Events Archive

May 19: Book Launch and Wine Social with Massimo Pigliucci

Reasonable New York, a consortium of local rationalist organizations including CFI | NYC, is hosting a launch party for Massimo Pigliucci's new book, Nonsense on Stilts, How to Tell Science from Bunk . As part of the evening's activities, Dr. Pigliucci will give a short lecture, conduct a Q&A, and sign copies.

Click here for more information.

May 22: Scientific Paranormal Investigations Workshop: How to Solve Unexplained Mysteries

Ever wondered how a person goes about investigating a haunted house, a Bigfoot sighting, or a crop circle? In movies and on television it looks easy, but how do real-life paranormal investigators discover what really happened, separating truth from myth? (Hint: Ghost Hunters ain't it!) Come find out in a unique, three-hour intensive workshop taught by Benjamin Radford. Radford is a Research Fellow with the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, managing editor of Skeptical Inquirer magazine, columnist for, and author of five books and hundreds of articles on skepticism, investigation, and the paranormal. Drawing from dozens of case studies involving monsters, psychics, and ghosts, Ben will explain the step-by-step process in investigations, including critical thinking, evaluating unusual claims, interviewing eyewitnesses, and conducting field experiments.

Click here for more information. 

May 4: Women's Rights as Human Rights: A Panel Discussion

Women’s rights have often been treated as a small sub-category of human rights—a mere appendage to larger questions of war, peace, poverty and economic development. In this forum, moderated by Susan Jacoby and featuring Michelle Goldberg , author of The Means of Reproduction: Sex, Power and the Future of The World , and Marianne Mollman , advocacy director fot the Women’s Rights Division of Human Rights Watch, women’s rights take their proper place at the center of the struggle for human rights and economic justice around the world. This forum co-sponsored by the Center for Inquiry-New York City and All Souls Unitarian Church. 

Click here for more information.

April 22: Blasphemy: Hate Speech or Human Right? A Lecture by Austin Dacey

In his former capacity as a U.N. representative for the Center for Inquiry, Austin Dacey has been at the frontlines of this struggle at the Human Rights Council. In this talk, he will share insights from his behind-the-scenes experience and explain what is at stake for the future of human rights and international law. After his talk, Dacey will sit down for a conversation and audience question-and-answer segment with Michael De Dora, executive director at the Center for Inquiry | New York City.

Click here for more information. 

Saturday, April 10: Yuri's Night NYC 2010

The Center for Inquiry in New York City is sponsoring Yuri's Night NY 2010, the local of an annual worldwide celebration of the date Yuri Gagarin became the first man to be in outer space and the first to orbit Earth. Admission is $20 in advance, $25 door. Tickets are on sale at -- use the discount code "CenterforInquiry". Guests must be 21+. General Admission opens at 8 p.m.

Click here for more information.

Saturday, March 27: Social Networks and Personality: What Relationships Tell Us About Ourselves

For any branch science, there are numerous methods by which one may gather and look at data; psychology is no different. Dr. Allan Clifton , clinical psychologist and Assistant Professor at Vassar College, proposes a fresh perspective on clinical psychology and how we think about personalities. Join us as as Dr. Clifton provides an overview and critique of current psychological methodologies, and shares with us what he believes social relationships can tell us about ourselves. Following his lecture, Dr. Clifton will be interviewed by the Executive Director of the Center for Inquiry | New York, Michael De Dora Jr.

Admission is free and open to the public. Click here for more information.

Wednesday, March 3: Impossible Music Session 1: The Plastic Wave feauring Cruel Black Dove

The Impossible Music Sessions feature the artists who cannot appear and the music they are not free to make. In this inaugural Session, Brooklyn-based electronic rockers Cruel Black Dove interpret the music of the illegal Iranian band The Plastic Wave, who will appear via remote from Tehran. The concert will be followed by a release party for Listen to the Banned (Grappa Records), compiled by Deeyah for Freemuse.

Click here for more information.

Saturday, Feb. 13: Darwin Day 2010: Ian Tattersall on Darwin and Human Evolution

On the anniversary of Charles Darwin’s birthday, come hear prominent paleoanthropologist Ian Tattersall give a public lecture about Darwin and his impact on what we know about human evolution. Tattersall, curator in the anthropology department at the American Museum of Natural History, will then sit down for a conversation with Massimo Pigliucci , Chair of the Philosophy Department at City University of New York (CUNY) at Lehman College. A question-and-answer session with the audience will follow.

RSVPs are now closed, as this event is full. Click here for more information.

Monday, Feb. 8: A Conversation with Matthew Alper

Is man a spiritual being, immortal, created by a God -- or is he strictly physical in nature, destined to eternal dust? So begins the personal odyssey of Matthew Alper, who in "The 'God' Part of the Brain," asserts that it's no coincidence every culture has believed in some form of the spiritual realm. CFI's Michael De Dora Jr. will interview Alper about his book and his arguments, with an audience Q&A to follow.

Admission is free and open to the public. Click here for more information.

