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Speakers

Below is an index of our Speaker’s Bureau. Click on a name to jump to that Speaker’s section. The home arrow will return to this index.

SpeakerImageContact
John DavidsonJohn Davidson
Phone: 610.793.2737
Email: Speakers@FtSociety.org
www.johndavidson.com
Victoria de la Torre Victoria‌ ‌de‌ ‌la‌ ‌Torre‌ ‌
Phone:‌ 858.442.5481‌ ‌
Email:‌ ‌‌victoria.dltcortes@gmail.com‌ ‌
Margaret DowneyMargaret Downey
Office: 610 793-2737
Cell: 610 357-9432
Email: Margaret@FtSociety.org

Mailing Address:
P.O. Box 242
Pocopson, PA 19366
Ian HarrisIan Harris
Email: Ianarchy71@yahoo.com
Dr. Leighann LordDr. Leighann Lord
Email: LeighannLord@gmail.com
Nick Schweitzer John Nicholas (“Nick”) Schweitzer
4713 Regent Street, Madison, WI 53705
Phone: 608.231.3941
Email: jnschweitzer@gmail.com

 

John Nicholas (“Nick”) Schweitzer

John Nicholas (“Nick”) Schweitzer
4713 Regent Street, Madison, WI 53705
Phone: (608) 231-3941
Email: jnschweitzer@gmail.com

ATTORNEY, AMATEUR SCIENTIST, and DRAMATIST

Legal Career

  • Prosecutor, 1985-1990 (Assistant District Attorney in Rock and Dane Counties, Wisconsin)
  • Administrative Law Judge, 1991-2011 (Wis. Dept. of Regulation and Licensing and Wis. Dept. of Workforce Development)
  • Supreme Court Referee, 1992-2019 (for attorney disciplinary hearings) 
  • Law-Related Teaching
  • Adjunct Professor of Legal Ethics, 2008-2018, U.W. Law School
  • Visiting Professor for Administrative Law, Dōshisha Law School, Kyoto, Japan, 2015, 
  • East China University of Politics and Law Shanghai, China, 2015, Thammasat University, Bangkok, Thailand, 2016, Justus Liebig University, Giessen, Germany, 2017-2019

Law-Related Publications

  • Mock Trial Case Materials for the Wis. High School Mock Trial Tournaments, 1986-1992
  • “Voir Dire: Uprooting Bias or Sowing It?”, article, Wisconsin Bar Bulletin, 1987
  • “Jurors Questioning Witnesses”, article, Wisconsin Bar Bulletin, 1987
  • “Plea-Bargaining: A Prosecutor’s View”, article, Wisconsin Bar Bulletin, 1988; reprinted in MADDvocate, 1988; reprinted in Criminal Justice 90/91, 1990; reprinted in Taking Sides: Clashing Views on Controversial Legal Issues, 1991.
  • “Belle Case La Follette”, Pioneers in the Law: The First 150 Women, 1998 Referee’s Bench Manual, 2000 and 2015

Science Installations

The author has installed temporary signposts in local parks that illustrate the following scientific concepts: 

  • distances within the solar system
  • geological time and the development of life
  • the electromagnetic spectrum
  • the development of human species
  • the size of particles in an atom
  • the layers of the earth. 

The solar system installation led to a collaboration with the outreach office of the U.W. astronomy department and the installation was made permanent.  

County Fair Exhibits

To counter a recurring exhibit by a young-earth creationist group at the annual Dane County fair, the author created a Science and Reason booth with numerous science exhibits, 2012-2015.

Drama

Nick Schweitzer is a playwright in Madison, Wisconsin.  Many of his 10 full-length and 7 one-act community theater productions have had a regional focus, including Fighting Bob: A Love Story about Robert La Follette, The Saga of Sergeant Bates about a Civil War veteran, and the bicentennial history of Madison, Surrounded by Reality.  Three of his other full-length plays — The Tragedy of Achilles in Vietnam, Love and Trauma, and Returning Home — deal with PTSD either in veterans or abused women.  Another area of interest is the British panto tradition, and his fifth annual panto was performed in 2019.  He is a member of the Dramatists Guild, president of a local playwrights’ group, Playwrights Ink, past president of the Madison Theatre Guild, and a past member of the Madison Arts Commission.

