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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June Speaker Video Now Live: : Marissa Alexa McCool

Marissa Alexa McCool is a podcast host, author, blogger, columnist, LGBT-rights activist, speaker, filmmaker, and stage performer whose goal is to speak out, speak loudly, and bring visibility to LGBT issues. As host of The Inciting Incident Podcast, which has a global reach and averages 30,000 downloads per month, she begins interesting conversations on difficult topics in current events, such as LGBT rights, transgender visibility, suicide and mental health awareness, and the myths of PC Culture. She is the author of seven books, including The PC Lie: How American Voters Decided I Don't Matter and the novel False Start.

Ris has been lovingly nicknamed "The Purple Amazon" for her bright purple hair, "Superqueer" affectionately for her openness about her identity and sexuality, and most notably, "the badass mistress of the podcast and written word universe" by the fine people at Utah Outcasts. She lives in Central Pennsylvania with her husband and two children, and recently graduated from the University of Pennsylvania. In July, she will host her own live event at the Carlisle Theatre for The 100th Episode of Inciting Incident featuring her Inciting Incident cohosts, social activist and former Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe, and fellow podcasters from The Gaytheist Manifesto, Opening Arguments, The Scathing Atheist, and God Awful Movies.

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April Speaker Video Now Live

Phil Ferguson has been an investment advisor representative since 1996 and is the president of Polaris Financial Planning, LLC. Phil is also a long-time activist in the secular movement. He has been on the board of The Secular Student Alliance and Atheist Alliance International. He also served as the treasurer for the 2016 Reason Rally. He is an active member of many of the national secular organizations and has helped start three local groups. Phil also gives talks to local groups as well as large conventions. He has presented at TAM (The Amazing Meeting) and Skepticon - just to name a few. He is also the host of The Phil Ferguson Show, the #1 Podcast at the intersection of personal finance and atheism.

For our April Secular Sunday event, Phil stopped by to discuss investment products such as annuities, return of premium life insurance, continuous stock offerings, index and other mutual funds, and bonds. Which of these are a good idea? Watch the video to find out!

More information on his activism, business, and podcast can be found on his websites: and

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Phil Ferguson's Podcast

Phil Ferguson's presentation for our April Secular Sunday event was very well received by those in attendance. A few people at the event asked where to find Phil Ferguson's podcasts. You can find them on iTunes or here on the Web.

The podcast is a very interesting mix of personal finance and atheism topics, and often includes interviews of special guests. Some of his more interesting ones include #160 "Don't Save for College" and #146 "Annuity Kickbacks." You will also see that he has interviewed a few of the people who will be speaking at PAStAHCon in October.