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Non-Fiction Book/Articles Review
Discussion Group

Where: New Dynasty Chinese Buffet Map Icon

Details: Non-fiction books and essays are reviewed and discussed.

The former leader of the Non-Fiction Book Review, HUSBAY founder, Noel Smith has passed the torch for this group, after many years of service. It is now in the capable hands of Michael Gruenfeld.

Meetings are usually on the 3rd Wednesday of each month, throughout the year.


Our Next Meeting: November 20, 2019

(Details to follow shortly)

 

Our Last Meeting: October 16, 2019

Topic: The Nature of Human Reality

Presenter:  Prof. Ernest Kinnie

Details: This was a seminar for those who want to have a bit of fun exploring their interface/connection with Reality. Please click on the following link in order to best prepare for this meeting: https://www.psychology-zen-freedom.com/reality

Participants were invited to answer the following four questions:

1. Your human interface---do you ever directly experience Reality?

2. Is science the only source of valid information?

3. Is extrasensory perception ever valid?

4. Why do you have conscious awareness?---what is it good for?

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Ernie Kinnie's Bio: I've lived a long, full life and had a hell of a good time. Been a professor, psychotherapist, National Park Ranger, soldier, garbage collector, and antique dealer.

My proudest accomplishment, at least the most fun, was writing the first fishing guide to Glacier National Park.

I have tried hard to be honest and open-minded, and sometimes succeeded. If your judgment, taste, sense of humor, and belief systems are similar to mine you will love my books. If not, read them anyway, and explore and expand what you can think, feel, and become.

Click here for future meeting information

 

 

Earlier 2019 Meetings

(Click here for details)

Important: We need reviewers for future meetings. If you are reading something (book, article) now or have done so in the past that you found interesting, please consider telling us about it, and let Michael know at mikeg2h@hotmail.com

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Previous Seasons Meetings


2018


Dec. 19: Jim Wise discussed the book, “The New Jim Crow” by Michelle Alexander.

Description: Alexander is an ACLU attorney who documents the mass incarceration of people of color through court sanctioned and biased policing, prosecution and sentencing. Using War On Drugs legislation on a population without adequate legal representation the convicted felon becomes a second class citizen unable to find housing, employment, food stamps or vote. The entire minority community is thus further impoverished.

Discussion of this book will be expanded to include the following more recent books, videos, and internet resources:

Books

Title Author
The Color of Law Richard Rothstein
The Warmth of Other Suns Isabel Wilkins
Just Mercy Bryan Stevenson
The Broken Ladder Keith Payne
Between the World and Me Ta-Nehisi Coates

Films

Title Source
13th Netflix
I Am Not Your Negro The words of James Baldwin

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Nov. 21: Richard Kessler discused “The Self Destruction of the American Dream: A Casualty of the 21st Century?”

Oct. 17: Barbara Walker discussed "The Secrets of Tarot Cards," based on a book she has authored.

Sep. 19: Rich Hissrich's topic was “Liberty and Human Rights”. This is an extremely complex and confusing concept, which is at the root of America’s political differences. Almost every political debate is better understood with a deeper knowledge of our different conceptions of Human Rights.

This discussion is not political, but is historic and philosophic. The primary sources are the chapter on “Liberty” from Adam Swift’s book entitled “Political Philosophy”, and Isaiah Berlin essay entitled “Two Concepts of Liberty”. Our review will also touch upon the origin of the concept of Liberty during the Age of Enlightenment, and the evolution of various perceptions of Liberty throughout the history of the United States. It will attempt to answer the following questions:

1. What is Liberty and where does it come from?

2. What are Human Rights and how do they relate to Liberty?

3. Why is there such confusion and conflict about what our rights are?

Rich Hissrich’s Bio: Rich is a new member of Husbay. He moved to the Del Webb community, in Lakewood Ranch, in December 2016. He relocated from Dallas where he was a Vice President with Bank of America. He was also the President of the DFW chapter of the Institute of Management Consultants (IMC). Rich formed a Philosophy Discussion Group in the Del Webb community and will be working to establish a similar program within Husbay.

To read the Philosophy Forum PDF, please click here.

Aug. 15: Alexander Sasvary discussed “Is There Hope For the American Healthcare System?”

- A short story and explanations;
- Misconceptions;
- Special interests;
- Cost - the driving force;
- Private or public.
- Any hope?

Alex's Bio: Trained in healthcare economics behind the Iron Curtain. Subsequently studied healthcare economics in the United States, and served as Chief Healthcare Financial Officer for a major financial institution.

Jul. 18: A presentation by Richard Kessler, on the policies of the Trump administration. Richard will provide us with a wonderfully comprehensive presentation regarding President Trump's policies and activities, particularly in foreign affairs and trade practices and agreements. For a PDF explaining all this, please click here.

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Earlier Reviews

Our Previous Meeting: September 18, 2019

Presenter: Richard Kessler

Topic: Who Is In Charge Of the American System?

