Welcome to the Grand Traverse Humanists. If you value science, reason, and compassion and believe that humans are responsible for their own destiny, you have come to the right place. We are a community for the non-religious in the Grand Traverse area, offering a forum for discussing and advancing a secular worldview based on our common humanity. Our programs include monthly speakers and discussions, film and book groups, and various volunteer and social events. All are free and open to the public. Check out Upcoming Events below, or click on the calendar. Nontheists, agnostics, atheists, freethinkers, rationalists, humanists, and more…we welcome you to join us!
We’re back in person at the library! Join us Wed May 11 for speaker Jack Segal on “Ukraine: Putin’s Challenge to NATO.”
6 p.m….Traverse Area District Library, 610 Woodmere Ave., TC
Scroll down for more details. Hope to see you there!
- G.T. Humanists Meeting: Ukraine
Wednesday, May 11, 6 p.m.
Traverse Area District Library
610 Woodmere Ave., Traverse City
We’re back to meeting in person at the library! We’ll welcome Jack Segal with a presentation called “Ukraine: Putin’s Challenge to NATO.” Jack Segal is a retired senior State Department, White House, and NATO official with extensive experience in the former Soviet Union, including Ukraine, Moldova and Belarus. Join us for a discussion on where the war goes from here.
- G.T. Humanists Book Club: How to Be Perfect
Sunday, May 15, 4 p.m.
Mark and Heather’s House
7670 E. Shore Rd., Traverse City
Grand Traverse Humanists will gather at the home of Heather Kingham and Mark Elliott to discuss the book “How to Be Perfect: The Correct Answer to Every Moral Question” by Michael Schur. This will be a potluck, so bring a dish to pass if you wish! RSVP to Heather at 503-422-6515 or firstname.lastname@example.org. If you plan on attending, we ask that you please be vaccinated and boosted.
From the creator of The Good Place and the cocreator of Parks and Recreation, a hilarious, thought-provoking guide to living an ethical life, drawing on 2,500 years of deep thinking from around the world.
Most people think of themselves as “good,” but it’s not always easy to determine what’s “good” or “bad,” especially in a world filled with complicated choices and pitfalls and booby traps and bad advice. Fortunately, many smart philosophers have been pondering this conundrum for millennia, and they have guidance for us. With bright wit and deep insight, How to Be Perfect explains concepts like deontology, utilitarianism, existentialism, ubuntu, and more, so we can sound cool at parties and become better people.
Schur starts off with easy ethical questions like “Should I punch my friend in the face for no reason?” (No.) and works his way up to the most complex moral issues we all face. Such as: Can I still enjoy great art if it was created by terrible people? How much money should I give to charity? Why bother being good at all when there are no consequences for being bad? And much more. By the time the book is done, we’ll know exactly how to act in every conceivable situation, so as to produce a verifiably maximal amount of moral good. We will be perfect, and all our friends will be jealous. Okay, not quite. Instead, we’ll gain fresh, funny, inspiring wisdom on the toughest issues we face every day.
- G.T. Humanists Book Club: The Women of the Copper Country
Sunday, March 27, 6 p.m.
Discussion location: Zoom
We’ll discuss Mary Doria Russell’s novel “The Women of the Copper Country,” a work of historical fiction based on the true story of a woman who led a copper miners’ strike in Calumet, Michigan in 1913. It’s an authentic look into the lives of people involved in the early labor movement in the U.S.
The book is available at Horizon Books for a 10% discount if you inform the staff you are a member of the G.T. Humanist Book Club (20% if you are also a Horizon bookstore member).
The Peninsula Community Library will also host its own discussion of the book on February 28 at 6:30, in person at the library at 2893 Island View Road in Traverse City. After the discussion, they will show the PBS film, “Red Metal; The Copper Country Strike of 1913.” For more information call 231-223-7700.
If you want to learn more, the Traverse City National Writers Series hosted a discussion with Mary Doria Russell in 2021, and the radio broadcast can be streamed here.
Call or text Heather with any questions/issues with Zoom: 503-422-6515.
