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The Sweet House

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254 E. Fulton
Grand Rapids, MI 49503 United States

April 2004

Apr
14

The Problem of Circumcision

April 14, 2004 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
The Sweet House, 254 E. Fulton
Grand Rapids, MI 49503 United States

American Atheist member Norman Cohen presented the top ten fallacies regarding circumcision. Simply because he had been born a male, it was an unquestioned truth that he had arrived out of the womb with a disorder or defect in need of immediate surgical correction. “The Problem of Circumcision” presented by Norman Cohen, Director of NOCIRC of Michigan since its founding in 1994. He appeared on the 1996 award-winning documentary on circumcision, “Whose Body, Whose Rights?”

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March 2004

Mar
24

Why Traditional Values May Not Be Beneficial to the West Michigan Economy

March 24, 2004 @ 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm
The Sweet House, 254 E. Fulton
Grand Rapids, MI 49503 United States

The thrust of Professor Rudolph's presentation to us was in regards to making our part of Michigan more attractive to businesses by adopting a different attitude, he maintained that such a change in business practices here would not only benefit business and the local economy but also be the moral, ethical and “right” thing to do. Ben Rudolph laid out five main challenges to economic growth that we face that are directly related to our traditional values mindset.

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Mar
10

What is the Center for Inquiry? The Challenge of the New Enlightenment

March 10, 2004 @ 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm
The Sweet House, 254 E. Fulton
Grand Rapids, MI 49503 United States

D. J. Grothe explained that the Center for Inquiry exists to promote science, reason and freedom of inquiry, extending the rationalist approach into every aspect of human endeavor. The Center For Inquiry (CFI) recognizes no aspect of human interest in society that is impervious to rational and scientific scrutiny. No institutions nor cherished beliefs and claims emanating from them are exempt from inquiry.

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February 2004

Feb
25

The Myth of the Golden Mean

February 25, 2004 @ 6:00 am - 7:30 pm
The Sweet House, 254 E. Fulton
Grand Rapids, MI 49503 United States

The Golden Mean- also referred to as the Golden Section, the Golden Rectangle and the Golden Ratio-- is taught in mainstream fashion in art education. It is a given‰ÛÓnot to be disputed or questioned. It appears in textbooks and is promulgated authoritatively by professors and professionals of many disciplines and is simply a part of what is imbibed by each successive generation of neophyte designers by those wishing to integrate art with something supposedly ancient, arcane, and sublime and with the added bonus of its strong whiff of science and mathematics. This is all part of the “unwitting use of fiction as fact that permeates our culture”, as Van Oosterhout said it.

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Feb
11

Dogma, Doctrine & Deduction; Darwin’s Life of Discovery

February 11, 2004 @ 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm
The Sweet House, 254 E. Fulton
Grand Rapids, MI 49503 United States

T. Dobzhansky famously stated that “nothing in biology makes sense, except in the light of evolution.” Charles Darwin was the co-discoverer of the principle mechanism of evolutionary descent, which became the single most important organizing principle to the theory of evolution, itself (as Dobzhansky alluded to) the foundational cornerstone of understanding in biological sciences.

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January 2004

Jan
28

“’What church do you belong to?’ An Atheist Runs for Office in Grand Rapids.”

January 28, 2004 @ 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm
The Sweet House, 254 E. Fulton
Grand Rapids, MI 49503 United States

Kathryn Lynnes brought to our attention the recent spate of articles in the Grand Rapids Press, a paper that often gets her blood pressure up, regarding State Representative, Joanne Voorhees and her comments associating being a decent citizen with Christianity. When other faith groups chimed in, taking her to task for this elitist and narrow viewpoint, she tried to amend her remarks but couldn't help herself from soldiering on down the same lines of “reasoning.” Ironically, in the Press the very next day, there was a Public Pulse letter from Voorhees, trying to say again that she meant no disrespect to other religions, but which contained the closing line: “I trust people with a world view based on faith and am privileged to serve them.”

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Jan
14

“A Freethinking Humanist builds a house; Making my house ethical is up to me”,

January 14, 2004 @ 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm
The Sweet House, 254 E. Fulton
Grand Rapids, MI 49503 United States

Joel Welty's ultimate plan was not only to build his own domicile into the side of a hill, covered over in earth, but to build a hundred others like it. There were many obstacles and challenges that beset him in this endeavor, however, so he is completing his own place for now. Welty learned through this process and his earlier managerial experience just what is wrong with the way conventional homes are built. He became frustrated with the unnecessary problems that he saw first hand. Essentially, conventional houses, he contends, are flimsy and wasteful.

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November 2003

Nov
12

Freethought and the Arts

November 12, 2003 @ 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm
The Sweet House, 254 E. Fulton
Grand Rapids, MI 49503 United States

The title of this meeting was “Freethought & the Arts” and featured ten performers and artists, all members of our group, who presented his/her own art form and made commentary or gave background information. Later, during the typical timeframe for the Q&A period, all presenters gathered together on stage and fielded questions from the audience.

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October 2003

Oct
22

Ancient Cosmology and Early Christian Symbolism

October 22, 2003 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
The Sweet House, 254 E. Fulton
Grand Rapids, MI 49503 United States

This presentation examines the “intersection between cosmology and symbolism.” Cosmology. Fideler noted, that the large- scale structure of the universe in its modern use but it also means “worldview.” Symbolism was very important in the ancient world. For them, delving deeply into reality meant going beyond what was expressible in words; words being viewed as adequate for surface reality only. Symbols were what were used to express and understand the ultimate reality foundation. This still parallels our approach today in our modern quest for cosmological truths where science uses the language of mathematical symbols to uncover the make up the universe and explore its governing laws.

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Oct
8

The Latest Woo Woo; What’s Happening in the World of “I’ll believe anything.”

October 8, 2003 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
The Sweet House, 254 E. Fulton
Grand Rapids, MI 49503 United States

Dr. Paul Critelli debunks the claims of charlatans trafficking in irrational beliefs is in keeping with many other magicians who knew how to peer through the illusory tricks and effects that could even dumbfound working scientists investigating paranormal claims, since the scientists were not privy to the arcane knowledge of sleight of hand skills. He also performed some feats of magic for us, being a professional prestidigitato

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September 2003

Sep
24

Nature or Nurture; How do Genes, Environment and Free Will Affect Human Behavior?

