Past Events

Here is a short list of the events we have held over the last few years:

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2016

Sunday 18 September 2016 – Tim O’Shea on Colorado Skepticism

Tim O’Shea, of the Colorado Skeptics Society and the science advocacy organization “Coloradans For Scientific inquiry”, will speak on “Weird Science in the Rockies”

Colorado. We’re known for our sunny skies, active lifestyles, and healthy living.

But…did you also know that as a result of the widespread anti-science sentiment in our state, we now have one of the highest-risk populations for the transmission of communicable diseases in the nation?

Indeed. From fad-food diets and herbal tinctures to amethyst crystals and “holy fire energy healing,” the belief in magic and woo-woo in Colorado is so rampant, we make Californians look like Puritans at a Conservapedia convention.

The problem: many of these alternative ideologies are cloaking themselves as actual science, and fooling well-intentioned consumers and an unsuspecting public as being legitimate modalities. So how do we tell the genuine from the junk?

With an entertaining style and good-natured humor, Tim O’Shea provides a walk-through of wacky and weird products and services that claim to be “backed by science,” and how to spot the red flags that reveal them as non-scientific. He also examines the increasingly negative impact these entities are having on public health, and why, as a Colorado citizen, you should not only take notice, you should also start speaking up.

Tim O’Shea is the President and CEO of Coloradans for Scientific Inquiry, a professional organization dedicated to promoting science literacy and critical thinking in Colorado. He is also President of the Colorado Skeptics Society, a state-wide coalition with chapters in Denver, Boulder, and Colorado Springs.

Sunday 12 June 2016 – Improv Workshop

Laughter is one the most human of traits. But improv is about more than comedy. It’s about connecting with your fellow players and being present in the moment. There are many lessons from improv that can apply to life in general.

For the June HOC meeting, Jon Jon Lannen will speak briefly on the power of improv, followed by a group improv workshop. We will play group games and maybe even do some scene work. But don’t let that scare you away, Jon Jon is a very supportive instructor. We’re just going to have some fun!

Jon Jon Lannen is a writer, performer and instructor at the Voodoo Comedy Playhouse.

Sunday 1 May 2016 – The Mythology of Self-Esteem

The May presentation will be given by our own Jerry Gilbert. There will be no potluck this month. Dinner will be provided for members of the HOC at 6pm. Jerry’s presentation will begin at 6:45pm.

Most people are familiar with Greek Mythology, which has fascinated many over the centuries; but we tend to reject them as stories rather than facts. Those of us who are secular in our thinking are familiar with literature and conversation which brand religions in particular, and the supernatural in general, as mythology. It is easy to label certain beliefs as magical thinking and convince ourselves that we are rational people who know which belief systems to reject as irrational. However, what we probably don’t realize is that most people, even secular thinkers, guide their lives with myths every day; but they don’t realize it because the beliefs are so ingrained in our culture, yet not talked about. Self-Esteem is a concept, an abstraction, which is a prime example of this.

Most people work hard at raising their Self-Esteem, and they can tell us what they work on to accomplish that goal. But what most people can’t say is that they know they are pursuing a goal they cannot achieve because it is based on myths. In addition, most people are unaware that Self-Esteem has rules; and these rules are based on irrational beliefs.

This meetup will focus on the hidden rules—the myths of Self-Esteem—and how we can learn to identify them, challenge them, and change our whole approach to feeling good and realistic about ourselves. You will learn and have an opportunity to practice removing unhelpful cognitions and replacing them with cognitions that promote self-acceptance. You will also learn and have an opportunity to practice strategies that promote self-nurturing.

Sunday April 10 – Movie: “Game Change”

Seems like everybody has been talking only presidential politics for months, so we are scheduling an acclaimed movie about a recent presidential election, “Game Change”.

From Wikipedia: “Game Change is a 2012 American HBOpolitical drama film based on events of the 2008 United States presidential election campaign … The film … focuses on the selection and performance of Governor of AlaskaSarah Palin (Julianne Moore) as running mate to SenatorJohn McCain (Ed Harris) in the Republican presidential campaign … Game Change has earned many awards, including a Critics’ Choice Award, a Golden Nymph Award, three Golden Globe Awards, and four Primetime Emmy Awards”

Sunday March 13 – Hilgendorf of Humanism

In March the Humanists of Colorado will try something new, for the group as well as for the Hub:  A talk delivered remotely over Skype, on the big screen!  The talk will be by Californian James Hilgendorf, who will  talk on Humanism.  (See details below.)

We will gather at 6:00 for a potluck dinner, followed by the talk at 7:00, about 40 minutes followed by questions.  This being the first potluck we have held in a while, we make no suggestions about what to bring; bring whatever you like.

If this Skype talk works out, it will open the HOC to more national-level “live” speakers!


On the website of the American Humanist Association, there is an article that lists the basic ideas held in common by both religious and secular humanists.  A few of the points read as follows:

“Humanism is a philosophy of reason and science in the pursuit of knowledge.  Therefore when it comes to the question of the most valid means for acquiring knowledge of the world, Humanists reject arbitrary faith, authority, revelation, and altered states of consciousness

“Humanism is a philosophy for the here and now.

“Humanism is a philosophy of compassion.

“Humanism is a philosophy of imagination.  Humanists recognize that intuitive feelings, hunches, speculation, flashes of inspiration, emotion, and even religious experience, while not valid means to acquire knowledge, remain useful sources of ideas that can lead us to new ways of looking at the world.”

I agree with these points, and in my talk, I would like to bring in ideas from different sources to stimulate the imagination about who we are and what our relationship is to the world and universe around us.  You can disagree with them if you like, but I think you will find it interesting.

-James Hilgendorf

Friday 12 February 2016 – Darwin Day at The Hub

In February the Humanists of Colorado will help the Secular Hub celebrate its third birthday on Darwin Day. (The HOC actually held the first-ever event at the Hub a few days before Darwin Day in 2013, but the official Hub opening was February 12th.) Note that this is the second Friday of the month, not the second Sunday.

At 7:30 the Hub will host a speaker on a topic related to, of course, evolution. But, the HOC will hold its monthly meeting from 6:30 to 7:30, then we will stick around for the speaker.

Board member Jerry G. has written an email asking for volunteers to speak for 5-10 minutes, in honor of Charles Darwin and his celebrated theory, called by Dawkins “arguably the most powerful idea ever”. If you want to speak, please respond to his email, or contact any HOC Board member.

 

Sunday 17 January 2016 – Debate Watching Party

As luck would have it, a Democratic debate is scheduled for a channel received over the air at the Secular Hub on a Sunday evening in the middle of January!  So, our monthly HOC meeting will leverage this good luck.

We will meet at 6:00 PM at the Secular Hub on that Sunday, January 17th.  Dinner will be provided by the HOC for members of the HOC (good time to pay your dues if you have not done so in over a year).

Closer to 7:00 PM, other members of Secular groups will come to the Hub, and we will join them in watching the Democratic debate on the big screen.  (The Hub will also sponsor at least one viewing of a Republican debate, but that will probably not coincide with an HOC event.)

This will be a ton of fun, don’t miss it!

2015

Saturday 19 December 2015 – Winter Solstice Party

This is a joint event with the Secular Hub and the Freedom From Religion Foundation, and others. It will begin at 6pm with a potluck dinner followed by musical entertainment at 6:30. At 7:30 there will be Solstice traditions followed by poetry readings.

Come and share in the true reason for the season!

 

Sunday 15 November 2015 – Poet Laureate Joseph Hutchison

The Humanists of Colorado are very pleased to be able to bring Colorado’s current Poet Laureate, Joseph Hutchison, to the Hub for a talk on Sunday, November 15.  The event will begin at 6:00 PM with a selection of local open-mike-style poets, followed by Hutchison at 7:00, who will recite some of his poetry and take questions.  Dinner will be available to be delivered during the evening, with soft drinks and snacks available as always from the Hub.

The tradition of Colorado Poet Laureate will soon be a century old, and its current incarnation is a Denver native (North High School).  Hutchison, currently connected to DU’s University College, has published 15 poetry collections, and makes some poems available on his website at http://www.jhwriter.com/?page_id=8.

