Brain Lectures in Costa Mesa:
County Feed Your Brain Lectures are held at the Costa Mesa
Community Center at 1845 Park Ave., Costa Mesa.
Shadows of Science: Pseudoscience and Its Refutation
Pseudoscience is everywhere, lurking in the shadows of real science. It pretends to be science and uses some of the same language, but betrays itself with an absence of scientific methodology, grandiose claims, a direct appeal to the public, reliance on testimonials, and lack of any connection to published scientific research. Antiscience, a direct hostility to science or at least to unwelcome scientific findings, has several especially pernicious strains in today's public discourse (e.g., antievolution and climate science denial). Both pseudoscience and antiscience confuse the public and impede scientific progress.
Kendrick Frazier, the longtime editor of Skeptical Inquirer magazine, will survey examples of pseudoscience and antiscience, past and present, and chronicle some of scientists' and skeptics' efforts to counter or expose it.
He is the author or editor of 10 books, most recently the SI anthology Science Under Siege, and is a former editor of Science News and a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He is a member of the Executive Council of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry (formerly CSICOP) and a member of the Board of Directors of the Center for Inquiy.
Blasphemy and the Threat to Free Speech
Many westerners first realized the dangers of being accused of blasphemy or "insulting religion" in the Muslim world when the late Ayatollah Khomeini issued a fatwa calling for the death of the novelist Salman Rushdie. Currently, accusations of "blasphemy," "apostasy," or "insulting Islam" are increasingly used by authoritarian governments and extremist forces in the Muslim world to acquire and consolidate power. These accusations, which traditionally carry the death penalty, intimidate not only converts and heterodox groups, but also political and religious reformers. Victims, who are now in the millions, include political dissidents, religious reformers, journalists, writers, artists, movie makers, and religious minorities throughout the world.
Author Paul Marshall will talk not only about the impact of those Muslim accusations but also the repressive effects of these restrictions (usually called anti-"hate speech" or "discriminatory speech") by many Western governments. However, they are de facto blasphemy laws in the West and threaten to stifle commentary on and within Islam and other religions.
Marshall is a Senior Fellow at the Hudson Institute's Center for Religious Freedom and the author and editor of more than 20 books on religion and politics (especially religious freedom), including most recently, Silenced: How Apostasy and Blasphemy Codes Are Choking Freedom Worldwide (with Nina Shea), Blind Spot: When Journalists Don't Get Religion, and Religious Freedom in the World. He is the author of several hundred articles, and his writings have been translated into many languages. He is a frequent lecturer and TV commentator. His work has been published in many newspapers and magazines, including the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, New Republic, and the Weekly Standard.
The Argument for the Resurrection of Jesus - A New "Double-Edged" Critique
Resurrectionists such as as William Lane Craig and Mike Licona level a series of charges against skeptics who reject the Resurrection, saying they presuppose the non-existence of God and the impossibility of the supernatural; falsely assume the relevance of science to the Resurrection; ignore the total evidence for the Resurrection, including so-called religio-historical context; and offer no plausible alternative explanation for the alleged facts of Easter, such as the empty tomb and postmortem appearances of the Risen Jesus.
Robert Greg Cavin, professor of philosophy at Cypress College, will refute these charges, showing that it is the Resurrection theory rather than its naturalistic rivals that has an astronomically low probability and that the theory is incapable of explaining the alleged facts of Easter.
Cavin, who received his M.A. in Theology from Fuller Theological Seminary and his Ph.D. in Philosophy from UC-Irvine, teaches classes in the Philosophy of Religion and Jesus and His Interpreters. His research specialty is the Bayesian epistemology of miracles and the Resurrection of Jesus. He is the co-author of The Doubting Thomas Guide to Logic and Religion and several articles on the Resurrection of Jesus and miracles. Cavin has debated a number of leading Christian philosophers, including Craig, Licona, and Douglas Geivett.
For the next meeting date, see calendar of events here or on the right hand column of this page.
Freethinkers, skeptics, humanists, atheists, agnostics, pagans, and all other non-believers and inquiring minds are once again meeting for dinner and social discourse!
For meeting locations, and to get monthly emails with locations and other details, please contact Dave Richards at: david[at]iigwest.com.
OC Skeptics Supper Club now has a Facebook group: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=335851481971.
CFI Community of Orange County
The Fullerton Atheists and Agnostics
Students for Science and Skepticism