Recordings of Sunday Platform addresses
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Get hip to humanism’s history; Kyle Nienhaus

March 19, 2023

How did we get here? Join member Kyle Nienhaus as he tells the tale of the Ethical Society of St. Louis, the Ethical Culture Movement, and Humanism’s history along with Humanist movers and shakers over the years, plus a little bit of the present and the future!

Kyle is a St. Louis native and has been an Ethical Society member for a decade. He is a graduate of Berklee College of Music and has a book, “Humanist, All Too Humanist: A Nietzsche Interpretation” coming out this year.


We’re All Mad Here; Facilitated by Amy L. Miller, MSW, Interim Director

March 12, 2023

The thing is: If Alice were exploring Earth, she would reasonably observe that nearly everyone needs therapy at some point in their life, for some thing…although not everyone gets the help they need. For the “Future of Health,” we welcome a panel of Mental Health professionals from our region who represent a wide range of specializations and perspectives. Join us for a lively and informative discussion of Mental Health, generally, as well as the trends and developments in practice. The goal is to normalize seeking mental health services. And, practically speaking, this will also be an opportunity for our community members to get a feel for what services are available.


A Typical Treatment: Abortion and Medical Sexism; Jill B. Delston, PhD, Associate Teaching Professor at the University of Missouri-St. Louis

March 5, 2023

The fetus supposedly justifies overriding patient autonomy in at least some reproductive health cases. However, since the case of contraception includes the same attitudes, behaviors, and practices, but no fetus exists, we can see that sexism is the true underlying reason for the widespread abuse of patient autonomy in reproductive health.

Dr. Jill B. Delston is associate teaching professor at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. Her monograph is entitled Medical Sexism: Contraception Access, Reproductive Medicine, and Health Care (Lexington Books, 2019). Delston is the co-editor of a textbook entitled Applied Ethics: A Multicultural Approach, Eds. 5 and 6.


Creatively Caring For Ourselves and Others; Amy Miller, MSW

February 19, 2023

Given that our tagline is “Being Human, Together” it seems reasonable that our shared humanity is a worthwhile topic, generally speaking. While not specifically grounded in “the arts,” perhaps there are more creative ways to consider how we care about each other and ourselves than what we’re used to. Let’s explore the ways in which how we care for each other can help us build an ethical future that will allow all of us to thrive.


Ensuring the Future of the Arts in the Choices We Make Today; Joe Gfaller, Managing Director at St. Louis’s Metro Theater Company

February 12, 2023
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As we navigate the current COVID recovery period, the future of the arts in our community and across the globe is being shaped by two dynamic drivers: 1) dramatic shifts in habit and engagement around arts consumption and 2) the latent potential for young people today to integrate the arts into their thinking and learning to ensure a vibrant future for the arts in decades to come. The first requires creativity and agility from art-makers to ensure that new, relevant channels can continue to make art accessible and to attract art-goers to traditional channels of consumption. The second requires a commitment to invest in young people with a level of grace and respect for their collective intelligence and emotional wisdom. Combined, our communities’ success in addressing these two pressing needs will determine much of our future – not just our future in the arts, but also a future for the many gifts the arts empower: empathy, critical thinking, understanding difference, and cultivating creativity and hope.

Joe Gfaller is the Managing Director at St. Louis’s Metro Theater Company – the region’s third-oldest professional theater and the only professional theater in the region exclusively devoted to producing for youth and families. Across his career, he has held roles at the Tony Award winning Alliance Theater and American Repertory Theater, Opera Theater of Saint Louis, and 7 Stages. He has worked a consultant across a range of disciplines, including work with the documentary “Flint: The Poisoning of an American City,” the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, the Utah Symphony, and the National Blues Museum. He has directed two dozen professional stage productions, including regional premieres by Caryl Churchill, Christopher Durang, David Mamet, Addae Moon, and Michael Frayn. He is adjunct faculty in the Arts Management and Leadership program at Webster University and has previously taught at Clark Atlanta University and Berry College. He is a graduate Leadership St. Louis, LEAD Atlanta, and Harvard University.


