My name is Dan Ogilvie, and I'm a co-creator of a course called Soul Beliefs: The Causes and Consequences. I wish I had called it soul and afterlife beliefs because that's more accurate as as, as the course evolved. I co-teach this course with Lynn Hamilton. Professor Hamilton is not here. He's moved out of state. He is doing retirement correctly. I'm also retired, and I'm not doing it correctly because I'm still local. And that means that I'm available to this to do this, introduction, the course has been, chunked into three units. This is the MOOC version of the course. And what I've been asked to do is to provide a brief introduction to each one of the three units. And this is unit one, so we'll stick with this one. I begin this way. Did you know that 15 minutes can save you 15% or more on your car insurance? And you say. Because this is a very well-known commercial in the, the United States at this point. You say, everybody knows that. And I want you to hear, me to hear you say everybody knows that. Okay? >> Everybody knows that. >> Good. Thank you. You're easy to train. >> [LAUGH]. >> Did you know that an overwhelming majority of people worldwide believe that they have souls that will survive the death of their bodies? And you say? >> Everybody knows that. >> Good, okay, thank you. Now, there's another question. I don't want you to answer this question. Don't say everybody knows that, because only a few people know that. Did you know the the course, Soul-Beliefs: Causes and Consequences is probably the only course of its kind anywhere? So don't say anything because, you know, very few people know that. Why a course on soul and after-life beliefs? I'll give the answer to that question in a moment. But, I want to reflect upon on the something written by my graduate school advisor, many, many years ago. I mean, he wrote this in 1934. He was my advisor, a good deal later than that. He said psychology has contributed practically nothing to the knowledge of human nature. It has not only failed to bring light to the great haunting recurrent problems, but it has no in, intention, one is shocked to realize of attem, attempting to investigate them. So from his perspective. We were, psychology was failing in its mission, if it even had a mission, of looking into the hauntingly hauntingly recurrent problems of human beings. And I would pride myself by saying, well I've found a hauntingly persistent recurrent problem. Because I looked around and, and, and I found that and I said that's going to be the problem I investigate. But it didn't happen that way. I was going to give you a little background about how I got involved in this course, how I, the idea to generate a course of this sort. And I have to give a, a personal story. There's no background on this. Portions of a, a, a, a memoir. They'll be gaps in my story. It's far less coherent than I, I, than I really make it out to be. It's comprised of memory fragments of growing up. And I acknowledge this is an unusual way to introduce a course. I've never heard anybody introduce a course in, in, in this manner. But, I have decided to go this way partly to encourage you to reflect upon your own experiences. We keep on building up from our experiences. We generate ideas from, from our experiences, our personal experiences. And I will talk a bit about my experiences growing up in a very religious community. And in fact a very religious home. And I think that this will enable you to understand. Why I came up with this idea that we need a course on this important topic. My background was Presbyterian in the midwest, actually it, it was in Ohio. Very conservative community, very conservative home, very conservative church. And just to give you a sense of how conservative it was. It was a Presbyterian Church that peeled away from the larger Senate, Presbyterian Senate. At one point, I don't know how old I was. It was probably in in grammar school. I, I actually understood enough to, to understand why they were peeling away. It came about when, when the, the revised standard edition of the Bible was published. Why the, that the church established a church of its own called the First United Presbyterian Church is because the, the standard revised edition of the Bible was no longer God's word. I've been looking to the revised standard because I heard it was more reader friendly. And, I was disappointed that, that we're, we're not going to, I'm not going to have an opportunity to view it, and, and. I didn't quite understand why it was no longer God's word. Because my understanding was God didn't have the Bible written in English in the first place. There have been lots of lots of revisions. So that's memory one. And just a little bit more about the context of my upbringing. My father owned and operated a small department store. And made sure that the windows were closed on Sunday because, so people couldn't even go window shopping. Now that was not something to do on the lord's day. Spent a lot of evenings in that in that church. Was very familiar with all kinds of different casseroles, people bring casseroles to. >> To the meals and one ingredient was essential, that was jello. I came in, from part of the country that considers jello to be a separate food group. I didn't know that until I moved to East, Coast to, to go to college. Some more anecdotes. At age five or six, I wanted to have a private Christmas tree in my room on a table and it was not a live tree, an artificial tree but about that size. And the reason was that I had, designed some very special tree ornaments from, milk bottle caps. It, during the World War II, there, we