CFI-NYC eBulletin

August 28, 2008

Upcoming Lectures

Truth Uncorked: Poet & Intellectual Historian Jennifer Michael Hecht, Mon., Sept. 8

CFI-NYC's Truth Uncorked: Where Wine Flows Like Conversation 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.

Salon Event ($30): Dactyl Foundation, 64 Grand St. (between W. Broadway and Wooster St.), 6:30 p.m.  RSVP strongly encouraged .

Dinner ($90): Bistro Les Amis, 180 Spring St. (at Thompson St.), 8:30 p.m.   Limited space.  RSVP required

To RSVP call 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 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 Freethinkers and 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.

RSVP required . 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.

Save the Date: Voices of Reason: C. Weton Gaddy on Religion & Politics, Tuesday, Oct. 7

CFI-NYC's 2008-2009 Voices of Reason lecture series begins Tuesday, October 7, with a talk on the state of religion and politics in Campaign 2008 by the Rev. C. Welton Gaddy, president of the Interfaith Alliance and one of the leading liberal religious voices deploring the erosion of separation between church and state since the early 1990s. Dr. Gaddy will emphasize the need for cooperation between secularists, freethinkers, and religious defenders of church-state separation and offer specific strategies to highlight our issues. Dr. Gaddy also hosts a weekly radio program, State of Belief, on Air America. We urge you to take advantage of this extraordinary opportunity to hear the ideas of—and exchange ideas with—one of the leading religious opponents of faith-based government.

Tuesday, Oct. 7, 6:30 p.m. 
General Society of Mechanics & Tradesmen, 20 W 44th St.

Advanced registration is recommended. Lecture admission is $10 (free for Friends of the Center -- call 212-504-2935 to RSVP). You may purchase in advance by credit card (call Tasha Williams-Dantzler, 212-504-2945 ext. 1), or by check (made payable to the Center for Inquiry-New York City; mail to 80 Broad St, 5th Fl., New York, NY 10004). Alternatively, you may pay at the door by cash, check, or credit card.

Community Events

Inaugural Brooklyn Community Meetup: Friday, Sept. 19

Come out for the Center for Inquiry's first social event in Brooklyn!  Get a feel for the work CFI does, the people involved, and learn about upcoming events CFI has planned in your neighborhood. Brooklyn residents, we welcome your thoughts and ideas.

Friday, Sept. 19, 7:00 p.m.
131 Altantic Ave, Park Slope, Brooklyn
Nearby trains: 2, 3, 4, 5, A, C, F, G, M, N, R, W

Movie Night: Monday, Sept. 8

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., Sept. 18: "The Varieties of Scientific Experience" by Carl Sagan

The jointly sponsored Center for Inquiry / Secular Humanist Society of New York Book Club will meet on Thursday, September 18, 6:30 - 8:00 p.m. in the Muhlenberg Library, 209 West 23rd Street (at 7th Ave.), 3rd Floor, to discuss Carl Sagan's The Varieties of Scientific Experience : A Personal View of the Search for God

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.

Monthly Brunch: Sun., Sept. 21

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

Harlem Community Meeting, Sunday, Sept. 28

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, Sept.28 at 1:00 P.M., Harlem State Office Building, 163 W. 125th Street, 8th Floor (Trains: 2, 3, A, B, C, D).

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.