Noted biologist Richard Dawkins to speak at HPU' s ‘Aloha Shaka Con’

September 27, 2012

HONOLULU — Celebrated scientist, noted author, coiner of the word “meme” and all-around intellectual Richard Dawkins will kick off a U.S. tour in Honolulu on Wed., Oct. 3, at “Aloha Shaka Con,” a “Freethought Convention” sponsored by the Secular Student Alliance of Hawai‘i Pacific University

Dawkins’ talk will be held at the Aloha Tower Marketplace’s Pier 10, from 6 to 9 p.m. Tickets are $20 general admission, $10 for students with valid ID, can be purchased online at

Well-known as the professor for Public Understanding of Science at the University of Oxford from 1995 to 2008, Dawkins has published such critically acclaimed books as “The Selfish Gene,” “The Blind Watchmaker” and “The God Delusion.” The latter has sold millions of copies and been translated into more than 30 languages. 

He has received accolades around the globe, including being named one of the world’s 100 most influential people by Time magazine in 2007, and earning the Nierenberg Prize for Science in the Public Interest in 2009. His use of the word “meme,” as a cultural entity that can replicate an idea, has become a pop culture reference point on Twitter and other social media. 

In recent years, Dawkins has become equally recognized as perhaps the world’s most prominent atheist, speaking out against religious fundamentalism and establishing the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reasons and Science to “support evidence-based argument, scientific inquiry and critical thinking in an effort to combat superstition.” He was recently featured on CNN’s “Red Chair Interview” series, discussing Darwinism, evolution and his belief that “creationists know nothing.” 

He will be accompanied at Aloha Shaka Con by Sean Faircloth, director of strategy and policy at the Dawkins Foundation, and Elisabeth Cornwell, an evolutionary psychologist and executive director of the foundation. 

Faircloth served five terms in the Maine Legislature, focusing particularly on children’s advocacy, and is author of “Attack of the Theocrats: How the Religious Right Harms Us All — And What We Can Do About It,” released in February 2012. Cornwell volunteered at the Dawkins Foundation from its inception before becoming its first executive director. She also initiated the OUT Campaign, encouraging atheists to be more open and active in public life. 

“At Aloha Shaka Con, we have gathered many of the best minds in science, skepticism, humanism and secularism,” said David Tveraas of the Secular Student Alliance. “The existence of an annual Freethought convention in Hawai‘i is long overdue. Hawai‘i is a blend of many cultures and societies. This is the perfect place to explore concepts and learn from one another for a better future.” 

For more information about the event or speakers, contact Tveraas at 530-300-2923.