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Past Events at CDHS


This page lists recent lectures. It includes a brief description plus a link to a complete summary.

Introduction to the American Humanist Association

Fred Edwords, January 13, 2002

Ever since September 11, we have been hearing that old worn-out phrase, "there are no atheists in foxholes." Fred Edwords, editor of The Humanist magazine and past Executive Director of the American Humanist Association, shared with us an insight provided by his brother, who served in the Navy during the Vietnam War. There were no atheists in foxholes, he stated, because, if a recruit responded "atheist" when asked to designate his religion, he was issued a dogtag which read "Protestant." [more]

Experiences in Iraq

Scott Ritter, February 10, 2002

At our February meeting, Scott Ritter, former chief UN weapons inspector, outlined the history of the UN's actions to uncover Iraq's weapons programs. Making very compelling statements about the definition of patriotism and the inaccuracy of the expression "a good war," he also shed light on the implications of President Bush's remarks concerning an "Axis of Evil." [more]

Introduction to the Institute for Humanist Studies

Larry Jones, Matt Cherry, March 10, 2002

Imagine a world in which Humanist organizations cooperate and support each other's efforts. Imagine also, a world in which Humanist groups can begin to have the same level of financial resources currently enjoyed by religious organizations. At the Institute for Humanist Studies in Albany, Larry Jones, President and Founder, and Matt Cherry, Executive Director, are working to make this dream a reality. At the March meeting, Larry and Matt described the state of Humanism as a movement in the modern world and pointed out ways in which the IHS has a unique ability to keep it interconnected and expanding. [more]

Do stealth infections cause cancer, heart disease, and other deadly ailments?

Dr. Lois Atkinson, April 13, 2002

At our April meeting, Dr. Lois Atkinson, professor of Biology at Schenectady County Community College, reviewed Paul Ewald's book: Plague Time. By describing Ewald's hypotheses and giving us an overview of the supporting evidence, she presented a startling new view of the diseases ranging from cancer to mental illness which may be caused by "stealth infections". [more]

Telling Stories, Saving Lives: Soap Operas for Social Change

David J. Andrews, May 13, 2002

Jerry Falwell once accused him of being a Secular Humanist. Speaking at our May meeting, David J. Andrews, president of Population Communications International and Chair of the UN Committee on Population and Development, says he's glad his visit with us finally makes him guilty of Falwell's accusation. PCI was founded in 1985 with the goal of encouraging people to "make choices that lead to better health and sustainable development." They do this by creating radio and television soap operas which "motivate individuals to adopt new attitudes and behaviors that foster reproductive and sexual health, gender equality, and environmental protection." [more]

Are There Bugs Out There? NASA's Search for Extraterrestrial Life

Dr. John Delano

The number of stars in the universe is estimated to be 1022 (10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000), which is about equal to the number of grains of sand on all beaches and deserts on Earth. The number of planets out there will be an even bigger number. Is anybody out there? Dr. John Delano, Chairman SUNY Dept of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, tells us that NASA is asking this and other fundamental questions about the origin and distribution of life in the Universe. It is likely that within the next 10 years some of the most profound questions of humanity will be answered. But, of course, these questions will lead to new ones. The reason we can look forward to these exciting headline-grabbers is because of the plans and goals NASA defined for itself which are beginning to pay off. [more]

Making the Unreal Real

Dr. Sheldon Solomon July 14, 2002

Sheldon Solomon, Professor of Psychology at Skidmore, returned in July to continue a conversation he began with us last summer. His intriguing topic, "Making the Unreal Real", addressed humanity's unique talent for symbols. Having a deep interest in evolutionary psychology, he discussed the nature of symbols, why only humans have them, and how important it is to be aware of their positive and negative consequences. [more]

Cultivating an Attitude of Gratitude - Happiness from a Humanist Prospective

Mr. Norm Allen Jr. August 11, 2002

Norm Allen, Executive Director of African Americans for Humanism, joined us in August to discuss "Cultivating an Attitude of Gratitude – Happiness from a Humanist Perspective". He described the causes of unhappiness and contrasted the sources of true individual and societal happiness with the dangers of the more superficial types.


America in the World - from Vietnam to the Middle East

Dr. Steven Leibo, September 8, 2002

Dr. Steven Leibo, Professor of International History and Politics, Sage College, and Commentator for WAMC Northeast Public Radio, spoke with us at the September meeting on how the U.S. views itself in relation to the rest of the world.


Heaven on Earth: The Lethal Illusion of Secular Utopias

Matt Cherry, October 13, 2002

Matt Cherry, Executive Director, Institute for Humanist Studies explained to us the danger inherent in utopias, whether secular or religious, is more complex than some religious leaders would have us believe. Taking a closer look than opponents of secularism have, Matt pinpointed some root causes of the crimes of Hitler, Stalin, and others. Having a clear understanding of these dangers is necessary if we are to prevent future atrocities and defend our reputation as nonbelievers.


The Death Penalty - A Question of Justice

David Kaczynski, November 10, 2002

David Kaczynski, Excutive Director of New Yorkers Against The Death Penalty, described his organization’s views, provided us with a clear picture of the serious problems associated with the death penalty, and shared his family’s story.


Threading the Needle: The Balance Between Ecology and Economics

Carl McDaniel, December 8, 2002

Carl McDaniel, Professor of Biology at RPI, spoke at the December meeting on the delicate balance between ecology and economics.



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