St. Paul Chapter October Meeting

“The Illusion that Free Will is not an Illusion”

August Berkshire will discuss the ramifications of a natural universe without gods or free will, in which evolution shapes our thoughts and actions.  Is life worth living?  Can we avoid fatalism?  What does this say about ethics, cooperation, altruism, responsibility, justice, revenge, punishment, rehabilitation, praise, blame, hate, and love?  Should we be optimistic or pessimistic about the future?

August Berkshire is a past president of Minnesota Atheists, a past vice president of Atheist Alliance International, and is on the speakers bureau for the Secular Student Alliance.  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.”

Presentation alone (coffee is provided) is $3.  With the buffet breakfast, the cost is $12.


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  • August B.

    Thanks for inviting me to speak; I couldn't help but have a great time! After I got home, I found this article:

    “Why you don't really have free will” by Jerry A. Coyne

    http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/opinion/forum/story/2012-01-01/free-will-science-religion/52317624/1

    I pretty much agree with everything he writes, except in the last paragraph where he states: "…things like consciousness, free choice, and even the idea of 'me' are but convincing illusions fashioned by natural selection."

    I agree that free will is an illusion and that the "self" may be an illusion as well, but I don't see how consciousness could be an illusion.

    October 6, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    I'm glad to see an event like this.

    October 5, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Dear All,

    This is my very first meeting. Would Someone explain what is expected from me as a first-timer

    Thanks,
    Mohamed Sarwat
    Twitter: @MoSarwat

    October 3, 2013

    • George K.

      Nothing at all! From 10:00 - 10:30 is socializing. A breakfast buffet is available in the restaurant, but eat in our room. The presentation will begin at 10:30, followed by "Table Talk," a directed critical thinking discussion. The we come back together for table reports and a Q&A session. If you had breakfast, leave $12. If not, leave $3. At that point, you are a member of the Critical Thinking Club!

      1 · October 3, 2013

  • George K.

    Just as last yeara, this Sunday's meeting will compete with the St. Paul marathon. Parking may be in short supply, b8ut should start opening up around 10:00. Car pool if you can, but you may have to park in the Sears lot.

    September 30, 2013

  • Vaughn K.

    I believe Immanuel Kant made a very astute observation re this issue: "A being which cannot act except under the conception of his own freedom is really free in a practical respect." In other words, it is impossible for us to have the metaphysical insight to know whether we are really free or not, but if we cannot act unless we believe ourselves to be free then we may assume (as an operating assumption) that we are. Something to begin a conversation, yes?

    September 15, 2013

  • Dick S.

    Gone fishing, again.

    September 14, 2013

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