CFI-NYC eBulletin

January 3, 2008

Voices of Reason: 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 Democracy 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. RSVP Online, Or call 212-504-2935.

Save the Date: Susan Jacoby on The Age of American Unreason , Wed., Feb. 20

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 booksigning 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.

The post-lecture reception costs $30. The lecture itself is free for Friends of the Center. For all others, $10. Prepayment recommended. RSVP Online, Or call 212-504-2935.

CFI-NYC Helps Lead Call for Presidential Debate on Science

CFI-NYC played an instumental role in leading the call for a debate among the presidential candidates dedicated solely to issues of science and technology.  Working with Matthew Chapman, the great-great-grandson of Charles Darwin and an author of books on the evolution-intelligent design controversy, noted journalist Chris Mooney, celebrated physicist Lawrence Krauss, and others, CFI-NYC helped launch   ScienceDebate2008's steering commitee gathered signatures from multiple scientists, Nobel laureates, university presidents, and noteworthy public figures.  Several editorials and new stories recently appeared about the call for a presidential debate on science and technology, including op eds in the Wall Street Journal, the Huffington Post, and the LA Times.  Join the call by signing up at .

CFI/SHSNY Book Club: Synaptic Self by Joseph LeDoux

The jointly sponsored Center for Inquiry and Secular Humanist Society of New York Book Club will meet on Thursday, January 17, 6:30 - 8:00 p.m. in the Muhlenberg Library, 209 West 23rd Street (at 7th Ave.) to discuss Joseph LeDoux's recent book, The Synamptic Self: How Our Brains Become Who We Are. LeDoux's 20-plus years of research into the cognitive, emotional, and motivational functions of the brain drive his answer to the simple question, "What makes us who we are?"  LeDoux believes that the neural pathways by which a person;s "hardwired" responses (nature) mesh with his or her unique life experiences (nurture) determine that person's individuality.  He offers absorbing descriptions of some of the most fascinating case studies in the field, provides insights into the shortcomings of psychopharmacology, and suggests new directions for research on the biology of mental illness.  While some may disagree with his conclusion that "the brain makes the self" through its synapses, he makes an important contribution to the literature on the relationship between these two entities.

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-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.  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 Skeptics Association Presents: Michael Shermer

New York City Skeptics is proud to co-sponsor Michael Shermer's lecture on The Mind of the Market at the New York Academy of Sciences.  Shermer will lecture and host a book-signing reception for his latest book, The Mind of the Market: Compassionate Apes, Competitive Humans, and Other Tales from Evolutionary Economics , at the New York Academy of Sciences as part of the Science & the City Author Series.  In this eye-opening exploration, Dr. Shermer uncovers the evolutionary roots of our economic behavior. How did we make the leap from ancient hunter-gatherers to modern consumers and traders? Why do people get so emotional and irrational about bottom line financial and business decisions? Is the capitalist marketplace a sort of Darwinian organism that evolved through natural selection?

Wednesday, January 9, 6:00 - 7:30 p.m.
The New York Academy of Sciences
7 World Trade Center
250 Greenwich St, 40th Fl
New York, NY 10007-2157

NYAS Members: $10
Student Non-Members: $15
Non-Members: $25

RSVP is requried. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit .

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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