September 24, 2003 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
The Sweet House, 254 E. Fulton
Grand Rapids, MI 49503 United States

Dr. Forbes' topic for this night was one much beloved by defense attorneys, since they can claim that their clients have “bad genes” if using the naturist approach, or that they are products of a “bad environment” if going down the nurturist route. Therefore, the client is not guilty or directly responsible for his/her actions. The debate that had arisen since well before the phrase was actually coined is usually framed “nature versus nurture” and those in the dichotomous camps try to place as much of a given organism's behavior into their favored basket.

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Sep
10

The History of Language Science

September 10, 2003 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
The Sweet House, 254 E. Fulton
Grand Rapids, MI 49503 United States

John Joldersma focused on reading for his presentation, noting that it is the only thing we have invented as a species that cannot be found elsewhere in the Kingdom Animalia. Tool use, art, fairly complex body language and oral communication systems, etc. all have analogues in other species' productions. It is quite a recent event for our species, relative to evolutionary time and even regarding other cultural accoutrements we have.

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August 2003

Aug
27

Richard Dawkins- The Devil’s Chaplain

August 27, 2003 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
The Sweet House, 254 E. Fulton
Grand Rapids, MI 49503 United States

Richard Dawkins, is the first holder of Oxford University's Simonyi Professorship in the Public Understanding of Science. Some of his previous books include The Blind Watchmaker, which is a countering book length argument to the Paleyesque one supposing a Designer for life's pageantry in the same way that we understand a watch to have been made by a purposeful creator. Unfortunately, the latest species of Creationism‰ÛÓIntelligent Design Theory-- that has evolved employs these same tired, refuted and unfruitful concepts that Rev. Paley employed over a century ago.

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Aug
13

WWJD: Debunking Popular Myths About Jesus

August 13, 2003 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
The Sweet House, 254 E. Fulton
Grand Rapids, MI 49503 United States

In this presentation we examined the character and teachings of Jesus from a secular perspective, which was, Jeremy ironically noted, actually Fundamentalist friendly in the sense that he would be assuming that Jesus was a real, historical person and that what he is given to have said were actually stated him. Crow said that he first encountered this item when he was in high school, sitting with a non-Christian friend who was wearing the bracelet. The friend explained that even though he did not regard Jesus as a great prophet or God incarnate, he believed that he was a good man and teacher and that the bracelet served as a reminder of the thinking of this benevolent teacher when he was in doubt regarding the vagaries and dilemmas of life.

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July 2003

Jul
23

The Philosophy of Vedanta

July 23, 2003 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
The Sweet House, 254 E. Fulton
Grand Rapids, MI 49503 United States

The Philosophy of Vedanta presented primarily by Renu Malhotra, with introductory remarks and a brief overview by Fred Stella. Stella has a public radio program, "Common Threads" that is aired on Sunday mornings, featuring a discussion on topics from different faith groups, and he is president of the Interfaith Dialogue Association. Malhotra is a native of India and is guru trained in Vedanta and has taught for several years in this area, is Chairperson for "See the World" and has worked to make improvements in many villages in India. She also facilitates classes at Fountain Street Church, among her other activities.

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Jul
9

The Psychology of Religiosity, Fundamentalism and Atheism

July 9, 2003 @ 7:30 pm - 8:00 pm
The Sweet House, 254 E. Fulton
Grand Rapids, MI 49503 United States

Dr. Galen contrasted the research presented to our group by two recent speakers, Dr. David Myers and Kimberly Blaker as to a value characterization on what religion provides. Dr. Myers, in a talk with the topic question of whether religion does more harm or good, came down on the side of religion's positive attributes, including how it can lead to better mental and physical health. Ms. Blaker's appraisal, centering mostly on the Religious Right, Fundamentalism and in particular, Christian Fundamentalism, depicted this form of religious expression as a destructive force in society, leading to prejudice, negative attitudes toward women and minorities, etc.

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June 2003

Jun
25

Why the Religious Right is Wrong About Separation of Church and State

June 25, 2003 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
The Sweet House, 254 E. Fulton
Grand Rapids, MI 49503 United States

Why the Religious Right is Wrong about Separation of Church and State was presented by special guest speaker, Rob Boston, of the Washington based church and state watchdog group, Americans United for Separation of Church & State. He is the author of a book by the same title as this presentation's as well as Close Encounters with the Religious Right and Pat Robertson: The Most Dangerous Man in America?

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Jun
11

Affirmative Action

June 11, 2003 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
The Sweet House, 254 E. Fulton
Grand Rapids, MI 49503 United States

Marshall Grate, whose specialty is in Labor Law and has worked on cases regarding area public schools, explained at the outset that he was not representing himself as a Constitutional Law scholar and, as a further "disclaimer" (as he put it) he had no visuals to use to augment his talk. His interest in, and independent study of, Constitutional law cases and being an avid student of history, along with an acute memory of details of historical cases more than made up for his non-multimedia presentation to us. His work in public school issues of illegal search and seizure, free speech rights, etc. has caused him to be familiar with and bring to bear the guarantees granted by our U.S. Constitution.

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May 2003

May
28

Early Freethought Literature

May 28, 2003 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
The Sweet House, 254 E. Fulton
Grand Rapids, MI 49503 United States

Our topic for this meeting was "Early Freethought Literature" and was presented by retired English teacher and FAoWM member, Frank Girard. Girard prepared a table for us containing numerous older books, most of which dealt with religious issues from a critical standpoint. He had note cards for each that mentioned a little something about each book, or gave page numbers to reference certain passages of note contained within.

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May
14

Whither Humanity?

May 14, 2003 @ 7:00 pm - May 15, 2003 @ 1:00 am
The Sweet House, 254 E. Fulton
Grand Rapids, MI 49503 United States

The thrust of James Kulig's presentation dealt with evolutionary psychology, or how evolutionary principles can be applied to human behavior. This application involves thinking of the basic tenets of evolution right at the outset, as soon as organisms appeared that were replicating agents where Darwinian principles could act upon them.

