• The Math Magi: Seminal figures in Western mathematics

    Online event

    This event is sponsored by the Unitarian Universalist Humanists and Non Theists Committee This presentation outlines the development of mathematics in the West with a focus on "God Created the Integers" by Stephen Hawking. It spans more than two thousand years from Pythagoras to Turing with spotlights on Archimedes, Descartes, Newton, Boole, and Cantor. Bob Burchfield will present material from the text along with other sources. An open discussion will be encouraged. Join Zoom Meeting https://us02web.zoom.us/j/85494681193?pwd=Q20ySG5penZTakNJcjdQdlpJZnNIZz09 Meeting ID:[masked] Passcode:[masked] Dial by your location [masked] US (San Jose)

  • BAS SkepTalk (Virtual) :Nick Dufour -"Deepfakes, GANs and Visual Misinformation"

    The rise of Deepfakes has prompted intense coverage in the press, concern from government officials, and fear among the public. Deepfakes, along with GANs (generative adversarial networks), are a class of "generative" neural networks capable of creating highly realistic synthetic images. The widespread availability of open-source Deepfake tools means anyone with access to a computer can potentially create photorealistic fake videos and images. These fakes can, for instance, portray high-profile individuals in arbitrary--possibly compromising--situations. Because of their wide availability, relative ease of use, and harm potential, the technology has been the subject of considerable scrutiny and debate. In this talk, we'll discuss the current state of AI-generated imagery, including Deepfakes and GANs: how they work, their capabilities, and what the future may hold. We'll try to separate the hype from reality, and examine the social consequences of these technologies with a special focus on the effect that the idea of Deepfakes has had on the public. We'll consider the visual misinformation landscape more broadly, including so-called "shallowfakes" and "cheapfakes" like Photoshop. Finally, we'll review the challenges and promise of the global research community that has emerged around detecting visual misinformation. Nick Dufour is a Senior Software Engineer at Google Research, and a member of the team overseeing research into Deepfakes and visual misinformation. Nick joined Google in 2016 following his graduate work in Machine Learning at Stanford University. WHEN: 7:30PM Thursday 12 November WHERE: Online - links to be announced closer to the event date.

  • BAS Skeptalk (Virtual): The Debate About Dark Matter: Is the Matter Settled?

    The observable universe is made of stars and galaxies and gas. However, it is commonly held in the astronomy community that our universe is also made of an invisible substance called dark matter that is five times more common than ordinary matter. However, dark matter has never been observed, and the evidence for its existence is still circumstantial. In this talk, physicist Don Lincoln will give insights into the debate within the scientific community. You will learn about the historical debate, the reasons dark matter is a currently favored theory, and an appreciation for why researchers continue to look into the question. About the Speaker: Don Lincoln is a Senior Scientist at Fermilab, America’s leading particle physics laboratory. His was a member of the teams that discovered the top quark in 1995 and the Higgs boson in 2012. Lincoln is also an avid popularizer of science. He has written several books for the public, most recently The Large Hadron Collider. He also writes for many online venues, like CNN, Scientific American, and many others. He appears frequently on the Fermilab YouTube channel and he has made several video courses available through The Great Courses company. He is a recipient of the 2013 Outreach Prize from the European Physical Society and the 2017 Gemant Award from the American Institute of Physics. He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. This is a FREE event, brought to you by Bay Area Skeptics.

  • BAH Discusses: Rethinking Diversity (Zoom Event)

