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The University of Toronto's Wycliffe college has once again invited CFI Canada to be a sponsor for this event in Toronto (see more details below). There will also be a livestream feed provided, and CFI Ottawa will be hosting a get-together to watch the conversation. Cost is $5 per person, or you can bring a food item (appetizer, main course, salad or dessert) to share. To facilitate our meal planning, please indicate in your RSVP if you will be bringing food. The venue is at a private home (in Kanata, accessible from transitway bus routes 61 and 62, as well as the 88). The address will be provided by email to those who RSVP. ======================== ** EVENT DESCRIPTION** ======================== Geordie Rose, Julien Musolino and Michael Murray discuss artificial intelligence, cognitive science and the implications they have on the question of "what it means to be human?" What does it mean to be human? J. Wentzel van Huysteen, in his Gifford lectures, posed the question of whether or not we are “alone in the world?” With advances in artificial intelligence and increasing knowledge in the cognitive sciences, the lines that have traditionally defined human uniqueness are beginning to blur. What constitutes our humanity—that intrinsic notion that separates us from other animals and machines, the essence that demonstrates we are more than the sum of our biological existence—is becoming less and less clear. In a sense, we may be witnessing the collapse of Cartesian dualism, the idea of the human being having a spirit or soul that is separate from their physical body, or what philosopher Gilbert Ryle has referred to as the dogma of “the ghost in the machine.” Is there more, however? Can religious notions of the soul, mind, and body navigate these new advances in science and technology and even provide meaning and value to them, or will religious notions become obsolete? Are there limits to what AI can achieve, and limits to how science can speak to our humanity? David Bentley Hart has said that “rational thought—understanding, intention, will, consciousness—is not a species of computation.” Is there a line that, no matter the advances in technology or the passing of evolutionary time, no computer or animal will ever cross? Is it our ability to transcend our biology, to somehow rise above the fetters of our bodily existence and instincts that truly makes us human? Will machines one day rise above their programming? What it means to be human is one of the most important and pressing questions of our day; as we learn more about our world and ourselves, the answer to this question is becoming ever more complex.
An intentional community working cooperatively to build a fair, inclusive and cohesive society through gaining knowledge and serving others. Secularism Is For Everyone • Our intentional community of diverse people is engaged in cooperative learning and collaboration opportunities, through community outreach and being of service to others. • We are a wide-ranging group of open-minded people who hold a variety of worldviews but together recognize our common humanity and value the learning that comes from respectful dialogue and disagreement. • As a secular group, we warmly welcome everyone interested in working towards our common goals; regardless of sex/gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, race or religion. • Simply put, we understand that the only way to build a fair, cohesive, and inclusive community is by ensuring equality and respect of diversity for all. General Meeting Outline 9:00 - 9:15 am: Business planning and Community Outreach – charitable and service project discussions 9:15 - 9:45 am: Book study – critical thinking – philosophy – presentations and other cooperative learning activities [Starting Saturday, February 2nd we will begin studying: Say What You Mean: A Mindful Approach to Nonviolent Communication by Oren Jay Sofer] https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/39380381-say-what-you-mean 9:45 - 10: 30 am: Community Conversation - a moderated weekly discussion and active learning session: Philosophy=love of wisdom, books/current events in a community fellowship environment. Feel free to participate or just listen. No pressure opportunity to just hang out with your fellow humans. Please join us if you are interested in creating a more sustainable society by exploring options to cultivate cooperative learning opportunities or be of service to others. You are welcome to bring children or grandchildren to meetings provided they remain engaged in non-disruptive activities. http://centreforinquiry.ca/cfi-ottawa-secular-community-network/ We’re all in the same boat, using a variety of paddles—but we still need to paddle together. “A human being is a part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feeling as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.” —Einstein, The Einstein Papers
Living without Religion (LWR) is a weekly peer support group for believers and non-believers who have left their religion, are considering leaving their religion, and/or are encountering challenges with friends, family, classmates or co-workers due to religious differences. If you're already comfortable leading a secular lifestyle, you can also come to offer emotional support or advice, or just to enjoy a sense of social community that religions often offer. Moderated by volunteers from the Centre for Inquiry (CFI), LWR meets every Sunday from 12:00 to 1:00 pm in the upstairs back room at the Fox & Feather Pub on Elgin at MacLaren. Seating is limited. Please arrive on time so we can make sure everyone has a comfortable place at one of the tables. If you're going through emotional difficulties and there's a waiting list, please show up early and speak to a moderator so we can find space for you. If you don't feel comfortable sending an RSVP via Meetup and would like to let us know about your presence in a confidential manner, feel free to email directly to [masked] . If you can no longer make it, be sure to cancel your RSVP so others can attend. Please note this meeting is intended to be an emotional support group only, and is not focused on discussions of current events, science, or philosophy. We strive to be kind to each other, and as some attendees continue to hold faith in a deity or spiritual ideas, this is not a forum to challenge or convert anyone's current beliefs. If you would like to stay after LWR at 1:00 to informally discuss or debate atheism, skepticism, and other topics of interest, please RSVP to Secular Chat (https://www.meetup.com/CFI-ottawa/). For more information, visit the CFI Ottawa Website (http://centreforinquiry.ca/author/cfi-ottawa/).
Secular Chat is an informal weekly discussion group for atheists, agnostics, humanists, skeptics, and other free-thinkers in the National Capital Region. Hosted by the Centre for Inquiry (CFI) (https://www.meetup.com/CFI-ottawa/), Secular Chat meets every Sunday from 1:00 to 3:00 pm in the upstairs back room at the Fox & Feather Pub on Elgin at MacLaren. Similar to CFI's former "Sunday Unsermon" group, enlightening conversation and fun debate topics can vary from week to week based on the interests of participants that day: current events (Trudeau/Trump), ethics, skepticism, science, philosophy, history, counter-apologetics, comparative interpretation of religious scriptures, and any other subjects related to atheism and science-based thought. CFI volunteers lightly moderate the meeting to help ensure everyone has a chance to talk. If you would also like to come earlier at 12:00 to offer or receive emotional support on leading a secular lifestyle, please RSVP to Living Without Religion (https://www.meetup.com/CFI-ottawa/). For more information, visit the CFI Ottawa Website (http://centreforinquiry.ca/author/cfi-ottawa/).