AHA Executive Director Roy Speckhardt Visits LVH

Roy explored the modern state of humanism, what it means, its history, and what's in store for our forward-thinking outlook. With its emphasis on critical thinking and self-reflection, humanism can be at the forefront of pressing social issues. Click on to read more about Roy and watch a video of his presentation.

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Noah Lugeons: How to Survive a Theocracy in 8 Easy Steps

In this talk, Noah discusses some of the more egregious abuses going unnoticed by the national media, as well as some of the things we can do about it, all the while keeping the discussion as lighthearted as a talk about an unavoidable hellscape can realistically be. Click on to read more about Noah and watch the video of his presentation.

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Kenny Biddle: Investigations of Paranormal Claims

Kenny Biddle visited our annual meeting to tell us about some of his investigations of paranormal claims, from ghosts to UFOs to searching for Bigfoot. He discussed the claims, what was presented as evidence, and what he did to solve the mysteries. Click on to watch the video of his presentation!

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December Speaker Video: Kyle Johnson presents "Christmas Economics: The Jolly Folly of Christmas Spending"

Professor David Kyle Johnson is an LVH December favorite! In the past he's discussed such topics as whether St. Nicholas even existed as a historical figure and why it's okay for Secular Humanists to celebrate Christmas. This year we welcomed him for his latest holiday-themed lecture, "The Economics of Christmas: Why You Probably Shouldn't Buy Gifts During the Holidays." He argues that the way we spend our money at Christmas hurts the economy rather than helps it and make suggestions for how we can use our money at Christmas to help the economy and do good. A question and answer session followed the lecture.

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TV Appearance and Letter to the Editor

LVH President Jason Brocious recently pursued two opportunities to promote Humanism and raise LVH's profile in the local community.

He appeared as a panelist on WFMZ's Business Matters television program, hosted by Tony Iannelli, where he discussed whether we need more religion in today's society alongside local representatives of the Catholic, Evangelical, Jewish, and Muslim faiths. You can stream the episode, which aired on November 6th, at this link.

Jason also responded to a recent interfaith covenant agreement promoting unity among Lehigh Valley faith communities with this letter to the editor published on November 22.

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November Speaker Video Now Live: Ken Burak presents "Monsters, Inc.: Blueprint for the Revolution?"

Professor Ken Burak explores an overarching feature of our society -- perhaps of any society, actual or possible, secular or religious -- namely, rewards and punishments, what psychologists call Extrinsic Motivation. A society that gets its participants to do what it wants them to do (learn, work, follow its rules...) through the use of bribes (rewards) and threats (punishments), whether meted out by gods or parents, priests or teachers, police or employers, is a society that runs on, is fueled by, fear. It seems both inevitable and perhaps necessary. The 2001 Disney movie Monsters, Inc. is worth analyzing in this regard, both because it creates a society that literally, materially runs on the fuel of fear, but also because it offers us a challenge: what if a society that runs on joy and love, rather than fear and coercion, is not only possible, but actually more productive of the things we want?

Ken Burak is a Full Professor of Philosophy at Northampton Community College and a Visiting Faculty Member at Lehigh University. He received a PhD in Philosophy from DePaul University, a Masters in Philosophy from Katholeike Universiteit Leuven, Belgium, and a BA in Philosophy from Penn State University. He is the author of Logic and Resistance: Reading Hegel in the Age of the War on Terrorism and the Chapter "Help! My Philosophy Teacher Made Me Touch My Toes!" in Yoga for Everyone: Bending Mind and Body. 

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October Speaker Videos Now Live: George Hrab Presents "Stories and Songs of Skepticism"

Recounting his travels around the planet representing skepticism, George talks and sings about his adventures as a unexpected representative of the critical thinking movement. 

Multi-instrumentalist, singer, songwriter, producer, composer, and heliocentrist George Hrab has written and produced six independent CDs and a concert DVD, published two books, recorded hundreds of episodes of an award-winning podcast, emceed countless science conferences, been a TEDx speaker, and has even performed for President Clinton. He's traveled to four continents promoting critical thinking, science, and skepticism through story and song. George is considered one of the preeminent skeptic/science/atheist/geek-culture music icons currently living in his apartment. 

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Atheists Fight Hunger raises $6,200 and feeds 25,000 People!

Leading up to 2017's PAStAHCon, the Pennsylvania State Atheist/Humanist Conference held October 13-15 in Philadelphia, generous donors raised over $6,200 to feed the hungry. The effort culminated in a meal packing project, with conference attendees giving their Sunday afternoon to assemble and box over 25,000 meals that were donated to Philabundance, the area's largest hunger relief organization.

 

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August Speaker Video Now Live: Joseph E. Welsh, Esq. presents "ACLU's Defense of Religious Liberty and Freedom"

This lecture discusses the historical role which ACLU has played in defending First Amendment freedoms, including the freedom to practice a religion, or no religion, and the freedom from state-sponsored religion. 

Joe is a State Board member and Executive Committee member with ACLU of Pennsylvania, as well as Treasurer for the Greater Lehigh Valley Chapter. He is a Steering Committee member with the Easton Hunger Coalition and serves on the Board of Trustees for Respect Graduate School of Islamic Studies.

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July Speaker Video Now Live: Andrew Torrez, Esq. presents "Skepticism and the Law"

Skepticism has helped us understand and pick apart claims made by scam artists. Good skeptics have the tools that help us break down extraordinary claims made by people peddling religion, the supernatural, alternative medicine, and so on. Yet many skeptics lack the tools to apply that same level of scrutiny to claims about the law. In this talk, attorney Andrew Torrez, co-host of the popular "Opening Arguments" podcast, discusses some popular misconceptions about the law that have drawn in otherwise-skeptical people, from tax protesters and sovereign citizens to well-meaning citizens hoping for a Presidential recount or even a re-vote of our most recent election. This talk will help the listener understand the root causes that allow for these legal myths to propagate as well as equip them with the tools necessary to avoid being taken in by extraordinary claims about the law in the future.

Attorney P. Andrew Torrez, founded his own firm in 2015 after nearly twenty years of experience in “big firms” in Baltimore, Maryland and Washington, DC. He focuses his practice on business litigation in Maryland and the District of Columbia. He represents individuals and businesses in complex civil disputes, including breach of contract and business torts, intellectual property, employment law, insurance coverage, and appeals before various state and federal appellate courts. He has also worked very closely with individuals, startups, and established businesses to provide counseling, advice, and other services with an eye towards minimizing future potential liabilities. He is a graduate of Harvard Law School (with honors) and George Washington University (summa cum laude). He is the co-host of the very popular Opening Arguments, "the legal podcast that helps you make sense of the news."

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