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Skeptic Society Distinguished Lecture Series at Caltech
Last November (2008) I sent Michael Shermer, editor of Skeptic magazine and columnist for Scientific American, a copy of my book, Thank God for Evolution. We had met once before, at his office, a year earlier, and he and Connie have known each other for close to a decade. A few weeks later, he sent the following email:
"Michael, I loved your book. Excellent. Really powerful stuff. We're fortunate to have you on our side (the "our" being humanity). Your discussion of evolutionary integrity was especially meaningful to me. I tried to do something similar to this in a couple of chapters in my book Why Darwin Matters, and in How We Believe, but you're a better preacher than I am! I really hope your book does well. When are you coming back to southern California? I'd like to schedule you to present at Caltech."
Well, we just returned to southern California and last Sunday, as part of the Skeptic Society's Distinguished Lecture Series at Caltech, I delivered my "Evolution and the Global Integrity Crisis" program to an enthusiastic crowd of about 300. (This is the same program I delivered at the United Nations in April.) Having delivered this talk to both very religious groups and to very anti-religious groups, I knew it would generate a positive response from virtually everyone. Still, it was great to actually experience it. Afterwards, a group of about 15 of us when out for dinner and conversations.
Tonight, also as part of Skeptic's Distinguished Lecture Series at Caltech, award-winning author Robert Wright will be delivering a talk on his new book, The Evolution of God. Connie and I greatly look forward to this as we've known Bob for years and find his thinking to be closely aligned with our own. Indeed, more than perhaps anyone else, Bob has helped keep us in gas and food money since the launch of our itinerant evo-evangelistic ministry in April 2002. Back in 2002 he donated (gave us!) 75 hardcover copies of Nonzero: The Logic of Human Destiny (which I consider one of the 10 best books I've ever read), which we sold at our speaking events. We went on to sell more than 2,000 paperback copies of Nonzero, as well as nearly 400 copies of his book, The Moral Animal: Why We Are the Way We Are—The New Science of Evolutionary Psychology.
Just a few weeks ago I read his new book, The Evolution of God, and offered the following endorsement to his publisher:
“In a time marked by religious strife and the conflict between faith and reason comes this brilliant work that naturalizes religion and offers a fresh view of religious history and cultural evolution. This is a bold and, indeed, wise book that gives hope to all of us who long for a healthy future.”
I highly recommend reading The Evolution of God. I see it as one of the most significant books in the growing field of religious naturalism. I also highly recommend Michael Shermer's book, The Science of Good and Evil: Why People Cheat, Gossip, Share, Care, and Follow the Golden Rule, which I is one of the best books in the realm of evolutionary ethics.
On a more personal note, Connie and I look forward to going out for food and drinks with Bob and Michael after Bob's talk tonight. I consider them both to be older brothers on the path.
ALSO SEE: Best Evolution Resources