Description: When President Ronald Reagan was shot on March 30, 1981, chaos ensued behind the scenes at the White House. With no real protocol in place for such a situation, everyone involved had to improvise and hope that everything would turn out right. In an attempt to keep everyone calm, Al Haig, Reagan’s Secretary of State, committed a PR faux pas that went ballistic. Ignoring the Constitution’s rules of succession, Haig announced “I’m in charge here and not to worry”. To politically sensitive ears, this gaffe sounded like a palace coup was underway. According to the Constitution, the Vice President (then George Bush the elder) was next in line as every immigrant taking the citizenship exam knows.

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The Constitution, if the truth be told, typically does not say who is in charge here so much as saying who isn’t. This makes for a compelling argument that no one is in charge here. The wheel house of the great ship of state operates with no member of the crew at the helm, not even the President. John Adams enshrined the concept of "a government of laws, not of men," in the 1780 Massachusetts state constitution.

1 Adams credited James Harrington with expressing the idea this way. Harrington described government as “the empire of laws and not of men” in his 1656 work.

2. The phrase gained wider currency when Adams used it in the Massachusetts Constitution, Bill of Rights, article 30 (1780).

3 It seems an inescapable inference that a government not of men is a government which has no one in charge. Laws do not walk around barking orders to subordinates. No Wizard of Oz sits behind the curtain in the American political system.

This one took Place on Wednesday, July 17, 2019.

Presenter: David Helgagger

Topic:  Dave discussed portions of several books on adverse aspects of conservatism, theism, and Christian Nationalism

Description: He addressed a chapter in George Will's new book "The Conservative Sensibility", and a chapter in Andrew Seidel's book, "The Founding Myth: Why Christian Nationalism is Un-American". The chapter in Will's book that Dave reviewed was "Welcoming Whirl: Conservatism without Theism", and in Seidel's book, he reviewed the chapter "The Ten Commandments Vs. the Constitution". Dave will also briefly summarized some of the highlights of these books

Dave's Bio: Dave Helgager, President of HUSBAY, has always been a Humanist, though it took a few years of church attendance to get the message. He has been a member of HUSBAY for nearly 15 years serving on the Board and as President for several of those years. He is also serving as vice president of the Florida Humanist Association.

He grew up in South Dakota where he earned degrees in English, history and education. (He has the dubious distinction of earning 14 hours in Christianity while attending his alma mater Augustana University.) He taught for a few years and subsequently worked for departments of education in Illinois and West Virginia. While in Illinois in 1968, he and wife, Judy, adopted a biracial child (adding a new dimension to life).

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He moved to Sarasota, Florida, in 1980. After moving to Florida, he, along with his wife and daughter, took off three years to live and work in Germany. Upon returning to Sarasota, he changed careers and retired after 28 years in the financial services industry, mostly managing pension plans for non- profit organizations. He has a daughter and son as well as three grandchildren and has been married to his wife Judy for 54 years.

Our June 2019 Review

Subject: Capital In the Twenty First Century by Thomas Picketty (TBD)

Presenter: Diane Trembly

Synopsis: This is a clearly written and intriguing book, by Thomas Pecketty, a professor of economics in Paris. It examines the division and concentration of capital, starting from 1700 AD in Europe, as well as in the US, and Japan. He uses tax records, and 18th century French and British novels, as his sources - the latter because of the characters' place in society, as determined by their incomes. There was no such thing as inflation in the days of Austen and Balzac. Picketty follows the growth of capital, and its expanding and shrinking distribution, between rich and poor, up through the boom years of 1880 - 1913, the crash of 1913 - 1945, and what has been happening since. Total capital keeps growing these days, but is becoming more and more concentrated - a trend that is self-perpetuating. Picketty provides suggestions to control this self-perpetuating spiral.

Diane Trembly's Bio: Diane had two wonderful careers. The first was in medicine, into which she went specifically so that she could travel all over the world working in third world countries - and see the world. Included were week-end trips with a flying club to Baja California; 6 months volunteering in Guatemala; then real employment in Vietnam, Puerto Rico, Nicaragua, and South Africa.

Diane's second career was in osteoarchaology. "Osteo" means bones. She was a physical anthropologist/archaeologist, specializing in human skeletal remains. Diane says that it may sound exciting, but it is very boring to anyone who is not in that field; very academic. (In fact, people think archaeology is about finding exciting things; it is really a lot of surveying and mapping; and the value of things found is rarely in the thing itself, but in what it can tell you).

