New July course – Artificial Super-Intelligence and the Coming Technological Singularity – with George Dvorsky

George Dvorsky, prominent futurist and writer on ethics and technology, will explore “Artificial Super-Intelligence and the Coming Technological Singularity” during the month of July.

Description: This class introduces the key concepts and theories as they pertain to the hypothesized Technological Singularity, or Intelligence Explosion. We will survey the history of the idea, the state of artificial intelligence today, and the theoretical underpinnings that give rise to the prospect of greater-than-human machine intelligence. Topics to be discussed will include the brain-as-computer analog, Accelerating Change, brain mapping initiatives, whole brain emulations versus rules-based AI, the various definitions of the Singularity, and Friendly. Along the way we will discuss the benefits and risks posed by machine superintelligence, and the ethical considerations involved.

start/end dates – July 1 / July 31, 2014

Schedule and readings: Specific reading and discussion goals are set for each week, and students can proceed at their own pace. There are no live events planned. An assortment of resources will be used, including academic papers, online presentations, instructional videos, and popular articles. Everything to be read and discussed is provided at no extra charge inside the virtual classroom. Students can proceed at their own pace and there are no video presentations that could be missed. Visit the class anytime to contribute your thoughts and receive our replies in discussion forums.

GENERAL INFORMATION: Online classrooms and their discussion threads are accessible 24/7, so you can participate at any hour of the day when there’s some time in your busy schedule. Instructors will not be on live video and you won’t be either – there is nothing happening on camera and no particular time of day you have to be present. If an instructor posts a pre-recorded video, you can view it at your convenience. There’s nothing ‘live’ to be missed, and course instructor respond individually and promptly to all questions and comments. Instructors lead everyone through lectures and readings, but no attendance is taken and there are no assignments to complete – instructors are always available when you are ready to engage them about what is on your mind.

Ask George about this course by tweeting to him at twitter.com/dvorsky or posting on his facebook wall at www.facebook.com/gdvorsky


Canadian futurist, science writer, and ethicist George Dvorsky has written and spoken extensively about the impacts of cutting-edge science and technology—particularly as they pertain to the improvement of human performance and experience. George is a contributing editor at io9 where he writes about science, culture, and futurism. A founding member of the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies, he is its Chair of the Board and the founder and program director for its Rights of Non-Human Persons program. In addition, George is the co-founder and president of the Toronto Transhumanist Association and has served on the Board of Directors for Humanity+ for two terms. His work has been featured in such publications as The Guardian, the BBC, CBC, Forbes, the New York Times, Slate, Radio Free Europe, and al-Jazeera. He is also an avid CrossFitter, an ancestral health enthusiast, and an accomplished music performer, composer, and recording engineer.



  • September workshop – Why Create Humanist Community, and How To Do It – Jen Hancock and Ann Fuller

    Jennifer Hancock and Ann Fuller, Humanist educators and organizational activists with several decades of experience between them, are offering an intensive workshop on “Why Create Humanist Community, and How To Do It” during September.

    There’s plenty of discussion within the Humanist movement about whether and how we should create Humanist communities. Some say that organizing monthly academic lectures is all that is needed. Others think that Humanism is most vibrantly expressed through volunteerism. Still others seek to create Humanist communities that mimic religious models of community. Regardless of what sort of community you may prefer, all successful communities have some common functions and features. In this advanced workshop, Humanist educators and organizational activists Jennifer Hancock and Ann Fuller will identify, clarify, and examine the core issues: The primary communal needs of all people; Finding community – Where to get started; Attracting the right sort of people; and How do we keep our community going?

    start/end dates – September 1 / September 30, 2014

    Schedule: Specific reading and discussion goals are set for each week, but within that framework you can participate in every element on your own time. Discussions will be guided by our posts and online readings and videos. Everything to be read and discussed is provided at no extra charge inside the virtual classroom. Students can proceed at their own pace and there are no video presentations that could be missed. Visit the class anytime to contribute your thoughts and receive our replies in discussion forums.

