Announcing Local March 30th event

The New Jersey Humanist Network hosts Rob Boston of Americans United for Separation of Church and State

Where we’ve been, where we are, and where we’d like to be

Saturday, March 30, 2019
1:30 pm – 3:45 pm
Franklin Township Library (Community Room)
485 Demott Ln
Somerset, NJ 08873

Americans United for Separation of Church and State (AU) is a national nonpartisan educational and advocacy organization dedicated to advancing the constitutional principle of church-state separation as the only way to ensure freedom of religion, including the right to believe or not believe, for all Americans. AU envisions an America where everyone can freely choose a faith and support it voluntarily, or follow no religious or spiritual path at all, and where the government does not promote religion over non-religion or favor one faith over another.

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Upcoming Events – February 2019

Announcing two events – Feb. 12th and 13th:

(1) The Rutgers Center for Cognitive Science will host Pascal Boyer, cognitive anthropologist and author of “Religion Explained

“Why humans do not understand humans societies: Evolved Intuitive Sociology and the Social Sciences”

Tuesday, February 12, 2019 (International Darwin Day)
1:00 – 2:30 PM
Psychology Building Room 101
Busch Campus

From the abstract: “Understanding the evolutionary challenges of coordination helps provide more psychologically plausible social sciences.”
For more, click here to go to the RuCCS posting for this event

Also see Dr. Boyer’s most recent book “Minds Make Societies: How Cognition Explains the World Humans Create

(2) Humanist Community at Rutgers University –
Open Discussion

Wednesday, February 13, 2019
6:30 – 8:30 PM
College Avenue Student Center
Atrium Conference Room
126 College Avenue, New Brunswick

Grab something to eat in the food court and join us for a conversation about the work of Pascal Boyer, or recent events, or whatever else might be on your mind. All Rutgers students, faculty, and staff are welcome to join the dialogue.

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The Cognitive Science of Religion – November 19th

Monday, November 19, 2018
7:00 PM
Busch Student Center Room 122 BC
Professor Julien Musolino join us to hear about recent work in the cognitive science of religion with Dr. Julien Musolino, a Rutgers professor of Psychology and Cognitive Science, and author of the 2015 book The Soul Fallacy: What Science Shows We Gain from Letting Go of Our Soul Beliefs.
 The Soul Fallacy: What Science Shows We Gain from Letting Go of Our Soul Beliefs

Dr. Musolino also teaches a Rutgers undergraduate course entitled “The Religious Mind” and serves as a faculty advisor to the Humanist Community at Rutgers University.

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World-renowned Humanist Scholar Speaks at Rutgers

On Wednesday, October 3rd, Professor Steven Pinker of Harvard University spoke to over 400 students and faculty in Scott Hall about the human progress resulting from the Enlightment values of reason, science, and humanism. Dr. Pinker is the 2006 recipient of the “Humanist of the Year” award from the American Humanist Association as well as the recipient of the “Outstanding Lifetime Achievement Award in Cultural Humanism” this past March from the Humanist Hub, a humanist community in Boston that serves both Harvard University and MIT.

During the talk, Dr. Pinker defined Humanism as the view that “the ultimate moral purpose is to reduce the suffering and enhance the flourishing of human beings.” We are grateful that he encouraged the audience multiple times to check out the Humanist Community at Rutgers.

Click here to read “Enlightenment Wow: The Humanist Interview with Steven Pinker” from the Humanist magazine.

Upcoming Events – Humanist Community at Rutgers

Wednesday, October 24th 7:00 PM
Make Your Voice Heard in the Political Crowd: An Evening with Sarah Frey of the Secular Coalition for America
Douglass Lounge, Douglass Student Center

Monday, November 19th 7:00 PM
The Cognitive Science of Religion with Rutgers Professor Dr. Julien Musolino
Busch Student Center, Room 122 BC

Other Events of Interest at Rutgers

Thursday, October 11th
Clothesline Project – A visual display bearing witness to interpersonal violence
Voorhes Mall, behind Scott Hall

Sunday, November 18th 12:00-3:00 PM
Good Deeds Day – Locally focused community services activities ranging from a New Brunswick city clean-up to packaging food for Elijah’s Promise to card-making for St. Peter’s hospital patients.
Catholic Center, 84 Somerset St., New Brunswick

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Politics on your mind? Mark your calendar for our next event:

Make Your Voice Heard in the Political Crowd: An Evening with Sarah Frey of the Secular Coalition for America.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018
Douglass Student Center
Douglass Lounge (on the second floor)
100 George St., New Brunswick

Sarah Frey, a lifelong NJ resident, will share many ways in which YOU can make the biggest impact by registering voters, holding your Members of Congress Accountable, and “crashing” your political party. The Secular Coalition for America is non-profit lobbying organization  which focuses on the First Amendment right to separation of church and state, and represents atheists, agnostics, skeptics, freethinkers, and all non-theists. Come meet your lobbyists in Washington and see how the grassroots movement gets its game!