had, in Ohio anyway, they brought milk and it had these really incredible tin-like tops you pull off and they were silver and, and gold and, and various colors. And very carefully take scissors and cut around and pull up and they would have a very nice ornament. And I didn't want to share these ornaments. They were personal ornaments. They meant something to me. So I prayed every night for a tree to appear. [LAUGH] I don't know what I thought, I mean, you just imagine, if you, if you prayed the, the tree is likely to just appear. It was like magic. But the magic didn't work. And I prayed more, and it never arrived. Finally, I spent 97 cents of my own money by going out and buying one. That gave me three cents left, I had a dollar. I don't know. I think an aunt had given me a dollar, at one point. So I told a, a Sunday school teacher that story. I said, you know, God didn't do it. I did it. And he said, well, God works in wonderous ways. And I was wondering why he didn't get my parents to fork over the money instead of me. I mean, that would be wonderous. But no, I had to do it myself. So I was, had a hard time with that. In fact, I had a hard time getting on board with the church teachings. I was a distressed doubter, too early. I was a doubter, doubter. You know, well when, when you just simply believe something that lots of other people believe, life is easier. It takes more energy to doubt and I think that's why I was so tired all the time. When I was growing up, I was just, I doubted. I don't know. I just doubted. It just didn't make any sense to me. I asked an uncle. I said, I thought he would be able to level with me, 'because he was kind of a neat guy. So I think asked him about, miracles, you know? How did that happen? I said, it, it, it doesn't make any logical sense. I don't know whether it was walking on water, or, or some other miracle. And he looked at me quite sternly and said son, you gotta have faith. That really threw me, you gotta have faith. You gotta have faith that things happen. Even though they don't make any sense. And that, again, it concerned me. And it was difficult, it turned out, to, to, express my doubts at home. Certainly not at the church. So, I had no one, where to go. But I did had an opportunity at age 12. At age 12, wi, there was a junior Bible study something on a Sunday evening and that evening. I mean we, that was in church most of the time on Sundays. That evening that, the teacher had a big candle. All right, and from, and the, the 12 or 14 of us kids sitting around if we believed in Jesus. And Jesus your savior, you go up and light your candle. And, and, my peers at the time lickety split. Boom boom boom boom they went up and lit their candle. But I couldn't light my candle. I had. I put my fingernails. I gripped that candle. Almost broke it. But I ended up without lighting the candle. And I thought okay, I've made my statement. And the hour later, when the adults were gathering for the, another service the teacher went running up to my mother. I thought okay, this is it. I hid behind a, a, a little pillar. And I saw her going up to, she was crying. She's not crying, it was, tears were spurting out of her eyes. And, and she went up and she hugged my mother, and said, your son is amazing. He's the deepest believer [LAUGH] I have ever met. So, so much for making a point. Yeah, there are, yeah, you, understand that there are certain social pressures, to keep one, lined up, and, and this was quite, to make incredible that she converted the whole thing. Turned the whole thing out and, turned it around and, made me, as a, a, a faithful believer. But I still had doubts. Other things happened, I observed prejudices against members of other denominations, why? because this town where's there's a church on nearly every other corner, or every other block, and why would we want to make fun of them? Or castigate them? But it did in, in my church and basically what they did was target the Catholic Church, which is around the corner. The Catholic church had a little annex built to it. And the, they, the reason for that I was told was because that was where people who were served communion were, will go in and recover. Or because the Catholic Church they had, you know, real wine. But, bunch of alcoholics, as far as the, my church was concerned. And, and, they had real wine, but we were stuck pretty much at, at communion with watered down grape juice. Well, as into my adult years, I, I, not much involvement in, in, church matters. But I do periodically sing in, in a, in a community choir because I, I, I love the music some. Music is terrific. In fact, it's all those. Too late for this audience. I have a concert coming up it's, we have a more like a recital coming up this Sun, Saturday I believe. So you, you folks all out in the world are going to miss that. Sorry. Okay. Of course during this period of time when I was not involved in, in church matters. It still, it still concerned me. I mean why, why, why were other people who were believers so happy? I was not terribly happy but I admired their happiness. But I would take note of various wars and skirmishes worldwide. It seemed to have the, partly the underpinnings of religious differences. I was never quite sure whether leaders would, would use that as an excuse to attack enemies. But certainly was apparent there we had Protestants versus Catholics, Christian versus Muslims, Muslims versus Jews, etc etc go on. And, and currently, there, there's a a battles between Buddhists and Muslims and, and on and on and on. So none of that led up to the development of this course. What did was in 1998 