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									                                                                                                                     P.O. Box 6675 • Lakeland, FL 33807

                                       Humanist                                                                                          http://hawcf.org




                        CommonSense
                                                                                                                                hawcf@tampabay.rr.com




                                                                                                                                           April 2010
                            A NEWSLETTER OF THE HUMANIST ASSOCIATION OF WEST CENTRAL FLORIDA                                   Volume No. 13, Issue 4
            A CHAPTER OF THE AMERICAN HUMANIST ASSOCIATION (AHA) AND AN AFFILIATE OF THE COUNCIL FOR SECULAR HUMANISM (CSH)


America, Religion and                         Dubious Alternatives                                              The Problem of Theodicy
Science—What More                             By James W. Williamson, M.D.
                                              [Dr. Williamson, a member of our chapter
                                                                                                                By Robert P. Tucker, Ph.D.
                                                                                                                [Dr. Tucker, a founding member of our
Could you Ask For?                            and longtime Humanist advocate, is                                chapter, received his Ph.D. in Theology
 A Special Treat—Join us on                   a retired cardiologist and currently lives                        from the University of Chicago. He was
                                              in Orlando. Editor of a magazine for physi-                       chair of the Dept. of Religion and Philoso-
 Saturday, April 17 at 11 am: We                                                                                phy, Yankton College, Yankton, SD, and
                                              cians, CENTRAL FLORIDA PHYSICIAN, he has con-
 have a New Time and Place                    tributed articles to various freethought pub-                     former professor of Philosophy and Bible
 (see map and directions on p. 2)             lications and regularly submits letters to the                    at Florida Southern College, Lakeland.]
WE HAVE A FOURFOLD TREAT FOR                  ORLANDO SENTINEL. He served on the boards                         PICK UP ANY NEWSPAPER in any
                                              of Humanists of Florida and Atheists of                           city on any day and read it. Somewhere
APRIL: The coveted return of Dr.
                                              Florida. E-mail: jwingw@aol.com]
Robert Tucker to our lectern, plus                                                                              in the world there has been an earth-
TWO lively discussion presentations,          IN ALL AGES, the public has clamored                              quake, a volcanic eruption, a tidal
plus the opportunity to meet new              for magical cures, many of which are                              wave, a flood, a drought, a forest
(or perhaps old) humanist friends             now recognized in retrospect as irratio-                          fire, a tornado, a hurricane, a blizzard,
from the Tampa Bay area, at this joint        nal or even comical. Many people are                              an avalanche, or some other “natural
HAWCF-CFI meeting.                            unaware, however, that even in this                               disaster” which has resulted in the
   First, A MERICA IS N OT A C HRIS -         age of effective scientific medicine                              suffering and deaths of untold
                      TIAN N ATION : Dr.      they are embracing pseudo-scientific                              numbers of animals and people.
                      Tucker will sur-        therapy that in the future will be looked                             Turn on any radio and there you
                      vey some of the         back on in the same way.                                          can hear about the latest case of
                      history of the pop-        Quackery became big business                                   someone lying to someone else, of
                      ular but mistak-        after the Civil War fueled by the                                 one person stealing from another,
                      e n b e l i e f         large scale manufacture of patent                                 of this business defrauding its
                      that the United         medicines and their distribution in                               customers, of that corporation
                      States was inten-       frontier areas by “medicine men,”                                 selling dangerous and defective
                      tionally and legal-     who traveled in horse-drawn wagons                                merchandise, of some country de-
                      ly founded as a         covered with ads for patent medi-                                 valuing its money, of another nation
Christian nation. He will survey some         cines. This type of distribution                                  discriminating against large segments
recent and rather startling (and              eventually developed into full-blown                              of its population.
possibly unsettling) instances of             medicine shows with acrobats,                                         Watch television or scan the Inter-
this false belief in action.                  elephants, and magic acts to entertain                            net for a while and you can see the
   W AYS OF K NOWING : S CIENCE VS .          a gullible audience.                                              swollen bellies of starving children,
R ELIGION —in the second half, Dr.               Many of the patent medicines’
                                              claims were not encumbered by logic.                                                           Continued on p. 6
Tucker will offer a 14-point anal-
ysis of the great differences be-                          CONTENTS:
                                              The King of Pain was good for bald-
tween the epistemologies, goals and           ness or deafness, or whatever the                                        CALENDAR
language of modern science and                                                     Continued on p. 4                   April–June 2010
                     Continued on p. 2                      CONTENTS                                             April 12 ................. Humanist Dinner
      APRIL MEETING                             Dr. Tucker for HAWCF & CFI—April 17 ... 1                        April 17 ......................... Humanist Meeting
                                                Dubious Alternatives ................................ 1            New Date and Location for this
    11 am Saturday, April 17                    The Problem of Theodicy ........................ 1                 month—See Article on this very
     Seffner-Mango Library                      Atheists on Front Page in Lakeland ......... 2                    special meeting on Page 1 above,
                                                Government and Prayer—Ever and Ever .. 3                                       plus Map on p. 2
     410 N Kingsway Road                                                                                         May 10 .................. Humanist Dinner
                                                Erratum ................................................... 8
  conveniently located just off I-4                                                                              May 18 ............................ Regular Meeting
                                                Book Review: Brief History of Death ......... 9
  in Seffner (813.273.3652) ...                 What is Humanism ................................ 10             June 14 ................. Humanist Dinner
  see driving directions on page 2.             Lakeland Humanist Dinners ................... 11                 June 22 ........................... Regular Meeting
Religious Fracas at                            of the Lakeland chapter of Athe-                               March 15, Wachs and Curry
                                               ists of Florida) and Rob Curry                                 returned, accompanied by John
Lakeland City Council                          (executive director of Atheists of                             Kieffer, president of Atheists of
THERE IT WAS—RIGHT ON THE                      Florida) objected to the standard                              Florida. During this appearance, all
FRONT PAGE of the Lakeland                     practice of opening prayers recited                            three speakers encountered hostil-
Ledger : A THEIST G ROUP C HAL -               by local clergypersons, stating that                           ity and argumentativeness from some
LENGES L AKELAND            C OMMISSION        the practice amounts to “divisive                              commissioners, and the Mayor
O V E R P R AY E R ! C a r y M c M u l l e n , (and) unfair” treatment for the non-                           appeared to be combative and
the Ledger’s                                                           religious and                          dismissive, interrupting all three
Religion Editor,                                                       for those hav-                         during their time for speaking.
on March 12 re-                                                        ing nontradi-                              CBS News affiliate 10CONNECTS
ported on a                                                            tional beliefs.                        interviewed EllenBeth Wachs and
major story in the                                                        The Ledger                          John Kieffer for a story that ran
city, to wit: “The                                                     r e p o r t e r                        on the 11 o’clock news: A THEISTS
Lakeland City                                                          pointed out that                       B LAST L AKELAND C ITY C OMMIS -
Commission is                                                          leaders from                           SION. View the video at http://wtsp.com/
being        chal-                                                     Lakeland’s                             news/local/story.aspx?storyid=127598.
lenged on its pol-       Beautiful Lakeland—let’s keep its             Jewish syn-                                As March ended, EllenBeth
icy of beginning                                                       agogue, Tem-                           Wachs and Rob Curry just con-
                                    nature beautiful
its meetings with                                                      ple Emanuel,                           cluded individual meetings re-
prayer, part of an effort by                   are also exerting pressure on the city                         quested by Commissioner Justin
a state atheist organization that is           council … recently they urged the                              Troller and Mayor Fields, scheduled
targeting the practice at other city           county’s public boards to be                                   for Monday, March 29, 2010. We’ll
councils in the region. City leaders           “completely nondenominational”                                 follow up on further developments
cannot recall being challenged on              when opening their meetings with                               next month.
the practice before, and say they              prayer.                                                            Do you have an opinion about
may be facing an on-going con-                    Read the full story online at http://                       these events going on in Lake-
troversy with the atheists, including          www.theledger.com/article/201003                               land? Should the humanists put
the possibility of legal action.”              12/NEWS/3125036.                                               forth an opinion on the matter? Let
    At the council meeting of March 1,            Not covered by the Ledger was a                             us hear from you about your ideas
2010, EllenBeth Wachs (director                follow-up story: Two weeks later, on                           of freethought life in Lakeland, Florida.


