The Humanist Association of Toronto provides a focus of activities and discussion for Humanists in the Toronto area. Please note: HAT events are open to the public, and views expressed do not necessarily represent the official views of the Humanist Association of Toronto. For all public statements, educational events, media enquiries, please contact the webeditor, who will forward your enquiry to our Spokesperson.
The Humanist Forum meets Saturday morning 11am-1pm
The Monthly Meeting the 2nd or 3rd Saturday at 1:30pm (TBD)
The Steering Committee meets 1st Wednesday, 7pm
The Book Group meets monthly.

HAT Forum
Sat Sep 3rd 2016
11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
519 Church Street Room tba or 304
Topic: Ritual
Proposer: Moses Klein

What value do rituals serve?

What rituals do you find useful in your life?

Rituals are often associated with religion. Do religious rituals have a
different character from rituals that may make sense in a secular context?

Does HAT need rituals? What sort of rituals would fit our group?

A few of the words listed in a thesaurus as synonyms for ritual: ceremony
custom, habit, routine, convention, sacrament, tradition. How do you
understand ritual differently than those words?

HAT Forum
Sat Aug 27th 2016
11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
519 Church Street Room tba or 304
Topic: Humanism and the HAT
Proposer: Jon Aldridge

Topic: Humanism and the HAT

--How do you understand Humanism?

--In what ways do you regard yourself as a Humanist?

--What beliefs or actions might preclude someone from being a Humanist?

--Is there a specific definition of Humanism as understood by the Humanist Association of Toronto?

--What can long-term members share with others about the HAT past and present?

--Does the HAT have ties to other Humanist organizations?

--What do you think of organizations which are not explicitly Humanist, such as corporations or religious groups? On what terms would you cooperate with them?

--What facets of public life might benefit from a more Humanistic approach?

HAT Forum
Sat Aug 20th 2016
11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
519 Church Street Room tba or 304
Topic: Will Mankind's intelligence and technology be beneficial or disastrous in the long term?

Is humanity a danger to itself? Will we survive into the distant future?

What if anything is the greatest existential Threat to humanity? A.I? synthetic biology? Nuclear war? Disease/pandemic? climate change? Something Else? anything?

The Fermi Paradox is the idea that maybe we do not see evidence of other civilizations due to the fact they end up going extinct after a time.
Do you think our Intelligence, technology and Civilization are a hindrance or a help to our long term survival?

Some People have made the claim That it is not resources we lack but knowledge. In the "Character of physical Law" series of lectures Richard Feynman Laments our lack of Knowledge. He mentions the amount of energy in the ocean and points out it is unavailable to us, as we have no idea how to use it.

How many Cities equivalent to New York could we power if we knew how to harness all the energy of the ocean?

Ocean 80000 Twh per year

New York's years energy consumption for 2009: 60,000 Gwh

Is our ignorance a hindrance to our survival?

Mankind has been predicting doom for Millennial. The earliest written record is from Zoroastrianism in 500 BC claiming the world will end after 10 hundred winters.
We have survived much: The Last Glacial Period (Ice Age), Pandemics (The Black Death).
Are the current warnings of danger (A.I., Climate Change) just an ongoing part of human nature and culture?

HAT Forum
Sat Aug 13th 2016
10 a.m. to noon
519 Church Street Room tba or 304
Topic:Epistemology; Proposer: Justin Otto

to 10 a.m. - Noon
(Maintenance work at The 519)

Introductory Question
Describe a belief that you used to have, but changed your mind about.

What do you think is a good way to think about open-mindedness?

Can we ever know anything with 100% certainty?
Tree in the Forest

A much-repeated question: "If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?"
Occam's Razor

All else held equal, an explanation which makes fewer assumptions is more likely to be true than ones that rely on many assumptions. But suppose someone was to say "The woman down the road is a witch; she did it". This explanation feels simple, but what is wrong with it?
Guess the Rule

I will give a sequence of 3 numbers, which obeys a rule that I have in mind. The goal is to guess what the rule is by giving me sequences of 3 numbers of your own chosing, and I will say whether or not they follow my rule. The sequence is: 2, 4, 8.
Let others take some guesses if you are familiar with the puzzle.
Terrorist-Camera Puzzle

-Suppose that we have a city of 1,000,000 people. Assume that 10 of these people are terrorists, and the other 999,990 people are innocent citizens.-The mayor sets up some special cameras which are able to detect terrorists. Unfortunately, the accuracy rate isn't perfect.-When a terrorist walks in front of the camera, there is a 90% chance that the camera will correctly flag that person as a terrorist, and a 10% chance of marking them as innocent.-When an innocent citizen walks in front of a camera, it has a 99% chance of correctly marking them as innocent, and a 1% chance of mistakenly flagging them as a terrorist.
Suppose that someone walks in front of a camera, and it flags them as a terrorist. What is the probability that they are actually a terrorist? The answer may surprise you.

HAT Forum
Sat Aug 6th 2016
11 a.m. To 1 pm
519 Church Street Room tba or 304
Proposer: Richard Dowsett

“Tipping” - giving someone money following the performance of a service, is a significant part of Canadian modern life. In a Cornell University study, Canada was found to have 27 tip-worthy service professions. This level varies widely worldwide from a high of 31 in the United States to lows of 4 in Japan and 0 in Iceland.

1.      What were the designed purposes of tipping? Are they being accomplished in the current system?
2.      How does the North American system of tipping benefit servers? Employers? Customers?
3.      What problems do you have with tipping? As a server? Customer? Employer?
4.      What experience do you have with tipping and service culture outside Canada?
5.      One researcher found a positive correlation between tipping prevalence and corruption in a multi-national study. How are tipping and bribery similar? How are they different?
6.      Using humanist values, can we formulate guidelines to tipping or is the whole tipping system fundamentally un-humanist?
HAT meetings are free and open to members and the public. Call (416) 966-1361 for location information. ___________________________________________________
The Humanist Forum meets Saturday morning 11am-1pm.
The Monthly Meeting, is usually the second Saturday at 1:30pm; specifics should be found on this blog.
The Steering Committee meets the first Wednesday of each month, at 7pm.
The Book Group usually meets on the first Saturday afternoon of the month.