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2019 Upcoming Events

Date Topic Presenter(s)
Jun. 19
Book by Thomas Piketty (TBD)
Diane Trembly
Jul. 17
Books by George Will and Andrew Seidel
David Helgager
Aug. 21
Saving Gaia (on hold)
Rich Goscicki
Sep. 18
Who Is In Charge Of the American System
Richard Kessler
Oct. 16
On Reality
Ernie Kinnie
Nov. 20
Temporary title -
  “Kids Under the Care of the Court System”
Susan Dana
Dec. 18
Voluntary Simplicity
Jack Davis

 

 

 

Previous Meetings in 2019

Date: May 15, 2019
Topic: Weapons of Math Destruction (How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy", by Cathy O'Neil)
Reviewer: Kathy Schoenhals

DESCRIPTION: Description: A clearly written and intriguing book written by a mathematician.

Quote from the book jacket: "A Wall Street Quant sounds an Alarm on the Mathematical Models that Pervade Modern Life". More information is available at the following link: https://www.harvardsquare.com/weapons-math-destruction-how-big-data-increases-inequality-and-threatens-democracy-harvard-book

Kathy Schoenhals' Bio: BA & SW Cert.: Univ. of Mich. MA: Oakland Univ. PhD: Literacy ed and cog psych. Oakland University ******** Taught HS English and social sciences, Social worker in Mich public schools, Taught at Schoolcraft College in Mich., Tutor for Mich. Rehab and volunteer tutor for Literacy Council and Sarasota Schools.

Date April 17, 2019
Topic: Continuation/Part 2 of presentation that was provided on 02/14/2018.

Reid Strieby discussed The History of Consumerism Over Five Centuries, With Relevant Economics, Psychology, Sociology, Anthropology, Religion, and Geopolitics.

DESCRIPTION: This presentation is based on an 800 page book by Frank Trentmann, professor of history at the University of London. It will focus on the rise of consumerism over five centuries, combining an array of disciplines: history, economics, psychology, sociology, anthropology, religion and geopolitics. It begins in the fifteenth century, scans the globe and examines a wide range of regimes from liberal democracies to fascist dictatorships. It offers a global history of consumption and assesses the influence of shopping on the human experience. The talk will entertain while inform. Trentmann shows clearly that consumption is more than purchasing things.. It is about meaning and power.

What we consume has become the central feature of modern life. Our economies live or die by our spending behavior. In fact, we increasingly define ourselves by our possessions and the ever-richer lifestyle of the present age.

Dr. Strieby’s Bio: Prior to becoming a professor of Social Psychology at the City University of New York, CUNY, Dr. Strieby worked for a number of years as a market and media researcher for various large market research and advertising agencies in NYC. He also worked at the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago.

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Mar. 20: Science Versus Religion: A Friendly Debate
Presenters: Ernie Kinnie and Dan Dana
Description: Ernie Kinnie and Dan Dana are friends and secular humanists with contrasting views regarding an ancient epistemological conundrum.

A large crowwd joined us for their thoughtful debate regarding how we can know the truth? Is the material universe all there is? Or, does existence extend beyond physical reality?

Does spirituality (or religion) have a role in our search for truth? Is empirical science the only, or even the best, way to attain knowledge of objective reality? Every thinking person holds a belief about the answer to this eternal question, with varying degrees of certainty.

As for the structure and format of the debate, Ernie and Dan will each tooke 5-10 minutes to lay out their individual basic premises. They then interactively rebutted each other’s positions for several minutes (15-20?). Open discussion with attendees followed.

Here are bios for both speakers:

Ernie:  I've lived a long and full life and had a hell of a good time. Been a professor, psychotherapist, National Park Ranger, soldier, garbage collector, and antique dealer. My proudest accomplishment, at least the most fun, was writing the first fishing guide to Glacier National Park. I have tried hard to be honest and open-minded, and sometimes succeeded. If your judgment, taste, sense of humor, and belief systems are similar to mine you will love my books. If not, read them anyway, and explore and expand what you can think, feel, and become.

Dan:  Dan Dana is retired from a career that encompassed psychology, teaching, mediation, corporate training, and business entrepreneurship. He is the author of three books on workplace mediation and several conflict resolution curricula. Born in 1945 to a Protestant family in rural Missouri, his life experiences include:
 • Serving in the U.S. Army in Vietnam (noncombat) and Panama Canal Zone (1966-1968)  
• Earning a PhD in counseling psychology (University of Missouri, 1977)  • Teaching at a New England university for 28 years, and guest-lecturing at educational institutions on six continents
 • Founding in 1985 and growing a successful Internet-based educational enterprise (endowed to a Florida college in 2013)
 • Being a candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives (1998)
 • Living, working, or traveling in over 75 countries on seven continents.

Dan and his wife Susan live in Sarasota, Florida. He is the father of one and grandfather of two. He has been an atheist for over 50 years.

Feb. 20: Jack Wayne provided a review of the article "The World Is Run By the CIA", by Victoria James. It is taken from the Cambridge Alumni Magazine, 2017. The point of the article is to explore "why humans are so susceptible to conspiracy theories."