April Meeting                                    Dr. Tucker has served as a member                            579 for Mango-Thonotosassa Roads,
Continued from p. 1                          of the Boards of Florida District UUA,                           Turn right, but move to the left lane
traditional religion.                        and the UU in the Pines. He is a                                 Turn left at the first traffic light, onto
    Robert P. Tucker received his            Founding Board Member of Human-                                     US-92 E/FL-600 E/E Hillsborough
M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in Theology           ist Association of West Central Florida.                            Ave for 1.5 mi
from the University of Chicago,                  His wife, Roberta, is a professor                            Turn right at N Kingsway Rd for 0.4 mi
Chicago, Illinois; his B.A. degree in        of French Literature at the University                           Library will be on the right
Religion and Philosophy, magna               of South Florida in Tampa. Their
                                                                                                              From Lakeland: Take I-4 West ...
cum laude, from Texas Christian              daughter, Erin, is a lawyer in New
                                                                                                              Take exit 14 for McIntosh Rd
University, Ft. Worth, Texas. He is          York City.
                                                                                                              Turn left at McIntosh Rd for 0.5 mi
a member of Phi Beta Kappa.                  Driving directions to the Seffner-                               Turn right at US-92 W/FL-600 W/W
    Dr. Tucker’s career combined               Mango Library:                                                    Hillsborough Ave for 2.1 mi
teaching and ministry. He taught             From Tampa: Take I-4 East ...                                    Turn left at N Kingsway Rd for 0.4 mi
Religion, Philosophy, Ethics and             Take the middle lane in exit 10—Route                            Library will be on the right
Logic at Yankton College (Yank-
ton, South Dakota) and at Florida
Southern College (Lakeland, Florida).                Exit 10                                            I-4                                  Exit 14
He has served congregations in Texas,
Illinois, South Dakota, Nebraska,                                                               US HIGHWAY 92
Virginia and Florida.
                                                      Rte 579—Mango



                                                                          Parsons Avenue




    From 1995–2008, Dr. Tucker served                                                      Kingsway   Road
                                                                                                                                                 McIntosh Road




as the Minister of the Unitarian
                                                           Road




Universalist Congregation of Lake-
land, Florida. Now retired, he is
Minister Emeritus of the Congre-
gation.                                                                                               Library

       Common Sense                                                   2                                                                April 2010
Does Government Foster                          Though called a “breakfast”, the        Clinton and an array of religious
                                            National Prayer Breakfast is more—          leaders and foreign        dignitaries
Prayer Discimination?                       it’s a series of events that take           attended the February 4 breakfast.
By Nan Owens                                place the entire week of the                Obama called on the attendees to
THIS ISSUE OF COMMON SENSE                  breakfast. Members of Congress hold         step outside their comfort zone to
seems to be rife with corrections to        private meetings with American and          bridge divisions and unite around
the March 2010 issue ( see , the            international individuals and groups        common goals.
errata on page 8). In my article                           to discuss issues of            The National Day of Prayer is com-
last month, I mixed up the                                 interest—there        are    ing up next month on May 6. The 2010
National Prayer Breakfast with                             regional breakfasts,         chairperson is Shirley Dobson, well
the National Day of Prayer. The                            luncheons and dinners,       known to religious and seculars
National Prayer Breakfast, held in                         plus hospitality suites      alike. And, yes—to volunteer at an
Washington, D.C., each year on                             (e.g., a Florida suite, a    event you must be a Bible-thumping
the first Thursday of February, origi-                     Middle East suite, etc.)     evangelical Christian. Not only is this
nally was called the Presidential                          for people to meet and       unconstitutional, it is meant to prosel-
Prayer Breakfast. The National Day                        build relationships out-      ytize. For more information, visit
of Prayer is held on the first Thursday     side the official sphere.                   www.nationaldayofprayer.org/.
of every May. Outside of slightly differ-       Last month I reported on a New             The Freedom From Religion
ing names, sponsors and dates, there        York Times article stating that a           Foundation has filed a federal
is little difference between the            Washington ethics group had asked           lawsuit broadly challenging the
two events. Both are sponsored by           President Obama and Congressional           federal law that designates a
aggressive far-right organizations un-      leaders to abstain from this year’s         National Day of Prayer and requires
constitutionally seeking to mix religion    Breakfast because religious and             a National Day of Prayer Proclama-
into the highest reaches of our             gay rights groups in protest had            tion by the President. Public Law 100-
American government and convert             organized competing prayer events           307 sets the first Thursday in May
America into a theocracy.                   in 17 cities. In general this “breakfast    as “National Day of Prayer.” The
   The organizational information I         “ has been much criticized by organi-       Foundation is seeking a declar-
referenced last month actually              zations such as American Atheists           ation that the law violates the Es-
referred to the National Day of Prayer.     and the Freedom From Religion               tablishment Clause of the First
   The National Prayer Breakfast is         Foundation, who describe it as violat-      Amendmentto the U.S. Constitution,
organized on behalf of the members          ing separation of church and state.         alleging that a        Focus on     the
of the United States Congress by                But Obama chose to attend the           Family Task Force, chaired by Shirley
The Fellowship Foundation, a con-           prayer breakfast, which has been            Dobson, is “working hand-in-glove”
servative Christian organization more       held in Washington for more than half       with the government in organizing
widely known as “The Family.” In            a century and attended by every             the National Day of Prayer.
keeping with the Family’s use of            president since Dwight D. Eisen-               Tell us what is going on in
secretive influence, neither the            hower. Accordingly, Vice President          your city next month as we fol-
Family nor the National Prayer              Biden, congressional leaders, Sec-          low up on this travesty of religious
Breakfast has a web site.                   retary of State Hillary Rodham              coercion.

