Feed Your Brain Lecture Series

Recurring Event
Recurs monthly on Sundays at 4:30 pm -
Location
Costa Mesa Community Center, 1845 Park Ave. Costa Mesa, CA 92627

Please join us at 4:30 p.m. on the third Sundays of every month for our FEED YOUR BRAIN programs.

These events feature fascinating authors, scholars, and luminaries from many fields that expand our knowledge and understanding of the world and the people who inhabit it. CFI's naturalistic approach to wisdom holds that there is no issue exempt from examination and discussion. Admission to these events is $8, or free for Friends of the Center, unless otherwise noted.

Held at the Costa Mesa Community Center
1845 Park Ave. Costa Mesa, CA 92627

1 block west of Newport and Harbor Blvd.

Please see upcoming lectures below.

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Upcoming:  

 

Ron Lindsay

The Necessity of Secularism: Why God Can't Tell Us What to Do

Sunday, Jan. 18
4:30 p.m.

CFI President and CEO Ronald A. Lindsay will be discussing his new book, The Necessity of Secularism - released last month and on sale at the talk - which argues that in a religiously pluralistic society, a robust, thoroughgoing secularism is the only reliable means of preserving public order and freedom for all.

Secularism is not just another term for the separation of church and state. Secularism implies not only a secular state but a secular society, that is, one in which religion remains in the private domain. In particular, religious precepts should have no place in public policy debates. Using them as a basis for discussing public policy effectively shuts down the conversation: you can't dispute someone's faith, and the religious precepts are relevant only to those who already accept them. The claim that we need to consider religion in connection with public policies that have moral implications assumes morality is based on religion, and Lindsay's book decisively refutes this claim.

The Necessity of Secularism shows how secularism works to everyone's benefit and makes the definitive case that the secular model should be feared by none - and embraced by all.

Lindsay received his Ph.D. in philosophy from Georgetown University and his J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law. The Necessity of Secularism: Why God Can't Tell Us What to Do is his second book. His first book, Future Bioethics: Overcoming Taboos, Myths, and Dogmas, was published by Prometheus Books in 2008. 

Admission

Contributing members: Free
Public: $8
Students: $4

 

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Special Darwin Day Lecture

PZ Myers

Bad Biology: How Adaptationist Thinking Corrupts Science

Sunday, Feb. 15
4:30 p.m.

In 1979, Gould and Lewontin published an important paper, "The Spandrels of San Marco and the Panglossian Paradigm: A Critique of the Adaptationist Programme", in which they deplored the narrow focus on seeing evolution as only a process of adaptation. They further criticized the field of evolutionary biology for perpetuating this pattern of flawed thinking.

Biologist PZ Myers bemoans that their warnings have gone unheeded in some biological sub-disciplines. He'll be discussing a few examples of bad evolutionary biology, including the "human biodiversity" movement that is little more than a collection of pseudoscientific rationalizations for racism; evolutionary psychology, which seeks to explain modern human biology with imaginary scenarios of adaptive constraints from 10,000 years ago; and the ENCODE project, which was an obvious and overt exercise in adaptive bias applied to genomic data. A common thread among these examples is an excessive reliance on adaptationist thinking and a lack of appreciation of the diversity of mechanisms underlying our evolutionary history.

Myers, a biologist at the University of Minnesota Morris, specializes in undergraduate education, and evolutionary and developmental biology. He is the founder and co-author of the Pharyngula science blog abd tge author of the book The Happy Atheist. Myers received his doctorate in biology at the University of Oregon. His motto is "Everything is the way it is because it got that way" ...that you can't understand the state of anything without comprehending the processes that led to it. 

Admission
Contributing members: Free
Public: $8
Students: $4

 

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Douglas E. Hill

Pyramid Schemes, Multi-Level Marketing, and Ponzi Schemes

Sunday, March 15
4:30 p.m.

Pyramid schemes offer the appeal of rapidly getting a lot of other people making money for you. Cash-only pyramid schemes are illegal. Multi-level marketing has the same appeal, but also involves selling a product, and seems to be legal. In a Ponzi scheme, the pyramid structure is hidden by a cover story. In a lecture that he gives to his logic and critical thinking students, Douglas E. Hill will discuss the appeal and problems of these schemes. He is often shocked to hear some of the dubious tactics used to recruit for these, and he hopes that attendees will share their experiences with these common scams.

Douglas E. Hill has a bachelor's degree in Math/Computer Science from the College of Idaho, a master's in Biomathematics from UCLA, and a Ph.D. from the department of Logic and Philosophy of Science at the University of California, Irvine, where the title of his dissertation was "Reputation in a world of errors and corruption." He currently teaches Philosophy at Saddleback College and Golden West College.

Admission
Contributing members: Free
Public: $8
Students: $4