    Online event

    To RSVP for this event go to : https://www.meetup.com/sfhumanists/events/273707774/ RSVPing HERE IS NOT AN RSVP TO THE EVENT. WHAT IS BAH DISCUSSES? BAH Discusses is an opportunity for Bay Area Humanists members to engage in civil discourse, to share opinions, to listen openly and constructively, to learn from others whose opinions differ from their own. For now, BAH Discusses will occur quarterly on first Saturdays in place of Forum. Each BAH Discusses session will focus on a specific topic, announced in advance, and introduced via a short written or video statement. We aim to select topics that challenge, knowing they may generate disagreement among participants. Participants are expected to review at least some of the materials shared in the announcement to become familiar with the topic before the session date. WHAT WILL THE DISCUSSION FORMAT BE? Sessions will be 1.5 hours long, led by a facilitator/timekeeper. Each session will begin with participant introductions (1 minute each). Then the facilitator will briefly introduce the topic and each attendee will have the opportunity to speak for 2 minutes, round robin style. After that the floor will be open for attendees to offer further questions or comments. Each speaking turn will be again limited to 2 minutes. The format may change over time as we figure out what works best. DISCUSSION ETIQUETTE All comments and questions should be related to the topic and be expressed in a respectful manner. Disagreement is fine and expected, but personal attacks will not be tolerated. Please avoid interrupting others. The following rules should make it easier to facilitate a remote session: The facilitator will call on the participants to speak. Participants should raise their hand to request a speaking turn. The facilitator will warn speakers about 15 seconds before their time ends. WHO CAN PARTICIPATE? Initially, BAH Discusses sessions will be limited to 10 participants. We may change the number of participants as we gain more experience with the format. BAH members will be given priority. Non-members can RSVP, but will be moved to the waiting list and contacted two-three days prior to the event if there are slots available. Please go to this link to RSVP: https://www.meetup.com/sfhumanists/events/273707774/ To join BAH, go to https://sfhumanists.org and click on Membership on the top menu ribbon. QUESTIONS? Please email BAH Board Member Lynne Howe at [masked]. INAUGURAL SESSION: RETHINKING DIVERSITY Our inaugural session will be on the concept of diversity presented in the works of Irshad Manji, a professor at New York University, and the founder of the Moral Courage Project (https://moralcourage.com). More information about her can be found here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irshad_Manji To prepare for the session, please watch, listen to or read at least one of the following: 1. NBC News Think: Irshad Manji, Diversity Based on Labels Is Not Diversity At All (2 minute video) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yo4OBDmlkRY 2. TVO 50: Rethinking Life on the Left, We're Doing Multiculturalism Wrong (27 minute video) https://www.tvo.org/video/irshad-manji-rethinking-life-on-the-left 3. The Good Fight podcast, episode 9/18/2020, “How to Persuade Your "Enemy" (1 hour audio) Find it at your favorite source of podcasts or here: https://www.persuasion.community/p/how-to-persuade-your-enemy 4. Newsweek: In 'Don't Label Me', Irshad Manji Has a Radical Prescription for Fellow Progressives: "Stop Shaming and Start Listening" (15 minute read) https://www.newsweek.com/2019/03/08/irshad-manji-interview-dont-label-me-diversity-black-lives-matters-1335894.html 5. Irshad Manji, Don't Label Me: How to Do Diversity Without Inflaming the Culture Wars (320 page book) https://us.macmillan.com/books/9781250157980 The Zoom link for the session will be emailed to attendees in advance of the event.

  • Godless Perverts Social Club

    Wicked Grounds

    Join us every first Tuesday of the month at Wicked Grounds, San Francisco’s renowned BDSM-themed coffee house for an evening of conversation and socializing. Community is one of the reasons we started Godless Perverts. There are few enough places to land when you decide that you’re an atheist; far fewer if you’re also LGBT, queer, kinky, poly, trans, or are just interested in sexuality. All orientations, genders, and kinks (or lack thereof) welcome. There’s no admission, but we ask that you buy food and drink at the counter, or make a donation to the venue.

  • Haiti and the Impact of Covid-19

    Online event

    This event is sponsored by the SF Unitarian Universalist Humanists and Non-Theists Committee. Pierre Labossiere is the cofounder and leader of the Haiti Action Committee. He is considered the progressive voice on Haitian politics and has worked tirelessly his entire adult life to advance human rights and dignity for his fellow Haitians. He will discuss the current status of Haiti and the impact of COVID 19 on the island. The information for joining this Zoom meeting is: Time: Oct 25,[masked]:00 PM Pacific Time (US and Canada) Join Zoom Meeting https://us02web.zoom.us/j/85955580766?pwd=cUpMSmFYWGh6QkpkaDgzbGNDNS9Bdz09 Meeting ID:[masked] Passcode:[masked] One tap mobile [masked],,[masked]#,,,,,,0#,,908462# US (San Jose) [masked],,[masked]#,,,,,,0#,,908462# US (Tacoma) Dial by your location [masked] US (San Jose) Find your local number: https://us02web.zoom.us/u/kfHwbCkpC

  • Development of COVID-19 Vaccines

    Online event

    This event is sponsored by the Humanists and Non Theist Committee of the Unitarian Universalist Society of San Francisco Covid-19 is a worldwide pandemic that is causing havoc around the world. The number of cases and deaths as well as economic hardship continues to grow. It is generally believed that the pandemic can only be stopped with the development of safe and effective vaccines. Over 150 vaccines are under development around the world. Approaches range from the traditional method of using inactivated or attenuated viruses to advanced genetic engineering technologies. Jim Barnett, Ph.D. will review these technologies and progress in the clinical trials of the most promising of these vaccines. Jim Barnett is retired from a career in bio-pharmaceutical research. Below is the link for joining the Zoom meeting. Topic: Vaccines Time: Oct 18,[masked]:00 PM Pacific Time (US and Canada) Join Zoom Meeting https://us02web.zoom.us/j/87970060931?pwd=b2VVb0JmbzFWemR4TVBjVEs2dHVIUT09 Meeting ID:[masked] Passcode:[masked] Dial by your location [masked] US (San Jose) Meeting ID:[masked] Passcode:[masked] Find your local number: https://us02web.zoom.us/u/kdlMrdgMN9

