CFI-NYC eBulletin

February 1, 2008

Upcoming Lectures

Voices of Reason: Susan Jacoby on The Age of American Unreason

The Voices of Reason lecture series continues on Wednesday, February 20 with the 2008 annual Darwin Day Lecture. This year's lecturer is CFI-NYC's own Susan Jacoby. Join us to celebrate the publication of her latest book, The Age of American Unreason, with her first promotional lecture in the New York area. Ms. Jacoby's new book, which picks up in the early 1960s where the historian Richard Hofstadter left off in his classic work, Anti-Intellectualism in American Life, dissects the rise of anti-rationalism in every aspect of American culture and politics during the past 40 years. It is her first book since Freethinkers: A History of American Secularism , published to critical acclaim in 2004.

A book signing and reception will follow the lecture.

Wednesday, February 20th, 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. Lecture admission is $10 (free for Friends of the Center). Receptions are an extra $30. 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.

Save the Date: Voices of Reason: Alan Wolfe & Michael Kazin on The Battle for Reason in Years of Rage: 1968 and 2008

Take a look back at the pivotal year 1968 in a panel discussion, The Battle for Reason in Years of Rage: 1968 and 2008. Susan Jacoby will moderate a discussion in which two distinguished scholars, Alan Wolfe and Michael Kazin, will reconsider the events of 1968 and the implications of the social changes of the 60s for today's politics. Kazin is professor of history at Georgetown University and the author, with Maurice Isserman, of America Divided: The Civil War of the 1960s, and, most recently, A Godly Hero: The Life of William Jennings Bryan . Alan Wolfe, a prolific writer and director of the Center for Religion and Public Life at Boston University, is a frequent contributor to The New Republic and the author of Does American Democracy Still Work? Book signings and reception to follow.

Wednesday, March 19, 6:30 pm. For location and registration information, see above announcement for Susan Jacoby on The Age of American Unreason.

Ibn Warraq, Defending the West : A Reading and Book Signing

Celebrated Muslim apostate and Koranic scholar Ibn Warraq will discuss his new book, Defending the West on Monday, February 11 between at 6 p.m. at The Columbia University Bookstore, Alfred J. Lerner Hall, Lower Level, 2922 Broadway at West 115th Street. Store telephone: (212)854-4131. A book signing will follow. This will be Warraq's first book signing in New York.

Save the Date: Richard Dawkins on March 15

CFI-NYC will host the acclaimed evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins on Saturday, March 15. Dr. Dawkins will be traveling throughout the U.S. in support of his The God Delusion (paperback) Book Tour. Precise time and location To Be Announced. Visit our website for updates.

Community Events

Discount Theatre Tickets Available for Mick Gordon and A.C. Grayling's Grace, Limited Engagement: January 23-March 8

The MCC Theater has offer Friends of the Center for Inquiry special discount tickets to GRACE, the new intellectual drama by Mick Gordon and noted philosopher A.C. Grayling, about a brilliant atheist professor whose family is riven by conflict between deeply opposed views of religion. Order your tickets today!

An acclaimed hit at London's Soho Theater, Grace now makes its American premiere at MCC Theater. Featuring Tony Award and Oscar nominated Lynn Redgrave (The Constant Wife at Roundabout) in the title role, Oscar Isaac (Romeo and Juliet at the Public Theater/NYSF), Philip Goodwin (King Lear at the Public Theater) and K.K. Moggie (Richard III , at CSC).

At the Lucille Lortel Theatre, 121 Christopher Street. Two ways to order tickets: visit or call (212) 279-4200 and use code *HUMN*. Limit 8 tickets per order. Valid through March 8. Subject to availability. Offer may be revoked at any time. All sales final. Not valid in combination with any other offers or discounts.

"Perplexed Parents Circle" to Form in Park Slope, Brooklyn

With the help of Nica Lalli, author of Nothing: Something to Believe In, CFI-NYC is planning a pilot parenting group for families in Brooklyn's Park Slope neighborhood. "The Perplexed Parents Circle" will foster community discussion for those facing difficult family issues in today's multi-faith world. For more information, contact Nica Lalli by emailing nica.lalli [at] verizon [dot] net or calling (718) 768-2960.

