You are here

Salon: Past Events

Salon Information

Salon Program
Jefferson Center Salons present topics of interest to our community, and provide a forum for lively discussion afterward. Topics are selected by a committe of members. We serve refreshments contributed by volunteers and have a brief social time before the start of the program. Salons are typically held on the second Sunday of each month at 4pm at The Jefferson Center, 208 Oak Street, Suite 101 in Ashland. Guests of members and interested visitors are always welcome to join us. To volunteer for refreshments or make a suggestion for a future salon, please contact committee chair Diana Spade by clicking here.

03/12/2017 - 4:00pm What is Secular Studies?

In 2011, Pitzer College established the first department of secular studies in the nation. Students at this small, private liberal arts institution can now major in, and get a baccalaureate degree in, secular studies. Author Phil Zuckerman, the founding chair of the department, will explain what secular studies is all about, and discuss its timeliness and relevance. Phil's talk will be held at the Ashland Community Center, 59 Winburn Way.

02/12/2017 - 4:00pm JC Salon: Celebrate Evolution and Darwin's Birthday, February 12th at 4pm

To celebrate evolution and Darwin Day February 12, 2017, The Jefferson Center will host a public lecture by Len Eisenberg (at the Ashland Community Center) on evolution, followed by serving of delicious birthday cake to all attendees. Attendees are encouraged to dress as your favorite plant or animal! (full or partial costume, these do not have to be elaborate) Anyone so dressed will be awarded a free tee shirt, and best of such costumes will also receive a free hoodie! Please join The Jefferson Center in celebrating one of the great achievements of science and reason; that life on Earth is one big extended family!
Len Eisenberg will present a short talk on "Evolution: Everything you wanted to know but were afraid to ask"
The two key lessons of evolutionary theory are that 1) that all life on Earth is related by descent with modification from common ancestors (in other words, life on Earth is one big extended family), and 2) natural selection is the primary driver of evolutionary change. These concepts are humorously illuminated by the use of Gary Larson cartoons, and the evidence for biological evolution is presented as answers to commonly voiced objections to evolution. For example, some people claim evolution is incompatible with religious belief vs. religious scientists who are prominent promoters of evolution. Another example shows claims that evolution has failed to confirm theory predictions vs. several predictions made by Charles Darwin that have been spectacularly confirmed. The last part of the talk briefly discusses how evolution might proceed in the future or on other planets. Plenty of time will be allowed for questions and comments before we devour the cake.

01/08/2017 - 4:00pm Salon: Science vs Faith in the Grand Canyon

The presentation for the Salon of January 8th, 2017 "Science vs. faith in the Grand Canyon" will compare the young-earth models of a six-thousand-year-old Earth with the standard scientific model of the Grand Canyon, illustrated by views of the canyon and surrounding areas, and the rocks and fossils found therein. We will concentrate on why science and industry have chosen the scientific interpretation of the canyon, and the lengths to which young-earth creationists have gone to defend interpretations based on a literal reading of the Bible. There is a faction of creationists who admit a great age for the earth (old-earth creationists) and their views will also be noted. Plenty of time will be available after the 45-minute talk for questions and comments. Please note this salon will be held at the Community Center, 59 Winburn Way.

Len Eisenberg worked as an exploration and production geologist with Chevron Overseas, where he worked on exploration and production projects, mostly in Africa and Papua New Guinea. He now volunteer teaches in public schools and the community. Len hosts school programs for Briscoe Geology Park, and is on the Science Advisory Board at ScienceWorks Hands-On Museum, and built the Briscoe Geology Park in Ashland, the Climb through Time geologic climbing wall at ScienceWorks, and the earth history walk at Oregon Hills Park in Medford. Len promotes the teaching of evolution using a family approach through His current research interest is giant floods in the 190-million-year-old Navajo Sandstone in Utah.

