- CHAPTER MEETING Darwin Day Presentation: The Promise and Peril of DNA Testing
First Unitarian Society
Our “Darwin Day” program* will feature Bonnie LeRoy, Professor and Director of the Graduate Program of Study in Genetic Counseling at the University of Minnesota. While the science of genetics promises to improve our lives and potentially change our futures, what are the parameters of change and who is in control of it? Prof. LeRoy will help us understand what we can learn from DNA testing: DNA tests-in-a-box, the BRACA gene, mouth swabs and more. Will our future success be determined by a simple test? Can scientists engineer a healthier, better me? Or, at least, better children? How do we tackle the ethical questions and threats to our personal autonomy that emerge with ever-increasing interest in and demand for DNA testing? Please join us at 3pm for a cup of coffee, welcome and announcements; the presentation begins at 3:15pm and ends around 4:45pm. Then stay to socialize over nibbles and drinks. Childcare is available upon request. Contact Audrey at [masked] by Feb. 13th to reserve space. *Darwin Day has become an important event within the humanist community in the past couple of decades. While the actual day to commemorate Darwin’s birth is February 12th, we traditionally pay tribute to Darwin at our February chapter meetings.
- Volunteer with Humanists of MN – Food Packing at the Food Group Warehouse
Join fellow humanists and freethinkers to help sort and pack food at the Food Group Warehouse. The food we sort and pack will eventually be distributed to the over 200 food shelves the Food Group services or to the more than 35 Fare-for-All monthly outlets they sponsor. We will begin the sorting/packing promptly at 1:00 p.m. so please arrive a few minutes early. Be sure to wear closed toe shoes and comfortable clothing! (If you have never volunteered at the Food Group Warehouse before, please arrive 10 minutes early to fill out a short volunteer waiver.) The details of the project for that day will be explained when we arrive. Please keep your RSVPs up-to-date so we can plan appropriately. If you show any signs of a cold, flu, or sickness, the Food Group asks that you abstain from this event. The Food Group is a secular, NON-faith based non-profit organization whose mission is to "serve the hunger needs of our changing communities". Please join us for this rewarding volunteer opportunity to help fight hunger in Minnesota! We have secured a spot to volunteer once each month -- alternating on the third and/or fourth Fridays of the month.
- Humanist Happy Hour Minneapolis
Join us for our Fourth Friday Happy Hour -- a mini Mexican fiesta -- to wrap up the week. Just 4 blocks from Minneapolis -- we still refer to it as our Mpls. location. Gather with fellow humanists and friends over food and drinks for conversation and camaraderie. El Tejaban is just across the street from The Hub shopping center at 66th and Nicollet. There's free parking in the lot in front of the restaurant and the #18 bus line runs frequently along Nicollet Ave. They don't offer special happy hour prices at this time of day, but the drinks are reasonably priced and the food is good! We welcome new people who are looking for like-minded folks and enjoy connecting with other members of our community for wide-ranging discussions of personal lives, politics, culture and philosophy. Come explore humanism and the secular worldview in a casual setting--and make some new friends in the process. As usual, please keep your RSVPs accurate and up-to-date. Space is limited. Be considerate of others and the restaurant.
- Tenets of Humanism: Intro to Naturalism
Are you new to humanism? Want to explore humanism more deeply? Or are you interested in learning how to explain humanism to others? If any of these apply, then this bi-weekly three-part series surveying the basic tenets of humanism is for you. Participants are encouraged to come to all three of the sessions, but folks are welcome to come as they are able. Each session will begin with an overview of one salient aspect of humanism followed by group discussion. Session One: Intro to Naturalism (Feb. 23) We begin this series on Humanism by looking at the naturalist worldview which lays the foundation for modern day humanism. While non-theistic perspectives have always been present in human thinking across the globe, the Scientific Revolution and Enlightenment of Western Europe ushered in a new age of human reason and ways of knowing. In this session, we will review the scientific explanations and philosophical developments that changed the focus of our attention from the supernatural to the natural, as well as consider non-western influences on contemporary naturalism. Session Two: Intro to Ethics (March 9) In this session we will focus on the ethical imperative of humanism and disentangle ethics from religion. We will explore the evolutionary origins of moral instincts and the philosophical moral theories that have influenced the humanist outlook. In addition, a contemporary secular process for ethical deliberation will be put forward. Come explore the heart of humanism. Session Three: Intro to Meaning and Mattering (March 23) We are the products of an un-designed, evolutionary process. What meaning or purpose can there be to our lives? Do our lives really matter? How can intentional community engender meaning and mattering? How do we create meaningful community? In the last session of this series, we will look at what the Humanist lifestance--with its naturalist worldview, ethical commitments, and community spirit--contributes to our experience of meaning and purpose. Please note that this is not an academic course, but an overview of contemporary humanism as understood and practiced by a growing number of people affiliated with such organizations as the American Humanist Association and the Council for Secular Humanism.
- Celebrate African American Art!
