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Be among the first to secure tickets to all three of Humanists UK’s 2020 London lectures, at the best price available.

Full details on each lecture, and the option to purchase tickets for each lecture individually, can be found at the bottom of this page.

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What’s included

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The Darwin Day Lecture 2020
12 February 2020
19:30
Troxy

Evolution or extinction: will humanity survive the 21st century?
Chris Packham CBE
Chaired by Professor Alice Roberts

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The Rosalind Franklin Lecture 2020
5 March 2020
19:30
Venue TBC

Made in Man’s image:
how God’s body haunts us today

Professor Francesca Stavrakopoulou
Chaired by Samira Ahmed

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The Voltaire Lecture 2020
6 May 2020
19:30
Venue TBC

This is going to hurt
Dr Adam Kay
Chaired by Professor Alice Roberts

The Darwin Day Lecture 2020

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Evolution or extinction: will humanity survive the 21st century?

When Charles Darwin wrote of the ‘survival of the fittest’, he wanted to convey that idea that evolution was driven by the survival of organisms most suited to their environments and therefore more likely to survive and pass on their genetic information. With scientific, medical, and economic advances, selective pressures leading to human death have been substantially reduced, and it has been argued that cultural evolution is now the predominant way in which humanity is changing.

Today the threat to human life and civlisation from a human-made climate disaster means that the Doomsday Clock, originally created to viscerally represent our proximity to a nuclear holocaust, now stands at two minutes to midnight. In the 2010s, atmospheric carbon dioxide increased at a faster rate than at any point in human history, and the effects are increasingly apparent all around us. With some scientists even predicting that the Earth’s fragile climate may have already passed the point of no return, the question remains: does our species face extinction?

In response to the evidence of climate change all around us, many legislatures around the world have declared a ‘climate crisis’, and have set out plans to ‘decarbonise the economy’. But will it be enough? Can our culture evolve fast enough to deal with the climate crisis, or do we risk our own extinction?

About Chris Packham

Chris Packham CBE has gained recognition as a naturalist, television presenter, writer, photographer, conservationist, campaigner and filmmaker. He will be immediately recognisable as the presenter of the BBC’s BAFTA-winning Springwatch, Autumnwatch, and Winterwatch series. He is a passionate speaker on climate change, and was awarded a CBE in May 2019 for his services to nature and conservation.

About the Darwin Day Lecture series

The Darwin Day Lecture explores humanism and humanist thought as related to science and evolution, Charles Darwin, or his works. The Darwin Day medallist has made a significant contribution in one of these fields.

The lecture and medal are named and held to mark the annual global celebration of the birth of Charles Darwin, held every 12 February.

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Photo credit: Garry Knight, licensed under CC BY 2.0.

The Rosalind Franklin Lecture 2020

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Made in Man’s image:
how God’s body haunts us today

Even in a post-Christian society, the spectre of God still haunts us. Whether we like it or not, the Bible’s account of this ancient deity has shaped our cultural ideas about the very fleshiness of our own human existence and experience – from sex and gender to power and personhood. To mark International Women’s Day, this lecture will strip God bare, and reveal how the Bible’s explicitly male, masculine deity built the foundations of the cultural cage in which women still find themselves today – and even suggest that a more informed understanding of the Bible’s God can help us to challenge some of those who would keep us there.

About Professor Francesca Stavrakopoulou

Francesca Stavrakopoulou is a broadcaster and Professor of Hebrew Bible and Ancient Religion. She is interested in biblical traditions and religious practices most at odds with Western cultural values. Francesca presented a three-part BBC documentary series about the Bible and archaeology, The Bible’s Buried Secrets, in March 2011. She also appears regularly on the BBC’s The Big Questions and Sunday Morning Live. Her first non-academic book God: an anatomy will be published in April 2020.

About the Rosalind Franklin Lecture series

Marking International Women’s Day, the Rosalind Franklin Lecture explores and celebrates the contribution of women towards the promotion and advancement of aspects of humanism in the UK and around the world. The Rosalind Franklin medallist has made a significant contribution in one of these fields.

The lecture and medal are named for Rosalind Franklin, humanist and scientist, whose contribution to science for many years went unacknowledged on account of her sex but who is today rightly celebrated.

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The Voltaire Lecture 2020

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This is going to hurt

In the Voltaire Lecture 2020, Adam Kay will provide a no-holds-barred account of his time on the NHS front line, of 97-hour weeks, life and death decisions, a constant tsunami of bodily fluids, and of waving goodbye to friends and relationships. He will lift the lid on one of the UK’s most-cherished institutions, founded by humanist Nye Bevan, and offer a glimpse into the motivations and experiences of NHS doctors, nurses, and staff, despite the immense personal and emotional strain it can bring.

About Dr Adam Kay

Adam Kay is an award-winning comedian and writer for TV and film. He previously worked for many years as a junior doctor. His book This Is Going to Hurt was a Sunday Times number one bestseller for over a year, breaking all records, and has sold over 1.5 million copies. It has been translated into 36 languages and is the winner of four National Book Awards, including Book of the Year.

About the Voltaire Lecture series

The Voltaire Lecture explores ‘any aspect of scientific or philosophical thought or human activity as affected by or with particular reference to humanism’. The Voltaire medallist has made a significant contribution in one of these fields.

The lecture and medal are named for the philosopher Voltaire and The Voltaire Lectures Fund was originally established by the legacy of Theodore Besterman, biographer of Voltaire.

Previous Voltaire Lectures on a medical theme have included Henry Marsh’s 2018 lecture,’Do No Harm’.

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Event policies

Cancellations

Bookings may be cancelled free of charge up to 7 days prior to the start date of the Darwin Day Lecture 2020 (by 5 February 2019, inclusive). Bookings cancelled on or after 6 February 2020 will not be refunded, but may, at the discretion of Humanists UK and with no less than 3 days’ notice (by 9 February, inclusive), be transferred to another eligible individual. Any refunds for ticket cancellations will be processed within two weeks.

Speakers

All appearances are subject to speakers’ work and other commitments.

Photography, video, and audio recording

Humanists UK reserves the right to photograph and record video and audio of all public sections of the events and to make public the footage as it sees appropriate. Please be aware that by attending any of the above lectures, you consent to your voice, name, and/or likeness being used, without compensation, in any and all media, whether now known or hereafter devised, in perpetuity, and you release Humanists UK, its successors, assigns, and licensees from any liability whatsoever of any nature. If you would like to ensure that you are not captured in any media, please contact events@humanism.org.uk and we will do our best to accommodate you.


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