“I think poets are sensitive to the underlying vibrations, trends and conflicts in a society and try to give voice to that. They sometimes seem prescient because they’re sensitive to those changes, but at the same time they’re speaking from a particular point of view, place and time.”

 

Thursday 15 October 2015 – HOC Special Event: Filmmaker presents “A Better Life”

In October the HOC is flying filmmaker Christopher Johnson in from New York for a special Thursday showing of his documentary film. Join the usual Hub movie crowd to hear Chris discuss his film, “A Better Life: An Exploration of Joy and Meaning in a World Without God”, followed by a showing of the film itself on the big screen at the Hub.

“There is no God. Now what? If this is the only life we have, how does that affect how we live our lives, how we treat each other, and cope with death. As a follow-up to one of Kickstarter’s most successful publishing projects, photographer and filmmaker Chris Johnson introduces us to some of the many voices from his book. In this fascinating documentary, learn the stories behind the book in interviews with some of our greatest thinkers. Join Chris as he explores issues of joy & meaning and travels around the globe meeting people from all walks of life and backgrounds who challenge the false stereotypes of atheists as immoral and evil. From Daniel Dennett and A.C. Grayling to Julia Sweeney and Robert Llewellyn, learn the various ways atheists have left religion to a better life filled with love, compassion, hope, and wonder!”

Chris will have copies of his book, on which the film is based, for sale and signing.

 

Sunday 13 September 2015 – Movie: Letting Go of God

Once per year we show a film during our monthly meeting. This time, we present Julia Sweeney’s excellent “Letting Go of God”, which has helped many people come to terms with their unbelief. (We will also showcase the new set of surround-sound speakers recently installed at the Secular Hub.)

From IMDB: Letting Go of God is a humorous monologue by Julia Sweeney chronicling her search for God. She begins in the Catholic church, the religion her family raised her in, and takes a Bible study class. What she learns there leads her to new questions, and in a search for answers she explores meditation, Buddhism and New Age gurus, then describes what she learned from the sciences and from sharpening her critical thinking skills. She discovers that to accept the truth leads to surprising revelations. She concludes by sharing how this affects her family.

 

Sunday 9 August 2015 – Education with Reading Partners

As an educational 501 (c) 3 entity, the HOC values education above nearly all else. With the school year starting up, we are pleased to present a talk by Jess Morse of Reading Partners, a national literacy tutoring nonprofit that works in elementary schools.

Community Engagement Manager Jess Morse is an advocate of exploring innovative solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges. Before joining the Reading Partners team, Jess co-founded ThinkImpact, an education travel company that built programs for college students to explore immersive learning, leadership, and design thinking in rural communities across Africa and Latin America. At ThinkImpact Jess wore many hats, but found her niche in the world of community engagement, building successful partnerships with top universities including University of Southern California, Northwestern University, and Dartmouth. A Bay Area native, Jess received her bachelor’s from UC Davis in international relations and a master’s in international education from George Washington University. She lights up when she is vinyl hunting, backpacking and meeting new people!

Reading Partners is a national literacy tutoring nonprofit founded in 1999 that works in elementary schools to support low-income K-5 students who are reading six months to two and a half years below grade-level proficiency. In a dedicated reading center at each of our 14 Denver Metro area partner schools, we train community volunteers to work one-on-one with students by following a structured curriculum that aligns with nation-wide standards for learning. We support at-home reading and family involvement through a Take Reading Home library in the center. In the 2013-14 school year, Reading Partners tutors gave 15,000 hours of service to provide essential literacy skills to 553 students at 11 in-school reading centers across Denver and Aurora. 94% percent of target students accelerated their monthly rates of literacy learning, and 78% of students narrowed their literacy achievement gaps with on-grade-level peers.

 

Saturday 11 Juy 2015 – Combined Secular Summer Picnic

Like every summer, we will hold a picnic for one of our monthly meetings. This summer, however, it will be a combined picnic held with other secular groups, and at a different time, day, and place than our usual meetings.

The picnic will be held from 12:00 noon to 4:00 (or later; nobody has reserved the park after us) on Saturday, July 11. The location is Creekside Park in Glendale, a park which will actually disappear later this year in favor of new development. Bring grilling foods, a dish to pass, and drinks. Alcohol is OK, but not glass. Bring something for fun and games, too, if you have it!

 

Sunday 14 June 2015 – Genital Cutting of Male, Female, and Intersex Children

Gillian Langley, RN, BSN, MSS and Scot Anderson will join us for our June monthly meeting of the HOC to present on Genital Cutting of Male, Female, and Intesex Children: A Human Rights Perspective. What is effectively genital mutilation is carried out on a regular basis based on ideas of tradition, religion, and a lot of mis-information. Most of us believe that we all have a right to autonomy of our own bodies, however society seems to act as if this autonomy belongs to us only after a certain age and in certain cases. Come and learn more about the history and implications of this practice and discuss what can be done about it.

 

Sunday 10 May 2015 – Racism in the Police Force with Steve Hill

We’re happy to have comedian Steve Hill back at the Secular Hub and this time we are getting the chance to get serious with him. Steve was a member of a the California Department of Corrections until the politics and attitudes and culture of the force made him re-evaluate where he stood. As our nation continues to struggle with the topic of race and the relationship we have with those sworn to uphold and enforce the law, this talk is sure to foster some great discussion. Steve warns “I’ll be speaking on modern day ‘policing’ and RACE. Not for the squeamish!”

 

Sunday 12 April 2015 – Yuri’s Night: Exoplanets

For Yuri’s Night this year we are flying in a speaker from the University of Texas at Austin. Michael Endl is an astronomer who hunts exoplanets, that is, planets outside our solar system, one of the newest branches of astronomy. He will speak about his experiences in this field, as well as anything else space-related that he wants to talk about. Questions very welcome!
Sunday 8 March 2015 – The Metric Maven

Everyone’s favorite measurement evangelist, the Metric Maven, will be joining us to discuss the history of the metric system and ideas about why the United States is the only industrialized country not to have adopted the metric system as its official system of measurement. The incredible costs, confusions, and simple waste have an incredibly high but hidden price that is paid by not adopting this standard. The story behind it is fascinating and complicated!

 

Sunday 8 February 2015 – Humanism 101

This year, 2015, is an important year for Humanism in Denver. The national conference of the American Humanist Association will take place in Denver in May. The HOC will feature several talks on Humanism throughout the year, starting this month.

The talk this month will be an introduction to Humanism, presented by two past presidents of the HOC, Richard Berg and Ken Roberts. The talk was first delivered at the first annual Colorado Secular Conference in 2012, and has been updated since then. Plenty of time will be allowed for questions.
Sunday 11 January 2015 – Waking Life

Welcome to the first Humanists of Colorado monthly meeting for 2015! This month we will be showing and having a discussion about the 2001 existential and innovative movie Waking Life.

Dreams. What are they? An escape from reality or reality itself? Waking Life follows the dream(s) of one man and his attempt to find and discern the absolute difference between waking life and the dreamworld. While trying to figure out a way to wake up, he runs into many people on his way; some of which offer one sentence asides on life, others delving deeply into existential questions and life’s mysteries. We become the main character. It becomes our dream and our questions being asked and answered. Can we control our dreams? What are they telling us about life? About death? About ourselves and where we come from and where we are going? The film does not answer all these for us. Instead, it inspires us to ask the questions and find the answers ourselves.

 

2014

Sunday 20 December 2014 – HumanLight/Winter Solstice Party

This event is co-hosted with various secular groups at the Secular Hub.

The event will begin with the Humanists of Colorado hosting their annual Human Light Celebration from 4-6pm. During this time, we will follow two traditions of our local HumanLight celebration, so come prepared: We will carry out a book exchange; bring a book to hand in, walk away with a different one. And, bring along a favorite quote to read aloud to the group. Secular themed or not, makes no difference if it is good.

At 6pm the general festivities for the Solstice will begin. There will be food and refreshments available for purchase.

Come enjoy a celebration of the season with your fellow non-believers/freethinkers in secular fashion!