                                               Despite objections from Democrats
More Government and                         and civil liberties groups who called the
                                                                                        tionalizing religious speech.
                                                                                           Rep. Kelli Stargel, R-Lakeland, ar-
Religion Mischief                           effort “patently unconstitutional,” the     gued the proposed law does not pro-
   Once again, the battle over school       House PreK-12 Education Committee           mote religious indoctrination. “If I don’t
prayer has come to the Florida Legis-       approved the prayer bill (HB11) on a        agree with a prayer that someone is
lature—with predictable results. The        largely party line, 10-3 vote.              saying, I sit there and think of some-
House PreK-12 Policy Committee                 Rep. Greg Evers, R-Baker, a              thing different. You are not forced to
approved a measure last month               co-sponsor of the legislation, said:        believe something just because you
that would allow public school              “This is not necessarily a prayer bill.     heard it.”
students to initiate and lead prayers at    This is a rights bill.”                        Religious speech and public
school functions such as football              Courtenay Strickland, a lobbyist for     schools are a polemic combination
games and the senior prom, and would        the Florida American Civil Liberties        that has long drawn legal debate. In
allow teachers to pray with the stu-        Union countered: “This is not about pro-    Florida, lawmakers regularly introduce
dents.                                      tecting free speech. It is about tram-      school prayer bills with little success.
   The bill prohibits teachers, adminis-    pling on the free exercise of religion.”       Rep. Dwight Bullard, D-Miami, said
trators and school boards from “dis-           Others complain that the bill creates    the proposed law could create new dis-
couraging or inhibiting the delivery of     the potential for minority students to      ciplinary problems if students use it to
an inspirational message,” which            be marginalized, arguing that govern-       promote hateful or discriminatory
includes a “prayer or invocation.”          ment has no business institu-               speech.
       Common Sense                                          3                                                   April 2010
Dubious Alternatives                        that “alternative medicine” would be a         including sudden death.
Continued from p. 1                         rational substitute.                           4) Adverse interactions with
patient had. Colder’s Liquid Beef Tonic         David Eisenberg, director of the           prescribed medications. Only
                                            Harvard Medical School’s division              about one third of patients tell
was sold as a cure for alcoholism, even
                                            for research and education in comple-          their physicians about alterna-
though it contained over 26% alcohol.                                                      tive products.
Simmons Liver Regulator was a               mentary and integrative medical
                                                                                           5) Using alternative therapy in
remedy for everything, including “dis-      therapies stated that, “I think the
                                                                                           place of proven medical treat-
gust for food and prostration of the        news is complementary and alternative          ments. This action can have
system.” One of the best patent medi-       medicine use by the U.S. public is             serious or fatal results.
cine sellers of the nineteenth century      here to stay.” He may be right, but             The government has played a large
was Dr. Miles Compound Extract of           many in the medical field are disturbed     part in making CAM mainstream, and
Tomato, guaranteed to reach a               by the trend, since most CAM therapy        much of the government promotion has
person’s “weak” spot. Today it is           has not been evaluated by well-             been by one individual, Democratic
known as ketchup.                           designed investigations, and those          Senator Tom Harkin of Iowa. In 1992
   Rather than being an amusing and         that have been evaluated are over-          he was a powerful member of the
interesting relic of history, the           whelmingly found to be ineffective.         appropriations subcommittee in charge
“medicine man” still operates in our            Wallace Sampson, founding editor of     of the National Institute of Health
midst. He is spiffed up and hardly          the Scientific Review of Alternative        (NIH) and slipped a line in the report
recognizable any longer. He operates        Medicine, summed up the situation           accompanying the appropriations
out of attractive shops, offices,           succinctly: “They are either un-            bill that created the NIH Office of
hospitals, and medical education            proven or disproved. Acupuncture is a       Alternative Medicine (OAM) with one
facilities. What he dispenses is backed     placebo. Homeopathy is one step             million dollars in seed money.
up with impressive pseudo-scientific        above fraud. It goes on and on. The             In 1999 President Clinton signed into
jargon and poorly designed studies.         fact that they are so widely used is        law an appropriations bill that changed
He spreads his message widely to            evidence for how gullible large             the name of the Office of Alternative
a eager public with advertising dis-        segments of our society are.” He            Medicine to the National Center
pensed by the best public relations         has also stated: “Most alternative          for Complementary and Alternative
firms. The harsh designation of “quack”     medicine is quackery by another name.”      Medicine (NCCAM). The budget was
is hardly ever associated with him.             The most frequently used form of        pumped up to 50 million dollars a
He is now practicing “complementary         CAM is the intake of dietary and            year, which enabled the organization
and alternative medicine” (CAM).            herbal products. Currently, the only        to establish a national center at
   In our culture, “alternative medicine”   legal requirement for these products        Bastyr University, a naturopathic col-
is any healing practice that is used        is that they cannot be promoted as          lege outside of Seattle.
in place of conventional medicine. It       preventing or treating disease, and             Harkin is a great believer in alterna-
includes measures that lack scientific      the Federal Drug Administration can         tive therapies. His conviction in these
proof or that have already been             intervene only when a product is            modalities was cemented when he
disproved, such as naturopathy,             shown to be harmful. The reality is that    concluded that his hay fever had been
chiropractic, herbalism, traditional        these products often are promoted for       cured by bee pollen. There is no
Chinese medicine, Unani, Ayurveda,          the prevention and treatment of dis-        evidence in the scientific literature that
yoga, biofeedback, hypnosis, hom-           ease, in spite of the legal requirements.   bee pollen can cure anything, and it
eopathy, acupuncture, and others.               In addition to a gross misdirection     can cause life-threatening allergic
“Complementary medicine” refers to          of our precious healthcare dollars          reactions. And the Federal Trade
the same measures used in addition          toward largely placebo therapy, there       Commission fined Harkin’s bee pollen
to conventional medicine. Note care-        are other problems with dietary and         distributor 200,000 dollars for false
fully that for the rest of this article     herbal products:                            claims.
the unwieldy phrase “complementary             1) Lack of standardization. When             His main motive in establishing
and alternative medicine” will be              the few herbs that have active           the Office of Alternative Medicine
abbreviated as CAM.                            ingredients are assayed, the             appears to have been to promote
                                               amount is often lower or higher
   More than one-third of adults and                                                    the use by the public of alternative
