University of Wisconsin–Madison
Lindsey Doe talking at FTF6
A picture of AHA officers Emily and Melissa
A picture of Karen Garst's talk

Freethought Festival 9


Saturday, March 7th

Time Speaker Talk Title
2:00 PM Introduction to AHA
3:00 PM Patrick Elliot The Christian Nationalist Playbook
4:00 PM Marissa A McCool The Purple Amazon’s Incomplete Guide to Surviving in the Worst Possible Timeline
5:00 PM Dinner Break
6:30 PM Mandisa Thomas Women of Color Beyond Belief: Where do we go from here?
7:30 PM Lucien Greaves The Satanic Plot to Dismantle Evangelical Theocratic Agenda

Sunday, March 8th

Time Speaker Talk Title
1:00 PM Professor Brighouse Why I Am Not (exactly) A Christian
2:00 PM Robert Schneiker The Mystery of Göbekli Tepe
3:00 PM Matthew Facciani How to Discuss Controversial Scientific Topics


Freethought Festival will be held at:

Concerto Room
Gordon Dining and Event Center,
770 W Dayton Street,
Madison, WI,

You can find more information about parking here.


Lucien Greaves

Lucien Greaves is a social-activist and the co-founder of the The Satanic Temple, which aims to promote seperation of church and state and empathy for all people, among many things.

Talk title: The Satanic Plot to Dismantle Evangelical Theocratic Agenda
Time: Saturday, 7:30 PM

A picture of Lucien Greaves

Mandisa Thomas

Mandisa is the founder of Black Nonbelievers Inc: A non-profit secular fellowship. The fellowship’s goals include supporting and creating networking opportunities for secular African-American communities.
Talk title:
Women of Color Beyond Belief: Where do we go from here?
Time: Saturday, 6:30 PM

Marissa A McCool

Marissa Alexa McCool, also known as The Purple Amazon, is the author of nine books, host of over 350 podcasts, a performer, an athlete, and a public speaker. With a speaking style that blends the academic with the theatrical, she brings her unique story and perspective to her activism and presentations. She’s a graduate student in the Twin Cities where she lives with her family.
Talk title:
The Purple Amazon’s Incomplete Guide to Surviving in the Worst Possible Timeline
Time: Saturday, 4:00 pm

Patrick Elliott

Patrick Elliott serves as Senior Counsel to the Freedom From Religion Foundation. He has worked to resolve hundreds of state/church violations across the country.
Talk title:
The Christian Nationalist Playbook
Time: Saturday, 3:00 pm

Matthew Facciani

Matthew Facciani is a sociology PhD student, activist and science communicator. In addition, he is a blogger and podcaster known for discussing science and scientists alike.
Talk title:
How to Discuss Controversial Scientific Topics
Time: Sunday, 3:00 pm

Robert Schneiker

Robert Schneiker has been conducting research on the age of the Sphinx for the past seven years. He gave a presentation entitled “The Great Sphinx: From the Eocene to the Anthropocene” at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Schneiker holds an MS in geology/geophysics from the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee and has worked in the environmental consulting industry since 1982. Currently, Schneiker provides support and training for the SEVIEW contaminant transport and fate modeling software that he developed. He has presented scientific papers in the United States, the European Union, and Canada. He is an avid bicyclist who enjoys kayaking and hiking and has traveled extensively in the U.S., visiting many of the national parks.

Talk title: The Mystery of Göbekli Tepe
Time: Sunday, 2:00 pm

Professor Harry Brighouse

Harry Brighouse is Mildred Fish Harnack Professor of Philosophy and Carol Dickson Bascom Professor of the Humanities at UW-Madison where he was taught for 28 years. He is the recent author of “Family Values: The Ethics of Parent-Child Relationships and Educational Goods: Values and Evidence in Decision-making.”.
Talk title:
Why I am not (exactly) a Christian
Time: Sunday, 1:00 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.

Harassment policy

Freethought Festival is dedicated to providing a harassment-free conference experience for everyone regardless of gender, age, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, race, or religion. We do not tolerate harassment of conference participants in any form. Conference participants violating these rules may be sanctioned or expelled from the conference at the discretion of the organizers.

Harassment includes offensive verbal comments, deliberate intimidation, stalking, following, harassing photography or recording, sustained disruption of talks or other events, inappropriate physical contact, and unwelcome sexual attention. Assuming the absence of problematic behavior (intimidation, following, inappropriate physical contact, etc.), criticism or disagreement regarding an attendee’s belief structure will not be construed as harassment. Participants asked to stop any harassing behavior are expected to comply immediately.

Exhibitors, sponsors, and volunteers are subject to the anti-harassment policy as well.

If a participant engages in harassing behavior, the conference organizers may take any action they deem appropriate, including warning the offender or expulsion from the conference. If you are being harassed, notice that someone else is being harassed, or have any other concerns, please contact a member of conference staff immediately.

Conference staff will be happy to help participants contact hotel/venue security or local law enforcement, provide escorts, or otherwise assist those experiencing harassment to feel safe for the duration of the conference. We value your attendance.

Disability accommodations

The 80 is a free bus that provides transportation around campus; it’s fully equipped to accommodate people in wheelchairs, and it drops off across the street from Gordon. The 80 route can be found at this url:

If you have any questions about taking the 80 or getting around town in general, any AHA Leadership Team Members (wearing lanyards with their names) are UW Madison students and will either be able to answer your question or find someone who can.

The conference location is located on the second floor of the Gordon Dining and Events Center in the Symphony Room and is accessible by elevator.

The chairs in the conference room are not connected to the ground and can be moved to allow seating for a person in a wheelchair; we don’t have a specified seating section for disabled guests, so you can pick your own seat.

If you require other accommodations at Freethought Festival, you can let an AHA Leadership Team Member know at the registration table, or talk to any AHA Leadership Team Member throughout the conference and they’ll be happy to help. If you need assistance or need to request an accommodation while off-site you can call 920-266-7902 or you can email to reach AHA’s Co-President.