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April 2003

Apr
23

U.S. Foreign Policy and the Middle East

April 23, 2003 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
The Sweet House, 254 E. Fulton
Grand Rapids, MI 49503 United States

It was argued that war would liberate the Iraqi people from an evil dictator. He conceded that yes, Saddam Hussein was a ruthless dictator but that we cannot liberate everyone everywhere and where do we stop? And why was Iraq our main focus again, suddenly, when there are perhaps more pressing concerns? St. Clair's rebuttal was that Hussein, would actually do anything to save his own skin, including sparing no expense and taking big risks.

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Apr
9

The Fundamentals of Extremism

April 9, 2003 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
The Sweet House, 254 E. Fulton
Grand Rapids, MI 49503 United States

Organized religions have long known of the effectiveness of very early programming in creating an often- unshakable worldview and we see creationists working tirelessly to insinuate their anti-scientific sectarian creation myth in the public schools while students are still highly impressionable. Blaker examines how the Religious Right, whom zoologist, Richard Dawkins (who enthusiastically endorsed her book) called America's Taliban.

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March 2003

Mar
26

Dow Jones 40,000

March 26, 2003 @ 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm
The Sweet House, 254 E. Fulton
Grand Rapids, MI 49503 United States

Bill Van Oosterhout delivered this topic that is not generally linked in the general public's mind with entertainment and a sense of fun in a highly engaging manner and sprinkled liberally with humor. His animated presentation also made use of many props including various commodity items and consumer goods.

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Mar
12

Does Religion Do More Harm or Good?

March 12, 2003 @ 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm
The Sweet House, 254 E. Fulton
Grand Rapids, MI 49503 United States

Dr. Myers began with the interesting observation that with the growth and impact of science it was predicted that the influence of religion would decrease substantially in its influence and cultural presence. That has not happened by all kinds of polls. He asserted that religion has helped to spread the value of science, medicine, civil rights, and the emancipation of women. He defended these assertions with some success in his talk and in audience participation afterwards

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February 2003

Feb
26

Freethought Stories, Stickers, and Slogans

February 26, 2003 @ 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm
The Sweet House, 254 E. Fulton
Grand Rapids, MI 49503 United States

Robert Collins asked how we might "spread the word" to impact the general culture, from our perspective and if it was even a good idea try to expand our numbers or influence. He also had us explore with him what audience we might reach and in what ways. And we looked at how our impact relates to the intellectual, the emotional and the moral aspects of humankind.

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Feb
12

Secret Origins of the Bible

February 12, 2003 @ 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm
The Sweet House, 254 E. Fulton
Grand Rapids, MI 49503 United States

Tim Callahan's main thesis was that, rather than being a divinely inspired book of inerrant material given to humankind by a single God to a single people living at one time in history, the Bible is a collection of myths and stories handed down from many ancient civilizations and strung together with deletions, insertions and redactions to tell politically and culturally biased mythic tales.

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January 2003

Jan
22

Women & Religion

January 22, 2003 @ 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm
The Sweet House, 254 E. Fulton
Grand Rapids, MI 49503 United States

Heidi Stenson's presentation focused on the major monotheistic religions in her presentation and, in particular, the depiction of women in the Old and New Testaments of the Bible.

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Jan
8

Intelligent Design: Grasping for Straws in the New Millennium

January 8, 2003 @ 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm
The Sweet House, 254 E. Fulton
Grand Rapids, MI 49503 United States

Dr. Forbes addressed what evolution is and is not, he instructed us on what science itself is and what does not fall within its purview. The failure to comprehend the foundations to good biological science education allows unscientific views to flourish, and gain acceptance. These threaten to either supplant, or be taught along with, evolution in public school science curricula.

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November 2002

Nov
27

I just like the Presents; the Origins of the Holidays

November 27, 2002 @ 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm
The Sweet House, 254 E. Fulton
Grand Rapids, MI 49503 United States

This topic was timely, situated as it was during the "holiday season" and was very informative and well researched. Stark made a listing of his sources for this presentation available to us. These included approximately 25 websites, which will be listed in these minutes for your perusal. He began by refuting the idea we hear every year of Jesus being born on December 25.

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Nov
13

Mark Twain Tries-Again-to Become a Christian

November 13, 2002 @ 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm
The Sweet House, 254 E. Fulton
Grand Rapids, MI 49503 United States

Joel Welty presented himself to our group as the venerable American author and religious skeptic, Mark Twain, freshly risen after 92 years in the grave. His premature resurrection was prompted by the desire to have his "case" re-adjudicated that we may see if he was indeed fit to become a Christian.

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October 2002

Oct
23

Nuclear Disarmament, Iraq & International Law

October 23, 2002 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
The Sweet House, 254 E. Fulton
Grand Rapids, MI 49503 United States
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Oct
9

America’s Role in the World: Globalization and the Clash of Cultures

October 9, 2002 @ 7:00 pm - 8:03 pm
The Sweet House, 254 E. Fulton
Grand Rapids, MI 49503 United States

Freethought met along with the public at the GR Community College for their 8th annual Diversity Series. Henry Cisneros spoke on “America's Role in the World: Globalization and the Clash of Cultures.” Mr. Cisneros said globalization is making our world smaller by interweaving economics with interlocking industries.

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September 2002

Sep
25

An Evolutionary Approach to Critical Thinking

September 25, 2002 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
The Sweet House, 254 E. Fulton
Grand Rapids, MI 49503 United States

Dr. Palmer's presentation was derived from how our awareness and overall interpretation of the world is part of a process of growth and development, where accumulation of knowledge over time and reflection upon the driving force of core assumptions, result in an unfolding into different levels and even different dimensions.

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Sep
11

The World of Islam

September 11, 2002 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
The Sweet House, 254 E. Fulton
Grand Rapids, MI 49503 United States

This was the one- year anniversary date of the attacks on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and an attempt on another significant American site, by the Islamic Fundamentalist Al Qaeda terrorist network. Our topic for this meeting, "The World of Islam", therefore had a special significance. Our presenter for this topic was Mustafa Eissa of the Islamic Center of West Michigan.

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August 2002

Aug
28

Meditation for Heretics

August 28, 2002 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
The Sweet House, 254 E. Fulton
Grand Rapids, MI 49503 United States

Steve Anderson defined heretics as non-believers who can discern for themselves what is important and asked why we thought meditation might be a beneficial practice for those of our ilk. It was noted by group members that theists have approved times set aside for reflection, silence and immobility, in the form of prayer and worship services and that meditation provides an alternative to those who do not address, or maintain belief in, supernatural beings.

