ISHVís Seminar at Sea will explore why some do not recognize the validity of scientific research and outcomes.  It will also explore why there is wide spread discontent and unhappiness in todayís world and how this may reflect on the denial of scientific results and reliance on religion and its promise of life after death.




Paticia Churchland




Self-preservation is embodied in our brainís circuitry: we seek food when hungry, warmth when cold, and mates when lusty. In the evolution of the mammalian brain, circuitry for regulating oneís own survival and well-being was modified. For sociality, the important result was that the ambit of me extends to include others -- me-and-mine. Offspring, mates, and kin came to be embraced in the sphere of  me-ness; we nurture them, fight off threats to them, keep them warm and safe. The brain knows these others are not me, but if I am attached to them, their plight fires-up caring circuitry, motivating other-care that resembles self-care. In some species, including humans, seeing to the well-being of others may extend, though less intensely, to include friends, business contacts or even strangers, in an ever-widening circle. Oxytocin, an ancient body-and-brain molecule, is at the hub of the intricate neural adaptations sustaining mammalian sociality. Not acting alone, oxytocin works with other hormones and neurotransmitters and structural adaptation. Among its many roles, oxytocin decreases the stress response, making possible the friendly, trusting interactions typical of life in social mammals. I can let my guard down when I know I am among trusted family and friends.


 Two additional interconnected evolutionary changes are crucial for mammalian sociality/morality: first, modifications to the ancient pain system that, when elaborated, yield the capacity to evaluate and predict what others will feel and do, and notably in humans, also what others want, see, and believe. Anticipating events painful to me-and-mine is more efficient when brains can represent others as having sensations and intentions, regardless of assorted contingencies in behavior and background conditions. Cortical and subcortical modifications also led to a greater capacity for remembering specific events -- storing for recall the reputations of assorted others; who cannot be trusted, and who can.  Second, especially owing to the expansion of the frontal brain, an enhanced capacity to learn, underscored by social pain and social pleasure, allowed acquisition of the clanís social practices, however subtle and convoluted. Increased capacity for impulse control is another feature of frontal brain expansion. Social benefits are accompanied by socials demands; we have to get along, but not put up with too much. Hence impulse control -- being aggressive or compassionate or indulgent at the right time -- is hugely advantageous.





Paul Churchland


Nerve Agents: You and Your Amazing Old-Fangled Reward System 


Free will is a topic of practical significance, especially in the context of the law but also in the socialization of children. The idea that free will is an illusion, recently bruited by trendy writers, is rooted on a rigid 17th century Cartesian theory according to which no decision is truly free unless it occurs in a causal vacuum. Because brains make decisions and decisions emerge from causal interactions, free will allegedly gets no purchase. Rather alarmingly, this view may inspire a call to radically revise the criminal law. To update our ideas of free will, it is useful to shift debate away from the obscure metaphysics of causal vacuums to the neurobiology of self-control. Understanding is aided by research that maps the neural mechanisms supporting self-controlled behavior, in humans and other animals. Noteworthy also are data on decision-making that indicate a role for counterfactual learning signals, observing that this function can be impaired by, for example, nicotine addiction. Not surprisingly, genetics play a significant role in the base-line capacities related to self-control, as is suggested by the stable patterns of self-controlled behavior over a lifetime. Although the criminal law is unlikely to be revised to provide a new kind of excuse to reflect genetic differences in self-control and the reward system, such data may be modestly relevant to discretionary sentencing judgments. The more profound importance of emerging data on self-control will concern behavioral interventions aiding the acquisition of self-discipline in children, and to treatment of addictions and compulsions. These discoveries will have enormous social significance in coming decades.





Toni Van Pelt

Why Some Choose Ignorance Over Knowledge 

What is the key to the reason religious dogma is so intertwined in U.S. law and public policy today? From global warming to sex education, empirical evidence and scientific data is completely disregarded by many of our current law makers. Why is that and what can we as secular humanist do about it?




Vince Parr


The Elixir of Immortality and the Seven Irrational Beliefs that Cause Human Suffering and Disturbance.


The first part of my presentation will focus on why a belief in God (or a belief in anything for that matter) can never be satisfying or bring us the comfort we so desperately desire. We are constantly looking for the Philosopher's Stone, something solid we can stand on, something that will cure all of our ills and troubles. Something outside that will fix everything. The final elixir that will heal and sustain us: the Golden Fish, the Golden Fleece, the Fountain of Youth, etc.
In the second part of the presentation, I will discuss the Seven Irrational Beliefs that cause human suffering and disturbance. When we are unaware of these major errors in human thought -- pain, suffering (defined as chronic frustration and disappointment) and disturbance in the form of anger, anxiety, depression, and guilt, are the inevitable result.
In summary, this is about the greatest human tragedy because it robs us of our life, our joy, and our peace.





Call today for your reservations. 1-727-278-8446

Fathomís Cruise Ship Adonia


Make no mistake the Adonia is a 704 passenger ship with no casinos, Broadway-type shows, or comedy night clubs. It is not a glitzy mega-ship. 

It does have restaurants, lounges, bars, pools, a spa, a state-of-the-art gym, and all the other amenities of a 21st-century passenger ship.  Youíll never lack for opportunities to relax and enjoy the company of our group members.


Above and Beyond Travel, Inc.

2230 West Bay Drive, Suite C, Largo FL 33774

All information is subject to change and/or alteration at any time for any reason.