Speakers

Eugenie-scott-web  EUGENIE SCOTT

Dr. Eugenie C. Scott is Executive Director of the National Center for Science Education, Inc., a not for profit membership organization of scientists, teachers, and others that works to improve the teaching of science as a way of knowing, the teaching of evolution, and the teaching of climate change.  A former college professor, Dr. Scott is an internationally-known expert on the creationism and evolution controversy, and is called upon by the press and other media to explain science to the general public. The author of Evolution vs Creationism: An Introduction and co-editor with Glenn Branch of Not in Our Classrooms: Why Intelligent Design is Wrong for our Schools, she is the recipient of numerous awards from scientists and educators, and has been awarded nine honorary degrees.

SethAndrews-calendarSETH ANDREWS

A former believer of 30 years (including a decade as a Christian radio host), Seth ultimately discovered that religion lacked any legitimate answers, especially in the bright light of scientific discovery. Instead of being satisfied with a belief system inherited from family and culture, Seth found greater satisfaction in “thinking” for himself, and he eventually encouraged others to do the same through an online community called The Thinking Atheist. His professionally-produced, atheism-related videos have been seen by millions on YouTube, and his weekly BlogTalkRadio podcast receives a half a million downloads each month.  Seth also recently published a book titled Deconverted: A Journey from Religion to Reason

Dan+BarkerDAN BARKER

Dan Barker (born June 25, 1949) is a prominent American atheist activist who served as a Christian preacher and musician for 19 years but left Christianity in 1984.  He has written numerous articles for Freethought Today, an American freethought newspaper. He is the author of several books including Losing Faith in Faith: From Preacher to Atheist. He is the current co-president with his wife Annie Laurie Gaylor of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, an American Freethought organization that promotes the separation of church and state. Barker is co-host of Freethought Radio, a Madison, Wisconsin based radio program for atheists, agnostics, and other freethinkers that has included interviews with Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Steven Pinker, Julia Sweeney, and Michael Newdow.

Jerry CoyneJERRY COYNE

Jerry Allen Coyne (born December 30, 1949) is an American professor of biology, known for his commentary on the intelligent design debate. A prolific scientist, he has published dozens of papers, elucidating on the theory of evolution. He is currently a professor at the University of Chicago in the Department of Ecology and Evolution. His concentration is speciation and ecological and evolutionary genetics, particularly as they involve the fruit fly, Drosophila.[3] He is the author of the standard text Speciation and the bestselling science popularization Why Evolution Is True and maintains awebsite by the same name.

 

dewittJERRY DEWITT

Jerry DeWitt is an Author, Public Speaker, Secular minister and V.P. of Dogma Debate LLC, which has made the major news-outlets numerous times in his two short years of activism.
His Christian ministry began at age seventeen. He evangelized the United States and assisted in three Pentecostal churches. Later he held the pastorate of two fundamentalist congregations. After more than twenty-five years of ministry he realized he had become an Atheist.
Now he sits on the board of both The Clergy Project and The Foundation Beyond Belief.

dr-chris-dicarloCHRISTOPHER DICARLO

Christopher diCarlo is a Philosopher of Science and Ethics whose interests in cognitive evolution have taken him into the natural and social sciences. He is interested in how and why the human brain has evolved to its current state and what cross-cultural and cross-species behaviour can provide insight into universally common modes of reasoning.

Dr. diCarlo is an outspoken activist for freethought, humanism and secularism. He is a fellow of the Society of Ontario Freethinkers and board advisor to Freethought TV, and has won TV Ontario’s Best Lecturer award

P17MARGARET DOWNEY

Margaret Downey was born into a multi-cultural family in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Growing up in a highly prejudiced southern society in the 1950s, Margaret became concerned about persecution from an early age. She has devoted her life to ending any and all discrimination against any and all peoples of the world.  Reading the literary work of Thomas Paine and Robert G. Ingersoll enabled Margaret to develop a keen sense of revolutionary thought. She became an openly declared nontheist and activist in her twenties. Free from the constraints of religious dogma and patriarchal systems, Margaret became involved with the feminist movement. Margaret fought for basic rights such as freedom of expression, freedom of choice, personal family leave for working parents, equal pay, and promotional opportunities for women.   Margaret founded the Freethought Society (FS) and the Anti-Discrimination Support Network (ADSN) in 1993. In 1994 Margaret founded the Thomas Paine Memorial Committee.