Jack Wayne’s Bio: Jack was born in Canada. His first full-time job involved giving motivational talks to inmates of Ontario’s Mental Health Hospitals. Unfortunately, the provincial government in the mid-1960s declared all Ontario residents to be sane and Jack found himself unemployed. He went back to school and was awarded a Ph.D. in Sociology.

Dr. Wayne was a professor of Sociology at the University of Toronto for over 30 years. After the third decade Jack realized that his academic career wasn’t working out. He declared his students to be fully educated and turned his attention to textbook publishing. His firm, Canadian Scholars’ Press Inc., is now the leading Canadian-owned textbook publisher in Canada. It enjoyed remarkable growth after Jack sold the company in 2008. Dr. Wayne is a Past-President of the Association of Canadian Publishers. Jack is now a fine art photographer. He is a member of the Propeller Centre for the Visual Arts in Toronto.

Upcoming exhibitions of Jack's photography:
Solo Exhibition May 14-May 28 2019 Humans Remain: Photographic Evidence of Life on Earth Part 2 (Scotiabank Contact Photography Festival) Group Show (Curated) September 29 - October 20 2019 The Art of Photography

Jan. 16: Jim Wise presented “Socially Responsible Investing”

The session on Socially Responsible Investing was a general open discussion to examine the question of: Do we, as humanists, want to invest our money just to do well, or are we also motivated to invest our money to do good, and avoid doing harm?

Socially responsible investing is any investment strategy which considers both financial and social returns. This can include impact investing in for-profit companies with the intention of bringing about social good, divesting from companies which might generate harmful social outcomes, and influencing companies' decisions towards better social outcomes by means of shareholder advocacy.

Jim Wise, the facilitator for this discussion, is not an expert on investing, but has always invested in mutual funds that are devoted to socially responsible criteria. There are a lot of choices regarding both intended social outcomes, and investment risk.

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Jim Wise’s Bio: High School dropout got GED while serving in US Navy. BS Education, Comprehensive Science and Math. MS in Biology-Ecology. Listed as a coauthor of a paper in Nature on the Production of Alkaline Phosphatase in e coli. Published in Proceedings of WV Academy of Science on the Seasonal Succession of Phytoplankton in Edinboro Lake.

Worked 4 years as a research chemist for Hughson Chemical of Lord Corporation, several years as both a fire inspector and a health inspector. One year teaching in a private school (Presidio Hill in San Francisco), one half year at Northwestern School District and 23 years as a math/science teacher in General McLane School District. Active in teachers union, and served as union president.

Volunteer work for 11 years in the Erie, Pa Hotline, 10 years presenting lectures each year on Separation of Church and State in the Public Schools to education majors at Edinboro University and 2 years at Mercyhurst University, 12 years as an Official Visitor with the Pennsylvania Prison Society while also sponsoring a Bridge Club at the Pa State Correctional Institution at Albion, Pa. Incarcerated for blocking access to the US Courthouse in Erie, Pa as a protest against the start of the GW Bush Iraq war. Presently studying the effects on fish of biodegraded Cassava (as a plastic substitute) bags.

Mar. 20: Sharon Robinson's topic: “The Women’s Movement In America.”

Apr. 17: Richard Kessler will talk about “Who Is In Charge Of the American System?”

 

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Past Sessions Going Back Some

 

December 9, 2015

Jacqui Kinnie reviewed "Dreams of Earth and Sky," by Freeman Dyson. There are two books with this title. This one was writtren by a Max Planck Medal winning scientist. The other by Konstanti Tsiolkovsky.

To learn more, try this link.

January 13, 2016

Chuck Barrett reviewed "Children of the Stars," by Daniel R. Altschuler. Described as a book for the general reader dealing with the intimate and surprisin g connection between stars, our planet, and life. for the new children coming to Earth.

February 10, 2016

Mort Stith presented "Assassination in the History of ISIS" based on multiple sources, inspring an interesting discussion following his talk.

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March 9, 2016

Jack Wayne reviewed "Battling the Gods: Atheism in the Ancient World" by Tim Whitmarsh. The book  makes a very good case for the classical roots of atheism and argues that historians hafocused disproportionately on religious beliefs and values that may have been marginal to ancient culture.

 

April 13, 2016

Meigs Glidewell reivewed  "The Brain that Heals Itself" and "The Brain's Way of Healing," both by Norman Doidge, M.D. More on this author can be found here

 

May 11, 2016

Noel Smith presented: "Dawn Before the Dawn" by Geoffrey Ashe. The author provides a theory of the origins and evidence to support it of a cult of seven. We hear of the seven seas, the seven continents, the seven days of creation (and dozens more sevens in the Bible), the seven liberal arts, the seven deadly sins, seven times pilgrims walk around the Kaaba, seventh heaven, and many more but especially seven days of the week.

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June 8, 2016

David Coe presented the following this work to our Husbay Non-Fiction Books and Articles Discussion Group this Wednesday, June 8th, during 1:30-3:00: "GOING CLEAR" - Scientology, Hollywood & The Prison of Belief" by Lawrence Wright. Dave's talk will address this cult's masquerading as a religion.