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Aug
14

The Neurological Basis of Consciousness

August 14, 2002 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
The Sweet House, 254 E. Fulton
Grand Rapids, MI 49503 United States

We can understand consciousness via neurobiology, i.e.- through investigation of brain function. The complexity of consciousness is characterized by the complexity of the brain itself. We can perceive this in different species and can also see how brain damage affects the consciousness of the individual in our own.

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July 2002

Jul
24

The Federal Reserve Bank

July 24, 2002 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
The Sweet House, 254 E. Fulton
Grand Rapids, MI 49503 United States

Dennis Murphy stated that the idea of the Federal Reserve System was enhanced because conspiracy theories suggested that the elite or unscrupulous people would control money and banks. What evolved was a unique combination of private banking and public oversight that effectively controls the money supply.

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Jul
10

Socialism vs. Capitalism

July 10, 2002 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
The Sweet House, 254 E. Fulton
Grand Rapids, MI 49503 United States

Frank Girard began by stating that he regarded us as the ideal audience for a talk on this subject, since we have rejected one aspect of social orthodoxy; religion, and that since we have accepted the basic concepts of biological evolution, it may be easier for us to entertain ideas related to social evolution.

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June 2002

Jun
26

The Success of Christianity in Modern Culture

June 26, 2002 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
The Sweet House, 254 E. Fulton
Grand Rapids, MI 49503 United States

Jeff Seaver and Dr. Robert Collins put together, on very short notice, a tandem presentation they titled "The Success of Christianity in Modern Culture". This meeting's tack was to look at what Christianity is doing right, how it remains successful, and the positive contributions that this religion has made. It was also mentioned, by way of introduction, that when viewed historically, there is a very dark past that abides in the wake of Christianity, so this topic takes as its general timeframe, the modern era, for investigation and discussion.

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Jun
12

What is Secular Humanism?

June 12, 2002 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
The Sweet House, 254 E. Fulton
Grand Rapids, MI 49503 United States

Presented in two parts; first a 55 minute video that Dr. Kurtz prepared especially for our group, which was then followed by a live Question & Answer time enabled by a phone patch between New York and Grand Rapids. The Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at the State University of New York at Buffalo, Dr. Kurtz talked about how secularism and naturalist philosophy is under attack from both the Religious Right, who demonizes humanists as immoral and those on the extreme Left who tend toward post-modernist ideas that are antithetical to the rationalist and scientific approach to life.

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May 2002

May
22

Happy Hour at Kurly’s Korner

May 22, 2002 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
The Sweet House, 254 E. Fulton
Grand Rapids, MI 49503 United States

Due to a conflict with the Yankee Clipper Library schedule, we were unable to meet there for our regularly scheduled 4th Wednesday meeting time. Instead, we had an informal gathering at Kurly's Korner on Michigan, NE, where some of us congregate after our regular meetings. There were about 9 or 10 of us in attendance for "Happy Hour at Kurly's Korner" and there was no set topic or agenda. There was plenty of discussion, however, over eats and libations, including our country's current "War on Terrorism", the history of Afganistan, the Taliban, the Palestine/Israeli conflict, potential tactics and threats to our nation in the future, other historical conflicts and hotbeds of unrest on our fragile globe.

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May
8

Meditation for Heretics

May 8, 2002 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
The Sweet House, 254 E. Fulton
Grand Rapids, MI 49503 United States

We were provided the four main categories of views on A.I. The 1st one uses humans as a model and tries to have a system that thinks in a humanly fashion by automating activities such as decision making, problem solving and learning. The second example studies how to make computers act more humanly; doing tasks, which at the moment at least, humans do better. The third view deals the study of mental faculties through the use of computational models and looks toward thinking rationally. The last approach relates to acting rationally. This is the branch of computer science that is concerned with the automation of intelligent behavior and is the approach that Dr. Tusch allies himself with. Later in his presentation, he mentioned that rational behavior regards doing the right thing, which in turn equates to that which is expected to maximize goal achievement given the available information.

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April 2002

Apr
10

Cults and Religion; A Question of Continuum or Context?

April 10, 2002 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
The Sweet House, 254 E. Fulton
Grand Rapids, MI 49503 United States

Dr. Forbes talked briefly about issues of science and religion that he is often immersed in, due to his work on education in the area made controversial by religious fundamentalism-evolution. He spoke in this regard of how science is sometimes termed a religion, and then making the distinction between the approach and methodology of these two disparate spheres of human activity.

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March 2002

Mar
27

A Finger Pointing at the Moon

March 27, 2002 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
The Sweet House, 254 E. Fulton
Grand Rapids, MI 49503 United States

Group member Walt VanDam was going to present this meeting's topic "A Skeptic's Bible Study" but he was unable to do this due to deaths in his family. Our condolences are offered to Walt at this time. In lieu of this topic, Jeff Seaver presented "A Finger Pointing at the Moon; An Introduction to Philosophical Taoism." Jeff, a self-proclaimed "newbie" in Taoist philosophy, found it an approach that offers a balance to his more strong rationalist sensibilities, without sacrificing his non-theistic worldview.

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Mar
13

Numbers and Are Ghosts for Real?

March 13, 2002 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
The Sweet House, 254 E. Fulton
Grand Rapids, MI 49503 United States

This meeting was the first to have two presenters on two separate topics in the same evening. Ray Sadowski, retired from Spectrum Health, presented "Numbers", followed by one of our group's founding members, Don Hansen, who presented the topic "Are Ghosts for Real?"

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February 2002

Feb
27

The Meaning of Mythology

February 27, 2002 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
The Sweet House, 254 E. Fulton
Grand Rapids, MI 49503 United States

Our topic for this meeting was presented by Jason Pittman on the topic “The Meaning of Mythology”. Jason has been on the faculty of Horizon high school, an alternative school, for five years and one of his courses is on mythology

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Feb
13

The Secular Grounds for Human Rights

February 13, 2002 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
The Sweet House, 254 E. Fulton
Grand Rapids, MI 49503 United States

Our topic for this meeting was "The Secular Grounds for Human Rights" presented by group member and polymath, William Merriman. Merriman said that he was a writer as opposed to a public speaker and therefore he would read, basically verbatim, from a paper he authored on this subject. He first presented this topic as a seminar speaker at the 2000 "Midwestern Conference of Amnesty International."