Jan. 20: Thomas Paine Memorial Lecture: Eric Alterman

Giving CFI-NYC's annual Thomas Paine Memorial Lecture this year will be Eric Alterman, a Distinguished Professor of English and Journalism at Brooklyn College-City University of New York, and a Professor of Journalism at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism. Alterman is the author of seven books, including most recently, Why We're Liberals: A Handbook for Restoring America’s Most Important Ideals , and the national best-seller What Liberal Media? The Truth About Bias and the News.

Admission is free and open to the public. Click here for more information.

Dec. 9: A Performance by Haroon Bacha, the Singer the Taliban Tried to Silence

Haroon Bacha is one of Pakistan's most celebrated Pashto singers. Because of his music's messages of tolerance and pluralism, he became a prime target of the Taliban's deadly campaign against music. In 2008, he was forced to flee the country, leaving behind his family, and seek asylum in New York City. This will be Haroon's first concert for the general public in New York, and he will be accompanied by master musicians Mohammad Essa on the tabla and Pervez Sakhi playing the rabab. Come hear these marvelous artists and support freedom of musical expression, and stay for the afterparty with DJ Agent Trevor. The event will be hosted by Austin Dacey , a writer and human rights advocate based in New York City.

Admission is $10 and open to all ages. Click here for more information.

Dec. 3: How I Survived My Religious Education

In this pre-Chanukah, pre-Christmas, and pre-Winter Solstice program, three people -- William Lobdell, Rebecca Newberger Goldstein, and Marilyn Mehr -- brought up in restrictive religious traditions will discuss their journey toward atheism or liberal, inclusive forms of faith. In addition to dealing with weighty philosophical issues of losing -- and changing -- beliefs, this program will also deal with the more ordinary questions of how to handle relationships with beloved family members who are still devout, conservative religious believers (a challenge many of us face in the holiday season).

Admission is free and open to the public. Click here for more information.

Nov. 24: Celebrating 150 Years of 'Origin of Species'

The Center for Inquiry | New York city is co-sponsoring a very special event at The New York Academy of Sciences. In celebration of the 150th anniversary of the publication of Charles Darwin's landmark book, "Origin of Species," three leading scientists -- Gerald Edelman, Paul Ekman, and Terrence Deacon -- will discuss the importance of Darwin's theory of evolution and how his observations informed their three very diverse fields of work -- neurobiology, psychology, and linguistics.

This event is sold out. Click here for more information. 

Nov. 17: The Psychology of Religion: Religious Belief and the Mind

Why do people believe in religious claims? How does religious belief influence a person's interaction with the world? And where does what many call "spirituality" and "spiritual experience" fit into all of this? A panel including scientist-come-philosopher Massimo Pigliucci , CFI's Michael De Dora Jr. , and NYU's Zoran Josipovic , Ph.D., will tackle these questions and more in an event co-sponsored by CFI | NYC and the NYU Atheists, Agnostics, and Freethinkers.

Admission is free and open to the public. Click here for more information. 

Oct. 27: Voices of Reason: Church and State in the Obama Era

Our fall Voices of Reason series turns its attention to a subject that’s very much on the minds of secularists—what has, and has not, changed in the relationship between government and religion since the election of President Barack Obama. Rob Boston , assistant communications director for Americans United for Separation of Church and State, and the Rev. Edwin Sanders , senior servant of the Metropolitan Interdenominational Church of Nashville, Tennessee and a U.S. government consultant on HIV/AIDS programs around the world, will join Susan Jacoby , author of “The Age of American Unreason,” for a freewheeling panel discussion followed by a question-and-answer session.

Admission is free and open to the public. Click here for more information.

Oct. 25: CFI's Michael De Dora Jr. on "The Future of Freethought"

A society that values freethought might look something like this: secular, and based on reason, science, free inquiry, and humanism. Yet as wonderful as this might sound for many of us, Americans currently live in a very different society: certain religious and other unreasonable beliefs control the country’s public policy and social discourse–and these beliefs are largely off the conversation table. There is a burgeoning freethought movement working to address this problem. Accordingly, there are questions to ask about the movement itself. Michael De Dora Jr. , executive director of the Center for Inquiry in New York City, will tackle some of those questions crucial to the future of the freethought movement in a Sunday platform talk at the New York Society for Ethical Culture.

Admission is free and open to the public. Click here for more information.

Oct. 18: Freethought Day Celebration: Brunch With Jennifer Michael Hecht

Join CFI-NYC and the Secular Humanist Society of New York (SHSNY) for what promises to be an enlightening and entertaining talk by award-winning author Jennifer Michael Hecht , followed by a free-wheeling question-and-answer portion and discussion -- all in celebration of Freethought Day (Oct. 12). October is Freethought Month and Freethought Day is Oct. 12 because on that day in 1692, Governor William Phips of the Massachusetts Colony declared that “spectral evidence” would no longer be admissible in court, thereby ending -- for lack of real-world evidence -- the Salem Witch Trials.

Brunch at the historic Pete’s Tavern is just $20, for your choice of 11 excellent entrees, one drink, plus coffee or tea, and including all taxes and tips -- cash or check only, at the door, please. Reservations are a must! The room only holds 45 people. E-mail, or phone 212-308-2165. Click here for more information. 

