Upcoming Events

Mon 7/13

Image - Foragers, Farmers, and Fossil Fuels: How Human Values Evolve

Foragers, Farmers, and Fossil Fuels: How Human Values Evolve

Date: Mon, July 13, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
With Professor Ian Morris

Ian Morris, Jean and Rebecca Willard Professor of Classics and Professor of History, Stanford University; Author, Foragers, Farmers, and Fossil Fuels: How Human Values Evolve

Monday Night Philosophy explains why most people in the world today think democracy and gender equality are good, and violence and wealth inequality are bad, even though most people who lived before the 19th century thought just the opposite. Professor Morris argues that fundamental long-term changes in values are driven by the pursuit of energy, which humans have drawn from foraging, farming and fossil fuels. In forager bands, people who value equality, but are ready to settle problems violently do better. In farming societies, people who value hierarchy but are less willing to use violence do better. In fossil-fuel societies, equality is back but violence remains unacceptable. However, our ongoing revolution in energy capture could mean that our most cherished values could fundamentally change once again.

Tue 7/14

Image - Nob Hill Walking Tour

Nob Hill Walking Tour

Date: Tue, July 14, 2015
Time: 1:45 PM
A neighborhood adventure with Rick Evans
Explore one of San Francisco’s 44 hills, and one of its original “Seven Hills”. Because of great views and its central position, Nob Hill became an exclusive enclave of the rich and famous on the west coast who built large mansions in the neighborhood. This included prominent tycoons such as Leland Stanford, and other members of the Big Four. Highlights include the history of four landmark hotels: The Fairmont, Mark Hopkins, Stanford Court, and Huntington Hotel. Visit the city’s largest house of worship, Grace Cathedral, and discover architectural tidbits and anecdotes about the railroad barons and silver kings. A true San Francisco experience of elegance, urbanity, scandals and fabulous views.
Image - San Francisco's Jewel City

San Francisco's Jewel City

Date: Tue, July 14, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM

Laura Ackley, Architectural Historian; Author, San Francisco's Jewel City

San Francisco’s Panama-Pacific International Exposition opened its doors to much acclaim a century ago. The fantastic goings-on in each of the 11 neoclassical palaces that transformed the Presidio found their way into many of the pages of the Commonwealth Club’s reports during that summer of 1915. The exposition, which attracted such renowned American figures as Theodore Roosevelt and Thomas Edison, served as a poignant symbol for both San Francisco’s resurgence from the catastrophic 1906 earthquake and its irrepressible spirit of innovation that continues through today. Come celebrate this remarkable centennial with Laura Ackley, the author of San Francisco's Jewel City, which details the history of one of the most elaborate fairs ever held in our city.

Wed 7/15

Image - Working Stiff

Working Stiff

Date: Wed, July 15, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
With co-authors Judy Melinek and T.J. Mitchell

Judy Melinek, Forensic Pathologist and Associate Clinical Professor, UCSF; Medical Center; Co-author, Working Stiff: Two Years, 262 Bodies, and the Making of a Medical Examiner

T.J. Mitchell, Co-author, Working Stiff: Two Years, 262 Bodies, and the Making of a Medical Examiner

Just two months before the September 11 terrorist attacks, Dr. Judy Melinek began her training as a New York City forensic pathologist. With her husband T.J. and their toddler Daniel holding down the home front, Melinek threw herself into the fascinating world of death investigation – performing autopsies, investigating death scenes, counseling grieving relatives. Melinek offers a firsthand account of daily life in one of America’s most arduous professions, and the unexpected challenges of shuttling between the domains of the living and the dead. The body never lies – and through the murders, accidents, and suicides that land on her table, Melinek lays bare the truth behind the glamorized depictions of autopsy work on shows like “CSI” and “Law & Order” to reveal the secret story of the real morgue.

Thu 7/16

Image - Why and How to Get Better Sleep

Why and How to Get Better Sleep

Date: Thu, July 16, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
With Roger A. Sramek.