Join fellow humanists at this public tour of Mia's African American art collection, led by a trained tour guide. Celebrate the different perspectives among American people and see the exceptional historical and creative cultural contributions of this set of artists. The one hour tour will start at 1pm - please be early to ensure you have a place in this public tour which is limited to 20 people. Meet Humanist host, Christine, on second floor at fountain court at 12:45. After the tour, Humanists will gather in the dining area to discuss art and socialize. Museum entry and tour is free - but a donation to the museum is very appreciated.
- THINK! Session #2: Improving Thinking; The Cognitive Virtues
The second session in the THINK! series will focus on the ways higher-order thinking might be improved. This implies that one's intelligence, understood as thinking ability, can be increased. We'll talk about thinking skills, the primary focus of critical thinking instruction, while noting that most skills assume one possesses certain knowledge, as of key concepts. In addition to skills, there are mental tools one can learn to apply. Of special importance are metacognitive skills, those used to manage our mental activities. These blend into the session's final major topic--dispositions. Thinking dispositions are good mental habits and intellectual values, the "cognitive virtues." Beyond becoming aware of them, we'll consider how one might acquire these valuable habits of mind. So, even if you missed last month's first session in the series, please join us. We'll be in the basement meeting room of the Saint Anthony Park Public Library. Parking is available on Como Avenue and nearby side streets. Afterwards those who are interested can join Jerry and Mark for dinner at Nico's Taco & Tequila Bar, just across the street from the library. Hope you can make it!
- Habits of Humanism: Mindful Living and Community
This month our mindfulness session will focus on community. What is community? How do we create community? Why is community important? How does mindfulness as a way of life fit into our need and search for community? Can we "mindfully" create community that meets our needs as individuals and as a society? Come join our monthly mindfulness practice, participate in group discussion about community, and explore how it intersects with your own life as well as on a broader societal level. Each month we explore a different aspect of mindfulness and its associated practice from a secular humanist and naturalist perspective -- drawing on the experience and wisdom of participants. Audrey Kingstrom coordinates the program with this month’s session facilitated by Christina Robert.
- TED Talk Salon: Toxic Masculinity, Gender Equality, and the Way Forward
Women are rising in this country. The recent mid-term election ushered in a historic number of women legislators into the United States Congress. More women now are in executive positions in corporate America then ever before. Women students are now the majority in the nation’s Law Schools and will soon be in its Medical Schools. So, what’s the problem? Isn’t this a good development? Perhaps. But does this progress come at the expense of men? Is this a “zero-sum game” where the gain of power and prestige for women means the loss of status, respect and happiness for men? This is the topic for this month’s program. The subject of our first video is how young men are socialized to strive for power and respect while not betraying their emotional feelings and vulnerabilities. Unfortunately, these norms can become counter-productive and even toxic to young males under certain circumstances. Eldra Jackson, a former juvenile offender and ex-convict, tells how he overcame this vicious cycle of identity to live a more fulfilling and happier life. https://www.ted.com/talks/eldra_jackson_how_to_break_the_cycle_of_toxic_masculinity/up-next#t-5137 Michael Kimmel is an American sociologist specializing in gender studies. He holds the position of Distinguished Professor of Sociology at Stony Brook University in New York and is the founder and editor of the academic journal Men and Masculinities. He will discuss if gender equality is good for everyone. https://www.ted.com/talks/michael_kimmel_why_gender_equality_is_good_for_everyone_men_included/up-next#t[masked] Our monthly TED Talk Salon features engaging video presentations and thoughtful, lively discussion. If you're a curious world citizen we welcome you to the conversation! You can expect to hear a positive balance of critical thinking and personal experiences and values, in a friendly, respectful atmosphere. RSVPs: Because there is a waitlist most months, we rely on your courtesy to keep your rsvp up-to-date to allow as many as possible attend. No preparation is necessary, but if you wish to preview the talk, click on the highlighted links to the specific titles of talks.
- Coffee and Current Events
As humanists we are interested in seeing the world around us evolve to conform with our humanist principles. For example, seeing the U.S. Congress actually do something about climate change, the proliferation of guns, etc. Unfortunately, however, the Congress is controlled by people who don't believe in science and misinterpret the Constitution. What is a humanist to do? Of course, taking action to make the world a better place is always appropriate. But sometimes we just need to unwind at the end of the week and be in the company of others who share the same concerns. We meet the second Friday of the month at a local coffee shop to discuss current events over a latte and a muffin. If you have something on your mind and need an understanding audience-this is for you. There will be no facilitator and there is no need for preparation. Come as you are.
- Humanist Happy Hour St. Paul
Every 2nd Friday fellow humanists get together at the Green Mill for drinks, food and conversation. It's a great way to relax at the end of the week, meet like-minded folks and deepen friendships. Happy Hour specials last until 6pm, but many linger much longer over a light dinner and engaging conversations. Space is limited so keep you RSVP's accurate and up-to-date.