                                               than stated on the label.
nearly 12% of children use CAM,                                                         therapies, and little scientific in-
                                               2) Contaminants. Sometimes the
according to a large federal survey            remedies contain pesticides,             vestigation was done. Harkin crit-
released in 2008. Overall, the use of          heavy metals, carcinogens,               icized the “unbendable rules of
CAM appears to have stabilized                 and bovine products (remote risk         randomized clinical trials” and, citing
compared to a study done five years            of “mad cow disease”).                   his use of bee pollen, to treat his
earlier.                                       3) Occasional serious or even            allergies, stated: “It is not necessary
   The problem with the designation            fatal side-effects. Ephedra prod-        for the scientific community to
“alternative medicine” is that “alter-         ucts have been the most dan-             understand the process before the
native” suggests an equal status with          gerous since they have pro-              American public can benefit from
conventional medicine and implies              duced adverse cardiac reactions,                                Continued on p. 5
       Common Sense                                         4                                                    April 2010
Dubious Alternatives                       good studies that it has done could          and is lacking at present;
Continued from p. 4                        just as easily been done by other            Second, increase science edu-
these therapies.” Harkin’s office re-      departments of the National Institute        cation and scientific (critical)
portedly pressured the OAM to              of Health with more scientific vigor         thinking in schools. These
fund studies of specific “pet the-         and better public communication.             measures over time would prob-
                                               Despite its negative findings,           ably be the most effective;
ories,”including bee pollen and
                                           NCCAM has continued to promote               Third, scientists themselves
antineoplastons.
                                                                                        must be actively involved in
    When the OAM became the                the proliferation of CAM by offering
                                                                                        educating members of the gen-
NCCAM, one of the main goals was           grants to money-starved medical              eral public about science and
to evaluate alternative therapies with     education facilities. 60% of standard        scientific thinking.
rigorous scientific studies . After ten    medical schools, 95% of osteopathic          Fourth, the general public should
years of evaluating many herbal and        medical schools, and 85% of nursing          screen candidates for Congress
other alternative health remedies and      schools teach some form of CAM.              as to their scientific knowledge
spending 2.5 billion dollars, the sad      With a few exceptions, it is not taught      and their ability to use scientific
fact is that not a single one has          as an objective scientific appraisal         thinking.
been found effective. Popular              but from an advocacy viewpoint.               Sometimes I slip into a funk worry-
herbal remedies such as St. John’s             The significance of this spread of     ing about why some of my fellow
wort, echinacea, saw palmetto, and         CAM to medical education facilities is     human beings aren’t more rational. Per-
ginkgo biloba were no more effective       appraised clearly by Dr. Wallace           haps a heavy dose of Dr. Miles Com-
than a placebo.                            Sampson, the CAM expert who was            pound Extract of Tomato (ketchup)
    Despite these definitive sci-          mentioned earlier: “Teaching about         will reach my “weak spot” and lift
entific studies, NCCAM has never           alternative medicine implies accep-        my spirits.
stated that these measures were            tance of it and potentially creates more
ineffective. Dr. Stephen Barrett, a re-    gullibility and less critical, objective   Book Review: A Brief
tired physician who runs Quackwatch,       thinking. This will be felt in many
a web site on medical scams, states:       indirect ways, including judgment er-
                                                                                      History of Death
                                                                                      Continued from p. 9
“There’s been a deliberate policy of       rors, misguiding people with severe
never saying something doesn’t             diseases, and tax standards and laws.”     the secularization of attitudes about
work. It’s as though you can only              Instead of the “medicine man” of       death reflect the secularization of
speak in one direction and say a           the nineteenth being relegated to          society and relationships in society
different version or dose might give       his proper place as a historical relic,    generally.
different results.” And even if negative   he still walks proudly among us en-            In the past, the body was kept
findings do reach practitioners of         joying great respect and adulation,        whole in expectation of a physical
CAM and its enthusiasts in the public,     sometimes even in the halls of our         resurrection; it took a lot of time and
there often is no effect on behavior       most prestigious medical educa-            cultural changes before cremation
since such conclusions are based on        tional institutions. Steven P. Novella,    became an accepted practice. In
faith rather than evidence.                Assistant Professor of Neurology,          the past, funerals were highly reli-
    The biggest waste of taxpayer          Yale University School of Medicine         gious and focused on the loved-one
money by NCCAM is repeating tests          is certainly right when he states we       joining family in heaven; today, even
on measures that have already been         are in “the golden age of quackery         priests have shifted the focus of
disproved by good scientific studies       and anti-science.”                         many funeral orations to the person’s
and studying measures that have no             What can be done to counteract         life and accomplishments. Burial near
scientific rationale for working.          this embrace of quackery and anti-         a church used to be standard practice;
    An example of repeating studies        science by many in the general             today it’s increasingly common for
on measures that are already dis-          public? I am under no illusions that       ashes to be scattered around some
proved is a study on chelation ther-       any measures will eliminate quack-         site with special personal significance.
apy underway on 2,300 patients, even       ery and anti-science entirely, but         Bottom Line
though smaller controlled trials           certain ones over time can be helpful.         This history of beliefs and practices
have been negative (and a sci-             My suggestions are these:                  surrounding death, dying, and grieving
entific rationale is lacking and deaths       First, eliminate NCCAM and              is too complex for one book, but
have occurred). Examples of funding           do any research with a reason-          Douglas Davies’ A Brief History of
studies that violate the basic tenets         able chance of a positive result        Death is a great introduction. Davies
                                              under already established units         touches on so many different reli-
of science are these: therapeutic touch
                                              of the National Institute of            gious, artistic, philosophical, and
for wrist fractures in postmenopausal         Health. For political reasons
women; use of Reiki for patients with                                                 secular matters that you’ll probably
                                              this will be difficult since true be-
advanced AIDS; distance healing               lievers in CAM in congress              want to read more. Given the impor-
in wound healing.                             strongly support the organization.      tance of these beliefs and practices,
    Clearly, by any objective standard,       Strong public pressure to               it’s certainly a subject worth learning
NCCAM has been a failure. Any                 accomplish this will be needed          more about.

