CFI-NYC eBulletin

March 31, 2008

Upcoming Lectures

"TRUTH UNCORKED: Where Wine Flows Like Conversation": Wine & Dinner with NYT Bestselling Author Susan Jacoby, Thurs., April 10

Join CFI-NYC for the inauguration of a new, monthly event combining fine food and wine with intimate, intelligent conversation.  On the second Thursday of each month, a local author, intellectual, or artist will discuss his or her latest work with a small group of participants over wine, cocktails and dinner.

Our first event on April 10 will feature Susan Jacoby, author of the acclaimed NY Times bestseller The Age of American Unreason .  Susan is the author of eight books, including Wild Justice: The Evolution of Revenge , a Pulitzer Prize finalist in 1984, and Freethinkers: A History of American Secularism , named a notable book of 2004 by the Washington Post and the NY Times .  Her latest book, The Age of American Unreason , picks up in the early 1960s where the historian Richard Hofstadter left off in his classic work, Anti-Intellectualism in American Life . Susan's book addresses the astonishing growth of public ignorance, anti-rationalism, and anti-intellectualism that threaten the future of American democracy.  Susan's new book has earned widespread praise, an extensive profile in the NY Times , and multiple television interviews, including appearances on the Today Show and Bill Moyers Journal .

Thursday, April 10, 8:00pm
Gascogne (
158 8th Avenue (at 18th Street)

SPACE IS LIMITED. RSVP REQUIRED.  $30 admission includes two glasses of wine.  Dinner not included.  For reservations or more information, contact nyc [at] centerforinquiry [dot] net, or call (212) 504-2935.

Paul Kurtz at the NY Academy of Sciences: April 17

The philosopher Paul Kurtz, CFI's founder and chairman, will speak at the Lyceum Society at the New York Academy of Sciences on April 17.  Brown bag lunch starts at 11:30am; Dr. Kurtz's presentation, Can Science Help Us Make Wise Moral Judgments , will run from 1:00 to 3:00pm.  The Lyceum Society is comprised of the AAAS's retired and semi-retired members, but all are welcome.

Thursday, April 17, 11:30am - 3:00pm
New York Academy of Sciences
7 World Trade Center
250 Greenwich Street, 40th Floor
Sponsored by the New York Academy of Sciences

RSVP Required.   Free for Academy members; $20 for non-members; $10 for student non-members.  Click here to register.

New Jersey Conference: "Secular Ethics Under Siege": Paul Kurtz, R. Joseph Hoffman, & Austin Dacey, April 19

To re-launch its New Jersey community, the Center for Inquiry will hold a one-day conference in Totowa, New Jersey on Saturday, April 19, on Secular Ethics Under Siege.   Speakers and topics include:

  • Paul Kurtz: Ethics for the Future
  • R. Joseph Hoffman: Whatever Happened to God?
  • Austin Dacey: Who Holds the Monopoly on Morality?

Saturday, April 19, 11:00am - 4:00pm
Holiday Inn of Totowa
#1 Route 46 Westbound, Totowa, NJ
Directions: visit or click here .

REGISTRATION REQUIRED.  $39 admission includes lunch.  To register call Tasha Williams at (212) 504-2935, or e-mail twilliams [at] centerforinquiry [dot] net.  More information, including online registration, will appear later on our website,

Save the Date: Voices of Reason: Roundtable Discussion on Science, Secularism, and Election 2008: May 14

The Voices of Reason lecture series concludes on Wednesday, May 14 with a roundtable discussion on science, secularism, and the 2008 election.  Featuring Matthew LaClair, the heroic high school student who exposed a public school teacher's classroom evangelizing; two organizers of Science Debate 2008 (names to be announced shortly on, an initiative of leading academic institutions, Nobel laureates, science academies, and concerned citizens promoting debate among the presidential candidates on issues of science and technology; and Susan Jacoby (moderator), author of the New York Times bestseller The Age of American Unreason

Wednesday, May 14th, 6:30 pm
General Society of Mechanics & Tradesmen,
20 W. 44th St.,between 5th & 6th Aves.

Advanced registration is recommended, but not required for this event. Admission is $10 (free for Friends of the Center). You may purchase in advance by PayPal Online, by credit card (call Tasha Williams, 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 in person by cash, check, or credit card.

