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CFI NYC - News


Published: 2012-12-13T19:48:08+00:00


Atheists to Sing Christmas Carols and Donate to Sandy Relief


Atheists in New York City will unite
their voices next weekend to raise money for Hurricane Sandy recovery efforts,
and they’ll do it by singing Christmas carols. Members of the New York City
branch of the Center for Inquiry (CFI-NYC), an international secular
organization, will solicit charitable donations as they sing songs of the season,
with all money going directly to Sandy relief.

“Atheists may not believe in a god, but many of us of still enjoy the traditions we grew up with, and many of those traditions come from our family holidays,” explained Syd LeRoy, CFI-NYC’s executive director. “This is about being good people, celebrating compassion and friendship, and taking part in one of our favorite pastimes – regardless of its religious origins.”

Members and friends of CFI-NYC will be caroling in Washington Square Park from 2-4pm on Sunday, December 16. Songs will include many old favorites ranging from the secular “Deck the Halls,” to the explicitly religious “O Come All Ye Faithful.”

100% of all donations collected will be given to New York Cares

What: Atheists Sing Christmas Carols for Sandy Relief
Who: Center for Inquiry – New York City (and friends)
When: December 16, 2012, 2:00pm to 4:00pm
Where: Washington Square Park

Contact: Syd LeRoy
Phone: (347) 699-0234


CFI-New York City Announces Formation of Volunteer Advisory Board


The Center for Inquiry-New York City has announced the formation of a new Volunteer Advisory Board to complement its Senior Advisory Board.

CFI-New York City’s Volunteer Advisory Board will initially consist of Scott Berjot-Stafiej, Corey Farach, and Scott E. Weiner. All three have consistently shown a vigorous interest in helping the Center for Inquiry accomplish its mission of fostering a secular society based on science, reason, humanist values, and freedom of inquiry. The board will provide advice to CFI-New York City on programming and other local matters. For more, click here

The Senior Advisory Board, which advises on broader issues, is comprised of E.O. Wilson, Ann Druyan, Massimo Pigliucci, David Helfand, Nat Hentoff, Clifford A. Pickover, and Lionel Tiger. Albert Ellis and Normal Levit served until their deaths in 2007 and 2009, respectively. For more, click here.



Executive Director Michael De Dora Appears on FOX News’ “Hannity”


On Tuesday, June 21, CFI-New York City Executive Director Michael De Dora appeared on the FOX News show “Hannity” to discuss a church and state issue taking place in Brooklyn. Click here to watch the full clip.

Massimo Pigliucci Joins CFI-NYC Advisory Board


The Center for Inquiry-New York City has announced that philosopher Massimo Pigliucci has joined its advisory board.

Massimo Pigliucci is Chair of the Philosophy Department at City University of New York at Lehman College, and editor in chief for the journal Philosophy and Theory in Biology. His research is concerned with philosophy of science, the relationship between science and philosophy, and the relationship between science and religion. He has published over a hundred technical papers and several books, including Nonsense on Stilts: How to Tell Science From Bunk; has columns in the magazines Philosophy Now and Skeptical Inquirer; pens the “Rationally Speaking” blog; hosts the podcast by the same name; publishes the “5-minute Philosopher” videos on YouTube; and is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry.

Pigliucci has a doctorate in genetics from the University of Ferrara, Italy, a Ph.D. in botany from the University of Connecticut, and a Ph.D. in philosophy of science from the University of Tennessee. He was formerly professor of Ecology and Evolution at the State University of New York at Stony Brook.

Pigliucci joins chair E.O. Wilson, Ann Druyan, David Helfand, Nat Hentoff, Clifford A. Pickover, and Lionel Tiger. Albert Ellis and Normal Levit served until their deaths in 2007 and 2009, respectively. For more, click here.


