- HFFC Science Readers: Hard Science and Squishy Science: Do animals mourn?
6:30 pm social time; 7:00 pm discussion/presentation. Hi, Science Readers. Last month we discussed neutron stars and black holes; John Theys had to translate mathematics to words to clarify the concepts for us, which he did extremely well. I think of that as “hard science.” This month let’s do squishy science: science that engages our emotions, and perhaps overstates its findings. Do animals mourn? Review the evidence. Then ask yourself, the skeptic, what we really mean by mourning. Does it involve the actual concept that other beings die? or is it simply that the loss of the relationship causes emotional pain in the animal, and they seek to somehow undo the loss that they have experienced, to stop the pain. I think a major difference between humans and very advanced animals is that we know that all animals* die…and they don’t. So read how Barbara J. King views animal mourning in two articles in Scientific American: (If you haven't received the articles via our hffcct listserver, you can email [masked] with "Mourn" in Subject line.) I hope to hear your rational and emotional reactions to this concept at Science Readers this month, on Monday, June 24, 2019 at the Silver Star Diner in Norwalk. Come at 6:30 to eat and socialize, at 7:00 PM to discuss the article. best wishes, Ruth L. *single cell guys excepted
- Annual Meeting and Summer Solstice Potluck BBQ Celebration
Important: To RSVP, go to Evite web address at bottom and choose what you are bringing. Come join us for our 2019 Pot luck Summer Solstice BBQ Party. There is a pool and we'll have dancin' music, Live Music. Bring your family, significant other, friends - and swimsuits. Your paid membership is your free ticket. Guests are only $10 for an all you can eat barbecue! Children of all ages welcome, and under 12 are free. (Please understand that no child will be allowed in the pool without parent supervision). We provide the burgers (veggie too), hot dogs, all the fixins', non-alcoholic beverages, and set-up (plates, napkins, utensils). You bring a dessert or favorite BBQ side dish. This is a BYOB event - however, we will supply the corkscrews, ice, coolers and glasses. Come early (12:30-1:00) and attend our Third Annual Meeting where all members will cast their vote for our leadership team and learn about upcoming events and volunteer opportunities. https://www.evite.com/event/025DNNXYK7R36MDNWEPJN6W7PM7F4Y/rsvp?utm_campaign=send_sharable_link&utm_medium=sharable_invite&utm_source=NA RSVP and choose what you are bringing at Evite. (Evite will show specific Norwalk location.)
- See Church vs State fight in “Hail Satan?” documentary
6:30 pm Doors open; 7:30 pm show. How better to drive point the necessity of the separation of church and state than to argue for equal time – and monuments on public land – for The Satanic Temple? The founders are “a social justice group with a secular leftist worldview” that emphasizes fairness, per robertebbert.com. Come meet them in this deadpan documentary, which has a 96% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Bridgeport's Bijou Theatre is screening this documentary Thursday, June 13. A Q&A moderated by HFFC will follow the film. The theater is on 275 Fairfield Avenue, which has easy access from I-95 (exit 27 to CT-25 exit 2) and easy parking. Ticket prices are $12, but HFFC is providing tickets free to its paid members. We'll have member list at the door. Joining HFFC may be done at hffcct.org, click on Join; or at the theater.
- HFFC Meeting: Diderot and the Art of Thinking Freely
6 pm social hour; 7 pm program. Andrew S. Curran, author of the new and widely acclaimed book, "Diderot and the Art of Thinking Freely", will be our guest speaker. Reviewed in the New York Times and The New Yorker, the book is about the Diderot, the writer of the first encyclopedia, and key figure in the development of The Enlightenment. A spirited biography of the prophetic and sympathetic philosopher who helped build the foundations of the modern world. Denis Diderot is often associated with the decades-long battle to bring the world's first comprehensive Encyclopédie into existence. But his most daring writing took place in the shadows. Thrown into prison for his atheism in 1749, Diderot decided to reserve his best books for posterity--for us, in fact. In the astonishing cache of unpublished writings left behind after his death, Diderot challenged virtually all of his century's accepted truths, from the sanctity of monarchy, to the racial justification of the slave trade, to the norms of human sexuality. One of Diderot's most attentive readers during his lifetime was Catherine the Great, who not only supported him financially, but invited him to St. Petersburg to talk about the possibility of democratizing the Russian empire. Andrew S. Curran vividly describes Diderot's tormented relationship with Rousseau, his curious correspondence with Voltaire, his passionate affairs, and his often iconoclastic stands on art, theater, morality, politics, and religion. But what this book brings out most brilliantly is how the writer's personal turmoil was an essential part of his genius and his ability to flout taboos, dogma, and convention.
