Recordings of Sunday Platform addresses
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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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Rekindling Communally-Bonded Schools to Improve Black Students’ Educational Experiences; Jerome Morris, PhD

December 11, 2022

This talk unveils the historical and theoretical background of powerful African-American school communities, illustrates how social and educational policies weakened these relationships, and provides strategies that rebuild the relationships that contemporary Black students have with their schools and communities.

Dr. Jerome E. Morris is the E. Desmond Lee Endowed Professor of Urban Education and the Founder and Director of the Center for Communally Bonded Research at the University of Missouri-St. Louis (UMSL). Morris’ interdisciplinary and empirically-based scholarship examines the institutional structure and culture in schools, provides innovative conceptual frameworks to study marginalized communities, and cultivates meaningful partnerships with communities and schools. The nexus of race, social class, and the geography of educational opportunity represents a major theme of his scholarship. Morris has been in the forefront of highlighting the centrality of the U.S. South in African-Americans’ experiences, examining achievement-gap issues, and rebuilding viable urban communities and schools. He was recently awarded the prestigious Lyle M. Spencer Research Award from the Spencer Foundation to investigate the development of his theory of Communally-bonded Schooling. Dr. Morris is the author of Troubling the Waters: Fulfilling the Promise of Quality Public Schooling for Black Children (Teachers College Press), and The Joys and Pains of Central City: Black Community and School-life in a Birmingham Housing Project (forthcoming, University of Georgia Press). An award-winning researcher, Morris has published extensively in leading research journals such as the American Educational Research Journal, Teachers College Record, Educational Researcher, Review of Research in Education, Anthropology and Education Quarterly, Educational Policy, and Urban Education.


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The Future of Ugandan Humanist Education; Educator and Member Krystal White

December 6, 2022

The Ugandan students and schools the Ethical Society supports are full of strength, resilience, and hope, and member Krystal White experienced that positive energy firsthand this summer on her month-long journey visiting the students and teaching at their schools. ​Come learn about the recent developments at the Uganda Humanist Schools and leave inspired by the schools’ promising future.

Note: The Ethical Society community currently supports 33 female high-school students with full boarding scholarships ($500/yr) and provides reusable menstrual supplies for all menstruating students in the primary and secondary schools. If you would like to make a donation to benefit the schools and you cannot attend the platform, please contact Krystal White at krystalsnowhite@gmail.com or Nancy Jelinek at njelinek@ethicalstl.org.


Unedited Video

Entangled Empathy – Exploring our Relationships with Animals; Lori Gruen, PhD

November 27, 2022

How should we think about our relationships with other animals? Entangled Empathy is one way to both motivate and improve those relationships. This presentation by Leading Scholar in Animal Studies and Feminist Philosophy Lori Gruen will describe what entangled empathy is and why it is a valuable perspective.

Lori Gruen is a leading scholar in Animal Studies and Feminist Philosophy. She is the author and editor of over a dozen books, including most recently Carceral Logics (Cambridge, 2022) co-edited with Justin Marceau and Animal Crisis (Polity, 2022) co-authored with Alice Crary. Gruen’s work in practical ethics and political philosophy focuses on issues that impact those often overlooked in traditional ethical investigations, e.g. women, people of color, incarcerated people, and non-human animals. Gruen has documented the history of The First 100 chimpanzees in research in the US and has an evolving website that documents the journey to sanctuary of the remaining chimpanzees in research labs, The Last 1000.


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Live Long and Prosper; James Croft, EdD, Leader

November 20, 2022

James has spent eight years at the Ethical Society of St. Louis: one year as an Ethical Culture leader-in-training; four years as the Society’s outreach director and second leader; and three years as senior leader. In this, his final Platform address, he will offer his reflections on eight years of service, thank the Society’s members and friends for the welcome they extended, and think about the future of Humanism.


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The Virtue of Vulnerability; Nadya Dutchin, American Humanist Association Executive Director

November 13, 2022

In this digital age, the world seems smaller and more accessible, but we seem to be more distant from one another on a personal level. Add to this the required isolation from COVID times and we are left with a pained awkwardness as we try to re-engage with society and one another. This leaves us with a unique opportunity to reset and create genuine connections. But this requires us to be vulnerable with one another as a reminder of our full humanity.

Nadya Dutchin is the executive director of the American Humanist Association with more than 10 years of community engagement, strategic partnership, youth program development, multi-method fundraising, and change management experience. She is new to the humanist movement and is working to transform the AHA and humanist movement into one that focuses on protecting civil rights and building a more youthful and vibrant humanist community. She currently serves as the Board president of Our Climate for Education. Nadya is of Guyanese descent and a proud alumna of Florida A&M University where she studied Molecular and Cellular Biology.



Cosmic Skeptic; Alex O’Connor

November 6, 2022

Alex J. O’Connor is the founder of the Cosmic Skeptic YouTube channel, podcast and blog, platforms dedicated to the publication of philosophical ideas and debates in an accessible format. A recent graduate of philosophy and theology from St. John’s College, Oxford University, Alex is an international public speaker and debater, having delivered addresses across multiple continents at conferences, universities, and local drinking groups, as well as debated ethics, religion, and politics with a number of high-profile opponents before college audiences, on radio talk shows and on national television.


Unedited Video

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