Welcome to Forum Programs!
The Humanist Community in Silicon Valley offers Forum programs on Sundays at 11:00 which usually are speakers followed by a period of questions and answers, but may also be poetry readings, talent shows, etc.
Sunday, May 26, 2013
Hiking the John Muir Trail
Ms. Izuta will share more than 100 photos from her 210 mile hike last July on the John Muir Trail from Yosemite Valley to the top of Mt. Whitney, the highest mountain in the continental United States.
The hike took 25 days, through the beautiful part of the high Sierra, which she did solo carrying only a tent, a sleeping bag, rain gear, warm clothing, and enough food to keep going.
Sunday, June 2, 2013
How Would You Define Humanism?
Join us as we discuss and compare several definitions of Humanism taken from Humanist Community and AHA publications. The goal is to help you decide what is important to you about Humanism and give you some insight into what is important to others.
Sunday, June 9, 2013
As the Executive Director for the Council on American-Islamic Relations – San Francisco Bay Area (CAIR-SFBA) chapter, Zahra Billoo strives to promote justice and understanding at local and national levels and to empower the community, while building bridges with allies on key civil rights issues. She is a 2010 recipient of the San Francisco Minority Bar Coalition’s Unity Award and a 2011 recipient of the South Asian Bar Association of Northern California’s Public Interest Attorney of the Year Award.
This session will enable participants to better understand anti-Muslim hate, frequently referred to as Islamophobia. This workshop will highlight challenges facing American Muslims in recent years as well as the various factors that contribute to the targeting of Muslims and other minorities alike including government policies and the media. For more about CAIR-SFBA go to: http://ca.cair.com/sfba/
Sunday, June 16, 2013
Science is now the new Bible
Thousands of years ago people wanted to understand the universe, how humanity was created, and the meaning of our lives. But back then they didn’t have a lot to work with so people created stories and eventually those stories became religion.
Many people criticize religion for believing in “crazy stuff” but the way I see it religion was science back before there was science. Their ability to understand the universe back then is like us trying to understand what, if anything, exists outside of our universe. Nonetheless the attempt was necessary in the course of human evolution to unite people into societies. As a society we could survive better and it led to the creation of the foundations of the scientific methods we use today.
Now that we have advanced to where we are today we find ourselves still wanting to understand the universe, how humanity was created, and the meaning of our lives. We are now doing that through science which is the way we determine what reality really is. Science is now the new Bible. Or more accurately, the Bible is an older version of science.
Science however is still under development as we explore the “meaning of life” questions. Why are we here? What is our purpose in the universe? Or do we simply just exist for no reason at all? Where does right and wrong come from and what should I be doing when I wake up in the morning to further the greater purpose of human existence?
As it turns out humanity does have a greater purpose in the universe. We are not merely an evolved version of pond scum. We are part of the process for which reality itself becomes self-aware.
We are the universe. The universe evolves and evolution is randomness that selects on survival. This process creates complexity and eventually leads to intelligence. And here we are 13.8 billion years later looking back at how we were created. Since we are a creation of the universe, we are the universe understanding itself.
Our role in understanding the universe isn’t optional. We have to do it to survive, to continue to exist. If we don’t then the next big asteroid will take us out. Eventually we are going to have to get off this planet because it is far too fragile to rely on for our continued existence. It is like living on the surface of a soap bubble that could pop at any second. We are going to have to move out into space and in order to do that we are going to have to understand a lot more about the universe than we do today.
Humanity has two paths. We either evolve forward or we become extinct. If we become extinct then we are out of the game. We cease to exist other than being part of the mass of the universe. Therefore our purpose is to continue on the path that evolution has set out for us to be the universe contemplating itself, and for that understanding to continue to increase over time. The purpose of humanity is to continue to be the process for which reality becomes self-aware.
You might ask yourself, what about life on other planets? My answer is – same thing. If intelligent life exists on other planets then they too have the same purpose as us. Evolve or die.
So what does this tell us about right and wrong? How is morality derived? What is my personal role in existence?
If our purpose is to evolve forward where our understanding of reality increases over time then, those things that lead to positive evolution are good and those things that lead to extinction are bad. That is the basis of our moral compass that creates a basis for right and wrong, morality, laws, and the basic tenants of society. And it becomes the basis for a new religious paradigm, reality based religion that becomes an upgrade to previous version of religious philosophy.
Everyone seeks the “Truth”. But what is capital T Truth? Truth by definition is the understanding of the way things really are. All religions seek the Truth, but how do you get to the Truth? You get there through science. Thus science is the new Bible. But don’t think of the Bible as being wrong. Think of science as an upgrade. Think of science as the 2.0 version. It’s the same purpose, we’re just better at it now.
Sunday, June 23, 2013
Humanist Celebrants, visiting patients in hospital
My volunteer work at Washington Hospital doesn’t directly involve my humanist celebrancy. I had two angina attacks during the spring of 2011 which drove me to consult with a cardiologist. He performed an angioplasty, in which a catheter was inserted in an artery in my right arm and was threaded to the blockage and inflated to break up the fatty deposits. I stayed in the hospital overnight and was discharged the next afternoon. Subsequently I enrolled in the Hospital’s Cardiac Rehabilitation program using exercise machines under the supervision of a team of nurses and an exercise specialist.
My rate of recovery so impressed the head nurse that she invited me to become a Mended Hearts Visitor. As such, I visit patients who have had angioplasties shortly after they have had the procedure. I tell them that there IS life after the procedure. As an 81 year old man who patrols the trails of the East Bay Regional Parks District, I’m an example. Hospital rules for volunteers prohibit proselytizing for creeds or religions. I perform this duty to fulfill my service of humane ideals.
I’ve included public service in most of my adult life. Examples could be my 40 pint aphaeresis donations at the Stanford blood Bank and my passing messages via ham radio during the Loma Prieta earthquake. I only discovered humanism 4 years ago but I do regard my celebrancy as a continuing part of my overall service to my fellow humans.
Sunday, June 30, 2013
Joystick Warfare: On the Legality and Morality of Combat Drones
A talk by
Director, Peninsula Peace and Justice Center
Washington doesn’t like to talk about its use of military drones very much. No wonder: they just might be illegal under U.S. and international law. To say nothing of the Administration’s so-called “targeted killing” program and its insistence that even US citizens are legitimate targets of warfare from afar.
In this forum, we’ll take a look at the US drone program: Where and how often are drones being used to launch missiles? Who are the targets? And who is actually being killed by the drones? Most importantly, we’ll ask the question: Should the United States be using combat drones?
Our speaker, Paul George, has been an activist and grassroots organizer for peace and human rights for over 45 years. He is a highly regarded and frequent public speaker on a range of topics. In the course of his career, Paul has traveled to war zones to witness firsthand the profound effects of US foreign policy on ordinary people.
For more information see the Humanist Community Meetup Page.
For more information about HCSV you can review previous Forums and their slides.
You can also view videos of most of the previous Forums.