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Our speakers...

Alix Jules is the chair and founder of the Dallas-Fort Worth Coalition of Reason's Diversity Council, founded with the mission of addressing the role of diversity in the local atheist community. As a secular activist in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area he's commonly found promoting secular awareness through discourse or drama. In 2010, the wildly controversial "Millions of Americans are good Without God" bus ads pitted him in opposition to the Black pulpit, garnering national attention, and again during Black History month 2012 as a spokesperson for the African Americans for Humanism campaign, "Doubts about God".


Andrew L. Seidel graduated cum laude from Tulane University with a B.S. in neuroscience and environmental science, magna cum laude from Tulane University Law School, and completed his Master of Laws at Denver University Sturm College of Law with a perfect GPA. After practicing law in Colorado, he moved to Wisconsin to take a job with the Freedom From Religion Foundation as a Constitutional Consultant.


Annie Laurie Gaylor, with Dan Barker, is co-president of the Freedom From Religion Foundation. As a UW student, she successfully stopped commencement prayers, and co-founded the FFRF with her mother, Anne Gaylor. She served as the editor of FFRF's newspaper Freethought Today from 1984 to 2009, and is now executive editor. She is the author of several books, including: Woe To The Women: The Bible Tells Me So, Betrayal of Trust: Clergy Abuse of Children, and Women Without Superstition: 'No Gods, No Masters' - the first collection of the writings of historic and contemporary women freethinkers.


Chris Calvey is the event organizer for the Freethought Festival, and a leader of the Atheists, Humanists, and Agnostics (AHA!) at the UW-Madison. He holds degrees in Materials Science Engineering and Molecular & Cellular Biology from the UIUC, where he also founded the Illini Secular Student Alliance. He is currently pursuing a PhD, with research focusing on biofuel production in yeast. Prior to moving to Madison, he worked at the J. Craig Venter Institute and was a member of the team responsible for creating the world's first "Synthetic Bacterial Cell."


Dale McGowan is Executive Director of the Foundation Beyond Belief, and he is editor and co-author of Parenting Beyond Belief and Raising Freethinkers, the first comprehensive resources for nonreligious parents. He writes the secular parenting blog The Meming of Life and presents seminars for nontheistic parents across the United States. In 2008 he was named Harvard Humanist of the Year by the Humanist Chaplaincy at Harvard University.


Darrel Ray has been a psychologist for over 30 years, practicing counseling and clinical psychology as well as organizational psychology and consulting. He has been a student of religion most of his life and holds a BA in Sociology/Anthropology, a MA degree in religion, and a Doctorate in psychology. He is the author of The God Virus: How Religion Infects Our Lives and Culture, which explains the methods religions use to control individuals and societies.


DJ Grothe is President of the James Randi Educational Foundation. He has lectured widely on topics at the intersection of education, science and belief at dozens of universities. Formerly a professional magician, he has special interests in the psychology of belief and processes of deception and self-deception. He hosts the radio show and podcast For Good Reason , prior to which he hosted over 200 episodes of the popular interview program Point of Inquiry.


Ellery Schempp is a dedicated Unitarian Universalist, a strong supporter of the ACLU, and a defender of the separation of church and state. In 1956, he staged a protest against a school requirement that students read Bible passages and the Lord's Prayer each day during homeroom. With the help of his father and the American Civil Liberties Union, they sued the Abington School district over their policy of mandatory Bible readings. Several years later, the case was eventually decided in his favor, in the landmark 1963 United States Supreme Court case of Abington School District v. Schempp, which declared that required public-school-sanctioned Bible readings were unconstitutional.


Elliott Sober earned his Ph.D in philosophy from Harvard University. He has served as the president of both the Central Division of the American Philosophical Association and the Philosophy of Science Association. Currently, he is the Hans Reichenbach Professor and William F. Vilas Research Professor in the Department of Philosophy at University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is noted for his work in the philosophy of biology, general philosophy of science, and has been a prominent critic of intelligent design. He is the author of several books about evolutionary biology, including Did Darwin write the Origin Backwards?


Hemant Mehta is a high school math teacher from Naperville, IL and blogger at friendlyatheist.com. He has worked with several non-theistic organizations, including the Secular Student Alliance, and currently serves as the chair of the Foundation Beyond Belief. His book, I Sold My Soul on eBay, was released in 2007.