Sept. 17: 2009-2010 Voices of Reason Kickoff: Eric Maisel on Living Well Without Gods

Eric Maisel , PhD, is the author of more than thirty works of fiction and nonfiction. His latest book is The Atheist's Way: Living Well Without Gods , in which he detils how to make rich personal meaning in life despite the absence of gods and the indifference of the universe to human concerns.

Admission is free and open to the public. Click here for more information.

Sept. 13: CFI-Harlem Hosts Toni Van Pelt on Faith-Based and Community Initiatives

Did you know that our organization is eligible for funds under the Faith-Based and Community Initiative Program? Should we take this money? If so, would we be compromising our principles? Toni Van Pelt is the director of the Center for Inquiry's Office of Public Policy in Washington, D.C. and will talk about the program, CFI's stance on the matter, and surrounding issues.

Admission is free and open to the public. Click here for more information.

Sept. 10: Toni Van Pelt on Lobbying for Science and Reason

Toni Van Pelt is the director of the Center for Inquiry's Office of Public Policy in Washington, D.C. She will talk about her work as a lobbyist, promoting and advancing science and secularism. She asks Congressional Members to base law and policy on empirical evidence where possible, and the scientific method as opposed to faith. She also champions separation of church and state and social justice issues including women's equality and lesbian and gay rights.

Admission is free and open to the public. Click here for more information.

August 4: "Adventures in the Defense of Evolution: From Kansas to Turkey to New York"

"That's not a problem here, right?," New Yorkers ask when they hear what Josh Rosenau does for a living. Rosenau is a policy analyst at the National Center for Science Education, where he defends the teaching of evolution against creationism. He and his colleagues have tracked attacks on evolution in every state and in dozens of countries. In the last few years, creationists in New York have filed bills in the state legislature and pushed creationism into classes from grade school to college. What drives this movement, and what can New Yorkers do to help?

Rosenau will draw on his work at NCSE, and also on his experience as a graduate student in biology at the University of Kansas during that state's struggle over statewide science standards. Since leaving Kansas for the California-based NCSE, he has defended honest science standards in Texas and Florida as well, worked to block anti-evolution bills in a dozen states, and squared off against Ben Stein. When not battling creationists, he writes about developments in progressive politics and the sciences on his blog "Thoughts from Kansas."

Admission is free and open to the public. 

Click here for more information.

July 9: Dr. Jeff Schweitzer on Moral Life in a Random World

Come hear from former White House science advisor Dr. Jeff Schweitzer , co-author of the recent book Beyond Cosmic Dice: Moral Life in a Random World .

A scientist who has written extensively on morality, religion, politics and science -- and who served as science advisor to former President Bill Clinton and former Vice President Al Gore -- Schweitzer will talk about how we each have within us the awesome power to create our own meaning in life, our own sense of purpose, our own destiny. He will address how happiness and fulfillment are derived from the freedom to discover within ourselves our inherent good, and then to act on that better instinct, not because of any mandate from above or in obedience to holy texts, but because we can.

Admission is free and open to the public.

Click here for more information.

JUNE 4: Nina Burleigh on Biblical Forgery

Join CFI and the Secular Humanist Society of New York on Thursday, June 4, to meet journalist and author Nina Burleigh , who wrote the recent book Unholy Business: A True Tale of Faith, Greed, & Forgery in the Holy Land . The book tells the story of the unraveling of a Bible relic forgery scheme in Israel, and gives a glimpse into the intriguing world of biblical archaeology and relic collectors. Burleigh will talk about her book and the con-men, archaeologists, secular scholars, religious believers, hype-masters, billionaire collectors, and eccentrics she encountered while researching it.

The event will be held at 7 p.m. at the SLC Conference Center, 352 7th avenue (between 29th and 30th streets), 16th floor, room D4.

Click here for more information.

MONDAY, MAY 18: Peter Woit on String Theory

Peter Woit is a mathematician and physicist at Columbia University who will discuss string theory and why it is controversial, as well as prospects for new experiments and a better understanding of the mathematical theories used to describe the physical world.

Woit, who specializes in theoretical particle physics and the use of mathematics to address fundamental issues in physics, is the author of the 2007 book Not Even Wrong: The Failure of String Theory & the Continuing Challenge to Unify the Laws of Physics . Since 2004 he has run the blog "Not Even Wrong," which deals with news about current topics in mathematics and particle physics research, and has become a focal point for the controversy surrounding string theory.

The event will be held at 7:30 p.m. at the Brooklyn Society for Ethical Culture. Admission is free and open to the public.

Click here for more information.

THURSDAY, MAY 7: National Day of Reason Fundraiser for Innocence Project

The New York Society for Ethical Culture, Center for Inquiry-New York City, Secular Humanist Society of New York, and the New York City Skeptics are coming together on May 7 to sponsor a fundraiser for the Innocence Project, a national litigation and public policy organization dedicated to exonerating wrongfully convicted people through DNA testing, and reforming the criminal justice system to prevent future injustice. The Project, a fusion of science, reason, law and social justice, has freed 235 innocent men and women from jail -- 16 of them from death row -- since its inception in 1992.  The date of the event, May 7, marks the National Day of Reason.