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January 2002

Jan
23

The Human Mind As a Prism

January 23, 2002 @ 7:00 am - 8:30 am
The Sweet House, 254 E. Fulton
Grand Rapids, MI 49503 United States

Well established theory, such as that of evolution, can be misused in ways not anchored in reality, when utility and explanatory power is lacking. More grounded and well- founded concepts were placed along the base and flowed to reality directly.

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Jan
9

Secularism is the Religion of Humanity.

January 9, 2002 @ 7:00 am - 8:30 am
The Sweet House, 254 E. Fulton
Grand Rapids, MI 49503 United States

Marshall Grate talked of how civilizations throughout history had resorted to violence routinely to settle disputes and that the periods of war had been as long or longer throughout history than those of peace. He then listed current, on-going conflicts and some rather unsettling statistics.

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November 2001

Nov
28

The Jewish Approach to Living

November 28, 2001 @ 7:00 am - 8:30 am
The Sweet House, 254 E. Fulton
Grand Rapids, MI 49503 United States

Rabbi David Krishef of the Ahavas Israel synagogue explained that one of the first differences to Christianity, the world religion the majority of our group is most familiar with, was that the teachings of Judaism do not require a specific number of beliefs to remain a Jew. The Western sense of "religion", he noted, is generally synonymous with belief, but there is no word in classical Hebrew for the term, religion.

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Nov
14

Keep Your Hands Off of

November 14, 2001 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
The Sweet House, 254 E. Fulton
Grand Rapids, MI 49503 United States

Dr. Forbes took us through the terminology, along with the "reproductive anatomy primer." Genital modification refers to the surgical alteration of external genitalia and is practiced due to birth irregularities and/or societal traditions.

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October 2001

Oct
24

A Calvinist Contemplates Walking Away From

October 24, 2001 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
The Sweet House, 254 E. Fulton
Grand Rapids, MI 49503 United States

Professor Tucker disclosed that she had had no other doctrinal doubts or peripheral problems with biblically revealed truths. Rather, her main uncertainty zeroed in directly on the heart of the matter: the existence of God Itself.

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September 2001

Sep
26

Personal Testimonies of Leaving the Fold

September 26, 2001 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
The Sweet House, 254 E. Fulton
Grand Rapids, MI 49503 United States

Our topic for this meeting was our annual informal, get-acquainted, one of "Personal Testimonies of Leaving the Fold" with FAOWM president, Jeff Seaver, moderating and sketching out some of the background of our group's history. This was the centennial meeting of the Freethought Association of West Michigan, which has now been in existence for about 4 years, recently became incorporated, and has in attendance anywhere from 25-55 people per meeting.

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Sep
12

Separation of Church & State

September 12, 2001 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
The Sweet House, 254 E. Fulton
Grand Rapids, MI 49503 United States

Our topic for this meeting was "Separation of Church & State" and was presented by Dirk Nebbeling. This took the place of a different topic that was originally to be presented by Professor Carl Bajema. Dirk mentioned the long history he and Prof. Bajema had had, including their joint establishment of the Humanist Fellowship of Grand Rapids, a branch of the American Humanist Association. Many of the original members of FAOWM came out of the H.F. of G.R.

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August 2001

Aug
22

Reversing Human Aging

August 22, 2001 @ 7:00 pm - August 25, 2001 @ 6:30 am
The Sweet House, 254 E. Fulton
Grand Rapids, MI 49503 United States

The Ethics of Embryonic Stem Cell- Now and Forever, Cells Without End. In it, Dr Fossel takes a very balanced approach regarding this highly charged issue; keeping the very valid ethical considerations in view, while considering in a clear-eyed fashion, the promise and potential of this research. One interesting point in the article, among many, is the ethical cost of omission, where he plays out two natural scenarios-one, where a child dies due to no effective treatment available in his time for the malady he has.

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Aug
8

End of Life Issues

August 8, 2001 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
The Sweet House, 254 E. Fulton
Grand Rapids, MI 49503 United States

In Two parts, Kevin Miller used his mother's death to present the problems the family encountered, and for the second part he discussed the philosophical and religious factors involved with the death process and offered suggestions to avoid the heartache his family suffered.

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July 2001

Jul
25

Is White A Color? Goethe vs. Newton.

July 25, 2001 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
The Sweet House, 254 E. Fulton
Grand Rapids, MI 49503 United States

Our topic for this meeting was "Is White A Color? Goethe vs. Newton." Group member, Robert Collins, PhD, was our presenter for this discussion on ways of knowing. Dr. Collins compared and contrasted the two men- the great German phenomenalist, author and playwright Herr Johann Goethe and the great English realist-scientist Sir Isaac Newton. Collins talked about how we are a society that enjoys conflict and collisions of views, so he set up his presentation as a debate between these two thinkers.

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Jul
11

Book reviews

July 11, 2001 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
The Sweet House, 254 E. Fulton
Grand Rapids, MI 49503 United States

Tonight's program consisted of short book reviews of favorite books by attendees. Below are listed the title, the author's name (in most instances) plus a short comment on the book unless the title makes the subject obvious.

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June 2001

Jun
13

The Meanings of Life; a Group Discussion

June 13, 2001 @ 7:00 am - 8:30 am
The Sweet House, 254 E. Fulton
Grand Rapids, MI 49503 United States

Jeff had numerous quotes and readings he presented to us, with group discussion between each reading; the 1st 5 dealing with meaning and purpose to life, some with different emphasis on a single word, creating new shades and slants to the sentence. Following questions dealt with goals, values, reasons, pursuits and searchings as these pertain to life's meaning. Further down, questions had to do more with justification for our responses, how the humanistic worldview fits with a meaningful life, how important the factor of happiness is, fulfillment, and the religious/spiritual component.

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May 2001

May
23

Gun Control

May 23, 2001 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
The Sweet House, 254 E. Fulton
Grand Rapids, MI 49503 United States

The topic for this meeting was "Gun Control" presented by Dennis Murphy. Dennis is a gun owner and sees this issue as boiling down to one of person freedoms and rights. He gave statistics that are used in the argument over gun control, showing how both sides can manipulate the data in their own favor.

