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Public Speaking

Decomposing God
Toronto Centre Place, Invited Talk
October 2016
Toronto, ON Canada
Myth meets math in an exploration of the principal components for cultural constructs of divinity and divine nature. Drawing on spirituality, theology, engineering, and mathematics, concepts are presented in terms that are generalizable across religious or nonreligious notions of virtue ethics and human flourishing.

This Is Your Brain On God
TEDxSaltLakeCity Talk
September 2016
Kingsbury Hall, University of Utah
Salt Lake City, UT 

Dr. Ferguson leads the TEDxSaltLakeCity audience through a guided tour of brain activity measured in people of faith during peak religious experiences. Using fMRI and social cognitive testing, the relationships between religious belief, cognition, and brain function surprised both believers and skeptics alike.

A Seer Is Greater Than A Prophet: Neuroscience, Psychology, and Theology in Conversation
Sunstone Symposium Salt Lake City, Workshop Presenter
July 2016 
University of Utah
Salt Lake City, UT
In this presentation, Dr. Ferguson explains the neurophysiology of basic meditative techniques. He addresses variations in "ways of knowing" (i.e., epistemology) that stem from subjective experience, and how these relate to theological propositions. Participants are invited to reimagine their own potential for insight and personal wisdom. Workshop attendees have the opportunity for light experiential guided meditation, and are encouraged to consider integrating contemplative and reflective practices into their lifestyle routine.

Mysticism as Political Resistance
Salon Lake City, Charter Speaker
July 2016 
The New Lion House
Salt Lake City, UT
What are ways that religious psychology can facilitate social change? Can we undermine interlocking systems of religious and political oppression by cultivating spiritualities that are inclusive, generous, and prosocial? 

Becoming A Visionary People
2016 Community of Christ Toronto Congregation
Invited sermon
Toronto, ON Canada
What do sacred texts mean when they refer to visionary states? Are the revelations allegedly gleaned from these altered states legitimately insightful, or does their content represent delusional thought? Can we cultivate communities that support one another in discerning illusion from reality, thus leaving Plato's allegorical cave?

Can Spirituality be Scientific?
2016 Toronto Centre Place
Adult Continuing Education Series
Toronto, ON Canada
A neurophilosophically revisionist approach to understanding popular spiritual practices that are typically treated with eliminativist dismissal by neuroscience. An overview of the anatomy of the peripheral and central nervous systems culminates in an explorative discussion about whether the placebo effect can be intentionally recruited for self-soothing, and to trigger, at will, the consequent physical benefits of placebo-sensitive systems throughout the brain and body.

Testimony in favor of banning conversion therapy
2016 New Hampshire State Legislature
Committee on Health, Human Services, and Elderly Affairs
Concord, NH

Ending Conversion Therapy
2015 Inclusive Families Conference
University of Utah School of Social Work
Salt Lake City, UT

Neuroscience of Spirituality
2015 Kirtland Sunstone Symposium
Keynote address
Kirtland, OH

The Mormon Mind
2015 Sunstone Symposium Salt Lake City
University of Utah
Keynote address
Salt Lake City, UT

The Religious Brain Project
2014 Conference of the Mormon Transhumanist Association
Salt Lake City, UT

Toward a Science of Spirituality
2012 Conference of the Mormon Transhumanist Association
Salt Lake City, UT

Trinitarian Archetypes: a Transhumanist Mythos
2010 Transhumanism & Spirituality Conference at the University of Utah
Salt Lake City, UT

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