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Stories of Leaving Religion
Doug Matheson

Doug Matheson shares the background to his social anthropology graduate research and how he turned that research into a non-academic book. Matheson grew up a missionary kid in India, attending only Seventh-day Adventist schools. He spent more than a decade trying to reconcile evidence with his beliefs. When he was 37, he “encountered the straw that broke the camel’s back” and then quietly left the faith. At age 62, he decided to do a second stint of graduate work, this time in social anthropology, to study the religion-exiting process.

Role of Epigenetics in Cancer
Shukuru Rushanika

Presentation by Shukuru Rushanika about the role of epigenetics in skin cancer. In particular, how does the FDA-approved drug “DAC” interact with squamous carcinoma cells that bear mutations in gene pathways making them grow uncontrollably? Shukuru Rushanika has a B.S. from the University of Northern Colorado. Currently he is working at the Anschutz Medical Campus, in the Dennis Roop laboratory. Shukuru’s accomplishments range from Princeton MOL BIO scholar, Harvard BSCP student, Ford Fellowship Honorable Mention, and McNair Scholar.

Evolution of Religious Beliefs
Gordan Orians

Religious beliefs appeared quite late in evolutionary history. Why so recently? What benefits did they confer? We have ways of inferring their origins.  Gordon Orians, an evolutionary biologist and student of human evolution, offers evidence that parental care, adoption of the intentional stance, shamanism, and cooking offer clues into the evolution of this uniquely human trait. Orians is Professor Emeritus of Biology, University of Washington. He has served as its Director of Environmental Studies. He was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 1989 and to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1990.

Working With the Houseless
Terrance Moses

Presentation by Terrance Moses at Friendly House about his experience interacting with the houseless. He discusses ways that people in secure housing can best help those experiencing houselessness in Greater Portland. Mr. Moses lives in North Portland. His neighbors were complaining about people living on a nearby trail. He contacted them and learned that they needed help with garbage removal. Mr Moses then began removing bagged trash once a week. He later became a mediator between the housed and the unhoused and an advocate for the needs of the unhoused.