Audio for Lionel Tiger Lecture “God’s Brain”


The Center for Inquiry in New York City recently hosted   Lionel Tiger , Charles Darwin Professor of Anthropology at Rutgers University and co-author of the recent     God’s Brain   —a book that attempts to answer such questions as: What is the purpose of religion? How did it arise? What is its source? Why does every known culture have some form of it? After his lecture, Tiger sat down for a conversation with   Massimo Pigliucci , Chair of the Philosophy Department at City University of New York (CUNY) at Lehman College. A question-and-answer session with the audience followed.

Below are links to professional audio recordings of this event. You can use the links to either download the file or listen through your browser. 

Part 1:   CFI Introduction

Part 2:   Event Introduction

Part 3:   Speaker Introduction

Part 4:   Lionel Tiger Lecture

Part 5:   Lionel Tiger and Massimo Pigliucci

Part 6:   Audience Question-and-Answer Session


Adventures in the Defense of Evolution: From Kansas to Turkey to New York


Tuesday, August 4 th 2009 at 7:00 pm
Tuesday, August 4 th 2009 at 8:30 pm
SLC Conference Center, 352 7th avenue (between 29th and 30th streets), 16th floor.

"That's not a problem here, right?," New Yorkers ask when they hear what Josh Rosenau does for a living. Rosenau is a policy analyst at the National Center for Science Education, where he defends the teaching of evolution against creationism. He and his colleagues have tracked attacks on evolution in every state and in dozens of countries. In the last few years, creationists in New York have filed bills in the state legislature and pushed creationism into classes from grade school to college. What drives this movement, and what can New Yorkers do to help?

Rosenau will draw on his work at NCSE, and also on his experience as a graduate student in biology at the University of Kansas during that state's struggle over statewide science standards. Since leaving Kansas for the California-based NCSE, he has defended honest science standards in Texas and Florida as well, worked to block anti-evolution bills in a dozen states, and squared off against Ben Stein. When not battling creationists, he writes about developments in progressive politics and the sciences on his blog "Thoughts from Kansas."

Admission is free and open to the public.

Michael De Dora on FOX News


CFI-NYC's Michael De Dora Jr. Pushes Secular Humanism on FOX News

On the July 31, 2009, edition of the FOX News show "The Strategy Room," which is streamed live daily, CFI-NYC's Executive Director Michael De Dora defended a secular humanist and skeptical position that it is probably safe to say is not often heard on the network.

In a segment hosted by Father Jonathan Morris called "God Talk," De Dora made a number of points: that he is an atheist but that the term "atheist" only describes something he doesn't believe in (God) and not what he does believe in; that he believes in a whole range of values best described as "secular humanism"; that most people are humanists and just dont know it; that even though he's left religion behind, he's still a good, moral human being; that many religious people and most nonreligious people agree on many values, and shoudn't only ever focus on their differences; and more.

To read D.J. Grothe's entire news entry on CFI's Free Thinking blog, click here .

Jeff Schweitzer: Moral Life in a Random World


This is from the July 9th CFI NYC event at the SLC Conference Center in Manhattan.

Meet the Author: Nina Burleigh


Thursday, June 4 th 2009 at 7:00 pm
Thursday, June 4 th 2009 at 8:30 pm
SLC Conference Center, 352 7th avenue (between 29th and 30th streets), 16th floor, room D4.

Join CFI and the Secular Humanist Society of New York to meet journalist and author Nina Burleigh, who wrote the recent book Unholy Business: A True Tale of Faith, Greed, & Forgery in the Holy Land. The book tells the story of the unraveling of a Bible relic forgery scheme in Israel, and gives a glimpse into the intriguing world of biblical archaeology and relic collectors. Burleigh will talk about her book and the con-men, archaeologists, secular scholars, religious believers, hype-masters, billionaire collectors, and eccentrics she encountered while researching it.

Burleigh's previous books include Mirage: Napoleon's Scientists and the Unveiling of Egypt (Harper Collins, 2007), which chronicles the first large-scale interaction between Western civilians and Islam in the modern era; The Stranger and the Statesman (Morrow, 2003), about the mysterious life of 18th Century scientist James Smithson and his bequest to the nation; and A Very Private Woman: The Life and Unsolved Murder of Mary Meyer (Bantam 1998), the true story of the unsolved murder of an American aristocrat in 1964, set in the bizarre and exclusive world of the wives of the Cold Warriors in Washington, D.C.