       Common Sense                                        5                                                   April 2010
The Problem of Theodicy                    lem there is for any monotheistic            angel wagers that the loss of his
Continued from p.7                         religion. It is the one fatal disease        health, prosperity and family will
the shattered cars and wrecked lives       that theologians must cure if they           reveal Job’s lack of faith. Yahweh
which come from drunken driving, the       are to prevent the “death” of their “god.”   permits the angel to “test” Job. Hurt
battered faces of spouse abuse,               Theologians most often express            and angry at the suffering he en-
the broken buildings and bloodied          the problem of theodicy as this              dures, Job bewails his predicament.
corpses of terrorism and war.              question: “How can there be evil             “Friends” come to comfort him, but
    Evil! That’s what these things are.    when [their particular] god is good          then they tell him he is at fault, that
I don’t mean some supernatural,            and omnipotent?”                             his sins are the cause of his suf-
metaphysical, mythological mumbo-             Theodicy is not a problem for             fering. Job denies this and turns
jumbo! I mean plain old ordinary,          atheists, of course, since the exist-        directly to his god to protest his
everyday down-to-earth evil: bad           ence of evil can be easily explained         situation and to plead his innocence.
things happening to good people and        as the inevitable consequence of             Yahweh eventually responds, where-
animals!                                   such natural processes as wind and           upon Job repents (!), has his good
    That’s what evil is, and it’s every-   water, fire and air; and as the result       life restored, and lives happily ever.
where!                                     of the biological requirements evol-         [1:589f]
    No one is immune, not even             ution has instilled in all living crea-          While it may seem simple, the
people who believe they ought to be.       tures, and by the selfishness, igno-         book of Job is really quite complex.
One day newspapers carried this            rance and stupidity of all human             More than that: it marks a pivotal
story with the headline, “Roof Col-        beings. Nature, unlike divinity, is not      turning point in Hebrew religion.
lapse Kills 30 People in Church” [5]:      expected to be good, and so the                  Job is complex, first of all, be-
    “A church roof collapsed over a        presence of evil does not constitute         cause it is a mythological folktale
packed congregation early Saturday,        any self-contradiction in the natur-         and not an historical chronicle.
killing at least 30 people and injuring    al scheme of things.                         Nothing in the story can be taken
538...                                        Theodicy is also not a problem in         literally, for every element is a symbol
    “About 1,300 people were at the        polytheistic religions where some of         of something else. [1:588-601]
church in Osasco [Brazil] when the roof    the gods are good, some of the gods              Job is complex, secondly, be-
came crashing down...                      are evil, but none of the gods is in         cause it has had numerous authors
   “We were praying and had our            charge of the universe! They may             and editors with differing points of
   eyes closed. When we opened             meddle in earthly affairs, but ulti-         view. Originally the story circulated
   them, the building was falling,’”       mately it is Fate which determines           in non-Hebrew lands [1:590] as an
   Maria Aparecida Costa, said...          what happens: not only to men and            oral folktale in the second millennium,
   “I fainted, and when I woke up,         women, but to the gods and god-              B.C.E. Then it was written down in
   I was buried.”                          desses themselves! Because they              a Hebrew version around the time
   Firefighters were not certain why                                                    of King David. [3:613] It was not
                                           are impotent prisoners upon the Great
   the roof collapsed, but they
                                           Wheel of Becoming polytheistic               until some 500 years later that it
   said the building was more than
   40 years old. The roof was sup-         deities can co-exist with evil, there        came to be re-written in the version
   ported by heavy wooden beams            being no contradiction between evil          we have.
   that may have rotted...                 and their divine natures, and thus no            Yet a third complexity arises from
    In a building large enough to seat     problem of theodicy.                         the fact that the version of Job we
1,300 people, the ceilings would have         The matter is altogether different        have is the unification of two sep-
been quite high. It would have taken a     in any monotheistic religion , how-          arate editions. One was written as
long moment for the roof to reach the      ever. The book of Job offers a perfect       prose and appears as the prologue
floor. In that time, some of the people    example.                                     and epilogue of our book. The other
might have heard something—a snap,            Most of us know Job fairly well. It       was poetic, and it constitutes the
a ripping, a tearing—and some might        has been called “the greatest                bulk of our book of Job. The complex-
have looked up and seen the ceiling        monument of wisdom literature in             ity here lies in there being different
coming down towards them. Imagine          the Old Testament.”[1:588] Martin            gods and different Jobs in each
their utter astonishment at such a         Luther said that it is “magnificent          edition! The Job of the prose portion
thing! What safer refuge could there       and sublime as no other book of              is patient and willingly suffers the
be than the house of one’s god?!           scripture.”[1:588f] Tennyson called it       slings and arrows of his outrageous
What safer activity could one be           “the greatest poem of... [all] times,”       fortune. The Job of the poetic section
doing than praying?! How could such        [1:589]                                      is boiling mad at his god, and vigor-
evil happen if one’s god were good            At first glance, the story of Job         ously protests what has happened to
and omnipotent?!                           seems pretty simple. During a meeting        him. [1:589]
    That is the question, and it has a     of the Heavenly Council, one angel               Most readers don’t notice these
name: “theodicy” (from Leibniz; theos/     doubts the faithfulness of human             two different Jobs. As one scholar
god, dike/justice). [1:601]                beings. When Yahweh cites Job as             has written, “This ignorance is
    Theodicy is the greatest prob-         an example of a righteous man, the                                 Continued on p. 7