The event will feature talks from former prisoner Barry Gibbs, who was wrongfully imprisoned for 19 years, and Innocence Project attorney Olga Akselrod.

Admission is free and open to the public. Suggested donation is $20. Donations will be taken throughout the event. All donations will go directly to the Project.

Click here for more information.

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 22: Panel Discussion on the Evolutionary Origins of Religious Belief

The Center for Inquiry-New York City and the All Souls Unitarian Church are co-sponsoring a panel discussion on the evolutionary origins of religion. Why does religious belief persist? Is there a so-called ”God gene?” What is the relationship between biological and cultural evolution in the development of human religion? How does unselfish behavior fit into the evolutionary mix? Is there really such a thing as “free will,” a basic tenet of many religions? These are a few of the questions to be explored by a panel that includes Randy Thornhill , Distinguished Professor of Biology at the University of New Mexico, and David Sloan Wilson , Distinguished Professor of Biology at SUNY Binghamton. The panel will be moderated by Austin Dacey , a philosopher and author of The Secular Conscience , who writes frequently on issues at the intersection of ethics, religion, and science. Dacey is CFI’s representative to the United Nations.

Click here for more information.

The First Jolly Thirteen Club Meeting

CFI announces the first meeting of the Jolly Thirteen Club, a modern translation of the famous 1880s regular gathering of minds to discuss how to free society from superstition, irrationality and fear of the supernatural. In the spirit of Robert Ingersoll, the Jolly Thirteen Club will meet without fear on the 13th of each month at a bar in Manhattan, this month on Monday, April 13. Join the welcoming group of atheists, skeptics, secular humanists, and other likeminded people for an evening of food, drinks and skepticism! 

Look for this event to be posted on a monthly basis going forward.

Click here for more.

Yuri's Night NYC

On Saturday, April 4, the New York chapter of the Space Tourism Society (STSNY) will host Yuri’s Night, an annual space-themed international celebration that honors the first human foray into space, Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin’s 1961 flight, and the NASA Space Shuttle’s maiden voyage exactly 20 years later.

CFI is co-sponsoring the event by bringing in for the night Megan Seals , the Teachers in Space leader and 5th grade teacher who flew ZeroG on March 14, 2009.

Click here for more.

Debate: Does Religion Make People Better?

On Wednesday, April 1, at 8 p.m., Rabbi Simcha Weinstein and philosopher Austin Dacey will debate whether religion makes people better. The two will argue the topic at hand, then, at the end of the debate, the question will be put to the audience for a vote.  Lolita Bar, located in Manhattan's Lower East side, will host the debate in its basement level. Admission is free, and the bar takes cash only.

Click here for more.

Evolution and Creationism in the Classroom: A Panel Discussion, Thursday, March 19

Join CFI to scrutinize the real state of the teaching of evolution in American classrooms-the forbidden "E" word not as it is portrayed in courtrooms, churches and the media but as it taught-or not taught-by teachers intimidated by the Religious Right to students who may arrive in class believing in the literal story of Genesis. The panel will include David Campbell, a Florida biology teacher profiled in The New York Times (August 24, 2008) ; Jose Maldonado, principal of Columbia Secondary School for Math, Science, and Engineering and an adjunct professor of science education at Teachers College, Columbia University; and our own Matthew LaClair, President of CFI-On Campus and a strong advocate for church-state separation in the classroom. The discussion will be moderated by CFI-NYC program director Susan Jacoby, and a booksigning for the post-election paperback edition of her bestseller The Age of American Unreason will follow. 

Click here for more information on the event.

Meet the Author: William Lobdell

Join CFI and the Secular Humanist Society of New York for a special, free Book Club "Meet the Author" event with William Lobdell, an award-winning journalist, author, blogger, speaker, college lecturer and media consultant whose new memoir — “Losing My Religion: How I Lost My Faith Reporting on Religion in America — and Found Unexpected Peace” — details his experience starting on the religion beat for the Los Angeles Times as a devout evangelical Christian and, eight years later, ending as an atheist.

Lobdell worked for 18 years with the Los Angeles Times and its sister newspapers, covering the religion beat for The Times for eight years, first as a columnist and then as a beat reporter. He earned several national awards for his work before becoming a metro editor for the paper in 2006. He left the paper in 2008. Lobdell has also been a visiting faculty member for 12 years at the University of California, Irvine, where he teaches “Religion and the Media” and “The Internet, Blogs and Politics.”

Click here for full information.

Joe Conason Thomas Paine Memorial Lecture Now Available Online

A video recording of Joe Conason's 2009 Thomas Paine Memorial Lecture: Restoring Democracy in the Post-Bush Era is now available online .

Darwin Day Family Festival, Sat., Feb. 7

Join us on Saturday, February 7 for the Darwin Day Family Festival, a celebration of Darwin Day 2009.  This year's very special Darwin Day marks the 200th anniversary of Charles Darwin's birth (on Feb. 12) and the 150th anniversary of the publication of On the Origin of Species (on Nov. 24).  The Festival will feature games and entertainment for kids, speakers and fun for adults. For more information click here .