Burleigh was born and educated in the Midwest, and began in journalism covering the Illinois Statehouse for the Associated Press. She has written for the New Yorker, New York Magazine, Time, People, The Washington Post and numerous national magazines, and is an occasional blogger on The Huffington Post. She has a Master's degree in English literature from the University of Chicago, a Master's in public affairs reporting from the University of Illinois at Springfield, and a B.A. in English from MacMurray College.

Admission is free and open to the public.

CFI-NYC eBulletin


Upcoming Lectures Meet the Author: William Lobdell, Sat., Mar. 14 Join CFI and the Secular Humanist Society of New York for a special, free Book Club "Meet the Author" event with William Lobdell, an award-winning journalist, author, blogger, speaker, college lecturer and media consultant whose new memoir — “Losing My Religion: How I Lost My Faith Reporting on Religion in America — and Found Unexpected Peace” — details  his experience starting on the religion beat for the Los Angeles Times as a devout evangelical Christian and, eight years later, ending as an atheist. Lobdell worked for 18 years with the Los Angeles Times and its sister newspapers, covering the religion beat for The Times for eight years, first as a columnist and then as a beat reporter. He earned several national awards for his work before becoming a metro editor for the paper in 2006. He left the paper in 2008. Lobdell has also been a visiting faculty member for 12 years at the University of California, Irvine, where he teaches “Religion and the Media” and “The Internet, Blogs and Politics.” He is owner of Four Boys New Media, an online publishing company that operates Greer’s OC,, Lobdell’s OC, and two digital magazines that will debut this fall. His company also offers corporate media consulting. Lobdell will talk about his book, then take questions from the audience. The event will end around 4:30, at which time we will head over to Pongsri, a Thai restaurant at 165 23rd street (and 7th avenue). There, books will be sold and Lobdell will sign those or a copy of his book you already own. Friends and supporters of the Center are invited to meet at the community room at 2 p.m. for roughly one hour of intimate conversation with William Lobdell before the event starts. To become a Friend of the Center, click here . Saturday, March 14, 3:00 p.m. Muhlenberg Library 209 W. 23rd St (7th Ave.), Third Floor Voices of Reason: Teaching Evolution in America's Classrooms, Thurs., Mar. 19 Join CFI to scrutinize the real state of the teaching of evolution in American classrooms-the forbidden "E" word not as it is portrayed in courtrooms, churches and the media but as it taught-or not taught-by teachers intimidated by the Religious Right to students who may arrive in class believing in the literal story of Genesis. The panel will include David Campbell, a Florida biology teacher profiled in The New York Times (August 24, 2008) ; Jose Maldonado, principal of Columbia Secondary School for Math, Science, and Engineering and an adjunct professor of science education at Teachers College, Columbia University; and our own Matthew LaClair, President of CFI-On Campus and a strong advocate for church-state separation in the classroom. The discussion will be moderated by CFI-NYC program director Susan Jacoby, and a booksigning for the post-election paperback edition of her bestseller The Age of American Unreason will follow. Thursday, March 19, 6:30-8:00 General Society of Mechanics & Tradesmen, 20 W 44th St. Advanced registration is recommended. Lecture admission is $10 (free for Friends of the Center -- call 212-504-2935 or e-mail nyc [at] centerforinquiry [dot] net to RSVP). You may purchase in advance by credit card (call 212-504-2935 or e-mail nyc [at] centerforinquiry [dot] net), or by check (made payable to the Center for Inquiry-New York City; mail to 80 Broad St, 5th Fl., New York, NY 10004). Alternatively, you may pay at the door by cash, check, or credit card. SAVE THE DATE: Voices of Reason: The Evolutionary Origins of Religious Belief, Wed., April 22 Join C[...]