Upcoming and Recent Events

Tree of Knowledge 2020 Event

Hugh Taft-Morales and Margaret Downey
Tree of Knowledge Winter Holiday Celebration

On Saturday, December 12, 2020 The Freethought Society (FS) and the Philadelphia Ethical Society (PES) will co-host a Winter Holiday Zoom event during which a Tree of Knowledge will be decorated in the FS office located in Chester County, Pennsylvania. The event starts at 11:45 AM (PST)/2:45 PM (EST) with a 15-minute Pre-Event Social piano concert featuring Rollin Wilber. Wilber’s musical presentation was filmed at the PES building located at 1906 Rittenhouse Square, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Authors of books that are always included on our Tree of Knowledge will be in attendance. Margaret Downey, president of FS, and Hugh Taft-Morales, leader of PES, will introduce special guests with technical assistance from Michael Steven Martin. Invited authors and titles of their book that each chose to discuss include:

Dan Barker
God: The Most Unpleasant Character in All Fiction

Rob Boston
Why the Religious Right Is Wrong 
About Separation of Church & State

Christopher Cameron
Black Freethinkers

Tom Flynn
The Trouble with Christmas

Annie Laurie Gaylor
Women Without Superstition

Karen Garst
Women Beyond Belief

Abby Hafer
The Not-So-Intelligent Designer

Bailey Harris
My Name is Stardust

Elle Harris
Elle the Humanist

Hemant Mehta
I Sold My Soul on eBay

Julien Musolino
The Soul Fallacy: 
What Science Shows We Gain 
From Letting Go of Our Soul Beliefs

David Orenstein
Darwin’s Apostles: The Men Who Fought to Have Evolution Accepted, Their Times, and How the Battle Continues

Ben Radford
The Martians Have Landed!

Herb Silverman
Candidate Without a Prayer

Katherine Stewart
The Good News Club: 
The Christian Right’s Stealth Assault on America’s Children

Tom Krattenmaker
Onward Christian Athletes

Marlene Winell
Leaving the Fold

As each author speaks (5-10 minutes each), a laminated copy of the book cover they are discussing will be placed on the Tree of Knowledge at the FS Chester County office. 

After the formal presentations conclude there will be a 10-minute break with entertainment from Abraham Steve Mackey and Taft-Morales. Get yourself a holiday drink and rejoin us for a Post-Event Social. Attendees can help select additional laminated book cover ornaments that will adorn the 2020 Tree of Knowledge during this time. The list of available book cover ornaments can be found at this link:

FS Recommended Reading List Tree of Knowledge Ornaments and Scan List

As each book cover ornament is placed on the Tree of Knowledge, the person who made the selection will be invited to talk for 3-5 minutes about why the book is of significance and should be included.


Please sign up at the Freethought Society Meetup page to learn how to participate in this event:


This meeting will implement the latest available security features to help keep our conversation secure and will be recorded for replay on social media. By joining the meeting, you consent to be recorded and agree to abide by the Freethought Society’s Anti-Harassment and Code of Conduct Policy.


Robert G. Ingersoll Birthday Party with Tom Flynn 8-11-13

INGERSOLL2The Freethought Society and the Ethical Humanist Society of Philadelphia (EHSP), together with the Center for Inquiry, are pleased to announce a co-hosted Robert G. Ingersoll birthday party and presentation by Tom Flynn on Sunday, August 11, 2013.

Margaret Downey portraying Eva Ingersoll. Image © mvjantzen

Margaret Downey portraying Eva Ingersoll. Image © mvjantzen

NOTE: Due to the illness of his wife, Tom Flynn will not be a presenter on Aug. 11, however, Margaret Downey will substitute for him. She will be giving Flynn’s presentation and using his slides, and she will unquestionably add her own style to the event. Margaret is uniquely qualified to substitute for Tom since she has traveled with him as a co-presenter, and is a member of the Robert G. Ingersoll Museum Advisory Board. She has given presentations on Ingersoll and his wife Eva, and has even dressed as Mrs. Ingersoll. A photo of her in costume has been added to this notice.  We are sorry that Tom Flynn will not be able to attend and we wish his wife a speedy recovery.

Flynn’s presentation, “Freethought’s Forgotten History,” will take place at the Ethical Society Building located at 1906 South Rittenhouse Square, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The 11:00 AM speech is free and open to the public, but a $5 donation is requested to offset expenses. Birthday cake, punch and coffee will be served after the presentation.

It is too often forgotten, but Dundee, New York lies near the center of one of America’s great cradles of radical reform. During the nineteenth century and into the early twentieth century, west-central New York State was a boiling cauldron of activism and controversy in areas like the abolition of slavery, women’s rights, and freethought —the principled critique of religious orthodoxy.

Flynn2America’s best-known nineteenth-century freethinker, Ingersoll was born in nearby Dresden. He is the subject of a new book by historian Susan Jacoby (The Great Agnostic: Robert Ingersoll and American Freethought). Within a two-hour drive to one another are located some 59 historic sites relating to figures like Frederick Douglass, Susan B. Anthony, Mark Twain, Matilda Joslyn Gage, Obadiah Dogberry, and Margaret Sanger.

Don’t recognize the name of Obadiah Dogberry? You also might not know what event happened at the corner of Fourth and Franklin in Watkins Glen, New York that shaped the future of American obscenity law. Ingersoll Museum director Flynn will fill in all the details as he presents a whirlwind illustrated tour of Ingersoll’s birthplace and the Freethought Trail.

Flynn is Executive Director of the Council for Secular Humanism, editor of Free Inquiry magazine, and director of the Robert Green Ingersoll Birthplace Museum. He co-founded the Freethought Trail with Sally Roesch Wagner, director of the Matilda Joslyn Gage Museum.

Flynn is editor of the reference work The New Encyclopedia of Unbelief (2007) and author of several books including The Trouble With Christmas which is always displayed on every Tree of Knowledge displayed around the country.

A birthday party with cake will take place after the Flynn presentation in the upstairs location at the Ethical Society Building.

RSVP requested via the Facebook page or the Meetup Page.