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May
9

Determinism vs. Free Will: How Will, Choice, and Liberty are consistent with Determinism

May 9, 2001 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
The Sweet House, 254 E. Fulton
Grand Rapids, MI 49503 United States

The major question in dealing with this topic is whether the mind can function independently of what we experience. Can the mind operate in an immaterial spiritual realm, not needing any physical experiences? Is the mind not subject to the same physical, chemical and biological laws that everything else in the universe is subject to?

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April 2001

Apr
25

Are There Objective Human Values?

April 25, 2001 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
The Sweet House, 254 E. Fulton
Grand Rapids, MI 49503 United States

Dr Ellin broke his presentation into five parts, dealing with the question of objective human values that he addressed individually, tying them together at the end. These included: Cross cultural constants, (what is) acceptable to most reasonable people, (what is) reasonable according to acknowledged standards of reasonableness, Universal rules, and, Common human decency.

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Apr
25

Are There Objective Human Values?

April 25, 2001 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
The Sweet House, 254 E. Fulton
Grand Rapids, MI 49503 United States

Dr Ellin broke his presentation into five parts, dealing with the question of objective human values that he addressed individually, tying them together at the end. These included: Cross cultural constants, (what is) acceptable to most reasonable people, (what is) reasonable according to acknowledged standards of reasonableness, Universal rules, and, Common human decency.

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Apr
11

Is Alcoholism A Disease?

April 11, 2001 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
The Sweet House, 254 E. Fulton
Grand Rapids, MI 49503 United States

Jill had 11 examples of conditions that have been termed "diseases" ranging from less controversial ones such as arteriosclerosis and hypertension, to the highly dubious ones, including rageaholism (inability to control one's rage) and workaholism. We looked at how Americans have in the past and present viewed alcoholism.

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March 2001

Mar
21

Board of Directors Meeting

March 21, 2001 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
The Sweet House, 254 E. Fulton
Grand Rapids, MI 49503 United States

The purpose of this off-Wednesday open meeting was to discuss the future and growth of our group. Growth itself, has presented increased opportunities as well as new considerations and challenges. The following is the general outline of the meeting with some pertinent agreed upon decisions.

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Mar
14

Surely We’re Different!

March 14, 2001 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
The Sweet House, 254 E. Fulton
Grand Rapids, MI 49503 United States

Dr. Forbes also joined Jeff Seaver in presenting this meeting's topic: "Surely We're Different! Is there 'sanctity of life' for human and non-human animals?" Jeff did the primary presentation and Greg fielded technical questions regarding biology and animal behavior, as well as calling on people in the group during discussion. Jeff mentioned two earlier topics in conjunction with this one. One, dealing with animal rights, was moderated by Simon Hatley and another, by Forbes, asking the same lead question of what distinction, if any, can be validly made between humankind and the rest of the animal kingdom. It was the general concensus that differences were more about degree, rather than kind, from these talks.

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February 2001

Feb
28

ADHD: Disease or Deception?

February 28, 2001 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
The Sweet House, 254 E. Fulton
Grand Rapids, MI 49503 United States

Our topic for this meeting was "ADHD: Disease or Deception?" It was presented by Robert W. Collins, PhD, PC. Dr. Collins went through the medical model definition of disease, the history of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and its treatment procedures, beliefs regarding its nature and course through time, symptoms, tests and possible causes.

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Feb
14

The Ethics & Effects of Plant Biotechnology

February 14, 2001 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
The Sweet House, 254 E. Fulton
Grand Rapids, MI 49503 United States

Dr. Deneke pointed out that humans have been altering crops for their benefit since the beginning of civilization, but biotechnology in the modern sense is more controversial, quicker and with more far reaching implications in its applications.

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January 2001

Jan
24

Surely We’re Different! What Makes Us Human?

January 24, 2001 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
The Sweet House, 254 E. Fulton
Grand Rapids, MI 49503 United States

The central question Dr. Forbes posed to us was the same as he asked his science students: “Is there anything that separates us from the other members of the Kingdom Animalia?” In both cases he collected the responses, and later in the presentation, he compared/contrasted these responses.

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Jan
10

The History & Advantages of Freethought

January 10, 2001 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
The Sweet House, 254 E. Fulton
Grand Rapids, MI 49503 United States

Merriman began by defining terms, including "freethought" and "approach" and "movement" as seen in the phrase "Freethinking as Approach & Movement." This movement came to fruition during the era designated as the Age of Enlightenment, a period of great intellectual awareness and activity, characterized by a questioning of authority. Its approach was that of validating beliefs and justifying social institutions on the basis of reason; asserting the right of every person to hold beliefs in accordance with their individual conscience.

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December 2000

Dec
13

Was the election fair?

December 13, 2000 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
The Sweet House, 254 E. Fulton
Grand Rapids, MI 49503 United States

Since our speakers were unable to appear, we dealt with the issue: Was the election fair? There should be the recognition that errors with ballots and voting processes probably occurred in many counties around the country.

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November 2000

Nov
8

Freethought Association of West Michigan; History & Stories of Leaving the Fold.

November 8, 2000 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
The Sweet House, 254 E. Fulton
Grand Rapids, MI 49503 United States

Our topic was "Freethought Association of West Michigan; History & Stories of Leaving the Fold." Two of the original three members moderated this discussion; Jeff Seaver and Don Hansen. Jeff and Don had met previously through a Humanist group and began getting together to discuss issues from a non-theistic perspective in Jeff's back yard.

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October 2000

Oct
25

Quantum Mechanics

October 25, 2000 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
The Sweet House, 254 E. Fulton
Grand Rapids, MI 49503 United States

Dr. Mullah handed out a paper: "Quantum Mechanics: What's Really Going On?" in which he discusses how and why QM was developed, the problems, theories and attempts made to discover the underlying physical reality, based on quantum effects. He also gave us his own views having to do with the Computationalist Wavefunction Interpretation (CWI) and how it relates to concepts from the Many Worlds Interpretation (MWI).