Roger A. Sramek, BA, MBA, Inventor; Entrepreneur; Founder, Promise, LLC; Author, Your Sleep: Wake up Refreshed! How to Reduce Pain, Lose Weight, Stop Snoring, and Get Healthy from the Promise of a Better Night’s Sleep

Sramek is an inventor, innovator and entrepreneur who came by his career as a farm boy who had to learn how to operate equipment and tools, to fix, mend, predict, nurture, listen, focus and get things done. He has numerous pending and issued patents in fields as diverse as stem cell harvesting devices, consumer products, oil production, urban farming and sleep enhancement. If you’re having sleep issues, such as insomnia, chronic pain or sleep disorders, Sramek can offer you new insights and techniques to get you sleeping in normal, refreshing and healthy ways.

Mon 7/20

Image - Julie Lythcott Haims: How to Prepare Kids for Success

Julie Lythcott Haims: How to Prepare Kids for Success

Date: Mon, July 20, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM

Julie Lythcott-Haims, Former Dean of Freshmen and Undergraduate Advising, Stanford University; Author, How to Raise an Adult: Break Free of the Overparenting Trap and Prepare Your Kid for Success

In her new book, Haims has delivered a provocative manifesto that exposes the detrimental effects of helicopter parenting and puts forth an alternative philosophy for raising self-sufficient young adults. She draws on research, conversations with educators and employers, and her own insights as a mother and student dean to highlight the ways in which over-parenting harms children and their stressed-out parents. While empathizing with parents' universal worries, she offers practical alternative strategies that underline the importance of allowing children to make their own mistakes and develop the resilience, resourcefulness, and inner determination necessary for success.

Relevant to parents of toddlers as well as of twentysomethings, come hear a rallying cry for those who wish to ensure that the next generation can take charge of their own lives with competence and confidence.

Socrates Café

Date: Mon, July 20, 2015
Time: 6:30 PM
Discussion of philosophical issues.

On one Monday evening of every month the Humanities Forum sponsors Socrates Café at The Commonwealth Club. Each meeting is devoted to the discussion of a philosophical topic chosen at that meeting. The group's facilitator, John Nyquist, invites participants to suggest topics, which are then voted on. The person who proposed the most popular topic is asked to briefly explain why she or he considers that topic interesting and important. An open discussion follows, and the meeting ends with a summary of the various perspectives participants expressed. Everyone is welcome to attend.

Wed 7/22

Radical Remission of Cancer: Surviving Against All Odds

Date: Wed, July 22, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
With author Kelly Turner.

Kelly Turner, PhD., Author, Radical Remission: Surviving Cancer Against All Odds

Turner, a researcher and lecturer in integrative oncology, was the first to delve deeply into studying “radical remission” from cancer – that is, when someone recovers from cancer without the help of conventional medicine, or after conventional medicine has failed. Join her as she describes the nine most common healing factors that emerged from her research and shares more from her New York Times bestseller.

Thu 7/23

Image - San Francisco Architecture Walking Tour

San Francisco Architecture Walking Tour

Date: Thu, July 23, 2015
Time: 1:45 PM
A neighborhood adventure with Rick Evans
Explore San Francisco’s Financial District with historian Rick Evans and learn the history and stories behind some of our city’s remarkable structures, streets, and public squares. Hear about the famous architects that influenced the building of San Francisco after the 1906 Earthquake. Discover hard-to-find rooftop gardens, Art Deco lobbies, unique open spaces, and historic landmarks. This is a tour for locals, with hidden gems you can only find on foot!

Wed 7/29

Image - My New Physician Is a D.O.: What Is Osteopathic Medicine?

My New Physician Is a D.O.: What Is Osteopathic Medicine?

Date: Wed, July 29, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
Local osteopathic physician educators on what the field can offer.

