CTHULU hosts speaker Dan Barker

By Megan Corum

Critical Thinkers, Humanists, and Unbelievers at Lawrence University (CTHULU) hosted Dan Barker, co-president of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, in honor of Darwin Day on Feb. 12.

Barker’s talk, entitled “Life Driven Purpose: How Evolution Gives Meaning,” tied together Darwin’s theory of evolution with Barker’s upcoming book, “Life Driven Purpose: How an Atheist Finds Meaning.” Barker was a former minister and renounced his faith in 1984.

Barker began his talk by saying “I didn’t actually know Charles Darwin personally.” He continued on to discuss how during Darwin’s voyage on the H.M.S. Beagle, Darwin “took notes and watched without any preconceptions” in order to develop his theories.

“Religious people and nonreligious people—we’re all looking at the same world,” Barker said.

About the atheist movement, he said “it’s kind of like the gay movement; once you know someone in the community, you become more accepting of the gay lifestyle.”

“I think we non-believers are truly inspired while believers are out-spired, as in they’re inspired from the outside,” he said.

He went on to discuss the mentality of humans by saying “a lot of human beings—we don’t want someone up above telling us what to do … the religious mentality is much like a toddler mentality: ‘hold my hand; I don’t know what to do.’”

“The good news that atheists offer the world is that there is no purpose of life,” Barker said. “To say there’s no purpose of life does not mean there’s no purpose in life—there’s immense purpose in life.”

“If you want life driven purpose, find a problem to solve,” he said.