James Croft is the Research and Education Fellow at the Humanist Chaplaincy at Harvard, and has been working on the Humanist Community Project since its inception. He is a Cambridge and Harvard Graduate, and is currently studying for his Doctorate in the philosophy of education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. He was raised on Shakespeare, Sagan and Star Trek, and is a proud, gay Humanist.


JT Eberhard is an SSA Campus Organizer specializing in High School groups. He co-founded the Missouri State University Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, which became one of the nation's largest college skeptic groups. He is most recognized as the co-founder of the Skepticon annual convention. Now in its third year, JT has been the lead organizer since Skepticonís inception and has appeared as the emcee during the first two years and as a speaker the last two years.


Kevin Padian president of NCSE's board of directors and also Professor of Integrative Biology and Curator in the University of California Museum of Paleontology, Berkeley, where he has taught since 1980. An international expert on the evolution of vertebrates, his principal interest is in the origin of major adaptive changes. It was on this subject, as well as on phylogenetic relationships, homology, and the nature of science, that he testified in the Dover, Pennsylvania trial on "intelligent design" in 2005.


Lyz Liddell is the Director of Campus Organizing for the Secular Student Alliance, coordinating the campus organizing team to deliver the SSA's services and resources to affiliate groups and individual students. She leads development of new resources and helps build relationships with other organizations to promote acceptance of secular students. She volunteers with her local off-campus organization, the Humanist Community of Central Ohio, and is a member of the Challenge the Gap advisory board for Foundation Beyond Belief.


Matt Dillahunty is the president of the Atheist Community of Austin and host of their live, call-in, television program, "The Atheist Experience." A fundamentalist Christian for more than 25 years, his best efforts to become a minister backfired and gave birth to one of the most prolific voices on atheism of the past decade. In addition to hundreds of live television shows and thousands of informal debates on the show, he's also engaged in formal debates and traveled the United States speaking to local secular organizations and university groups. He's also the producer of both the "Godless Bitches" and "The Non-Prophets" podcasts.


Phil Ferguson is a long time skeptic/atheist and avid supporter of those movements. He is a former board member of the SSA (Secular Student Alliance) and AAI (Atheist Alliance International) and the founder of Champaign Urbana Freethinkers. He blogs about atheism, skepticism and money at SkepticMoney.


PZ Myers is the author of Pharyngula, the most heavily-trafficked science blog online. He is currently an associate professor of biology at the University of Minnesota, Morris, works with zebrafish in the field of evolutionary developmental biology, and also cultivates an interest in cephalopods. He is a public critic of intelligent design (ID) and of the creationist movement in general. He has published numerous research papers in Nature and other notable scientific journals.


Richard Carrier is the renowned author of Sense and Goodness without God and Proving History: Bayes's Theorem and the Quest for the Historical Jesus, as well as numerous articles online and in print. With a Ph.D. in ancient history from Columbia University, he now specializes in the modern philosophy of naturalism, the origins of Christianity, and the intellectual history of Greece and Rome. For more about his work, visit richardcarrier.info.


Sean Faircloth is the author of the newly released book Attack of the Theocrats: How the Religious Right Harms Us All and What to Do About It. He previously served five terms in the Maine House of Representatives, and successfully spearheaded over thirty laws. Then, as Executive Director of Secular Coalition for America, he conceived the Secular Decade plan: a bold strategic vision for re-secularizing American government. He is currently Director of Strategy and Policy for the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Science and Reason.


Valerie Tarico is a psychologist and the author of Trusting Doubt: A Former Evangelical Looks at Old Beliefs in a New Light and Deas and Other Imaginings. She is actively engaged in dialogue that aims to find common ground between theists and freethinkers, in particular by focusing on humanity's shared moral core. She is a founder of WisdomCommons.org, an interactive site that allows users to discuss virtues that emerge repeatedly across secular and religious wisdom traditions. Her "TrustingDoubt" channel on Youtube offers tips and insights for recovering fundamentalists.


Veronica Drantz holds a Ph.D. in animal physiology and has taught science to medical professionals most of her life. Formerly a tenured full professor and founder of Chicago's first electroneurodiagnostic technology college program, Veronica continues to serve as science professor in a doctoral anesthesia program where she has taught for thirty-eight years. Dr. Drantz is an expert on topics of intersexuality, sexual orientation, and sexual identity. She writes about her research and its social ramifications on her Blog: Science and Sexuality: The Biology of Sexual Identity, Sexual Orientation, and Intersexuality.