Skeptics' Peña

What's a "peña?" In South America, the term refers to a gathering of like-minded people who get together to talk about some topic with the aid of finger food and wine and spirits (of the alcoholic variety). It's like a salon, but for regular folks.

We will gather to ponder the world, one topic at a time. We will examine debates without debating, exploring our convictions –or lack thereof– and the reasons we have to have them –or to not have them. We will do so in relaxed, friendly setting, keeping in mind what Bertrand Russell is said to have said about beliefs: "I would never die for my beliefs because I might be wrong." Or, if you prefer, what The Dude said about opinions:

Feel free to bring food and beverages of your liking.

The plan is to meet the Wednesday after the Assembly each month, with a new topic.

This month's topic: "Are you religious, and you don't know it?" In Sapiens, big historian Yuval Noah Harari argues that modernity has seen the rise of natural-law religions (or isms): liberalism, Communism, capitalism... And maybe skepticism? Is Harari right or wrong? Watch this video of Paul Bloom ("There Is Nothing Special About Religion") from 27:43 to 37:20 to prime yourself for the discussion. We'll watch it again at the Peña.

Because of limited space at my place, we have to limit the attendance to 10, so please only RSVP if you plan to plan to make it, or cancel if you won't be able to in order to open a spot up for someone else.

May 17, 2017 at 7pm - 10pm
Wilmer's Abode
3332 Mentone Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90034
United States
Google map and directions
Wilmer Rojas Buendia · · 310-500-8715
Mollie Knute James Witker christoph Ruegg

Will you come?

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  • christoph Ruegg
    attended. 2017-06-06 21:00:24 -0700
  • James Witker
    attended. 2017-06-06 21:00:24 -0700
  • Mollie Knute
    attended. 2017-06-06 21:00:24 -0700
  • James Witker
    commented 2017-05-21 22:25:17 -0700
    Here are some citations/examples of ideas/traditions and movements/orgs that are “religious” or in a certain sense “religion,” but are not supernatural in nature, dogmatic in practice, or based on some idea of unchanging doctrine or unchallenged authority. The latter qualities are commonly associated with the concept of religion and were proposed by several people during the discussion as definitionally important. Yet a broader understanding that sees religion as systems of human norms and values in response to a superhuman order (e.g. in this case, that which is greater than humans, such as nature itself) allows room for Humanism, naturalism and other philosophical ideas to be considered religious if they help provide meaning in people’s lives and orient communities around common important values.

    Religious Naturalist Association –

    “Religious naturalists take nature to heart. We hold a naturalist view of how things are in the world, and we also see ourselves as religious, in non-traditional ways, as we absorb the wonder of being alive and the order and beauty of the cosmos. We ask ‘What is?’ and ‘What matters?’ questions, seeking answers from natural (rather than supernatural) sources. Our searches are guided by the wisdom that can be found in such human traditions as science, art, literature, philosophy, and the religions of the world (which are also part of nature). Religious naturalists include those who see themselves as atheists, agnostics, non-theists, or humanists; some are disinterested in such labels. We also consider ourselves, in our own ways, to be spiritual. As we seek to learn from and care about the natural world, including its humankind, we develop respect for things that clearly matter, such as ecological stability and social justice.”

    American Ethical Union (Religious Humanism) –

    “Ethical Humanism, also called Ethical Culture, is an evolving body of ideas that inspires Ethical Societies. Humanism is a progressive philosophy of life that, without supernaturalism, affirms our ability and responsibility to lead ethical lives of personal fulfillment that aspire to the greater good of humanity (Humanist Manifesto III). For Ethical Humanists, the ultimate religious questions are not about the existence of gods or an afterlife, but rather, ‘How can we create meaningfulness in this life?’ and ‘How should we treat each other?’”

    In the essay “Primal Reverence,” Unitarian Universalist Minister and Humanist Institute member Kendyl Gibbons argues that reverence for the natural world is intrinsic to human experience (biologically, perhaps) and is the basis for spiritual/religious ideas and impulses:
  • Mollie Knute
    rsvped 2017-05-15 20:11:14 -0700
  • James Witker
    rsvped 2017-05-14 14:46:43 -0700
  • christoph Ruegg
    rsvped 2017-05-02 22:10:59 -0700
  • Wilmer Rojas
    is hosting. 2017-05-01 20:52:21 -0700