  • The Wall of Separation

    Online event

    This event is sponsored by the Humanists and Non Theists Committee of the Unitarian Universalist Society of San Francisco. We approach an election and changes in the Supreme Court that could profoundly degrade the separation of church and state upon which our country was built. Secular Americans are an emerging, yet unrecognized voting bloc. Sarah Levin, previously a grassroots organizer for the Secular Coalition for America, has now established Secular Strategies, a political consulting firm. Secular Strategies is empowering policymakers, lawmakers, and change-makers to be effective champions of secularism in the United States, and is pioneering the mobilization of the largest, fastest-growing religious demographic in the nation: the religiously unaffiliated. Sarah will address the challenges to separation of church and state that we are experiencing now and which are likely to become more severe in the future. Join Zoom Meeting https://us02web.zoom.us/j/88537542951?pwd=STM5QVJMM1k5eCtYU2xJbk1yYXhXdz09 Meeting ID:[masked] Passcode:[masked] One tap mobile [masked],,[masked]#,,,,,,0#,,090143# US (San Jose) [masked],,[masked]#,,,,,,0#,,090143# US (Houston) Dial by your location [masked] US (San Jose) Find your local number: https://us02web.zoom.us/u/kbjdlaMgw8

  • California Freethought Day 2020 (Online)

    Online event

    The 19th Annual California Freethought Day will premiere as a streaming video on Sunday, October 11, 2020 at noon. We've taken all the best parts about the event and turned it into a 90 minute video with engaging speakers, entertainment, an authors' and podcasters' panel, special guests, essay winners, awards, and more! This year’s program, though much shorter than usual, still has an excellent line-up as we focus on the secular voter, voter engagement, and the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage. We’re featuring video segments from Seth Andrews, political scientist Juhem Navarro-Rivera, and political organizer Sean Omar Rivera. We’ll be recognizing Evan Clark and Arlene Ríos for their volunteer efforts and Rep. Zoe Lofgren (CA-19) for her legislative work and participation in the Congressional Freethought Caucus. The musical talent of Shelley Segal and entertainment from Andy Swan (Uncle Sam) will also be spread throughout the streaming video. Author Erin Louis will offer a powerful message about voting rights and podcaster Thomas Westbook (Holy Koolaid) will once again join us. The whole event will be emceed by science journalist Kavin Senapathy. The link to view the event will be emailed to everyone who registers through Eventbrite, so RSVP online for FREE at: http://freethoughtday.org/ From there, you can opt to donate and support our event. For $25 we'll even mail you a full-color program and keepsake button.

  • BAS Skeptalk (Virtual): Facilitated Communication: Holding on to (False) Hope

    Facilitated Communication: Holding on to (False) Hope ----------------------------- Facilitated Communication (FC) is a technique used on people with severe communication difficulties as an alternative to valid Augmentative and Alternative Communication methods. Proponents claim that simply by providing emotional and physical support, people with disabilities can unlock inner language and literacy skills. However, controlled studies of the technique repeatedly show that facilitators, not people with disabilities, are authoring messages obtained via FC. Most major health and educational organizations have opposition polices for FC and strongly urge its members not to use the technique. Still, the practice persists. Former facilitator, Janyce Boynton, believes FC is not a communication technique, but a belief system within the facilitators themselves. She will discuss the various forms of FC that exist today, as well as social, emotional, and political forces that attract people to FC in the first place and make it particularly difficult to let go once the belief system takes hold. About the Speaker: Janyce L. Boynton, M.Ed., B.S. Janyce is an artist, educator, and advocate for evidence-based practices in the field of communication sciences and disorders. As a speech/language clinician in the early 1990s, she became involved with facilitated communication. Her story, first as believer, then as critic, is well-documented and was featured on Frontline’s “Prisoners of Silence”. She left teaching to pursue her artwork but has continued to be active in educating people about the dangers of FC and other facilitator-influenced techniques. An overview of her experiences with FC can be found in Stuart Vyse’s “An Artist With a Science-Based Mission”, published in Skeptical Inquirer (November 2018). Her 2012 article, “Facilitated Communication: What Harm it Can Do – Confessions of a Former Facilitator”, published in the journal Evidence-Based Communication and Intervention, was the first of its kind. To date, she is one of the few facilitators world-wide to publicly acknowledge her role in producing FC messages and speak out against its use. She is currently co-hosting a series of talks with Susan Gerbic exploring the many facets of FC. WHEN: 6:30PM Thursday 8 October WHERE: Online: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H6mZ-adkV7c&ab_channel=BayAreaSkeptics This event is presented FREE by the Bay Area Skeptics.