Join Freethought Society and David Silverman on October 24th

The Freethought Society is happy to host the president of American Atheists, David Silverman, on Saturday, October 24, 2015 at 2:00 PM. 

The presentation will take place at the Free Library of Philadelphia (meet in the Montgomery Auditorium). The library is located at 1901 Vine Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Silverman will speak about his book, Fighting God, in which he asserts that “firebrand/in-your-face atheism is not only more effective at making change and leading progress, but is also more humanistic than the so-called ‘nice guy’ approach.

“Religion is a poisonous lie, and needs to be dealt with as such,” Silverman says.

Silverman’s presentation will include a PowerPoint slide show and is sure to be informative and provocative.

America Atheists is a nonprofit organization dedicated to defending the civil liberties of atheists, and advocates for complete separation of religion and government.

Mark the 10th Anniversary of the "Intelligent Design" court case

December 6, 2015 The Freethought Society (FS) is pleased to be co-sponsoring a very special event with Ethical Humanist Society of Philadelphia (EHSP) and the Delaware Valley Chapter of Americans United for Separation of Church and State to mark the 10th anniversary of the “Intelligent Design” court case of Tammy Kitzmiller, et al. v. Dover Area School District, et al. (400 F. Supp. 2d 707, Docket No. 4cv2688). The Sunday, December 6, 2015 event starts with a free and open-to-the-public 11:00 AM, EHSP morning platform featuring Hugh Taft-Morales (EHSP Leader). This event will take place at the EHSP building located at 1906 South Rittenhouse Square Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19103. The 2015 EHSP/FS Tree of Knowledge will be decorated after the platform speech and everyone is invited to participate. There will be music, singing, and books to purchase from authors. The official 10th Anniversary program starts with a luncheon service at 1:00 PM. The $30 program fee includes lunch, afternoon speakers, a cash bar ($5 wine and champagne) and Happy Hour Closing Ceremony (includes finger foods, music, a celebration cake and photo opportunities).

For only $15, you can enjoy afternoon speakers and the happy hour. That portion of the event starts at 2:30 PM. The program includes:

2:30-3:00 PM
Welcome and Opening Words by Event Hosts: Hugh Taft-Morales, Margaret Downey and Janice Rael

3:00-3:30 PM
Steve Harvey, attorney and owner of Steve Harvey Law

3:30-4:00 PM
Eric Rothschild, partner at Pepper Hamilton LLP

4:00-4:30 PM
Lauri Lebo, journalist who covered the trial in Dover, PA

4:30-5:00 PM
Hedya Aryani, associate at Pepper Hamilton LLP

5:00-5:30 PM
Question and Answer Panel with Plaintiffs and Speakers

Reservations are required. Please make your reservations as soon as possible as seats are limited. RSVP at:

Join us for the morning platform, tree decorating party, luncheon, presentations, and happy hour. For more information, contact Margaret Downey at (610) 357-9432 or Janice Rael at (856) 881-1816.

Why Women Need Freedom From Religion — Now More Than Ever

The Freethought Society (FS) is pleased to co-host a speech by Annie Laurie Gaylor with the Ethical Humanist Society of Philadelphia (EHSP). 


The Freethought Society (FS) and the Ethical Humanist Society of Philadelphia (EHSP) are honored in hosting a presentation by the noted and acclaimed co-founder and co-president of the Freedom From Religion Foundation,Annie Laurie Gaylor. Gaylor’s presentation — “Why Women Need Freedom From Religion” — is based on her books Woe to the Women: The Bible Tells Me So and Women Without Superstition: “No Gods, No Masters”. This event takes place on Thursday, September 24, 2015 at 7:00 PM. Please join us in the beautiful auditorium of the EHSP building located at 1906 South Rittenhouse SquarePhiladelphia.

