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Almost every Sunday, HGP members gather in Portland, Oregon, for a program which is free and open to the public. With the invited presenters' permissions, we record those talks for our members, and with further permission, make them available here. Hovering over a thumbnail below shows its full title and [date] of that program, and clicking it brings it to the top window to view its "Description" and/or video. Most programs start with a very short reading chosen by a member. See for more info about HGP and our programs. Members also get access to videos not authorized for public release, as well as the HGP library and member-oriented events. Video credits: For most videos, camera is done by Mike Birtchet, audio is done by Bill Maiden, and final editing was done by Dave DiNucci and is currently done by Laurent Beauregard. None of these videos would be possible without the excellent work of the HGP Program Committee to schedule speakers and to carry out the programs, or without the contributed time and effort of the speakers themselves.
Updated: 1 hour 29 min ago

Critical Thinking [2015/06-28]

Mon, 07/27/2015 - 1:18pm

Presentation by Alex Sager. Advocates of critical thinking often ignore is that there is no consensus among scholars about what critical thinking is. Moreover, we have very little idea of how to teach critical thinking so that it applies to the real world. Sager explores some of the complications surrounding critical thinking by focusing on science and its applications. He suggests that we should explore how social processes promote or distort the ability to think critically. Sager is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Portland State University. He regularly teaches courses on science and society. Last year he directed the first Oregon High School Ethics Bowl.

Cast: Portland Humanists

Tags: critical thinking and philosophy

From Goddess to God [2015/05-03]

Mon, 07/27/2015 - 11:25am

Presentation by Karen Garst. How did Western Civilization come to be based on a patriarchal model? Since the 1960's feminist movement, writers have taken up the study of women and religion and how women became subjugated, ending with three monotheist religions based on a male deity. Karen Garst looks at how this affects the role of women and men today. Ms. Garst holds a Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin. She has worked as a field representative for the Oregon Federation of Teachers and has served as executive director of the Oregon State Bar. She is compiling a book of essays by women atheists.

Cast: Portland Humanists

Existential Dilemmas [2015/06-14]

Fri, 07/03/2015 - 11:31am

Tom Needham explores four human dilemmas: death, meaning, freedom, and isolation. If we acknowledge these dilemmas, and formulate our own way of dealing with them, we are likely to live happier lives. Tom is a fifth generation Oregonian and graduate of MIT. He is a long-time member of West Hills Unitarian Universalist Fellowship where, for the last two years, he has facilitated a group discussion which explores how humanist values can help in building a good life.

Cast: Portland Humanists

Tags: philosophy and humanism

Youth Climate Action Now [2015/06-21]

Thu, 07/02/2015 - 11:44am

Nicholas Caleb describes the lawsuits of Our Children's Trust and his grassroots organizing activities. He promotes the Youth Climate Action Now! program, which is aimed at helping communities design and pass climate recovery ordinances. The aim is to spread this type of thinking and organizing to municipalities in the region. Caleb is a 31-year old attorney, professor at Concordia University in NE Portland, and climate law fellow at Our Children's Trust.

Cast: Portland Humanists

Tags: climate change

Driving While Black [2015/06-07]

Thu, 07/02/2015 - 2:12am

Mariann Hyland is the co-creator of Driving While Black -- The App, a mobile phone application that promotes safety, accountability, and justice during traffic stops for Black people and others. Mariann discusses what inspired the App's creation, why the App is needed, and what she hopes it will accomplish.

Cast: Portland Humanists

Water Witching and Dowsing [2015/05-24]

Thu, 07/02/2015 - 2:08am

Presentation by Todd Jarvis. While Oregon is famous for its diverse water landscapes, Oregonians have a rich history in dowsing and locating water and water channels. Folklore describes the diverse tools used by Oregon water witches dating back to the early 1900s. Nearly every means imaginable has been used to “divine” water -- from pitchforks, car keys hung as a pendulum, bibles, to the classic “forked” stick. Todd Jarvis is the Interim Director of the Institute for Water & Watersheds and an Assistant Professor at Oregon State University. He has over 30 years of experience in the groundwater engineering industry and is a certified engineering geologist, and water right examiner. (HGP does not take responsibility for material presented by our speakers.)

Cast: Portland Humanists

Tags: water witching

Oregon Free Thought [2015/05-31]

Thu, 07/02/2015 - 1:54am

Presentation by Gus Frederick. This talk addresses the Freethought movement in Western Oregon during the latter quarter of the19th Century, beginning with the seeds of the Oregon State Secular League, culminating with the establishment of Liberal University of Oregon at Silverton, the West’s first strictly secular center of higher learning. Gus Frederick is a native Oregonian and third generation Free Thinker. He was born in 1954, 100 years after his hometown of Silverton was founded. He is by training a filmmaker and photographer, although he has broadened that term to multimedia artist. He currently works as a conceptual artist, photographer, filmmaker and animator. (HGP does not take responsibility for material presented by our speakers.)

Cast: Portland Humanists

Tags: free thought and humanism

Oregon Climate Declaration Campaign [2015/05-10]

Sat, 05/23/2015 - 8:48pm

Mark Darienzo speaks about fossil fuel divestment and about a campaign asking state and local governments to divest from fossil fuels and to invest in energy efficiency and clean alternative energies.
 Mark has worked as an earthquake and tsunami program coordinator for the State Office of Emergency Management. (HGP does not take responsibility for material presented by our speakers.)

Cast: Portland Humanists

Tags: climate change and fossil fuel divestment

Oregon Historical Society [2015/04-26]

Wed, 05/20/2015 - 3:36pm

Scott Calhoun of the Oregon Historical Society provides an overview of Oregon history beginning with the varying lifestyles of the Native Americans prior to Euro-American contact, and then proceeds through the eras of maritime explorers, fur traders, missionaries, and finally the pioneers of the Oregon Trail. He concludes with a brief presentation of the Historical Society itself -- its history, organization, functions, and funding. (HGP does not take responsibility for material presented by our speakers.)

Cast: Portland Humanists

Tags: Oregon history

Artists Respond to Nietzsche [2015/04-19]

Wed, 05/20/2015 - 3:19pm

Presentation by Dave Collamer. After Darwin's "Origin of Species" in 1859, a later shock for Judeo-Christian beliefs struck in 1882 when philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche declared "God is dead." With a seeming lack of purpose, and unclear morality in the universe, artists, writers, and philosophers attempted to fill the void with alternative purposes and moralities that still draw the interests of humanists today. (HGP does not take responsibility for material presented by our speakers.)

Cast: Portland Humanists

Tags: Nietzsche, artists and writers

The Oregon Encyclopedia [2015/04-12]

Wed, 05/20/2015 - 12:25pm

Tania Hyatt-Evenson speaks about The Oregon Encyclopedia, a free on-line encyclopedia available to anyone with internet access. Ms. Hyatt-Evenson is Outreach Coordinator for The Oregon Encyclopedia. She holds an M.A. from Portland. Her focus is on environmental and public history.

Cast: Portland Humanists

Tags: Oregon history and encyclopedia