somebody in my community, my neighborhood, I heard was running for the local school board. I was curious, so, I, I knew him a little bit and we never talked about school that but I admire his his interest in, in supporting the school system. And I went to hear him talk a couple times about why he was running and he said that. He wanted to substitute the bible for whatever history course was ever being signed in the history courses in, in the public school system because he thought it was important for, for children to hear about history as it actually occurred. That was pretty scary, that was pretty scary. But further more, he wanted to, make sure that the theory of evolution was not taught in science classrooms because evolution is just a theory. So I had a hard time handling that because I, I had a sense that you know I comfortably called myself a scientist and that didn't seem at all right to me. It seemed a little crazy because that but we've seen it throughout the country from time to time, that issue. Teaching of creationism or intelligent design a, alongside with, with a theory of evolution. So, he, he almost won a seat on the school board and next year he ran again. And I said well, I'm going to run again, I'm going to run too. So I, I can, we'll both be defeated. You know, this character and him, who's going to go for us and that was successful. And then the third year he ran as one of the only three, three candidates, he was one of them. So at the last minute, I ran against him and won by two or three votes and I served on the school board for six years. Most people on the score, school board, by the way, it's a, it's a, I, I encourage people to at least consider doing that. Most of the people in the school board are, are there because they love children. And for me children okay, but I ran and, and occupied a seat for, for six years because I didn't want another person to, to be on the school board. >> [COUGH] >> That's it, it, it's, it's not a very heroic position to, to, to take but I was that concerned about his agenda. So my question became why did people take such pains to get other people to believe their stories. If he wanted people to believe his story the strategy was not expose them to any other stories and, and intellectually and emotionally that worried me. And, and I felt as thought it was time for me to stick, step forth and view this basically of a microcosm that's what's happening around the world. I mean, you, you understand this is just a local, a local issue but these kinds of issues spread across the world. They, they should be familiar with you I hope you, you, you read papers and, and understand that people kill, actually kill other people because they don't believe their stories. And it's it's very tragic and it worries me. It worried me then and it worried me now. All right, so that's my personal story, I, I'll just briefly go over the, the the agenda of this particular unit. I give a introduction with, H means Hamilton, O means Ogilvy, that's me. What, I think the, the, the, my favorite class of the entire course was I have students come up on, on the lecture podium. You know, Catholics, come on up here and, and Jews and, and, and Muslims. And I, I never ask them what they believe but what they were told to believe. What we you're told to believe and the, the students were great I mean they're very energetic, they're very proud basically. And, and not renascent at all to talk about what they were told to believe. I never asked them what they did believe but what they were told to believe. And that was followed up on a reading of Historical Foundations of Soul Beliefs two lectures on that. It's, it's, it's, it's what I wrote with, was an undergraduate at the time. She's now a graduate student in clinical psychology out in Pittsburgh, I think. Anyway, it was hard, it was hard to write that I mean, I, I was looking through the library through literature the, the, to give them something assign something on just touches upon the historical foundation and soul beliefs. I didn't find anything, so I had to write it. It's, it's not, it's not complete, I think, once in a while I get back to it and sort of, brush it up. Before taking the, the MOOC course, every once in a while, find a way to get in touch with me and say things like, you know? That, that, that, that picture you showed of a, of a mummy from early Egypt was not really from early Egypt that's, that's from an Inca. That's an Inca mummy. Well, I mean, how did I know? There was a lot of, his mouth was open and, and, and so it could have been I'm on the hit, you know, the spirit is a lot, I don't know. But any rate, there, they're over some rough spots and and so oh, there are three parts with three of them and then I talked about the functions of religion, particularly functions of religion holding the group together. Tribalism and then a series of lectures on religions under attack, and that is Dawkins and Dennett and Harris. People being very pop, popular now and well known say you know, this is, this is, complete nonsense and we're hurting and religions, should just stop it we're not, doing ourselves a favor by continuing on this. That background, my concern all started with a, a school board problem lead to the development of, of this unit of the course. Here are the lectures those are the outline of what we, we cover in this lecture. I had no idea it would be, lead to something this grand but it did. And rather than going over what these lectures are all about it's up to you now. The, the job is in your hand to, to go through the lectures and see what we have to offer. Thank you.