July 13, 2016

Presenter: Eleanor Altman
Title: "Writing God's Obituary" by Anthony Pinn

A former minister reveals his unusual journey from faith to atheism.

Anthony Pinn preached his first sermon at age twelve. At eighteen he became one of the youngest ordained ministers in his denomination. He then quickly moved up the ministerial ranks. Eventually he graduated from Columbia University and then received a Master of Divinity in theology and a PhD in religion from Harvard University.

All the while, Pinn was wrestling with a growing skepticism. As his intellectual horizons expanded, he became less and less confident in the theism of his upbringing. At the same time, he became aware that his church could offer only anemic responses to the acute social needs of the community. In his mid-twenties, he finally decided to leave the ministry and committed the rest of his life to academia. He went on to become a distinguished scholar of African American humanism and religious history.

The once fully committed believer evolved into an equally committed nonbeliever convinced that a secular approach to life offers the best hope of solving humanity’s problems.

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August 10, 2016

Presenter: Ernie Kinnie
Title: "Amoral Science – Brainless Religion
Author(s): Ernie Kinnie (with reference to “On Liberty” by John Stuart Mill)
Synopsis: The quality of the ideas and beliefs held by an individual or organization can best be judged by their willingness to be exposed to alternative ideas and beliefs, competently and forcefully presented. This session was well-attended and Ernie's fine presentation was further enhanced by enthusiastic audience participation.

September 14, 2016

Presenter: Susan Juda
Subject: Truth and Reconciliation in the U.S.A.
Author: Drawn from the works of several experts in their field
Synopsis: After reading "Affluent and Black, And Still Trapped by Segregation" (article link), I realized that my discomfort about having moved to Sarasota, and experiencing a defacto segregated society and culture here, was based on the realities expressed in this article, and in the experiences in my life and family.

Lets explore this unfortunate and complex issue, and hopefully gain more insight, and maybe even suggestions for change.

To quote Ray Speekhardt, in his book Creating Change Through Humanism -But conclusions aren't enough. If we want to create change, we have to get active!"

Also part of the discussion: "What Colin Kaepernick’s Protest Looks Like to a Black 49ers Fan?" (Link to article)

Do we need a Truth and Reconciliation Forum in the USA? Can Husbay be a more integrated group?

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October 12, 2016

Presenter: Jim Chastain
Subject: Final Exit (1991).
Author: Derek Humphry
Synopsis: How Long Do You Want To Live? As long as possible? The 1991 book Final Exit and increasing numbers of books, films, articles, discussion groups, legal opinions and legislation since reflect changing attitudes to the answer. What are the causes and effects of the changing attitudes?

Jim played to a nearly packed house.

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November 9, 2016

Presenter: Emanuel (Bud) Klein
Subject: On My Way (My Journey to Secular Humanism)
Author: Emanuel Klein
Synopsis: Bud’s intention is to present from his book several situations in which he was involved, and that he has chosen for potential group interest and comment. He will choose two or three events to be presented sequentially, with an opportunity for group discussion and comment between each presentation. One topic that Bud may present, and that is based on an actual event, is how it can be beneficial to fellow men and women to gain recognition as a trustworthy individual.

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December 14, 2016

Presenter: Kathy Schoenhals
Subject: And then All Hell Broke Loose: My Two Decades in the Middle East
Author: Richard Engels
Synopsis: This book is clearly written in autobiographical style and is quite captivating. The author discusses Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, and Syria and his experiences therein in the past two decades. His insights are very impressive. Kathy thoroughly enjoyed this book, and she feels that it has clarified the Middle East for her in a way that nothing else has.

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January 11, 2017

Presenter: John Buecheler
Subject: The Secret of the Lost Ark of the Covenant
Author: Graham Hancock
Synopsis: Graham Hancock, in an earlier bestseller “The Sign and the Seal” (A Touchtone Book, Simons & Schuster), attempts to follow the fate of the Lost Ark of the Covenant as one of the great historical mysteries.

To the Believers, the legendary Ark was holding the stone tablets of the Ten Commandments and exhibited (Yahweh’s) supernatural forces that lead the ancient Hebrews to numerous victories. Later on, as King Salomon had the famous Temple built, the Ark was placed in the Holy of Holiest, until at some time it mysteriously vanished. So much for the story that we are told by the Bible.

Now, Hancock, in his quest for the Lost Ark of the Covenant, tracked down the myths and legends to reveal where the Ark might have gone. But he also came up with a more revealing claim, namely that the Ark was indeed a real monstrous instrument, a “killing machine.”