Annie Laurie Gaylor

Annie Laurie Gaylor


“The Freethought Society is happy to offer an alternative activity during the Pope’s visit,” said Margaret Downey, founder and president of The Freethought Society. “We are asking that people attend to learn more and think about the tough questions on how religion affects women. With Pope Francis being in Philadelphia at the same time, Annie Laurie’s presentation couldn’t be more appropriate.”

Gaylor has traveled the world and the United States to give her many presentations at highly-respected gatherings, including one event with over 4,000 attendees. Her Philadelphia presentation takes place the night before the city goes into lock-down due to the weekend activities of Pope Francis, who is attending the World Meeting of Families 2015 forum and whose excursions around the city will cause much disruption and many restrictions in transportation for residents and businesses throughout the city and suburbs. However, this will not affect Gaylor’s Thursday night presentation as the lock-down does not take effect until after Gaylor leaves, so those wanting to attend her presentation do not have to worry about any transportation restrictions.

Annie Laurie Gaylor is a co-founder and co-president of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, which is a national 501(c)3 educational, legal and activist organization based in Madison, Wisconsin and is the largest association of atheists and agnostics in North America, as well as a state/church separation watchdog. She co-founded FFRF in 1976 as a college student with her mother, Anne Nicol Gaylor, who was asked to go national with FFRF in 1978. A 1980 graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison Journalism School, she was an award-winning student reporter. After graduation, she founded, edited and published the Feminist Connection, a monthly advocacy newspaper, from 1980-1985. She joined the FFRF staff in 1985. She was editor of FFRF’s newspaper, Freethought Today, from 1984 to 2009. The paper is published 10 times a year. Her book Woe To The Women: The Bible Tells Me So, first published by FFRF in 1981, is now in its 4th printing. In 1988, FFRF published her book Betrayal of Trust: Clergy Abuse of Children, the first book documenting widespread sexual molestation of minors by clergy. Her 1997 anthology Women Without Superstition: “No Gods, No Masters” — The Collected Writings of Women Freethinkers of the 19th and 20th Centuries, is the first collection of writings by historic and contemporary women freethinkers. 

In 1976, Gaylor’s complaints ended prayers at graduations at UW-Madison, an abuse of more than 130 years. She has been a plaintiff in many successful FFRF lawsuits, starting in 1984 when she stopped the University of Wisconsin from recruiting for churches on its registration forms; the 1997 federal lawsuit ending Good Friday as a state holiday in Wisconsin; and, currently, FFRF’s litigation to overturn the parish exclusion, a federal law favoring clergy and churches that permits them to be paid with a housing allowance which is excluded from taxable income. She is married to Dan Barker, who became co-president of FFRF with her in 2004, and they have a daughter, who is college age.

Annie Laurie Gaylor’s presentation is free and open to the public, and begins at 7 PMThursdaySeptember 24, in the auditorium of the EHSP Building at 1906 South Rittenhouse SquarePhiladelphia. It is sure to be one not to be missed.

For more information, contact Margaret Downey, Freethought Society President, at 610-793-2737, or email her at


July-August 2015 Newsletter


Click here to read the July-August 2015 Newsletter

In the newsletter you will find the following articles:

  • Octorara School Board and Residents Defend BSA Public School Assemblies by Margaret Downey
  • Atheism at Work by Elizabeth Bujan
  • The Reverend Barry Lynn’s Visit to Pennsylvania and Delaware by Margaret Downey
  • A Quarter-Century of Fighting to Keep God Out of Government by Tom Melchiorre
  • The Tree of Knowledge Ornament Scan Project by Margaret Downey
  • The Freethought Society’s 2015 Multi-Month Calendar
  • September 11-13, 2015 Pennsylvania State Atheists/Humanist Conference Flyer
  • October 2-4 Washington Area Secular Humanist Conference Flyer
  • Donation, Information, and Volunteer Page

Click here to read the July-August 2015 Newsletter

We hope that you will remain or become an active supporter of the great work FS is doing. Please donate to the general fund or select a project you want to help sponsor. All donations to FS are tax-deductible!  If the newsletter inspires you to become more actively involved with FS, please provide us with your contact information, including your phone number, email address, and mailing address.