Michael B. Clearfield, DO; FACOI, FACP, Dean, Touro University California College of Osteopathic Medicine; Chair of the Board of Deans, American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine
R. Mitchell Hiserote, DO; Chair, Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine Department, Touro University California College of Osteopathic Medicine; Member, American Osteopathic Association Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation
Patricia Rehfield, DO; MPH, Associate Professor and Chair of the Primary Care Department, Touro University of California; Former Foreign Service Officer, Rover Medical Officer for the U.S. State Department; Member, Board of Directors of the Osteopathic Physicians and Surgeons of California
Shelley Berkley, JD; CEO and Senior Provost, Touro University California; Former Member, Committee on Ways and Means, Health Care Subcommittee, United States House of Representatives - Moderator

There are two degrees that physicians in the U.S. earn, the M.D. (allopathic medicine) or D.O. (osteopathic medicine) degree. While doctors with the two degrees carry the same rights and privileges compared to one degree, there are differences in their education and training, considering that one in five students currently enrolled in medical school is in an osteopathic program. Join three local osteopathic physician educators on what the field can offer, a comparison of allopathic versus osteopathic medicine, and what to expect in relation to the Affordable Care Act.

Mon 8/3

Image - Why Do People Reject Good Science?

Why Do People Reject Good Science?

Date: Mon, August 03, 2015
Time: 5:15 PM
With Dr. Eugenie Scott, Physical Anthropologist

Dr. Eugenie Scott, Physical Anthropologist; Former Executive Director, National Center for Science Education; Author, Evolution vs. Creationism; Co-editor, Not in Our Classrooms: Why Intelligent Design Is Wrong for Our Schools

Scientists are often puzzled when members of the public reject what they consider to be well-founded explanations. They can’t understand why the presentation of scientific data and theory doesn’t suffice to convince others of the validity of “controversial” topics like evolution and climate change. Recent research highlights the importance of ideology in shaping what scientific conclusions are considered reliable and acceptable. This research is quite relevant to the evolution wars and public opposition to climate change, and to other questions of the rejection of empirical evidence. Scott has received national recognition for her NCSE activities, including awards from scientific societies, educational societies, skeptics groups and humanist groups.

Wed 8/5

Who's Afraid of Opera? Exploring the Wonderful World of Music’s Grandest Art

Date: Wed, August 05, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
With dramaturg with the SF Opera, Clifford Cranna

Clifford Cranna, Dramaturg, San Francisco Opera

It’s glorious. It’s grand. It’s larger than life. It’s opera. San Francisco Opera’s longtime staff member Kip Cranna, a noted Bay Area music-appreciation speaker, offers an insider’s look at the world of opera and a whirlwind tour through opera’s 400-year long history, using video examples (with subtitles) to illustrate the evolution of this multi-faceted, fascinating and continuingly vital art.

This program is part of the 2015 Platforum series Music Matters, sponsored by Ernst & Young. 

Thu 8/6

Image - Sunset Youth Services Music Program for High-Risk Kids

Sunset Youth Services Music Program for High-Risk Kids

Date: Thu, August 06, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
With Co-founder and Executive Director Dawn Stueckle

Dawn Stueckle, Co-founder and Executive Director, Sunset Youth Services

Stueckle has discovered that music plays a vital role when working with high-risk youth and families. At Sunset Youth Services, Stuckle and her team aim to create programs that cater to youths' desire for change while acknowledging the barriers they face. This line of thinking has led to innovative services such as a youth-run record label and mobile recording studios that meet the young people where they are in life. This approach allows staff to work toward earning the right to journey with and support young people as they make positive changes. Come discuss the use of digital arts and music as a tool for health and wholeness.

