Save the date! CFI/Transnational’s 12th World Congress, April 9-12, 2009

May 16, 2008

The Center for Inquiry/Transnational's 12th World Congress:
  Science, Public Policy, and the Planetary Community

April 9-12, 2009

Bethesda, MD. Hyatt Hotel (just outside of Washington, DC)  

Please join us as heads of the Centers for Inquiry from around the world gather at this historic event.

There is much to celebrate in 2009. The year commemorates the bicentennial of both Charles Darwin's and Abraham Lincoln's birth and the 150 th anniversary of the publication of On the Origin of Species. We will highlight the significant contributions these renowned figures have played in transforming our world views on science and public policy. CFI/Transnational's 12th World Congress will also be part of national efforts to promote public understanding of science during the 2009 Year of Science. Science organizations around the country will be working to engage the public in science and explain how science works and why it matters in today's complex world. 

Conference rates will be posted soon. Discounts for CFI Friends of the Center. Join today!

All reservations must be made individually through the Hyatt's reservation department by calling (301) 657-1234, 800-233-1234 or via the reservation website,

Special room rates are available for the conference:

Single Occupancy: $149
Double Occupancy: $149
Triple Occupancy: $174
Quadruple Occupancy: $199  
Room rates are quoted exclusive of applicable state and local taxes (which are currently 12%) or applicable service, or hotel specific fees in effect at the hotel at the time of the meeting.
Among the scheduled speakers:

Norm R Allen, founder and Director of African Americans for Humanism (AAH) , a program dedicated to promoting critical thinking and debunking spiritual myths traditionally held in the African American community. He has worked extensively in Africa, founding six CFI affiliates on the continent. He is deputy editor of Free Inquiry magazine and editor for The AAH Examiner, the first newsletter to explain what Humanism means, and has meant, to the African American community. He is author of several books, including African-American Humanism: An Anthology

Roger Bonnet, Ph.D. , is Executive Director of the International Space Science Institute in Bern Switzerland and a Professor of Faculty at Liège University, Belgium. He is President of the Committee on Space Research and former director of the Science Programme of the European Space Agency He has received numerous honors in astronomy and physics, including the World Technology Award for Space, the Prix Icare des Journalistes Scientifiques, and the NASA Public Service Medal. He is a member of The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, The International Academy of Astronautics, The European Academy of Sciences Arts and Humanities, and The Académie Nationale de l'Air et de l'Espace.

Austin Dacey, Ph.D. is a representative to the United Nations for the Center for Inquiry in New York City and former executive director of CFI's New York City center. As U.N. representative, he works on issues of secular values, science, and ethics. He is the author of articles in numerous publications including the New York Times and USA Today . He holds a doctorate in applied ethics and social philosophy. His latest book is The Secular Conscience, Why Belief Belongs in Public Life , published this year by Prometheus Books.

Barbara Forrest , Ph.D. , is a philosophy professor and public intellectual at Southeastern Louisiana University, where she has taught since 1981. Widely praised for her compelling expert testimony in the 2005 Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District trial, she is a tireless defender of science education and the teaching of evolution in U.S. public schools. With Paul R. Gross, she is co-author of Creationism's Trojan Horse: The Wedge of Intelligent Design (Oxford University Press, 2004), which examines the goals and strategies of the intelligent design movement and its attempts to undermine the teaching of evolutionary biology. Forrest serves on the board of directors of the National Center for Science Education and the Board of Trustees of Americans United for Separation of Church and State. Forrest received her Ph.D. in philosophy from Tulane University .

Christopher Hitchens is a journalist, literary critic, and the author of several highly acclaimed books, including the bestseller God is not Great and the recently published The Portable Atheist. He has been a regular columnist at The Atlantic, Vanity Fair, The Nation, Slate, and Free Inquiry. Born in England, he is a graduate of Oxford and Cambridge universities where he studied philosophy, politics, and economics.

Philip Kitcher, Ph.D. is the John Dewey Professor of Philosophy and James R. Barker Professor of Contemporary Civilization at Columbia University, specializing in the philosophy of science, biology, and mathematics.  He is the author of several books including In Mendel’s Mirror: Philosophical Reflections on Biology, The Nature of Mathematical Knowledge, and Science, Truth and Democracy.  He has received the Lifetime Achievement and Distinguished Contribution awards from the American Psychological Association and, in 2006, was the inaugural winner of the Prometheus Prize for achievements in the philosophy of science.  He received his Ph.D. in History and Philosophy of Science from Princeton University.

