Monthly Public Lectures

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Photo taken at Humanist Society of Victoria Monthly Public Lecture on 28 March 2019 at Kew Seniors Centre - Fiona Patten (leader of Reason Party) on 'Secularism, Humanism and Political Engagement'The Humanist Society of Victoria hosts a series of monthly public lectures by guest speakers raising questions of public interest and importance. We welcome everyone interested in fostering a more rational and caring society. You will find a link to a summary of each lecture as they become available.

Entry is by gold-coin donation at the door. For enquiries, contact Stephen Stuart on (03) 9857 8318 or at

When: Fourth Thursday of each month, 6:00 pm for 6:30 pm start

Yesterday’s Child: Gene Editing, Enhancement and Obsolescence

Thursday 24 October 2019, 6:30 pm
Balwyn Library, 336 Whitehorse Rd, Balwyn, Victoria (Find on Google Maps)

Photo of Robert Sparrow

Professor Robert Sparrow (Professor, Philosophy, Monash University)

The development of the CRISPR gene-editing technology has led many to believe that genetic human enhancement is now a realistic possibility. Advocates of gene editing for enhancement typically assume that gene-editing technology will improve rapidly. In this lecture, Robert Sparrow will discuss how this rapid progress risks obsolescence. Will the year-on-year improvements to genetic enhancements for children make those enhancements go rapidly out of date? Eventually, will every modified child find themself to be “yesterday’s child”? This kind of obsolescence and its impacts raises serious questions about how we understand ourselves as individuals and social beings.

Bio: Robert Sparrow is a Professor in the Philosophy Program and a Chief Investigator in the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Electromaterials Science. He works on ethical issues raised by new technologies.

Why Animals Matter

Thursday 28 November, 7:15 pm
Balwyn Library, 336 Whitehorse Rd, Balwyn, Victoria (Find on Google Maps)

Photo of Lisa Chalk (Campaign Director, Animals Australia)

Lisa Chalk (Campaign Director, Animals Australia)

In this talk, Lisa Chalk will work to unravel our inherited belief systems about the role of animals in our lives and society. She will address how our treatment of animals intersects with other critical issues facing the world today. These issues include the climate crisis, human health and global hunger. Come and be challenged in your thinking about our relationships with and our moral obligations to other species.

Bio: Lisa Chalk worked as a journalist turned political adviser when in 2007 on 60 Minutes a story about live animal exports planted a seed that led to a career in animal advocacy. Her advocacy work started with RSPCA Australia and over the past eight years she’s worked as Campaign Director for Animals Australia. Known for their investigations and strategic public awareness campaigns, at Animals Australia Lisa works alongside a team of dynamic and passionate advocates to expose and address animal cruelty, inspire compassion and respect for all living beings, and empower individuals to create needed change.

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