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 88: Experimenting on Your Thoughts

In this extended round-table episode of Life, the Universe & Everything Else, Gem is joined by Ashlyn, Ian, and Laura to discuss thought experiments that range from the classical to the incomprehensible to the downright bizarre.

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.

Announcement: We’re going monthly! That means you’ll get podcasts half as often, but we’ll make the podcasts twice as awesome to make up for it!

Note: If any of our listeners are concerned about information hazards and wish to skip over the discussion of Roko’s Basilisk, the content in question begins at the 1h24m mark and ends at 1h35m46s.

Links: Thought experiment (Wikipedia) | The Drowning Child | The Life You Can Save (Wikipedia) | Charity Reviews and Recommendations (GiveWell) | Foundation Beyond Belief | Prisoner’s dilemma (Wikipedia) | Ship of Theseus (Wikipedia) | Children prefer certain individuals over perfect duplicates (ScienceDirect) | Original Position (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy) | Original position (Wikipedia) | Timeless Decision Theory | Newcomb’s paradox (Wikipedia) | Newcomb’s problem (LessWrong Wiki) | Roko’s Basilisk (r/Futurology) | Streisand effect (Wikipedia) | Thought Experiment (Futility Closet)

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SkeptiCamp Winnipeg: Do Human Rights Exist?

Embedded below is Brendan Curran-Johnson’s talk from SkeptiCamp Winnipeg 2013. Brendan Curran-Johnson spent his youth finding loopholes in his parents’ rules. The resulting skills (a love of logic, semantics, and learning) led him to programming, and to pursue a Master’s degree at the University of Manitoba.

SkeptiCamp Winnipeg is a conference for the sharing of ideas. It is free and open to the public: anyone can attend and participate! Presentations and discussions focus on science and free inquiry, and the audience is encouraged to challenge presenters to defend their ideas. You can visit our SkeptiCamp page for information about upcoming events and links to past SkeptiCamp talks.

SkeptiCamp Winnipeg 2012: Morals vs. Ethics

On Saturday, 29 September 2012, the Winnipeg Skeptics held their third annual SkeptiCamp event. SkeptiCamp Winnipeg is a conference for the sharing of ideas. It is free and open to the public: anyone can attend and participate! Presentations and discussions focus on science and free inquiry, and the audience is encouraged to challenge presenters to defend their ideas.

Mike Innes is a geek gone wrong. He has a tan, he can throw and catch a ball, and he looks you in the eye when he’s talking to you (some of the time). He’s also a disgruntled IT worker for a local insurance company, armchair philosopher, and self-proclaimed face-melter of Internet trolls.

SkeptiCamp is an open conference celebrating science and critical thinking. For more information please visit SkeptiCamp.org.