ALG_white_headshot_webANNIE LAURIE GAYLOR

Annie Laurie Gaylor (born in Madison, Wisconsin, on 2 November 1955) is co-founder of the Freedom From Religion Foundation and, with her husband Dan Barker, is the current co-president.[1] She is also editor of the organization’s newspaper, Freethought Today, which is published ten times per year. She is a self-described feminist and liberal. She is the author of several books, including Woe to the Women: The Bible Tells Me So and Betrayal of Trust: Clergy Abuse of Children, and is the editor of Women Without Superstition: No Gods–No Masters. She is a 1980 graduate of the University of Wisconsin–Madison School of Journalism. In 2010 Gaylor received the Humanitarian Heroine award from the American Humanist Association.[2] Gaylor has been an invited speaker at conferences including the 2012 Global Atheist Convention in Melbourne, Australia,[3] and the regional conference of the Minnesota Atheists.[4] She is on the speakers bureau of the Secular Student Alliance.

 

Mehta, Hemant (Headshot)HEMANT MEHTA

Hemant Mehta is the editor of FriendlyAtheist.com and the author of I Sold My Soul on eBay and The Young Atheist’s Survival Guide. He has appeared multiple times on Fox News and CNN and has served in leadership positions for several American atheist organizations. When he’s not writing, Hemant is a National Board Certified high school math teacher in the suburbs of Chicago.

 

 

 

wanda pro shotWANDA MORRIS

Wanda Morris is the Executive Director of Dying With Dignity Canada (DWD).

Wanda is a former professional speaker who has been active in the Right to Die Movement for many years.  She has spoken widely on this topic to local and national audiences, including presentations at local CFI meetings and speaking at last year’s Idea City Conference.  She made the case for medically assisted dying to the Parliamentary Committee on Compassionate and Palliative Care and gave testimony in the BC Court Case (where Gloria Taylor was a co-plaintiff) for the right to die.  DWD is a member-based charity with 2500 members and supporters across Canada.  Their mission is to improve quality of dying and expand end-of-life choices.  The organization provides education about advance care planning, patient rights and the reasons why end of life choice should be legalized.  DWD also offers a unique support program where individuals who are sick and dying receive information and support to help them make the end-of-life decisions that are right for them.

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERACAROLYN PORCO

Carolyn Porco is the leader of the imaging science team on the Cassini mission presently in orbit around Saturn, a veteran imaging scientist of the Voyager mission to the outer solar system in the 1980s, and an imaging scientist on the New Horizons mission on its way to Pluto and the Kuiper Belt. Carolyn has co-authored over 110 scientific papers on a variety of subjects in astronomy and planetary science and has become a regular public commentator on science, astronomy, planetary exploration, and the intersection of science and religion. Her popular science writings have appeared in such distinguished publications as the London Sunday Times, The New York Times, the Guardian, Astronomy magazine, the PBS and BBC websites, the Arizona Daily Star, Sky and Telescope, Scientific American, and American Scientist.

 

RAYDARREL RAY

Dr. Ray is the founder and Chairman of the board of Recovering from Religion, an international organization that assists individuals struggling with the consequences of leaving religion. He is author of the best selling book, The God Virus and his most recent book, Sex and God: How Religion Distorts Sexuality. In 2011, he published the survey “Sex and Secularism: What Happens When You Leave Religion” which went viral, receiving international attention and much commentary in media and the blogosphere including Playboy Magazine and the Daily Mail.  For 30 years Darrel was an organizational psychologist writing two books on the subject and working to develop leadership and teamwork in corporate American. In recent years he has brought that expertise to the task of developing leadership in the secular community and works closely with the SSA to develop leaders on campus.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERACHRISTINE SHELLSKA

Christine Shellska is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Communication and Culture, Faculty of Arts, at the University of Calgary, Canada. Her research involves studying the rhetorical strategies employed by the Intelligent Design Creationism movement, and her areas of focus include history, philosophy and sociology of science, Actor Network Theory and rhetoric. Among other involvement in the secular community, she is a Secular Humanist Liaison at the Faith and Spirituality Centre at the University of Calgary, a member of the Board of Directors for Atheist Alliance International, and a regular co-host on the Calgary-based Legion of Reason podcast.