Episode 94: Free Will

In this episode of Life, the Universe & Everything Else, Gem is joined by Donna, Ashlyn, and Ian to talk about free will, determinism, and what it means to make a choice. Also on this episode, Donna sits down with August Berkshire of Minnesota Atheists to discuss the moral implications of a world without free will. We went a little long, but don’t blame us: determinism exempts us from all ethical responsibility!

Life, the Universe & Everything Else is a program promoting secular humanism and scientific skepticism that is produced by the Winnipeg Skeptics and the Humanists, Atheists & Agnostics of Manitoba.

Note: Barium. Radioactive caesium decays into barium.

Links: Free Will: What is it? and Do we have it? (The Winnipeg Skeptics) | Free will (Wikipedia) | Phineas Gage (Wikipedia) | Unconscious cerebral initiative and the role of conscious will in voluntary action (Behavioral and Brain Sciences) | Unconscious determinants of free decisions in the human brain (Nature Neuroscience) | A Brief Defense of Free Will | Discovery of quantum vibrations in ‘microtubules’ corroborates theory of consciousness (Phys.org) | Quantum indeterminacy (Wikipedia) | Uncertainty principle (Wikipedia) | Minnesota Atheists | Freedom Evolves (Wikipedia) | Freedom Evolves by Daniel C. Dennett (Amazon.ca) | Free Will by Sam Harris | Breaking the Free Will Illusion by ‘Trick Slattery | Beyond Freedom and Dignity by B.F. Skinner (Amazon.ca) | Killing of Tim McLean (Wikipedia) | Li case exposes ugly truth about Tories (Winnipeg Free Press) | The Fallaway Slam Podcast (The only podcast that matters!)

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Episode 93: Skeptics and Social Media

In this episode of Life, the Universe & Everything Else, Ashlyn sits down with Lauren, Gem, and Laura to talk about some red flags to look out for when evaluating claims on social media and how nuance is impossible on the Internet.

Life, the Universe & Everything Else is a program promoting secular humanism and scientific skepticism that is produced by the Winnipeg Skeptics and the Humanists, Atheists & Agnostics of Manitoba.

Links: Don’t be evil (Wikipedia) | What everyone gets wrong about Charlie Hebdo and racism (Vox) | Vox got no threats for posting Charlie Hebdo cartoons, dozens for covering Islamophobia (Vox) | Answering 16 of the Worst #JeSuisCharlie #CharlieHebdo Memes | Episode 69: Québec’s Charter of Values (LUEE) | Thoughts from the Edge (YouTube) | H.I. #7: Sorry, Language Teachers (Hello Internet) | H.I. #30: Fibonacci Dog Years (Hello Internet) | If You Don't Have Anything Nice to Say, SAY IT IN ALL CAPS (This American Life) | snopes.com: Sweaters for Penguins | Australian wildlife group says stop knitting koala mittens and start making kangaroo pouches (Telegraph)

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Episode 89: Logical Fallacies, Live from SkeptiCamp!

In this episode of Life, the Universe & Everything Else, we’re recording live from SkeptiCamp Winnipeg! Gem, Ashlyn, and Lauren talk about logical fallacies and deductive reasoning, and Gem hosts a game of Name That Logical Fallacy!

Life, the Universe & Everything Else is a program promoting secular humanism and scientific skepticism that is produced by the Winnipeg Skeptics and the Humanists, Atheists & Agnostics of Manitoba.

Links: SkeptiCamp Winnipeg 2014 | The Winnipeg Skeptics | Validity (Wikipedia) | Soundness (Wikipedia) | Formal fallacy (Wikipedia) | List of fallacies (Wikipedia) | Begging the question (Wikipedia) | Begging the Question (RationalWiki) | Straw man (RationalWiki) | No True Scotsman (RationalWiki) | Argumentum ad Hominem (RationalWiki) | Poisoning the well (RationalWiki) | Appeal to antiquity (RationalWiki) | Fallacy fallacy (RationalWiki)

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Episode 87: A Middle East Primer

In this episode of Life, the Universe & Everything Else, Greg Christensen provides a bit of historical context for some of the ongoing conflicts in the Middle East.