For the Love of a Music City; Alonzo Townsend

February 5, 2023

Louise Jett, leader-in-training, speaks with St. Louis native Alonzo Townsend about his early life as the son of the late blues legend Henry Townsend, his childhood growing up in St. Louis, and his vision for the future of the St. Louis music scene. Alonzo is the youngest son of Delta blues legend and patriarch of the St. Louis blues, Henry James “Mule” Townsend and blues singer Vernell Townsend. Alonzo has made it his mission to carry on the blues heritage and become an active voice for St. Louis’ history and vibrant music scene. He is the founder of the Townsendx3 Agency which books the shows for The Dark Room and provides exposure for up-and-coming artists in our area.


Money Talks: A Frank Conversation; Amy Miller, MSW, Interim Ministry Team Director

January 29, 2023

Many people have a hard time talking about money or have money “wounds” that make it a sore subject for them. We are taught to shroud salaries in secrecy and that money “makes the world go round” but it also “can’t buy me love.” We receive endless mixed messages about money and what it means or doesn’t mean about our value as people. This Platform will be a candid conversation about money, in myriad contexts, as well as an introduction to the annual Ethical Society Pledge Drive.


The Ethics of Cryptocurrency: The Good, the Bad, Opportunities, and Vulnerabilities; Professor Keith W. Miller, PhD

January 24, 2023
Photo of gold Bitcoin

Ethics asks questions about better and worse, and about opportunities and vulnerabilities. Ethics explores intentions, duties, and expectations. Ethics praises virtue and warns against evil. When ethics looks at socio-technical systems, the technical details and human values become intertwined. Cryptocurrency (and its underlying technology, blockchain data structures) are central to several such socio-technical systems. Cryptocurrency has attracted much attention lately, both positive and negative. In this half hour, we’ll look at some of the technical details essential to cryptocurrency, and at some of the human values that have become intertwined with cryptocurrency. We will also at least mention some of the ethical theories that are being applied to help shed light on ethically significant decisions about cryptocurrency that have been made, and are likely to face us in the near future.

Keith W. Miller, PhD is UMSL’s Orthwein Professor for Lifelong Learning in the Sciences. He is a member of both the Computer Science Department and the College of Education. His primary research interests include computer ethics, technology and education, and software testing. He partners with the St. Louis Science Center and Girls’ Inc. of St. Louis. Learn more about Keith.


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Bitcoin Photo by Kanchanara on Unsplash

There Is No “E” (for ethics) in Capitalism; Beth Neff, organic farmer and urban planner

January 15, 2023

In our society, we rarely see examples of group benefit prioritized over profit. Few models of exchange place the rewards of ownership in the hands of consumers or provide workers with a chance to participate in self-governing institutions based on democratic models of decision making. Rarest of all are arrangements whereby consumers, producers, and workers act in collaboration with one another to produce advantage for all. The MARSH Cooperative is testing these ideals in the real world, attempting to activate new paradigms for the ethical replacement of capitalism.

Beth Neff is an organic farmer, urban planner, sustainability activist, writer, parent, and cooperative organizer. Her current project is MARSH, a not-for-profit organized as a cooperative laboratory for the practical investigation of relational forms of social, economic, ecological, and cultural composition. MARSH combines urban farming, a sliding-scale grocery store, a sustainable commercial kitchen, and public space in order to cultivate tactics and strategies for resilience and biocultural transformation.


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Re-learning How To “People”; Amy Miller, MSW, Interim Ministry Team Director

January 8, 2023

It has been a rough couple of years since the start of the COVID-19 crisis in 2020, and it often feels like we have forgotten how to “people.” Studies suggest that we have become less extroverted, less agreeable, less creative, and less conscientious in the past few years; we are also lonelier and less connected than ever. A new year gives us a fresh start and hope that we can come together in new as well as familiar ways. In 2023, with a new interim director, we can practice reconnecting, growing together, and building new relationships in 2023.


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