CFI-NYC eBulletin

September 29, 2008

Upcoming Lectures

C. Welton Gaddy on Religion & Secularism in Election '08: Tues., Oct. 7

CFI-NYC is proud to present Rev. C. Welton Gaddy as the first speaker in the 2008-2009 Voices of Reason lecture series.   Dr. Gaddy will speak about the state of religion and politics in Campaign 2008.  Dr. Gaddy is the president of the Interfaith Alliance and the host of Air America 's weekly radio program, State of Belief .  He has been one of the leading liberal religious voices deploring the erosion of separation between church and state since the early 1990s.  Dr. Gaddy's talk will emphasize the need for cooperation between secularists, freethinkers, and religious defenders of church-state separation, and will offer specific strategies to highlight our issues. 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.  This event will start promptly at 6:30 and will end by 8:00, well in time for the evening's televised Presidential Debate.

Tuesday, Oct. 7, 6:30 - 8:00 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.

CFI Presents Neil deGrasse Tyson and Wendy Kaminer: Tues., Oct. 14

Please join the Center for Inquiry's newly appointed CEO, Ronald A. Lindsay, in welcoming special guests Wendy Kaminer (attorney, social critic, author, and columnist for Free Inquiry magazine) and Neil deGrasse Tyson (astrophysicist, Director of the Hayden Planetarium, and host of NOVA science NOW) at a special cocktail and hors d'oeuvres reception.

Tuesday, Oct. 14, 5:30 p.m. at the NY Society for Ethical Culture, 2 W. 64th St. (at Central Park West).

Space is Limited - Reservations Required.   Call (800) 818-7071 or e-mail friends [at] centerforinquiry [dot] net.

Save the Date: "Truth Uncorked" with Mathematician and Author John Allen Paulos, Thurs., Nov. 6

Mark your calendars: CFI's next Truth Uncorked wine and conversation event will take place on Thursday, November 6 with John Allen Paulos.   Paulos is a professor of mathematics at Temple University in Philadelphia who has gained fame as a writer and speaker, most notably on the topic of mathematics and the importance of mathematical literacy. His books Innumeracy and A Mathematician Reads the Newspaper were influential bestsellers.  He has also written on other subjects, such as the mathematical and philosophical basis of humor in Mathematics and Humor and I Think, Therefore I Laugh , the vagaries of the stock market in A Mathematician Plays the Stock Market , and the emptiness of the traditional arguments for God in his most recent book, Irreligion . "Who's Counting," his long-running monthly column on, deals with mathematical aspects of stories in the news.

Thurs., Nov. 6, 6:30 p.m. at Dactyl Foundation, 64 Grand St. (between W. Broadway and Wooster).

Further details and registration information will follow shortly.

Save the Date: Frederick S. Lane on the Religious Right's Assault on the Supreme Court, Thurs., Nov. 13

November's featured speaker in CFI-NYC's Voices of Reason lecture series is Frederick S. Lane, author of The Court and the Cross: The Religious Right's Campaign to Reshape the Supreme Court (Beacon Press, 2008), a disturbing study of the ways in which the nation's highest court, as a result of appointments made by presidents beholden to the Religious Right, has moved away from a strict interpretation of the First Amendment and has allowed unprecedented religious interference with government. Lane will offer predictions for the future as well as an analysis of the past. The substance of Lane's talk will, of course, be greatly affected by the results of Election 2008. Lane is an attorney, an expert witnesses in court cases involving invasion of privacy, and is working on a new book on privacy in an age of computer voyeurism.  Co-sponsored with All Souls Unitarian Church.

Thursday, November 13, 6:30 p.m. at All Souls Unitarian Church, 1157 Lexington Ave (at 80th 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.

NYC Skeptics Presents: James Randi, Fri., Oct. 10

Join New York City Skeptics as they celebrate their first anniversary with a special lecture by the famed skeptic and magician James "The Amazing" Randi.  Randi, an internationally famous magician and escape artist, is best known as the world's most tireless investigator and demystifier of paranormal and pseudoscientific claims. He has received numerous awards and recognitions, including a "genius" Fellowship from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.  He is the author of numerous books, including The Truth About Uri Geller, The Faith Healers, Flim-Flam!, and An Encyclopedia of Claims, Frauds, and Hoaxes of the Occult and Supernatural . His lectures and television appearances have delighted — and vexed — audiences around the world.

Friday, October 10, 7:00 p.m. at Rockefeller University's Caspary Auditorium, 1230 York Avenue (at 66th St.).

Admission is free and open to the public.