Education
  • Four classes in Administrative Law at the National Judicial College, 1992-2009
  • J.D. cum laude U.W. Law School, 1985
  • M.A., International Affairs George Washington University, 1979
  • M.S., Technology of Management American University, 1976
  • B.A. cum laude Harvard College, 1969

Topics offered through the Freethought Society’s Speakers’ Bureau

Evolution in the Public Schools and the Courts being the history of challenges in state and federal courts to the teaching of evolution, and the adaptation of those challenges to a changing environment over time, from Biblical Creationism to Intelligent Design and beyond.

This hour-long-plus lecture with power point images has been given to

  • the Humanist Union of Madison, 2014
  • the Free Congregation of Sauk County, 2014
  • U.W. Law School, 2015
  • U.W. Evolution and Genetics Discussion Group, 2016 and 2019

The author enjoys giving this presentation so much that he would be willing to consider paying his own way to give it to an interested group.

Victoria de la Torre

Victoria‌ ‌de‌ ‌la‌ ‌Torre‌
Phone:‌ ‌(858)‌ ‌442-5481‌ ‌
Email:‌ ‌‌victoria.dltcortes@gmail.com‌ ‌

Victoria‌ ‌de‌ ‌la‌ ‌Torre‌ ‌received‌ ‌her‌ ‌Bachelors‌ ‌in‌ ‌Philosophy‌ ‌from‌ ‌the‌
University‌ ‌of‌ ‌San‌ ‌Diego,‌ ‌where‌ ‌she‌ ‌minored‌ ‌in‌ ‌Italian‌ ‌as‌ ‌well‌ ‌as‌ Theology‌ ‌&‌ ‌Religious‌ ‌Studies.‌ ‌She‌ ‌has‌ ‌been‌ ‌a‌ ‌part‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ ‌secular‌ ‌community‌ ‌since‌ ‌2004.‌ ‌Since‌ ‌then,‌ ‌she‌ ‌has‌ ‌been‌ ‌involved‌ ‌with‌ ‌a‌ ‌number‌ ‌of‌ ‌secular‌ ‌groups,‌ ‌including‌ ‌the‌ ‌San‌ ‌Diego‌ ‌Humanist‌ ‌Association,‌ ‌Humanist‌ ‌Fellowship‌ ‌of‌ ‌San‌ ‌Diego,‌ ‌San‌ Diego‌ ‌Secular‌ ‌Latinos,‌ ‌Sacramento’s‌ ‌Freethought‌ ‌Day,‌ ‌Sunday‌ ‌Assembly‌ ‌of‌ ‌San‌ ‌Diego,‌ ‌and‌ ‌the‌ ‌Freethought‌ ‌Society‌ ‌(FS).‌ ‌She‌ ‌also‌ ‌provides‌ ‌services‌ ‌as‌ ‌a‌ ‌secular‌ ‌celebrant,‌ ‌with‌ experience‌ ‌in‌ ‌both‌ ‌secular‌ ‌weddings‌ ‌and‌ ‌secular‌ ‌funerals.‌ ‌