12/11/2016 - 5:00pm The Jefferson Center Winter Solstice Pot Luck Party

The Jefferson Center Winter Solstice Pot Luck Party will be during our usually scheduled Salon date on Sunday, December 11th at 5pm at the Pioneer Hall, 73 Winburn Way. Please bring a pot luck dish (pick either a main dish, a side vegetable dish, salad or dessert) which serves 6-8 that you wish to share with all. Also bring your own tableware (plate, cutlery, and beverage container, preferable non-disposable). Beverages (wine, water, or bear) will be provided by The Jefferson Center. Like last year we are planning a White Elephant gift exchange. For those of you who are not familiar with that concept please check out (link is external). The gift should be suitable for either sex. Please bring the gift wrapped in a plain brown shopping style bag. This party like our salons are open to friends of the Jefferson Center as well. This is a good opportunity for friends of the Jefferson Center to get to know our members and for members to invite friends who might be interested in learning more about the Jefferson Center and possibly joining. This is also an opportunity for guests to learn more about the organization. Please invite someone and join us for an evening of fun and camaraderie. Please note starting time is 5pm.

11/13/2016 - 4:00pm Why Local Journalism Matters

Join Cathy Noah, Editor in Chief of the Medford Tribune, at Suite 101, Old Ashland Armory, for a lively discussion of Journalism and the Internet. People have a lot of options these days for getting their news -- so many, in fact, that some think they no longer need the traditional sources of media. But dig deeper into that story and you'll find the news that you consume on social media or your favorite website likely originated with a traditional journalist. That's especially true at the local level, as Cathy knows well.

10/09/2016 - 4:00pm 2016 Election: What matters most to you? What would you change if you could?

Please join us in a group discussion of important election issues from your perspective. 2016 Election: What matters most to you? What would you change if you could? The discussion will be facilitated by Noreen Hulteen. Everyone is encouraged to share their thoughts and experiences at our meeting place, downstairs at the Old Ashland Armory, 208 Oak Street, Suite 101.

09/11/2016 - 4:00pm He Said, She Said: Getting Two Sides (and Little Else) In Modern Journalism

Geoffrey Riley, host of The Jefferson Exchange on JPR, will discuss the tendency in contemporary journalism to get opinions and not much more to make up a story... and to find just ONE other side, when there not only could be multiple views, but there could also be NO responsible alternative view. The lack of funding for investigative journalism in the country is likely to make the problem worse. Join the conversation at the Jefferson Center meeting room, Suite 101, downstairs at the Old Ashland Armory.

07/10/2016 - 4:00pm Jefferson Center Salon

As customary the Jefferson Center Salon's will be on vacation during July and August. Please rejoin us on Sunday, September 11th. Have a great summer!!

06/12/2016 - 4:00pm Jefferson Center Summer Social/Salon

On Sunday, June 12th, from 4-8 in the Pioneer Hall, Ashland there will be a combined Jefferson Center Summer Social and Salon. The Jefferson Center's founder, Bob Semes, will our honored guest with a special presentation: “BUT WAIT…THERE’S MORE: REFLECTIONS ON THE LATEST BOOKS REGARDING LIVING WITHOUT RELIGION, PLUS SOME THOUGHTS FROM THOMAS JEFFERSON.” This is a great opportunity to not only to meet and socialize with fellow Jefferson Center members but also to reacquaint with Bob or, for some, to meet him for the first time. We will have the usual pot luck….bring your favorite dish (serving 6-8) to be shared by all. Any dish will do, an appetizer, a vegetarian main dish, vegetable, or salad. Do not bring a meat dish (chicken, ham and roast beef) or desert……they will be provided as will the beverages (wine, beer, and water) although you are welcome to bring drinks to share. Please bring your own tableware (plate, utensils, and a beverage container) preferably non disposable.

05/08/2016 - 4:00pm May Salon Topic: Can Science Answer Moral Questions?

Is it ever possible for humans to derive values objectively, logically or scientifically from facts alone? We will watch, then discuss Sam Harris’ twenty-three minute TED talk where he makes the controversial claim that science can indeed answer moral questions. Discussion will be facilitated by Roy Kindell. Light refreshments will be available.