaking development comes through simply getting up and doing it. That is certainly a start, but it’s only a start.
Once when I was driving I heard a radio interview with some bigwig from a Toastmasters club. He was holding forth about one of their impromptu speaking tests, and was invited to give a demonstration. He was ghastly! He was so bad that I had to pull into the side, stop, and bury my head in my hands. What was worst about it was that I knew I could improve him immeasurably in one minute with one tiny hint. Back to Sorensen.
Sorensen’s speaking could easily be improved because already he has a very good, relaxed relationship with his audience – which could easily have been given him by Toastmasters. He has yet to decide whether or not he needs that script on the lectern. He doesn’t: every serious stumble comes when he is reading. He has some nifty technology for his visuals, but he over-uses it. His material needs structure – tighter structure. That would make his presentations more digestible.
I suggest that, unless you are rabidly interested in his subject matter, this presentation is actually rather soporific.