CFI Presentations

Paul Kurtz

Paul Kurtz

1) "The Future of Books?"

Are we witnessing the decline and possible demise of the book?  If so, this would be a tragedy, yet other forms of media - especially the internet - are replacing books.  Unfortunately, readers of print media under the age of 40 are declining.  It is estimated that they spend only 7 minutes a day on voluntary reading of books, magazines, and newspapers. Paul Kurtz, founder and chairman of Prometheus Books (now celebrating its 40th year and the largest secular, humanist, skeptical, and atheist press in the world), will reflect on his experience in keeping Prometheus alive and thriving.  Books published by Prometheus are distributed world wide and have been translated into 38 languages.  He will discuss the crisis in book publishing today from the perspective of Prometheus unbound!

2) "The Turbulent Universe?"

Paul Kurtz, founder of the Center for Inquiry, has recently completed a new book dealing with meta-nature; namely, what does science tell us about the universe and the place of the human species (if any) within it.  Is it an ordered and eternal scene following intelligent design or strict causal laws?  Or is it an open-ended pluralistic universe, full of uncertainty and dissonance?  He reviews recent inquiries into the biosphere and natural selection, the physical universe, and human affairs.  The vital questions to be asked are "What are the implications of a random universe for moral choice?  How to confront a person's own death, the eventual decline of our civilization, the possible future extinction of the human species, our own planet, solar system, and indeed our galaxy?  One inference is that you should enjoy the cruise while you can!

Patricia Schroeder

Patricia Schroeder

1) "For over 500 years books have been the pillar of our knowledge-based lives…now what?"

Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press and in 1452 the first large print run was done....the Gutenberg Bible.  Books have had more than a 500 year run....what now?  Is there a future for books or all the doomsayers pronouncing a benediction over books and reading correct?  If they are right, wherever will we go for connected, peer reviewed thought in this culture of noise and chaos in which we live?

2) "We hear Reading and Publishing are both history.  Really?"

If publishers go the way of the Dodo bird, does it matter?  What do those guys do anyway?  Is reading no longer important?  We live in a culture where if you don't have ADD, we will teach it to you in your early years of life...how can reading survive in such an environment?

Lawrence Krauss

Lawrence Krauss

1) "Science vs. Politics"

Science should form the basis of sound public policy, but it hasn't and doesn't.  We are now emerging from eight dark years of attacks on science and science integrity from Washington to the classroom.  Some things are getting better.  Others aren't.

2) "A Cosmic Mystery Story"

The past decade has witnessed one of the greatest revolutions in the past 100 years in our understanding of the universe, and also produced one of the biggest outstanding mysteries in physics.  In particular, our picture of the future of life in the Universe has changed in totally unexpected ways.

Ruth Frazier

Ruth Frazier

1) "From Literacy to Leadership: Women on the March"

In consulting work in Afghanistan, Tanzania, and with Native Americans, Ms. Frazier has been involved in watching dramatic progress as women learn to read and learn to lead.  As women are more than 51% of most of the world's populations, the role of women becomes redefined with education – and tolerance.  Obstacles?  There are many.  But the desire to create better lives for themselves and their children is a compelling force for women.  Examples from these three disparate cultures of women who have overcome formidable obstacles and have taken significant leadership roles will be shared.

2) "Using Socrates to Teach Critical Thinking and Change Lives"

Is there a way to use the questioning techniques of Socrates to examine in depth peoples' own communities, and to encourage them to move forward on their own in new and creative ways?  For two decades Ms. Frazier used a Socratic teaching method in community development.  It was, in many ways, the antithesis of traditional foreign aid and this Socratic method of dialogue continues to work today in both small and large group settings.  Why?  Because when people think critically and are motivated to work together despite their differences on a common goal, remarkable change can occur.  But Socrates had the secret…

Ken Frazier

Ken Frazier

1) "Reading, Magazines, the New Media, and the New Skepticism: What's Going On"

Reading is declining, or is it?  Magazines are going the way of newspapers, or are they?  What are the roles of the new media in spreading literacy (including scientific literacy), critical thinking, and skepticism?  A consideration of what has been lost as sources of information and outlets for expression change, and what opportunities have been created.

2) "Inspiration and Wonder: Frontiers of Science vs. Textbook Science"

What are our sources of inspiration and wonder for loving science and nature?  If science is presented solely the dry way it appears in textbooks, opportunities for engaging the public are lost.  Mr. Frazier shares what inspired him to engage in a life involving science (and skepticism), shows some of the sources of inspiration available today, and discusses some of the passions and paradoxes (based on up-to-date data) in the public's view of science in 2009.

Toni Van Pelt

Toni Van Pelt

1) "Civic Days and the Credibility Project: CFI Office of Public Policy at Work"

Eighty percent of 'dissenting scientists' in a U.S. Senate Minority Report haven't published peer-reviewed climate research according to CFI OPP's Credibility Project.  Learn of this important project, how it will aid in the passage of climate change legislation, and how Friends of the Center participated in the roll-out of the report on Capitol Hill.

2) "Charitable Choice, Faith Based Initiatives and RFRA-Religious Freedom Reformation Act – What does it all mean?"

What every secular humanist needs to know about the encroachment of religious organizations into taxpayers' pocketbooks.  This will be a very intense discussion with a take home message to share with others.  You will want to take notes.

Derek Araujo

Derek Araujo

"The Establishment Clause in Exile: Church and State in the 21st Century"

George W. Bush transformed the composition of the federal courts through eight years of judicial appointments.  The judges he appointed have wrought striking changes in the law, including Establishment Clause jurisprudence.  In light of these changes, defenders of the wall of separation between church and state must reexamine their strategic approach to protecting our secular democracy.


*Everything, including all times, itinerary and pricing, is subject to change at any time.