Friday, March 26th
|1:00 PM||John Wathey||Biology, Religion, and 1/6/21|
|2:00 PM||Pidgeon Pagoins||A Taste of Their Own Medicine: Intersex People Fight Back|
|4:00 PM||Eli Heina Dadabhoy||I Called It: How Being an Ex-Muslim Made Me Right About Trump|
|5:00 PM||Ryan Bell||Radical Humanism for a Planet in Crisis|
|6:00 PM||Chris Hedges||When Atheism Becomes Fundamentalism|
John C. Wathey is a retired computational biologist whose research interests include evolutionary algorithms and the biology of nervous systems. He got his PhD in Neurosciences at UC San Diego and has spent most of his career working on computer simulations of protein folding. He is the author of The Illusion of God’s Presence: The Biological Origins of Spiritual Longing (Prometheus 2016), which explores the evolution of the emotions and intuitions behind religious belief.
Talk title: Biology, Religion, and 1/6/21
Time: 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM
Pidgeon Pagonis has slowly, oftentimes not so quietly risen to visibility as an activist on behalf of intersex people. Whether advancing intersex advocacy as the co-founder of the Intersex Justice Project, producing informational videos that go viral on Buzzfeed, creating art that centers intersex voices, appearing on the cover of National Geographic “Gender Revolution” special issue or being honored as a LGBT Champion of Change in 2015 by the Obama White House, Pidgeon has staked out a place at the forefront of debates on intersexuality and otherness.
Talk title: A Taste of Their Own Medicine: Intersex People Fight Back
Time: 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM
Eli Heina Dadabhoy
Eli Heina Dadabhoy is an ex-Muslim atheist feminist who has written at Skepchick and Freethought Blogs. They now blog at The Orbit, a social-justice oriented network of which they are a co-founder. You may have heard them at Skepticon, the American Atheists National Convention, the Huffington Post Live, and Have Your Say on the BBC World Service or read about them in the New York Times.
Talk title: I Called It: How Being an Ex-Muslim Made Me Right About Trump
Time: 4:00 PM – 5:00 PM
Ryan Bell is the Humanist Chaplain at the University of Southern California. He spent almost 20 years in congregational pastoral ministry before leaving his church in 2013. In 2014 he spent a year examining his religious and spiritual beliefs, exploring atheism, and writing about his experience in his blog, Year Without God. He is host of the podcast, Life After God, and his writing has appeared in The Guardian, CNN, Time, The Humanist, and Patheos. Ryan works for the California state-wide tenants rights organization, Tenants Together, as the Southern California Regional Coordinator.
Talk title: Radical Humanism for a Planet in Crisis.
Time: 5:00 PM – 6:00 PM
Chris Hedges has written 14 books, including the New York Times best-seller “American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America” (2007), “When Atheism Becomes Religion” (2009), and his newest book, “America, the Farewell Tour” (2018). Currently, he hosts an interview show, “On Contact,” on RT America and writes a column for Scheerpost. Hedges spent nearly two decades as a foreign correspondent in Central America, the Middle East, Africa and the Balkans. He has reported for The Christian Science Monitor, National Public Radio, The Dallas Morning News and The New York Times. Hedges was part of a New York Times team of reporters awarded a Pulitzer Prize in 2002 for coverage of global terrorism. He also received the Amnesty International Global Award for Human Rights Journalism in 2002.
Hedges was born in St. Johnsbury, VT. His father was a Presbyterian minister in upstate New York. Hedges holds a B.A. in English literature from Colgate University and a Master of Divinity degree from Harvard University. He spent a year studying classics at Harvard as a Nieman Fellow.
In 2014 he was ordained as a minister for social witness in a ceremony at the Second Presbyterian Church in Elizabeth, NJ. The ordination was approved for his work in New Jersey prisons, where over the past decade Hedges has taught college credit courses for inmates through Rutgers University.
Talk title: When Atheism Becomes Fundamentalism
Time: 6:00 PM – 7:00 PM
Freethought Festival is a free, student-run freethinking convention held annually in Madison, Wisconsin. It is organized and hosted by Atheists, Humanists, and Agnostics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Authors, bloggers, activists, and scientists from around the country give talks relating to atheism, freethinking, skepticism, science, and secularism. The event is funded by AHA through an annual operations budget received from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
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