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Hello HCRU Subscribers!

We thought you may be interested in a recent article about Rutgers Professor and HCRU Faculty Adviser Dr Julien Musolino.  The article, titled Students in Rutgers Psychology Class Probe Religious Mind and published on the Rutgers SAS website, explores the unique content and approach to the study of religion that the course offers.

The course explores religion from a scientific perspective, covering domains ranging from neuroscience to American culture, and even human nature more broadly.  Over the semester, the 200 students registered for Dr. Musolino’s “Religious Mind” ask: Why do we believe in Gods?  And further, distrust atheists?  Do human beings have souls, and is there an afterlife? And does religion make us moral?  Throughout the course, students are encouraged to answer these and many others questions by sifting through the empirical research we have to date.

As one sophomore Uri Veit explained, “I’d never come across a college class that analyzes religion from an empirical scientific perspective… I spent most of my life around religion and I want to understand those beliefs from the psychological perspective.”

If you are interested in learning more, please feel free to contact the Humanist Community at Rutgers.  You can also read Dr. Musolino’s book The Soul Fallacy: What Science Shows We Gain by Letting Go of Our Soul Beliefs, which is read during the course, in the link provided.

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“The Truth About Mindfulness: Conversations in Secular Spirituality” with Robert Wright – March 3rd

Mindfulness meditation has become popular in the west as an essentially therapeutic technique that promises to reduce stress and increase happiness. But the Buddhist philosophy that was the ancient context of mindfulness meditation makes bolder promises: It sees meditation as an important part of a larger program that strips away delusions about the world and can even bring “enlightenment”.

This claim – that mindfulness meditation brings a truer vision of the world – suggests that any happiness it fosters might be a “valid” happiness in the sense of being based on accurate perceptions of the world. Modern psychology – particularly evolutionary psychology – offers some support for that view. 

Friday, March 3, 6:30 PM
Douglass Student Center, Meeting Room C (2nd floor)
100 George Street
New Brunswick, NJ 08901

Please RSVP on Our Facebook Event Page


Image result for robert wrightROBERT WRIGHT is the author, most recently, of The Evolution of God, which was a New York Times bestseller and a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. His other books include The Moral Animal, which The New York Times Book Review named one of the ten best books of 1994, and Nonzero, which Bill Clinton called “astonishing” and instructed White House staff members to read. In 2009 Wright was named by Foreign Policy magazine as one of the top 100 global thinkers. Wright has written for The Atlantic, The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, Foreign Policy, and the op-ed pages of The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Financial Times. His books have been translated into more than a dozen languages, and his awards include the National Magazine Award for Essay and Criticism. Wright has taught in the religion department at Princeton and the psychology department at Penn.

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Do we have a Soul?  Christianity and many other religions claim we do – but of course you have to have faith.   But do we really?

Rutgers Professor of Psychology Julien Musolino, a member of the Humanist Community’s Faculty Board of Advisers, argues in his new book The Soul Fallacy that science can investigate the question of whether or not we have a soul, as defined by these popular religions.  Further, he argues that the verdict comes back with a resounding “No, we do not have a soul.”  Pressing the issue even more, this actually turns out to be a good thing!

For more, check out this interview with Prof. Musolino on his book by Rutgers undergraduate and Applied Sentience staff writer Leo Kozachkov.

Musolino - Soul Fallacy Book Event

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The Humanist Community at Rutgers University newsletter will be starting a new monthly digest of articles published by Rutgers students and alumni on Applied Sentience – a new national platform for the next-generation of Humanist thinkers.


The Fiction Fallacy: Part 1, The Problem” by Alex Ioakimidis

Check out Alex’s first article as one of AS’s newest Staff Writers!  Alex, a Rutgers undergraduate, explores the use of “What If?” questions in fiction and wonder whether they can be of any real, substantive use in developing answers.

Of Hidden Gods: Sometimes Absence of Evidence IS Evidence of Absence” by Paul Chiariello

Have you ever talked with a theist who admits there aren’t any good argument or evidence for God, but still states that this doesn’t mean God doesn’t exist?  AS Managing Editor and HCRU Director Paul Chiariello argues that, while this maxim is usually true, there are exception and evidence for God is one of them.

Reason vs Religion at Rutgers: Julien Musolino Debates Mark Baker” by Leo Kozachkov

Leo, a Rutgers undergrad and frequent writer for Applied Sentience, reviews the recent Veritas Forum event at Rutgers in which HCRU’s very own Faculty Adviser and author of the recent book The Soul Fallacy debates linguist Mark Baker on their “perspectives on Science and Faith.”

Why We’re Here: Exploring the Causes of Hong Kong’s Protests” by Denzel Zhu

The recent Pro-Democracy protests in Hong Kong marked an important moment in the history and future of the city state.  But as things usually are, the issues at the core of the protest are complex.  n this article Denzel, a Rutgers Sophomore, clears up some of this complexity in his thorough analysis.


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