What's New?

Our August 2014 newsletter is now available for download on our newsletter page.

Be sure to sign up for our e-mail list to get advance notification of events.

Upcoming meetings (at USNH, 700 Hartford Turnpike, Hamden, Link to map of USNH location unless otherwise noted)

When What
Saturday, August 2nd
2:30 PM

Humanist Conversations: Death

“Death holds no fear for me. I’ve already tried it – before I was born – and with no ill effects. I’ll simply be going back to where I came from. ” — Mark Twain

If we are right that the death that awaits us is an infinity of nothingness, then being dead is the ultimate non-issue. But despite Twain’s breezy dismissiveness, getting there is another matter. Come join us for Conversations when we will watch a 26½ minute interview with Shelly Kagan, a philosopher who teaches a popular course at Yale on the subject. A discussion led by Tom Platt will follow.

Refreshments will be served.

Monday, August 4th
7:00 PM
New Haven area social dinner at Turkish Kebab House, 1157 Campbell Ave., West Haven Link to map of Turkish Kebab House restaurant location.
Monday, August 18th
7:30 PM

Monthly Meeting: Cosmos II

David Schafer will present an appreciation of the original series of Cosmos with Carl Sagan, and the new series hosted by Neil DeGrasse Tyson.

Carl Sagan was surely one of the most successful popularizers of science of our time, in a class with Isaac Asimov.

Sagan is probably best known for the 1980 TV series Cosmos: A Personal Voyage, which he both co-wrote with Ann Druyan (who became his wife a year later) and narrated on screen. Cosmos is the most widely watched series in the history of American TV, having been seen by at least 500 million people in at least 60 countries. Among his many awards and honors, Cosmos received two Emmys and the Peabody and Hugo Awards. For 14 years his career continued to flourished; then he was suddenly diagnosed with myelodysplasia, a blood disease, and in 1996, after many attempts at a cure, including bone marrow transplants, he died of pneumonia.

Much has been learned in the intervening years, and many have wished for an update, a sequel if you like, to Cosmos. Finally, one has been created, through the combined efforts of three people: Seth MacFarlane, a creator of animated films and an enthusiastic entrepreneur, has brought together Ann Druyan and another great scientist and science popularizer for our time, Neil DeGrasse Tyson, Director of the Hayden Planetarium and “astrophysicist, author, and science communicator”—in other words, the closest thing to Carl Sagan anybody could find. The result is Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey, and it has already won the Critics’ Choice Television Award for “Best Reality Series,” and has been nominated for 12 Emmy Awards.

Like the original Cosmos this series has 13 episodes. On Monday, August 18, at 7:30 pm, we’ll show episode 12 of Cosmos II, entitled “The World Set Free”—a glimpse into the future, including the possibility of catastrophic global warming. We’ll start the evening as usual with half an hour of refreshments and conversation at 7:30 PM, and continue at 8:00 PM with the showing after a few announcements. A full discussion will follow. Come and bring a friend! You’ll see for yourself how well the sequel stands up to the original Cosmos.

Saturday, August 23rd
2:00 PM to 4:00 PM

Book Discussion Group: The Case for Reparations

We will be discussing “The Case for Reparations”, an essay by Ta-Nehisi Coates that appeared in the June edition of The Atlantic. The essay has attracted significant attention, and many feel that it may be a major step towards addressing centuries of injustice.

Additionally, everyone is encouraged to read one of the assigned or recommended books for the next session of the Humanist Institute, which will address Contemporary Issues. Those reading one of the books will be invited to make a brief presentation of that book. At the conclusion of the August session, we will select one of these books for September.

Sunday, August 24th
2:30 PM

August board and standing committee meetings.

All members are welcome to attend.

Saturday, September 20th
9:00 AM to 3:00 PM

Connecticut Coalition of Reason Leadership Training

Current secular leaders and those interested in being a future secular leader are invited to attend. There will be a leadership workshop in the morning, followed by lunch (pizza with vegan options), and then an afternoon of brainstorming and networking.

The leadership workshop will be led by Michael Werner. It will provide suggestions for starting a local secular group and for how to increase participation in already existing groups. Suggestions and discussion will focus on group style, group promotion, factors for success, and successful organization models.

Mr. Werner has served in the past as president of the American Humanist Association, the Unitarian Universalist Humanist Group (HUUmanists), and as an adjunct faculty member of the Humanist Institute. He has taught at several major universities and is a founder of SMART Recovery.

Notes

Dinners: If you're planning to attend one of our social dinners or the annual brunch, please RSVP to editor@cthumanist.org, so we can give the restaurant a rough head count.

You can RSVP for the dinners and most HAC events via meetup.com.

Titles selected for our book discussions can be found in most local libraries or ordered from bookstores such as Barnes and Noble.

We're on Twitter and Facebook. HAC is a member of the Connecticut Coalition of Reason.