2009 Thomas Paine Memorial Lecture: Joe Conason on Restoring Democracy in the Post-Bush Era , Wed., Jan. 21

CFI-NYC's 2009 annual Thomas Paine Memorial Lecture—always one of the highlights of our year—will be delivered by author and columnist Joe Conason. Conason, the author of numerous books and a regular contributor to The New York Observer and, is an investigative reporter and outspoken political commentator in the tradition of Paine. His most recent book, It Can Happen Here: Authoritarian Peril in the Age of Bush , is now available in paperback. His talk, which is scheduled for the day after the presidential inauguration, will provide a broad view of Paine's political and economic ideas and their relevance to American society, politics and government today. Wednesday, January 21, 6:30-8:00 at the General Society of Mechanics & Tradesmen, 20 W 44th St.  Click here for registration information .

Truth Uncorked with Maggie Jackson, Author of Distracted , Thurs., Jan. 15

CFI's next Truth Uncorked wine and conversation event will take place on Thursday, January 15 with Maggie Jackson , the award-winning journalist and author of Distracted: The Erosion of Attention and the Coming Dark Age (Prometheus Books, 2008.  Click here for more information .

Truth Uncorked with Natalie Angier, Thurs., Dec. 11

11/07/2008 1:56:00 PM ET  

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 , published in 2007 by Houghton Mifflin.   Click here for more information .

Change of Venue for J.A. Paulos Event, Thurs., Nov. 6

10/23/2008 11:51:00 AM ET 

The venue for CFI's next Truth Uncorked wine and conversation salon has changed.  Join us at the Tribeca Grand Hotel on Nov. 6 for an evening of intimate conversation with mathematician and popular author John Allen Paulos (author of, among other works, Innumeracy and A Mathematician Reads the Newspaper ). Click here for more information.

C. Welton Gaddy Lecture Video Now Available

10/23/2008 10:59:00 AM ET  

A video recording of Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy's Voices of Reason lecture on Religion, Secularism and Election 2008 is now available online .

Frederick Lane on the Religious Right's Assault on the Supreme Court, Thurs., Nov. 13

10/13/2008 10:35:00 AM ET

CFI-NYC's Voices of Reason lecture series continues on Nov. 13 with Frederick S. Lane, author of The Court and the Cross: The Religious Right's Campaign to Reshape the Supreme Court (Beacon Press, 2008).   Lane is a vocal critic of the disturbing 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.  Click here for more information.

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

10/13/2008 10:33:00 AM ET

Don't miss CFI's next Truth Uncorked wine and conversation salon on Nov. 6 with mathematician and popular author John Allen Paulos (author of, among other works, Innumeracy and A Mathematician Reads the Newspaper ). Click here for more information.

C. Welton Gaddy on Religion & Secularism in Election '08

9/23/2008 11:31:00 AM ET

Join the Center for Inquiry on Oct. 7 for a special event in its Voices of Reason lecture series.  Rev. C. Welton Gaddy, president of the Interfaith Alliance and host of Air America's State of Belief , will speak about religion and politics in the 2008 election.  This event will end well in time to catch the evening's second Presidential Debate.  Click here for more information.

Freethinkers Tour Postponed to April 25

9/01/2008 10:44:00 AM ET

Due to our professional tour guide's unexpected illness, CFI-NYC will postpone its Freethinkers Tour of New York City (originally scheduled for Sept. 6).  We wish our tour guide, Justin Ferata, well as he recovers from a sprained ankle.  Not even Acts of God will prevent the Freethinkers Tour from taking place; join us on Saturday, April 25 for a rescheduled tour.

Truth Uncorked with Jennifer Michael Hecht

8/25/2008 11:19:00 AM ET

Be sure to catch CFI-NYC's upcoming wine & dinner event with poet and intellectual historian Jennifer Michael Hecht (author, Doubt: A History; The Happiness Myth ) on Sept. 8.  Reserve your place today!

Wine & Dine with Scientific American 's John Rennie

6/03/2008 2:23:00 PM ET

The next event in CFI-NYC's Truth Uncorked dinner series, on Thursday, July 10, features John Rennie, the famed skeptic, science writer, and editor-in-chief of Scientific American .  For reservations call (212) 504-2935 or e-mail twilliams [at] centerforinquiry [dot] net.

Wine, Dinner & Conversation with Matthew Chapman

6/03/2008 2:23:00 PM ET

Don't miss the next event in CFI-NYC's new Truth Uncorked dinner series, featuring wine and intimate conversation with local authors, artists, and intellectuals.  The next dinner, on Thursday, June 12, features Matthew Chapman, the acclaimed author, film producer and director, champion of evolution, and great-great-granson of Charles Darwin.  For reservations call (212) 504-2935 or e-mail twilliams [at] centerforinquiry [dot] net.

Susan Jacoby, Chris Hedges on Reason, Religion & Politics

5/28/2008 3:37:00 PM ET

Don't miss CFI-NYC Program Director Susan Jacoby's GRITtv interview , alongside Chris Hedges, on reason, religion, and public policy.  Susan is the author of Freethinkers: A History of American Secularism, and the recent NY Times bestseller The Age of American Unreason .  Chris Hedges, former Middle East bureau chief for the NY Times and a senior fellow at The Nation Institute, is the author, most recently, of I Don't Believe in Atheists .