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Oct
11

free form discussion

October 11, 2000 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
The Sweet House, 254 E. Fulton
Grand Rapids, MI 49503 United States

We had a free form discussion on interesting and wide-ranging topics from the legitimacy of EMDR therapy, to the current Boy Scouts of America predicament regarding their discriminatory practices, to the Seville statement regarding what is "politically correct" for scientific study and free inquiry. Also touched on was outdated biology textbooks from formerly religious schools giving the Genesis myth as factual scientific data and how to handle the ostracization of one's children by their peers when it is learned that they are non-believers.

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September 2000

Sep
13

Integrating Medicine & Psychology; Some Conceptual and Practical Issues

September 13, 2000 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
The Sweet House, 254 E. Fulton
Grand Rapids, MI 49503 United States

Dr. Collins passed out to us 3 papers to outline and underscore his presentation and began by talking about the perceived differences in the behavioral and medical approaches and interventions. The former, dealing more with "software " and the latter with the "hardware " aspects.

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August 2000

Aug
23

Biomedical Ethics

August 23, 2000 @ 7:00 am - 8:30 am
The Sweet House, 254 E. Fulton
Grand Rapids, MI 49503 United States

Our topic for this meeting was Biomedical Ethics, moderated by Dr. Herman Sullivan. He put together a four page outline that he passed out to the group and read some case histories involving challenging moral dilemmas in the medical field.

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Aug
9

Naturalistic Ethics

August 9, 2000 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
The Sweet House, 254 E. Fulton
Grand Rapids, MI 49503 United States

Bill Merriman distributed a six page document which will be the basis of a forthcoming book: Naturalistic Ethics: A Moral Belief System for the Age of Science. The document provides definitions, overviews, concepts, aphorisms and questions pertaining to Naturalism.

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July 2000

Jul
26

Secular Weddings and Funerals

July 26, 2000 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
The Sweet House, 254 E. Fulton
Grand Rapids, MI 49503 United States

Our topic for this meeting was “Secular Weddings and Funerals” moderated by Jeff Seaver. We began by collectively thinking of all the various rituals and celebrations that are typically engaged in from the two of our topic title to graduation ceremonies, confirmations, retirement, birthdays, reunions, anniversaries and so on, examining these for common threads and to get us thinking about the practices we engage in or are exposed to.

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Jul
12

Polygamy; A Natural History

July 12, 2000 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
The Sweet House, 254 E. Fulton
Grand Rapids, MI 49503 United States

This meeting's topic was "Polygamy; A Natural History" presented by Dr. Gregory Forbes. The theme was that polygamy is the rule rather than the exception in animals, so why do humans try to resist this evolutionary trend? Dr. Forbes passed out sheets containing definitions of bonding strategies and pertinent data on species that are exemplified by these different approaches. He also provided overheads of the outline for his presentation.

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June 2000

Jun
28

The Philosophy of Ayn Rand

June 28, 2000 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
The Sweet House, 254 E. Fulton
Grand Rapids, MI 49503 United States

Dennis started out by revealing that he had rejected the idea of a personal god while in high school. As an atheist, like most atheists, he feels he does not fit into one definable fox. If he had to label himself, he would use the word “objectivist”. He said that Ayn Rand came to America from Russia at the urging of her parents. Her father's pharmacy was shut down in the oppression, and her parents provided her with the means to escape.

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Jun
14

Alcoholics Anonymous & Religion

June 14, 2000 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
The Sweet House, 254 E. Fulton
Grand Rapids, MI 49503 United States

The topic for this meeting was "Alcoholics Anonymous & Religion" and was moderated by former AA- and current FAOWM- member, Jill Pinkerton. She brought with her a number of books and other materials that she put her presentation together from. She stated that she wished to not get too much into personal anecdotal stories, but rather share from her source materials. One of the books Alcoholics Anonymous, is generally referred to as "The Big Book" and is what the organization derives its name from.

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May 2000

May
24

Religious Displays on Public Property

May 24, 2000 @ 7:00 am - 8:30 am
The Sweet House, 254 E. Fulton
Grand Rapids, MI 49503 United States

Frank Bacon read to the group an item that he wrote that summarized much of what has transpired in recent times with this entanglement; the cases, the participants and ways that those who placed the religioussymbols on public property found to get around the Constitutional prohibition over supporting, endorsing or showing favoritism for one sect over another.

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May
10

The Ethics of Premarital Sex

May 10, 2000 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
The Sweet House, 254 E. Fulton
Grand Rapids, MI 49503 United States

Two traditional viewpoints of moral authority were described by Rob. The first is represented by the “supernatural theistic” which is believed to come from divine revelation, or in other words, God making himself known. Along with this comes the spoken and written word, the Bible being the main source. In this arrangement God commands absolute authority and the fear of punishment is a basic tenant. The other system is based on rational ethics. It recognizes human values, believing that "evil" diminishes life, "good" enhances life. It sets up principals that relate to human life and needs. Consequences are taken into account. There is inquiry, sensitivity. Words that are avoided are: always, never. Admittedly there is not a clear cut choice of right or wrong. Intelligent thought is required.

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April 2000

Apr
26

American lawyer Clarence Seward Darrow

April 26, 2000 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
The Sweet House, 254 E. Fulton
Grand Rapids, MI 49503 United States

Marshall Grate brought up the many cases where Darrow famously represented labor, Unions and championed the underdog, though he had cases involving Big Interests as well. In fact, on this, he once stated that "My loyalty is to my clients, not to satisfy Labor Movements." Grate pointed out that Darrow's view was not a black & white one; neither side of the coin had the monopoly on virtue or vice- either could be corrupt as assuredly as either could be acting on good impulses.

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March 2000

Mar
22

Evolution & Human Sexuality

March 22, 2000 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
The Sweet House, 254 E. Fulton
Grand Rapids, MI 49503 United States

Evolutionary biology professor, Carl Bajema moderated "Evolution & Human Sexuality", The naturalist W.D. Hamilton was mentioned in connection with his ideas on altruism and the "good genes mate choice" theory among others.

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Mar
8

Evolutionary Psychology

March 8, 2000 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
The Sweet House, 254 E. Fulton
Grand Rapids, MI 49503 United States

Dr. Miklashek noted that we tend to see these illnesses in a reductionist manner that precludes our overview of the big picture of psychiatric conditions and their relationship to the environment over time. Miklashek mentioned the book Beyond Reductionism for a more detailed examination into the matters he was addressing to our group.

