CFI-NYC eBulletin

January 28, 2009

Upcoming Lectures

Darwin Day Family Festival, Featuring John Rennie, Matthew Chapman: Sat., Feb. 7

Join the Center for Inquiry, the American Ethical Union, the Harvard Humanist Alumni and the NY Society for Ethical Culture on Saturday, February 7 for the Darwin Day Family Festival, a celebration of Darwin Day 2009.  This year's very special Darwin Day marks the 200th anniversary of Charles Darwin's birth (on Feb. 12) and the 150th anniversary of the publication of On the Origin of Species (on Nov. 24).  The Festival will feature games and entertainment for kids, speakers and fun for adults. 

The event begins with a reading for everyone and will split off into two simultaneous programs:

  • Kids will participate in evolutionary explorations, a scavenger hunt, primate paintings, songs, stories, fossil making and more!
  • Adults will hear a three speaker panel w/ Q&A, a comedy parody, and readings from On the Origin of the Species by John Rennie, editor-in-chief of Scientific American , and Matthew Chapman, author, film producer, and great-great-grandson of Charles Darwin.
  • Everyone will come together at the end of the event for Birthday cake and a celebration in honor of Charlie Darwin!

Saturday, Feb. 7, 2:00 - 5:00 p.m.
NY Society for Ethical Culture
2 W. 64th Street.

Free for children; $10 for adults.  Click here for tickets .

CFI-Brooklyn Presents Jennfier Michael Hecht, Mon., Feb. 16

Join CFI-Brooklyn on Monday, February 16 for a Meet the Author event with Jennifer Michael Hecht, the author of three history books and two volumes of poetry.  Her bestseller D oubt: A History demonstrates a long, strong history of religious doubt. Hecht’s The End of the Soul: Scientific Modernity, Atheism, and Anthropology won the Phi Beta Kappa Society’s 2004 Ralph Waldo Emerson Award “for scholarly studies that contribute significantly to interpretations of the intellectual and cultural condition of humanity.” Her most recent book, The Happiness Myth , brought a skeptical eye to modern wisdom about the good life. Hecht’s poetry books have won four national awards between them, and Publisher’s Weekly called her most recent poetry book, Funny , “one of the most original and entertaining books of the year.” Her book reviews, essays, and poetry appear in 20 such journals as The New York Times, The New Yorker, and The Washington Post.

Hecht earned her Ph.D. in the History of Science from Columbia University in 1995 and now teaches in the Graduate Writing Program at The New School University. She has given talks on atheism and doubt all over the country, and on many radio programs and podcasts, some of which are available free on the web.  For more on Hecht, visit her Web site .  Hecht was recently on the Center for Inquiry's podcast, Point of Inquiry. Listen to the conversation here .

Monday, February 16 at 7:30 p.m.

Brooklyn Society for Ethical Culture, Prospect Park West & 1st St., Brooklyn

Community Events

Columbia Atheists & Agnostics Present Nica Lalli, Thurs., Jan. 29

Nica Lalli, author of Nothing: Something to Believe In , will talk to Columbia Atheists and Agnostics about how atheists live in a religious society. Her memoir is a change from the combative tone of many New Atheist activists.

Thursday, January 29, 8:00 p.m. at 303 Hamilton Hall, Columbia University; enter campus at Broadway and 116th St.

Brooklyn Meetup: Thurs., Feb. 5

Join CFI's Brooklyn community on Thursday, February 5 at 11:00 p.m. for food, drink, and fun conversation at Bar 4 ., 7th Avenue and 15th Street, Brooklyn.


F train: take the F to 7th avenue. Exit at 9th street and walk south six blocks to 15th street. Or take the F to 15th street and walk west two avenues to 7th avenue.

M/R trains: take the M/R to Prospect Avenue, exit and walk east until you hit 7th avenue; make a left and walk down to 15th street. (Keep in mind you can transfer to the M/R at Atlantic Avenue, which has a plethora of subways running to it, like the 2/3/4/5 and B/D/M/Q.

Monthly Brunch: Saturday, Feb. 14

This month's brunch gathering will take place again at Fusia Asian Cuisine, 677C Lexington Ave (on 56th St. just east of Lex), at 12:30 p.m. Everyone interested in getting together with like-minded humanists and rationalists for good food, lively talk and humanist camaraderie is welcome.

Fusia is midtown-located, inexpensive and good pan-Asian. Order off the menu; individual checks. For the menu and prices, go to

Book Club: “Society Without God” by Phil Zuckerman, Thurs., Feb. 19

The jointly sponsored Center for Inquiry / Secular Humanist Society of New York Book Club will meet on Thursday, February 19, 6:30 - 8:00 p.m. in the Muhlenberg Library, 209 West 23rd Street (at 7th Ave.), 3rd Floor, to discuss Phil Zuckerman's Society Without God: What the Least Religious Nations Can Tell Us about Contentment

Join us even if you haven't finished reading. The CFI/SHSNY Book Club is open to all ... and free! Every CFI/SHSNY Book Club Meet is a Book Swap, too. Bring the books gathering dust on your shelves and take your pick of other readers' castaways. The leftovers? Donated to the Muhlenberg.