      Common Sense                                         6                                                    April 2010
The Problem of Theodicy                  question of theodicy for the first time    estimated. But, alas! With that shot,
Continued from p. 6                      among the people who were now              all of his ammunition was spent: the
clearest among those who refer to        called “Jews,” and the first to do so      author of Job was not capable of
the ‘proverbial patience’ of Job” and    was the book of Job.                       answering his own question!
treat him as a model of piety. That         Like the pre-exilic Hebrews, Job            That is why when Yahweh finally
portrait only applies to the prose       knew he was a good and righteous           speaks “one wonders if he has
beginning and ending of the book,        man. He also knew he was suf-              even heard Job.” [1:599] As Jewish
and not to the much larger poetic sec-   fering. The author of our version of Job   theologian, Martin Buber wrote:
tion. [1:589]                            used his friends as a literary device      “What God says does not answer
    A fourth complexity exists be-       to symbolize the old, conservative,        the charge; it does not even touch
cause later editors have heavily         orthodox—and false—theology of             upon it.” [ Ibid .] Instead, Yahweh
modified the text to tone down its       divine retribution. [1:595] They           belittles Job and tells him that as a
heresy and make it seem more             claimed Job’s suffering was due to his     finite creature he is too stupid to
orthodox.[1:591] This element is         sins, but Job knew better! He aban-        understand the workings of an infinite
directly related to Job’s also being     doned their “windy words” [1:597]          deity. Then Yahweh rebukes Job for
a pivotal turning point in the history   and sought out his god, only to find       being so audacious as to ask ques-
of the Hebrew religion.                  that Yahweh had gone into hiding!          tions in the first place. [1:600]
    The radical change which occurs      “Oh, that I knew where I might find            The book ends with Job com-
in Hebrew theology becomes vis-          him... Behold, I go forward, but he        pletely capitulating. He “repents” at
ible when one understands that the       is not there; and backward, but            being angry over his unjust treatment.
background which Job is repudiating      I cannot perceive him; on the left         He ceases to question why his god
is the ancient “doctrine of divine       hand I seek him, but I cannot be-          has abused him. For such “acts of
retribution.”[1:595f.] From the exo-     hold him; I turn to the right hand, but    faith,” he is “rewarded” and lives
dus until the Babylonian Exile, the      I cannot see Him.” [Job 23:3, 8-9]         happily ever after.
Hebrews believed that their god,            It was bad enough that Job had              The book of Job succeeds bril-
Yahweh, was an omnipotent deity,         fallen into the pit of the theodicy        liantly in showing that the old,
the creator and sustainer of the         problem, but now there fell in on top      conservative, orthodox Hebrew doc-
universe, a good and just god who        of him another theological disas-          trine of divine retribution is false: no
balanced the scales of justice in this   ter whose formal name is “deus             deity balances the scales of justice
life (which was essential since pre-     absconditus,” the Vanished God!            in this life. Anyone with eyes can
exilic Hebrews had no belief in life        In every religion an experience         see that good people suffer, evil
after death). Such divine retribution    all too common is that when the            people prosper, the rich get richer and
appears in every pre-exilic biblical     going gets tough, sometimes the            the poor get poorer!
writing (especially Deuteronomy          deity gets going...and disappears!             Theologians admit that “the book
and Proverbs). [1:581f, 595] That long   Even Jesus on the Cross understood         of Job does not end with a resolution
period of naive and unsophisticated      that: “My God, my God,” he cried           to the problem of suffering.... The
theology eventually came to an           out “why hast thou forsaken me?”           mystery of suffering is left ra-
end, however, when finally, one cat-     (Matthew 27:46)                            tionally unanswered, as it is fin-
astrophic event, changed everything.        Job eventually got his audience         ally unanswered in the Bible as a
That event was the Babylonian Exile.     with Yahweh. He addressed theodicy         whole.”[1:600-1]
    In 597 B.C.E. Babylonia conquered    head on. “The flaw, he cried, is not           That word, “mystery,” is the the-
Judah and began deporting the            in himself but in God, who is respon-      ologians’ way “out” of the problem
Hebrews into exile. Ten years later,     sible for his misery. Instead of car-      of theodicy. When asked, “Why is
Jerusalem fell and its Temple was        ing for a mortal creature, God is like     there suffering?” Maimonides and
destroyed. In the minds of the           a capricious tyrant (Job 9:18-19), a       Buber, Augustine and Aquinas,
Hebrew faithful, evil pagan heathens     savage beast (Job 16:7, 9), a treach-      Luther and Calvin all reply: “It’s a
had caused the suffering and deaths      erous assailant (Job 16:12-14).”           divine mystery!”
of the righteous, and all the            [1:596f.] Job “set himself up as               We are creatures, they say,
while, Yahweh had apparently stood       the judge of God.... Like Prome-           infected with Original Sin, bereft of
by doing nothing! It simply was          theus, Job is a titanic figure who         the supernatural grace that once
no longer possible to pretend that       doubts, rebels, and shouts defiance        guided our reason, left with only
Yahweh was the lord of history,          at God.” [1:597]                           our fallen and fallible mentality, and
for everyone could see that he              The genius of the book of Job           so there are many things we
was not rewarding the good and           lies in the fact that, at long last, a     cannot know, should not know, will
punishing the evil! After the Exile,     Hebrew writer has become theologi-         not know. Such “divine mysteries”
there began to appear a new kind         cally sophisticated enough to ask          are beyond human understanding.
of Wisdom Literature, such books         the question of theodicy! It took          That’s what the theologians say.
as Job and Ecclesiastes. These           over 1,000 years for that to happen,           Philosophers, however, say some-
documents began to raise the             and its profundity cannot be under-                              Continued on p. 8