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Although Hancock did not present any 'plausible' explanation on how the killing machine may have worked, I decided to find out myself by building a replica. Following directly the Bible’s description, I came up with a reduced-size model and by doing so the secret of the Ark suddenly dawned on me. This killing machine appeared indeed to be a novel invention of a nature entirely unknown till then. Furthermore, with the Ark having vanished and its secret having never been divulged, it took in fact nearly three thousand years for the basic process to be re-invented.

Meanwhile, by having succeeded to get ‘the genie out of the bottle’, I am now in a position to present a down-to-earth and humorous story revealing the lost secret of the Ark of the Covenant.

February 8, 2017

David Coe reviewed "The Call Up" by Tom Hickman. The book focuses on the English Draft (we're not talking about beer, sorry).

March 8, 2017

There will be a presentation by Julie Beberman. She will discuss her fascinating job as a US State Department Foreign Service Officer, and the kinds of duties and activities that our Foreign Service Officers perform. She will also describe some of her observations, experiences, and what she has learned at various stations and countries in Africa, to which she was assigned. Julie, who is a permanent resident of the US Virgin Islands, will also briefly describe life in this US territory.

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April 12, 2017

The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins, oresented by Reid Strieby

In this hard hitting, impassioned, but humorous rebuttal of religious belief, Dawkins eviscerates the argument for religion. He demonstrates the supreme improbability of the existence of a supreme being, while at the same time explaining how the work of Darwin changed the way we think about evolution.

Reid has also prepared copies of 3 reviews of Dawkins’ book, The God Delusion, and a copy of the table of contents for each member of the group.

 

May 10, 2017

Betty Comora presented a program regarding the observance of religious holidays in public schools. Her film, "A Mixed Blessing, An American Fairytale" can be seen by going to YOUTUBE and typing in BETTY COMORA, A MIXED BLESSING, AN AMERICAN FAIRY TALE.

Based on true life experiences, writing and producing this film was a cathartic adventure. Betty says, "I'm pleased with the feedback from college students and various discussion groups. Most importantly, it gives a voice to shy and sensitive people who are unable to express their emotions."

Today, the schools are filled with a plethora of religious and non religious students. It is logical that religious holidays should be celebrated outside of school -- at home, places of worship, etc. There can still be joy in celebrating the four seasons...which includes every child.

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June 20: David Helgager presented “When Color Blindness Isn’t the Answer:Humanism and the Challenge Of Race” by Anthony Pinn

Description: If you have ever said, "I'm color blind!" when talking about race or haven't, you will find enlightening the review of Dr. Anthony Pinn's book. Pinn is the first African American full professor at Rice University and the director of research for the Humanist Institute.

Speaker's Bio: Dave Helgager, President of HUSBAY, has always been a Humanist, though it took a few years of church attendance to get the message. He has been a member of HUSBAY for nearly 15 years serving on the Board and as President for several of those years. He is also serving as vice president of the Florida Humanist Association. He grew up in South Dakota where he earned degrees in English, history and education. (He has the dubious distinction of earning 14 hours in Christianity while attending his alma mater Augustana University.) He taught for a few years and subsequently worked for departments of education in Illinois and West Virgina. While in Illinois in 1968, he and wife, Judy, adopted a biracial child (adding a new dimension to life). He moved to Sarasota, Florida, in 1980. After moving to Florida, he, along with his wife and daughter, took off three years to live and work in Germany. Upon returning to Sarasota, he changed careers and retired after 28 years in the financial services industry, mostly managing pension plans for non- profit organizations. He has a daughter and son as well as three grandchildren and has been married to his wife Judy for 54 years.

June 14, 2017

David Coe reviewed "Classics of Film Noir."

The period 1940 - 1960 is considered by many cinephiles to be a "golden age" of Film Noir. In particular the post WW2 years when writers, directors and actors became acutely aware of the ways in which humanity could give in to it's darkest desires and act out of selfishness and greed.

On July 12, Robert Phillipoff reviewed "Basic Marxist Concepts and Their Relevance Today."

Bob discussed basic Marxist concepts and their relevance today with a focus on Marxism as understood by its founders epitomized in Socialism Utopian and Scientific by Engels and poignantly summarized by Lenin in his short essay “Three Sources and Three Component Parts of Marxism”.  Bob hope’s that Husbay members who plan to attend this session will read in this very short essay in advance. It is available at the following link: https://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1913/mar/x01.htm 

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August 9, 2017

Presenter: J.D. Lynn

Title: Presentation of Margaret Sanger's Autobiography, and her speech "A Moral Necessity For Birth Control".

Description: Margaret Sanger (1879-1966), who is one of the most important women who ever lived, was an American birth control activist, sex educator, writer, and nurse, who popularized the term "birth control". J.D. discussed her valuable contributions and accomplishments, as well as her autobiography, and her important speech "A Moral Necessity for Birth Control".

J.D., who is the Vice President of the local chapter of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, also discussed the implications of Sanger's work to current times, as well as the effect of the religious right's attack on women's right to birth control, and to abortion. A challenging idea that J.D. also addressed is whether freedom of sexual expression should be considered to be a religious freedom. But, considering the accelerating effects of global warming, is it too late for Margaret Sanger to save the human race?