Life, the Universe & Everything Else is a program promoting secular humanism and scientific skepticism that is produced by the Winnipeg Skeptics and the Humanists, Atheists & Agnostics of Manitoba.

Links: Bosnian Serbs Honor Assassin Who Triggered WWI (NBC News) | Ottoman Empire (Wikipedia) | Sunni Islam (Wikipedia) | Shia Islam (Wikipedia) | What Is the Difference Between Sunni and Shiite Muslims? (History News Network) | Islamic terrorism (Wikipedia) | Wahhabi movement (Wikipedia) | Israeli–Palestinian peace process (Wikipedia) | Theodor Herzl (Wikipedia) | Zionism (Wikipedia) | Land of Israel (Wikipedia) | From Dan to Beersheba (Wikipedia) | Israel (Wikipedia) | 1948 Arab–Israeli War (Wikipedia) | Christians United for Israel (Wikipedia) | Thousands of Texas Christians rally for Israel (JNS.org) | Christians to show unity with Israel at Ohio event (Toledo Blade)

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Episode 86: Interview with a Mariachi Ghost

In this episode of Life, the Universe & Everything Else, Ian James sits down for a conversation with Rafael Reyes, guitarist for local Winnipeg band The Mariachi Ghost.

Life, the Universe & Everything Else is a program promoting secular humanism and scientific skepticism presented by the Winnipeg Skeptics and the Humanists, Atheists & Agnostics of Manitoba.

Links: The Mariachi Ghost Website | The Mariachi Ghost on BandCamp | The Mariachi Ghost on Facebook | Conservative Leader Brian Pallister on “Infidel Atheists” Who “Celebrate Nothing”

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Episode 85: AllTrials and Vanessa’s Law

In this episode of Life, the Universe & Everything Else, Gem Newman and Richelle McCullough discuss Bill C-17 (“Vanessa’s Law”) and are joined by Ian Bushfield of Sense About Science’s AllTrials project to discuss the problem of publication bias.

Life, the Universe & Everything Else is a program promoting secular humanism and scientific skepticism presented by the Winnipeg Skeptics and the Humanists, Atheists & Agnostics of Manitoba.

For those curious what we were talking about near the end of the episode when we joked about white college students being the “perfect generalizable group”, we were referencing the fact that much of the research purporting to show great insight into human psychology is done on young people from western, educated, industrialized, rich, democratic societies. Psychologists are increasingly skeptical of the generalizability of these results, as these traits are hardly representative of humanity as a whole. See the links to Salon and Behavioral and Brain Sciences below for more information.

Links: The AllTrials Project | Sense About Science on Twitter | Bad Science Watch on Twitter | “Vanessa’s Law” Bill C-17 (Bad Science Watch) | Cochrane Collaboration (Wikipedia) | LUEE Episode 81: Book Reviews (with Greta Christina!) | Discrepancies between Meta-Analyses and Subsequent Large Randomized, Controlled Trials (NEJM) | I Never Meta Analysis I Really Like (Science-Based Medicine) | Cochrane Reviews: The Food Babe of Medicine? (Science-Based Medicine) | Daryl Bem’s “Feeling the Future” Controversy (Wikipedia) | Psychology Is WEIRD (Slate) | The weirdest people in the world? (Behavioral and Brain Sciences)

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Episode 84: Deepak Chopra & Dr. Oz

In this episode of Life, the Universe & Everything Else, Donna Harris, Richelle McCullough, and Laura Creek Newman discuss the scientific failings of popular spiritualist and guru Deepak Chopra and “America’s Doctor” Mehmet Oz.

Life, the Universe & Everything Else is a program promoting secular humanism and scientific skepticism presented by the Winnipeg Skeptics and the Humanists, Atheists & Agnostics of Manitoba.

Links: Deepak Chopra | Dr. Oz | Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Dr. Oz and Nutritional Supplements | What’s the Harm: Herbal Remedies | New York Times: Herbal Supplements Are Often Not What They Seem | Calgary Strep Victim’s Mother ‘Will Be Held Accountable,’ Say Police | National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Using Dietary Supplements Wisely | National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Ayurvedic Medicine | Health Canada: Natural Health Products

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