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Contact: R. Elisabeth Cornwell                                              

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Dialogue of Reason

Evolutionary Biologist Richard Dawkins to speak at Howard University

6:30pm Tuesday September 28, Cramton Auditorium


Time:               5:00PM

Date:               Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Location:         Cramton Auditorium, Howard University    


Richard Dawkins

The panelists, including Richard Dawkins, Anthony Pinn, Sikivu Hutchinson, Todd Stiefel, and members of the Howard University community, will discuss the issues surrounding science within the Black Community as well as the impediments imposed by superstition and dogma.


The public event is hosted by the Department of Physiology & Biophysics of Howard University, The Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science, the Secular Students of Howard University, The James Randi Foundation as well as other local and national secular groups.


Mark Hatcher, President of Secular Students at Howard University: “Much of the African American community has been suffering from superstition, mis-education, and fear of science for far too long.

True to it's history of being a leader in Black American education, Howard University will be the epicenter for the exploration of scientific thought within Black culture. This event is meant to be the spark that lights the explosion of critical thinking and conversation among a people who have been starving for it since the Black Renaissance of the early 20th century.


.We hope to show how important science education and critical thinking skills are to the social, economic, and academic development of our people.”


Professor Anthony Pinn, Religious Studies at Rice University:  "This is an ideal time and this event is an important opportunity to stress the importance for African Americans to critically engage the world and, through reasonable means, assess the issues impinging upon quality of life for African Americans across the country."


Dr. Sikivu Hutchinson, noted author and activist: ‘”The Black Church’s policing of the bodies and destinies of black women and the lives of black gays and lesbians represents a bankrupt ‘morality’ which is just as pernicious as that of the Religious Right…if being black and being Christian are synonymous, then being black, female and religious (whatever the denomination) is practically compulsory.  Insofar as atheism and humanism provide an implicit rejection of both black patriarchy and ‘authentic’ blackness, those who would dare to come out of the closet as atheists are potential race traitors.”


Tickets are free to the public and can be obtained through Cramton Auditorium or TicketMaster.


Dialogue of Reason: Science in the Black Community

Evolutionary Biologist Richard Dawkins to speak at Howard University

6:30pm Tuesday September 28, Cramton Auditorium




Richard Dawkins FRS held the first Chair of the Charles Simonyi Professor of the Public Understanding of Science at the University of Oxford. He is the author of ten books: The Selfish Gene (1976, 2nd Ed 1989), The Extended Phenotype (1982), The Blind Watchmaker (1986), River Out of Eden (1995), Climbing Mount Improbable (1996), Unweaving the Rainbow (1998), A Devil’s Chaplain (2003), The Ancestor’s Tale (2004), The God Delusion (2006) and The Greatest Show on Earth (2009). Currently, he is working on a children’s book about the beauty of science for publication in the Fall of 2011.


Sikivu Hutchinson is a writer and intergroup specialist for the Los Angeles County Human Relations Commission.  She received a Ph.D. in Performance Studies from New York University and has taught women’s studies, cultural studies, urban studies and education at UCLA, the California Institute of the Arts and Western Washington University.  She is the author of Imagining Transit: Race, Gender, and Transportation Politics in Los Angeles (Lang, 2003) and has published fiction, essays and critical theory in Social Text, California English, Black Agenda Report, Secular Nation and American Atheist Magazine.  She is the editor of and a Senior Fellow for the Institute for Humanist Studies.  She is currently working on a book entitled Moral Combat: Black Atheists, Gender Politics and Secular America.


Anthony B. Pinn is the Agnes Cullen Arnold Professor of Humanities and Professor of Religious Studies. His professional commitments also involve work as the Executive Director of the Society for the Study of Black Religion and co-chair of the American Academy of Religion's Black Theology Group.


Candace Shannon is a lecturer in the School of Communications at Howard University, and assistant to the Dean. Her constant contact with Howard University students gives her a unique insight into how religion and science are viewed by young adults in the Howard Community.


Mark D. Hatcher is a PhD candidate of Neurophysiology at Howard University. He started Secular Students at Howard University (SSHU). SSHU is the first secular organization to be held at a historically black college or university.

DeAnne Bradley, media relations intern, contributed to this release.



Quote from Richard Dawkins: “Science is for everybody. It is of course useful, and we can use it to solve humanity's problems. But useful is not all that science is. Science is also beautiful, and its beauty, too, is for everybody.  Science tells us the truth about reality, about the real universe which we all inhabit. There is a savage beauty in the cosmos, which dwarfs our petty human concerns and quarrels. Raising our sights to our telescopes' far horizon, cosmology unites us in awe. At the same time evolution, the unifying theory of all biology, not only explains our very existence but teaches us we are all one family, all kin, regardless of race, with a shared ancestral heritage which binds us into hopes of a shared future.

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