PRESS RELEASE
For Immediate Release
Contact: Paul Fidalgo
Phone: (207) 358-9785
E-mail: press@centerforinquiry.net

Center for Inquiry World Congress XII Opens Thursday, April 9

April 06, 2009

Four-Day Event to Examine Global State of Science, Secularism

The Obama Administration’s commitment to scientific integrity has opened new channels of dialogue on the state of science in public policy. Will increasing the role of secularization—crafting policies on empiricism, not faith—lead to increased public demand for reliance on science in the development of pubic policy? Can values grounded firmly in human experience influence lawmakers’ actions? What do leading scientists and scholars think about the connection between science and public policy, and what measures do they recommend?

The Center for Inquiry, an international secularist think tank, is providing a world stage this week to discuss, promote and defend science at its 12th World Congress April 9-12, 2009 in Bethesda, MD, just outside the nation’s capital. The World Congress XII—two years in the planning—will feature more than 30 of the brightest minds and international voices in science and secularism today: scientists, philosophers, writers, and politicians will convene for four days of panels and addresses focusing on the importance of secular science in American life, its role as a basis of public policy, and its prospects for shaping the future. Speakers include Susan Jacoby, Lawrence Krauss, Nobel laureate John C. Mather, NASA climatologist Drew Shindell, Philip Kitcher, Eleanor Smeal, Richard Wiseman, Paul Kurtz, James “The Amazing” Randi, Michael Ruse, Barbara Forrest, and former 12-term U.S. congresswoman Patricia Scott Schroeder.

Opportunities for journalists include:

  • A chance to talk to a broad representative sample of the atheist, secular, and “nones” demographic from America and abroad—the fastest-growing segment in the American Religious Identification Survey (ARIS).
  • Top information for focus articles about the changing religious landscape in America and around the world.
  • The “Year of Science” 2009, focusing on the 150th anniversary of the publication of Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species, as well as the bicentennial of the births of Darwin and Abraham Lincoln, who founded the National Academy of Sciences in 1863.
  • A first-hand breakdown of pervasive pseudoscientific claims—dangerous and damaging to the public’s understanding of science, as they are often cloaked in scientific verbiage.

From the promise of microscopic stem cells to the worldwide threat of global warming, free scientific inquiry is the most reliable method of understanding our world and confronting complex problems. As secularism continues to increase throughout the world, opinion is mounting that the answers we need will be found through science, technology, and likewise proven secular avenues.

The full list of speakers is available online, as are abstract summaries of scheduled talks and panels.

Other highlights include:

  • Nationally acclaimed Grammy-winning composer Richard Einhorn , featuring a performance of The Origin , his new oratorio based on the life of Charles Darwin
  • Triple Awards Banquet to honor Lawrence Krauss, James Randi, and CFI founder and chairman Paul Kurtz
  • Representatives from international affiliates of the Center for Inquiry.

Unlimited-access press passes will be available at the door, upon furnishing media credentials. Media passes include entry into all addresses and panels, as well as banquet seating. Please contact Cheryl Catania at (716) 636-4869, ext. 308 for more information.

The Center for Inquiry/Transnational, a nonprofit, educational, advocacy, and scientific-research think tank based in Amherst, New York, is also home to the Council for Secular Humanism, founded in 1980; and the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry (formerly CSICOP), founded in 1976. The Center for Inquiry’s research and educational projects focus on three broad areas: religion, ethics, and society; paranormal and fringe-science claims; and sound public policy. The Center’s Web site is www.centerforinquiry.net .