Recordings of Sunday Platform addresses
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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

Mill Creek: An Erased Community, Vivian Gibson

March 20, 2022

Vivian Gibson will discuss her best-selling memoir The Last Children of Mill Creek that chronicles the triumphs and daily struggles of her large family. You’ll hear about the friends, shop owners, church ladies and teachers who made Mill Creek into a tight-knit African American Community. In 1959, Mill Creek, a segregated working-class neighborhood in St. Louis was razed to build The Daniel Boone Expressway, an act of racism disguised as “urban renewal.”

Vivian Gibson was raised on Bernard Street in Mill Creek Valley and has lived in New York City and Liberia. She started writing short stories about her childhood memories after retiring at age sixty-six. Her work has been produced as part of 50in50: Writing Women into Existence, at the Billie Holliday Theater in Brooklyn, and published in The St. Louis Anthology (Belt Publishing, 2019). She is the 2020 winner of the Missouri Humanities Literary Achievement Award. Gibson lives in St. Louis.

Edited audio:

Full video:

The Invasion of Ukraine: Lessons from History, Prof. Krister Knapp

March 13, 2022

The invasion of Ukraine by Russia has swiftly become the largest armed conflict in Europe since World War II. Thousands of civilians have been killed, and more than a million refugees displaced. What can we learn from the history of armed conflict in Europe to determine how we might respond to this new crisis?

In this special Platform, Ethical Society Leader James Croft will be joined by Prof. Krister Knapp of Washington University, a specialist in the history of crisis and conflict, for a discussion of the invasion of Ukraine and what it means for the US and for the world.


  • The history of the war.
  • The causes of this war.
  • The role of the US in responding to the war.
  • Historical parallels we might draw between the current crisis and others, such as World War II.

Watch the video on YouTube.

Facilitating Mixed-race Discussions, Tabari Coleman, MPA

February 27, 2022

An exploration into how our commutes and other daily decisions contribute to prejudice and marginalization of Black people throughout the St. Louis region.

Tabari A. Coleman, MPA is a training consultant and social justice advocate known for his thoughtful but direct approach in facilitating dialogue sessions that focus on building empathy. With more than 19 years of experience in diversity and inclusion training and social justice work, he brings a wealth of knowledge, passion and expertise to his work. He worked for the Anti-Defamation League for 13 years as the education director and national director of Professional Development. He left in 2021 to start his own consulting company, The Coleman Group, LLC. He travels nationally and internationally delivering training programs, workshops and giving presentations. He is a doctoral candidate at the University of Missouri-St Louis where he is applying his practical knowledge and experiences in the Social Justice in Education, Ed.D program.

The Rise of Global Authoritarianism, The Annual Pacino Lecture Fund, Sarah Kendzior, PhD

February 20, 2022

Local author Sarah Kendzior, the author of “Hiding in Plain Sight” and “The View from Flyover Country,” will explore the rise of autocracy, paying particular attention to Missouri as the bellwether of American decline.

Her talk will examine the causes of rising autocracy – decades-long institutional rot, entrenched corruption, elite criminal impunity, digital media silos full of propaganda, and the embrace of groupthink and cults that tends to thrive in unstable times – and offer potential solutions to our ongoing crises.

“Sarah Kendzior is a modern-day prophet,” said Ethical Society of St. Louis Leader James Croft. “Her writing on American politics and culture is searingly honest, deeply thoughtful, and profoundly wise. At a time when truly dangerous forces are twisting American politics, we need voices like Kendzior’s to wake us up and get us to act.”

Kendzior will illustrate how Missouri has served as a petri dish for the end of the American experiment, a place where dirty dark money operatives test out their worst ideas on an innocent populace. But because Missouri has borne the brunt of these tactics early, she believes it may be better prepared to fight for the American future.

“While some might be put off by her diagnoses, we need to be honest about the challenges we face as a nation if we are to overcome them,” Croft said. “That honesty is what Sarah Kendzior offers, and that is why we are so delighted to have her join us for the Ethical Society of St. Louis’ annual Pacino Lecture. The Pacino Lecture is offered in memory of Nick Pacino, a member of the Ethical Society who was passionate about thought-provoking and timely ideas, and Kendzior is a perfect speaker to honor his memory.”

The Great refriending, Casey Rosengren

February 13, 2022

Casey is an entrepreneur, community builder focusing on spirituality for the secular world. He is the creator of Open Div Summit a 4-day “pod-conference” around spirituality, meaning, and connection in the secular world and previously ran one of the first travel communities for digital nomads. In addition to his own projects, he coaches entrepreneurs and leaders on how to create cultures of engagement and meaning..

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