Michael is the author of the best-selling, bridge-building book, Thank God for Evolution: How the Marriage of Science and Religion Will Transform Your Life and Our World, which was endorsed by 6 Nobel Prize-winning scientists, noted skeptics and atheists, and religious leaders alike. He has been featured on national TV, on CNN, ABC News, and Fox News, and in The NY Times, LA Times, Newsweek, and Discover magazine. He delivered a TEDx talk in May, 2012, and in 2009 was Distinguished Lecturer at CalTech (sponsored by the Skeptic Society) and at the United Nations.
Michael’s wife and mission partner, Connie Barlow, is herself a popular author and educator. Together they have traveled North America since 2002 and addressed more than 1,600 groups, from atheists to evangelicals and everything in between.
Michael Dowd describes himself as a “religious naturalist, evidential mystic, and big history evangelist.” If you think that sounds odd, you’re not alone. Michael is an ordained minister with a message like Carl Sagan or Neil deGrasse Tyson and a presentation style like an old time preacher. He delivers a deeply meaningful, science-based message that most religious and non-religious people alike find empowering. Michael defies labels and builds bridges as he glides effortlessly between factual and inspirational language.
From my perspective, as an atheist, I see Dowd’s approach as a way for religious people to escape their self-imposed isolation that comes from biblical literalism. It’s a way to save face by acknowledging the wisdom of pre-scientific cultures, while fully embracing the richness of knowledge offered by the worldwide, self-correcting scientific endeavor that has produced humanity’s collective intelligence. Dowd’s message is also intended to help humanists and atheists see how religious people can effectively be brought into a “soul nourishing” way of thinking about big history, human nature, and death (the three main science topics he covers).
Michael doesn’t just limit his view to biological evolution, but peers into the night sky and the beginning of everyone and everything to help us understand our connection to, and kinship with, the cosmos. In explaining the origins of the chemicals that make up our physical bodies, for example, Michael leads us to the conclusion that “we are the universe becoming conscious of itself.” If ever an atheist needed an antidote to the nihilism often attributed to lack of religious belief, this is it.
Connie and Michael will be in Western New York until July 17th. They currently have the following speaking engagements, and you can get updates on their schedule as they confirm more engagements here.
July 1, First Baptist Church, Painted Post NY (morning)
July 1, The Park Church (UCC), Elmira NY (evening)
July 8, First Unitarian Church of Rochester, NY (morning)
July 10, May Memorial Church (Unitarian)
co-sponsored by Freethinkers of Upstate New York, Syracuse NY (evening, 7 PM)
July 15-16, Hector Presbyterian Church, Hector NY (morning / evening)
If you haven’t heard Michael speak in person, you are in for an entertaining, enlightening and uplifting experience!