With‌ ‌her‌ ‌mentor‌ ‌Margaret‌ ‌Downey,‌ ‌Victoria‌ ‌de‌ ‌la‌ ‌Torre‌ ‌began‌ ‌a‌ ‌Secular‌ ‌Day‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ ‌Dead‌ ‌celebration,‌ ‌which‌ ‌has‌ ‌been‌ ‌hosted‌ ‌in‌ ‌San‌ ‌Diego‌ ‌and‌ ‌Los‌ ‌Angeles‌ ‌since‌ ‌2014.‌ ‌It’s‌ ‌aim‌ ‌is‌ ‌to‌ ‌continue‌ ‌the‌ ‌beautiful‌ ‌traditions‌ ‌of‌ ‌Dia‌ ‌de‌ ‌los‌ ‌Muertos‌ ‌in‌ ‌a‌ ‌secular‌ ‌manner‌ ‌showing‌ ‌that‌ ‌we‌ ‌can‌ ‌honor‌ ‌life,‌ ‌legacy,‌ ‌and‌ ‌family‌ ‌without‌ ‌the‌ ‌need‌ ‌for‌ ‌religion.‌ ‌
 ‌
In‌ ‌2014,‌ ‌she‌ ‌created‌ ‌San‌ ‌Diego‌ ‌Secular‌ ‌Latinos,‌ ‌a‌ ‌group‌ ‌formed‌ ‌in‌ ‌an‌ ‌effort‌ ‌to‌ ‌bring‌ ‌atheists‌ ‌of‌ ‌Hispanic‌ ‌background‌ ‌together‌ ‌for‌ ‌local‌ ‌events,‌ ‌discussions,‌ ‌and‌ ‌fundraisers.‌ ‌In‌ ‌past‌ ‌years,‌ Victoria‌ ‌has‌ ‌served‌ ‌as‌ ‌Community‌ ‌Outreach‌ ‌Organizer‌ ‌for‌ ‌the‌ ‌Humanist‌ ‌Association‌ ‌of‌ ‌San‌ ‌Diego.‌ ‌Throughout‌ ‌her‌ ‌time‌ ‌there,‌ ‌she‌ ‌initiated‌ ‌a‌ ‌homeless‌ ‌outreach‌ ‌program,‌ ‌providing‌ ‌care‌ ‌packages‌ ‌and‌ ‌breakfasts‌ ‌to‌ ‌San‌ ‌Diego’s‌ ‌homeless‌ ‌community.‌ ‌Victoria‌ ‌de‌ ‌la‌ ‌Torre‌ ‌was‌ ‌the‌ ‌recipient‌ ‌for‌ ‌the‌ ‌2014‌ ‌Humanist‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ ‌Year‌ ‌Award‌ ‌at‌ ‌the‌ ‌Secular‌ ‌Conference‌ ‌of‌ ‌Southern‌ ‌California,‌ ‌recognizing‌ ‌her‌ ‌work‌ ‌with‌ ‌the‌ ‌homeless.‌ ‌She‌ ‌is‌ ‌also‌ ‌an‌ ‌advocate‌ ‌for‌ ‌Latino‌ ‌issues‌ ‌and‌ ‌outreach.‌ ‌
 ‌
In‌ ‌2019,‌ ‌Victoria‌ ‌served‌ ‌as‌ ‌the‌ ‌emcee‌ ‌for‌ ‌Freethought‌ ‌Day‌ ‌in‌ ‌Sacramento,‌ ‌California.‌ ‌The‌ ‌program‌ ‌was‌ ‌started‌ ‌in‌ ‌2002‌ ‌as‌ ‌a‌ ‌way‌ ‌to‌ ‌combine‌ ‌education‌ ‌and‌ ‌activism‌ ‌in‌ ‌an‌ ‌all-day‌ ‌conference‌ ‌and‌ ‌is‌ ‌hosted‌ ‌on‌ ‌the‌ ‌steps‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ ‌State‌ ‌Capitol.‌ ‌Victoria‌ ‌de‌ ‌la‌ ‌Torre‌ ‌is‌ ‌currently‌ ‌on‌ ‌the‌ ‌Board‌ ‌of‌ ‌Directors‌ ‌for‌ ‌the‌ ‌Freethought‌ ‌Society.‌ ‌She‌ ‌serves‌ ‌as‌ ‌part‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ ‌Diversity‌ Outreach ‌Committee,‌ ‌facilitating‌ ‌programs,‌ ‌Hispanic‌ ‌materials,‌ ‌and‌ ‌events.‌ ‌ ‌
 ‌

Ian Harris

Ian Harris
Email: Ianarchy71@yahoo.com

Ian Harris brings a fascinating and funny mix of spot-on impressions and clever, cutting-edge comedy, that has landed him coveted appearances on Jimmy Kimmel LIVE!, Comedy Central, as well as two one-hour TV specials. Critical & Thinking aired on AXS TV and was reviewed as, “A truly masterful hour of wit, humor and derisive jabbing.” The other show ExtraOrdinary caught the attention of The Arizona Daily Sun. The review stated, “There are not too many humorists who provoke their entire audience to think, but somehow Harris is capable of doing just that.”

Harris has a keen grasp of science, evidenced by his satirical, skeptical take on everything from religion to global warming-deniers and beyond. His cerebral and often risky style of comedy has earned him comparisons to favorite thinking-man’s comics like Lenny Bruce, Bill Maher, and George Carlin. Harris uses his unique point of view and an impressive array of comedic talents to deliver a thought provoking style of stand-up all his own. The Freethought Society highly recommends the booking of the comedy duo of Harris and Leighann Lord. Both Lord and Harris are nationally touring comedians and conference hosts with over 50 combined years of stage time and dozens of television credits between them.

For nearly a decade they have been staples in the science, skepticism and secular scene, hosting and performing individually as well as together at all the top conferences such as CSIConSkeptiConAmerican AtheistsAmerican Humanists AssociationAtheists United, just to name a few. 