 

Sunday 9 November 2014 – Metro CareRing

Our speaker this month will be Kyle Endres from MetroCareRing. Metro CareRing believes that everyone should have access to healthy food. Operating Denver’s largest hunger-relief program directly serving families, Metro CareRing’s diverse approach to fighting hunger includes a fully stocked fresh-foods shopping market, nutrition and gardening education, and tools and resources for self-sufficiency. Situated in the heart of Denver, Metro CareRing distributes almost 2 million pounds of nutritious food (63% fresh) annually to hungry families from around the metro area and beyond. In addition to providing nutritious food, however, Metro CareRing also takes a progressive approach to hunger by offering people the tools and education to improve their health and become more self-sufficient.

The mission of Metro CareRing is to provide nutritious food to hungry families and individuals while promoting self-sufficiency. In its 40th year of existence, Metro CareRing is a community leader in the fight against hunger.


Sunday 12 October 2014 – Political Campaigns

Every two years we host a selection of talks in support of political campaigns just prior to the elections. This year’s lineup is still being firmed up; we will send an email when it is set.

 

Sunday 14 September 2014 – Racism in the US

Racism in the US: 1865 to Present Day

Kristl Tyler is the author of The Wheat Money. The Wheat Money is an examination of the fifteen decades that have passed since slavery was made illegal via the 13th Amendment to our Constitution. Tyler will talk about how racism built the inner city ghettos and gave rise to a welfare class that evolved to survive within them. She’ll also talk about the culture clash that comes when those raised in the inner city try to move past their roots and find they don’t have the tools to make that transition.
Sunday 10 August 2014 – Revision International

“Creating sustainable communities from the ground up!”

Eric Kornacki, the Executive Director of Revision International, is our featured speaker for the Sunday, August 10th meeting. Revision International is a nonprofit organization, founded in 2007, that is based in Denver. They work to transform neighborhoods into sustainable, healthy, and thriving communities by cultivating local leaders to develop resident-led sustainability initiatives in the areas of food production, residential energy efficiency, and economics.

The mission of Revision International is to educate, inspire, connect, and empower individuals and communities to achieve transformational change through locally created, scalable models that contribute to global sustainability. They achieve their goals by supporting the local community via backyard organic vegetable gardens, community urban farms, at-risk youth urban agriculture programs, farmers markets, urban agriculture training programs, residential energy efficiency programs, composting, zero-waste event services, and Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs.


Sunday 13 July 2014 – Denver Yard Harvest

Jason Barton with Denver Yard Harvest (yardharvest.org) is our guest speaker for the July HOC meeting. Each summer and fall, when their fruit trees produce more fruit than they can use, Denver residents contact Yard Harvest whose volunteers harvest the produce, leave some with the residents, and deliver the rest to organizations in Denver that serve people in need, such as daycare centers, homes for the elderly, and community kitchens. Yard Harvest distributes the food either directly or through educational programs that help people prepare or preserve fresh produce, focusing on those programs that provide job skills training, self-reliance, and other resources that help people help themselves.

In addition, Yard Harvest helps build a strong sense of community, providing other local nonprofits opportunities to help by locating trees that need harvesting, identifying and connecting with people and groups who would like to receive the produce, volunteering to take Yard Harvest’s gear to the harvests, harvesting the fruit, and delivering the food to the people who need it.

Yard Harvest Mission: To bring fresh produce that would otherwise go to waste to people who might otherwise go without it; building community and learning more about the importance of healthy food and reducing waste.
Saturday 21 June 2014 – Solstice Picnic

Hey all – we usually do a picnic for our June meeting to enjoy the summer and this year we are excited to be combining our celebration with several other groups to have one big party. So therefore, there will be NO USUAL MONTHLY MEETING on June 8 – instead, our meeting will be the combined Solstice Picnic on Saturday, June 21. Plan your summer activities early! FFRF Denver, along with The Secular Hub, and the Humanists of Colorado, will again host a summer solstice picnic. The date is June 21st, from noon until… everyone goes home (or 6pm, whichever comes first).

This year, the hosting organizations will be providing/cooking all of the ‘grillables’ – hamburgers, hotdogs, chicken, veggie patties, etc. We’re asking everyone who is attending to bring a side dish of your choosing to share (chips, veggies, salad, desert… whatever you feel like), and your own drinks. Alcohol is allowed at the park, but absolutely no glass containers.

The park has a sand volleyball court, and lots of grassy area – so bring your volleyball and frisbee and lawn-jarts (as opposed to the heavy, pointy-ended lawn-darts you can’t buy anymore). If we get a good crowd, seating may be somewhat limited, so a lawn-chair or two may be advisable as well.

We hope to see all of our fellow freethinkers – the more the merrier! Hopefully it goes without saying… but kids are, of course, very welcome.

 

Sunday 18 May 2014 – Why Vegetarianism?

Our theme this year is food, and we continue with a talk by Kate Lawrence and Keith Akers on one of their favorite topics: Vegetarianism.

Reducing or eliminating the eating of meat and other animal products is important for a number of reasons. We’re spending several trillion dollars annually on health care, much of it due to diseases such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and obesity, which are largely preventable on a healthful vegan diet. We’re devastating the environment with livestock agriculture; most agricultural land in the United States is used for livestock, and about half of all greenhouse gas emissions worldwide are due to livestock. Factory farms produce horrible living conditions and frightening, traumatic deaths for billions of animals every year. “On Eating Animals,” a feature article in The Humanist, can be found here: http://thehumanist.com/magazine/july-august-2013/features/on-eating-animals . The author of the article recommends the online video“Farm to Fridge—The Truth Behind Meat Production,” by Mercy for Animals; narrated by James Cromwell, at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=THIODWTqx5E.

Join us on May 18 to watch a short video “A Life Connected,” try some vegetarian foods, and find out how to “veganize” familiar dishes. Pick up a free copy of A Vegetarian Sourcebook and other literature, and bring your questions for discussion.

Kate Lawrence and Keith Akers have both been vegans and activists for decades. They currently are organizers of the Meetup group at DenverVegans.org, which has over 525 members.

 

Sunday 13 April 2014 – GMO Labeling

Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) in our food is a hot topic these days and we are inundated with information from both sides of the spectrum. Some would insist that GMOs are as old as the human history of agriculture where the hybridization and selective breeding of plants and animals have always been the cornerstone of sustaining food sources. Others would say that with the introduction of genetic engineering, we have entered into a whole new world and that we need more information on what all this manipulation is really doing.

This month we’ll be joined by Alan Lewis and Cheryl Gray to discuss this topic, what is currently known, the hype around it, the politics and economy that are integral to all of it and some of the science. Alan Lewis is the director of Government Affairs and Food and Agriculture Policy for Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage and sits on the Boulder County Food and Agriculture Policy Council. Cheryl Gray, RD is to co-chair of the “Right to Know Colorado – GMO” campaign with over 20 years experience.

Our potluck dinner should be extra exciting as we ask not just “what did you bring?” but “so what’s in what your brought???”
Sunday 9 March 2014 – Cosmos

A third of a century ago Carl Sagan’s series “Cosmos” enchanted the country, becoming the most popular public TV series of all time. Now in 2014 Neil deGrasse Tyson will try to repeat the success with a series of the same name, on the same topic, and starting tonight, March 9th!

For the occasion the HOC will be showing the inaugural episode on the big screen, starting at 8:00 PM. We will hold our usual potluck at 6:00, and linger with the food until maybe 7:15 or so. Then we will remove the food and the tables and bring out more chairs for the dozens more people we expect to watch the program with us. Plan to stay until 9:00 when the show ends.

 

Sunday 9 February 2014 – Transhumanism

What is transhumanism, and why does it matter?

The short answer is that transhumanism represents the most far-reaching development of humanism which we are presently capable of. So it matters because, if humanism matters, then developing humanism to its extent must matter a very great deal.

But of course, it’s not quite that simple! Ken Roberts will be speaking on the history, the goals, and the questions asked by transhumanists, exploring the ultimate potential of human beings and what that implies for questions about ethics, justice, values, and how to co-exist together on this planet.