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September 13, 2017

Presenter: Barbara Walker

Title: Barbara Walker’s book, "Belief and Unbelief," is a compendium of essays on superstitions, false beliefs, religious nonsense and cultural biases

Description: The book she referenced is her latest one, "Belief and Unbelief," a compendium of essays dealing with superstitions, false beliefs, religious nonsense and cultural biases. Shr offerred one entitled "Encountering the New Age."

Barbara Walker’s bio/introduction

She is researcher, lecturer, and author of 24 books and numerous articles on comparative religion, history, mythology, symbolism, mineral lore, theTarot, the I Ching, a collection of original Feminist Fairy Tales, an autobiography, a novel, and two essay collections: Man Made God and Belief and Unbelief. Her Woman's Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets has been continuously in print since 1983 and was named Book of the Year by the London Times. She has received the Humanist Heroine of the Year award from the American Humanist Association, the Women Making Herstory award from New Jersey NOW, and the Olympia Brown award from the Unitarian Universalist Association. She is listed in that prestigious 1200-page compendium of notable freethinkers, Who's Who in Hell.


October 11, 2017

Presenter: Meigs Glidewell

Title: Stream of Consciousness

Description: What is the Steam of Consciousness? It is a phrase coined by William James in 1890, embraced by the literati such as James Joyce and Virgina Wololf in the 1900s, and currently a phenomena being recorded and charted by psychologists and neurologists via random-sample surveys and brain scans.

Meigs describes the changing history of the concept and what researchers have to tell us about the flow of thoughts.

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November 8, 2017

Presenters: Noel Smith & Ernie Kinnie

Title: The Myth of Mind

They discussed Noel's new book.  The ideas in it are challenging and go back at least to the battle between Plato and Aristotle, which has raged in psychology and philosophy through the ages. Noel believes that modern psychology has become much too Platonic, imposing constructs upon events, rather than always starting with observable events. Three methods of psychotherapy will be presented to illustrate the differences: psychoanalysis; behavior modification; and, Neuro Linguistic Programming.  

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Dec. 13, 2017

Susan Juda's topic “Citizens Response to Social and Political Concerns

Summary: Donald Trump becoming our nation’s President has deeply concerned and distressed many of our citizens. And, their constructive response to this event demonstrates how aroused citizens exercise Constitutional rights in their urgent struggle to affect change. Susan Juda will describe a successful activity whereby Sarasota residents banded together, as part of a national organized movement, to protect precious liberal and progressive accomplishments and values that are now at risk.

2018

Jan. 10

Dan Dana discussed, before a packed house,"A Low-tech Stock Trading Strategy for the Financial Layman.”

For more on Dan's presentation, click on this link.

 

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Feb. 14

Reid Strieby discussed The History of Consumerism Over Five Centuries, With Relevant Economics, Psychology, Sociology, Anthropology, Religion, and Geopolitics.

DESCRIPTION: This presentation is based on an 800 page book by Frank Trentmann, professor of history at the University of London. It will focus on the rise of consumerism over five centuries, combining an array of disciplines: history, economics, psychology, sociology, anthropology, religion and geopolitics. It begins in the fifteenth century, scans the globe and examines a wide range of regimes from liberal democracies to fascist dictatorships. It offers a global history of consumption and assesses the influence of shopping on the human experience. The talk will entertain while inform. Trentmann shows clearly that consumption is more than purchasing things.. It is about meaning and power.

What we consume has become the central feature of modern life. Our economies live or die by our spending behavior. In fact, we increasingly define ourselves by our possessions and the ever-richer lifestyle of the present age.

Dr. Strieby’s Bio: Prior to becoming a professor of Social Psychology at the City University of New York, CUNY, Dr. Strieby worked for a number of years as a market and media researcher for various large market research and advertising agencies in NYC. He also worked at the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago.

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Mar. 14

Donna Gannon's topic: “Satisfying People’s Spiritual and Religious Needs”

Synopsis

Description: The Western world is, in theory, becoming increasingly secular — but the religious mind remains active. The question now is, "how can society satisfactorily meet people’s religious and spiritual needs?"

1. Could humanism/atheism establish a "social and institutional support system...offering a deeper and historically rich philosophy of meaning"?

2. Why or why not? How?

3. What are "people's religious and spiritual needs"? Are they indeed "religious" and "spiritual" needs?

4. What can humanism/atheism offer to satisfy those needs?

5. How can this information be disseminated to society at large?

6. How do we handle this as individuals? Personal stories?

This should be talked about in the language of everyman, not philosophically, if we are to inspire thinking and effect change of perception about "religious/spiritual" needs/meaning.

