What we're about
Upcoming events (5+)
Chevy Chase Library (Downstairs Meeting Room)
Is there something wrong with the mega philanthropy we see from the big winners and ultra wealthy of today's society? Some look at philanthropy's role as an “apparatus of justification” - a phrase developed and discussed in Thomas Piketty’s "Capital in the 21st Century", which stands for elite power structures like those started in the Gilded Age. We need to take a steady look at the hegemonic power of present-day elite networks such as seen in Silicon Valley (Techno-rich) and Wall street. We do see some philanthropy and giving coming from great wealth,even notable genereous ones but it seems at times an expression of newly gilded networked structures, whose roots reach deep into the economy & society and perpetuate themselves at the expense of others. It is also subject to arbitrary shut down. Anand Giridharadas' "Winners Take All" book, for example, provides a view of this issue including an historical frame comes from Andrew Carnegie’s essay ‘Wealth‘, published in 1889. Carnegie, for example, advocated that people be as aggressive as possible in their pursuit of wealth and then give it back through private philanthropy. But this seems dripping with paternalism to some since it may not consider non-wealthy ("losers) people's ideas. This elitism anticipates Social Darwinism with an explicit non-communitarian principle formulated by Carnegie: "The laws of accumulation will be left free; the laws of distribution free. Individualism will continue, but the millionaire will be but a trustee for the poor; intrusted for a season with a great part of the increased wealth of the community, but administering it for the community far better than it could or would have done for itself." To some this Winners Take All/Individualistic philosophy includes the possibility of an unintended consequence - wealth may provide a trickle down of philanthropic gifts, but it comes at a price of damage done by an ethics free (Humanist values free) market paternalism with its potential excess, and the risks of putting profit before people. Is there a channel for affected parties to comment, actively assent of dissent from the fairness of systems and proposals? This session will discuss the practical, moral roots and basis of the idea that after-the-fact benevolence. Among the things to discuss is the issue of big show types of philanthropy vs. generosity is a long-term view to improve our socio-political system to take care of people and reflect humanist values. We may also ask, does modern giving justify things like anything-goes capitalism or value- free markets?
Our discussion group meetings are now on the second Friday of the month. Vicki appreciates an accurate count of people coming so she can set up her home properly for the group. So if you decide you cannot come after you have RSVPed please change it back to NO. The meeting will start at 8 pm. People may arrive as early as 7:30 so that we can actually start at 8 pm. Please bring a small contribution of food to be shared with the group. Vicki's address and phone numbers are not posted here to preserve the privacy of her home. Those details will be emailed the week of the meeting to those who are coming (see note below). Affirmative RSVPs should be posted before 8 pm the prior Thursday to allow time to notify all attendees. Note: an occasional problem with Meetup emails is that some spam filters will preclude delivery of Meetup email. If you RSVP Yes and want the email informing you of a meeting held in a private home this can be a problem. To prevent this a member can add [masked] to their personal email addresses. If a member does not receive the directions to a Friday meeting by late Tuesday evening he/she needs to directly contact to the organizer. Use the Meetup option for this. A phone call to[masked] leaving your email address is another option. Posting a comment saying that you did not receive the directions (without including your personal email address) is not helpful since if your spam filter stopped the first email it will also stop subsequent email. We want people to be comfortable in opening up their homes to other meetup members and this technical difficulty is a small price to pay to preserve the privacy of those who host events in their homes.
Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History
The WASH MDC and NVC chapters will jointly commemorate the Darwin Day (Charles Darwin's 210th birthday) with a tour of the Hall of Human Origins (HHO) at the Smithsonian's NMNH. Come and meet your early ancestors, Sehelanthropus, Australopithecus, and early Homo. Mike Reid has been a volunteer at the HHO for more than 5 years and will lead the meet up group on a tour of the exhibit through more than 7 million years of human evolution. He will also bring out a cart of hominid skulls to took at up close. Mike is a former president of WASH and has a background in Earth and Space sciences. NOTE: If the Federal Government is in shutdown on Feb. 9, this event will be rescheduled.
Greetings, Friends and Skeptics! Please join me in a night of cocktails, a speech, and lively discourse. Together we can build a community in the Arlington area one day at a time. Drinking Skeptically is an informal social event designed to promote fellowship and networking among skeptics, critical-thinkers, and like-minded individuals. Drinking Skeptically provides an opportunity for skeptics to talk, share ideas (and yes, drink) in a casual, relaxed atmosphere. We discuss the issues of the day and whatever else is on our minds. But most of all, we have fun while promoting skepticism, science, and rationality. Don't drink? Don't let that stop you from joining us! Some of the world's most famous skeptics are teetotallers, and we are happy to have you! Happy Hour specials run till 8pm. This group used to meet on the third Thursday of the month but will now start meeting on the third Tuesday instead.