CFI-NYC eBulletin

November 2, 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 Debocracy 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. The reception is $30 (free to subscribers to the entire Voices of Reason series). RSVP required. To prepay and/ RSVP Online. Or call 212-504-2935.

The Secular Society and Its Enemies: The 2007 CFI-NYC Conference on Religion & Politics

Overflow seats are almost sold out!! CFI-NYC will hold a major conference on religion and politics at the New York Academy of Sciences, 7 World Trade Center, on the weekend of November 9 - 11. Speakers include, among others, "New Atheist" author Richard Dawkins , celebrated defense attorney and Harvard Law School professor Alan Dershowitz, bioethicist, author and Princeton professor Peter Singer, author and media producer Ann Druyan, astrophysicist and television personality Neil deGrasse Tyson, lawyer and social critic Wendy Kaminer, and philosopher and CFI Chair Paul Kurtz.   Due to last-minute assignment to South America, Christopher Hitchens will be unable to attend in person, but will appear in a provocative video interview made specially and exclusively for the conference.

Cost is $289 for general conference registration and $69 for the VIP Reception and Awards Presentation on Fri., Nov. 9. Space is nearly sold out. Late registrants will be accommodated in an audience overflow room with live video feed. All persons sitting in the overflow room will receive a special souvenir to compensate for the inconvenience.

To RSVP, call Cheryl Catania at (716) 636-4869 ext. 308. Further details will appear on the conference's official web site at

SHSNY Book Club: Two Books Edited by John Brockman

The Secular Humanist Society of New York Book Club will meet on Thursday, November 29, 6:30 - 8:00 p.m. in the Muhlenberg Library, 209 West 23rd Street (at 7th Ave.) to discuss two books edited by John Brockman: What Is Your Dangerous Idea? Today's Leading Thinkers on the Unthinkable , and The Next Fifty Years: Science in the First Half of the Twenty-first Century .  John Brockman is Editor and Publisher of Edge ( ), a Web site devoted to “inquiry into and discussion of intellectual, philosophical, artistic, and literary issues, as well as to work for the intellectual and social achievement of society,” and whose “informal membership includes some of the most interesting minds in the world” — like Dawkins, Hauser, Smolin, Pinter, all in these books.

What do those thinkers consider their most dangerous idea? Using medication to permanently alter our personalities? Contemplating a universe in which we are utterly alone? The idea that the universe might be fundamentally inexplicable? What Is Your Dangerous Idea? looks at the daring, breathtaking, sometimes terrifying thoughts that could forever alter our world and the way we live in it.  In The Next 50 Years , Brockman collects 25 of his writers to discuss the future of science in their respective fields of study. Several of these writers surpass ordinary trend spotting to entertain some rather pulse-quickening ideas completely beyond the kin of the so-called dominant paradigm. And some are of a magnitude to radically advance the nature of humans’ interaction with each other, the planet and beyond.

Read either or both (both in paperback), and join the discussion.   Join us even if you haven't finished reading. The SHSNY Book Club is open to all ... and free!   Every 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 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.

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