      Common Sense                                      7                                                   April 2010
The Problem of Theodicy                     theodicy. They ask, “How can a good          the question of theodicy is no more
Continued from p.7                          and omnipotent god exist, when there         serious than asking “What size
thing else!                                 is evil?                                     shoe does Santa Claus wear?”
    Three hundred years before the              Unless we are willing to sacrifice          But, if there is a god, then
birth of Jesus, the Greek phil-             our intellects and believe in Original       theodicy remains the ultimate
osopher Epicurus summarized the             Sin and divine mystery, we are left          and fatal challenge to any belief
problem of theodicy in these words:         with only three options:                     that such a deity is both good
   The gods can either take                    1. We might conclude that a               and omnipotent.
   away evil from the world and                god does not exist, that theism           Sources
   will not, or being willing to do            is mythology, and that so-called          [1] Anderson, Bernhard W. Understanding the
   so cannot; or they neither can              “experiences of God” are merely              Old Testament, 4th Ed. Englewood Cliffs,
   nor will, or lastly, they are both          the epiphenomena of brain                    New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, 1986.
   able and willing. If they have              chemistry as psychologist Michael         [2] Buehrens, John A. and F. Forrester
                                               Persinger’s research suggests [4].           Church. Our Chosen Faith. Boston: Bea-
   the will to remove evil and                                                              con Press, 1989.
   cannot, then they are not                   Such atheism clearly avoids
                                                                                         [3] Oxford Annotated Bible, Revised
   omnipotent. If they can, but will           the problem of theodicy.                     Standard Version. H. G. May and
   not, then they are not bene-                2. We might conclude that a                  B. M. Metzger, Eds. New York: Oxford Uni-
   volent. If they are neither able            god exists and is omnipotent                 versity Press, 1962.
   nor willing, then they are                  and could destroy evil but                [4] Persinger, Michael. Neuropsych-
   neither omnipotent nor benevolent.          does not because s/he is not                 ological Bases of God Beliefs. New York:
   Lastly, if they are both able               good. No one likes this ap-                  Praeger, 1987.
                                                                                         [5] “Roof Collapse Kills 30 People in Church.”
   and willing to annihilate evil,             proach because, “if god is not
                                                                                            The [Lakeland, Florida] Ledger. 6 Septem-
   [then] how does it exist? [300              good, then god is not god.” An evil          ber 1998. A6.
   B.C.E.; 6:298]                              god is a demon whom no self-              [6] Woods, Ralph L. The World Treas-
    Two thousand years later, the Brit-        respecting person would worship!             ury of Religious      Quotations.     New
ish empirical philosopher, David               This option is useless.                      York: Garland Books, 1966.
Hume surveyed the history of the-              3. We might conclude that a
ology and concluded: “Epicurus’ old            god exists and is good and
                                               would destroy evil if s/he could,         A Correction from Dr. Tucker:
questions are still unanswered.” [1779;
                                               but s/he cannot because s/he                 Our fellow Humanist, the much
ibid.]                                         is not omnipotent. This is the op-        respected and beloved, Dr. David
    Philosophers recognize there are           tion which most nonfunda-                 Reifsnyder, M.D., sent me a private
“pseudo-statements” and “pseudo-               mentalist theists take and this           email that I was historically inaccurate
questions.” That is, there are sen-            is why they tend to accept
                                                                                         about penicillin in my March 2010
tences which appear to make asser-             the “Process Theology” which
                                               comes out of the metaphysics              article on Immanuel Kant. I had
tions or inquiries, but which turn out
                                               of Alfred North Whitehead                 paraphrased incorrect information
to be inherently meaningless gib-
                                               and Charles Hartshorne. [2:177ff.]        from Lawrence M. Hinman’s Ethics
berish because the combination
                                               Belief in a benevolent but less           textbook. David cites the Journal of
of words used in them constitutes
                                               than omnipotentdeity is compat-           the American Medical Associ-
logically impossible self-contradic-
                                               ible with recognition that evil           ation, 126:63-64, September 9, 1944.
tions called oxymorons.                        exists and arises from the                Below is the rewritten paragraph
    An example of a pseudo-statement           interplay of natural forces and from      (the number 8 source being David’s
is this sentence: “An omnipotent god           human freedom. But is such a
                                                                                         words in his email; 4 being Hinman):
ought to be able to create a rock so           weakened deity really attractive?
                                                                                           In the 1930s, the U.S. Government
heavy he could not lift it.” That, of           A good, omnipotent creator could           began a project to determine the
course, is absurd, for if an omnipotent     have invented a universe in which or-          long-term effects of syphilis on
god were unable to lift that rock,          ganisms lived by eating dirt and drink-        men. At that time “mercury and
he would no longer be omnipotent!           ing salt water. But that is not the world      arsenicals were used to treat syphil-
    The same problem occurs in the          we have; and for living things to go           is and had a high side effect inci-
pseudo-question of theodicy: “How           on living in this world, they must kill        dence.” Also, “up to at least 25%
can there be evil, if God is good and       and eat one another, which is surely evil.     of individuals with syphilis spon-
omnipotent?” There can’t be! The                Similarly, humans could be total-          taneously cure themselves.”[8] All
                                                                                           this made a long-term study diffi-
existence of evil and the existence of      ly controlled by some deity, like
                                                                                           cult since most patients were being
a good, omnipotent deity are mutual         puppets on a string, and then they             treated and quickly cured. So, it
exclusive, self-contradictory things.       could be forced to do only good                was decided that a group of black
There can be one or the other, but          deeds. But in such a world                     men would be used as human lab
not both.                                   humans would have no free will.                rats. These men had already been
    Given the fact that evil exists         Freedom is only possible where                 diagnosed as having syphilis, but
undeniably, whereas the existence           there is evil. Not even omnipotence            they had not yet been told that
of deity is merely a belief, philosophers   can change that.                               they had the disease. They never
invert the traditional question of              If theology is only mythology, then                             Continued on p. 11
      Common Sense                                          8                                                       April 2010
                                          how religions have tried to explain                Hope underlies the human drive for
BOOK REVIEW                               and deal with death, but also how
                                          death is handled from philosophical,
                                                                                         meaning; it fuels the processes pro-
                                                                                         ducing the sense of transcendence in
                                          political, and even artistic perspectives.     life. The human being, self-conscious
                                               Davies begins his exploration with        and aware of living in an uncertain
                                          the Epic of Gilgamesh, the oldest              world of risk and potential danger,
A Brief History of Death                  known work of literature—yet as old            has found it possible to face daily
by Douglas Davies                         as it is, it still has the ability to          life and hardship because of this atti-
By Austin Cline as posted on his blog,    speak to us directly because it                tude of possibility and a sense that
About.com. Reprinted with permission.     addresses enduring human concerns:             difficulty may be overcome.
  Editor’s comment: I have not read       love and loss, death and grief, and                Primary examples of this are of
  this book myself, but I found the       immortality. It’s no coincidence that          course religious myths about human
  book’s subject and Austin Cline’s       this ancient text also deals directly          origins and destiny, but these
  review intriguing. Would appreciate     with such issues.                              aspects of human nature also
  any feedback on either this topic or    Self-Reflection & Hope                         combine in secular ways, compelling
  the book itself. With the first week-        Davies’ basic thesis is that despite      us to learn more about humanity
  end in April “celebrating” the sup-                                                    and to seek ways to extend human
                                          all the variations in how humans
  posed gruesome death of a savior,
                                          have thought about or approached               reach, human knowledge, and even
  it seemed that something more re-
  alistic and possibly helpful was in     death, they have all been driven to            human life spans.
  order for our readers.                  one degree or another by two basic             Transcending Life & Death
                                          features of human nature. First,                   Central in all this is the concept of
 The book: A Brief History of Death
                                          we are a self-reflective species. No           transcendence: belief or hope in the
 by Douglas Davies. Publisher:
                                          other animal seems to do what we               ability to transcend death and thus
 Wiley-Blackwell. ISBN: 1405101830
                                          do: ponder who or what exactly we              transcend human life itself. Belief
Summary                                   are, why we are here, what we                  in souls and an afterlife is one
PRO :                                     should do with our time here, where            obvious form, but even art, literature,
 • Compares and contrasts a wide          we are going, etc.:                            and music can have this effect by
    variety of cultural beliefs &              The history of death is a history of      causing a person to feel transported
    practices                             self-reflection. Who are we? Whence            outside and beyond their bodies
 • Even includes modern secular           do we come, and whither go after               and daily existence.
    developments in treatment of          death? If there is an afterlife, what is           Many rituals, religious or secular,
    death
                                          it like and how might we prepare for it?       create the sense that one transcends
  • Covers religious, scientific,
    anthropological, philosophical,            Second, our species is one                the limited self by merging with a
    even artistic issues                  “condemned” to hope: in the absence            larger human community, past
CON:                                      of proof, we hope for a future be-             and present. There is even a kind
 • More on secular developments           yond death, we have hope that                  of secularized after-life: cryogeni-
    might have been nice                  compels us to strive for higher and            cally freezing the dead in the hope
  • Religious discussions rely too        greater achievements, we have hope             of future resurrection once medical
    heavily on western Christianity       that encourages us to keep learning            science progresses enough. Less
DESCRIPTION:                              more and seek proof for what’s                 literal forms include the desire to
  • History and analysis of how           happening, etc.                                have one’s ashes spread in water or
    people have dealt with death              There is an optimism in hope that          beneath a tree in the hope of merging
    over the millennia                        fosters human endeavor in a
 • Traces cultural changes, espe-                                                        with the larger natural environment.
                                              committed search for solutions             Secularization of Death
    cially in the West                        to problems even when they
 • Deals with beliefs about the af-           may appear insoluble. Hope                     Most books about the history of
    terlife, grieving, burial, etc.           makes it more likely that indi-            death focus on religion of course,
Reviewing the Book                            viduals or societies will overcome         but Davies gives some attention to
    Douglas Davies, a professor in            adverse situations to survive              the secularization of attitudes and
the Study of Religion in the Depart-          today and be even more prepared            beliefs about death, too. The shift
ment of Theology and Religion at              to face adversity in the future.           from religious to secular views about
the University of Durham, specializes         There is survival value in hope.           life and death can be seen most
in anthropological and religious          Hope & Faith                                   vividly in the shifting attitudes
questions about death, mortality,              Although hope isn’t the same as           towards handling the dead body.
and grief. His book A Brief History of    faith, it is closely related and this is one   What we think of and how we treat
Death is part of Blackwell’s Brief        reason why hope combines with self-            the body of a deceased loved-one
Histories of Religion series and pro-     reflection to create myths and stories         says volumes about our relationship
vides a handy introduction to a wide      about who we are, why we are here, and         not only with the person, but with life
variety of issues around death, dying,    where we are going:                            and death itself. This means that
and burial. It doesn’t just address                                                                            Continued on p. 5
    Common Sense                                           9                                                     April 2010
AHA Defines Humanism                             What do Humanists believe?                      Common Sense is the newsletter
[As published in THE HUMANIST magazine, A a          Humanists believe that life is a natu-      for members and friends of the Huma-
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Washington, DC 20009.]                           evolved on earth in the same way as all         information and opinions of interest
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                                                                                                 vided proper acknowledgement is
and the expansion of the open soci-              of intellect to all areas of human concern
                                                                                                 given. All others write for permission.
ety, standing for human rights and social        is in any sense vain or arrogant, and re-
justice.                                         quire that all claims to truth be supported      Editor: Nan Owens
    Free of supernaturalism, it recognizes       by credible, verifiable evidence.                Associate Editor: Abigail Ann Martin
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                                                 responsible for its own destiny. All values—                © April 2010
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       Common Sense                                               10                                                         April 2010
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       A chartered Chapter of the American Humanist Association and an Affiliate of the Council for Secular Humanism
        Make check payable to HAWCF and mail to: P.O. Box 6675 • Lakeland, FL 33807-6675 • 863-644-0560

