Two Classes to Consider Taking This June!

Starting next week:

I will be teaching the science and philosophy of moral reasoning, building on my peer reviewed work in the subject.

And award-winning psychologist Jon Mills (Ph.D., Psy.D, ABPP) will be teaching the psychology of religious belief, a subject on which he is a noted expert. I will be a participant in that as well.

Both one-month courses are awesome. Here’s why…

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The Science & Philosophy of Morality

This will continue to develop your worldview-building skills, in the most important domain. You’ll learn all about the science and philosophy of moral reasoning, from readings I’ll give students in class, and a textbook students will need that covers both: Personality, Identity, and Character (which you can affordably just rent on kindle for the month). You’ll be able to test out your thinking and ask questions of a published philosopher with peer reviewed work on the subject. You’ll learn how to think more effectively about building your own moral system and making better moral decisions, and be more adept at evaluating the moral reasoning of others, and persuading them to morally improve their conduct and decisions. So register now! And let others know about this affordable opportunity to improve their philosophy skills and knowledge, on Twitter, Facebook and elsewhere.

This course is particularly important for atheists, because unlike religious moral systems, atheist moral systems are evidence- and science-based, incorporate logic and reason in an informed way, and attend to the factual realities of human life and emotion. So we need to be serious about it, and get up to speed on the science and philosophy required to morally reason well. Completing this course will help you become a better, more thoughtful and aware person, and provide you with information and techniques to help bring others to the same state.

This course is also useful for engaging, answering, or arguing with Christians and other theists; and when promoting atheism and humanism generally. Because it is commonly the case that you will do better knowing more about how to defend and explain why atheists are moral, and where our moral values come from, and how we develop them and why. Because that centrally comes up a lot.

Subjects covered in this course will include:

  • What the words “morals” and “morality” can variously mean and how to make use of that knowledge in public discourse.
  • What we must mean when we argue others should share or adopt or agree with a moral opinion and how we can more effectively argue they should.
  • How we can use science and philosophy to determine what our own moral values are or should be, and how to reason from values to best actions.
  • And what brain science and sociology tell us about the cognitive errors that impair sound moral decision-making and how to overcome them or control or compensate for them.

Registration is only $69. Just one month. Study at your own pace and time.

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Inventing God: The Psychology of Belief

Since God doesn’t exist, but is only a thought, where do beliefs about God come from, and why do people fight so hard to keep and defend those beliefs?

In this course, Mills will survey the evidence supporting the case that ideas of God are based on a fantasy principle, conditioned by unconscious illusion and sustained through social ideology. After demonstrating the lack of any empirical evidence and the logical impossibility of God (in ways students will find useful in their future interactions with theists), Mills will explain the psychological motivations underlying humanity’s need to invent and defend a supreme being.

Ever thought that belief in God rests on how it comforts people? How it helps them avoid confronting their own mortality and the absence of any perfect justice in the world? Mills will arm you with facts and analysis that make that case, and you’ll learn how this is not just a speculation, but something well supported in evidence.

And then, as an alternative to theistic faith, Dr. Mills will describe a secular spirituality that emphasizes the quality of lived experience, the primacy of feeling and value-inquiry, ethical self-consciousness, aesthetic and ecological sensibility, and authentic relationality toward self, other, and world as the pursuit of a beautiful soul in search of the numinous.

Jon Mills is a clinical psychologist and Professor of Psychology & Psychoanalysis at the Adler Graduate Professional School in Toronto. He has received several Gradiva Awards from the National Association for the Advancement of Psychoanalysis in New York City for his scholarship, received a Significant Contribution to Canadian Psychology Award, a Goethe Award for best book, and the Otto Weininger Memorial Award for lifetime achievement in 2015 by the Canadian Psychological Association. This is definitely the guy you want to learn this stuff from!

So register now! Also just $69. And let others know about this affordable opportunity to improve their understanding of religious psychology, on Twitter, Facebook and elsewhere.

4 comments

  1. John MacDonald May 23, 2017, 1:21 pm

    I don’t know why people defend God. It’s the whole “God is to thank for everything, but blame for nothing.” I’m agnostic, but my thoughts on God are that if I was a prosecutor of the divine, I would prosecute God for “depraved indifference” to human life.  In United States law, depraved-heart murder, also known as depraved-indifference murder, is an action where a defendant acts with a “depraved indifference” to human life and where such act results in a death. In a depraved-heart murder, defendants commit an act even though they know their act runs an unusually high risk of causing death or serious bodily harm to someone else. If the risk of death or bodily harm is great enough, ignoring it demonstrates a “depraved indifference” to human life and the resulting death is considered to have been committed with malice aforethought. The example that comes to mind for me is God creating a world with earthquakes, which have killed millions over our history. On the average about 10,000 people die each year as a result of earthquakes. God could have easily created our world without earthquakes.

    Reply
    1. Yep. You are spot on. On all of that.

      Which does raise the question of why people construct this monster and then worship it. On the one hand, their cognitive dissonance leads them to try and avoid the realization that they created a monster (hence the whole of Christian apologetics against the Argument from Evil), because once they admitted that, their faith will be done for. On the other hand, this clearly means no one believes in god because of evidence. They need to create god for some other reason; and then have to defend it no matter what, or else they lose that other “thing,” the thing they invented god for.

      IMO, that “thing” is the need to avoid the realization that we are all mortal, that perfect justice does not and never will exist, that nothing is certain or simple, and that tradition does not really comfort or help us, it only means instead that we are in thrall to cultural lies, errors, and prejudices, escaping which requires admitting we are wrong about most things and our feelings about those lies, errors, and prejudices, have been beaten into us rather than arise rationally, and therefore really, we are ignorant and irrational, and it takes a lot of time and work to become less so. A fact no one wants to admit. God is a crutch, a fig leaf, that people use to deny these things.

      The rest of us grow up.

      Reply
    2. John MacDonald September 30, 2017, 1:23 pm

      I can’t resist one last analogy, lol: Suppose you had a loving father who cared for you, watched over you, and had goals for your life – and who was also a serial killer. If this was the case, would it really matter that your father was loving and caring to you?

      Reply

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