Speaker Meetings

April 2019

April 27th, 10:00 am

Free Range Event Center, 1710 Central Ave. SE

This is a different location just for this month instead of Botts Hall, 423 Central NE  (in front of Special Collections Library)

“A New Day at the Roundhouse”

Speaker:  Daymon Ely, NM State Representative

Besides his impressions of the recent session, Daymon Ely will address some of the issues in which he was most involved, such as early childhood education, education in general, judicial fairness and voting rights, all topics of recent interest to our society.

There will be time for audience Q&A.

Free and open to the public…as always!

March 2019

March 23rd, 10am, Botts Hall

“Thoughts on Visiting Darwin’s Home – Science and Human Culture”

Speaker: Kendrick Frazier

(For more details see 2nd page of the March newsletter.)

February 2019

Feb 23rd, 10am, Botts Hall

“Science versus Pseudoscience in A Fake News World”

Speaker:  Ben Radford, Editor of Skeptical Inquirer science magazine, a research fellow with the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry and the author of many books and articles related to science and pseudo science

Distinguishing science from pseudoscience, real news from rumor, and truth from falsehood are vitally important: A healthy democracy depends on an informed citizenry and officials guided by evidence-based policies and practices. But too often science is viewed with derision and suspicion, or co-opted by those with social or political agendas.

Join writer and science literacy educator Benjamin Radford as he discusses the nature of scientific truth and evidence. Drawing on nearly two decades of experience in journalism—as both a producer and consumer— Radford examines not only the rise (and threat) of “fake news” but also how and why wellmeaning journalists often get the story wrong.

Benjamin Radford, M.Ed, is deputy editor of Skeptical Inquirer science magazine, and a Research Fellow with the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, a non-profit educational organization. He is author of thousands of articles for Discovery News, LiveScience.com, and other media, as well as eleven books on media and science literacy including Media Mythmakers: How Journalists, Activists and Advertisers Mislead Us.

January 2019

Jan 26, 10am, Botts Hall

“Healthcare Challenges Facing Tribal Nations”

Speaker:  Dr. Terrance W Sloan, Retired Chief of Staff of the Gallup Indian Medical Center in Gallup, NM

Dr Sloan will present various clinical cases to give us an understanding of health care for Native Americans and the challenges they face.
More details starting on the 2nd page of our newsletter.

December 2018

(No speaker this month)

November 2018

 Nov 24, 10am, Botts Hall

“Beyond Reason and Empathy

Speaker:  Tor Matson

Tor will talk about the evolution of human culture and experience and includes some ideas about future forms, systems and possibilities starting from prehistory and leading to a sustainable, ethical and appropriate future culture by way of Spiral Dynamics, cognitive science, Permaculture, and an integral, wholesystem view.

About the Speaker:

Tor Matson is a systems thinker and aspiring systems builder, and his book “Why Everything Sucks And How To Fix It” will be finished eventually when the stars align, perhaps this solstice. He is currently looking for property for a sustainable village project somewhere in NM.

October 2018

(No speaker this month)

General Membership meeting to install the Humanist Society Governing Board for 2019-2020 and discuss plans for the coming year.

September 2018

Sep 22, 10am, Botts Hall

“Early Childhood Education Matters”

Speakers (3):  Judith K.Lavender, M.Ed., Michelle Croasdell, PhD., and State Senator Mimi Stewart

In our quest to find practical, long-term solutions to the problems of poverty and crime in our community, we first looked at adult literacy and the local program, Reading Works (April 2018). This month, we look at early childhood programs that aim to prepare kids to succeed in school: What is New Mexico doing in this area? Is it working? If so, how well is it working? If not, what would it take to assure better results? And what can we citizens do to contribute to successful programs?

On September 22, a trio of distinguished professionals will share their experiences and insights in pre-K education. Judith K.Lavender, M.Ed., and Michelle Croasdell, PhD., Co-Community Outreach Coordinators of the New Mexico Association for Early Childhood Education (NMAEYC) work full time to advocate for early programs and for the professional development of people staffing these programs.

About the speakers:

Judith Lavender is a graduate of the Erikson Institute in Chicago, Il. During her 40 years in the field, she has taught preschool and kindergarten, mentored teachers, started educational financial groups for women, started an early childhood and family center, and always promotes a child’s point of view.

