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Our Minds, Our Selves

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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Neuroscientist Michael Gazzaniga looks at brain science and free will. Jesse Eisenberg discusses his play “Asuncion,” along with two of the show’s stars: Justin Bartha and Camille Mana. Playwright Robert Askins, Steven Boyer, and Geneva Carr talk about the play “Hand to God,” about the Christian Puppet Ministries. Plus, we’ll examine the booming school privatization industry.

Free Will and the Science of the Brain

Neuroscientist Michael Gazzaniga argues against the common belief that physical laws govern our behavior and that there’s no such thing as free will. In Who’s in Charge? Free Will and the Science of the Brain shows how determinism weakens human responsibility, and he shows that the latest insights into the mind reveal that we are responsible for our actions, not our brains.

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Jesse Eisenberg, Justin Bartha, and Camille Mana on “Asuncion”

Jesse Eisenberg discusses writing and acting in his play “Asuncion,” It also stars Justin Bartha and Camille Mana. It’s a dark comedy about what happens when two young white men who think they are truly open minded take in a new roommate, a young Filipina woman named Asuncion. “Asuncion” is playing at the Cherry Lane Theater through December 18.

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“Hand to God”

Robert Askins discusses writing “Hand to God,” which stars Steven Boyer and Geneva Carr. Christian Puppet Ministries are normally a great way to teach children about the Bible, but in this play children can be fooled by Satan’s tricks—even within the sanctuary of the Christian Puppet Ministry of Cypress, Texas, the devil lurks. “Hand to God” is playing at Ensemble Studio Theatre through December 18.

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Privatizing Education

Lee Fang talks about the national movement to reform public education through vouchers, charters, and privatization, and the rise of “virtual schools”—charters operated online, with teachers instructing students over the Internet. His article “How Online Learning Companies Bought America's Schools” appears in the December 5 issue of The Nation.

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