Lawrence Krauss, Ph.D. is an acclaimed teacher, lecturer, and prominent theoretical physicist.  His research interests include the interface between elementary particle physics and cosmology.  He has published more than 200 scientific articles as well as a variety of general articles on physics and astronomy.  Krauss has also authored several celebrated books, including the best-selling The Physics of Star Trek. Krauss is the recipient of numerous awards, including the American Association for the Advancement of Science's 1999-2000 Award for the Public Understanding of Science and Technology, the Julius Edgar Lilienfeld Prize of the American Physical Society, the Andrew Gemant Award, the Oersted Medal, and the Joseph P. Burton Forum Award.  He was nominated for a Grammy award for his liner notes for a Telarc CD of music from Star Trek.

Paul Kurtz, Ph.D. is Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at the State University of New York at Buffalo. He has taught at Vassar, Trinity, and Union colleges. His specialty is the philosophy of religion, ethics, value theory, and the paranormal. He is founder and chairman of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry (formerly CSICOP), the Council for Secular Humanism, Center for Inquiry/Transnational, and Prometheus Books. He is editor-in-chief of Free Inquiry magazine, a publication of the Council for Secular Humanism. He was co-president of the International Humanist and Ethical Union, a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and Humanist Laureate and president of the International Academy of Humanism. He is author or editor of some 47 books, including Science and Ethics , Skepticism and Humanism: The New Paradigm and the Humanist Manifesto .

Ronald A. Lindsay, Ph.D., J.D. is Vice President and General Counsel for the Center for Inquiry. He has submitted amicus briefs in several prominent Supreme Court cases addressing constitutional law issues, including Marsh v. Chambers, Lee v. Weisman, Washington v. Glucksberg, McCreary County v. ACLU of Kentucky, Gonzales v. Oregon, and Hein v. Freedom from Religion Foundation. Lindsay is an honors graduate of the University of Virginia School of Law and received his Ph.D from Georgetown University.  His scholarly work focuses on bioethics. His latest book, Future Bioethics: Overcoming Taboos, Myths, and Dogmas , will be released by Prometheus Books in June.    

Elizabeth Loftus, Ph.D. is Distinguished Professor at the University of California, Irvine. She holds positions in the Departments of Psychology & Social Behavior, and Criminology, Law & Society. Loftus's research has focused on human memory, eyewitness testimony and courtroom procedure. She has been an expert witness or consultant in hundreds of cases, including the Hillside Strangler, the Rodney King beating, the Bosnian War trials in The Hague, and the Oklahoma Bombing case. Her book, Eyewitness Testimony, won a National Media Award from the American Psychological Foundation. Loftus has received numerous awards and honors for her research. Among them, she and was voted 58th, and the top ranked woman on the Review of General Psychology's 100 most eminent psychologists of the 20 th century. She received her Ph.D. in Psychology from Stanford University.

John C. Mather, Ph.D won the 2006 Nobel Prize in Physics for his work investigating cosmic microwave background radiation, which helps provide measurements within the universe. Mather is a cosmologist and senior astrophysicist at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland and adjunct professor of physics at the University of Maryland, College Park. In 2007, Mather was listed among Time magazine's 100 Most Influential People in The World. He received his Ph.D. in Physics at the University of California, Berkely.

James Randi is an internationally known magician and escape artist who currently devotes his work to investigating and demystifying claims of the paranormal and pseudoscience. Randi has pursued "psychics”, exposed the tricks of faith healers, and investigated homeopathic water "with a memory."  He is the author of numerous books, including The Truth About Uri Geller, The Faith Healers, Flim-Flam!, and An Encyclopedia of Claims, Frauds, and Hoaxes of the Occult and Supernatural. His lectures and television appearances have delighted — and vexed — audiences around the world. He has received numerous awards and recognitions, including a Fellowship from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation in 1986.

Michael Ruse, Ph.D. is Lucyle T. Werkmeister Professor & Director of History and Philosophy of Science Program at Florida State University. His research focus is on the philosophy of the biology, and he is well known for his work on the argument between creationism and evolutionary biology. He has authored or edited more then 30 books including Debating Design: Darwin to DNA , Mystery of Mysteries: Is Evolution a Social Construction? Stem Cell Research and The Philosophy of Biology.  Ruse is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Royal Society of Canada and has been a visiting professor at universities throughout Europe and North America. He received his Ph.D. in Philosophy at the University of Bristol. 

Toni Van Pelt is Vice President and Director of Government Affairs for the Center for Inquiry Office of Public Policy, headquartered in Washington, D.C. prior to her reassignment to Washington, Toni was the first Executive Director for the Center for Inquiry/Florida. She is the former Florida state president of NOW and a longtime activist in women's rights issues. With the development of the CFI Travel Club, she has successfully married her past career in travel and business with building the secular community and promoting education.