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Transforming Consciousness: What to Expect at Death (Brought to you by the members of Buffalo State Freethinkers)


On October 21st, 2011, thanks to Secular Student Alliance, Buffalo State clarkFreethinkers hosted philosopher Tom Clark for a discussion on  the topic; “Transforming Consciousness: What to Expect at Death”. Mr. Clark is the founder of the Center for Naturalism, a non-profit based in Boston dedicated to spreading that Naturalistic worldview and helping the public to understand its importance and implications.

The topic was chosen by our group when discussing what aspect of being non-religious we were most often questioned about. Virtually every member of our group could recount being questioned about how they could possibly live their lives not believing in an afterlife. Likewise, we had a group conversation about how best to handle the reality of death given that we do not believe in a supernatural afterlife. Having heard of Mr. Clark before and read some of his work, I thought he’d be the perfect speaker to invite to help us discuss the topic.

I contacted Clark with the help of Secular Student Alliance’s Speakers Bureau, which was easily accessible and gave me a great list of topics that Clark was willing to speak about. I was quickly put in touch with Clark who was more than willing to help speak for us provided we paid for his transportation. Again, Secular Student Alliance saved the day agreeing to reimburse us for any expenses accumulated by us getting Clark to our school.  We then contacted all the student organizations and departments we thought would be interested in Clarkythe event. Intervarsity Christian, our campus religious organization with whom we are well equated, agreed to advertise the event to their members. We also notified the Psychology and Philosophy departments and much to our surprise, a cognitive psychology professor agreed to give extra-credit to any student of hers who attended. A good lesson for any secular student group is that events can be a great way to find friends in unlikely places. We also handed out or put up over 150 flyers, printed with the help of the Center for Inquiry, another great secular non-profit group.

The day of the event we had an excellent turnout. Our sign in sheet read 48 in attendance, although several students walked in after the sheet had been passed around so I suspect we had several more. We also filmed the event which was helpful for both Mr. Clark and our club since we had many members who unfortunately, were unable to be there. Clark’s presentation sparked great discussion between our club members and hopefully many others. The event was our best yet and possible only because of Secular Student Alliance. I want to thank Lyz Liddell, Nick Stancato, and everyone else at SSA. Thank you for everything you guys do, keep up the good work!

The above article was written by Buffalo State Freethinkers. Tom Clark's presentation on consciousness was also filmed by Buffolo State Freethinkers. To watch the video click here.

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