Directions to the Muhlenberg Library, 209 West 23rd Street (at 7th Ave.): 1 train to 23rd St. & 7th Ave., F or V to 23rd & 6th, C or E to 23rd & 8th; #23 or #20 bus to 23rd & 7th. Parking garages at 170 and 101 West 23rd. The library has an elevator to the 3rd floor Community Room.

Harlem Community Meeting: Sun., Feb. 22

The Harlem Community offers an opportunity to put your principles into practice by joining other rationalists to work for positive change in society. In addition, the Harlem Community sponsors social events for freethinkers as well as intellectual programming, and assists with campus outreach. Learn how empowering activism, education and fellowship can be.

At February's meeting, we will get feedback from our members that attended the forums in Harlem last month ( Is the Bible Good For Black People? , Hubert Harrison and Away With All Gods? ) and the furor the gay Caucasian community has with the Black vote for Prop 8 in Cali. last Nov. Why didn't they see it coming?

Sunday, Feb. 22 at 1:00 P.M., Harlem State Office Building, 163 W. 125th Street, 8th Floor (Trains: 2, 3, A, B, C, D).

Movie Night: Mon., Feb. 23

Join us for another installment of the jointly-sponsored CFI-NYC / Secular Humanist Society of New York monthly Movie Night.

Monday, January 26, 7:00 p.m.

Stone Creek Bar & Lounge, 140 E 27th St. (Lex-3rd Aves)

There is no room-rental charge at Stone Creek Lounge, but management expects us each to spend the equivalent of a "one drink minimum." Check out the menu and prices at . For more information, contact John Rafferty: john [at] rafferty [dot] net.


Center for Inquiry World Congress: "Science, Public Policy & the Planetary Community," April 9-12, 2009, Bethesda, MD

2009 marks the bicentennial of both Charles Darwin's and Abraham Lincoln's birth and the 150th anniversary of the publication of On the Origin of Species. There can be no more fitting opportunity to discuss and consider the appropriate relationship between science and public policy. Please join us as scientists and scholars from around the world analyze the role of science, explain how it works, explore its connection to public policy, and examine its significance for the global community.

Speakers already confirmed include NASA climatologist Drew Shindell, Roger Bonnet from the International Space Science Institute, author and social critic Christopher Hitchens , acknowledged authority on evolutionary biology Michael Ruse , skeptical investigators James Randi and Joe Nickell , renowned psychologist Elizabeth Loftus , and many others.

For sign-up and more information, visit

CFI Travel Club Adventure: The Western Carribean, Nov. 12-20, 2009

We are happy to announce the 6th Annual Center for Inquiry Travel Club Event.   Please join your host, Paul Kurtz, and staff sailing on Carnival Miracle®.

Enjoy 8 days of conversation, camaraderie and fun with like-minded folks. Sailing from Ft. Lauderdale, visit the countries of Costa Rica, Panama and Belize. Savor 4 days at sea, stretching your mind and body, participate in challenging presentations and pleasant on-board activities.  November 12-20, 2009.

For more information and registration, visit  Everything, including all times, itinerary and pricing, is subject to change at any time.

CFI-NYC Launches Capital Campaign

CFI-NYC's current rented space at 80 Broad Street has many limitations. We have barely enough room for staff to function efficiently. We have no room for skeptics and secular humanists to gather. The next step of CFI-NYC's development is to take its place as a leading cultural institution. To this end, we are seeking to purchase a 5,000+ square-foot property in Manhattan (hopefully with room for expansion) to serve as the headquarters for our growing staff and to become a permanent home for reason, science, and secular values in New York.

We are challenging our friends - humanists, skeptics, and freethinkers in the New York area - to help us exceed our goal of raising $6.25 million. Our goal is based on the amount considered necessary to purchase and renovate a building that will suit our needs.

Our capital campaign brochure is available for download on our website at .To request a hard copy of our brochure, or to inquire about making a contribution, call Sherry Rook, Vice President of Development, at (800) 818-7071.

Show Your Commitment to Reason, Science and Secular Values

In the contemporary marketplace of ideas, one can find responsible, objective, and evidence-based information on everything from foreign policy to hormone replacement therapy. Yet when it comes to some of our most fundamental questions--about human values, the transcendent, or the borderlands of science--one often only hears from partisans of traditional religion, New Age practitioners, or anti-science movements.

With its network of scientists and other thinkers, its grassroots advocacy and public education organizations, and its popular and scholarly publications, the Center for Inquiry fills this gap, lending a credible voice to critical inquiry and the scientific outlook.

Help CFI promote and defend science, reason, and freedom of inquiry by becoming a Friend of the Center. Friends of the Center receive:

  • Free or discounted admission to CFI events
  • 10% discount for national events sponsored by CFI and its affiliates CSH and CSI
  • 15% discount on selected Prometheus Books titles
  • A colorful CFI vinyl decal
  • An enamel CFI lapel pin (Contributor level or higher)
  • Invitations to special events and private receptions (Benefactor level and donors of $1000 or higher)

Join the Center for Inquiry by becoming a Friend of the Center.