Donna Gannon’s Bio: Donna was born in Wichita, Kansas, and after obtaining her BS Physical Science from Stonehill College in Massachusetts she raised her family in Connecticut. She lived in The Netherlands from 2000 until 2007 when she moved to Sarasota with her English husband, and fellow Husbay member, David Coe.

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April 11

Barbara Walker discussed "The History of Sexism." With help from HUSBAY member, Dan Dana.

Description: She presented a survey of the role of patriarchal religion in reversing the former pagans' respect for the female principle, i.e., reversing it into a cultural hatred of women as purveyors of original sin, even establishing a ruling that women have no souls, and causing the multiple social oppressions of women that resulted from this Judeo-Christian viewpoint.

Barbara Walker’s Bio: Barbara G. Walker is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, and the author of 24 books on comparative religion, symbolism, minerals, etc., including the "Book of the Year" award-winning "Woman's Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets." As an artist, she created 78 original paintings for the Barbara Walker Tarot Deck and 64 for the I Ching of the Goddess cards. As a professional knitwear designer, she created over a thousand new pattern stitches, more than anyone else known to history. She is listed in that prestigious compendium of freethinkers, "Who's Who in Hell."

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May. 9: Dan Dana discussed “The Promise of Mediation: Mitigating the Conflicts that Disrupt Our Lives"

Description: Dan Dana has been invited as keynote speaker, for a July conference organized by senior justices of the government of Kenya. Dan will provide his keynote address to an association of 300 mediators, in Nairobi, Kenya. And, for our benefit at our scheduled Husbay meeting, Dan will present his forthcoming keynote address for us to learn from, and to enjoy.

Dan Dana’s Bio: Dan Dana is retired from a career that encompassed psychology, teaching, mediation, corporate training, and business entrepreneurship. He is the author of three books on workplace mediation and several conflict resolution curricula. Born in 1945 to a Protestant family in rural Missouri, his life experiences include:

• Serving in the U.S. Army in Vietnam (noncombat) and Panama Canal Zone (1966-1968)

• Earning a PhD in counseling psychology (University of Missouri, 1977)

Teaching at a New England university for 28 years, and guest-lecturing at educational institutions on six continents;

Founding in 1985 and growing a successful Internet-based educational enterprise (endowed to a Florida college in 2013)

Being a candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives (1998)

Living, working, or traveling in over 75 countries on seven continents.

Dan and his wife Susan live in Sarasota, Florida. He is the father of one and grandfather of two. He has been an atheist for over 50 years.

He is the author of a free e-book, The Reason Revolution: Atheism, Secular Humanism, and the Collapse of Religion, and thanks many HUSBAY members for their contributions during its preparation.

He was interviewed in December 2017 for a podcast named “Reason Revolution,” coincidentally the same as his e-book and rather similar in its general message. Here’s the link.

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Nov. 21: Richard Kessler discuused “The Self Destruction of the American Dream: A Casualty of the 21st Century?”

Oct. 17: Barbara Walker discussed "The Secrets of Tarot Cards," based on a book she has authored.

Sep. 19: Rich Hissrich's topic was “Liberty and Human Rights”. This is an extremely complex and confusing concept, which is at the root of America’s political differences. Almost every political debate is better understood with a deeper knowledge of our different conceptions of Human Rights.

This discussion is not political, but is historic and philosophic. The primary sources are the chapter on “Liberty” from Adam Swift’s book entitled “Political Philosophy”, and Isaiah Berlin essay entitled “Two Concepts of Liberty”. Our review will also touch upon the origin of the concept of Liberty during the Age of Enlightenment, and the evolution of various perceptions of Liberty throughout the history of the United States. It will attempt to answer the following questions:

1. What is Liberty and where does it come from?

2. What are Human Rights and how do they relate to Liberty?

3. Why is there such confusion and conflict about what our rights are?

Rich Hissrich’s Bio: Rich is a new member of Husbay. He moved to the Del Webb community, in Lakewood Ranch, in December 2016. He relocated from Dallas where he was a Vice President with Bank of America. He was also the President of the DFW chapter of the Institute of Management Consultants (IMC). Rich formed a Philosophy Discussion Group in the Del Webb community and will be working to establish a similar program within Husbay.

To read the Philosophy Forum PDF, please click here.

Aug. 15: Alexander Sasvary discussed “Is There Hope For the American Healthcare System?”

- A short story and explanations;
- Misconceptions;
- Special interests;
- Cost - the driving force;
- Private or public.
- Any hope?

Alex's Bio: Trained in healthcare economics behind the Iron Curtain. Subsequently studied healthcare economics in the United States, and served as Chief Healthcare Financial Officer for a major financial institution.

Jul. 18: A presentation by Richard Kessler, on the policies of the Trump administration. Richard will provide us with a wonderfully comprehensive presentation regarding President Trump's policies and activities, particularly in foreign affairs and trade practices and agreements. For a PDF explaining all this, please click here.

Note: This is a change from the presentation originally scheduled.

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