Future Meetings and Events

Format for Meetings:

All meetings are scheduled to take place at HOA#2 MountainView Ballroom or the HOA#1 Activities Center. The location is stated on the announcencement. (see the Welcome page for the address and a map).

Coffee and tea is usually available around 10:00 AM. Generally at 10:30 AM the program begins with announcements and introductions before the formal meeting. The plan is to conclude the presentation by 11:30 AM, leaving a good half hour for Q and A and discussion.  Sometimes, of course the preponderance of the program will consist of discussion.  In any case, by 1 PM, we’re out of there!

When the meetings are held at the HOA#1 Activity Center, pot luck brunch is served. Steve Groth has volunteered to be in charge of set-up, refreshments, and clean-up and is seeking volunteers to help.  Refreshments will be limited to beverages (coffee, tea, tomato and orange juice -with or without vodka. Oh yes, as we have to pay $75 each time for use of the Activities center, we will have to collect donations at the door – about $4 per couple is recommended, but not obligatory.  We need some extra dollars to cover the cost of nametags, coffee, juice, paper goods, etc.  In addition, we give each presenter a $50 gift certificate for Barnes and Noble – Obviously just a token, but some expression of our appreciation.

Future Meetings:

April 26, 2015 information TBA

Past Meetings:

March 22, 2015

Meeting to discuss the future programming of SaddleBrooke Freethinkers

Synopsis of the meeting is available by going to the “POSTS” section and opening the “Synopsis of March 22, 2015 meeting”

February 22, 2015

National K-12 Educational Core Curriculum, Misunderstandings and Politicization

Dr. John Dossey will discuss the history of achievement standards in school mathematics, their relationship to assessments and the national controversy over Common Core State Standards for mathematics. There will be ample time for Q and A and discussion in the spirit of the Freethinkers.

Dr. Dossey has been involved in setting standards for mathematics at the state, national and international levels since the 1980’s. He has taught mathematics in public school grades 7-12, and at the undergraduate and graduate levels at Illinois State University and the US Military Academy. He has authored or coauthored over 100 textbooks and research reports focusing on international comparison of student achievement, undergraduate curriculum in mathematics and mathematical modeling.  He is a past president of the National Council of Mathematics Teachers and has served on numerous advisory committees for the College Board, National Science Foundation and National Research Council.  Dr. John Dossey retired from Illinois State University as Distinguished Professor of Mathematics.

January 25, 2015

Panel on Gay-Lesbian Issues to include marriage, equality, discrimination, adoption and family values.

Gays, Lesbians, and Allies at Saddlebrooke (GLAAS) will sponsor the panel discussion based on their mission statement:  “Using the power of community and camaraderie to celebrate the lives of gay, lesbian, and straight people and their relationships.”   Panel members will be: Barbara Atwood, professor of Law at the University of AZ, Paula Aboud, former AZ state senator, Bob Jackson, Clifton Leatherwood, past president of GLAAS and Jo Ann Ellison, attorney and president of GLAAS.

The primary purpose of GLAAS is to provide a safe space where allies, i.e., straight people who have friends and family who are gay and lesbian and or who recognize the importance and value of diversity, reach out to gay and lesbian residents of SaddleBrooke.  In these exciting times, gays and lesbians are becoming main stream in our society and the value of diversity has been recognized by a majority of people. The existence of GLAAS shows that SaddleBrooke wants to be relevant and part of the conversation about life in America.

January 11, 2015

Pot Luck Brunch and Social at the HOA#1 Activity Center

December 7,2014

The Aging Human Brain and Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s Disease  Research

Lalitha Madhavan MD, PhD will be the presenter.  Dr Madhavan is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Neurology at the U of A, and directs a research program that broadly centers on Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine.  The ultimate goal is to use this research to develop rational therapeutic strategies to tackle aging and age-related neurological disorders, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Disease. Discussion will follow.

November 16, 2014

SaddleBrooke Freethinkers to Discuss the Issue of Church and State Separation

Freethinkers and community friends are invited to a lively conversation on separation of church and state to be held at HOA#2 MountainView Ballroom at 10:30 AM, November 16. A coffee social begins at 10:00 AM. There will be no food served.