    GENERAL INFORMATION: Online classrooms and their discussion threads are accessible 24/7, so you can participate at any hour of the day when there’s some time in your busy schedule. Instructors will not be on live video and you won’t be either – there is nothing happening on camera and no particular time of day you have to be present. If an instructor posts a pre-recorded video, you can view it at your convenience. There’s nothing ‘live’ to be missed, and course instructor respond individually and promptly to all questions and comments. Instructors lead everyone through lectures and readings, but no attendance is taken and there are no assignments to complete – instructors are always available when you are ready to engage them about what is on your mind.

    Questions about the course? Contact Jen Hancock at jen@jen-hancock.com

    Jennifer Hancock

    Jennifer Hancock is considered one of the top writers and speakers in the Humanist world today. As founder of Humanist Learning Systems, Jennifer focuses on teaching people critical thinking, personal ethics and personal responsibility. Her presentations, called “dynamic” and “captivating” by audiences across America, will leave you “a good deal better informed and always inspired.” By sharing her pragmatic Humanist approach, Jennifer has transformed the lives of those who have been touched by her work. Among a small number of people in America raised as a Humanist, she brings her delightful sense of humor, creativity, and compassion combined with a no-nonsense approach to all of her work and her coaching. She will help you focus on what really matters in your life, and she will teach you the practical skills you need to live your life the way you know you should be: ethically, compassionately, and responsibly.

    Ann FullerAnn Fuller has over two decades of board governance experience in both religious and secular non-profit communities. She is a Community Minister, affiliated with UU congregations in Brevard County, Florida. She has served on the board of several Humanist organizations, most recently the Humanist Institute where she is mentoring Class 18 with John Shook. Ann is presently the director of communications for a non-profit youth sports organization. She is active in local church-state separation issues, and speaks regularly on topics as diverse as secular parenting, the human need for ritual, and the critical importance of compassion and reason in contemporary society. Ann is proud of her humanist family, as she and her husband are raising three humanist feminist sons.



  • New August course – Questioning or Defending the Historicity of Jesus – with Dr. Richard Carrier

    Richard Carrier’s new book On the Historicity of Jesus will soon be available, and this August course is your opportunity to explore its controversial stances on Jesus.

    Description: This course discusses the best arguments for and against the historical existence of Jesus (as the putative founder of Christianity), and we will proceed step-by-step through ways to approach them and evaluate them. Working from the first peer reviewed academic book arguing Jesus might not have existed, taught by the author himself, you will learn how to distinguish good arguments from bad, and about the background and context of the origins of Christianity as a whole. This is the best opportunity to ask Dr. Carrier, who holds a PhD in ancient history from Columbia University, all your questions about his controversial research and the historical(?) figure of Jesus. Main issues to cover: understanding the complex background to the origins of Christianity (unit 1, OHJ chs. 4, 5, & 7); comparing the competing theories of how and why Christianity began (unit 2, OHJ chs. 1, 2, & 3); understanding the Gospels and Acts as mythology and whether historical facts about Jesus can be extracted from them (unit 3, OHJ chs. 6, 9, & 10); and exploring the arguments for and against evidence for a historical Jesus in the authentic Epistles of Paul and literature outside the New Testament (unit 4, OHJ chs. 8, 11, & 12).

    start/end dates – August 1 / August 31, 2014

    Schedule: Specific reading and discussion goals are set for every week, completing four units in four weeks, but within that framework you can participate in every element on your own time. There are no live events to be missed. One book by Richard Carrier is required reading (see below). Everything else about the course is provided inside the classroom website. Course lectures, academic papers, links to websites, and forums for discussions with the instructor and students are included in the Moodle website classroom. Visit the class anytime to contribute your posts and receive Dr. Carrier’s replies in discussion forums.