       MEMBERSHIP                                                       Newsletter Only
                                                                        Individual Member
                                                                                                   $15
                                                                                                   $25
                                                                                                                Sustaining Member $100
                                                                                                                Bishop            $500
       New           Renewal                                            Family                     $35          Cardinal         $1000
                                                                        Patron                     $50          Endowment
       Date:

       Name:

       Address:

       City:                                                                 State:                            Zip:

       Phone:                                            e-mail:
        I am interested in helping on the following activities
                                                                                                             The Humanist Association of
            Membership     Recruit, welcome and orient new members to HAWCF
                                                                                                             West Central Florida is a
            Civic Action   Promote Humanism within community and government                                  501(c)(3) non-profit educational
            Activities     Develop and facilitate social activities for the membership.                      organization. Contributions are
            Programs       Arrange/facilitate interesting programs for HAWCF meetings                        tax deductible as provided by
            Hospitality    Facilitate social, housekeeping and refreshment activities for HAWCF              federal and state law.
            Education      Develop/provide humanist educational & historical materials for HAWCF
            Newsletter     Write for or edit HAWCF newsletter
            Publicity      Publicize HAWCF and Humanist activities in the community


                                                                                                         Correction
WHEN AND WHERE?                                 HUMANIST DINNER!!                                                             Continued from p. 8
                                                                                                          were told. Nor were they ever treated.
THE HUMANIST ASSOCIATION OF                     JUST A REMINDER: we usually hold                          Instead, they were “observed” until
WEST CENTRAL FLORIDA usually                    an informal Humanist dinner gathering                     they died. The project continued until
meets on the 3RD Tuesday of every               on the 2 ND MONDAY                                        1972! [4:229f.] What makes that
month at 7 pm (except July & August)            OF EVERY MONTH at                                         date significant is that penicillin
at the UNITARIAN UNIVERSALIST CON-              6:15 pm.                                                  (“first used on a patient in Febru-
GREGATION OF LAKELAND (UUCL), 3140                                                                        ary 1941") was “shown to be effec-
                                                   NOTE THAT WE                                           tive for syphilis and then came into
Troy Avenue, Lakeland.                                 MEET AT:                                           common usage in the mid to late
    However, for our April                      Mt. Fuji Sushi Bar & Steakhouse,                          40s” As David Reifsnyder, M.D., has
                                                2607 S Florida Avenue in Lakeland                         written, “The real travesty was when
        2010 Meeting:                                                                                     penicillin became available in the
                                                (in the Southgate Shopping Center)
   Meeting date is Saturday,                                                                              1940s, the study wasn’t terminated.”[8]
                                                between Pablo and Oak Streets.
      April 17 at 11 am.                        See Map below.                                             A special thank you to careful
  The meeting place will be                                                                              and helpful readers such as David
                                                PLEASE JOIN US...BRING YOUR FRIENDS!                     Reifsnyder.—Robert P. Tucker, Ph.D.
  the Seffner-Mango Library.
  This location is convenient to I-4,
                                                                                                         In Cyber Space:
                                                                              S Florida Avenue




and is just about half-way between
Lakeland and Tampa.                                       Beacon Road
                                                                                                           WEBSITE ADDRESS:
  Center for Inquiry Tampa and                                                                             http://hawcf.org
HAWCF are jointly hosting a talk by                       Oak Drive                                        BLOG ADDRESS:
our esteemed Dr. Robert P. Tucker.
                                                                                                           www.humanistcommonsense.blogspot.com
See the address and map on page 2.                                                                         Please visit each of these sites. Comments
                                                       Mt Fuji Steakhouse
  GUESTS ARE ALWAYS WELCOME!                                                                               or suggestions on either site are earnestly de-
                                                       2907 S Florida Av
                                                                                                           sired and should be brought up at meetings
       Notable “Quotes”                                                                                    or made directly to webmaster Ken Schmidt:
                                                         Pablo Street
God, as some cynic has said, is                                                                                     kschmidt@tampabay.rr.com
                                                         Edgewood Drive                                    Note: this newsletter can be printed from our
always on the side which has the
                                                                                                           website with adobe acrobat reader.
best football coach.—Heywood Broun

      Common Sense                                                 11                                                                   April 2010
                                         Address Service Requested
                                          Lakeland, FL 33807-6675
                                          P.O. Box 6675
                     HUMANIST ASSOCIATION OF WEST CENTRAL FLORIDA
April 2010
 Inquiring Minds Want To Know...
                Was America founded as
                  a Christian nation?
              Meet with Center for Inquiry Tampa
               on Saturday, April 17 for a Lively
              Discussion on this important Issue!
             See inside for exciting news.
             See inside for exciting news.

								
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