Richard Dawkins @ U of MN Mar 4 7 PM $15

Campus Atheists, Skeptics and Humanists present Richard Dawkins, author of "The Selfish Gene" and "The God Delusion." Dr. Dawkins, a professor of biology, will be lecturing on "The purpose of purpose."

Tickets for the event are $8 for students and $15 including service fees for General Admission and may be purchased through Northrop Auditorium Box Office:
Phone: [masked] (Open M-F, 10am-5pm)

Online: The event is under Lectures and Public Affairs @
https://www.tickets.umn.edu/Online/default.asp?brand=UMATO

Or by visiting our website, http://cashumn.org

Information about the lecture:

Richard Dawkins: 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.

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  • Jessica F.

    I enjoyed the lecture, but was annoyed/bored by the question and answer session, because people did not ask good questions.

    March 7, 2009

  • A former member
    A former member

    I was delayed getting into campus because of the concomitant basketball game. While this certainly couldn't have been helped, it would have been nice to know about the ball game ahead of time, so that I could have planned to arrive earlier, or by a different route, to accommodate all the extra traffic.

    Otherwise, I think things went very, very well. Thanks for bringing Dr. Dawkins to us!

    March 5, 2009

  • Tom

    Excellent presentation. A very thought provoking night.

    March 5, 2009

  • Nancy H.

    Great lecture. I enjoyed it very much. Dawkins also signed my book.

    March 5, 2009

  • A former member
    A former member

    All of us who attended the Richard Dawkins event had an awesome time!
    We had dinner at Vescios before the talk and the food was delicious!
    There were about 12 of us who came from St Cloud and we represented the Central Minnesota Friends Free of Theism group!
    The company and conversation at dinner was wonderful and I met wonderful freethinkers at the U of Mn as well.
    Dawkins as usual did not dissapoint! A very effective talk on the "Puropse of Purpose" with visual illustrations of evolution in action.
    BRAVO TO ALL FOR A HUGELY SUCCESSFUL EVENT!
    THANK YOU CAMPUS ATHEISTS AND SECULAR HUMANISTS AND MINNESOTA ATHEISTS!

    March 5, 2009

  • A former member
    A former member

    Lovely evening. Great presentation. Lots of fun.

    March 5, 2009

  • Crystal D.

    It was super fun, nice to have some relaxing time after the lecture as well.

    March 5, 2009

  • Ryan F.

    I was actually with other friends, so I didn't link up with the meetup group--but the talk was excellent!

    March 5, 2009

  • Jim H.

    I saw Bjorn and August from across the theater

    March 4, 2009

  • A former member
    A former member

    I'm still floating on a cloud after listening to his lecture and meeting him face to face. It was so nice to be surrounded by like minded individuals for a change as well! I had a great time!

    March 4, 2009

  • justin c.

    Dr. Dawkins was awesome of course!

    March 4, 2009

  • Grant S.

    He offered a new perspective on the subject of purpose. His speaking style has a poetic quality with a depth of philosophy and science to it. It is a great pleasure to share in such a learning experience.

    March 4, 2009

  • Jack C.

    I got stuck in traffic and didn't arrive until 6:45, so I apologize to the people waiting at the MNA table at 6:30. Hope everyone enjoyed the presentation as much as I did.

    March 4, 2009

  • A former member
    A former member

    Dawkins is as attractive as he is intelligent.

    March 4, 2009

  • Crystal D.

    re the message from Scott: Curtis Marean is a great speaker, we saw him at the Nobel Conference and he was one of our favorites.

    March 3, 2009

  • A former member
    A former member

    I'm excited for this, but I am trying to find a Hardcover of one of Dawkins books but I can't find one anywhere! Do any of you know where to get one? I've called over 10 different book stores in the metro area and am having no luck.

    March 3, 2009

  • Josh B.

    Joe Pike, you misunderstood me. I've already purchased tickets, and agree $15 is a steal for the honor of listening to Prof. Dawkins in person. What I meant is that I won't waste money ON BUYING A HARDCOVER COPY OF ONE OF HIS BOOKS for him to sign if he's not going to be signing books at all.

    Bjorn, thanks for the tip.

    March 1, 2009

  • Joe P.

    Mr. Bruhn,

    Not to be rude, but how is listening to Prof. Dawkins for a small fee ever a waste of money? He is one person on an international level promoting our interests. He tries to get people to question like we need them to. To think. To learn and not be blinded by faith.

    I find a small fee of $10-15 a gift, not a waste.

    I will bring my Selfish Gene hardcover. It's yours for 3 easy payments of $15.

    February 18, 2009

  • A former member
    A former member

    I just heard yesterday from the campus group that Dawkins will be signing books after his lecture.

    February 18, 2009

  • Josh B.

    Does anyone know if Prof. Dawkins will be signing books? If so, I'd like to buy a nice hardcover copy of The Selfish Gene; if not, I won't waste the money.

    February 18, 2009

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