    Course Reading: Dr. Richard Carrier, On the Historicity of Jesus: Why We Might Have Reason for Doubt (2014). Students must purchase their own copy (print or electronic) before course begins. Additional readings will be provided electronically inside the online classroom at no cost to students.

    GENERAL INFORMATION: Online classrooms and their discussion threads are accessible 24/7, so you can participate at any hour of the day when there’s some time in your busy schedule. Instructors will not be on live video and you won’t be either – there is nothing happening on camera and no particular time of day you have to be present. If an instructor posts a pre-recorded video, you can view it at your convenience. There’s nothing ‘live’ to be missed, and course instructor respond individually and promptly to all questions and comments. Instructors lead everyone through lectures and readings, but no attendance is taken and there are no assignments to complete – instructors are always available when you are ready to engage them about what is on your mind.

    Ask Richard about his course by posting on his facebook wall at www.facebook.com/richard.carrier.phd

    Richard Carrier
    Richard Carrier, PhD, is the renowned author of Sense and Goodness without God and Proving History, as well as numerous articles online and in print. He received his PhD in ancient history from Columbia University in 2008, and now specializes in the modern philosophy of naturalism, the origins of Christianity, and the intellectual history of Greece and Rome. For more about Richard and his work visit www.richardcarrier.info.



  • New July course – Dr. Richard Carrier on Thinking Like a Historian: Historical Methods, Practice and Theory

    To learn how to critically examine historical claims like Richard Carrier, take his course on “Thinking Like a Historian: Historical Methods, Practice and Theory” during the month of July.

    Learn how to question and investigate claims about history. Study not only the logic of historical reasoning and argument, but also a lot of the practical tips and tricks real historians employ to test and check claims. Learn the particular skills of skeptical and critical thinking about history. Primary topics: Best practices among historians; historical methods as modes of reasoning (both criteria-based and Bayesian); examples of flawed reasoning and bad arguments in peer reviewed history journals and monographs (and how to spot them as a layperson); and what to do to critically examine a claim using both immediate heuristics and procedures for more labor-intensive inquiry.

    start/end dates – July 1 / July 31, 2014

    Schedule: Specific reading and discussion goals are set for every week, completing four units in four weeks, but within that framework you can participate in every element on your own time. There are no live events to be missed. One book by Richard Carrier is required reading (see below). Everything else about the course is provided inside the classroom website. Course lectures, academic papers, links to websites, and forums for discussions with the instructor and students are included in the Moodle website classroom. Visit the class anytime to contribute your posts and receive Dr. Carrier’s replies in discussion forums.

    Required Course Text: Richard Carrier, Proving History (2012). Students must purchase their own copy (the print edition is all that will be available, by the end of June) before course begins. Additional readings will be provided electronically inside the online classroom at no cost to students.

    GENERAL INFORMATION: Online classrooms and their discussion threads are accessible 24/7, so you can participate at any hour of the day when there’s some time in your busy schedule. Instructors will not be on live video and you won’t be either – there is nothing happening on camera and no particular time of day you have to be present. If an instructor posts a pre-recorded video, you can view it at your convenience. There’s nothing ‘live’ to be missed, and course instructor respond individually and promptly to all questions and comments. Instructors lead everyone through lectures and readings, but no attendance is taken and there are no assignments to complete – instructors are always available when you are ready to engage them about what is on your mind.

    Ask Richard about his course by posting on his facebook wall at www.facebook.com/richard.carrier.phd

    Richard Carrier
    Richard Carrier, PhD, is the renowned author of Sense and Goodness without God and Proving History, as well as numerous articles online and in print. He received his PhD in ancient history from Columbia University in 2008, and now specializes in the modern philosophy of naturalism, the origins of Christianity, and the intellectual history of Greece and Rome. For more about Richard and his work visit www.richardcarrier.info.



  • New August course – Can Humanism Reorient Unitarianism, Before It’s Too Late? – with Mike Werner

    Join one of America’s foremost Humanists, Mike Werner, for an extended discussion of his controversial new book Regaining Balance: The Evolution of the UUA, during the month of August.

