Dr. Ferguson Saw Your Brain Being Religious

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Dr. Ferguson Saw Your Brain Being Religious

Dr. Michael Ferguson is a post-doctoral associate in the Department of Human Development at Cornell University. His work centers on the intersections of culture and brain. Active research includes cognitive neuroscientific investigations of intelligence and religiosity—two major themes of cultural studies.

Michael currently teaches the undergraduate course Gender and Sexual Minorities at Cornell. He previously co-instructed a graduate course on functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging at the University of Utah, where he completed his doctoral degree in bioengineering.

Michael is a popular public speaker with an engaging enthusiasm for asking “the hard questions” with rational methods. He and his husband, John Seth Anderson, were the first same-sex couple legally married by the state of Utah, and are outspoken advocates for LGBTQ+ communities and causes.

“The expectation primes the experience. What you are anticipating actually constructs your reality”

“If you’re expecting that your religion is going to help you lead a more prosperous, fulfilling, happy existence – your religion might then actually help you lead a more prosperous, fulfilling, happy existence.”

– Dr. Michael Ferguson, PhD

michaelfergusonphd.com

https://www.facebook.com/religiousbrainproject

https://www.facebook.com/michaeladamferguson
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A partial autopsy of the Gary Johnson Campaign with Charlynn Patterson

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What do BETA VCRs and Libertarians have in common?
Why did Bill Weld seemingly break rank and start endorsing Hillary?
Aleppo aside, was Gary really well suited for the White House?

On today’s show, we dig in and find out from a source that comes deep from the inside. I’ve had the good fortune of being pretty closely connected to the inner workings of the Gary Johnson campaign.  This afforded me a more nuanced view on the campaign than I often let on during public conversations leading up to the election. I get into this in some detail during the opening monologue of the show.  Charlynn Patterson served as a Regional Director in the campaign of Libertarian Presidential Candidate, Gary Johnson.  We have a frank conversation about some of the internal failures from a culture, hiring, and management perspective that undermined the success of the Libertarian Nominee’s bid for President.

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Where music comes from according to Kurt Bestor

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On today’s episode, I sit down for a few drinks with composer, pianist, and trumpet player Kurt Bestor. This episode has been a long time in the making.  I mean, Kurt and I have been talking about getting together over mixology and mics for a long time, and life just kept on happening – but it goes further back, for me.

During my LDS Mission to Philadelphia, we were under very strict rules of conduct. Some were obvious: no dating, no rowdy conduct… others less obvious: Be in bed by 10:30pm. Pray before any kind of traveling. Only listen to approved music.

This was the hard one for me. Music is my LIFE! It was my salvation growing up as a kid. My favorite band in the world, RUSH, wrote songs about philosophy and intellectual topics that made me a better person – and yet – I was not allowed to listen to them. We were given a short list of parameters of music we could listen to. Instrumental piano music was one of them. Despite my dedication to the cause, I still needed something in my life besides the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.  Kurt’s records became some of my favorites.

If only I could go back in time and find the 20 yr old version of me on the streets of Philadelphia, and tell him that 20 years later, I’d be sitting in a cozy tavern, drinking beer with Kurt Bestor and interviewing him for my show…  Nah. It’s pointless. 20 year old me would have blown off the 40 yr old me as some crazy cracked out conspiracy theorist nut job.

In today’s interview, we find Bestor in preparation for his upcoming Christmas production that he’s famous for in SLC. True to a  jazz theme that pops up part way through the interview – thought I knew what I wanted to talk with Kurt about, and the conversation took on a life of it’s own and became far better than I had planned for.  Kurt is an understated, affable dude with an musical palate that spans several continents.

To all you creatives out there – I hope you find something in this conversation that inspires you to take the next step in creating your next big piece of work. I certainly did.

www.KurtBestor.com

 

 

 

And for you trumpet nerds out there like Kurt and I… here’s that Ibrahim Maalouf we spoke of. It’s a long track. It’s a journey, and it’s worth it. Would you expect anything less from me? Pour a drink, turn it up, kick back and buckle in.