- G.T. Humanists Meeting: Redistricting Michigan
Monday, February 21, 5 p.m.
Join the G.T. Humanists for a program on understanding redistricting in Michigan.
Getting our heads wrapped around our new congressional and state legislative maps is daunting. Get an overview of our new political landscape with Joey Andrews of the AFL-CIO MI, who has been working on this topic for the past year.
Joey is an attorney and a policy analyst for the Michigan AFL-CIO, and was formerly an organizer for the Biden campaign in 2020 on the One Campaign.
This meeting will take place via Zoom. Register in advance here:
- G.T. Humanists Meeting: FishPass
Monday, March 14, 7 p.m.
Join the Grand Traverse Humanists as they present Dr. Daniel Zielinski with a presentation about FishPass, the proposed fish sorting system that would replace the present Union Street Dam on the Boardman River in Traverse City.
Dr. Zielinski will talk about how FishPass would implement selective connectivity–that is, passing desirable species while blocking undesirable species, which could provide a solution for restoring connectivity in rivers fragmented by barriers while not compromising on-going management of undesirable and invasive species. Sorting systems for live organisms without manual intervention do not currently exist. For this reason, Great Lakes Fishery Commission and multiple partners developed an approach to selective fish passage that integrates fish ecology and biology with engineering which would be implemented at FishPass, an adaptive fish-sorting facility. FishPass would be the capstone of about 20 years of restoration of the Boardman (Ottaway) River, which would re-connect ~170 river miles with Lake Michigan.
Dr. Daniel Zielinski is a Principal Engineer / Scientist with the Great Lakes Fishery Commission. Dan received his B.S. in civil engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Platteville and M.S. and Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota with emphasis in water resources. He has authored numerous publications examining behavioral responses of fish to acoustic and hydrodynamic stimuli and the integration of this data into numerical models. He is currently stationed in Traverse City, MI, where he works closely with FishPass project partners to oversee construction of FishPass and develop research and assessment plans supporting FishPass objectives.
Register in advance for this meeting:
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.
- Book Club: Skeptics’ Guide to the Universe
Sunday, January 16, 6 p.m.
Discussion location via Zoom
Our next discussion with be on “The Skeptics’ Guide to the Universe: How to Know What’s Really Real in a World of Increasingly Full of Fake,” authors Dr. Steven Novella with Bob Novella, Cara Santa Maria, Jay Novella and Evan Bernstein c. 2018. Register for the discussion here.
The book is available at Horizon with a discount if you mention the G.T. Humanist Book Club, TADL, Amazon and regional bookstores. Some reviews:
“Thorough, informative, and enlightening, The Skeptic’s Guide to the Universe inoculates you against the frailties and shortcomings of human cognition. If this book does not become required reading for us all, we may well see modern civilization unravel before our eyes.”―Neil deGrasse Tyson, Astrophysicist, American Museum of Natural History
“In this age of real and fake information, your ability to reason, to think in scientifically skeptical fashion, is the most important skill you can have. Read The Skeptics’ Guide Universe; get better at reasoning. And if this claim about the importance of reason is wrong, The Skeptics’ Guide will help you figure that out, too.”― Bill Nye
“A fantastic compendium of skeptical thinking and the perfect primer for anyone who wants to separate fact from fiction.”―Richard Wiseman, Professor of the Public Understanding of Psychology at University of Hertfordshire and bestselling author of 59 Seconds
“In his 1995 book The Demon-Haunted World, the great Carl Sagan prophesied a descent into superstition and ignorance. Well, that world has arrived. Fortunately, Steve Novella and his co-authors are here to help us navigate it with critical thinking and scientifically-appropriate skepticism, along the way exposing the antiscience and pseudoscience so prevalent in our public discourse today, from confirmation bias to conspiracy theories, N-Rays to Nessie, the Face on Mars, to Flat-Eartherism.”―Michael Mann, Distinguished Professor, Penn State University and co-author of The Madhouse Effect: How Climate Change Denial is Threatening our Planet, Destroying our Politics, and Driving us Crazy