Darwin Day 2013 in Portland, February 12

I’m aware of at least two things going on in Portland for Darwin Day on February 12th.

The Center for Inquiry-Portland will be hanging out between between the Smith and Neuberger buildings on the Portland State University campus from noon to 3:30, passing out cake and talking to people about evolution (last year and 2011 it was at Pioneer Square).

31bad900-c10d-4c2d-8c68-dcdaf26b0b80

Massimo Pigliucci of the City University of New York will give a Darwin Day talk on the interaction between philosophy and science at 7:00 pm, in SB1 107 (see below for update on location) on the campus of Portland State University. Details on the Meetup page here.

Support the 2013 Darwin Day Resolution

Exhibit near Portland: “Hubble Space Telescope: New Views of the Universe”

Portland area friends, an exhibit about the Hubble Space Telescope, “New Views of the Universe,” will be open this Saturday, November 17 at the Hillsboro Civic Center in Hillsboro, through May.

How did the universe begin? How big is it? What is it made of? What is its ultimate fate? These are some of the questions that scientists have been investigating with the Hubble Space Telescope since its launch in 1990. Not only is Hubble providing us with an unprecedented amount of information about the universe, its breathtaking images—disseminated in the press and over the Internet—have excited more people around the world than any other images in the last decade.

This exciting exhibit makes it possible to see and understand the extraordinary discoveries made by the Hubble Space Telescope. A model Hubble telescope will be on view along with hands-on activities about how the telescope works.

The exhibit also includes several games, infrared light technology and spectacular backlit color images of planets, galaxies, black holes, and many other fascinating cosmic entities captured by Hubble.

On opening day, November 17 at 2 p.m., NASA speaker, Russell L. Werneth, an aerospace engineer at the Goddard Space Flight Center, will give a special lecture. Werneth was the Extravehicular Activity Manager for the Hubble Space Telescope Project who trained astronauts on telescope repair techniques during spacewalks.

Starting November 17, Washington County Museum will be open Wednesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. Admission is free to members, $6 for adults and $4 for children. Children age 3 and under are free. The Hillsboro Civic Center is located at 150 E Main Street, Hillsboro, OR 97123 and located at the Hatfield Government Center MAX Station Stop (Blue line). For more information, call 503.645.5353 or visit www.washingtoncountymuseum.org.

Hopefully I can get Patrick out there sometime between now and May to check it out!

Michael Shermer in Portland, Nov. 16, “The Moral Arc of Science”

A friendly note to readers in the Portland, OR area that Michael Shermer will be in town again for a talk sponsored by Center for Inquiry–Portland and Oregonians for Science and Reason (he did a book talk for Powell’s last year):

Friday, November 16th 2012 at 7:00 pm
The Bagdad Theater, 3702 Southeast Hawthorne Boulevard, Portland, OR

The Moral Arc of Science: How Science Has Bent the Arc of the Moral Universe Toward Truth, Justice, Freedom, & Prosperity

by Michael Shermer

The arc of the moral universe bends toward truth, justice, freedom, and prosperity thanks to science—the type of thinking that involves reason, rationality, empiricism, and skepticism. The Scientific Revolution led by Copernicus, Galileo, and Newton was so world-changing that thinkers in other fields consciously aimed at revolutionizing the social, political, and economic worlds using the same methods of science. This led to the Age of Reason and the Enlightenment, which in turn created the modern secular world of democracies, rights, justice, and liberty.

Dr. Michael Shermer is the Founding Publisher of Skeptic magazine and editor of Skeptic.com, a monthly columnist for Scientific American, and an Adjunct Professor at Claremont Graduate University and Chapman University. Dr. Shermer’s latest book is The Believing Brain: From Ghosts and Gods to Politics and Conspiracies—How We Construct Beliefs and Reinforce Them as Truths. His last book was The Mind of the Market, on evolutionary economics. He also wrote Why Darwin Matters: Evolution and the Case Against Intelligent Design, and he is the author of The Science of Good and Evil and of Why People Believe Weird Things. Dr. Shermer received his B.A. in psychology from Pepperdine University, M.A. in experimental psychology from California State University, Fullerton, and his Ph.D. in the history of science from Claremont Graduate University (1991).

Tickets: $20 (students $15; VIP seating for Friends of CFI, become one here)

Third Annual Portland Humanist Film Fest, October 26-28

Next weekend is the 2012 Portland Humanist Film Fest:

A Challenge To Religion, Alternative Medicine, And Other Superstitions At Local Film Festival

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:
Sylvia Benner, Chair
Portland Humanist Film Festival
503-515-4409
SMartinaBenner@gmail.com

A Challenge To Religion, Alternative Medicine, And Other Superstitions At Local Film Festival

The Portland Humanist Film Festival focuses the camera lens on the harm caused by religious superstition and unproven medical treatments, and advocates for evidence-based thinking.