    Mike Werner’s book Regaining Balance: The Evolution of the UUA is not an obituary for Unitarianism, but a prescription for recovery. A recovery is urgently needed. Once one of America’s most influential Protestant denominations, the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) has imploded over the past 40 years, shrinking to 0.05% of the population. Why? Former American Humanist Association president Michael Werner has assembled the reasons, from a fuzzy obsession with pluralism to a disdain for the Humanist values that drove the UUA’s rise to prominence in the first place. “Follow the money,” Werner urges, as he analyzes one policy failure after another. The UUA is a proud institution that retains valuable human assets, carefully catalogued by Werner, that can seize the opportunity presented by today’s sea change in religious attitudes if it will get back to its Humanist roots. The evolution of the UUA from a focus on reason in religion to one of radical tolerance is a primary topic for discussion. Postmodernism, process theology, second wave feminism, value theory, new age, theological education, the “religious redefinition” game, population dynamics, and the age of narcissism in religion are implicated for taking the UUA to ideological extremes of indiscriminate pluralism. Mike Werner is eager to share his many insights and his proposed secular and humanist revolution for Unitarianism before it is too late.

    “In this book Mike Werner analyzes what is wrong with the UUA and suggests how we can correct our problems and become once again a vital and growing religious movement. It should be read by every UU who cares about the future of our Association.” William R. Murry, Former President and Dean, Meadville Lombard Theological School, IL.
    “Mike Werner has penned a must-read for every humanist interested in restoring the Unitarian Universalist Association to soundness. Better yet—every UU should read Werner’s eye-opening insights, and let the discussion begin!” Marilyn Westfall, co-founder of The Eloquent Atheist and former director of First UU in Lubbock, TX.
    “Michael Werner here chronicles the ways that the Boston UUA establishment has been transforming non-creedalism into anythingism, with no significant results in expanded membership. He urges restoring the Enlightenment humanism that had once been emerging.” Robert Tapp, former Dean and Faculty Chair emeritus of The Humanist Institute.
    “There is no one more dedicated to both Unitarian Universalism and Humanism than Mike Werner. It’s a pleasure for me to recommend his thoughtful new book. I’m looking forward to the vigorous dialogue that I’m certain it will provoke.” John Hooper, President, HUUmanists Association, UUA.

    start/end dates – August 1 / August 31, 2014

    Schedule: Participants should get their own e-book or print copy of Regaining Balance: The Evolution of the UUA through the bookstore using this link to Humanist Press. Additional materials are available for free from inside the the virtual classroom, where forums for discussions are also located. Visit the class anytime to contribute your posts and receive Mike’s replies in discussion forums. Online classrooms and their discussion threads are accessible 24/7, so you can participate at any hour of the day when there’s some time in your busy schedule. Your instructor will not be on video and you won’t be either – there is nothing on camera and no particular time of day you have to be present. If an instructor posts a pre-recorded video, you can view it at your convenience. There’s nothing ‘live’ to be missed, and course instructors respond individually and promptly to all questions and comments. Instructors lead everyone through lectures and readings, but no attendance is taken and there are no assignments to complete – instructors are always available when you are ready to engage them about what is on your mind.

    Ask Mike Werner about his class: mwerner@ec.rr.com

    Mike Werner About the instructor: Fighting for civil rights at an early age, and later working in many Humanist, atheist, and freethought organizations, much of Mike Werner’s life has revolved around progressive activism. Besides a career that included teaching at major universities, Mike has been President of the American Humanist Association, a Board member of the HUUmanists of UUA, a member of the North American Committee for Humanism, and a faculty member of the Humanist Institute. He also was one of the founders of SMART Recovery, a Self Management and Recovery Training recovery program for addictions. Mike presently lives in Wilmington, N.C.



