CFI-NYC eBulletin

June 30, 2008

Upcoming Lectures

"TRUTH UNCORKED: Where Wine Flows Like Conversation": Wine & Dinner with John Rennie, editor-in-chief of Scientific American, Thurs., July 10

CFI-NYC's Truth Uncorked series continues on Thursday, July 10 with John Rennie, the editor-in-chief of Scientific American . Join us for an intimate evening of fine dining, exquisite wine, and intelligent conversation.

John Rennie, the famed skeptic and science writer, joined the staff of Scientific American as a member of the Board of Editors in 1989. He received his bachelor of science degree in biology from Yale University in 1981, after which he worked for several years in a laboratory at Harvard Medical School before embarking on his career as a science writer. His writing has appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, Longevity and other publications. His numerous television and radio appearances include ABC World News Weekend, The Newshour with Jim Lehrer , the A&E special Scams, Schemes and Scoundrels, Fox News Channel, Entertainment Tonight, ABC News Overnight, CBS Early Show and National Public Radio's Science Friday . For several years, Rennie also worked by night as a sketch and improvisational comedian in New York, Boston, and numerous college venues. Today his major hobby is the study of karate, in which he holds the rank of nidan (2nd degree black belt).

Thursday, July 10, 7:00 p.m.
Gascogne ( )
158 8th Avenue (at 18th Street)

SPACE IS LIMITED. RSVP REQUIRED.  $95 admission includes dinner and wine tasting.  For reservations or more information, contact nyc [at] centerforinquiry [dot] net, or call (212) 504-2935.

Future Truth Uncorked guests include mathematician and author John Allen Paulos; and poet and historian Jennifer Michael Hecht.  Visit for updates.

Save The Date: Freethinkers Tour of New York City, Sept. 6

Save the date!  Back by popular demand, CFI-NYC's Freethinkers Tour of New York City will take place again on the afternoon of Saturday, Sept. 6.  Keep an eye on for more information.

Community Events

Movie Night, Monday, July 14: "1776"

This month's Movie Night features 1776 .   This film adaptation of the Pulitzer Prize-winning musical about the internecine congressional squabbling that led to the signing of the Declaration of Independence is a very funny -- and poignant -- history lesson with a great score.

Monday, July 14, 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 .

Monthly Brunch: Sun., July 20

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

Book Club, Thurs., July 24: "Conversations on Consciousness" by Susan Blackmore

The jointly sponsored Center for Inquiry / Secular Humanist Society of New York Book Club will meet on Thursday, July 24, 6:30 - 8:00 p.m. in the Muhlenberg Library, 209 West 23rd Street (at 7th Ave.), 3rd Floor, to discuss Susan Blackmore's Conversations on Consciousness: What the Best Minds Think about the Brain, Free Will, and What It Means to Be Human . The question 'What is consciousness?' provokes many responses, ranging from jokes about psychedelic drugs to brow-furrowing discourses on life's meaning. Nearly everyone has an opinion, despite the lack of meaningful data explaining the phenomenon. Susan Blackmore posed this question to 21 leading scientists and philosophers who study consciousness for a living, compiling their responses into lively Q&A interviews.

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.


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 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 .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.