Recordings of Sunday Platform addresses
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The Neuroscience of Criminal Behavior; Carissa Philippi, PhD

June 26, 2022

Associate Professor Carissa L. Philippi will present evidence from individuals with brain injury as well as brain imaging research in prison inmates which demonstrate the role of the frontal and temporal lobes in criminal behavior. In the context of this neuroscientific research, she will discuss legal and ethical considerations regarding concepts of individual responsibility and the limitations of neuroimaging.

Carissa L. Philippi is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychological Sciences at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. She received her PhD in Neuroscience at the University of Iowa where she conducted research examining the effects of brain injury on self-perception. After finishing graduate school, Professor Philippi conducted neuroimaging research at the University of Wisconsin-Madison to investigate the brain networks underlying psychopathic traits in prison inmates. Her current research seeks to understand the neural mechanisms of maladaptive self-perception in neuropsychiatric conditions, such as depression and posttraumatic stress disorder.


Unedited Video

Are My Choices My Choices? Reflections on Free Will; Leader James Croft, EdD

June 19, 2022

If our minds are the product of matter and if matter simply obeys strict natural laws, how can we have free will at all? This is one of the greatest philosophical questions of all, and a problem which is frequently used to attack materialistic Humanism. “Of course we have free will,” critics of materialism often say, “and materialism cannot account for that, so materialism must be wrong!” Is this correct? What is the evidence that we have free will, and what are the implications if we don’t? Are our choices truly our own? Find out in this lightning-fast tour through one of the most difficult philosophical terrains of all.


Unedited Video

Striving to Live Our Values; Leader-in-Training Louise Jett

June 12, 2022

As Ethical Humanists, we strive to live our values. we are committed to ethical action and relationship building. Reciting our values and living them are two totally different things. How do we put our values into action? Which ones are hardest to implement in our daily lives? Does everyone deserve to be treated fairly and kindly? Join Leader-In-Training Louise Jett in exploring radical kindness, Humanist values and Ethical Culture.


Unedited Video

Free Speech 2022: It’s Worse Than You Think; Professor of Law Greg Magarian

May 22, 2022

Americans have never had more opportunities to express their views or greater access to information. Even so, we face an unprecedented crisis of free speech. Resource disparities and identity discrimination create deep disparities in speakers’ opportunities to reach audiences. Disinformation and the limits of human attention undermine our public discourse. Governments work overtime to suppress political protest and dissent. If the freedom of speech isn’t making our society better, then it isn’t the kind of freedom we need and deserve. To get that kind of freedom, we need to change the legal and political structures that keep failing us.



Does Ethical Culture Have a Future?; Leader James Croft, EdD

May 1, 2022

Ethical Culture is a tradition with a proud history but an uncertain future. While some Ethical Societies are strong and growing, the movement as a whole is shrinking, and it may not be long until there are only a handful of Ethical Societies left. How can we avoid this future? What do we need to change, in our home Societies and in our movement, to make Ethical Culture radical, vibrant, and growing once again?


Video (unedited)

What is Skepticon and Why Does It Matter?; Lauren Lane

April 24, 2022

Learn from the Founder and President of Skepticon Lauren Lane about how this unique conference came to be and how it continues to find success today.

Lauren Lane is the Founder and Executive Director of Skepticon, a national conference located annually in St. Louis, MO that promotes skepticism, science education and community building. She earned her BFA in drawing from Missouri State University and her MFA in Interdisciplinary Studio from The Memphis College of Art.

She currently makes art, things, and trouble in St. Louis, MO.



The Ethics of Economic Sustainability: Earth Day Celebration; John Ikerd, PhD

April 17, 2022

How can we meet the economic needs of all in the present while leaving equal or better economic opportunities for those of the future? This is the question of economic sustainability, and economic sustainability is not possible without ecological and social sustainability. There is no economic incentive for a person to do anything for the sole benefit of anyone else, and certainly not for the benefit of those of future generations. Thus, the question of economic sustainability is ultimately a question of ethics.

John Ikerd, Professor Emeritus of Agricultural Economics, was raised on a small dairy farm in southwest Missouri and received his BS, MS, and PhD degrees in agricultural economics from the University of Missouri. He worked in private industry for a time and spent thirty years in various professorial positions at four different state universities before retiring in early 2000. Since retiring, he spends most of his time writing and speaking on issues related to sustainability with an emphasis on agriculture and economics. He is the author of six books, which can be located through his website, https://johnikerd.com.


Unedited video

Freethinking: the Importance of Freedom of Thought; Leader James Croft, EdD, Leader

April 10, 2022

Article 18 of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights states: “Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion.” Freedom of thought is thus considered a foundational liberty, one of the most important freedoms which must be protected by all governments and societies. But why is freedom of thought so important, and how can we honor it in our country, our city, and our lives?


Unedited video

Stem Cells: Implications for Human Health and Animal Research; Anand Chandrasekhar, PhD

April 3, 2022

Professor Chandrasekhar will discuss the discovery of stem cells and ethical issues associated with research using embryonic stem cells. He will explain how ethical concerns related to stem cell research have receded due to the discovery of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs). The impact of iPSCs and applications on personalized/precision medicine and research using model organisms will be discussed.

Dr. Anand Chandrasekhar is a Professor of Biological Sciences at the University of Missouri in Columbia. He received undergraduate degrees in Biology and Electrical Engineering from the Birla Institute of Technology and Science in India. He received a PhD in Developmental Biology from the University of Iowa and completed a post-doctoral fellowship in Neurobiology at the University of Michigan before joining the University of Missouri. Dr. Chandrasekhar conducts research into the processes that give form and function to the brain and nervous system, and examines the consequences of defects in these processes. These studies are performed in fish and mouse embryos using histology, microscopy, genetics and biochemistry, and is supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health.


Unedited video

Doubt as the Path to Happiness, Massimo Pigliucci, PhD

March 27, 2022

The word skeptic literally means inquirer. And to inquire into things is good, right? But skepticism has a complex and much misunderstood history, from the Pyrrhonists who abstained from holding any opinion to modern scientific skeptics focused on criticizing pseudoscience. In his talk, Pigliucci will argue that skepticism can and should be a philosophy of life and a path to happiness. And there is a lot more to life and happiness than just debunking nonsense.

Massimo Pigliucci is an author, blogger, podcaster, as well as the K.D. Irani Professor of Philosophy at the City College of New York. His academic work is in evolutionary biology, philosophy of science, the nature of pseudoscience, and practical philosophy. His books include How to Be a Stoic: Using Ancient Philosophy to Live a Modern Life (Basic Books) and Nonsense on Stilts: How to Tell Science from Bunk (University of Chicago Press). His forthcoming book is The Quest for Character: What the Story of Socrates and Alcibiades Teaches Us about Our Search for Good Leaders (Basic Books). More by Massimo at https://philosophyasawayoflife.blog.


Unedited video

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