 

Sunday 12 January 2014 – Humanists in the Media

We’re starting off 2014 with a frank discussion about Humanists in the media. Some of you may be aware that the American Humanist Association was recently involved in a case where a local charter school was participating in a charity toy drive with an evangelical group. Operation Christmas Child collects toys and packages them with bible verses to needy children. When the American Humanist Association wrote a letter to the school notifying them that they “must immediately suspend its unconstitutional participation in Operation Christmas Child”, the school complied, but students and parents were in an uproar about it, and staged a counter protest.

In another case, this brought by the Freedom From Religion Foundation and soon to hear a decision from the Supreme Court, the Colorado Day of Prayer has been ruled as unconstitutional by the Colorado Court of Appeals. The ruling will have significant impact at both the state and federal level.

This month one of the plaintiffs of that Supreme Court case and your HOC president will discuss some of the specifics of their experiences with the media in these and other cases. We’ll focus on the reactions received not only from the general public, but from without our own community and we hope this will spark some discussion and planning on how the HOC and its members can and should respond to incidents going forward.

 

2013

Saturday 21 December 2013 – Humanlight/Solstice Celebration

Join us at the Secular Hub and the Exdo Center (across the street from the Hub), for a celebratory collaboration of multiple local groups including the Secular Hub, Humanists of Colorado, Freedom From Religion Foundation, Denver Atheists, and Boulder Atheists. There will be a cash bar with beer and wine for this event.

The evening’s various activities are open to everyone from 4:00 PM to 10:00 PM, and include the following:
4:00 – Appetizer Potluck at the Hub, sponsored by the Humanists of Colorado. Bring something not too heavy, because dinner will take place across the street later. Feel free to attend even if you do not bring a dish to share, because other activities will be taking place.

4:00 – 10:00: Concessions at the Hub, including beer, wine, and seasonal alcoholic drinks.

4:30 – 8:30 Silent Auction at the Hub. There will be a large variety of items for bid. Proceeds will go to the Secular Hub, host for the evening and the crucial supporting organization for local secular groups.

5:00 Book Exchange at the Hub. This is a tradition of the HOC’s annual HumanLight celebration, held on the Solstice. Bring a book or three to share, receive books in return. Secular-themed books are popular but not required.

5:30 Quote Exchange at the Hub. This is another tradition of the Humanist Light celebration. Bring a favorite quote and read it when your turn comes – or recite it from memory to impress everybody.

6:00 Dinner seating begins at the Exdo Center across the street from the Hub. We will work out a priority scheme, probably based on time of arrival at the Hub. Menu and prices to be posted soon.

6:00 – 10:00 The Exdo Center will also be serving drinks all evening.

8:30 (or so) The Silent Auction will draw to a close. Bring your checkbook or credit card and pick up your items on the spot!

8:30 (or so) Dessert Potluck at the Hub.

9:00 (or so) Pale Blue, the house band of the Hub, will perform a set at the Exdo Center.

10:00 Last call at the Hub; the Exdo Center closes.

Please remember to bring an item for the Secular Hub’s food drive.
Sunday 10 November 2013 – Solar Energy

The November HOC meeting, the last in this year’s “Science” theme, will look to the future, specifically a future of clean energy. Benjamin Lee, a physicist at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, will speak on Solar Energy and Sustainability. He writes:

Solar energy is a promising source of renewable energy, due to the widespread abundance of sunlight and technological developments allowing us to capture and utilize that energy. I will begin by presenting some background on the need for renewable energy, due to the finite availability of fossil fuels and their contribution to global climate change, as well as the needs of people in developing countries. I will also give an overview of different potential sources of renewable energy, including the wind, tides, geothermal, as well as solar. Then I will discuss the present status of solar energy, specifically concentrating on solar cells that convert sunlight directly to electricity. I will give a taste of active research and development for better, more efficient, and cheaper solar cells. Finally, I welcome the audience to envision a more sustainable future, based on our choices and aided by technology such as solar cells.
Sunday 13 October 2013 – Why FEMA Isn’t an Initialism

A well-documented phenomenon frequently occurs during a disaster or emergency, people will “spontaneously” volunteer to help and just show up at the incident (hot zone). Response and relief agencies will often find themselves overwhelmed by the amount of physical donations and number of volunteers coming into their areas of operations.

As secular humanists, and similarly-minded individuals we work to balance our “think before you leap” rationality with our “reactive, emotional” social animal aspects. This presentation highlights the problems caused during a disaster or emergency when people “spontaneously” react, fueled by the “want to help” social need and haven’t thought through the “how”. The purpose of the presentation is to bring awareness and insight into those who may ?nd themselves saying, “But, I want to help!’ and provide some basic guidance on how they can help during a disaster or emergency and not create “A Disaster Within a Disaster”
Sunday 15 September 2013 – Movie Night: Gattaca

Every September we feature a humanist-themed film. This year’s selection, “Gattaca”, fits into this year’s theme of science, and in fact the title, which combines the four letters (A, C, G, T) that represent the four amino acids making up DNA, is reminiscent of one or two of the talks we heard this year.

This well-regarded 1997 film concerns eugenics, that is, the customization of reproduction and genetics. It stars Ethan Hawke, Uma Thurman, and Jude Law, all of whom have gone on to stellar careers.

Come by to experience how comfortable it can be to take in a film at the Secular Hub: huge screen, surround sound, desserts nearby, and an intermission halfway through for refreshments.


Sunday 11 August 2013 – Phillip B. Danielson on Forensic Analysis of Human DNA

It’s Not as Simple as CSI

Our science theme continues in August with a superb talk by Phillip B. Danielson, Professor of Molecular Biology at the University of Denver.

More than a century ago, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle popularized the use of scientific crime-detection methods through his stories of Sherlock Holmes. In modern times, the wildly popular CSI television series has continued to intrigue viewers with the power of forensic science. This presentation will examine the strengths and limitations of human DNA analysis – the cutting edge of modern criminal and missing person investigations.

This technology has been used to identify skeletal remains from the Vietnam War and Czar Nicholas II, to link suspects to shed head hairs and saliva from robbery caps and to reassemble the remains of human mass disaster fatalities fragmented by explosions and air crashes. You will be introduced to the fundamentals of human DNA analysis including the unusual types of evidence that can be collected and new issues that arise in court over the reliability of and ethics of DNA testing.

Danielson’s primary research focus is in the field of forensic genetics, emphasizing the analysis and resolution of mitochondrial DNA mixtures and the use of comparative proteomics to facilitate the identification of biological stains. If you don’t know what that means, you should know that his work has been featured in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, The Scientist magazine, USA Today and Law Enforcement Technology magazine.

 

Sunday 14 July 2013 – Jeff Satterwhite: Does Religion Cause Violence?

Does Religion Cause Violence?

This intriguing question continues to be hotly debated in the secular community, academia, and society as a whole. In his 2002 book, When Religion Becomes Evil, religious historian Charles Kimball states: “It is somewhat trite, but nevertheless sadly true, to say that more wars have been waged, more people killed, and these days more evil perpetrated in the name of religion than by any other institutional force in human history.” (p. 1) Is Kimball correct? Or does he overstate the influence of religion on violent acts? Is there a real connection between them? These questions evoke strong perspectives and emotions.

Jeff Satterwhite, PhD candidate in Religious Studies (ABD) and former minister, brings a unique point of view in his presentation on the complex relationship between religion and violence. In this talk, Jeff will examine the importance of how beliefs, practices, sacred symbols, and collective identity fit together, focusing particularly on how our definitions of concepts deeply affect our worldviews about these ideas.

Jeff Satterwhite is a founding member of The Clergy Project and served as an adult education minister in Baptist churches in Texas and Colorado until 2008, when he deconverted from Christianity. Jeff is a doctoral candidate in the Joint Doctoral Program in Religious and Theological Studies (ABD) at the University of Denver and Iliff School of Theology. He is currently writing a dissertation on the Evangelical Right and their political views on same-sex marriage and abortion. Jeff has been published in the Humanist Network News, has been featured on The Sex, Politics, and Religion Hour radio broadcast with Jamila Bey on Voice of Russia radio (American edition), and has been a guest speaker for multiple secular groups in Colorado and Texas. He also serves as the chair of the Safe and Secular Schools Task Force of the Secular Hub, opposing the Good News Club’s efforts in the Denver area.


