Friday, August 22, 2008

Naturalist Resources--A Short List Part 1

Today is a bit of an easy day for this blog. Naturalism has many homes both on the internet and in universities and elsewhere. For your benefit, here is a list of just a few of them. In an attempt to identify such organizations and educational sources for our readers, we will for the next few weeks or longer be publishing these lists on Friday of each week.

If you know of a particular website or organization or educational center you would like to see listed, or if you would like to have your own included here, please use the mailto: at the bottom.

American Society of Naturalists
About the ASN : The purpose of the Society is to advance and to diffuse knowledge of organic evolution and other broad biological principles so as to enhance the conceptual unification of the biological sciences. This is achieved by publishing The American Naturalist and by holding an annual meeting with a scientific program of symposia and contributed papers and posters.

History : 1867 First issue of The American Naturalist published in March. It was organized by Alpheus S. Packard, Jr., Frederick W. Putnam, Edward S. Morse, and Alpheus Hyatt, who had been students of Louis Agassiz and assistants at the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard University. Packard had been an assistant surgeon in the Civil War (1st Maine Volunteers) and Hyatt had been a captain with the 47th Massachusetts Regiment. After the museum tried to prevent the assistants from working on their own research after hours, they went to the Essex Institute and Peabody Academy of Science in Salem, Mass., in February 1867. Putnam was a nephew of George Peabody, the donor. The masthead said, "A Popular Illustrated Magazine of Natural History." more
Past Officers :
Online Table of Contents :

The Center for Inquiry
About : The Center for Inquiry is a daring new concept. Although modern world civilization is based upon the achievements of science and technology, until this time there has been no authoritative and credible voice defending the scientific outlook in examining religion, human values, and the borderlands of science. If the naturalistic outlook is to supplant the ancient mythological narratives of the past, it needs a new institution devoted to its articulation and dramatization to the public. The Center for Inquiry is that institution.
The purpose of the Center for Inquiry is to promote and defend reason, science, and freedom of inquiry in all areas of human endeavor. The Center for Inquiry is a transnational nonpartisan, nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization that encourages evidence-based inquiry into science, pseudoscience, medicine and health, religion, ethics, secularism, and society. The Center for Inquiry is not affiliated with, nor does it promote, any political party or political ideology.
Through education, research, publishing, and social services, it seeks to present affirmative alternatives based on scientific naturalism. The Center is also interested in providing rational ethical alternatives to the reigning paranormal and religious systems of belief, and in developing communities where like-minded individuals can meet and share experiences.

Mission : (In Part) [U]ntil the Center for Inquiry, there were no institutions dedicated primarily to promote and defend science, reason, and free inquiry in all aspects of human interest.
The purpose of the Center for Inquiry is to contribute to the public understanding and appreciation of science and reason, and their applications to human conduct. [ ]
There is, in the public mind, a vast confusion between genuine science and fringe or pseudoscience. Moreover, there is a large reservoir of antiscientific attitudes about the dangers of scientific research, and fear that scientists who tread in unknown domains are aping the work of Frankenstein. The widespread apprehension about cloning research is reminiscent of the fear of nuclear physicists expressed only a generation ago, that in investigating elementary particles they have opened a Pandora's Box which will destroy humankind. Many even insist that there are areas of human life that scientific inquiry cannot or should not enter. [ ]
What would it mean to extend the scientific spirit to our most basic and cherished convictions? It would be to embrace a thoroughly scientific outlook (an outlook referred to in the scholarly literature as scientific naturalism or philosophical naturalism). The naturalistic outlook is at once a method of inquiry, a cosmic world view, and a new form of ethical inquiry.

Projects : Introducing The Jesus Project R. Joseph Hoffmann, Ph.D.Chair, Committee for the Scientific Examination of Religion
(In Part) [ ] in January 2007, at the University of California, Davis, the Committee for the Scientific Examination of Religion (CSER) asked the question that had been looking for a serious answer for over a hundred years: Did Jesus exist? [ ] The Jesus Project, as CSER has named the new effort, is the first methodologically agnostic approach to the question of Jesus’ historical existence. But we are not neutral, let alone willfully ambiguous, about the objectives of the project itself. We believe in assessing the quality of the evidence available for looking at this question before seeing what the evidence has to tell us. We do not believe the task is to produce a “plausible” portrait of Jesus prior to considering the motives and goals of the Gospel writers in telling his story.