Michelle Croasdell completed three degrees from UNM and has taught for the last 15 years in UNM’s Early Childhood program. She has worked as an Education Policy Analyst for the NM State Senate and currently works on a federal grant at the Pueblo of Laguna, consulting with Early Head Start, Head Start, and kindergarten teachers.

State Senator Mimi Stewart earned a BA in Sociology and History from Boston University and an MS in Education from Wheelock College. She is a retired public school teacher with expertise in teaching reading. She has served in the Legislature for 24 years. In her work with the Legislative Education Study Committee, she is developing a plan to coordinate the best practices from several incomplete plans into a comprehensive pathway to improve the entire scope of public education in New Mexico. She recommends that we read a report titled “No Time to Lose,” available at the National Conference of State Legislatures website, NCSL.org, and will have copies available at the presentation. If there are ways we can help her promote quality education in New Mexico, she is sure to let us know!

August 2018

(No speaker this month)

July 2018

“Humans and the Universe: A Survey of Astronomy from the Ancient Greeks to Neutron Stars and Supermassive Black Holes”

Speaker:  Allen Robnett,  Member of HSNM

This will touch on how the development of tools for astronomy have affected human perceptions of their place in the Universe. It will briefly trace the evolution of space from “The Big Bang” through the creation of heavier elements to the appearance of stars, galaxies, and black holes. The life cycle of stars will be treated and special consideration will be given to the details of our own back yard, the Solar System.
In addition to teaching Astronomy and Physics for many years, Allen presented public lectures on many occasions as a member of the Cumberland Astronomical Society in Gallatin, Tennessee. To house a 12-inch diameter Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope, Allen built an observatory on the roof of the school where he taught in which he spent many evenings learning about the heavens. He is constantly keeping up with the latest astronomical developments which come at an ever increasing rate.

June 2018

“Recap of AEU’s 103rd Assembly”

Speaker:  Randy Wall, President of HSNM

The American Ethical Union held their 103rd Assembly right here in Albuquerque earlier this month. It’s theme was “Seeds for the Future: Environmental Justice and Ethical Culture.” Randy participated in this event as a speaker. And, for this month’s Speaker Meeting, he, and possibly other HSNM members who attended, will provide a recap and some impressions.
Afterwards, we plan to hold a round-table discussion about the AEU and Humanism.

May 2018

“Writing Is a Way of Thinking”

Speaker:  Zelda Leah Gatuskin

Have you ever wanted to… keep a journal, send a letter to the editor, start a blog, write an informative article, your memoirs or a novel …but found yourself stuck with pen poised over paper or fingers over keyboard? Award-winning writer and editor Zelda Leah Gatuskin will share her tips on writing, with emphasis on using the writing process to record and clarify our thoughts for ourselves. Writing as a way of thinking is an essential first step in composing convincing opinion pieces, cohesive fiction, and meaningful memoirs. It is a personally enriching activity whether or not you plan to share the results. For those seeking publication, Zelda can answer questions about writing genres, finding outlets for your work, and the submittal process. Bring your favorite analog writing tools (paper and pen/pencil), this will be a screens-free presentation!

April 2018

Literacy: A First Step Out of Poverty and Crime

Speaker:  Margaret Barker, Founder of Reading Works

New Mexico is ranked 50th for poverty in the nation. Child welfare, according to the Annie Casey Foundation, is 49th. Low literacy rates and low English language skills among the adult population are contributing factors to a myriad of social issues: gender inequality, economic disparity, poor health, and poor outcomes for children. Come learn about how literacy impacts our community and what Reading Works, a nonprofit here in Albuquerque, is doing about it.
Reading Works is a volunteer-based organization that has been  providing free literacy tutoring to adults since 2009. And it provides English as a Second Language tutoring for up to 200 adults a year. The Library of Congress named Reading Works a 2017 “Best Practices in Literacy” Honoree. It was one of 18 programs from six countries honored in 2017.
For more info on New Mexico literacy programs, visit:

March 2018

Esperanto: A Language for Humanity

Esperanto has thrived by building an international bridge culture on a humanist foundation.

What is Esperanto?  You may have heard a variety of guesses.  A language created 130 years ago to promote peace and intercultural communication?  A Utopian experiment doomed to failure?  A fun way to meet like-minded people?  A thriving international community of dilettantes and dreamers?  Part of the International Jewish Conspiracy?  A unique example of hybrid linguistic evolution?  An abomination, which goes against God’s will?  An effective communications tool?  A code without culture?  A curious example of a self-sustaining international community inspired and spread by people embracing humanist ideas?