Mon 8/10

Image - Pythagoras Thought Music Matters

Pythagoras Thought Music Matters

Date: Mon, August 10, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
With author George Hammond

George Hammond, Author, Conversations With Socrates and Rational Idealism

Monday Night Philosophy understands thoroughly that music matters. Pythagoras (whom we all know from basic geometry) thought so, too – he is well known for having uncovered the mathematical ratios underlying musical harmonies. He was so taken with his discovery that he proclaimed "all is number," and that there is a divine harmony, a music of the spheres, caused by the planets racing around a central fire in perfectly circular orbits. This first idea led directly to the development of the lush harmonies that came to define European classical music. The second, while partially obfuscating the realities of our solar system, nevertheless inspired Ptolemy, Copernicus and Newton in their search for the physical truth of our universe. Join us for a conversation of where the excitement with sound all began.

Mon 8/17

Socrates Café

Date: Mon, August 17, 2015
Time: 6:30 PM
Discussion of philosophical issues.

On one Monday evening of every month the Humanities Forum sponsors Socrates Café at The Commonwealth Club. Each meeting is devoted to the discussion of a philosophical topic chosen at that meeting. The group's facilitator, John Nyquist, invites participants to suggest topics, which are then voted on. The person who proposed the most popular topic is asked to briefly explain why she or he considers that topic interesting and important. An open discussion follows, and the meeting ends with a summary of the various perspectives participants expressed. Everyone is welcome to attend.

Wed 8/26

Image - Mozart and Masonic Semiotics

Mozart and Masonic Semiotics

Date: Wed, August 26, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
With Mozart scholar Steven Machtinger

Steven Machtinger, Attorney; Violist; Independent Mozart Scholar

Steven Machtinger and the London Quintet return to The Commonwealth Club for the Music Matters series, this time exploring how Mozart expressed Masonic attitudes toward death and immortality in the third movement of his G minor String Quintet of 1787.

Mon 9/28

Socrates Café

Date: Mon, September 28, 2015
Time: 6:30 PM
Discussion of philosophical issues.

On one Monday evening of every month the Humanities Forum sponsors Socrates Café at The Commonwealth Club. Each meeting is devoted to the discussion of a philosophical topic chosen at that meeting. The group's facilitator, John Nyquist, invites participants to suggest topics, which are then voted on. The person who proposed the most popular topic is asked to briefly explain why she or he considers that topic interesting and important. An open discussion follows, and the meeting ends with a summary of the various perspectives participants expressed. Everyone is welcome to attend.

Mon 10/26

Socrates Café

Date: Mon, October 26, 2015
Time: 6:30 PM
Discussion of philosophical issues.
On one Monday evening of every month the Humanities Forum sponsors Socrates Café at The Commonwealth Club. Each meeting is devoted to the discussion of a philosophical topic chosen at that meeting. The group's facilitator, John Nyquist, invites participants to suggest topics, which are then voted on. The person who proposed the most popular topic is asked to briefly explain why she or he considers that topic interesting and important. An open discussion follows, and the meeting ends with a summary of the various perspectives participants expressed. Everyone is welcome to attend.

Mon 11/16

Socrates Café

Date: Mon, November 16, 2015
Time: 5:00 PM
Discussion of philosophical issues.

On one Monday evening of every month the Humanities Forum sponsors Socrates Café at The Commonwealth Club. Each meeting is devoted to the discussion of a philosophical topic chosen at that meeting. The group's facilitator, John Nyquist, invites participants to suggest topics, which are then voted on. The person who proposed the most popular topic is asked to briefly explain why she or he considers that topic interesting and important. An open discussion follows, and the meeting ends with a summary of the various perspectives participants expressed. Everyone is welcome to attend.

Mon 12/21

Socrates Café

Date: Mon, December 21, 2015
Time: 6:30 PM
Discussion of philosophical issues.
On one Monday evening of every month the Humanities Forum sponsors Socrates Café at The Commonwealth Club. Each meeting is devoted to the discussion of a philosophical topic chosen at that meeting. The group's facilitator, John Nyquist, invites participants to suggest topics, which are then voted on. The person who proposed the most popular topic is asked to briefly explain why she or he considers that topic interesting and important. An open discussion follows, and the meeting ends with a summary of the various perspectives participants expressed. Everyone is welcome to attend.