SaddleBrooke resident, Mel Durschlag, will offer an overview on the current state of affairs in the federal courts and a brief historical perspective. Zenaido Quintana, Board Chair of the Secular Coalition of Arizona (SCA), will provide a review of the organizations efforts in the most recent session of the Arizona legislature and insights into the upcoming 2015 session. The SCA opposes bills and legislative activities that privilege religious groups in conflict with US Constitutional Law. In particular, where this intrusion marginalizes religious minorities or nonbelievers. SCA’s goal is to ensure Arizona public policy is free of religious intrusion.

October 26, 2014:

Dr. Neil West Speaks to SaddleBrooke Freethinkers on the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare)

Freethinkers and all interested Saddlebrooke residents are cordially invited to a welcome back coffee social and speaker to follow. Coffee will be served 9:45 am Sunday October 26 at the HOA2 MountainView Ballroom. At 10:30am, our speaker Dr. Neil West will discuss “The Road to Increased Efficiency of Affordable Health Care in the 21st Century.”

Dr. West has practiced over 35 years as a pediatrician and has worked extensively with many aspects of the US Health Care system. He has served as a consultant to Medicare, Medicaid and Insurance Companies and has recently focused on quality pay for perform programs and building effective physician practices for improving efficiency, pharmaceutical ordering practices and protocols.

According to Dr. West, “There are amazing things happening to flatten the trajectory on health care costs and changing environment of groups. I will point out how those changes were stimulated by the Affordable HealthCare Act (ACA). If you look at Medicare 1965 to the present, it is a lot different than when it started. I will mention some of the things happening locally, like the merger of Banner and the University HealthCare Systems. The Wisconsin Collaborative is a marvelous experiment in improving healthcare for the entire state through shared data.”

Dr. West will also cover some of the remarkable decreases in cardiovascular diseases, heart attacks, stroke and heart failure over past 20-30 years through modern medical treatments. He will discuss the impact of improved public health progress and management of several diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis. Dr. West plans to leave ample time for active Q and A with discussion in the spirit of the Free Thinkers.

March 23, 2014:

Dr. Dianna Liverman  Addresses the SaddleBrooke Freethinkers on Global Warming in the Southwest

The Saddlebrooke Freethinkers is pleased to announce Dr. Diana Liverman will speak on “Global Warming: causes and consequences in the Southwest” at our meeting be held at 10:30am, March 23, in the HOA#2   MounainView Ballroom.  Attendees are encouraged to arrive early at 10am for coffee, seating, and to meet your friends.

Dr. Liverman is distinguished Professor of Geography and Development and Director of the University of Arizona Institute of the Environment. She is a distinguished environmental scientist with numerous publications dealing with global warming, and sustainable climate choices. We are fortunate to have Dr. Liverman speak to us on a very timely subject of interest to everyone on the fragile planet earth.

The Saddlebrooke Freethinkers is a group of independent -minded, free thinking individuals who meet on the 4th Sunday of each month, October through April, to hear a stimulating speaker, and discuss timely and important human  issues using rational and critical reasoning. Our motto is:  truth through reason and science.


February 23, 2014:

Pot Luck Brunch and Social at the HOA#1 Activity Center

January 26, 2014:

Dr. Sandy McNabb Speaks to the SaddleBrooke Freethinkers on the Egyptian Uprising During the Arab Spring of 2011

Dr. Sandy McNabb, a retired professor, Internet Technologist and Telecommunications   executive will give a talk titled: “Myths and Misconceptions about the Egyptian Uprising” 10:30am Sunday, January 26th at the HOA#1 Activity Center.

Dr. McNabb moved to Egypt in 2004 to study Arabic and was recruited into technology projects across Egypt. She was present in Egypt during the 2011 uprising and will present valuable personal insights.

After 20 years if international service in Egypt and European countries, Dr. McNabb retired to Arizona “because the climate was similar to that of Egypt”, and like many of us she “fell in love with Saddlebrooke after coming over the hill”.

December 15, 2013:

Dr. Ann Vernon Discusses Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Join the Saddlebrooke Freethinkers 10:30 AM Sunday, December 15 at the HOA#1 Activities Center when Dr. Ann Vernon, a member of the Free Thinkers, will address the topic: Reasons to Be Rational.

