CFI-NYC eBulletin

December 3, 2007

Save the Date: Harvey J. Kaye on Paine and the Unfinished American Revolution , Wed., January 16

CFI-NYC's 2007-2008 Voices of Reason lecture series picks up again on January 16 with the 2008 Thomas Paine Memorial Lecture . This year's lecture will be delivered by Harvey J. Kaye, author of Thomas Paine and the Promise of America (Hill and Wang) and Rosenberg Professor of Social Change and Development at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. Dr. Kaye, one of the most distinguished Paine scholars in the nation, will speak on Paine and America's Unfinished Revolution: The Struggle for Democracy Continues. What would Thomas Paine think about the restrictions on American civil liberties in the wake of 9/11? We'll talk about this and many other topics as relevant today as they were at the time of the American Revolution.

Wednesday, January 16th, 6:30 pm
General Society of Mechanics & Tradesmen,
20 W. 44th St.,between 5th & 6th Aves.

The lecture is free for Friends of the Center. For all others, $10. Prepayment recommended. RSVP Online, Or call 212-504-2935.

CFI-NYC Religion & Politics Conference Draws Over 400

CFI-NYC held a landmark, sold out conference on religion and politics at the New York Academy of Sciences, 7 World Trade Center, on November 9 - 11. The Secular Society and Its Enemies attracted a diverse crowd of more than four hundred, including over forty student members of CFI-On Campus. Events included a birthday tribute to Carl Sagan by his widow, the author and media producer Ann Druyan, and astrophysicist and television personality Neil deGrasse Tyson; an awards ceremony inducting Druyan and Tyson into the International Academy of Humanism, and awarding high school student and church-state separation hero Matthew LaClair the 2007 James Madison Religious Liberty Award; and panel discussions on the history of secularism, science and the public, religion and politics in America, secularism and Islam, and secular youth. Several speakers were featured in addition, including "New Atheist" author Richard Dawkins; celebrated defense attorney and Harvard Law School professor Alan Dershowitz; and bioethicist, author, and Princeton professor Peter Singer. In addition, Christopher Hitchens appeared in a provocative video interview with CFI's Derek Araujo made specially for the event.

CFI-NYC plans to make video recordings of portions of the weekend's events available online. Stay tuned to CFI-NYC's website and bulletin for information. In addition, Richard Dawkins' in-depth on stage interview with DJ Grothe will be featured on CFI's podcast and radio show, Point of Inquiry.

CFI/SHSNY Book Club: The Stillborn God by Mark Lilla

The jointly sponsored Center for Inquiry and Secular Humanist Society of New York Book Club will meet on Thursday, December 13, 6:30 - 8:00 p.m. in the Muhlenberg Library, 209 West 23rd Street (at 7th Ave.) to discuss Mark Lilla's recent book, The Stillborn God: Religion, Politics, and the Modern West. This searching history of Western thinking about the relationship between religion and politics was inspired not by 9/11, but by Nazi Germany, where, says Lilla , politics and religion were horrifyingly intertwined. Lilla reaches back to the early modern era, when thinkers like Locke and Hume began to suggest that religion and politics should be separate enterprises. Some theorists argued that government must be totally detached from religion. Others believed that rightly practiced religion could contribute to modern life. Liberal theologians, Lilla says, credulously assumed human society was progressive and never dreamed that fanaticism could capture the imaginations of modern people-assumptions that were proven wrong by Hitler.

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.

New Jersey Viewing Party: Jonathan Miller's A Brief History of Disbelief

Due to popular demand, Katy and Russ Fischer will host a second free screening of all three episodes of Jonathan Miller's A Brief History of Disbelief on Sunday, December 9, starting at 5:30 p.m.

The subject of atheism has sparked major discussion in America. Best selling books, press reports and magazine articles are fueling the debate. This three-part series is the first ever television exploration of the idea that God does not exist. Originally broadcast on the BBC in 2005, it was brought to PBS television this spring through funding by the Center for Inquiry.

This free screening will be followed by refreshments and discussion. Screening begins at 5:30 p.m.; feel free to arrive anytime after 5:00 p.m. To RSVP, call or e-mail Katy and Russ Fischer at kifischer [at] optonline [dot] net / (973) 663-4646.

The Fischers's studio, Ballroom Magic, is located at 341 Lakeside Avenue at Hopatcong Street, Andover, NJ (in the Glasser, NJ area). For directions, call or e-mail the Fischers at the above contact information.

NYC Skeptics Association Presents: Dr. Steve Novella

Noted scientist, author, and podcaster Dr. Steve Novella will discuss the basics of a skeptical world view, why it is important, as well as share his experiences as a skeptical activist. There will be an audience Q & A session after the lecture.

Saturday, December 8, 1:00 - 4:00 p.m
New York Public Library
Jefferson Market Branch
425 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10011

CFI-NYC Launches Capital Campaign

CFI-NYC's current rented space at Rockefeller Center 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.

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