Upcoming and Recent Events

Dr. Andrew Newberg: “God and the Brain”

Monday January 23, 2012
The Free Library of Philadelphia- 1901 Vine Street, Philadelphia.  Montgomery Auditorium

Dr. Andrew Newberg.

Physician, educator and author Dr. Andrew Newberg will present “God and the Brain.” His presentation will discuss current knowledge about brain processes as they relate to religious and spiritual phenomena. Topics will include religious belief systems, the experience of God, and practices such as prayer and meditation. The implications of this research for both science and religion will also be presented.Dr. Andrew Newberg is Director of Research at the Myrna Brind Center for Integrative Medicine at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital and Medical College. He is also Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. He is Board-certified in Internal Medicine and Nuclear Medicine. and is considered a pioneer in the neuroscientific study of religious and spiritual experiences, a field frequently referred to as – neurotheology. His work attempts to better understand the nature of religious and spiritual practices and experiences.Principles of Neurotheology

This work has been compiled into his latest book, Principles of Neurotheology, which reviews the important principles and foundations of neurotheology. Believing that it is important to keep science rigorous and religion religious, he has engaged the topic like few others. He has been fascinated by the implications of this research for the study of the mind, brain, consciousness, morality, theology, and philosophy. He has also been particularly interested in the relationship between the brain, religion, and health. His research has included brain scans of people in prayer, meditation, rituals, and various trance states. He has also performed surveys of people’s spiritual experiences and attitudes. Finally, he has evaluated the relationship between religious and spiritual phenomena and health. This includes a recent study on the effect of meditation on memory.

Principles of Neurotheology

In his career, he has also actively pursued neuroimaging research projects on the study of aging and dementia, Parkinson’s disease, depression, and other neurological and psychiatric disorders. He has also researched the neurophysiological correlates of acupuncture, meditation, and alternative therapies, and how brain function is associated with mystical and religious experiences. Dr. Newberg helped develop stress-management programs for the University of Pennsylvania Health Systems and received a Science and Religion Course Award from the Center for Theology and  the Natural Sciences for his program entitled “The Biology of Spirituality” in the Department of Religious Studies, University of Pennsylvania. He is currently teaching a course in the Department of Religious Studies entitled, “Science and the Sacred: An Introduction to Neurotheology.”

Dr. Newberg has published over 100 research articles, essays and book chapters, and is the co-author of the best selling books, Why God Won’t Go Away: Brain Science and the Biology of Belief (Ballantine, 2001) and How God Changes Your Brain: Breakthrough Findings from a Leading Neuroscientist (Ballantine, 2009). He has presented his research throughout the world in both cientific and public forums. He appeared on Nightline, 20/20, Good Morning America, ABC’s World News Tonight, National Public Radio, London Talk Radio and over fifteen nationally syndicated radio programs. His work has been featured in Time, Newsweek, the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, the Philadelphia Inquirer, and many other newspapers and magazines. An overview of his work can be viewed at on this site. (Biographical information from http://www.andrewnewberg.com)

Please plan to attend this exciting event! 

RSVP via Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Freethought-Society/147128532024347#!/events/161130347328416/

RSVP via Meetup:  http://www.meetup.com/Freethought-Society-Meetup/events/45901882/

Hear Physicist Lawrence Krauss explain how nothing produced everything.

How could the universe come from nothing? It’s a mind-boggling concept to many people. We want to know how existence came to be, what was there before it, what is going to happen to it. And while we’re at it, just what is “nothing” anyhow?
Theoretical physicist Lawrence Krauss

 Noted physicist Lawrence Krauss, whose research focuses on the beginning and end of the universe, will tell you that science can now answer these questions. Quantum Mechanics – the science of the strange and very small, shows that nothing must always produce something- quantum fluctuations exist within ‘nothing’ and they are unstable- thus it’s nearly inevitable that universe like ours would be made. What does that mean? Come and find out.