  • New July course – Become a Humanist Celebrant – with Han Hills, Professional Celebrant

    Han Hills is one of the busiest nonreligious celebrants in his state, and his July class “Become a Humanist Celebrant” will explain how he does it.

    Learn how to become a paid professional Humanist celebrant and officiant in your region. The demand for nonreligious and Humanist ceremonies is growing every year and there is a shortage of trained professionals to meet that need. This introductory course alone will not ‘certify’ you or guarantee that you can declare a marriage legally binding, so we’ll make sure you understand your state’s laws. You will acquire core skills and knowledge to start practicing and taking bookings immediately. You will learn how to find clients, and get known in your area for being the officiant to choose. Learn the basics about assembling wedding ceremonies and memorials, helping people unfamiliar with humanism be proud of their choice. I can’t ‘walk’ you through an actual ceremony online, but I can help connect you with those who can lend some practical experience. In my online class, you will be introduced to professional standards for both being a celebrant and a person earning good money. Learn how to network with other professionals in your region to build your business using online and offline strategies. Understand the legal and professional requirements you need to officiate and take your business to the highest level. Take advantage of this growing opportunity to practice professional humanism in service to your community, and make a very real income along the way. This course will give you all you need to begin and succeed!

    start/end dates – July 1 / July 31, 2014

    Schedule: Han’s presentations and materials are all provided at no extra charge inside the virtual classroom. Students can proceed at their own pace and there are no video presentations that could be missed. Visit the class anytime to contribute your thoughts and receive instructor replies in discussion forums. GENERAL INFORMATION: Online classrooms and their discussion threads are accessible 24/7, so you can participate at any hour of the day when there’s some time in your busy schedule. Instructors will not be on live video and you won’t be either – there is nothing happening on camera and no particular time of day you have to be present. If an instructor posts a pre-recorded video, you can view it at your convenience. There’s nothing ‘live’ to be missed, and course instructor respond individually and promptly to all questions and comments. Instructors lead everyone through lectures and readings, but no attendance is taken and there are no assignments to complete – instructors are always available when you are ready to engage them about what is on your mind.

    You can ask Han questions about his course: han@wilmingtonweb.com

    Han Hills is one of the most experienced Professional Humanist Celebrants in America. Visit his professional web site at www.leapofhumanity.com. He has been officiating ceremonies since 2006. He recently won the coveted WeddingWire Couples Choice 2014 Award as one of the top five percent of American wedding professionals. Han performs all types of Humanist ceremonies around the Carolinas and the East Coast, and is an experienced speaker, lecturer, tutor and mentor on both celebration and Humanism. Han is a 2014 graduate of the Humanist Institute, as well as a founder of the Carolinas Secular Conference and the Carolinas Secular Association. Han’s background in acting and theater includes an Edinburgh award for theatrical direction. Han is a former President of the Cape Fear Humanists and continues to serve on the board of several local, regional, and national secular organizations.



  • August course – Kile Jones and Ryan Bell on Boundary Crossings: Talking, Thinking, and Working with Christians

    Join Kile Jones of “Interview an Atheist at Church Day” and Ryan Bell of “A Year Without God” during the month of August as they discuss ways that atheists and Christians can talk, think, and work together.

    Kile and Ryan will apply their experiences of working with Christians to describe methods, pedagogies, and projects that can build coalitions between atheists and Christians. Part 1 will examine the ‘dialogical strategies’ one can use to talk with Christians, and religious people generally. Part 2 will examine the texts, authors, and philosophies one can use to think with Christians about important social and political issues. Part 3 will cover some of the work atheists and Christians can do together: separation of Church and State, inter-faith dialogue, civil rights (including race, gender, and LGBT rights), volunteering, building coalitions, and other forms of social advocacy.
    Hear us on podcasts:
    religionforlife.me/2013/10/01/kile-jones-interview-an-atheist-at-church/
    www.patheos.com/blogs/yearwithoutgod/media/
    Recommended videos about atheists interviewed at churches are at interviewatheists.wordpress.com/

