To celebrate Darwin Day on 12 February 2019, Humanists UK hosted its largest annual Darwin Day Lecture to date, given by evolutionary biologist Professor Richard Dawkins and chaired by evolutionary anthropologist Professor Alice Roberts, the President of Humanists UK.
Close to 2,000 people turned out for the sold-out show at London’s Troxy concert hall. Richard delivered a tour de force lecture covering his interests in science, the ‘humility’ of the scientific frame of mind – encouraging of doubts and sceptical of certainties – and the need, in challenging times, to speak out against ‘the hubris of faith’, where religion insists on false answers to questions that are the proper domain of the sciences. He also spoke of his fundamental optimism for the human species, celebrating our history and propensity for scientific achievement, as well as the long-term trend of improving human welfare worldwide.
The lecture is now available to view on the Humanists UK YouTube channel (embedded below).
In recognition of his lifetime of achievements in science and recognising his sterling work for 15 years as the regular chair of the Darwin Day Lecture, Richard Dawkins was awarded Humanists UK’s inaugural Darwin Day Medal.
The award will henceforth be presented each Darwin Day to Humanists UK’s appointed Darwin Day Lecturer, recognising outstanding contributions to furthering Darwin’s legacy and public understanding of science.
Alice Roberts will take over from Richard Dawkins as the regular chair of future Humanists UK Darwin Day Lectures.
At Humanists UK, we advance free thinking and promote humanism to create a tolerant society where rational thinking and kindness prevail. Our work brings non-religious people together to develop their own views, helping people be happier and more fulfilled in the one life we have. Through our ceremonies, education services, and community and campaigning work, we strive to create a fair and equal society for all.
Each February, people around the world come together for Darwin Day, a celebration of the life of Charles Darwin and his enormously influential discovery of evolution by natural selection. Humanists UK has organised a Darwin Day Lecture in London each year since 2003, and it is the largest event of its kind in the UK.
Richard Dawkins is one of the best known scientists in the world. He is author of The Selfish Gene, a book which upturned our understanding of natural selection and was in 2017 named the most influential science book of all time. Richard is also author of The God Delusion, a global publishing sensation that has sold over 3 million copies since 2006.
Alice Roberts became President of Humanists UK in January 2019. She is an evolutionary biologist, anatomist, paleopathologist, and osteoarchaeologist of considerable acclaim, as well as Professor of Public Understanding of Science at the University of Birmingham, a broadcaster, and the author of best-selling books such as The Celts and The Incredible Unlikeliness of Being.
Previous Darwin Day lecturers include Dr Diana S. Fleischman, Professor Maggie Smith, Professor Jerry Coyne, Dr Eugenie Scott, Professor Alice Roberts, Professor Sir David King, Dr Adam Rutherford, and Dr Susan Blackmore.