Harris and Lord have been performing annually at DragonCon since 2014, where in 2019 they debuted their new show “Science and Fiction Comedy Show,” on the main stage. The “Science and Fiction Comedy Show” brings together a hilarious mix of Con material, nerd-dom, atheism, skepticism and science. The duo continue to be asked back perhaps making the show an annual staple of DragonCon. 

Harris and Lord are combining their hosting and entertaining skills to revolutionize conference/convention experiences where nerds, science geeks, critical thinkers, and secular activists meet. Please see the press kit for Harris and Lord here: Science and Fiction Comedy Show

Dr. Leighann Lord

Dr. Leighann Lord
email: LeighannLord@gmail.com

Dr. Leighann Lord is a veteran standup comedian and the author of Dict Jokes and Real Women Do It Standing Up. She is the creator of the “People with Parents” podcast and has been a co-host on StarTalkRadio with Neil de Grasse Tyson.

Lord has been seen on Comedy Central, HBO, and The View. She also participated in the Def Comedy Jam 25th Anniversary Special.

Lord was one of the five national finalists in the 2018 ABFF-HBO Comedy Wings Competition. She is the winner of the 2019 Humanist Arts Award from the American Humanist Association. Lord is a proud member of House Ravenclaw (with a dash of Slytherin).

Lord is available to co-host events, introduce panels, speakers, and conference events.

Lord has years of experience as a single featured comedian or part of a comedy show with other comedians.

The Freethought Society highly recommends the booking of the comedy duo of Lord and Ian Harris. Both Lord and Harris are nationally touring comedians and conference hosts with over 50 combined years of stage time and dozens of television credits between them.

For nearly a decade they have been staples in the science, skepticism and secular scene, hosting and performing individually as well as together at all the top conferences such as CSICon, SkeptiCon, American Atheists, American Humanists Association, Atheists United, just to name a few.

Lord and Harri have been performing annually at DragonCon since 2014, where in 2019 they debuted their new show “Science and Fiction Comedy Show,”on the main stage. The “Science and Fiction Comedy Show” brings together a hilarious mix of Con material, nerd-dom, atheism, skepticism and science. The duo continue to be asked back perhaps making the show an annual staple of DragonCon.

Lord and Harris are combining their hosting and entertaining skills to revolutionize conference/convention experiences where nerds, science geeks, critical thinkers, and secular activists meet.

Please see the press kit for Lord and Harris here: Science and Fiction Comedy Show

John Davidson

John Davidson
www.johndavidson.com
Email: Speakers@FtSociety.org
Phone: 610.793.2737

From the mid-1960s to the mid-1980s, arguably America’s most ubiquitous TV celebrity was actor, singer, Las Vegas entertainer and congenial variety-show host, John Davidson.

With his boy-next-door good looks and cheeky, yet wholesome, persona, Davidson defined an era, when multi-talented TV entertainers were royalty. He was just as beloved for his music, releasing 12 albums and an annual Christmas special.

Below is a list of a few of the many shows on which you could find Davidson:

  • Host Hollywood Squares
  • Guest host on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson 87 times (more than any other singer)
  • A regular on the TV variety show circuit, including The Ed Sullivan Show, The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour, Love Boat, Fantasy Island, and of course, The John Davidson Show.
  • Host of the musical variety show, The John Davidson Christmas Special
  • Co-host of ABC’s smash hit That’s Incredible!

That’s John Davidson!

But this too is John Davidson:

Today, Davidson is a vocal advocate for Openly Secular, a campaign with the goal of eliminating discrimination and increasing acceptance of nonbelievers, atheists, agnostics, humanists and freethinkers by encouraging secular people to be open about their beliefs.

Throughout his 50-year career in show business, Davidson has kept his secular point of view out of the public eye. Until now.

In a video Davidson recently made for Openly Secular, he says, “I’m an atheist. And I’m proud of it. After 50 years in show business, I’d like to repeat what I’ve said many times, but I’ve never done it on camera, I’m openly secular. I have a code of ethics and I don’t need a supreme being in order to be moral.”

Davidson grew up in the Baptist Church. Both his mother and father were ordained ministers.

In college, he studied philosophy and theology and planned on joining the ministry. As he began studying, he quickly realized that religion didn’t make sense for him.