    start/end dates – July 1 / August 31, 2014

    Schedule: Among the books that will come up for discussion are Religion without God by Ronald Dworkin, Faitheist by Chris Stedman, and Religion for Atheists by Alain de Botton, so students can purchase one or more of these optional texts if they choose. Additional readings and videos are available for free from inside the the virtual classroom, where forums for discussions are also located. Visit the class anytime to contribute your posts and receive Kile and Ryan’s replies in discussion forums. Online classrooms and their discussion threads are accessible 24/7, so you can participate at any hour of the day when there’s some time in your busy schedule. Your instructor(s) will not be on video and you won’t be either – there is nothing on camera and no particular time of day you have to be present. If an instructor posts a pre-recorded video, you can view it at your convenience. There’s nothing ‘live’ to be missed, and course instructors respond individually and promptly to all questions and comments. Instructors lead everyone through lectures and readings, but no attendance is taken and there are no assignments to complete – instructors are always available when you are ready to engage them about what is on your mind.

    Ask Kile or Ryan about this session by posting on their facebook walls, at www.facebook.com/kilebjones or www.facebook.com/ryanjbell

    Kile Jones
    Kile Jones has been involved in interfaith work for over a decade. He speaks around the U.S. and the U.K. on issues relating to atheism, religion, and philosophy. He holds two Masters degrees from Boston University (M.T.S., S.T.M.), is the Founder of the Claremont Journal of Religion, and is the Director of “Interview an Atheist at Church Day.” Mr. Jones has been published in Zygon: Journal of Religion and Science, Free Inquiry, Routledge Guide, Philosophy Now, and Reviews in Religion and Theology. He also blogs for Patheos, Feminism and Religion, and The Secularite, and is known to publicly debate Christians now and then. He currently lives in San Diego, California.

    Ryan Bell
    For 19 years Ryan Bell was a pastor, most recently the senior pastor of the Hollywood Seventh-day Adventist Church. In March 2013 he resigned his position due to theological and practical differences. As an adjunct professor he has taught subjects ranging from intercultural communication to bioethics. Currently he is a researcher, writer and speaker on the topic of religion and irreligion in America. In January 2014, Ryan began a yearlong journey exploring the limits of theism and the atheist landscape in the United States and blogs about that experience here at Year Without God. He received a Master of Divinity degree from Andrews University in Berrien Springs, Michigan, and a Doctor of Ministry in Missional Leadership from Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California.



  • New June course – The Science and Philosophy of Free Will – with Richard Carrier

    Richard Carrier, Ph.D. – noted scholar and philosopher – is offering his course on “The Science and Philosophy of Free Will” during the month of June.

    Description: We will study the intersection between science and philosophy in defining and understanding free will, with the aim of learning the latest science on the nature and existence of free will and how to critically approach philosophical uses of it. Students will not only learn about the relevant elements of brain science, but also how to identify common philosophical fallacies in reasoning about free will, and the real-world application of the analysis of free will in diverse fields, from law to medical ethics. Course topics: The varieties of free will and the differences among them; identifying causes and the role of personal identity in making decisions (and what the latest brain science has to say about both); the nature and purpose of assigning responsibility to personal agents (in law, ethics, and daily life); the difference between determinism and fatalism, and the importance of addressing both personal and genetic-environmental causes of decisions when thinking about social, political, legal, and moral systems.

    start/end dates – June 1 / June 30, 2014

    Schedule: Specific reading and discussion goals are set for every week, completing four units in four weeks, but within that framework you can participate in every element on your own time. There are no live events to be missed. One book by Sam Harris is required reading (see below). Everything else about the course is provided inside the classroom website. Course lectures, academic papers, links to websites, and forums for discussions with the instructor and students are included in the Moodle website classroom. Visit the class anytime to contribute your posts and receive Dr. Carrier’s replies in discussion forums. GENERAL INFORMATION: Online classrooms and their discussion threads are accessible 24/7, so you can participate at any hour of the day when there’s some time in your busy schedule. Instructors will not be on live video and you won’t be either – there is nothing happening on camera and no particular time of day you have to be present. If an instructor posts a pre-recorded video, you can view it at your convenience. There’s nothing ‘live’ to be missed, and course instructor respond individually and promptly to all questions and comments. Instructors lead everyone through lectures and readings, but no attendance is taken and there are no assignments to complete – instructors are always available when you are ready to engage them about what is on your mind.