Derek Roff will discuss the errors and truths in the many characterizations of Esperanto language and culture, and why it inspires such enthusiasm and antipathy.  He will argue that the success of the language is really driven by the humanistic foundation, which predates even the 1887 publication of the first book in Esperanto.  He will trace the history of Esperanto’s wedding of a language tool with a philosophy of compassion, which outraged certain intellectuals and politicians, but unified and sustained the adherents.  Derek will show how humanism shaped and guided Esperanto from a language of one speaker to the diaspora community of over two million closely-connected humans today.
And we will have some fun.  How would you like to learn the entire verb structure of a language in six minutes?  Hear a beautiful song or two.  Get a glimpse of how Esperanto’s entirely non-European way of building words and meanings produces clarity and nuance with simplicity that leaves the Romance languages blushing.  Learn a few jokes and puns in Esperanto.  If the technology will cooperate, we will video-chat with Esperantists from another country or two, allowing you to ask your questions about how this whole international culture thing really works.
Derek Roff began learning Esperanto in the mid-seventies, from Charlene Baker.  Enchanted with both the language and the people he met using it, he advanced his knowledge of the language and culture by attending college level intensive courses at San Francisco State University, The School for International Training, the University of California San Diego, and William Peace University.  He worked briefly for the World Esperanto Association in Rotterdam, and connected with Esperantists at gatherings large and small in Europe, Asia, and Latin America.  Derek spent his career at the UNM Language Learning Center, where he helped professors develop language learning materials.  For the last ten years, he has been a board member of the Esperantic Studies Foundation, which supports research and education in intercultural communication and language justice.  http://www.esperantic.org/en/home/

February 2018

Brainstorming on HSNM

Join us to suggest and help plan social activities (picnics, ice-cream socials, pot-lucks, etc.), monthly speakers and new project ideas as well as planning for celebrations of interest to Humanists such as International Women’s Day (3/8/2018), National Day of Reason (5/3/2018) and Darwin Day (2/12/2019).

January 2018

Where Did Classical Music Come From and Where Is It Going?

Speaker:  Richard Grady, former music professor, trumpet player and HSNM member

December 2017

(No speaker this month)

November 2017

Basic Income for a Happier Society

Speaker:  David Stelle, HSNM Member

More info (sorted alphabetically):
Basic income (Wikipedia)
Basic income around the world (Wikipedia)
Basic Income Earth Network
Basic Income for the US (by AdamAnimates)
Canada Has Unveiled the Details of Its Highly Anticipated UBI Program
A Canadian Province Just Passed a Resolution for Universal Basic Income
CEO Argues Universal Basic Income Is Necessary for Social Stability
Duty to Work, The
End our cultural obsession with work (by Big Think)
Even Children Receive Money in This Startup’s UBI Program [Germany]
Experts Say a Universal Basic Income Would Boost US Economy by Staggering $2.5 Trillion
Finland Has Finally Launched Its Universal Basic Income Experiment
Finland’s Universal Basic Income Program Is Already Reducing Stress for Recipients
Free Money: The Surprising Effects of a Basic Income Supplied by Government
Gates Foundation – Development Policy and Finance – Strategy Overview
GiveDirectly (Basic Income description) [Kenya]
H Philes, The – (David’s blog on Humans & Happiness)
Hawaii Becomes the First State to Pass a Bill in Support of Universal Basic Income
Prince Edward Island Legislative Assembly Motion #83, Universal Basic Income
Scotland Will Begin Funding Universal Basic Income Experiments
UBI – Pilot Programs
UBI – Renaissance for 500-Year Old Idea
UBI – The Answer to Automation?
A Village in Kenya is quietly disproving the biggest myth about basic income
World’s Largest Democratic Country to Endorse Universal Basic Income [India]

October 2017

Challenges of LBGTQ civil rights advocacy under the Trump administration.

Speaker:  Adrian Carver, Executive Director of Equality New Mexico

September 2017

What is Classical Music, and Why Do I Love it?

Speaker:  Richard Grady, former music professor, trumpet player and HSNM member

August 2017

Highlights of the 2017 American Humanist Conference.

Speakers:  Helen Fuller and Carolyn Jo Glen (HSNM Members)

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