Thanks to the Nebraska Citizen Science Forum for hosting my (online) talk about Mind Parasites and Mental Immune Systems. Great questions from the audience!
Join me and some of Pittsburgh's freethinkers as we discuss interesting aspects of the human condition. We meet at 7 pm on the first Thursday of each month. Join us, and bring a beverage!
In this talk, I previewed my forthcoming book about how we can boost our immunity to bad ideas. Sponsored by the Pittsburgh Freethought Community and held on May 13th, 2020.
I delivered this talk at the American Humanist Association's 2019 annual conference. It was held at Carnegie Mellon University, and live-streamed worldwide.
In this 2018 symposium in Free Inquiry magazine, Yuval Noah Harari and I defend competing views of humanism and its historical legacy.
As part of Carnegie Mellon University's 2017 Sagan Fest, I got to present our Carl Sagan Award to Richard Dawkins. We then discussed some of the philosophical issues raised by his work. Among other things, I invited him to explain his (largely overlooked) "Atheists for Jesus" essay!
In this talk at The Forum, I made the case that bad ideas are cultural "malware." Of course, cultures have immune systems that protect them, to one or another degree, from bad ideas. Unfortunately, these systems can be subverted by ideologies. Fortunately, we can learn to strengthen them against failure.
In this 2015 talk to the American Humanist Association, I argue that our answers to the question 'What matters?' need to be solidly science-based. More generally, something can only matter by making a real, causal difference for sentient beings.
In 2013, I got to give a talk at Harvard University about the 'Spirit of the Game' - the ethic of sportsmanship that pervades the sport of Ultimate frisbee - and how it changes the people who play it.
I gave this talk at Pittsburgh's Carnegie Science Center in roughly 2010. In it, I surveyed findings from evolutionary psychology, game theory, and ethology (the science of animal behavior). It was fun!
Pittsburgh's First Unitarian Church has a Sunday morning 'Forum' for presenting and discussing ideas. The organizers have afforded me multiple opportunities to speak with their wonderful community of inquiry.
This invited talk allowed me to share my (nonbeliever's) views about the afterlife with a delightful crowd of devout Catholics at St. Vincent College. Part of a series on Aging and Spirituality.
In this 2019 event at Carnegie Mellon University, I offered a humanist's point of view on faith. My counterpart was Professor of Biology David Lahti, who offered a Christian point of view. Sponsored by my friends at the Veritas Forum.
In this 2018 talk at The Evolution Institute, I argued that minds and cultures have immune systems, and something comparable to HIV is actively compromising our nation's immunity to destructive ideas.
Shortly after the horrific terrorist attacks on Paris, France, I published this op-ed in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. In it, I diagnose the root causes of violent extremism, and offer a solution. The piece was later picked up and reprinted by Free Inquiry magazine.
This event featured a Christian and a humanist modeling interfaith dialogue before a sizable audience at a local (Pittsburgh) church. I presented a humanist point of view, and tried to show why faith tends to become an obstacle to a genuine meeting of the minds.
This public lecture at Carnegie Mellon University in 2012 kicked off the University's eight year Humanism Initiative. (I still direct it.) My talk, titled "Out Your Doubt!" encouraged humanists and freethinkers to come out of the closet, and take pride in their secular values.
Way back in 1995, SUNY Oswego asked me to deliver their annual Warren Steinkraus Lecture on Human Ideals. I gave a paper titled "Teaching Wisdom."
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