Sunday 16 June 2013 – June Picnic + Entertainment

Every year in June we forego a speaker in favor of a picnic, some entertainment, and a vote for Board members and officers. This year is no exception – but please note that the June meeting will take place on the third Sunday (the 16th), not the second. (We will get back to the second-Sunday schedule in July.)

We will meet at the Secular Hub, and walk one block away to historic Curtis Park. (if the weather will not permit this, we will stay at the Hub.) There are a few picnic tables, but bring portable chairs if you have them. We should have two portable grills, and the HOC will provide a few burgers and hot dogs and such. Bring whatever you like for the picnic; there is no recommended type of dish. Bring drinks as well, since the Hub will be too far away for easy concession sales.

After the picnic, at 7:30 or thereabouts, we will return to the Hub for entertainment, which is still TBD. We will also vote for a new slate of Board members and officers, which will not be the same as the current year.

 

Sunday 19 May 2013 – Susan Epperson: Epperson v. Arkansas and the vindication of John Scopes

The HOC is pleased to present Susan Epperson and the remarkable story of Epperson v. Arkansas (and the long-overdue vindication of John Scopes) at its May meeting.

The infamous Scopes “Monkey Trial” was held in Dayton, Tennessee in 1925. John Scopes, a high school science teacher, was arrested and tried for teaching biological evolution in his classroom, but the merits of that case never made it past the trial court level. By the 1960’s a few states still had laws on the books which made it a misdemeanor to teach the science of evolution in the public schools.

Enter Susan Epperson

Susan Epperson obtained her master’s degree in zoology in 1964, and later that year took a position as a 10th grade biology teacher in Little Rock, Arkansas. In 1965 she was asked to be the plaintiff in a lawsuit to challenge the constitutionality of Arkansas’ 1928 anti-evolution law. It was Ms. Epperson’s case that, some three years later, made it to the U.S. Supreme Court which finally declared such state laws unconstitutional. Hear the story from Epperson herself!

 

Sunday 14 April 2013 – Erica Tsai: Understanding species range shifts through genetics, fossils, and models

On April 14th this year’s theme of Science will continue with a talk by Yi-Hsin Erica Tsai, a postdoctoral researcher at Notre Dame.
Abstract: As climates shift the habitable ranges for species often also shift. In order to survive the habitat changing around them, species must move to newly habitable areas before old regions become inhospitable. In my research, I look to the past and study how plants have coped with previous episodes of global warming as an allegory for the future. For instance, what factors have limited the spread of parasites compared with their hosts? What evidence do we have that chronicles the migration history of the trees in this area? Can we use DNA from fossils to understand past population changes? This talk will explore the analysis of genetic data, fossils, and models in understanding species range changes after the last ice age.


Sunday 10 March 2013 – Death Penalty Panel

On March 10th we will again be at the awesome Secular Hub, with a pair of speakers from the ACLU on the topic of the Death Penalty.

The United States is the only advanced Western Democracy today that does not view capital punishment as a profound human rights violation and a frightening abuse of governmental power. In 2011 the US was the only source of executions in the G-8 countries or in the western hemisphere, while the only countries who execute more people than we do are the human-rights powerhouses China, Iran, Saudi Arabie, and Iraq.

Bonnie Ruth and Fred Varani of the American Civil Liberties Union will speak on the topic: “How did we end up in this company? A history of the death penalty in the United States and Colorado.”

 

Sunday 10 February 2013 – Dr. James Sikela at the Secular Hub

The HOC is thrilled to announce that our February 2013 meeting will be the FIRST EVER FULL EVENT AT THE SECULAR HUB! Part of our 2013 annual theme on Science, and timed to support the “Darwin Day” festivities two days later, it will feature Dr. James Sikela, professor at the University of Colorado School of Medicine.

The Sikela lab’s work relates to investigating the human genome to find what genes are unique to our species. Dr. Sikela’s talk, “The Search for the Genes that Made Us Human” describes how work on the genome provides additional validation of Darwin’s theory and has resulted in some very interesting discoveries.

For this meeting, and hopefully for a long time thereafter, we will be meeting at a location chosen and outfitted especially for us and groups like ours: the Secular Hub. Located at the corner of 31st and Downing just outside downtown, this rented space has parking on the side, on the street, across the alley, and across 31st street. (Please avoid using the few spaces near the exterior stairway, as they are for upstairs tenants.) There is a light-rail station a block or so away. Nondescript from the outside, the space is very comfortable inside, with a fresh paint job, cafe colors, a kitchenette, three bathrooms, two offices, and more. You’ll just have to see it.

The best part is, this space is not part of a church, and is not a for-profit establishment. Shared among secular groups and members throughout the community (a heretofore severely underserved minority constituting some 20% of the Colorado population), it can be, going forwards, whatever we would like it to be. On Sunday, February 10th, we would like it to be the new HOC meeting space – so please come and show your support. (Since this will be the first event at the Hub, two days before the Grand Opening on Darwin Day, we expect some difficulties to be experienced, we just don’t know what they will be. We plan to take everything in stride.)

Another change, along with the venue: nobody will bring drinks for the potluck. Drinks will be available as concessions, so bring a few extra dollars for some soda or coffee.

 

Sunday 13 January 2013 – Marvin Straus

The HOC is pleased to announce that our January 2013 meeting will feature Marvin Straus. Last summer Straus gave a talk at the national conference of the Atheist Alliance of America, held in downtown Denver. If you missed his talk then, you now have another chance, because Straus will give the same talk at our HOC meeting! The topic is the the need for strategic planning in the national atheist movement, and Straus, co-founder of the Boulder Atheists and one of the founders of the Colorado Coalition of Reason (COCORE), is the right person to speak on that topic.

 

2012

Sunday 9 December 2012 – Combined December Meeting / Humanlight Party

In December, our usual space at the First Universalist was not available to us on the Second Sunday of the month, for the first time in memory, so we are combining that meeting with our annual HumanLight celebration. In fact, we’ll even fold our monthly book discussion into this one celebratory evening with a book exchange – three meetings in one, not bad for an evening out!

The meeting will take place at an apartment complex common room on the southeast side of Denver. To get there, from Havana, head east on Evans and take the second entrance marked for “Little Turtle” (the bigger sign). The club house will be on the right after the line of townhouses. (Note; Google maps does not do a very good job of directing you to this location.)

At 6:00 we will hold a potluck, with a main course to be provided by the HOC Board. Bring any dish you like; we will not go by last name for this special potluck dinner.

Afterwards, we will carry out the usual HumanLight celebration activities. Bring a book, or even more than one book, to exchange with the group. And, bring a quote to share with the group, recent or old, on the topic of “Community”.
Sunday 11 November 2012 – Rocky Mountain Paranormal Research Society

Bryan and Baxter and company, among our most popular speakers in recent years, return to the HOC.

There are thousands of paranormal groups in the United States. Unfortunately, most of these groups are “educated” by credulous-minded TV shows. And, there are many problems associated with paranormal investigation, dangers of which many skeptics and even skeptical investigators may not be aware. What happens when a paranormal group is invited to investigate a location that isn’t haunted?

– What are their approaches to investigation?

– Will they remain respectful of their surroundings?

– If they find something that needs explaining, what will they do about it?

– What will be the effects on local residents?

