Saturday I drove to Boston to attend a small part of The New Humanism conference. Though I wish I had been able to attend the events on Friday and Sunday, it seems that the best of what I missed was a Saturday morning panel entitled “Toward an Abrahamic Humanism?” featuring Salman Rushdie, Rabbi Sherwin Wine, and Rev. Dr. William Murry. I’m just taking Skepchick at her word:
One thing I love about these events is that there’s always at least one surprise speaker who blows you away, and Rabbi Wine was mine. He was hilarious, down to earth, engaging, and he made a ton of sense. There’s a very large number of humanistic Jews who find solace in the social aspects of their culture and wish to preserve that while also safeguarding their dignity by acknowledging their non-belief. Wine really helped me understand the use of humanism, while previously I was unsure that it was anything more than a dolled up, neutered term for atheist.
The first panel that I did catch was called The Future of Organized Humanism. Here’s the line-up of speakers:
- Lori Lipman Brown – Secular Coalition for America
- Fred Edwords – American Humanist Association
- Peter Derkx – University for Humanistics
- Derek Araujo – Center for Inquiry
Here’s the audio:
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The second panel was, in my opinion, more entertaining. Probably because they were all born within 10 years of me. Speakers included the names below, plus at least one more who wasn’t listed in the program:
- Hemant Mehta – I Sold my Soul on eBay
- Rebecca Watson – Skepchick
- August Brunsman – Secular Student Alliance
- Amanda Shapiro – Harvard Secular Society
Here’s the audio:
The Expo of National and Local Humanist and Secular Organizations would have been nicer in a room rather than in the only passable hallway. Still, I’m 1/3 of the way through Imagine No Superstition, copies of which were given away by the Secular Student Alliance during the expo. In fact, you can get a free copy of the e-book here.
I would have brought the tripod, but quarters were close even without that thing to lug around.