Movie Night, Monday, Feb. 18: The Seventh Seal

This month's jointly-sponsored Center for Inquiry / Secular Humanist Society of New York Movie Night features Ingmar Bergman's classic, The Seventh Seal. Exhausted and disillusioned, a medieval knight (Max von Sydow) makes the journey home to plague-ridden Sweden after years of combat in the Crusades. When the black-robed figure of Death confronts him, the knight challenges him to a game of chess. A powerful meditation on the existence of God and the meaning of life. One of Bergman's best, it took the Cannes Film Festival Prize.

Monday, February 18, 7:00 p.m
Stone Creek Bar & Lounge
140 E 27th St. (Lex-3rd Aves)

Coming Attractions: Don't miss Monty Python's Life of Brian (March) and The Virgin Spring (April).

Book Club, Thurs., Feb. 26: The Mind's I

The jointly sponsored Center for Inquiry and Secular Humanist Society of New York Book Club will meet on Thursday, February 26 from 6:30 - 8:30 p.m. to discuss The Mind's I: Fantasies and Reflections on Self and Soul, by Daniel Dennett and Douglas Hofstadter (editors). This collection of writings and reflections by some of today's most notable thinkers is designed to enliven the most central, and most baffling, question in the philosophy of mind: "Who am I"?

Book Club leader Elaine Lynn says: "We won't try to cover the whole book in our discussion, but will focus instead on the Introduction; The Princess Ineffabelle (science fiction story by the great Stanislaw Lem); Where Am I? (by Dan Dennett); The Seventh Sally, or, How Trurl's Own Perfection Led to No Good (also by Stanislaw Lem); Minds, Brains and Programs by John R. Searle and the Reflections on this section by Hofstadter; and the classic What Is It Like to Be a Bat? by Thomas Nagel."

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 / SHSNY Brunch: Sun., Feb. 24

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-Harlem Community Meeting: Sun., Feb. 24

This month's meeting of the CFI-Harlem Community will take place on Sunday, February 24 from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m., at the Harlem State Office Building, 163 W. 125th Street, 8th Floor (Trains: 2, 3, A, B, C, D). For more information visit


CFI-NYC to Organize Travel to CFI-DC "Civic Days"

CFI-NYC will organize groups of carpoolers to travel to Washington, DC for CFI-DC's Civic Days event, February 22-25, 2008. Join CFI-DC's staff for a walking tour of the city; guided tours of the Thomas Jefferson Library of Congress and Washington's various memorials, the Air and Space, American Indian, and National History Museums; briefings on climate change, congressional issues, and the status of CFI's legal cases; and attendance of congressional briefings or hearings. Advanced payment and registration for Civic Days is recommended. Advanced payment and registration for Civic Days is recommended. For those interested in organizing a car pool to Washington, DC for the event, please contact Tasha Williams at (212) 504-2945 ext. 1, or e-mail  nyc [at] centerforinquiry [dot] net. 

Book Launch Party for Austin Dacey's The Secular Conscience: Tues., March 18

The Center for Inquiry's representative to the United Nations Austin Dacey releases a new book in March 2008 entitled The Secular Conscience: Why Belief Belongs in Public Life. Here's what people are saying about it:

"a dazzling display of erudition"
- Publishers Weekly

"an extraordinarily useful and lucid book."
- Sam Harris

"sorely needed at a time when both the religious right and the religious left claim there can be no public morality without religion."
- Susan Jacoby

Please join Austin at a book launch celebration at People Lounge, 163 Allen St, between Stanton & Rivington (F,V to 2nd Ave) on March 18, 2008, 8pm. Free and open to the public.

CFI Travel Club Sails the Amazon

Experience Brazil's Beauty! Join the Center for Inquiry Travel 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-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.