Two talks to attend: Portland and Minneapolis

May 13, 2014 • 8:35 am

As a courtesy to readers in the Midwest or Pacific Northwest, I’ll announce two upcoming talks, one on free will and the other on the failures of faith.

The first is near Minneapolis, and is this coming Sunday:

Presented by August Berkshire
Sunday, May 18, 2014, Roseville Library (near Minneapolis)
Program starts at 2 pm and is free and open to the public

“The Illusion of Free Will and its Impact on Moral Responsibility”

The question of whether or not we have free will has been debated for thousands of years. What affects do determinism, indeterminism, and randomness have on free will? What are the obstacles to perceiving free will as an illusion?

If free will is an illusion, what does this say about praise, blame, responsibility, ethics, justice, revenge, punishment, rehabilitation, cooperation, and altruism? Is life worth living? Should we be optimistic or pessimistic about the future?

Our speaker, August Berkshire, will discuss the ramifications of a natural universe without gods or free will, in which evolution shapes our thoughts and actions. He will conclude that it’s a good thing that we don’t have free will!

August Berkshire is a past president of Minnesota Atheists and a past vice president of Atheist Alliance International. He has been an atheist activist since 1984 and is the author of numerous pamphlets. He is the owner of the ATHEIST car license plate for Minnesota and is proud to be listed in the reference book “Who’s Who in Hell.” His following the trail of reason and evidence has led him to the conclusion that neither gods nor free will exist, and that we can live happy, fulfilled lives without either one.

The second is a week from tomorrow in Portland. Note the use of Professor Ceiling Cat’s trademark in its description:

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7 thoughts on “Two talks to attend: Portland and Minneapolis

  1. I’d love to hear Peter Boghossian. His “Manual for Creating Atheists” was great. He sounds like a real scrapper.

    1. There are Boghossian appearance videos available on youtube, many filmed at PSU where he is a faculty member. These often include a post-lecture live Q&A. He is scrappy but in a most disarming way, imo similar in style to Sean Carroll. PB has the ability to clearly expose every false facet of a lame argument while avoiding introducing even a hint of personal disparagement toward its proponent.

  2. Boghossian: “In religious contexts, the term faith is used when one assigns a higher confidence value to a belief than is warranted by the evidence…

    The term “faith” has multiple meanings, but yes that is one. In a dialog I had with a Christian, he expressed discomfort at this use of the term, but he failed to fulfill my repeated request to come up with a different term that means the same thing.

    1. That’s a point that Boghossian makes (and Orwell before him) that when you speak clearly, some things sound absurd that didn’t previously.

      1. Yep. Though Orwell might have phrased it in the negative form – when you don’t speak clearly, absurd things sometimes sound reasonable.

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