Hemant will speak on "Why Young People are Leaving Religion." The religious demographics in the US are changing rapidly with increasing numbers of young people saying church affiliation is unimportant to in their lives. Hemant will discuss why these changes are taking place and what they portent for the future of atheism and secularism in American society.
The Women’s March of January 21st 2017 turned out to be a historic moment for the U.S., and the world. Millions of women and men and children took part, from tiny towns in Alabama—and even Antarctica. Join Elizabeth Corbett, member at Westside Unitarian Universalist Church, as she recounts why she marched. Elizabeth is an ESL teacher at Lenoir City High School, and her discussion this morning will focus on the Hispanic students she works with and teaches.
The book for May is “The Serengeti Rules: The Quest to Discover How Life Works and Why It Matters” by Sean B. Carroll. One of the most important revelations about the natural world is that everything is regulated--there are rules that regulate the amount of every molecule in our bodies and rules that govern the numbers of every animal and plant in the wild. And the most surprising revelation about the rules that regulate life at such different scales is that they are remarkably similar--there is a common underlying logic of life. Carroll recounts how our deep knowledge of the rules and logic of the human body has spurred the advent of revolutionary life-saving medicines, and makes the compelling case that it is now time to use the Serengeti Rules to heal our ailing planet. (280 pages).
Professor Stephen Collins-Elliott of the University of Tennessee will present a talk on applications of Bayesian analysis for estimating probabilities.
The book for June is “All the Single Ladies: Unmarried Women and the Rise of an Independent Nation” by Rebecca Traister. A nuanced investigation into the sexual, economic, and emotional lives of women in America, this “singularly triumphant work” (Los Angeles Times) by Rebecca Traister “the most brilliant voice on feminism in the country” (Anne Lamott) is “sure to be vigorously discussed” (Booklist, starred review). Today, only twenty percent of Americans are wed by age twenty-nine, compared to nearly sixty percent in 1960. The Population Reference Bureau calls it a “dramatic reversal.” All the Single Ladies is a remarkable portrait of contemporary American life and how we got here, through the lens of the single American woman. Covering class, race, sexual orientation, and filled with vivid anecdotes from fascinating contemporary and historical figures, All the Single Ladies is destined to be a classic work of social history and journalism. Exhaustively researched, brilliantly balanced, and told with Traister’s signature wit and insight, this book should be shelved alongside Gail Collins’s When Everything Changed. (352 pages).
"Leaving the Faith to Focus on the Family" The Cullimore family of Chibi Kodama music fame will share experiences of transitioning from life in a cult to life of a "none." Moving from the limitations of faith to freethought and exploration can feel like walking naked in a big city. How do you talk to the little ones? How do you we learn to be okay with saying "I don't know the answer to that?" Join the Cullimore family for a discussion on non-belief and family life. You'll even get to hear from the kids! And with luck they will share some of their music!
The book for July is “Makers and Takers: The Rise of Finance and the Fall of American Business” by Rana Foroohar . Eight years on from the biggest market meltdown since the Great Depression, the key lessons of the crisis of 2008 still remain unlearned—and our financial system is just as vulnerable as ever. Many of us know that our government failed to fix the banking system after the subprime mortgage crisis. But what few of us realize is how the misguided financial practices and philosophies that nearly toppled the global financial system have come to infiltrate ALL American businesses, putting us on a collision course for another cataclysmic meltdown. Thanks to 40 years of policy changes and bad decisions, only about 15 % of all the money in our market system actually ends up in the real economy – the rest stays within the closed loop of finance itself. The financial sector takes a quarter of all corporate profits in this country while creating only 4 % of American jobs. The tax code continues to favor debt over equity, making it easier for companies to hoard cash overseas rather than reinvest it on our shores. Our biggest and most profitable corporations are investing more money in stock buybacks than in research and innovation. And, still, the majority of the financial regulations promised after the 2008 meltdown have yet come to pass, thanks to cozy relationship between our lawmakers and the country’s wealthiest financiers. (400 pages).