The Center for Inquiry's 12th World Congress: Science, Public Policy, and the Planetary Community April 9-12, 2009 Speakers already confirmed include NASA climatologist Drew Shindell, Roger Bonnet from the International Space Science Institute, author and social critic Christopher Hitchens, acknowledged authority on evolutionary biology Michael Ruse, skeptical investigators James Randi and Joe Nickell, renowned psychologist Elizabeth Loftus, and many others.

Publications and Libraries : The flagship magazines for the educated public published at the Center for Inquiry are CSI's The Skeptical Inquirer and the Council for Secular Humanism's Free Inquiry (with a combined readership of nearly 100,000).
Additional magazines at CFI are read in the U.S. (The American Rationalist), United Kingdom (The Skeptic), the Spanish-speaking world (Pensar), PerĂº (New Skepticism, and The Journal of Applied Philosophy), and Russia (Common Sense).
The Center's ground-breaking peer-reviewed academic journals include The Scientific Review of Alternative Medicine, The Scientific Review of Mental Health Practice, and Philo. more
The Skeptics Library and the fast-growing Library of American Philosophical Naturalism is unique in the world, while the Library of Humanism and Freethought is the foremost such collection in the English-speaking world.

The Atheism Tapes : As part of the making of the ground-breaking series “A Brief History of Disbelief,” Jonathan Miller filmed conversations with some very distinguished minds. Jonathan, of course, could not resist the temptation to make these conversations wide ranging and so – naturally enough – their final contributions to “A Brief History of Disbelief” are only a small part of the original interviews.
Now this six part series is an opportunity to see and hear the conversations at much greater length as Jonathan Miller goes head to head with Daniel Dennett, Denys Turner, Richard Dawkins, Colin McGinn, Arthur Miller and StevenWeinberg.
Committee for Skeptical Inquiry (CSI)
Council for Secular Humanism (CSH)
The Committee for the Scientific Examination of Religion (CSER)
Commission for Scientific Medicine and Mental Health (CSMMH)

Philo is published biannually at the Center for Inquiry with assistance from Purdue University. Its goal is to publish original, conceptually precise, and argumentatively rigorous articles in all fields of philosophy. Although not devoted to any specific branch of philosophy, Philo encourages the submission of work that examines philosophical issues from an explicitly naturalist perspective. It also welcomes work on the philosophical credentials of both naturalism and various supernaturalist alternatives to naturalism. This would include work ordinarily classified as philosophy of religion (theistic proofs, the problem of evil, and the like) as well as any other work that directly or indirectly defends or challenges naturalism. Philo is the publication of the Society of Humanist Philosophers.
(See Philo's impressive list of associated scholars and authors @)

The Center for Naturalism
The Center for Naturalism promotes science-based naturalism as a comprehensive worldview - a rational and fulfilling alternative to faith-based religions and other varieties of supernaturalism. The under-standing that we are fully natural beings is the foundation for an effective approach to personal and social concerns, and highlights our intimate connection to the awe-inspiring universe described by science. Through its educational activities and initiatives, the Center develops constructive applications of naturalism, supports progressive social policy, and in collaboration with other secular groups, helps to build a community of naturalists.

Statement On Naturalism : Naturalism is the understanding that there is a single, natural world as shown by science, and that we are completely included in it. Naturalism holds that everything we are and do is connected to the rest of the world and derived from conditions that precede us and surround us. Each of us is an unfolding natural process, and every aspect of that process is caused, and is a cause itself. So we are fully caused creatures, and seeing just how we are caused gives us power and control, while encouraging compassion and humility. By understanding consciousness, choice, and even our highest capacities as materially based, naturalism re-enchants the physical world, allowing us to be at home in the universe. Naturalism shows our full connection to the world and others, it leads to an ethics of compassion, and it gives us far greater control over our circumstances.

Guiding Philosophy :
Programs :

Naturalism.Org, a production of the Center for Naturalism, is a resource for those interested in scientific naturalism and its personal and social implications. For background and FAQs on this understanding of naturalism, please see

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The Free Assemblage of Metaphysical Naturalists is the sm (service mark) of the
Academy of Metaphysical Naturalism tm, is the educational arm of the Assemblage.
This publication © 2008 by Curtis Edward Clark and Naturalist Academy Publishing ®
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