Humanist Union program ideas for 2014
Below are some ideas (and planned speakers) in the areas of science, human rights, humanist charities, music, etc. with links to more information:

Some have expressed an interest in the IceCube neutrino observatory project at the south pole. Prairie member John Richards (who is there until Feb. 15) will speak to the Humanist Union about it on March 2. (He will also be talking at Prairie's morning service on March 9.) Another future speaker is prof. John Hawks who has said he would schedule a time with us when he returns from Ethiopia. We will probably want to hear about his fossil excavation work there (see his blog) and/or in South Africa where he as been involved with the Rising Star Expedition.

Another future program we are planning on will be "The next generation of humanists: What are they up to?" led by Susan Hagstrom. Mentioned at our last HUM meeting was the Freedom of Thought Report for 2013 from the International Humanist and Ethical Union. We may want to do one or more programs on this by asking people we know who have lived in other countries to discuss with us the report's sections about freedom of thought in those countries.

A popular speaker at the 2010 UUA General Assembly in Minneapolis was Dale McGowan. We could have a program on his Foundation Beyond Belief, "A community of compassionate humanists supporting outstanding charities worldwide." You can see a slide show of projects they currently support in the header at Someone may also want to do a report on his forthcoming book (once it is published), In Faith and in Doubt, which he talks about on his blog, and someone with school age children might want to do a program on his Parenting Beyond Belief YouTube videos.

Another idea we have discussed before is a program on the Sunday Assembly movement. Should HUM play a role in helping start a Sunday Assembly group in Madison (people interest in starting new groups are now getting connected on linkedin) or should we try incorporating some of their ideas such as foot-stomping music in a HUM meeting? There is a British Humanist Association Choir which is doing some music we might be interested in such as the Galaxy Song from a Monty Python movie. Perhaps HUM should offer to do a Sunday morning service at Prairie UU Society in which the whole program was done in Sunday Assembly style. (We could ask Dan Barker of the Freedom From Religion Foundation if he would be willing to play piano for it.)

Late in the year we might want to get Dan Barker to report to HUM on FFRF's Freethought Hall expansion project, currently underway, and/or we might want to ask him to do a program on their growing Clergy Project, which is helping pastors who find they no longer believe what they have been preaching to find new careers.

Other ideas discussed at our February 2nd meeting were a presentation on the school voucher program in Wisconsin, getting a speaker from the April 11-13 Freethought Festival on the UW campus, and discussion of the book Brilliant Blunders: From Darwin to Einstein - Colossal Mistakes by Great Scientists That Changed Our Understanding of Life and the Universe by Mario Livio.