"Evolution's Public Defenders" in Amherst, NY, Aug. 19-20, 2011

Friday, August 19, 2011 - Saturday, August 20, 2011

Location: CFI-Transnational

1310 Sweet Home Road
Amherst, NY 14226
United States

The Center for Inquiry Institute and CFI—Amherst 
are proud to host a two-day conference on

Evolution's Public Defenders
Fighting for Science and Dispelling Myths
About Human Origins

August 19-20, 2011

Center for Inquiry—Transnational
1310 Sweet Home Road
Amherst, NY

Click Here to Register!


The need to educate our children about evolution and enlighten adults about its evidence has never been more urgent. Some key political and legal battles have been won while others have been lost, and many more challenges lie ahead. All of these struggles ultimately depend on the public's ability to understand the basic science and wealth of evidence behind evolution. This institute on Evolution's Public Defenders brings together experts who are championing evolution on many fronts. We will discuss primary obstacles to honest science education, strategies for expanding and deepening the teaching of evolution in schools, and proven techniques for increasing the public understanding of human origins.


Friday, August 19

7:00-9:00pm | Rev. Michael Dowd, MDiv (via Skype) & Massimo Pigliucci, PhD
“Evolution, Education, and Religion: A Discussion”

Saturday, August 20

10:30-11:30am | Massimo Pigliucci, PhD
"Evolutionary Hypotheses About Religion: Eight Philosophical Lessons"

11:30am-12:15pm | Ron Lindsay, JD, PhD
"The Creationists' Evolving Legal Strategy."

12:15-1:30pm | Lunch

1:30-2:30pm | Barbara Forrest, PhD
"Why 'Academic Freedom' Is Neither Academic nor Free"

2:30-3:30pm | Joe Nickell, PhD
“Tracking the Man Beasts”

3:30-4:30pm | John Shook, PhD
"By Chance, Law, or Design? Popular Misunderstandings of Evolution and How to Prevent Them"

Speakers include:

dowd.jpgRev. Michael Dowd, M.Div., an outspoken religious naturalist, is America’s evolutionary evangelist. His book, Thank God for Evolution (2008), was endorsed by 6 Nobel Prize-winning scientists, noted skeptics, and by religious leaders across the spectrum. He and his wife, Connie Barlow, an acclaimed science writer, have traveled North America since 2002 and have spoken to more than 1,500 groups, sharing an inspiring view of cosmic, biological, and human evolution. They are also the creators of a leading website in the big history/epic of evolution movement at TheGreatStory.org (Rev. Dowd will be appearing via Skype).

Person-CFI-Forrest-Barbara.gifBarbara Forrest, Ph.D. is a professor of philosophy at Southeastern Louisiana University. She is co-author with Paul R. Gross of Creationism's Trojan Horse: The Wedge of Intelligent Design. She served as an expert witness for the plaintiffs in Kitzmiller et al. v. Dover Area School District, the first legal case involving intelligent design creationism. Since 2008, she has been involved in efforts to defend the teaching of science in her home state of Louisiana.

Ronald LindsayRonald A. Lindsay, J.D., Ph.D. is president and CEO of the Council for Secular Humanism and the Center for Inquiry. An honors graduate of the University of Virginia School of Law, Dr. Lindsay also holds a Ph.D. in philosophy from Georgetown University, specializing in bioethics. He is the author of Future Bioethics: Overcoming Taboos, Myths, and Dogmas (2008) and a contributor to The New Encyclopedia of Unbelief (2007).

Person-CFI-Nickell-Joe.jpgJoe Nickell, Ph.D. is Senior Research Fellow of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry and "Investigative Files" columnist for Skeptical Inquirer. A former stage magician, private investigator, and teacher, he is author of numerous books, including Inquest on the Shroud of Turin (1998), Pen, Ink and Evidence (2003), Unsolved History (2005) and Adventures in Paranormal Investigation (2007). He has appeared in many television documentaries and has been profiled in The New Yorker and on NBC's Today Show. His personal website is at Joenickell.com.

Massimo PigliucciMassimo Pigliucci, Ph.D. has a Doctorate in Genetics from the University of Ferrara (Italy), a PhD in Evolutionary Biology from the University of Connecticut, and a PhD in Philosophy from the University of Tennessee. He has done post-doctoral research in evolutionary ecology at Brown University and is currently Chair of the Philosophy Department at Lehman College and Professor of Philosophy at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. His research interests include the philosophy of biology, in particular the structure and foundations of evolutionary theory, the relationship between science and philosophy, the relationship between science and religion, and the nature of pseudoscience. Massimo is the Editor-in-Chief of the open access journal Philosophy & Theory in Biology and a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He is the founder of the Rationally Speaking blog and author of Nonsense on Stilts: How to Tell Science from Bunk (2010), his most recent book.

[object Object]John Shook, Ph.D. is director of education and senior research fellow at the Center for Inquiry Transnational in Amherst, N.Y., and research associate in philosophy at the University at Buffalo, since 2006. Prior to joining CFI, Dr. Shook was a professor of philosophy at the University of Oklahoma. He has authored and edited more than a dozen books about naturalism, pragmatism, and humanism. His most recent books are The God Debates (2010) and The Essential William James (as editor, 2011).



Click Here to Register!

Conference program is scheduled for:
Friday, August 19: 7pm-9pm
Saturday, August 20: 10:30am-5pm

Registration is $65 for the public, $45 for Friends of the Center, and $19 for students (valid student ID required).

Partial registration available to Friends of the Center at the door: Friday, $20; Saturday, $30.

For more information about the CFI Institute, please visit our web site.
Specific questions? Email a CFI Institute representative
or call us at (716) 636-4869 ext. 408

CFITransnational is located directly across from the University at Buffalo's North Campus
Free parking is available at the Center

We're sorry, the deadline for registering for this event has passed.