Upcoming and Recent Events

Speakers Bureau


Below is an index of our Speaker’s Bureau.

Click on a name in the Index to jump to that Speaker’s section, and then the green home arrow to return to this index.

Speakers Index


John Nicholas (“Nick”) Schweitzer

John Nicholas (“Nick”) Schweitzer
4713 Regent Street, Madison, WI 53705
Phone: (608) 231-3941

Topic offered through the Freethought Society’s Speakers’ Bureau

Evolution in the Public Schools and the Courts

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 gains so much every time he gives this presentation that he would be willing to entertain paying his own way in order to give it to an interested group.

Background: Attorney, Amateur Scientist, and Dramatist

Legal Career

  • Prosecutor, 1985-1990 
  • Administrative Law Judge, 1991-2011 
  • Supreme Court Referee, 1992-2020 

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, and 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 as now been 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.


Among his 10 full-length and 7 one-act community theater productions is notably “One Step Braver”, the story of Ellory Schempp’s successful Supreme Court challenge to Bible reading or prayers in public schools.  The author is a member of the Dramatists Guild, past president of a local playwrights’ group, Playwrights Ink, past president of the Madison Theatre Guild, and a past member of the Madison Arts Commission.


  • 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

Victoria de la Torre

Victoria‌ ‌de‌ ‌la‌ ‌Torre‌
Phone:‌ ‌(858)‌ ‌442-5481‌ ‌
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 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 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
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

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:


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:


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.

Bailey Harris

Bailey Harris
Author, Activist, and Speaker

14-year old Bailey Harris is on a mission to inspire a love of science and a sense of wonder about the universe, promote freethought, and work towards acceptance of scientific fact in society and government. She is the author of the Stardust series of science books for young readers.

Bailey was eight years old when she was inspired to write her first book, a beautifully illustrated children’s book that presented sound science in a manner accessible to young readers and pre-readers.

My Name Is Stardust was released in 2017 and has sold thousands of copies worldwide. Follow-ups Stardust Explores the Solar System (2018) and Stardust Explores Earth’s Wonders (2019) have continued in that tradition, presenting concepts of astronomy, geology, biology, and principles such as the Big Bang and evolution.

The success of the Stardust books has enabled Bailey to carry her message in person to people all across the United States. While at BookCon in New York in 2017 promoting her first book, she appeared on iHeartRadio’s “The Public Library Podcast,” where she spoke to host Helen Little about the importance of books and learning in her life. More recently, she was a featured speaker at the Freedom From Religion Foundation’s 2018 conference and the Center For Inquiry’s CSICon 2019 conference. Bailey was the youngest featured presenter in the history of these events.

Bailey is available to speak about her experiences of growing up in a secular family in a highly religious community, the process of writing her books to share her love of science and wonder and is always happy to do book readings.

Learn More at www.baileystardust.com

Elle Harris

Elle Harris
Author and Speaker

Nine-year-old Elle Harris is the author of the books Wonderful Earth (2019) and, Elle the Humanist (2020). Elle loves sharing her passion for life with others through her books.

Elle’s most recent release, Elle the Humanist is a beautifully illustrated book, presenting humanist ideas and ethics in a way that’s warm, welcoming, and accessible for young readers. It features a foreword by renowned philosopher and author Daniel Dennett.

Elle is available to speak about her experiences of growing up in a secular family in a highly religious community, the process of writing her books to share her passion for life and is always happy to do book readings.

Learn more at www.ellethehumanist.com

Buck Bowen

Buck Bowen
Click here for Buck Bowen’s Press Kit

Buck Bowen is a freethinking MC with a lyrical appetite for skeptical inquiry and critical thinking. He believes in mental fitness through music and that if you think better, you live better.

His album Truth Before Comfort has been described as a Sunday-School-in-reverse. It doesn’t glorify drugs, violence, objectify women, or contain a single curse word, yet it’s controversial because it challenges one’s most cherished notions. “Could the teachings of Jesus be improved?” “Are the Ten Commandments all they’ve been cracked up to be?” And, “What exactly is the soul?” These are just a few of many questions his music addresses.

An entertainer at heart who aims to inform and inspire, Buck hits the stage equipped with catchy choruses, vibrant storytelling, and a splash of dry wit.

He has shared the stage with author and philosophy instructor Peter Boghossian as well as released the first ever rap song and music video for the Openly Secular Campaign.

An honorarium, hotel, and transportation costs are required.

