Thoreau Adult Discussion Group

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Date(s) - Sunday, Jul 21, 2019
9:30 am - 10:30 am

Thoreau - Richmond Campus Now Open!


Held every Sunday morning at 9:30 am, we talk about a topic of interest. We have wide ranging topics and lively discussions, organized at the monthly ADG planning meeting.

Adult Discussion Group Topics and Facilitators – Summer 2019

Sunday, July 21

Adult Discussion Group: – 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.

Race to the Moon and First Step on the Moon

Presented by Gene Reed

Fifty years ago, today, US astronauts were walking on the Moon for the first time in the history of our planet thanks to the hard work of scientists, engineers, and mathematicians like our own Gene Reed.  Join us as Gene recalls those exciting days that pushed the frontiers of our knowledge and technology against the risks of failure and loss of life.  He’ll discuss what it was like then compared to today, when we have more computer power in our pocket cellphones than an entire NASA spacecraft had back then.  We’ll review the many benefits we enjoyed from that hard work and sacrifice.  Then we’ll discuss the future direction of our space explorations and implications of foreign competition.


Sunday, July 28

Adult Discussion Group: – 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.

Unidentified Flying Objects – UFOs!

Presented by Tony Veneruso

There were laughable UFO crazes in the 1950s as well as real fears from the cold war nuclear tests and even Orson Wells’ “War of the Worlds” Halloween broadcast, which panicked the nation 75 years ago.  Unfortunately, UFO witnesses have been ridiculed while a key aspect was ignored: UFOs are by definition unidentified.  Thankfully, when honest evidence gathering is encouraged it has helped to identify some former UFOs such as red sprites and blue jets, which are upper atmospheric optical phenomena coincident with powerful lightning strokes.  Recently, the US Navy drafted new guidelines for pilots to report encounters with “unidentified aircraft”.  Pilots have reported seeing objects flying at 30,000 feet with no exhaust plumes and at supersonic speeds.  Let’s discuss this and if you have any personal UFO encounters, know someone who has, or if you have been abducted, or would like to be (especially after seeing the evening news).



4 Aug – How Forests Think

Facilitated by:  Ron Masters

Does a bear think in the woods? Do dogs dream? What does “thinking” even mean, anyway? In “How Forests Think”, anthropologist Eduardo Kohn looks for ways beyond language and culture to describe how human and non-human inhabitants of the Brazilian rain-forest represent the world, anticipate the future, and choose interactions. “Sleep face up,” the natives advised him. “Then you can look the jaguar in the face, so he will know you are not meat.”

11 Aug – Respect

Presented by Denise Nielsen

Does today’s youth have less respect for authority and elders than in the past? Consider the following quotes:

–          “Children now love luxury. They have bad manners, contempt for authority, disrespect their elders, and love talking instead of exercise.”  (Socrates, 4th Century AD)

–          “The young people of today think of nothing but themselves. They have no reverence for parents or old age.” (Peter the Hermit, 1274)

These two quotes indicate humanity has long chided its youth for the disrespect they have for their elders. However, our current society has a unique set of circumstances, which has made our situation more complex than in the past.  We’ll review and discuss how our current society is different from any in the past and how those differences affect our personal need for respect and our need to respect others.


18 Aug – How Antisemitism can and has succeeded

Presented by: Jim Sheridan

Does anti-Antisemitism still exist? – Antisemitism has raged and subsided over the centuries only to rise again. Does it still exist? Why and where?

25 Aug – White Fragility White Fragility

Hosts: Lindi Kohn with Ron Hammons and Deirdre Hammons

In this session we will look at racism from a slightly different angle.  We will look at White Fragility, which is defined as a range of emotions white people have when removed from an insulated environment of racial protection, inducing feelings and behaviors ranging from denial and argumentation, to silence and expressions of “I already know this.”  We will explore what triggers this Fragility, factors that inculcate, and what we can do to form authentic racial engagement to end the perpetual cycle that holds unconscious racism in place.