Portland, OR—October 15, 2012—The Portland Humanist Film Fest (PHFF) will put a strong focus on reason and critical thinking during the last weekend in October.

Now in its third year, the Festival will feature documentaries that directly challenge alternative medical practices, such as homeopathy, that enjoy great popularity in the Portland metro area, but are not supported by scientific evidence. These and other films will model skepticism, critical thinking, and an effort to understand what makes a believer believe.

Portland Humanist Film Fest, the largest freethought film festival on the West Coast, is presented by Center for Inquiry–Portland with major support from the Humanists of Greater Portland. Throughout the weekend, audiences will have the opportunity to watch engaging films and learn about the growing cultural importance of secular humanist thought.

Highlights of this year’s PHFF include:

  • Kumaré – The true story a false prophet. Film Maker Vikram Gandhi impersonates spiritual leader Kumaré and gathers disciples in the United States. In the process, he forges profound connections with people from all walks of life and is forced to confront difficult questions about his own identity. At the height of his popularity, Kumaré unveils his true identity to a core group of disciples who are knee-deep in personal transformation. Kumaré, at once playful and profound, is an insightful look at faith and belief. Film Maker Vikram Gandhi was recently interviewed on the Colbert Report.1
  • Let’s Talk About Sex takes a closer look at American attitudes about sex. It was partially filmed in Portland and other Oregon locations. The film compares approaches to sex education in the US and Netherlands, and highlights solutions that lead to better health outcomes. Producer Neal Weisman will attend the Festival and is available for media interviews by contacting portland@centerforinquiry.net or            503.877.2347      . Information about the film can be found at http://www.letstalkaboutsexthefilm.com/about.html.
  • In God We Teach, a documentary film that follows the “separation of church and state” controversy played out in a very public feud between high school student Matthew LaClair and his history teacher in Kearny, NJ. Information at http://ingodweteach.com/. Director Vic Losick will be in Portland for the film festival weekend and is available for interviews.  He can be contacted BY phone at            212.580.3366       or by e-mail at vic@losick.com.
  • 12 Angry Men. The 1957 film classic starring Henry Fonda, which remains one the best demonstrations of practical skepticism in movie history.
  • Flatland 1 and Flatland 2, a charming animated exploration of mathematical concepts in an engaging story about a girl named Hex, who dares to think outside the box, based on the 19th century classic novel by Edwin Abbot.
  • Contagion, Chocolat, The Dish and other major studio films addressing themes of science, reason, and humanism.

Why host a Humanist Film Festival in Portland? According to several recent surveys, the Pacific Northwest is one of the least-religious regions of the nation. A Pew Forum report released October 9, 2012, confirms that atheists and the religiously unaffiliated make up a rapidly increasing segment of the population.2 CFI–Portland is at the forefront of this expanding movement. (For an in-depth look at the Pew report and the population it reveals, watch the upcoming PBS Religion and Ethics NewsWeekly series, “None of the Above: The Rise of the Religiously Unaffiliated” Sundays at 4:00 p.m. on OPB.)

Dates:  October 26-28, 2012
Times:  Friday: 5:00–11:00 pm; Saturday 2:00–10:30 pm; Sunday 2:00–10:00 pm (times approximate)
Location:  Cinema 21, 616 NW 21st Ave, Portland, OR 97209
Admission:  $28 weekend passes; $8 or $13 one-day passes. $ 5 off for early ticket purchase. 

More information at www.humanistfest.com

1 http://www.colbertnation.com/the-colbert-report-videos/416832/july-23-2012/vikram-gandhi

2 “’Nones’ on the Rise: One-in-Five Adults Have No Religious Affiliation,” Pew Research Center, The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, October, 9, 2012 www.pewforum.org/uploadedFiles/Topics/Religious_Affiliation/Unaffiliated/NonesOnTheRise-full.pdf                                                                        

Center for Inquiry–Portland is a community of secular humanists working to foster a secular society based on science, reason, freedom of inquiry, and humanist values. More information can be found at www.centerforinquiry.net/portland or www.meetup.com/cfi-portland.

Humanists of Greater Portland is a nonprofit organization and recipient of the 2008 American Humanist Association Chapter of the Year award. HGP welcomes you. Visit portlandhumanists.org.

My Darwin talk at OHSU, April 4th

Guest Lecture

Perhaps I should let folks here know that I will be giving a talk at the Oregon Health & Sciences University here in Portland on Wednesday, April 4th, at 12:30pm in the Old Library Auditorium. It will be for a reception to the small exhibit now on display in the OHSU Library, Rewriting the Book of Nature (see my post here).

Darwin Exhibit

My talk will be “Charles Darwin: Myth vs. History,” an overview of myths about Darwin and corrections of them. I will talk about both what I think are unintentionally created myths (events or characteristics that find their way into popular history, science textbooks, etc.) and those that are indeed intentional, and meant to smeer the reputation of a historical character (mainly, creationist misuse of history).