Krauss, the author of many books, will discuss his newest book, “A Universe from Nothing”, to be released on January 10, 2011, in which he explains the current state of the art knowledge on these questions. Nearly a million people have watched his provocative You-tube video explaining “nothing” and how “nothing” not only generated the universe, but eliminates any need for a first cause – a supreme being. This book came about because of the overwhelming response to that video.

Very much in demand as a lecturer, a teacher, a physicist because of his ability to clearly convey these complex ideas to the general public, Krauss is a professor in the School of Earth and Space Exploration and the physics department at Arizona State University, and is the inaugural director of the Origins Project.

Whether you already understand this cutting edge science, or just want to understand it, there’s no doubt you’ll learn from this lecture. You’ll have the opportunity to hear and speak with Krauss – to ask your questions and have him answer them, when you attend this program hosted by the Freethought Society and the Philadelphia Ethical Humanist Society at the Ethical Society’s Rittenhouse Square headquarters.

Where: Ethical Humanist Society of Philadelphia
1906 Rittenhouse Square
Philadelphia, PA 19103

Time: 7:00 PM, January 11, 2012

Free and open-to-the-public, with a suggested donation of $5.


Hugh Taft-Morales
(215) 735-3456

Margaret Downey
(610) 793-2737


The November/December 2011 Freethought Society Newsletter

The November/December 2011 Freethought News is now available for download or online reading at this link:


Featured in this issue:

  • Freethought Society’s Sponsorship of 2012 Reason Rally
  • Tree of Knowledge 2011 Project Reportby Margaret Downey
  • The 2011 Holiday Banner Application Banner by Margaret Downey
  • Lunching with a Pastorby Vic Wang
  • Freedom From Religion Foundation’s Philadelphia Region Billboard Campaign
  •  The Freethought Society’s 2011/2012 Four-Month Activities Calendar
  •  Freethinkers of Haiti Report
  •  Community Service Projects (Jean Therapy, Sole Searching and Book Drive)
  • Freethought Society Committee Report  (Anti-Discrimination Support Network)

Celebrate HumanLight ~ an HAGP event

The Freethought Society is pleased to announce A LOCAL EVENT OF INTEREST TO FREETHINKERS – created and sponsored by the Humanist Association of Greater Philadelphia (HAGP)

December 18, 2011 Celebrate HumanLight!

HumanLight illuminates Humanism’s positive secular vision in late December. With Chanukah, Christmas and Kwanzaa, it may seem as though the holiday season calendar is very crowded. But in Pennsylvania, non-theistic people will have their day too, when they enjoy their own gala holiday celebration of HumanLight on Sunday, Dec. 18 at the

Williamson Restaurant, 500 Blair Mill Road, Horsham, PA. (map and directions)


  • 12:30-1:00 Gathering and cocktails
  • 1:00-1:03 Joe Fox (Co-founder of HumanLight and HAGP Vice President) – Welcome and Introduction
  • 1:03-1:10 Opening remarks by emcee Patrick Collucci (Vice Chair of the HumanLight committee
  • 1:10-1:25 Candle lighting and HumanLight song
  •     1:25-2:15 Lunch 
  • 2:15-3:10 Wondergy Presents ElectriScience 
  • 3:10-3:30 Live music by Cantabile  
  • 3:30-4:00 Keynote speaker Fred Edwords, National Director for the United Coalition for Reason 
  • 4:00-4:10 Closing remarks and final song

Price: Tickets, which include the luncheon, are $30 for adults. People under 18 are admitted FREE if accompanied by an adult. For more information about how to purchase tickets online using PayPal visit the HAGP Meetup or the HAGP Facebook event page

***Make sure to add a note during purchase about # of children and if guests prefer chicken, fish, or pasta primavera.***

Or, mail a check (with food preferences) to HAGP, P.O. Box 161, Willow Grove, PA. Any questions call Martha at 330-242-4741.