CFI-NYC Co-hosts Daniel Dennett

5/22/2008 5:31:00 PM ET

Tufts philosopher and author Daniel C. Dennett ( Darwin's Dangerous Idea; Consciousness Explained; Breaking the Spell ) is coming to New York City on Saturday, May 31.   CFI-NYC will co-host Dennett's appearance at the New York Society for Ethical Culture from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m.  (See for more information.)  A short presentation and discussion will follow a screening of Dennett's extended interview by Jonathan Miller during the making of the BBC series A Rough History of Disbelief .  The extended interview is part of The Atheism Tapes series now available on DVD.  Last year the Center for Inquiry helped bring the original BBC series to public television under the name A Brief History of Disbelief.

Susan Jacoby on The Colbert Report!

4/23/2008 10:38:00 AM ET

CFI-NYC Program Director Susan Jacoby appeared on Stephen Colbert's The Colbert Report on Tuesday, April 22 to discuss her bestselling book, The Age of American Unreason.   Visit the Colbert Report web site to watch.

Paul Kurtz at the NY Academy of Sciences

by Derek Araujo • 4/11/2008 3:07:00 PM ET

CFI founder and chairman Paul Kurtz will speak about Science & Ethics on Thursday, April 17 at the New York Academy of Sciences, 250 Greenwich St.  Registration required .

CFI-NYC Theatre Club: The Quantum Eye

by Derek Araujo • 4/11/2008 3:03:00 PM ET

Join us on on Saturday, May 17 for the inaugural event our new Theatre Club: a performance of famed magician Sam Eaton's The Quantum Eye: Magic Deceptions Discount tickets are available .

Wine, Dinner & Conversation with Susan Jacoby

by Derek Araujo • 4/03/2008 12:33:00 PM ET

Don't miss Truth Uncorked , CFI-NYC's new monthly wine-and-intimate conversation dinners with local authors, artists, and intellectuals.  The inaugural dinner, featuring NY Times bestselling author Susan Jacoby (author of The Age of American Unreason and Freethinkers: A History of American Secularism ) will occur on Thursday, April 10 at 8:00 p.m.  Sign up online or call (212) 504-2935.

First Freedom First Live Simulcast

by Derek Araujo • 3/23/2008 12:24:00 PM ET

Join CFI-NYC Program Director Susan Jacoby, CFI-On Campus President Matthew LaClair, and the New York City chapter of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State this Wednesday, March 26 at Regal-Union Square Stadium 14 for a live, national simulcast to promote church-state separation as an issue in the 2008 election. Click here for more information.

Richard Dawkins Comes to CFI-NYC

by Derek Araujo • 3/05/2008 1:19:00 PM ET

Join CFI-NYC and the NY Society for Ethical Culture for an appearance by acclaimed author and Oxford biologist Richard Dawkins.  Prof. Dawkins is traveling the U.S. on a promotional tour for the paperback edition of his bestseller, The God Delusion .  His NYC lecture will occur on Saturday, March 15 at the Society for Ethical Culture, 2 W. 64th Street.  Free and open to the publc.  Click here for more information.

Susan Jacoby on NPR

by Derek Araujo • 3/05/2008 1:17:00 PM ET

Visit NPR's website for an interview with Susan Jacoby on her NY Times bestseller, The Age of American Unreason .

Voices of Reason: Alan Wolfe & Michael Kazin on "1968 and 2008"

by Derek Araujo • 2/28/2008 4:17:00 PM ET

Join celebrated author and scholar Alan Wolfe (director, Boisi Center for Religion and Public Life, and author, Does American Democracy Still Work ), acclaimed historian Michael Kazin ( America Divided: The Civil War of the Sixties ), and NY Times bestselling author Susan Jacoby ( The Age of American Unreason ) for a panel discussion on Wednesday, March 19, on the impact of the dramatic events of 1968 on American politics on the current presidential campaign. Co-sponsored by the Gotham Center for New York City History.  Click here for registration information.

More on Susan Jacoby

by Derek Araujo • 2/18/2008 10:31:00 AM ET

Visit for yet another story on Susan Jacoby's new book, The Age of American Unreason .   Susan will also appear on the Today Show tomorrow morning between 7:30 and 8:00.  Join us this Wednesday for Susan's public lecture and book launch party .

Susan Jacoby Appears on Bill Moyers Journal

by Derek Araujo • 2/15/2008 1:40:00 PM ET

Don't miss CFI-NYC Program Director Susan Jacoby's appearance on Bill Moyers Journal tonight at 900 p.m.  Ms. Jacoby will discuss themes from her new book, The Age of American Unreason .  Those who miss the broadcast may access it on the Journal's web site .  See immediately below for information on Ms. Jacoby's Wed., Feb. 20 lecture and book party.

NYT on Susan Jacoby

by Derek Araujo • 2/14/2008 10:42:00 AM ET

Read today's NY Times article about Susan Jacoby's new book, The Age of American Unreason . . . and join us on Wednesday, Feb. 20 for Susan's lecture and book signing.  Click here for registration and further information.