- Join HFFC's Watch Party for American Humanist Assn conference
You are invited to a watch party on June 9th to view the livestream from Miami of the last morning of the American Humanist Association (AHA) annual conference. The American Humanist Association has stood as the voice of humanism in the United States for over 75 years, with Albert Einstein as an early member. One of the speakers will be the Steering Committee Program Chair of Humanists and Freethinkers of Fairfield County (HFFC), Anita Peters. Anita, who is also a Humanist Celebrant, will discuss “Let’s Celebrate Humanism! Assigning Significance Within a Secular Life.” Why have secular celebrations? As comedian Henny Youngman said, “I once considered becoming an atheist….but they have no holidays.” Anita suggests we should fix that! The other speakers on Sunday will discuss evolution education, the right to die with dignity, a humanist sociological approach, and humanism in the workplace. Five presentations on great topics at the nation's oldest and biggest humanist organization. Come cheer Anita on and hear the other AHA June 9th speakers from 9AM to 12PM. You can watch any of the AHA 2019 conference online, but it will be more fun to join HFFC on Sunday morning in the front room at Panera Bread at 1860 Post Road East, Westport, CT.
- American Humanist Assn conference session in Brooklyn
The American Humanist Association (AHA) is hosting parts of its annual conference in different cities across the U.S. HFFC is hosting a watch party on Sunday June 9th to view the livestream from Miami of the last morning of conference. The Saturday June 8th 9 AM to 1 PM session is close enough to reach by car and attend in person, to meet the speakers and other attendees. It is in Brooklyn (at Medgar Evers College). Simply register at https://conference.americanhumanist.org/ The American Humanist Association has stood as the voice of humanism in the United States for over 75 years, with Albert Einstein as an early member. See the details of Saturday's program here: https://conference.americanhumanist.org/index.php/schedule2019#medgar. Are you interested in going and carpooling to Brooklyn? Please visit Meetup.com/hffcct to RVSP. 9:00am-1:00pm EDT 9:00am-9:30am Sheldon Krimsky: Genetic Editing of Embryos: Ethical Considerations 9:30am-10:00am Paul Golin: Why Are There So Many Jewish Atheists and Agnostics? And Why Do So Few Call Themselves Humanists (Yet)? 10:00am-10:30am Kim Newton: Growing the Next Generation of Humanist Changemakers 10:30am-10:45am Break 10:45am-11:15am Jay Wexler: Our Non-Christian Nation: How Atheists, Satanists, Wiccans and Others are Demanding Their Place in Public Life 11:15am-11:45am Donna Forsythe: Humanist Celebrants and Secular Life-Cycle Celebrations 12:00pm-1:00pm Award Ceremony Leighann Lord, Humanist Arts Award Salman Rushdie, Humanist of the Year Award (prerecorded video)
- HFFC Trivia Team
We compete as an HFFC Team, and can select a team name for the night. This will be our 3rd event. The grand prize we earned at last month's contest--a bucket of beers--will be shared among first arrivals (Anita has the certificates). Just show up. More info: John Levin,[masked], [masked]
- HFFC Science Readers
6:30 pm social time; 7:00 pm discussion/presentation. What’s the latest in scientific thinking, what does it mean for us, and what do we think of it. Join the HFFC Science Readers group to tackle and be entertained, under the leadership of Dr. Ruth Light. An article is selected for reading in advance of the discussion or presentation. Science Readers meets on the fourth Monday of the month at the Silver Star Restaurant’s banquet room.
- HFFC Monthly Meeting: The Landscape of Secular Organizations
6 pm social hour; 7 pm program. Speaker: John Levin, a Norwalk resident and secular activist who has served on the board of the Washington, D.C. based Secular Coalition for America since 2015. Did you know that the number of people in America who identify as secular (non-religious, humanist, atheist, agnostic, nothing) is larger than ever, growing quickly, and incredibly diverse? In response, there are many organizations and leaders who serve this broad constituency and its many needs. In this talk you will “meet” them and discover the passion, cleverness, determination, and humor these groups and people bring to their important missions. Come see the creative approaches groups have used to support secular values and to provide a welcoming environment for secular people. The meeting is open to all. Please RSVP via Meetup.com/hffcct.