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February 2000

Feb
23

Buddhism

February 23, 2000 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
The Sweet House, 254 E. Fulton
Grand Rapids, MI 49503 United States

Steve Anderson, in his Pulse submission maintained that the two were essentially arguing two sides of the same coin from a Western dualistic perspective, without significant difference in their approach to the issue of God.

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Feb
9

Animal Rights

February 9, 2000 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
The Sweet House, 254 E. Fulton
Grand Rapids, MI 49503 United States

Our meeting topic was "Animal Rights" and was moderated by Simon Hatley. Due to time constraints, Simon focused primarily on vegetarianism and the processing of animals for food production.

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January 2000

Jan
26

Internet Filtering “Public Libraries

January 26, 2000 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
The Sweet House, 254 E. Fulton
Grand Rapids, MI 49503 United States

Hudsonville & Georgetown have been deeply involved in trying to limit Internet access to minors, so as to shield them from sites deemed harmful by these communities. The problem is that the concerned individuals are in effect restricting access to all patrons of libraries in these communities; adults and children alike. More troubling is that this is a clear violation of Constitutionally guaranteed Free Speech

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Jan
12

Women in Freethought; II

January 12, 2000 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
The Sweet House, 254 E. Fulton
Grand Rapids, MI 49503 United States

Barb Neumann was to have presented a discussion topic on Ayn Rand @ an earlier meeting but an auto accident had prevented this. So she focused on Rand's philosophy and writings primarily for this meeting.

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December 1999

Dec
8

The Science & Ethics of Human Cloning

December 8, 1999 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
The Sweet House, 254 E. Fulton
Grand Rapids, MI 49503 United States

Professor Huizenga informed us that plant cloning had been done since the 50's, as well as successful results in cloning frogs. However, with the amphibians, the achievements were not made with adult frogs but rather with tadpoles. This brought us to "Dolly," the first mammal to be successfully cloned from an adult cell.

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September 1999

Sep
8

Evolution; what’s all the fuss 4 billion

September 8, 1999 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
The Sweet House, 254 E. Fulton
Grand Rapids, MI 49503 United States

We investigated the on-going, heated controversy in our nation over this scientific fact being taught along with other aspects of science in schools.

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August 1999

Aug
25

Claims of the Paranormal

August 25, 1999 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
The Sweet House, 254 E. Fulton
Grand Rapids, MI 49503 United States

Paul Citrelli provided us with a lively, information-dense, and fast-paced talk, punctuated by multi-media items culled from home. He spoke of how we are inundated by all sorts of wacky claims these days, with new ones being added and old ones persisting; sometimes modifying to fit the times better.

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June 1999

Jun
23

Diversity

June 23, 1999 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
The Sweet House, 254 E. Fulton
Grand Rapids, MI 49503 United States

This meeting's topic was on "Diversity" and was moderated by Tharani Jayaratnam, a FAOWM member who heads up a diversity panel at her place of employment in addition to her main duties. Tharani has a unique insight into this issue from "both sides of the diversity coin as she was born into a high caste family in Sri Lanka but was also a member of an ethnic minority in her country, which has fought for a separate state. She has seen life from the point of view of the oppressed and the oppressor.

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May 1999

May
26

Women in Freethought

May 26, 1999 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
The Sweet House, 254 E. Fulton
Grand Rapids, MI 49503 United States

The topic for this meeting was "Women in Freethought" and was moderated by Lanette Grate, who referred to the book Women Without Superstition; No Gods, No Masters. She also passed out copies of her own odyssey from religion to freethought: "Some Free Thots of My Own" which also included many powerful quotes by a number of women throughout history who thought for themselves, broke with traditional (extremely limited) expectations and roles assigned to them simply due to their sex. These included authors and editors, women's rights advocates, abolitionists, teachers, suffragettes, attorneys, birth control advocates, Church and Sate separationists, activists and skeptics.

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May
12

Humanism Vs. Spirituality

May 12, 1999 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
The Sweet House, 254 E. Fulton
Grand Rapids, MI 49503 United States

Dirk suggested that the topic should be "Humanism AND Spirituality. With that framework, we engaged in a spirited and opinionated discussion, basing it on seven questions printed in the FAOWM bulletin.

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April 1999

Apr
28

What Is A Bigot?

April 28, 1999 @ 7:00 pm - May 1, 1999 @ 6:30 am
The Sweet House, 254 E. Fulton
Grand Rapids, MI 49503 United States

Howard Foster cited a dictionary definition of a bigot as being a person who is extremely intolerant of another's beliefs, creeds, and so on. He picked up on the intolerance idea and we discussed if it was ever right to be intolerant-- are we bigots sometimes? What defines someone as a bigot? We discussed various well-known people, contemporary and historical and compared and contrasted their tolerance and broad- mindedness with conflicting aspects of their liv

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Apr
14

Civility

April 14, 1999 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
The Sweet House, 254 E. Fulton
Grand Rapids, MI 49503 United States

On a sheet Ben passed out, he defined civility as "...the sum of sacrifices we make for the sake of sharing the same space." Also on this sheet, he listed five sub-topics related to civility; asking why civiity?, giving examples of what civility is and is not, what promotes civility and how we might civilize our culture.

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March 1999

Mar
31

Fundamentalism and Abuse

March 31, 1999 @ 7:00 pm - April 3, 1999 @ 6:30 am
The Sweet House, 254 E. Fulton
Grand Rapids, MI 49503 United States

Tonight's program featured Charles LaRue and "Fundamentalism and Abuse". After obtaining a degree in art he worked with people who were mentally challenged and became acquainted with those who suffered from extremist religious views. He said his remarks were not intended to be anti-religious nor condemnatory of fundamentalism, but the correlation of fundamentalism and self abuse was evident. Feeling pain is a common attribute, as well as a lack of love in their lives. One way of coping is to hurt oneself, cutting with a sharp object being a common act. The flow of blood seems to play a significant role in this process.

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June 1997

Jun
25

Atheism

June 25, 1997 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
The Sweet House, 254 E. Fulton
Grand Rapids, MI 49503 United States

Questions to consider

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