Mick Gordon & AC Grayling's Grace at MCC Theatre

by Derek Araujo • 2/01/2008 1:38:00 PM ET

Don't miss the special limited engagement of Mick Gordon and AC Grayling's acclaimed intellectual drama Grace at the Lucille Lortel Theatre through March 8.  CFI-NYC friends receive a special discount.  Call (212) 504-2945 ext. 1 for more information.  Click here for a sneak preview video.

Susan Jacoby to Deliver Darwin Day Lecture

by Derek Araujo • 1/21/2008 2:21:00 PM ET

CFI-NYC's Susan Jacoby will deliver this year's annual Darwin Day lecture as part of the Voices of Reason lecture series.  Don't miss her presentation on her new book, The Age of American Unreason .  Join us on Wednesday, February 20 at 20 E. 44th Street.  Click here for more information or to reserve tickets.

Don't Miss Harvey J. Kaye on Thomas Paine

by Derek Araujo • 1/14/2008 1:46:00 PM ET

Don't miss this year's Thomas Paine Memorial Lecture on Wednesday, January 16.  Harvey J. Kaye will speak about 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.  Click here for more information or to reserve tickets.

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

by Derek Araujo • 12/08/2007 2:23:00 PM ET

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

Secular Society Conference Draws Over 400

by Derek Araujo • 11/12/2007 3:38:00 PM ET

CFI-NYC's 2007 conference, The Secular Society and Its Enemies , drew more than 400 people to the New York Academy of Science's space at 7 World Trade Center this past weekend for a SOLD OUT conference.  Richard Dawkins, Alan Dershowitz, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Peter Singer, Wendy Kaminer, Ann Druyan, and a host of others spoke and mingled with attendees, while Christopher Hitchens appeared in a special video interview.  DVD and internet videos are planned.  More information will appear on CFI-NYC's web site soon.

Intelligently Designed Debate

by Derek Araujo • 10/25/2007 1:16:00 PM ET

Matthew Chapman, a direct descendant of Charles Darwin and author of 40 Days and 40 Nights - Darwin, Intelligent Design, God, OxyContin, and Other Oddities On Trial in Pennsylvania , has proposed that the presidential candidates hold a debate exclusively on the subject of science.  Read his guest column at the Washington Post's On Faith   blog.

The Cat in the Fez

by Austin Dacey • 10/01/2007 1:19:00 PM ET

Young Bangladeshi cartoonist Arifur Rahman, a staffer with the daily paper Prothom Alo, has been imprisoned by the current caretaker government and, according to local sources, denied access to a lawyer. The accusation? He “hurt the religious sentiment of the people.” Rahman authored a mildly satirical cartoon in which a young man appends the traditional title of respect, “Muhammad,” to a cat (Paws Be Upon Him?).   CFI ’s UN representative, Austin Dacey, questioned a leading government official during his September 28 appearance at Columbia University’s World Leaders Forum (which recently hosted a certain gaydar-impaired Iranian president).  Asked why his government arrested Arifur Rahman and how restricting free expression is good for Bangladesh, Dr. Fakhruddin Ahmed, chief adviser to the government, replied that “the media will remain free as long as our government is in power.” Until December 2008, when elections are promised, can Bangladeshis endure that much freedom?

Pretend Science Teacher Shills for Pretend Science

by Derek C. Araujo • 9/27/2007 2:24:00 PM ET

According to today's New York Times , several eminent scientists - including Richard Dawkins and P.Z. Myers - allegedly were deceived into participating in an upcoming film touting "intelligent design" creationism, hosted by the actor, anti-abortion crusader, and creationist huckster Ben Stein.  Stein, who believes that the theory of evolution leads to racism and genocide, would name the film "From Darwin to Hitler."  SkepDish recommends that Stein limit his science lessons to The Wonder Years .

Whom Would Jesus Sue?

by Derek C. Araujo • 9/19/2007 1:14:00 PM ET

According to law blog Above The Law , a Los Angeles attorney encountered the following language in the Governing Law section of a software license agreement: "This agreement is governed solely and exclusively by the principles written in the Holy Bible.  All disputes must be mediated by a mediator nominated by the Institute of Christian Conciliation under the Rules of Procedure for Christian Conciliation."  Losers will be stoned to death?

NYC Skeptics Form New Association

by Derek C. Araujo • 9/17/2007 11:37:00 AM ET

The newly-formed New York City Skeptics Association has launched a new web site .  Check out their Sept. 23 end-of-summer picnic (12:30 PM, Central Park East Meadow; meet at 98th St. & 5th Ave.).

Secular Students of the World, Unite!

by Derek C. Araujo • 9/07/2007 4:37:00 PM ET

CFI-NYC will host a region-wide student organizing meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 18 for college and university students who are interested in defending science and secularism on the campuses.  Join us!

CFI-NYC to Relocate to Financial District

by Derek C. Araujo • 8/28/2007 2:54:00 PM ET

On September 12, CFI-NYC will relocate to temporary office space at 80 Broad Street in the Financial District, south of Wall Street and the New York Stock Exchange. This relocation comes at the end of CFI-NYC's lease at Rockefeller Center, and in anticipation of its purchase of a building.  As with CFI-NYC's former space, offices will be open to the public.