 

And some impromptu portraits of Kurt before we hit the mics:


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Love and hate for Christmas

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A link to that interview with Adam Simon “just keep going”… http://www.paulduane.net/2016/11/man-down-screenwriter-adam-simon-just-keep-going/

MERRY CHRISTMAS OR WHATEVER IT IS YOU CELEBRATE!

much love,

Paul Duane

 

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Chef J. Looney: your relationship to food

Ah, it’s the Holiday season, and regardless of your culture, holidays mean…

FOOD!

Here’s the thing. I love food. So much. It’s one of my drugs of choice. When I had the opportunity to meet with Chef J. Looney to talk about the finer points of food, I jumped at the chance.  Chef J. Looney is a passionate man when it comes to food; he can talk to you about the food experience from the molecular to the spiritual – and in the course of two episodes, he does just that.

We talk about food. Where it comes from. Our relationship to it.

AND…

We meditate upon the food.

A McDonald’s Cheeseburger, to be precise.

That’s right. I am hoping that by the time you read this line, and before you’ve listened to the last 30 min of the show, you’ve got a McDonald’s Cheeeseburger in your hands.

Trust me on this.

Chef J. Looney takes us on a guided meditation of appreciation …. of food… with a McD’s Cheesburger.

Chef J. Looney’s conversation skills are vastly eclipsed by his food skills. Chef J runs a private chef service, high end catering, as well as Utah’s most awarded food truck: The Chow Truck.

Book Chef J as your personal chef, or bring is catering to your next event. Chef J / The Chow Truck can be contacted in the following ways:

www.facebook.com/ChefJLooney

www.chefjlooney.com

www.ChowTruck.com

Check out the bonus episode of listener Q&A with Chef J here: http://www.paulduane.net/12156

A few photos I’ve done of food being prepared to his specifications on The Chow Truck:


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Bonus Episode: Food Q&A with Chef J. Looney

Following our Chesseburger meditation at McDonald’s, with Chef J. Looney, we fielded tons of listener questions. Here’s the bonus episode where Chef J. Looney answers your food questions. Do you have a food question for Chef J? Leave it in the comments below and we’ll answer it in a follow up episode in the future.

Chef J. Looney is not only the owner of The Chow Truck, he’s a personal chef and runs a high end catering service. To inquire more / book Chef J. Looney’s services, here are the ways to get in touch:

www.facebook.com/ChefJLooney

www.chefjlooney.com

www.ChowTruck.com

 

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Peter Breinholt: The artist is more important than ever

Singer / songwriter Peter Breinholt is a local legend. Here’s the thing that fascinames me about Peter – He seems to be as popular today as he ever was 20 years ago. When many musicians would relegate to “has been” status, Breinholt is anxiously chomping at the bit to create his greatest work yet, along with keeping up a busy performance schedule.  This is how it’s done, kids.

“The artist has a critical role in the world. Who else is talking about the things the artist talks about: compassion, love, forgiveness… who else is doing that right now? You’re not getting that on the news. The artist is more important now than ever”

“If you’re an honest writer I think who you are is going to come through.”

PeterBreinholt.com

https://www.youtube.com/user/peterbreinholt

https://www.facebook.com/PeterBreinholtMusic

https://twitter.com/peterbreinholt

 

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Man Down Screenwriter Adam Simon: Just Keep Going

“People keep saying it’s a war film… .it’s a movie about a family. And if you have a family, if you’ve ever struggled to be a father, or to communicate to your children how much you love them, if you’ve ever had that struggle, if you know what that feels like, this is a movie for you.” – Adam Simon

How many of you reading this consider yourselves to be creatives of some sort?

Have you “made it” yet?

What do you think that will entail? What will it look like?

In a candid interview, screenwriter Adam Simon talks about his journey as a divorced dad and starving artist, as one of his scripts was finally made into a major Hollywood motion picture: Man Down, staring Shia LaBeouf, Kate Mara, Jai Courtney, Gary Oldman, Clifton Collins Jr,  and directed by Dito Montiel. The film debuts this Friday, 2 December 2016 in theaters across the country. Check out the trailer:

Like many stories, like war itself – the interview ends in an unexpected place. It’s absolutely worth the journey – just – not what I thought it would be. Creatives, artists, dreamers – take notes. I hope you enjoy this conversation with screenwriter Adam Simon.