    Required Course Text: Sam Harris, Free Will (2012). Students must purchase their own copy (print or electronic) before course begins. Additional readings will be provided electronically at no cost to students.

    Ask Richard about his course by posting on his facebook wall at www.facebook.com/richard.carrier.phd

    Richard Carrier
    Richard Carrier, PhD, is the renowned author of Sense and Goodness without God and Proving History, as well as numerous articles online and in print. He received his PhD in ancient history from Columbia University in 2008, and now specializes in the modern philosophy of naturalism, the origins of Christianity, and the intellectual history of Greece and Rome. For more about him and his work visit www.richardcarrier.info.



  • New June course – Sexual and Gender Diversity – Julia Hemphill with Greta Christina

    Sociologist Julia Hemphill, joined by Greta Christina, is offering a session about “Sexual and Gender Diversity” during the month of June.

    Description: “Gender”, and what it means to be feminine or masculine, is in many respects a cultural creation that has taken on an entrenched “sacred” quality. The socially constructed aspects of gender and gender performance has come to be seen as biologically given, “natural”, and therefore “right”. When these ideas are challenged, either through the expression of LGBTQ identities, or in the form of explicit resistance and activism, the dominant Christian culture takes a morally charged, and culturally powerful stance against these communities. These definitions of reality are so deeply entrenched in American culture that they come to shape even the most critical and progressive individuals’ perceptions of normality. What’s more, it’s a problem endemic in secular and atheist communities, which if not directly problematized, will continue to shape perceptions of gender and sexuality within the atheist community.

    start/end dates – June 1 / June 30, 2014

    Schedule and readings: Discussions will be guided by our posts and online readings and videos. Everything to be read and discussed is provided at no extra charge inside the virtual classroom. Students can proceed at their own pace and there are no video presentations that could be missed. Visit the class anytime to contribute your thoughts and receive our replies in discussion forums. There is nothing “live” you can miss – log in and participate anytime day or night, 24/7, throughout the month. Ask Julia Hemphill about this course by writing to her at juliahemphill12@gmail.com GENERAL INFORMATION: Online classrooms and their discussion threads are accessible 24/7, so you can participate at any hour of the day when there’s some time in your busy schedule. Instructors will not be on live video and you won’t be either – there is nothing happening on camera and no particular time of day you have to be present. If an instructor posts a pre-recorded video, you can view it at your convenience. There’s nothing ‘live’ to be missed, and course instructor respond individually and promptly to all questions and comments. Instructors lead everyone through lectures and readings, but no attendance is taken and there are no assignments to complete – instructors are always available when you are ready to engage them about what is on your mind.

    Julia Hemphill
    Julia Hemphill is a PhD candidate in the Sociology Department at York University, Toronto. She is freelance researcher and a college professor. She has taught a variety of courses at Humber College in Toronto, including classes on ‘The Family’, ‘Feminisms’, ‘Popular Culture’, and ‘The Body’. Julia’s current research area is the sociology of food. She is examining food networks and food security in rural Ontario, identifying the barriers that farmers encounter in selling their products to local consumers. She is also currently writing in the area of humor and social norms, analyzing how humor can be used to both challenge, but also sometimes reinforce problematic messages about gender and ‘race’.