Dr.Vernon is President of the Albert Ellis Institute in New York and former director of the Midwest Center for Rational Emotive Therapy (RET).  She had an extensive private practice for years, utilizing Rational Emotive Therapy (RET) and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) with children, adolescents, and adults.  She has presented training workshops in the U.S., Canada, and abroad, and is the author of numerous books and journal articles on this topic.  Her focus in this presentation will be on the process of identifying and challenging typical cognitive behavior.

According to Shakespeare, “There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.”   This quote is the foundation of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT); similar therapeutic models which are recognized throughout the world as the treatment of choice for depression, anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder, eating disorders, and much more. REBT&CBT are powerful self-help approaches that can help people gain control over their lives by learning how to challenge distorted thinking that results in self-defeating behaviors and unhealthy emotions.  By learning to think more rationally, people generally feel more empowered and in charge of their lives. Behavioral therapists maintain that it isn’t life’s events that cause us to feel angry, depressed, anxious, frustrated, and so forth—but rather, what we think about life events that  influences how we feel. As Abraham Lincoln said, “Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.”

November 24, 2013:

Dr. Lockwood Carlson Speaks on “Science and Technology”

Dr. Lockwood Carlson will speak at 10:30 November 24 at the HOA #1 Activities Center.  As a Saddlebrooke resident, he is well-known to the community for his outstanding lecture series on astronomy.

Dr Carlson is a professor of theoretical physics and has conducted research on electrodynamics of black holes. He is currently a Professor and Chairman of the Technological Leadership Institute at the University of Minnesota where he teaches technology management. Dr. Carlson retired as a Corporate Scientist for the 3 M Corporation, but continues to serve as a consultant for energy technology on several corporate and academic boards.

Lockwood is an active member of the Free Thinkers and has presented past lectures on science and theology.  He has the rare ability of simplifying complex scientific theory into language that the public is able to understand.

October 27, 2013:

SaddleBrooke Freethinkers Begins Tenth Year of Fellowship With a Pot Luck Social and Speaker, Dr, Michael Morris.

As many of us return from summer travels, it is time for the Free Thinkers to renew old Acquaintances and find new friendships at a pot luck brunch to be held at 9:30 A.M. October 27 at the HOA1 Activities Center. Please bring a hot or cold pot luck dish, fruit, cheese, breads, cakes or finger foods to share with others. Free Thinkers who meet together enjoy eating together. Guests are welcome to join and find out about our group.

The social hour will be followed at 10:30 A.M. by the speaker, Dr. Richard Morris, who will discuss “Critical Thinking: main blocks we all face when analyzing a problem, how to jump the hurdles and solve problems quickly using the five minute method”.

Dr. Morris, a Phoenix Attorney, has a broad background as Attorney, criminal prosecutor and defense council in civil matters. In addition, as a Dr. of Philosophy he studies and teaches epistemology, a branch of Philosophy that investigates the origins, methods and limits of human knowledge. Dr. Morris has published articles in diverse periodicals, including American Atheist, Truth Seeker, Arizona Journal and Secular World.  His latest book is titled “God on Trial”, available during this meeting.

The SaddleBrooke Freethinkers group was founded 10 years ago by the late Susanne Brown, and was developed throughout the ensuing years under the capable leadership of Betty Hughes to about 90 members and growing. Betty may be taking her well-deserved full retirement this year and we will miss her stimulating and thoughtful leadership. For information about the Freethinkers, including the mission statement, club activities, and abstracts of past and upcoming programs, see our website: sbfreethinkers.wordpress.com


April 28, 2013:

Earth Day

The SaddleBrooke Freethinkers will celebrate Earth Day on Sunday  April 28 ,10 AM  at  HOA2 MountainView ballroom with a talk by the internationally recognized  environmental scientist Dr. James Gentile. He  will speak on  the world wide problem of  global warming and  US science policy. We are fortunate to have this distinguished scientist visit with us in SaddleBrooke.

The Freethinkers and the public is cordially invited to attend this meeting and participate in an active discussion of  environmental issues.