Community Events

"Perplexed Parents Circle": Sunday, April 13

Join the Center for Inquiry and Brooklyn author and parent Nica Lalli for a new discussion group in Park Slope, Brooklyn: The Perplexed Parents Circle: Families in a Multifaith World .   Perplexed Parents is for parents who would like to explore how to raise children outside of religious institutions. Many parents are not sure what they believe, may have ties to different religions, and struggle with the questions about what to do with their children and religion. This group will address issues such as:

  • Dealing with grandparents and the expectations of extended families
  • Giving children confidence when "everyone" else belongs to something religious and they do not
  • How to celebrate religious holidays
  • How to answer that tough question: What ARE we?

Perplexed Parents will meet on the following dates from Noon to 2:00 p.m.:

  • Sunday, April 13
  • Sunday, May 18
  • Sunday, June 22

All meetings will occur at the Brooklyn Arts Exchange (BAX), 421 5th Avenue (at 8th Street). Meetings will be hosted by Nica Lalli, who has a ten year old and a thirteen year old. Nica is a local PTA parent, author of a memoir ( Nothing Something to Believe In ) and calls herself a Pink Atheist, a more tolerant and open non-believer. Nica is working on her second book, What do We Believe In? , which will be about parenting without religion in America today.

Free and open to the public. Child care, light refreshments will be provided.

For more information call (718) 768-2960, or email nica.lalli [at] verizon [dot] net

Movie Night, Monday, April 14: Ingmar Bergman's "The Virgin Spring"

This month's jointly-sponsored Center for Inquiry / Secular Humanist Society of New York Movie Night features The Virgin Spring . Ingmar Bergman won his first Oscar (Best Foreign Language Film, 1960) for this cruel but unsensational medieval allegory, a tale of superstition, religious faith, rape and revenge set in a 14th century Sweden where the populace is vacillating between Christianity and paganism. On the way to deliver candles to a church, the virginal daughter (Birgitta Pettersson) of deeply religious feudal landowner Töre (Max von Sydow) is savagely raped and murdered. But fate takes a hand when the killers unknowingly seek food and shelter at the girl's home, and the grief-stricken Töre learns the truth about his visitors.

Monday, April 14, 7:00 p.m
Stone Creek Bar & Lounge
140 E 27th St. (Lex-3rd Aves)

Coming Attractions: Article VI: Faith, Politics, America (May); Terry Gilliam's Brazil (June).

Book Club, Thurs., April 17: "Freedom Evolves" by Daniel Dennett

The jointly sponsored Center for Inquiry / Secular Humanist Society of New York Book Club will meet on Thursday, April 17, 6:30 - 8:00 p.m. in the Muhlenberg Library, 209 West 23rd Street (at 7th Ave.) to discuss Daniel C. Dennett's Freedom Evolves: Fantasies and Reflections on Self and Soul . The man who advanced our understanding of consciousness and evolution in Darwin's Dangerous Idea now addresses the issue of free will. "Trading in a supernatural soul for a natural soul-is this a fair bargain?" he asks. Seeking to fend off "caricatures of Darwinian thinking," he argues that yes, there is such a thing as free will, and that culture, morality and freedom are as much a result of evolution by natural selection as our physical and genetic attributes.

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., April 27

This month's jointly-sponsored Center for Inquiry and Secular Humanist Society of New York 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


CFI Explorers Club Sails the Amazon

Experience Brazil's Beauty! Join the Center for Inquiry Explorers Club on our next unique travel adventure to Brazil. Be on board as the Club savors (for the third time) a UNESCO World Heritage site, May 20 - 30, 2008. Featured speakers include Steven Pinker, Rebecca Goldstein, Paul Kurtz, DJ Grothe, and Austin Dacey. For reservations, contact CFI travel director Toni Van Pelt at (800) 398-7571 or cruise [at] cfiflorida [dot] org. All times, itinerary, and pricing are subject to change at any time.

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

Camp Inquiry: Holland, NY, July 13-19

Camp Inquiry invites campers from 7-16 years to think, question, and grow in a week-long camping experience in beautiful Holland, NY. Through inquiry-based, hands-on experiments, activities, and discussions, campers will experience just how challenging, fascinating, and fun exploring the world and expanding the mind can be. Contact Courtney Hannity at channity [at] centerforinquiry [dot] net for a brochure.

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. 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.