Taslima Nasrin Attacked by Muslim Mob

by Derek C. Araujo • 8/10/2007 12:44:00 PM ET

Taslima Nasrin, the controversial exiled Bangladeshi writer, champion of women's rights, and critic of Islam, was attacked by angry Muslim protesters at CFI-India sponsored conference in Hyderabad.  The protesters, allegedly led by three lawmakers, ransacked the local Press Club where Nasrin appeared, throwing chairs and overturning tables.  Nasrin is reported to be safe.  Nasrin fled Bangladesh in 1994 under death threats from Islamic hard-liners.  Now living in India, she has applied for Indian citizenship or permanent resident status.

Landmark NYC Conference on Nov. 9-11: Secularists Storm Manhattan!

CFI-NYC will sponsor The Secular Society & Its Enemies , a major religion, secularism & politics conference, on Nov. 9 - 11 at the New York Academy of Sciences, 7 World Trade Center.  Speakers include, among others, Christopher Hitchens, Alan Dershowitz, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Peter Singer, Wendy Kaminer, Ann Druyan, and an unannounced, Very Special Guest.   See www.centerforinquiry/secularsociety for more information.  Space is limited.  Register now!

Desperately Seeking Secularism

by Derek C. Araujo • 7/26/2007 3:27:00 PM ET

CFI-NYC's own Susan Jacoby has inaugurated her own Washington Post-sponsored blog on secularism.  Visit The Secularist's Corner for "Not Always Polite Conversation on Religion, Politics and Liberty with Susan Jacoby."

"Muslim (apologists) Speak Out!" at Washington Post

by Austin Dacey • 7/26/2007 3:21:00 PM ET

When Washington Post's blog "On Faith" invited Muslims to speak out about terrorism and Islam, they forgot the secularists. Watch as CFI-NYC's Susan Jacoby, also a regular "On Faith" blogger, bites the hand that publishes her .

Albert Ellis: 1913 - 2007

by Derek C. Araujo • 7/25/2007 7:07:00 AM ET

Dr. Albert Ellis, one of the most influential psychologists of our time and a member of CFI-NYC's Advisory Board, died yesterday at his Manhattan home. Dr. Ellis had revolutionized psychotherapy since 1955, when he created Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT), the first of the now-popular cognitive behavior therapies. We will miss him very much.

Creationism's Turkish Horse

by Derek C. Araujo • 7/16/2007 3:19:00 PM ET

The latest assault on Darwin's theory of evolution comes from Turkey, modern home of the ancient city of Troy.  According to an article in today's New York Times , Darwin's most recent challenger is Adnan Oktar, a primate living in Turkey.  Under the pseudonym Harun Yahya, Oktar sent unsolicited copies of a book called Atlas of Creation to members of Congress, scientists, and science museums across the United States. According to the Times, Oktar considers evolution to be "a feeble and perverted ideology contradicted by the Koran."  The Times article quotes physicist Taner Edis, a Skeptical Inquirer affiliate whose new book, An Illusion of Harmony: Science and Religion in Islam , was published by Prometheus Books this spring.

What Would Quasimodo Do?

by Derek C. Araujo • 7/13/2007 4:21:00 PM ET

In the latest church-state battle to hit the New York City area, the city's Department of Buildings has filed a criminal court summons against the Church of Celestial Christ on Waverly Avenue, Brooklyn for allegedly violating city zoning restrictions.  According to Dana Rubinstein of The Brooklyn Papers , the church's all-day, unpermitted, amplified Sunday services -- in a building zoned for residential use and with little soundproofing -- have riled neighbors and city authorities alike.  A spokesman for the church blamed the church's "obsessive" neighbors for the conflict.  According to him, "[t]hey should accommodate us."  Perhaps by turning the other ear?

Dhormer Upojogita? That's what we'd like to know

by Austin Dacey • 7/10/2007 6:02:00 PM ET

In case you didn't know, that's Bengali for "What Use is Religion?" An online network of humanists and freethinkers from Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, and other South Asian countries is translating recent humanist writings from English into Bengali. The network, Mukto-Mona, was co-founded by Jahed Ahmed, a New York-based secularist activist and longtime friend of the Center for Inquiry. In addition to Richard Dawkin's article from Free Inquiry magazine What Use is Religion? the group has translated the first chapter of Dawkins' The God Delusion . Mr. Amhed is now working on Paul Kurtz's Affirmations: Joyful and Creative Exuberance .

Along with an educational organization based in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Mukto-Mona is publishing a biannual journal called Muktanwesha ("Free Inquest"), emphasizes free inquiry, humanism, and the scientific outlook. The inaugural issue of the journal, released this month, contains a translation of Kurtz's essay, Why I am a Skeptic About Religious Claims . Visit Mukto-Mona online at

Atheists in Blogospace

by Austin Dacey • 7/02/2007 11:15:00 AM ET

Over the weekend, an eruption in the blogosphere over an article by CFI staffers Austin Dacey and DJ Grothe on whether atheism is a civil rights issue. It started when Matt "Framing Science" Nisbett criticized the PR strategy of the New Atheists, citing Dacey and Grothe for support. Popular scienceblogger PZ Myers revolt