TWITTER: @ADAMSIMONACTOR
INSTAGRAM: @ADAMBELGABE
MAN DOWN WEBSITE: http://www.mandownmovie.com

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Marianne Williamson: Moral Ourtrage Born of Love

Excerpts from my interview with Marianne Williamson:

Author Marianne Williamson and comedian / podcaster Paul Duane

Author Marianne Williamson being interviewed on The Paul Duane Show in Salt Lake City.

“I don’t even know if William Weld voted for Gary Johnson… ”

“This election was a kind of perfect storm… it did not come out of nowhere…
many of the worst aspects of this campaign and this election were the inevitable result of accumulated transgressions that we perpetrated or acquiesced to on so many levels, making us into a country that sort of lost its mind. ”

“Democracy, and a healthy society, is something you cannot take for granted, but we have taken it for granted for decades. We have in so many ways put economic gain, turned it into our God, put it before considerations of brotherhood, and justice and peace and love and ethics.”

“If people are brought up not knowing what the Bill of Rights says, if they are not brought up knowing how government is supposed to work, how can you expect them to get upset when government does things that are different from how it’s supposed to operate?”

“When the people have… lost the sense that we are in charge – it’s something that’s happened psychologically and emotionally. We have lost , I hope temporarily, – the habits of democracy”

“Like the course in miracles says, you can mismanage your mind but you cannot diminish it’s power.”

Author Marianne Wiliamson being interviewed by Paul Duane, The CrossDressing Mormon Anarchist

Author Marianne Wiliamson being interviewed by Paul Duane, The CrossDressing Mormon Anarchist

“The greatest kind of leadership is modeling. The way to be a good leader is to live the best life that you know you can in any given moment. Everybody’s watching.”

“I think there’s a humility to real leadership, which is knowing that you are no better or no less than any anyone else. You have the same responsibilities as everyone, and that’s to rise to the occasion and be the people that we’re capable of being.”
“Real leadership is holding a space for the brilliance of others.”

Author Marianne Wiliamson being interviewed by Paul Duane, The CrossDressing Mormon Anarchist

Author Marianne Wiliamson being interviewed by Paul Duane, The CrossDressing Mormon Anarchist

“Disengagement on the part of too many people is what got us into this mess.
Remaining disengaged is not the solution. It’s been way too true of too many people in the higher consciousness community who sometimes use this artificial notion of spirituality almost as a cover for a kind of anti-intellectual strain, for a convenient disengagement from the political process.”

“And whereas it is the duty of nations as well as of men, to own their dependence upon the overruling power of God, to confess their sins and transgressions, in humble sorrow, yet with assured hope that genuine repentance will lead to mercy and pardon;

It behooves us then, to humble ourselves before the offended Power, to confess our national sins, and to pray for clemency and forgiveness.” – Abraham Lincoln
http://www.abrahamlincolnonline.org/lincoln/speeches/fast.htm

“The civil war was over in 1864. It is now 2016 and this is a karmic toxicity we are still dealing with. Generation after generation because we have still not fully atoned. We have not, fully, as a nation, taken responsibility. because people don’t understand the difference between taking responsibility and taking blame.”

Author Marianne Wiliamson being interviewed by Paul Duane, The CrossDressing Mormon Anarchist

Author Marianne Wiliamson being interviewed by Paul Duane, The CrossDressing Mormon Anarchist

” [according to Pope John Paul] Atonement, and apologies and amends would purify your memory – and if you did not make those amends, you would be unconscious of the ways that you repeated the sin afterward. And that’s where the United States is. Too many people – This goes back to lack of education – too many Americans aren’t even aware of the racial history of the United States and how many of the transgressions against African Americans today are a legacy of that original sin of slavery. ”

“If you really recognize the historical through line, the idea of reparations… you begin to recognize that reparations is not just an economic issue. There is something about acknowledging to people that they have been wronged that is very very powerful.”