Reception at 12:00, my talk at 12:30, free and open to the public!

“Rewriting the Book of Nature” Darwin exhibit at OHSU Library

The National Library of Medicine’s small panel exhibit about Darwin is now open at the library of the Oregon Health & Sciences University, here in Portland, until April 21st. Four panels of images and text constitute Rewriting the Book of Nature: Charles Darwin and the Rise of Evolutionary Theory (brochure). Patrick and I went up to OHSU on Tuesday to take a look, but also to meet with the archivist there to discuss a talk I am going to give on April 4th at a noon reception for the exhibit – my first invited talk! I’ll share more details later about the talk, but for now here are pictures of the exhibit:

"Rewriting the Book of Nature" (Darwin exhibit) at OHSU Library

"Rewriting the Book of Nature" (Darwin exhibit) at OHSU Library

"Rewriting the Book of Nature" (Darwin exhibit) at OHSU Library

"Rewriting the Book of Nature" (Darwin exhibit) at OHSU Library

"Rewriting the Book of Nature" (Darwin exhibit) at OHSU Library

"Rewriting the Book of Nature" (Darwin exhibit) at OHSU Library

"Rewriting the Book of Nature" (Darwin exhibit) at OHSU Library

"Rewriting the Book of Nature" (Darwin exhibit) at OHSU Library

"Rewriting the Book of Nature" (Darwin exhibit) at OHSU Library

"Rewriting the Book of Nature" (Darwin exhibit) at OHSU Library

"Rewriting the Book of Nature" (Darwin exhibit) at OHSU Library

"Rewriting the Book of Nature" (Darwin exhibit) at OHSU Library

"Rewriting the Book of Nature" (Darwin exhibit) at OHSU Library

Secular Parenting Seminar with Dale McGowan in Portland, April 21st

UPDATE (4/23): The seminar went very well! I’ll share a brief write-up I did for the CFI newsletter:

Parenting Beyond Belief seminar

On April 21st, CFI-Portland hosted author and educator Dale McGowan for a seminar about secular parenting. Since coediting and writing for the books Parenting Beyond Belief (2007) and Raising Freethinkers (2009), Dale has built an online network revolved around the idea of how best to raise children in a nonreligious family – within a religious world. The four-hour seminar covered “Our Stone Age inheritance,” different parenting styles, being a secular family in a religious world, the religious extended family, raising powerfully ethical kids, evolution for kids, and death and life. As one participant remarked, “The seminar was great! I got so much useful information. Dale was down to earth and presented the information in an engaging way. I’m so glad to have programs like this available to atheist families.”

Parenting Beyond Belief seminar

It was great to bring Dale back to Portland, as he was out here (from Atlanta) three years ago for the same seminar. The 17 participants who came to the recent seminar, myself included, were completely new attendees – so it was a worthwhile event! Some folks even came all the way from Salem, Camas (WA), and Battleground (WA). If you are interested in learning more about Dale, visit his website: http://www.parentingbeyondbelief.com/, and his blog The Meming of Life: http://parentingbeyondbelief.com/blog/. He also started a nonprofit, charitable organization, Foundation Beyond Belief: http://foundationbeyondbelief.org/.

————————————-

On April 21st, CFI-Portland will be hosting author Dale McGowan for a seminar on secular parenting. McGowan, author and editor of Parenting Beyond Belief: On Raising Ethical, Caring Kids Without Religion and Raising Freethinkers: A Practical Guide for Parenting Beyond Belief did a secular parenting workshop in Portland in April 2009. Three years later, our community has grown and there are more secular families involved. Also, this workshop will provide an opportunity for those who were unable to attend the previous one.

The seminar, from 1:00 to 5:00pm at Friendly House (Keeston Room) in NW Portland, will cover the following:

Over nine million parents in the U.S. are raising children without theistic religion. The PARENTING BEYOND BELIEF WORKSHOP, a unique half-day event with author and educator Dale McGowan, offers encouragement and practical solutions for secular parenting in a religious world. Based on the freethinking philosophy of the book Newsweek called “a compelling read,” the PARENTING BEYOND BELIEF WORKSHOP is empowering secular parents across the country to raise ethical, caring, confident kids without religion.

Participants will learn effective ways to:
– Encourage religious literacy without indoctrination
– Help kids interact productively with a religious world
– Help kids develop active moral reasoning
– Weigh church-state issues in the public sphere
– Address sensitive issues with religious relatives using the principles of nonviolent communication
– Help children develop a healthy understanding of death and a joyful love of life
– Build a family atmosphere of fearless questioning and boundless wonder
…and much more.

The cost to attend is $35 ($65 for couples and $25 if you are a friend of CFI-Portland). Tickets can be purchased now here. If you know of anyone you think might be interested in attending the seminar, please let them know!