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Upcoming and Recent Events

Celebrating the Tree of Knowledge on December 1, 2019

The 2019 Philadelphia Tree of Knowledge (ToK) will be installed and decorated on Sunday, December 1, 2019 in the lobby of the Philadelphia Ethical Society (1906 Rittenhouse Square, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania).

The installation ceremony begins at 11:00 AM with a presentation by Hugh Taft-Morales, who is the Philadelphia Ethical Society Leader. The title of his presentation is “The Hidden Joy of Serving: Appreciating Their Story.” Taft-Morales will talk about the importance of listening to the stories of the people we volunteer to serve.

Freethought Society (FS) founder and president, Margaret Downey will create ornaments on-site for anyone who brings two color copies of the front cover of their favorite book.

This event is free and open to the public, and attendees are encouraged to bring two color copies of the front cover of their favorite book.

Tree of Knowledge

The Revolutionary War and the Great Patriot Thomas Paine

The Freethought Society has arranged for a special tour of the Museum of the American Revolution at a discounted rate on Saturday, May 4, 2019. The group rate tickets can only be purchased in advance through the Eventbrite link below.

The price for the tour is only $14 and includes a one-hour guided tour of the museum highlights. The tour starts promptly at 10:00 AM. The museum is located at: 101 South 3rd Street, Philadelphia pa

A parking garage is conveniently located on 2nd Street between Market and Chestnut Streets.

Participants can add more fun to their day by enjoying lunch at The City Tavern (138 South 2nd Street) designed to appeal to Thomas Paine enthusiasts.

The pre-ticketed luncheon starts at Noon and will include speakers Gary Berton (Thomas Paine historian) and sculptor, Zenos Frudakis. Thomas Paine (portrayed by Julien Musolino) and Madame Marguerite de Bonneville (portrayed by Margaret Downey) will welcome everyone to a private dining room at The City Tavern, which was the site of the George Washington pre-inaugural ball.

The price of the luncheon is only $40 and includes tax and gratuities. Choose between Salmon or Turkey Pot Pie for the first course and soup or salad for the second course. Meals includes fresh baked breads, dessert, coffee and/or hot tea. Vegetarian options are available.

After lunch, the party atmosphere will continue with a mini-walking tour, where participants will see many sites and items related to Thomas Paine.

Please visit the Eventbrite link below to make a reservation and to pre-pay for your tour and/or luncheon tickets. Tour reservations and seating for the luncheon are limited. Eventbrite link: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/museum-of-american-revolution-tour-and-lunch-with-freethought-society-tickets-55928245889

Complimentary gifts for all participants include a Thomas Paine hand fan and a stress ball embossed with a Thomas Paine quotation.

Guest Speaker: Professor Marci Hamilton

Thursday, April 11, 2019

The Freethought Society is pleased to host University of Pennsylvania Professor Marci Hamilton as the Thursday, April 11, 2019 speaker. Her speech, “The War Against Child Sex Abuse: Where We Are and What We Must Do,” takes place 7:00 PM at the Ludington Library located at 5 South Bryn Mawr Avenue, Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. Free and open to the public

Hamilton is the nation’s foremost expert on clergy sex abuse against children and child sex abuse statutes of limitation. She has been invited to testify and advise legislators in every state in the country where significant statutes of limitation reform have occurred. Her presentation will recount her battles in Pennsylvania and elsewhere with powerful forces against child safety, and she will lay out the battle plan for the future, presenting the five necessary legal reforms to prevent child sex abuse: statute of limitations reform, preservation of children’s rape kits, family court reform, public training on child sex abuse, and the invalidation of nondisclosure agreements.

Hamilton is the Robert A. Fox Leadership Program Professor of Practice at the University of Pennsylvania. She is also a Fox Family Pavilion Resident Senior Fellow in the Program for Research on Religion at the University of Pennsylvania. Hamilton is also the Founder, CEO, and Academic Director of CHILD USA, which is an academic think tank at the University of Pennsylvania dedicated to interdisciplinary, legal and evidence-based research to improve laws and public policy to end child abuse and neglect. Before moving to the University of Pennsylvania, Professor Hamilton held the Paul R. Verkuil Chair in Public Law at Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, Yeshiva University.

Hamilton is the author of Justice Denied: What America Must Do to Protect Its Children (Cambridge University Press). She is also the author of God vs. the Gavel: Religion and the Rule of Law and God vs. the Gavel: The Perils of Extreme Religious Liberty, which was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. Additionally, she is the co-author of Children and the Law. Hamilton clerked for United States Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor and Judge Edward R. Becker of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.       

Hamilton is a graduate of Vanderbilt University summa cum laude, having earned a bachelor’s degree. She graduated with high honors from Pennsylvania State University, where she earned a master’s degree in English, fiction writing, and philosophy. Hamilton earned her Jurisprudence Degree from the University of Pennsylvania School of Law. She graduated magna cum laude. At the University of Pennsylvania, Marci served as Editor-in-Chief of The University of Pennsylvania Law Review.  

June 2; evolutionary psychologist Robert Kurzban, PhD, at Free Library, Phila.

FRobert Kurzban, PhDS proudly presents Robert Kurzban, PhD as the Thursday, June 2, 2011 speaker at the Free Library of Philadelphia.  The meeting will begin promptly at 7:00 PM  in the Skyline Room.  The address of the library is 1901 Vine Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Kurzban’s free and open-to-the-public speech, “Why Everyone (Else) is a Hypocrite: Evolution and the Modular Mind,” will explore human inconsistency, including hypocrisy from an evolutionary perspective. Emphasizing how modularity helps to explain various features of human behavior, Kurzban will cover “self deception,” “self control,” “self esteem” and many other aspects of social behavior. This speech is based on  Kurzban’s book of the same title.

From the Wikipedia article on Kurzban:

“Robert Kurzban was trained by two pioneers in the field of evolutionary psychology, John Tooby and Leda Cosmides, and his research reflects this background. He takes an adaptationist view of human psychology, and his work is aimed at understanding the functions of psychological mechanisms designed around social life. He uses methods drawn from social psychology, cognitive psychology, and especially experimental economics. His early work investigated the social category “race” and was directed at the hypothesis that people “automatically” encode the race of people they observe. Continue reading: June 2; evolutionary psychologist Robert Kurzban, PhD, at Free Library, Phila.