Author Marianne Wiliamson being interviewed by Paul Duane, The CrossDressing Mormon Anarchist

Author Marianne Wiliamson being interviewed by Paul Duane, The CrossDressing Mormon Anarchist

“So many Americans today seem to think because the people who fought WWII, because the founders were exceptional, that we get to call ourselves exceptional . This is not only blind, but it’s got to drive citizens from other countries out of their minds!”

“I love that about America – you don’t have to be a proactively good person here. As long as you do not hurt anyone else – that’s what freedom of religion is about. That’s what free speech is about.”

“I think Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden are American Heroes”.

“Where is our Don’t Tread On Me spirit?”

“Moral Outrage isn’t born of anger, it’s born of love.”

Check out Marianne’s article “Race, Repentance and Reparations” http://www.huffingtonpost.com/marianne-williamson/race-repentance-and-repar_b_5689876.html

Register for Sister Giant at SisterGiant.com

Connect with Marianne:

facebook.com/williamsonmarianne

Twitter: @marwilliamson

Instagram: @MarianneWilliamson

www.Marianne.com

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Many thanks to my dear friend Nicole for her assistance in putting this interview together and for taking photos while we recorded!

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Steven Wilson in SLC: Hopes, Fears, and Rock Star Fantasies

We live in a world where authenticity is not just a nice thing – but essential to our survival.  To be authentic is to be master over one’s fears. When you boil every human problem down to it’s essence, including the current political situation – fear is at the root.

It’s one thing to face one’s fears and be authentic; it’s quite another when that authenticity is rewarded with success in the real world.  In 2005, I was reading an interview with the drummer of RUSH, Neil Peart. (for those unfamiliar with their back story, RUSH gambled with utter failure as they built their career on a foundation of total authenticity, despite massive pressure to sell out in the name of commercial safety. This gamble paid off and earned them one of the most victorious, lucrative, and artistically free positions in music history).

I digress.

Neil Peart said he only knew of two bands currently working who were making a success on their own terms, as RUSH did.  One of the bands he cited was Porcupine Tree. Short story: I checked them out, it was love at first listen.  Porcupine Tree embodied was a grand mix of rock sensibilities, think of Tool + Pink Floyd. Their ability to co-mingle devastatingly heavy sounds with ethereal, light sounds fascinated me. If the Yin / Yang symbol had a soundtrack, Porcupine Tree was it.  As it turns out, Porcupine Tree was fronted by mastermind musician and producer, Steven Wilson.

Wilson soon put Porcupine Tree on hiatus to pursue a solo career. His solo record have been everything we all loved about Porcupine Tree, but with new levels of nuance brought on by collaborations with other world class musicians.

Wilson is kind of a big deal, though you’d never know it by talking to him. As a producer, he’s been entrusted with remastering the King Crimson, YES, and Jethro Tull catalogs. In the music production world he is highly sought after as an engineer. He’s got other bands and projects, too, such as Blackfield, Storm Corrosion, No-Man, Bass Communion.  This guy is prolific by anyone’s standards.

The 4x Grammy nominated musician – widely regarded as the “King of Prog Rock”, made a tour stop in Salt Lake City, playing to an anxious crowd.  Prior to the show, Steven sat down with us for a candid conversation about his work, his hopes, and fears.

On a very personal note – this interview and concert had extra significance for me.  As a divorced father, I’ve found that the decreased amount of time I get to spend with my kids brings an unexpected blessing: the little things that we bond over become incredibly salient.  A few years ago, I introduced my youngest daughter, Makelle, to Steven Wilson. She immediately felt a connection to his music. Ever since, Wilson’s music has been a part of our father – daughter vocabulary. I was able to bring her along to the concert and the interview as a surprise for her 15th Birthday which is this month. Attending a Steven Wilson show is a great treat. Including my daughter in the whole process was a massive honor.  You’ll hear her in the podcast episode.

Connect with Steven Wilson:

http://stevenwilsonhq.com

Twitter @StevenWilsonHQ

Instagram @StevenWilsonHQ

facebook.com/StevenWilsonHQ/

https://www.youtube.com/user/StevenWilsonHQ

See more of my Black and White Photographs  or Color Photographs.
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