Buck Bowen Press Kit

Julien Musolino


Julien Musolino
For interviews and speaking engagements please contact Lisa Michalski, senior publicist for Prometheus books:
PH: 800-853-7545 or
PH: 716-691-0133 ext. 226

Contact Julien directly:
PH: 812-345-4511

Julien Musolino is a cognitive scientist, public speaker, author and professor of psychology at Rutgers University, New Brunswick

For interviews and speaking engagements please contact Lisa Michalski, senior publicist for Prometheus books: 800-853-7545 or 716-691-0133 ext. 226, lmichalski@prometheusbooks.com

Contact Julien directly: 812-345-4511 or julien@julienmusolino.com

Julien Musolino, Ph.D., is a Franco-­American cognitive scientist, public speaker, author, and professor at Rutgers University, New Brunswick, where he holds a dual appointment in the psychology department and the Center for Cognitive Science.

Born and raised in France, Julien studied at the University of Geneva, in neighboring Switzerland, the University of North Wales, Bangor, in the United Kingdom, the University of Maryland, and the University of Pennsylvania. He is the author of numerous scientific articles, and is regularly invited to give lectures in the United States and around the world. The aim of Julien’s scientific work is to understand the functioning and development of aspects of the human mind such as language, reasoning, and critical thinking. His research has been funded by the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation.

Julien is also deeply interested in science, the history and development of science, the public understanding of science, and the factors that interfere with the understanding and dissemination of scientific knowledge. Julien’s recent work focuses on the implications of the sciences of mind for a range of issues at the interface between science and society. The goal of this work is to promote the role, understanding, and importance of science, reason, and critical thinking, especially in a country like the United States. This work takes on a public dimension, and is represented by literary agencies in New York (The Gillian MacKenzie Agency) and London (Hardman & Swainson), as well as the Speakers Bureau of the Secular Student Alliance. Julien has appeared on national television, his work has been discussed in popular magazines, and he has been a guest on radio and podcast programs in the United States and abroad.

For more about Julien and his work: www.julienmusolino.com

Bernie Taylor

Bernie Taylor
Author, naturalist and archaeoastronomer

Author, naturalist and archaeoastronomer Bernie Taylor is available for podcast interviews and to give presentations that explore the origins of religions, popular culture, and modern art through Paleolithic cave art, mythology and hunter-gatherer traditions. Taylor shifts the audiences’ perspectives in his highly visual and engaging programs through a better understanding of mankind’s distant past and our journey to the present. He regularly presents to community organizations, public grade schools and university symposiums/classes. Taylor’s two major books are Biological Time (2004) and Before Orion (2117). More on Taylor’s work can be found at www.beforeorion.com

Thomas A. Dixon, Jr.

Thomas A. Dixon, Jr., M.Ed.
Phone: 215-292-7523

Photo by Martina Mijuskovic

Survivor, Inventor, Educator, Humanist

A native of Philadelphia, Thomas Dixon earned his graduate degree in educational psychology at Temple University during 2014. Yet this was not what he had thought would happen…

On 11/22/10, Thomas entered the intensive care unit after being hit by a car while out on one of his typical runs. The damage was limited due to his being both younger and fit from frequent exercise. However, since that day he lives with severe episodic memory loss. He is often unable to recall organically when he saw his friends, what a recent movie he watched was, or the content of the last meaningful conversation he had with close family members – among many other, typical life events.

He intended to become a psychiatrist for children, but treating patients while navigating a life with severe memory loss would be unethical. Mistakes would jeopardize patient safety. So, what was he going to do now?

Doctors suggested that he write down the events of his life in notebooks. He laughed in response. Why not attempt a modern approach instead?

With that Thomas decided to use Twitter privately for his memory, essentially tweeting his memory to himself. He noticed just how outdated many approaches to handling memory loss can be. With that, he began to speak publicly on how the computers we keep in our pockets can be seen as tools of extended cognition.

The media latched onto his narrative as here was a story of triumph, of a man applying novel approaches to navigate his sudden memory disability. He felt that he was once more fully in control of his life while alone in the United Arab Emirates to celebrate New Year’s Eve 2014, his witnessing what was then the world’s record for largest ever fireworks display. Unable to remember his life without technology yet able to thrive in our modern times, such is how Thomas chooses to live.

It was through Blackstone LaunchPad at Temple University that Thomas connected with JumpButton Studio, a software development company. He shared with them his vision for a digital memory mobile application, and so “ME.mory” was created. Through ME.mory, Thomas now lives with a handy, digital memory.

Thomas has since appeared in local and national media outlets, and has been featured in documentaries and on television talk shows. Articles about his life have been released in Spanish, Japanese, Italian and Russian. He continues to give guest lectures and talks at locations including The Penn Museum, Temple University, and The Geographical Society of Philadelphia.

