CFI-NYC eBulletin

July 31, 2008

Upcoming Lectures

SAVE THE DATE: "TRUTH UNCORKED: Where Wine Flows Like Conversation": Jennifer Michael Hecht, Mon., Sept. 8

CFI-NYC's Truth Uncorked series continues on Monday, Sept. 8 with author, poet, and intellectual historian Jennifer Michael Hecht. Join us for an intimate evening of exquisite wine, intelligent conversation, and an optional dinner with the speaker.

Jennifer Michael Hecht attended Adelphi University and earned a Ph.D. in the History of Science from Columbia University in 1995.  For a time studied at the Université de Caen, and the Université d'Angers. She currently teaches poetry and philosophy in the Graduate Writing Program of The New School and is a fellow of the New York Institute for the Humanities.  Hecht's scholarly articles and poetry have been published in many journals and magazines. She has also written book reviews for The New York Times, The Washington Post, The American Scholar , and other publications. She has written several columns for The New York Times online's Times Select .  Hecht is the author of several books, including Doubt: A History , an epic, world-wide study of religious doubt throughout history and, most recently,  The Happiness Myth: Why What We Think Is Right Is Wrong .  In The Happiness Myth, Hecht attempts to examine happiness through historical perspective. She maintains that our current perception of happiness is affected by culture, and that future generations may well mock our view of happiness as we make fun of earlier generations. 

Monday, Sept. 8.  RSVP Required.  Time, Location, and Registration Information TBA.   Visit for updates.  To RSVP call Tasha Williams-Dantzler at 212-504-2935, or e-mail twilliams [at] centerforinquiry [dot] net. 

Freethinkers Tour of New York City, Sat., Sept. 6

Back by popular demand, CFI-NYC's annual Freethinkers Tour of New York is back, with an updated script by Susan Jacoby. We'll meet at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 6, in front of the Gramercy Park Hotel on the northwest corner of Lexington Avenue and 21st Street. Robert Ingersoll, "the Great Agnostic," lived in a townhouse on this site in the 1880s and 1890s. The walking tour will be led by professional guide Justin Ferate, and Ms. Jacoby, the author of The Age of American Unreason , will give readings at various points. We'll proceed to Union Square and Cooper Union, both sites of important freethought events in New York history. An added attraction of this tour will be a special exhibition on free speech at Cooper Union. As in the past, we will wind up in a bar to drink a toast to Thomas Paine in the West Village near the site of Paine's death.  This will be a walking tour from Gramercy Park to Cooper Union. Since the final stop is on Grove Street in the West Village, some of you may want to take a taxi instead of walking the last mile. Ms. Jacoby and Mr. Ferate will be there to end the tour with final thoughts on Paine's life and death.

Space is limited, so reservations are strongly urged. To defray the cost of a professional guide, we're charging $15, $5 for students. To RSVP, call Tasha Williams-Dantzler at 212-504-2935, or e-mail twilliams [at] centerforinquiry [dot] net.  Payment accepted by cash, check, or credit card.

Community Events

Monthly Brunch: Sun., Aug. 17

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

Movie Night, Monday, Aug. 18

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

Monday, August 18, 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.

Book Club, Thurs., Aug. 21: "The Future of Freedom" by Fareed Zakaria

The jointly sponsored Center for Inquiry / Secular Humanist Society of New York Book Club will meet on Thursday, August 21, 6:30 - 8:00 p.m. in the Muhlenberg Library, 209 West 23rd Street (at 7th Ave.), 3rd Floor, to discuss Fareed Zakaria's The Future of Freedom . (The previously announced book, Joseph Cirincione's Bomb Scare: The History and Future of Nuclear Weapons , is not yet available, but will be featured at a future book club event.)

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, Sunday, Aug. 31

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.  Meetings are on the LAST Sunday of every month: Starting January 2008: 1/27, 2/24, 3/30, 4/27, 5/25, 6/29, 7/27, 8/31, 9/28, 10/26 (NO MEETINGS: NOV AND DEC).

Sunday, Aug. 31 at 1:00 P.M., Harlem State Office Building, 163 W. 125th Street, 8th Floor (Trains: 2, 3, A, B, C, D).


CFI Institute Summer Session: The Journey from Religion to Science, July 20 - August 10

Contemporary society challenges us to understand our world in ways unimaginable a century ago. Scientific and technological advances, although beneficial and intellectually exciting, are also frequently anxiety-provoking, disrupting the placid certainty of the past: our comforting mythologies are regularly challenged by the realities of modern science and the unforeseen capabilities of modern technology. How can we embrace this intellectual excitement without provoking the anxiety created by, to borrow Lippmann's phrase, the "acids of modernity"? How can those of us committed to a fully secular, rational, science-based understanding of the world respond to majority views shaped by different commitments and loyalties? How do we chart a course from the "disenchantment of the world" to the "re-enchantment of the world."

The CFI Institute's Summer Session 2008 examines such questions as, "What are the origins of religion?", "How do we assess the truth claims made by major religions on the basis of their sacred writings?", "Is it possible to be good without God?" and "What is modern science telling us about how we come to know ourselves and the world beyond us?" The courses offered in 2008, organized around the theme From Religion to Science , examine the "future" of the Enlightenment, secular and religious dominion in public policy, the new atheism, and other topics of vital concern for humanists and non-humanists alike.

To register or for more information, call (716) 636-4869 ext. 408, e-mail sdornfeld [at] centerforinquiry [dot] net, or visit .

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.