Cafe Inquiry

Tuesday, May 28th 2013 at 7:00 pm
Tuesday, May 28th 2013 at 9:00 pm
Hill Center DC, 921 Pennsylvania Ave SE (Eastern Market Metro), Washington, DC 20003

Note Location: We will be in Walt Whitman Room. Entrance is on 9th St SE. Elevator access available. Overflow room available in case of higher turnout to ensure all attendees receive adequate opportunities to participate.

Cafe Inquiry is our monthly casual get-together to meet people and discuss topics of science and humanism.

This month's discussion: Are there inalienable human rights?

The concept of “inalienable” or “natural” rights has served as a justification for revolutions against tyranny; for the establishment of egalitarian, “social contract”-based states; and for international accords recognizing the importance of human rights. However, this concept also implies that inalienable rights come not from governments or legal systems, but either from a divine creator or arising from the self-evident, natural order of things. There has been philosophical debate as to whether this concept of “inalienable” or “natural” rights makes sense. 

Do rights exist that have not been granted by a state and that cannot be rescinded by a state?  

If one does not hold a theistic view of the universe, can one hold that rights can come from something other than an earthly authority?

If rights can only come from earthly authorities, is the concept of inalienable rights a misnomer?

Can we claim that a universal set of human rights exist outside the rights granted by governments?

We are also planning to go out for food and/or drinks afterwards. Free and open to the public.

Interested in leading a discussion or have someone to recommend? Please contact us at dc[at]