Thomas intends to publish his memoir, tentatively-titled “I’m Sorry… That’s Awesome!”, in the near future. He wrote it by reading his own memory from start to finish, reliving his life in the process.

His curiosity about people, himself included, is insatiable, and he hopes to continue traveling throughout the world to try to satisfy it. Each year Thomas spends New Year’s Eve in a different country, one he has never visited before. These trips are both for him to learn what he is wrong about and simply because they are quite fun.

Topics of Interest:

  • Developing critical thinking skills
  • Challenging of assumptions  
  • Appreciating your only life
  • Humanist ethical values
  • Overcoming adversity
  • Freedom of thought
  • Self-discovery

Hotel and transportation must be covered and flexible honorarium fees will apply.

Appearance links:

Dr. Anthony B. Pinn

Dr. Anthony B. Pinn
Department of Religious Studies-MS 15
Rice University
6100 Main Street
Houston, Texas USA 77005-1892
Phone: 1-713-348-2710
Fax: 1-713-348-5486

Anthony B. Pinn is Agnes Cullen Arnold Professor of Humanities  and Professor of Religious Studies at Rice University,  director of the Houston Enriches Rice Education  (H.E.R.E.) Project, member of the Meadville Lombard Theological  School Board of Trustees, and Director of Research  for the Institute for Humanist Studies Think Tank  (Washington, DC). Pinn received his Ph.D. from Harvard  University in 1994. Other degrees include the BA from Columbia  University, and the MDiv and MA, both from Harvard.  His primary areas of research include: African American  Religion, African American Humanism, Religion and the  Body, and Religion and Culture. 

Having written nearly thirty books on these research interests,  Pinn travels extensively speaking about African American  Religion and Humanism. His unique position as a nontheistic  humanist theologian enables him to translate a number  of perspectives of theists and non-theists alike, making  him a much sought after lecturer and a valuable contribution to public conversations on religion, science and culture. 

Described by philosopher Cornel West as “one of the grand philosophers wrestling with the problem of evil,” Pinn  made his initial publishing mark with Why, Lord?: Suffering and Evil in Black Theology (1995) where he offered  African American humanism as an alternative to theism. In this text, Pinn finds that black theologians have no evidence  to support the notion that God is working on behalf of the oppressed, and any theological position that claims  such perpetuates African American suffering. This initial work set the tone of subsequent work. In Varieties of African  American Religious Experience (1998) he demonstrates that African American humanism is an historic, nontheistic  religious orientation for African Americans. These projects lead to Terror and Triumph: The Nature of  Black Religion (2003) where he addresses theoretical and methodological challenges associated with the study of  African American religion. For Pinn, black religious scholarship requires attention to both its form and content. 

Pinn also serves as editor of four different book series: With Katie G. Cannon (Union Theological Seminary  PSCE), Innovations in African American Religious Thought, Fortress Press. With Caroline Levander (Rice University),  Imagining the Americas, Oxford University Press. With Stacey Floyd-Thomas (Vanderbilt University),  Religion and Social Transformation, New York University Press, and Studies in Humanist Thought and Practice,  Equinox. 

As founder and executive director of the Houston Enriches Rice Education (H.E.R.E.) Project, Pinn seeks to foster  greater connections and collaborations between Rice University and the larger Houston community through initiatives  ranging from high school essay contests to semester-long lectureships that bring prominent Houstonians into  Rice classrooms. Pinn also serves as adviser to numerous graduate students in the African American Religious  Studies concentration at Rice University. 

  • Credentials:
    • Ph.D., Harvard University
    • MA, Harvard University
    • MDiv, Harvard University
    • BA, Columbia University
  • Areas of Expertise:
    • African American Religion
    • African American Humanism
    • Religion and the Body
    • Religion and Culture
    • Religious Aesthetics
  • Interested Audiences:
    • Humanist Organizations
    • African American Religious Groups
    • Religion and Science Forums
    • Popular Culture and Religion Forums
    • Race and Religion Discussions
    • Race and Politics Discussions
    • Students and Educators
  • Services:
    • Public lectures
    • Television and Print Interviews
    • Book Signings

Abby Hafer

Abby Hafer

Biologist, educator, writer, and public speaker

Abby Hafer is a biologist, educator, writer, and public speaker.  She has a doctorate in zoology from Oxford University and teaches human anatomy and physiology at Curry College. Her written works include the books The Not-So-Intelligent Designer, and Darwin’s Apostles; as well as numerous book chapters and articles.  She debunks the gender binary, Creationism/Intelligent Design, anti-vaxxers and anti-abortion myths using humor and bullet-proof science.

Her recent work includes an audiobook of The Not-So-Intelligent Designer narrated by Seth Andrews, and articles in Law360 Canada and OnlySky.