CFI-NYC eBulletin - November 2008

Upcoming Lectures

Truth Uncorked with John Allen Paulos, Thurs., Nov. 6

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 ABCNews.com, deals with mathematical aspects of stories in the news.

Thurs., Nov. 6, 6:30 p.m. at the Tribeca Grand Hotel, 2 Avenue of the Americas (6th Avenue at the corner of White St.).

Cosponsored by the Dactyl Foundation for the Arts & Humanities.

Space is Limited; RSVP recommended.   $20 includes admission and wine.  To RSVP, call (212) 504-2935 or e-mail twilliams [at] centerforinquiry [dot] net.

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.

SAVE THE DATE: Truth Uncorked with Natalie Angier, Thurs., Dec. 11

Join the Center for Inquiry on Thursday, December 11 for a special Truth Uncorked wine and dinner event honoring the Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times science journalist Natalie Angier.  At this intimate dinner, Ms. Angier will be presented with the Committe for Skeptical Inquiry's third annual Robert P. Balles Annual Prize in Critical Thinking for her book The Canon: A Whirligig Tour of the Beautiful Basics of Science (Houghton Mifflin, 2007).

Natalie Angier studied physics and English at Barnard College, where she graduated with high honors in 1978. From 1980 to 1984, Angier wrote about biology for Discover Magazine . She also worked as a science writer for Time Magazine . Among her other books are Natural Obsessions , The Beauty of the Beastly , and Woman: An Intimate Geography .  Her most recent book, The Canon , finds Angier charting a synoptic and exciting course through the sciences, from physics, to chemistry, to biology, to geology, to astronomy. She calls her book an attempt to unleash "the kinetic beauty of science to wow as it will." Palpable throughout is Angier's intelligence, wit, and passionate commitment to the scientific worldview. Angier's tour de force first chapter should be of particular interest to readers of Skeptical Inquirer as she takes the time to explore in a thoughtful manner what it means to think scientifically and the benefits of extending the scientific ethos to all areas of human life. 

The Robert P. Balles Annual Prize in Critical Thinking is an award given to the author of the published work that best exemplifies healthy skepticism, logical analysis, or empirical science.  Each year, CFI's Committee for Skeptical Inquiry selects the paper, article, book, or other publication that, in its judgment, has the greatest potential to create positive reader awareness of currently important scientific concerns.  The Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, the publisher of  Skeptical Inquirer , established the criteria for the prize, including use of the most parsimonious theory to fit data or to explain apparently preternatural phenomena.  This prize has been established through the generosity of Robert P. Balles, an associate member of CSI, and the Robert P. Balles Endowed Memorial Fund, a permanent endowment fund for the benefit of CSI.

Thursday, December 11.  Time and Location To Be Announced.

Community Events

Brooklyn Meetup: Meet the Author: Susan Jacoby, Monday, Nov. 17

Join accalimed social critic and intellectual historian Susan Jacoby for a talk about her latest book, The Age of American Unreason

An independent scholar whose work now focuses on American intellectual history, Jacoby began her writing career as a reporter for The Washington Post .  Jacoby’s Freethinkers: A History of American Secularism (2004) was hailed in The New York Times as an "ardent and insightful work" that "seeks to rescue a proud tradition from the indifference of posterity." The Age of American Unreason (2008) became a New York Times bestseller and was featured in interviews on NOW with Bill Moyers and The Colbert Report , among elsewhere.

Co-sponsored by the Center for Inquiry's new Brooklyn Meet Up and the Brooklyn Society for Ethical Culture.

Monday, November 17, 7:00 p.m.

Brooklyn Society for Ethical Culture, 53 Prospect Park W./ Brooklyn, NY

Monthly Brunch: Sunday, Nov. 16

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 http://www.fusia56.com .

Book Club: Lewis Wolpert's "Six Impossible Things Before Breakfast," Thurs., Nov. 20

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 Lewis Wolpert's Six Impossible Things Before Breakfast , an examination of the evolutionary origins of the human potential to believe in the supernatural without reasonable evidence.

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. 

Dr. Paul Kurtz at CFI-Long Island's Monthly Forum: Friday, Nov. 21

CFI's Long Island Community is honored to welcome back the founder of the secular humanist movement and of the Center for Inquiry, Dr. Paul Kurtz.  Dr. Kurtz is professor emeritus of philosophy at the University of Buffalo, but is best known for his prominent role in the United States skeptical and humanist community. He is founder and chairman of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry (formerly CSICOP), the Council for Secular Humanism, and Prometheus Books. Kurtz is also editor-in-chief of Free Inquiry magazine, a publication of the Council for Secular Humanism.

Musical guest: Frank Gambino.  Host: Gerry Dantone.  (There will also be some surprise special guests!)

Friday, November 21, 7:00 p.m. at the Plainview-Old Bethpage Public Library, 999 Old Country Rd., Plainview, NY.

The FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC forum will be hosted by CFI Community of Long Island coordinator, Gerry Dantone.

Movie Night: Monday, Nov. 24

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

Monday, November 24, 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 http://www.stonecreeknyc.com .  For more information, contact John Rafferty: john [at] rafferty [dot] net.

Theatre Club: Cambell Scott in "The Atheist", Saturday, Dec. 6

Join the CFI / SHSNY Theatre Club for a special performance of The Atheist, starring Campbell Scott.   Discount tickets are available for $36 (regular price $45).

Campbell Scott (whose numerous film credits include The Secret Lives of Dentists, Roger Dodger, and ABC's Six Degrees ) returns for a limited time only as Augustine Early in The Atheist , on the heels of a sold-out run at the Williamstown Theatre Festival.  Tickets for the sneak-peek performance at Culture Project in May sold out in just one week!  In this hilarious play, Campbell Scott plays a crooked journalist who will do anything to make news.  When Augustine turns a prominent local politician's tawdry tastes into a front page headline, the scandal backlashes with shocking consequences.  Don't miss the chance to see Campbell Scott in this smash hit performance!

The Atheist was written by Ronan Noone, named Best Young Playwright by Boston Magazine .

Saturday, December 6, 4:00 p.m.
Barrow Street Theatre
27 Barrow Street (between W. 4th St. and the intersection of Bleecker St. and 7th Avenue South)

SPACE IS LIMITED; RSVP REQUIRED. To reserve tickets, call (212) 504-2935 or e-mail twilliams [at] centerforinquiry [dot] net.  Payment by check or by credit card is accepted. 

Special Book Club Event: Meet Author Larry Beinhart, Tuesday, Dec. 9

Join CFI and the Secular Humanist Society of New York for a special Book Club "Meet the Author" event, featuring Larry Beinhart.  Beinhart is perhaps best known for American Hero (1994), the political novel that became the film Wag the Dog .  His latest novel, Salvation Boulevard , is an ambitious and splendid religious legal thriller.  When a Muslim scholarship student at the University of the Southwest confesses under duress ti the murder of an atheist philosophy professor, a Born Again Christian private investigator agrees to help a celebrated Jewish defense lawyer prove the innocence of the accused.  A thriller about death, faith, and God from one of America's best mystery writers. 

Tuesday, December 9, 6:00 p.m.

Shelter Studi Ammex, 939 8th Avenue (55-56 St.), 2nd Floor

Free and Open to the Public.

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 http://www.centerforinquiry.net/nyc/news/capital_campaign .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.