Community Events

Massimo Pigliucci & Performance Artist Amy Caron: WAVES OF MU, Sun., Oct. 12

Join CFI for a special performance of performance artist Amy Caron's WAVES OF MU , a much-anticipated neuroscience-based art installation/performance work.  This special performance will be followed by a panel discussion featuring Skeptical Inquirer 's Massimo Piggliuci. 

Kick off your shoes (literally) and step into a universe like none other. Informed by the monumental discovery of mirror neurons and created alongside world-renowned neuroscientists, (according to neuroscientist V.S. Ramachandran, "The discovery of mirror neurons is the most important unpublicized story of the decade," doing for psychology what DNA has done for biology), Amy Caron's beautifully complex two-room installation-performance drives multidisciplinary art headlong into new territory. Her warped lab/lecture/experiment gives a nod and a wink to hard science while cleverly activating her "test subjects" to cheer, cringe, and discover through experience, a new awareness of the profundity of our interpersonal world.

Directly following the Sunday, October 12th performance there will be a moderated panel discussion that includes:
  • Valentina Dilda PhD: studies motor systems at Mount Sinai and worked in the Gallese/Rizzolati lab in Parma when mirror neurons were discovered
  • Lindsay Oberman PhD: Currently a research Fellow at Harvard who worked with Ramachandran on mirror neuron research.
  • Massimo Pigliucci PhD: An evolutionary biologist, philosopher of science, and representative for the Center for Inquiry
Sunday, October 12, 5:30 p.m.
Performance Space 122
150 First Avenue at E. 9th St.

Advance booking is strongly encouraged as this show has very limited seating. 

Tickets regularly $20.
Use code FF15 and enjoy $15 single tickets.
Use code FF241 and enjoy $10 tickets when you book two or more tickets!
Enter code online via
Or mention code by phone at 212-352-3101

*Discount based on limited availability; may not be combined with other offers or applied to previous sales; may be discontinued at any time so book now and save!

Movie Night: Monday, Oct. 20

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

Monday, October 20, 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.

Philosophy & Fries: Brooklyn Community Meetup, Tues., Oct. 21

You've likely heard of the term "secular humanism" before, but how much do you really know about it? Put simply, secular humanism is a philosophy that values reason, evidence, ethics, and free inquiry, and argues that humans can lead a wholly fulfilling life without the supernatural -- that we should base our moral decisions on what we know of this life.

But, then, there is so much more to secular humanism that can't be covered in full here. So, come out for a discussion with evolutionary biologist and philosopher Massimo Pigliucci, who will help us with the foundations of secular humanism, leading into other related topics of interest. This will be the first meeting of Philosophy and Fries, one event of many from the new CFI-Brooklyn group.

The Park Plaza Restaurant is a Brooklyn Heights-located diner with lots of space, fairly priced food, and beer, wine and cocktails. To get there:

A or C to High Street

2 or 3 to Clark Street

4, 5, M or R to Court Street, Borough Hall

Monthly Brunch: Sun., Oct. 26

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, Oct. 26

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, Oct. 26 at 1:00 P.M., Harlem State Office Building, 163 W. 125th Street, 8th Floor (Trains: 2, 3, A, B, C, D).

SHSNY Presents: Dr. Wayne Whitmore on "Secularism and Libertarianism: Rooted in Reason," Tues., Oct. 28

Dr. Wayne Whitmore will lead a discussion of the Secular Humanist Society of New York on Secularism and Libertarianism: Rooted in Reason on Tues., Oct. 28.  According to Dr. Whitmore, "Secularism and libertarianism are both derivatives of rational thought: secularism, on a more simple level, from methodological considerations of existence and the facts of reality; libertarianism, on a more complex level, from the moral considerations of human individual independence and justice. Libertarianism sees the Declaration of Independence as the embodiment of the Enlightenment philosophy of individualism. The U.S. Constitution embraced this philosophy, to protect our individual liberty under a uniform rule of law that also tried to protect us from the predations of an overweening (over-powerful) government. Let's have a 'rational discussion' about government policies that redistribute wealth (welfare, Medicare, Social Security, farm subsidies, etc.) and policies that restrict or infringe upon our liberties (the 'drug war', the Patriot Act, gun control, minimum wage laws, etc.)"

Tuesday, October 28, 6:00 p.m. at the Muhlenberg Library, 3rd Floor, 209 West 23rd Street (at 7th Ave.).

Book Club: Thurs., Oct. 30: "Bomb Scare" by Joseph Cirincione

The jointly sponsored Center for Inquiry / Secular Humanist Society of New York Book Club will meet on Thursday, October 30, 6:30 - 8:00 p.m. in the Muhlenberg Library, 209 West 23rd Street (at 7th Ave.), 3rd Floor, to discuss Joseph Cirincione's Bomb Scare

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.

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.