As his career flourished, he didn’t give his belief system much thought. In the 1990s, however, while performing at his theater in Branson, Missouri, Davison was questioned by his audiences as to why his show didn’t include God Bless America or a gospel song in his sets. He didn’t speak out as a nonbeliever and he regrets that decision.

“When I was performing on TV and stage, I had to hide who I was,” he says. “Over the years, after shows, I would go for a drink with other well-known entertainers, and we would acknowledge our nonbelief, but we recognized that it would endanger our career, to be open about it.”

Today, along with his active stage career, Davidson is on the speaker circuit. His entertaining and thought-provoking performances combine songs, jokes, tales from his 50-year career as a Hollywood insider, as well as the story of his journey from the Baptist Church to atheist activism. He is finally free from of the pressure in the entertainment industry to hide one’s true philosophy.

Margaret Downey

Margaret Downey
Office: 610 793-2737
Cell: 610 357-9432
Email: Margaret@FtSociety.org

Mailing Address:
P.O. Box 242
Pocopson, PA 19366

Margaret Downey has had a prolific career in secular activism. Downey is the founder of the Freethought Society, Anti-Discrimination Support Network, Mentor Connection, The Helping Hands Committee, and the Thomas Paine Memorial Committee. She is a past board member of the American Humanist Association, Scouting For All, The Humanist Institute, and the Thomas Paine National Historical Association. She is a current board member of the Freedom From Religion Foundation. Downey also serves as an advisor for the Robert Green Ingersoll Birthplace Museum and the Openly Secular campaign.

With all these connections Downey can keep her finger on the pulse of the nontheist community. She has become a proud nontheist spokesperson and media representative. She has been published in three books, Parenting Beyond BeliefA Better Life and 50 Voices of Disbelief.

Downey delivers presentations about dealing with death and how the funeral industry and religion takes advantage of the grieving. In those presentations, she also discusses discrimination against atheists who are in elder care, nursing homes, hospice and in many other ways.

In 2007, Downey created a secular winter holiday symbol – The Tree of Knowledge. The Freethought Society promotes the use of this symbol and supplies at-cost ornaments for all who adopt its use.

Downey has been a plaintiff in the federal lawsuit to remove a Ten Commandments plaque from the facade of the Chester County Courthouse (Pennsylvania) and has organized discrimination complaints against the Boy Scouts of America (BSA). Downey also filed her own discrimination complaint against BSA in 1991.

Downey was certified by the Center For Inquiry as a Secular Officiant in 2001. Since that time she has operated Secular Celebrations – a secular officiant business designed to serve the life celebration needs of the nontheist community. For more information see:

www.Secular-Celebrations.com

Secular Celebrations and the Freethought Society began hosting Secular Day of the Dead events in 2015 as a way to offer options for Hispanic nontheists to celebrate and respect their culture’s traditions and rituals in a secular way. The Secular Day of the Dead was created by Victoria de la Torre and Downey in 2013.

Downey is the Skeptics DragonCon Parade Organizer designing and coordinating costumes for 50 people each year since 2010. The parade is viewed live by 90,000 people who line the streets of Atlanta, Georgia every Labor Day weekend. Millions more view the parade on television.

To honor the legacy of Thomas Paine, Downey conducts school assemblies, walking tours (Paris, France and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania), special events, and Thomas Paine Day celebrations.

Downey has been a guest on National Public Radio’s Talk of the Nation and Radio Times. Television appearances include features on local news stations as well as ABC’s Nightline, PBS and Fox News.

Media Training Worldwide has endorsed Downey to conduct media training for the nontheist community.

Downey created the Richard Dawkins Award in 2003. She served as president of the Atheist Alliance International for two years.

Downey is also available to help host a Friggatriskaidekaphobia Treatment Center on any given Friday the 13th. Dressed in character as a Friggatriskaidekaphobia Treatment Nurse, she will help cure superstitions with her team of volunteers. The Treatment Center is comprised of an interactive museum, games, music, and souvenirs. For more information on this educational service visit the website at:

www.Friggatriskaidekaphobia.com

Speaking Expertise:

  • Thomas Paine
  • Anti-Superstition
  • Tree of Knowledge
  • Discrimination Against Atheists
  • The History of Women Suffrage
  • The Secular Day of the Dead
  • Media Training
  • Eva Ingersoll Portrayal (one-woman play)
  • Living Life the Secular Way
  • 30 Years of Activism (A question and answer forum)
  • Skepticism on Parade
  • Death and the Secular Community

An honorarium of $150 and transportation costs are required.