What are the real-world consequences of paranormal investigation? This is the story of the ghosts and demons, in the imagination of one man…
Sunday 14 October 2012 – Political Speakers

As part of this year’s theme, Politics and Economics, we will be presenting in October a selection of short talks relating to the current political election season. Currently we have the following three speakers lined up:

Chris Getzan, State Organizer, will speak on behalf of the “Yes On 65” Campaign (Election Funding State Amendment)

Mason Tvert, co-director of the 2012 Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, will speak for the “Yes on 64” Campaign (Legalize and Regulate Marijuana)

Tom Gorman will speak on behalf of the “No on 64” Campaign
Sunday 9 September 2012 – Movie Night

Our first movie night, one year ago, was a success, so here comes the sequel. Last year we showed a new movie, this year we will present one of three classics: “Inherit the Wind”, about the Scopes monkey trial, and featuring Spencer Tracy; “Elmer Gantry”, about a conmon minister and featuring Burt Lancaster; or Woody Allen’s “Crimes and Misdemeanors”, a black comedy about the absence of God’s wrath for the guilty. A vote after the potluck will decide which film, with “Inherit the Wind” as the default if the vote results are not clear. Kimberly will bring the popcorn this time!
Sunday 12 August 2012 – The Secular Coalition for Colorado

The Secular Coalition for America is a 501(c)(4) advocacy organization whose purpose is to amplify the diverse and growing voice of the nontheistic community in the United States.

SCA member organizations are established 501(c)(3) nonprofits who serve atheists, agnostics, humanists, freethinkers and other nontheistic Americans. Their purpose in founding the coalition was to formalize a cooperative structure for visible, unified activism to improve the civic situation of citizens with a naturalistic worldview.

The Secular Coalition for America is forming state chapters across the country. Our chapters will bring together secular Americans in each state to influence government officials, legislation, and regulations. The primary goal of each chapter is to lobby for the constitutional principle of the separation of church and state.

The Colorado State Chapter: The Secular Coalition for Colorado has recently been launched, with Ben Donahue as a Co-chief Executive Officer. For the 12th of August Humanists of Colorado program, Ben Donahue will present to us the purpose, aims, and goals of the Secular Coalition of America. He’ll discuss the timeline of the establishment of the Secular Coalition of Colorado, what the Secular Coalition of America is doing nationally, and what the Secular Coalition of Colorado is doing locally. We will have a Q&A session towards the end prior to reconvening at the Bull and Bush on Cherry Creek Drive after the meeting to further discuss the topic.
Sunday 8 July 2012 – Political Economy Extremes

In keeping with this year’s theme of Political Economy, we present two speakers from the far sides of the political aisle, one Libertarian, the other Communist.

First to speak will be Jeff Orok, State Chair of the Libertarian Party of Colorado. As anyone who follows American politics knows, this party wields an influence far beyond their membership numbers. From the backing of billionaires through the Grover Norquist anti-tax pledge to the Tea Party and recent Supreme Court decisions, the Libertarian Party fights beyond its weight class with its emphasis on liberty for the market.

From a diametrically opposed point of view, Larry Hamelin will speak on the topic of communism, whose heyday seems to have come and gone last century, and yet remains the nominal system for maybe a fifth of the world’s population. After decades as a software developer, Larry took up his studies again, and will pursue economics and political science at the University of Colorado, Denver this fall. He works as a writing tutor and publishes a blog called The Barefoot Bum, in which he write about philosophy, atheism, economics, politics, and, of course, communism.
Sunday 10 June 2012 – June 2012 Picnic and Entertainment

Every June we forego a presentation in favor of a picnic, some entertainment, and voting for the Board and Officers. This year, the entertainment is improvisational comedy, from the local improv group The Denver Wigs! First time for comedy at the HOC, at least of the deliberate variety.

For the picnic, we will bring a couple of portable grills, with some items to grill. Bring your own grilling foods if desired, plus any other picnic dish you like (no last-name-based recommendations for this one).
Sunday 13 May 2012 – Kai Haswell on Animal Rights

The May 2012 meeting of the Humanists of Colorado features Kai Haswell, past president of the CSU student group Leaders in Free Thought, who will speak on the topic of animal rights. For the past two years, Kai has worked closely with Dr. Bernard Rollin, one of the foremost animal rights scholars in the country. Kai’s current thesis work addresses the question of whether invertebrates, specifically insects, should be protected by anti-cruelty legislation.

Kai will discuss the challenges faced by the animal welfare movement, and specifically focus on the problems posed by the behaviorist movement. He will give a short overview of behaviorism (what it was and what it hoped to accomplish) and will argue that the theory, now widely discredited by scientists, still pervades modern thinking about consciousness and especially animal welfare. He will then discuss how humanist ethical theory relates to non-human animals and suggest a number of ways we might bring animals into the realm of moral consideration. Finally, Kai will offer a few modest suggestions on what steps we can take to improve the quality of life for other sentient creatures.

 

Sunday 8 April 2012 – Bob Bows on Public Banking

The April 2012 meeting of the Humanists of Colorado continues our annual theme of Politiconomics by featuring Bob Bows, communications manager of the Public Banking Institute (PBI). Bob is a political economist (Stanford ‘71) known for a diverse set of accomplishments including designing prototypical vote-by-mail procedures in Colorado, helping start a public television station, and helping to bring the Colorado Rockies baseball franchise to our state.

Bob’s talk, entitled “The Colorado Economy, OccupyWallStreet, and Public Banking”, asks why the state of North Dakota had (with the last data available) the nation’s lowest unemployment rate and the largest budget surplus, with no bank failures in the previous decade. His answer, intriguingly, is that North Dakota is the only state currently operating its own bank!

 

Sunday 11 March 2012 – Dr. Ellen Wagner on Ethics

This month we take a break from our year’s theme of econo-politics for a refreshing talk on philosophy, specifically ethics, more specifically ethics in ancient Greek philosophy. UC Boulder’s Dr. Ellen Wagner, an expert on Greek philosophy, will speak on “How to Lead an Excellent Human Life, No Supernatural Beings Needed!” She says: “Aristotle designed a beautiful argument for a virtue ethics based on nothing more than human nature, in its complexity. His thinking about ethics and virtue has stood for more than 2,000 years and can inform our humanist ideas today. We’ll discuss the strengths and weaknesses of what he argues.”

 

Sunday 12 February 2012 – Colorado Move to Amend

Michael Melio, Colorado Chair of Move to Amend, will be discussing the disastrous Citizen’s United decision by the (not very) Supreme Court that turned on the spigot of corporate bribes in American politics — and what Move to Amend is doing about it. (And what you can do, too!)

 

Sunday 8 January 2012 – Introduction to Humanism

This month we feature a combination presentation on the topic of Humanism itself, a topic we try to cover once per year or so. Our previously planned speaker has been dragged off to Paris by his day job, so we are pulling out all the stops to replace him. We will show some short videos from the “Introduction to Humanism” DVD by Florida’s Jennifer Hancock; we will feature some short talks by 3 different individuals on topics in Humanism; and we will take as many questions as the audience would like to ask. This should be a good meeting for those new to Humanism

 

2011

Sunday 18 December 2011 – HumanLight Celebration

Our annual HumanLight party celebrates the winter solstice, when the days start lengthening again. A potluck will start at 6:00 (bring whatever you wish, no suggestions). Later in the evening, we will hold our annual paperback book exchange. Bring one or more paperbacks to trade, and take home the same number. Also, we will be sharing our thoughts on this year’s theme of Sustainability, whether original or quoted. In keeping with our 2011 theme of Sustainability, our hosts, Ray and Betty Flescher, have their leased solar panels up and running.
Sunday 11 December 2011 – Atheists For Humanity

In recent years the HOC has often collected money at meetings, to distribute to charitable organizations. Our friends the Denver Atheists, under the dynamic leadership of Eric Meer, have gone a step further, and formed an organization, “Atheists For Humanity”, complete with a web site, a Board, and so on, specifically intended to make it easy for people like us to lend a helping hand to those who might benefit from it.

In December, during the traditional season of sharing, Eric Meer will visit our meeting and describe his organization, how it works, and how much success it has had so far, and explain why we should consider jumping on this particular bandwagon.

 

Sunday 13 November 2011 – Sustainability: Concentrating Solar Power

Yes, we’ve already done a program on solar energy this year, but this one is different. Concentrating solar power (CSP) technology is a way of using solar energy on a much larger scale than photovoltaics can provide. CSP technology will use solar power to boil water in order to turn the turbines that generate electricity, replacing the fossils fuels that are used in most power plants today. This has the potential to move solar energy from a minor role in our energy production to a major contributor of clean, sustainable electricity.

