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Richard Dawkins March 2009 Tour

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Richard DawkinsThe Secular Student Alliance, the Center for Inquiry and Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science are proud to announce Richard Dawkins 2009 Tour! The celebrated biologist and atheist will be speaking at four universities in the midwest during the first half of March.

Update: The Oklahoma University event has been moved to a larger venue!

Update: Tickets are now on sale for the University of Minnesota event!

Dr. Richard Dawkins first came to prominence with his 1976 book The Selfish Gene, which popularized the gene-centered view of evolution. Since then, he has written eight books touching on such topics as religion, terrorism, evolution, creationism, and the relationship between science and art. His 2006 New York Times best seller, The God Delusion, sold more than 1.5 million copies worldwide and has been translated into 31 languages. During the four-stop tour, Dr. Dawkins will discuss "The Purpose of Purpose":

"We humans are obsessed with purpose. The question, "What is it for?" comes naturally to a species surrounded by tools, utensils and machines. For such artifacts it is appropriate, but then we go too far. We apply the "What is it for?" question to rocks, mountains, stars or the universe, where it has no place.

How about living things? Unlike rocks and mountains, animals and plants, wings and eyes, webbed feet and leaves, all present a powerful illusion of design. Since Darwin, we have understood that this, too, is an illusion. Nevertheless, it is such a powerful illusion that the language of purpose is almost irresistible. Huge numbers of people are seriously misled by it, and biologists in practice use it as a shorthand.I shall develop two meanings of "purpose". Archi-purpose is the ancient illusion of purpose, a pseudo-purpose fashioned by natural selection over billions of years. Neo-purpose is true, deliberate, intentional purpose, which is a product of brains. My thesis is that neo-purpose, or the capacity to set up deliberate purposes or goals, is itself a Darwinian adaptation with an archi-purpose.

Neo-purpose really comes into its own in the human brain, but brains capable of neo-purposes have been evolving for a long time. Rudiments of neo-purpose can even be seen in insects. In humans, the capacity to set up neo-purposes has evolved to such an extent that the original archi-purpose can be eclipsed and even reversed. The subversion of purpose can be a curse, but there is some reason to hope that it might become a blessing."

Richard DawkinsAppearances:

March 2, 2009: Lansing, MI - Michigan State University
7:30 - 9:30 pm, Wharton Center for Performing Arts
Tickets: $20.00 with a $2.50 Processing and Restoration Fee required by Wharton Center
Visit the webpage: http://www.cfimichigan.org/events/event/richard-dawkins-at-msu/
Purchase tickets online: http://ga1.org/center_for_inquiry/events/dawkins/details.tcl

March 4, 2009: Minneapolis, MN - University of Minnesota
7:00 - 9:30 pm, UMTC Campus, Northrup Auditorium
Tickets for this event are $8 for students/$15 for non-students
Visit the webpage: CASH's Official Event Site
Get tickets online at https://www.tickets.umn.edu/Online/default.asp?brand=UMATO
Or by phone (612)624-2345 (Open M-F, 10am-5pm)
PZ Meyers will be hosting a pub night open to students after this event!

March 6, 2009: Norman, OK - Oklahoma University
7:00 pm, McCasland Field House (updated from Catlett Music Centre on 2/2/09)
Admission is free and on a first-come, first-seated basis. Tickets previously distributed are no longer valid!!
Contact Barry Weaver, bweaver(AT)ou(DOT)edu, for more information.
Visit the webpage: http://ve.ou.edu/dawkins.html

March 11, 2009: Omaha, NE - First Unitarian Church of Omaha
7:30 pm, Holland Arts Performing Center
Admission is free but tickets are required.
Visit the website: http://www.firstuuomaha.org/sites/default/files/HollandLecture.html
Get Tickets: https://www.omahaperformingarts.org/tessitura/production.aspx?perf=3276

SSA staff and/or volunteers will be on hand at all events. Come by and say hello!

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