    Greta Christina
    Greta Christina has been writing professionally since 1989, on topics including atheism, sexuality and sex-positivity, LGBT issues, politics, culture, and whatever crosses her mind. She is author of Coming Out Atheist: How to Do It, How to Help Each Other, and Why, of Why Are You Atheists So Angry? 99 Things That Piss Off the Godless, and of Bending: Dirty Kinky Stories About Pain, Power, Religion, Unicorns, & More, and is editor of Paying For It: A Guide by Sex Workers for Their Clients. She has been a public speaker for many years, and is on the speaker’s bureaus of the Secular Student Alliance. Her writing has appeared in multiple magazines and newspapers, including Ms., Penthouse, Chicago Sun-Times, On Our Backs, and Skeptical Inquirer, and numerous anthologies, including “Everything You Know About God Is Wrong” and three volumes of “Best American Erotica.” She is co-founder and co-organizer of the Godless Perverts, a performance series and social community that promotes a positive view of sexuality without religion. She lives in San Francisco with her wife, Ingrid.



  • New June course – Sean Faircloth on Defending Secular Government: Strategies for Success

    During the month of June, prominent secular advocate Sean Faircloth is holding an online session on “Defending Secular Government: Strategies for Success.”

    Want to stand up against the Religious Right? Need solid results for protecting the secular side of society? That’s what Sean Faircloth knows about. Join this class during June to review strategies for success with a leader having impressive direct experience and a track record of getting results. Yes, for academics, Sean Faircloth graduated cum laude with a degree in Government and International Relations from the University of Notre Dame, and he has a law degree from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law. He is an author as well, publishing Attack of the Theocrats! How the Religious Right Harms Us All & What We Can Do About It in 2012. This book is based on his pragmatic experience as a ten-year state legislator and four years as a lobbyist at state and federal levels, busily advocating civic priorities and church-state separation. This course focuses on these priorities today: What it’s like in the trenches competing with the Religious Right; The First Amendment and how the Religious Right endangers it; Messaging: changing the silent secular majority into the winning secular majority; and Logistics: practical strategies for protecting separation of Church and State.

    start/end dates – June 1 / June 30, 2014

    Schedule and readings: It is strongly recommend that participants get a copy of Sean’s book Attack of the Theocrats! How the Religious Right Harms Us All & What We Can Do About It. Discussions will be guided by Sean’s book, his posts, and online readings and videos. Everything to be read and discussed is provided at no extra charge inside the virtual classroom. GENERAL INFORMATION: Online classrooms and their discussion threads are accessible 24/7, so you can participate at any hour of the day when there’s some time in your busy schedule. Instructors will not be on live video and you won’t be either – there is nothing happening on camera and no particular time of day you have to be present. If an instructor posts a pre-recorded video, you can view it at your convenience. There’s nothing ‘live’ to be missed, and course instructor respond individually and promptly to all questions and comments. Instructors lead everyone through lectures and readings, but no attendance is taken and there are no assignments to complete – instructors are always available when you are ready to engage them about what is on your mind.

    Ask Sean about his course by tweeting him at @seanfaircloth

    Sean Faircloth
    Sean Faircloth’s extensive organizing, lobbying and political experience includes spearheading over thirty laws, many pertaining to children and women’s rights. During his decade serving in Maine’s legislature, Faircloth earned a 100% voting record with the Maine Women’s Lobby. He served on the Judiciary Committee, Appropriations Committee, and was elected Majority Whip. He also initiated the Maine Discovery Museum, leading the $4.5 million project from concept to completion. Faircloth was opening speaker for candidate Obama in Maine. Faircloth served two years as executive director of the Secular Coalition for America and created its Fifty State plan. A noted public orator, he was opening speaker for Richard Dawkins on three tours, and laid out a concise secular political vision at the Reason Rally in 2012. His 2013 tour Down Under, including speaking at the Sydney Opera House, sparked citizens in Australia to organize their policy-focused national coalition (his speech in Perth). Faircloth recently returned from a speaking tour in the Republic of Turkey, where separation of religion and state is crumbling. He will be on the road across America once again in the near future, trying to prevent that same fate for our country.