Allison Gray of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) will give the presentation on this exciting new technology. Allison joined NREL in 2008, working as an engineer in the Concentrating Solar Power group. Before working at NREL, Allison worked on concentrating solar thermal and photovoltaic technologies for 4 years at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Her work there included investigating system performance and reliability, data acquisition, and solar resource studies. Her Master’s thesis focused on improving the passive cooling system of a high concentrating photovoltaic system using a numerical model and experimental data.
Sunday 09 October 2011 – Sustainability: Greening the Home

This year’s series on Sustainability continues, with two speakers.

First, Nancy Kellogg of company Lightly Treading will talk and take questions on Home Energy Audits. Nancy has been involved in energy efficiency for over thirty years. She holds a BA in Business Administration and is also certified in building science. She has been with Lightly Treading for over 10 years, conducting energy audits, energy ratings, educational presentations and inspiration for our community. Nancy is very passionate about helping homeowners address their energy concerns and has helped hundreds of homeowners solve their comfort issues.

Next, Jeff Tejral will speak about Xeriscaping. Jeff is a conservation specialist for Denver Water with over fifteen years of training and experience in water conservation, drought tolerant landscaping and low-water vegetable gardening. He currently manages Denver Water’s conservation rebate programs which provide opportunities for 1.3 million customers to use only what they need. Jeff’s talk will be a brief overview of each of the steps for a homeowner to go from living or dead lawn to a healthy low-water xeriscape. Attention will be given to price and maintenance changes.
Sunday 11 September 2011 – Humanist Movie Night

It has been years since the HOC has shown a movie, since we prefer human interaction with speakers. But, a film that spends a lot of time on Humanist concepts was released earlier this summer, and already available on iTunes, and we will show it this month. If everyone enjoys the experience, we might make it an annual event.

The film is “The Ledge”, described online as “A thriller in which a battle of philosophies between a fundamentalist Christian and an atheist escalates into a lethal battle of wills.” Written and directed by Matthew Chapman, the film features some stars, including Terence Howard and Liv Tyler, but is most notable for its courage in discussing belief and non-belief. The film is rated “R” (for language and sex, but not much violence), so this might not be the best HOC meeting for children.

 

Sunday 14 August 2011 – Humanist Celebrants

Every so often we like to do a presentation on various aspects of Humanism. This month we will host a panel of humanist celebrants.

Most human societies have a tradition of marking important life events, including weddings, funerals and baby namings among others, with some sort of ceremony. Traditionally, these ceremonies have been in the domain of religion, but the need for these ceremonies transcends and most likely predates religion. Humanist celebrants fill this need for the non-religious.

We have invited a panel of humanist celebrants to discuss topics such as what they do, the history of humanist celebrants, and to what extent humanist celebrants are resources to the secular community . Panel members will include Celebrant emeritus John Abramson; HOC vice-president and humanist celebrant, Tim Bailey; Humanist Celebrant Sean P. Curley, and Life-Cycle Celebrant ® Jennifer Bailey, who along with Tim operates Celebrating Times of Change 
Sunday 10 July 2011 – Sustainability: Alternative Energy

Our sustainability series continues with a presentation on alternative energy, specifically solar photovoltaics (PV). Matt Johnson of Namaste Solar will be presenting “Solar PV 101”. Topics covered in this presentation include:

– How solar PV technology works

– Solar PV design considerations

– Environmental and financial benefits of solar PV

– The role of solar PV in our current and future energy portfolio


Sunday 12 June 2011 – Annual Member’s Picnic

Our June meeting will be our annual picnic + entertainment + elections event.

Meet at the usual place at the usual time. If the weather is bad (as it has been in recent years) we will meet inside, otherwise we will enjoy the good weather outside.

Instead of a potluck with listings by last name, we will hold a picnic, starting at the usual time of 6:00. The HOC will provide some grilling foods and two portable grills. Bring whatever picnic foods you like, including additional grilling foods if you like.

We are still discussing entertainment possibilities, and will post news here.

Any current member who would like to join the Board of the HOC should contact any of our Board members, or send a letter to our PO Box 461112, Glendale, CO, 80246, or simply speak up during the picnic. We will vote for Board members that evening.

Should be a great time as always!


Sunday 08 May 2011 – ACLU 101 with Kathleen Hynes

Dr. Kathleen Hynes is a volunteer speaker for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Colorado. After receiving a PhD in Sociology from the University of Denver, she held a faculty appointment at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, dealing mostly with medical ethics. She later left the University and began her own research business, which she has pursued for over two decades.

Dr. Hynes will use this opportunity to discuss several topics of interest to the ACLU and Denverites, including immigration issues, prisoners’ rights, and the Patriot Act.


Sunday 10 Apr 2011 – Sustainability: Gender Equity and the End to Water Poverty

For our second talk in our Sustainability series, HOC board member Deiadra Swartz will give a presentation on global water sustainability, water poverty and gender equity. Here is how she describes her presentation:

“The main focus of my presentation will be global water issues, which will illustrate the need for more sustainable local water practices; I’ll summarize the latest research on gender equity and water poverty; then I’ll end with a call to action – things that each of us can do to make difference. You know that I’ll be looking forward to presenting to HOC on April 10th so be ready with those tough questions!”

Deiadra is a lawyer, writer, professor, mentor, and professional speaker; yet somehow she still finds time to be a single mom. Deiadra earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from Tulane University, and her Juris Doctorate degree from the University of Denver College of Law.

We are pleased to have Deiadra’s service as a dedicated Board Member with this organization. Among her other affiliations, Deiadra lists the Universities Council on Water Resources, Colorado Business Women, Colorado Coalition for Reason, and Gender & Water Alliance based in The Netherlands.

 

Sunday 13 Mar 2011 – David Eller: Cruel Creeds, Virtuous Violence

In his previous books for a general audience, Natural Atheism and Atheism Advanced, Dr. David Eller provided fresh arguments for an atheistic worldview and explained why atheists must advance beyond a simple non-belief in gods to the rejection of belief without evidence altogether.

At the next HOC meeting, Eller will discuss his new book, Cruel Creeds, Virtuous Violence: Religious Violence across Culture and History. In this book, Eller examines the many different forms of violence manifested in religions throughout history and the world. As the subtitle suggests, Eller discusses violence not just in the Abrahamic religions we are so familiar with, but in eastern and tribal religions as well.

One week after the HOC meeting, Eller will lead the discussion of his book at the Denver Humanist Book Group meeting. There are still a couple of spots available and plenty of time to read the book.

Copies of Eller’s new book will be available for purchase and signing.

Dr. David Eller is a professor of anthropology at the Community College of Denver.
Sunday 13 Feb 2011 – Sustainability: Peak Oil with Steve Andrews

Our 2011 series on Sustainability kicks off with a talk by Steve Andrews.

Steve consulted, wrote and taught in the energy realm from 1980 through 2009, and continues to give presentations (250 and counting) on the long view regarding world energy supply constraints.

Topics to be covered include world oil production by nation, differing forecasts of oil production, alternative fuels, and the increasing role of the financial system on both supply and demand. Steve will also cover and take questions about items in the news recently related to petroleum production.
Sunday 09 Jan 2011 – Charitable Activities with Balbir Mathur

Last year the Humanists of Colorado became increasingly interested in charitable activies. We held speakers on the topic, we donated collected money, and we donated collected goods. This month, we will hear from an expert in the field.

Balbir Mathur of Wichita, Kansas founded and continues to run the longstanding charity “Trees For Life International” (http://www.treesforlife.org/), best known for organizing and supporting the planting of trees as food sources in poor countries, although their activities are varied, including the recent spinoff “Books For Life”.

Balbir will tell us about his life in charity, the activities of Trees For Life, the effect of the internet on charities, ideas for group-run charitable activities and anything else this born storyteller wishes to recount.

