The Rapidian

Skeptics in the Pub at Brewery Vivant on February 25th

Skeptics meet for beer and conversation.
Beer at the Vivant

Beer at the Vivant /Soft Relaunch

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Looking to attend?

Upcoming CFI events can be found here, and more information about CFI can be found on their website.


Skeptics in the Pub for this month is scheduled for March 25th at Graydon’s Crossing, 1223 Plainfield Ave from 6:30-9:30 p.m. Anyone is welcome to stop by and participate in the discussions.

Brewery Vivant

Brewery Vivant /stevendepolo

Skeptics in the Pub (SITP) is the name of the monthly meetup by the organization Center for Inquiry (CFI). According to the Center's website, their main mission is “to foster a secular society based on science, reason, freedom of inquiry, and humanistic values."

On Friday, February 25th, the group met at Brewery Vivant, 925 Cherry Street in Grand Rapids. The meeting ran from 6:30-9:30pm. It is always planned as a very informal meeting. People dropped in and out throughout the night.

“It is a great way for our members to socialize in a less structured setting than our regular meetings," Jason Pittman, the event host and organizer, said. “They get to talk and drink with other free thinkers about whatever is on their minds.”

SITP takes place the fourth Friday of every month at a bar/restaurant location in the Grand Rapids area. Last month’s SITP was held at Founders in Grand Rapids. Other meetings take place at CFI member’s houses or at the CFI office.

The Center for Inquiry promotes a society that is evidence-based and supports the scientific method. CFI believes reasoning should be used to examine pseudoscience and religion. The three main goals, according to their website, are to:

  1. End the influence that religion and pseudoscience has on a public policy
  2. End the privileged position that religion and pseudoscience continues to enjoy in many societies
  3. End the stigma attached to the nonbeliever, whether the believer describes himself/herself as an atheist, agnostic, humanist, freethinker or skeptic

Pittman said SITP is a good way to bring new members to CFI. "Meeting with a few people at a pub is much more intimate and comfortable for first timers than attending one of our larger events," Pittman said.

The gathering is an informal public discussion. Beyond "civility" no rules of order are needed.

The Skeptics discussion on February 25th ranged from religion to upcoming CFI events. Other topics that came up included current events, politics, and even music. Pittman said that the topics can be as diverse as the people that come to SITP.

“Religion, of course, always comes up and new people especially like to talk about their religious background, or lack thereof, and their experiences with aggressively religious people in Grand Rapids,” Pittman said.

On February 25th, around 30 people were there at one time. Attendance is normally between 10-25 people.

“This was the most we’ve probably ever had,” Pittman said. While RVSP’s make it easier to figure out how much room is needed, they are not necessary.

Pittman's main goal for SITP is to let people know that CFI exists. “We’ve been in Grand Rapids for over ten years now, and people are still amazed to find us,” Pittman said.

What CFI hopes to accomplish in Grand Rapids is to create a community for nontheists. CFI is a national organization that has a presence in several major cities as well as some overseas.

CFI in Michigan is the most active offshoot of CFI National, organizing almost 300 events in 2010,” Pittman said. “We are currently raising funds in order to expand our events to more Michigan cities.”

SITP was originally called “Three Beer Discussions.” The name change took place within the last year. The "Three Beer Discussions" started about three years ago. Only about five to ten people showed up at these discussions. Before this, Pittman remembers hosting movie nights at his house for CFI about twice a month for seven years.

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