Special events are being planned in your area so don’t miss an opportunity to participate further. All personal information is confidential and will not be shared with other organizations. We want supporters to stay informed at all times. To keep updated about events, meetings and issues, please sign up to participate in the FS Discussion List.

Check for upcoming events at the FS Meet Up page.

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The Freethought Society News Editorial Staff

Einstein, Schrödinger, Dice, Cats, & Quantum Physics: What is Our Weird Universe Made Of?

The Freethought Society joins with the Humanist Association of Greater Philadelphia and the Ethical Humanist Society of Philadelphia to host acclaimed science writer and physicist Paul H. Halpern as a speaker onSundayMay 31, 2015 at 4:00 PM. Halpren’s presentation is entitled Einstein’s Dice and Schrödinger’s Cat: How Two Great Minds Battled Quantum Randomness to Create a Unified Theory of Physics. The presentation will take place at the EHSP building, located at 1906 South Rittenhouse Square, Philadelphia.

Halpren’s presentation, based on his book of the same name, investigates how physicists Albert Einstein and Erwin Schrödinger battled together against the incompleteness and indeterminacy of quantum mechanics. Their conversations resulted in many interesting quips, including Einstein famously and amusingly saying that God does not play dice with the universe and Schrödinger creating his famous fable and thought-experiment of a cat in a box that is in a mixed state between life and death until it is observed, that was neither alive nor dead not to explain quantum mechanics but to highlight the apparent absurdity of a theory gone wrong. But these two giants did more than just criticize: they fought back, seeking a unified Theory of Everything that would make the universe seem sensible again, a theory that would unite the forces of nature and supersede quantum weirdness.

Einstein dedicated the final decades of his life in the search for unification. Even on his deathbed he asked for pencil and paper in a vain attempt to complete his calculations. Less familiar, but similarly intriguing, are the efforts of Austrian physicist Schrödinger to solve the same riddle and beat Einstein, with whom he had collaborated, to the answer. The relationship between the two extraordinary physicists offers a riveting tale about a deep friendship challenged by the temptations of scientific glory.

Einstein’s Dice and Schrödinger’s Cat: How Two Great Minds Battled Quantum Randomness to Create a Unified Theory of Physics has received positive reviews from a diverse readership, both professional and everyday reader. A seemingly inscrutable subject to cover, Halpern’s writing and speaking is down to earth as he easily engages the reader and listener on what is a complicated problem involving two of the greatest minds who ever lived. Among the many reviews, the Library Journal said of Halpern’s work that it is “A highly approachable book that will appeal to readers…who are interested in physics, the history of science, and the human and political aspects of scientists and their work.” The Wall Street Journal stated that it is “A fascinating and thought-provoking story, one that sheds light on the origins of some aspects of the current challenging situation in physics…. Mr. Halpern’s engaging account is a great human story and should be of interest as well to anyone fascinated by the still-unsolved questions that they pursued together.” And in the reveiw by Nature, “Physicist Paul Halpern tells the entangled tale of Albert Einstein, Erwin Schrödinger, and their search for a Grand Unified Theory with humour and concision.”

Halpern is Professor of Physics at the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia and an acclaimed author of 14 popular science books, exploring the subjects of space, time, higher dimensions, dark energy, dark matter, exoplanets, particle physics, and cosmology. He is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Fulbright Scholarship, and an Athenaeum Literary Award. A regular contributor to NOVA’s The Nature of Reality physics blog, he has appeared on numerous radio and television shows including Future Quest and The Simpsons 20thAnniversary Special.

Halpern’s presentation is free and open to the public, and begins at 4:00 PMSundayMay 31, at the Ethical Humanist Society of Philadelphia building, 1906 Rittenhouse Square. Books will be available for purchase.

Paul Halpern portrait

Paul Halpern


Check for this and other upcoming events at the FS Meet Up page.

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The Freethought Society News Editorial Staff