 

2010

Sunday 19 Dec 2010 – HumanLight Celebration

The winter solstice was a secular celebration time long before it was chosen for religious holidays. Join us to eat, drink, talk, and share the party season. A potluck will start at 6:00; bring whatever you wish, no suggestions for this one. Later in the evening, we will hold our annual paperback book exchange. Bring one, or more, paperbacks to trade, and take back the same number. Also, we will be sharing our thoughts on What It Means To Be Human, whether original or quoted.
Sunday 12 Dec 2010 – 21st Century Education: Karen Sorensen

Students today are different than they were 20 years ago; they have more access to information than ever before. However, most traditional schools and districts are teaching as if we are still in the industrial age. In December, Karen Sorensen (http://www.21stcenturyedu.com/) will hold a workshop/presentation on why and how education should be brought into the new century.

21st Century Education takes the themes of civics, environment, personal finance, career and life readiness, business, economics, health, and global awareness, integrating them with the academic disciplines of reading, writing, math, English, language arts, world languages, history, science, geography, and the arts. These connections are aided through the use of technology to create project-based learning environments through which students develop cognitive thinking skills such as problem solving, communication, innovation, critical thinking, leadership, creativity, and curiosity.

 

Sunday 14 Nov 2010 – Humanism in World Traditions: Quakers

Our series on “Humanism in World Traditions” concludes this month with a talk on the Quakers, also known as the Religious Society of Friends. As so often in this series, we have located the best person available to tell us about a religion which shares many tendencies with Humanism.

Martha Roberts was not born into a Quaker family, but was “convinced”, as the Friends say, as an adult, and has since spent decades as an active member of the Society: serving on committees, giving workshops, teaching classes, chairing a national conference, and serving on a committee which wrote a book describing the faith and practice of Quakers in the Southwest.
Sunday 10 Oct 2010 – Political Campaigns

A month before the 2010 elections, we will host representatives of some of the political campaigns in Colorado. As of this writing (Friday, October 6) we have three confirmed speakers:

Eleanor Celeste will speak on behalf of Michael Bennett for Senator from Colorado.
Jamie Van Leeuven will speak on behalf of John Hickenlooper for Governor of Colorado.
Bob Kinsey, candidate for Senate from the Green Party, will speak himself.

We are still trying to line up speakers on behalf of Dan Maes for Governor and Ken Buck for Senator, and possibly other speakers as well. Watch this space for updates.
Sunday 12 Sep 2010 – Humanism in World Traditions: China

Our series, Humanism in World Traditions, continues this month with two speakers covering the two great Chinese religions. Don Scheuer (bio to follow) will speak on Taoism, known to most westerners as an abstract philosophy stemming from a 230-year-old book by Lao Tzu, but Don will tell us what Taoism is really about. Ken Roberts, past President of the HOC, will speak on Confucianism, the even more ancient humanistic philosophy that dominated chinese cultural developments until late in the 20th century.
Sunday 08 Aug 2010 – Sean Curley: Was the USA founded as a Christian country?

Was the United States founded as a Christian Nation? Do our laws favor Christianity over other religions, or no religion? Does our society define its values through Christanity? These are questions that affect all of us, and there is a lot of confusion and hype surrounding them. This presentation attempts to take a rational look at these questions.

Our speaker, Sean Curley, is an active member of the Humanist and Atheist communities, both in Colorado and nationally. Sean is on the board of the Boulder International Humanist Institute, is the regional Ambassador for the Atheist Alliance International, and is an active Humanist Celebrant (Reverend). Besides being an activist and public speaker, Sean is pursuing a degree in Creative Writing. He has published a book on parenting, Humanism for Parents – Parenting without Religion, and has completed a novel that covers the founding of Christianity.
Sunday 11 Jul 2010 – Humanism in World Traditions: Baha’i

On July 11 you are invited to the fourth presentation in our series, “Humanism In World Traditions”. The topic this month will be the Baha’i Faith, a monotheistic religion with perhaps 6 million adherents worldwide that emphasizes the spiritual unity of all humankind.

Our speaker, Matt Weinberg, is a researcher and writer with interests relating to international development, science and ethics, and human rights. His presentation will explore the question of human identity in a globalizing world from the perspective of the Baha’i teachings.
Sunday 13 Jun 2010 – June Picnic

As usual in June, the monthly Humanists of Colorado meeting on the 13th will be given over to eating, talking, and entertainment.

We will hold a picnic starting at 6:00, just outside the usual meeting place (or inside if it rains.) The HOC will provide a grill and some food for grilling. Instead of organizing by last name, everyone else should bring whatever they like to bring for a picnic/grill out!

At 7:30 or 8:00 we will move inside for some entertainment, which has not been determined yet. Perhaps music like last year, or perhaps something else. Watch this space for an update.
Sunday 9 May 2010 – Humanism in World Traditions: Unitarian Universalism

On May 9 you are invited to the third presentation in our series, “Humanism In World Traditions”. This time we feature the most humanistic religion known to us, so humanistic that the HOC meets in one of their churches: Unitarian Universalism, a historical outgrowth of Christianity that is now … well, you’ll have to attend to hear more.

Even better, we have lined up a local speaker so knowledgeable about UU’ers, he can be found introducing the topic on their video website, UU Planet TV (at the URL http://www.uuplanet.tv/video/Unitarian-Universalism-Rev-Mich). Michael Corrigan is a minister at the First Universalist, and will speak on the history of the Unitarian Universalist movement, its deep ties to Humanism, and its current currents. Michael will also describe the First Universalist Church, our host these many years, and will answer questions about all of the above.

Book Collection: This month, the HOC is inaugurating a new practice, the collection of goods at our monthly meeting for various purposes. This first collection will be a classic, books, to be donated to local public libraries. Don’t recycle those old potboilers, romances, space operas and textbooks, let them be reused!
Sunday 11 Apr 2010 – Climate Change: Bob Henson

Climate change as a topic has risen steadily in importance for over 20 years. For Sunday, April 11, we have lined up one of the best speakers available to explain why. Bob Henson is a writer and editor for the consortium that runs the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, as well as the author of “The Rough Guide To Climate Change”. Bob will show a slide presentation followed by questions, and will cover background info on climate change, impacts on Colorado, last December’s meeting in Copenhagen, and recent controversies in the press.
Sunday 14 Mar 2010 – Humanism in World Traditions: Secular Humanistic Judaism with Beth Ami

Michelle M. Davis of the Beth Ami Colorado Congregation of Humanistic Judaism, will speak to us about the trends of Judaism from a Humanist viewpoint. There will be a summary of the history of Humanistic Judaism, brief bios of some of the pioneers such as Sherwin Wine, and a discussion regarding how Humanistic Judaism integrates the traditions and ideals of Judaism with Humanistic principles.

From their website:

“Beth Ami – Colorado Congregation for Humanistic Judaism, provides the opportunity to celebrate Jewish culture and identity consistent with a humanistic philosophy of life. Humanistic Judaism offers a Secular alternative in contemporary Jewish life, and is compatible with many belief systems. It was established by Rabbi Sherwin T. Wine in 1963 in Detroit, Michigan, and has grown into a worldwide movement. Beth Ami is affiliated with the Society for Humanistic Judaism.”

This lecture is one within our series covering Humanism and World traditions. Whether you are interested in Judaic thought or how contemporary Humanistic Judaism and Secular Humanism integrate, be sure to attend this fascinating and informative lecture.
Sunday 14 Feb 2010 – Charitable Activities

With thoughts of the tragedy in Haiti fresh in our minds, the February meeting of the Humanists of Colorado will be devoted to a topic we have been discussing off and on over the last year: charitable activities. We will hear some comments from the Board of the HOC, followed by presentations from a few selected knowledgeable charity enthusiasts who will relate their experiences and explain how the HOC could follow their lead. At the end of the meeting we will attempt to achieve consensus on how the HOC should enter into the realm of charitable activities.
Sunday 10 Jan 2010 – Humanism in World Traditions: Buddhism

This month we begin an occasional series on “Humanism in World Traditions”. Two presenters will speak on the topic of Buddhism, one of the world religions often characterized as Humanistic in nature.

Thay Tinh Man is Abbot of the Compassionate Dharma Cloud Monastery is Morrison, and will speak from the standpoint of one whose life has revolved around Buddhist traditions.

Barry Albright will also speak, from the standpoint of one who is knowledgeable about Buddhism, but has not devoted his life to the practice.