Talks and Retreats for MEN'S GROUPS
MICHAEL DOWD has been called "America's evolutionary evangelist". He and his wife, science writer Connie Barlow, have lived entirely on the road in North America since April 2002, teaching and preaching ways in which an understanding of the evolutionary sciences can help us lead deeply meaningful lives. He is the author of the acclaimed Thank God for Evolution (2008, Viking). The book's chapters on evolutionary brain science and evolutionary psychology provide the foundation for his new program offerings expressly for MEN.
Michael's book is endorsed by 6 NOBEL LAUREATES, other scientists, and religious leaders across the spectrum
Visit the Thank God for Evolution website for
samples of audio and video clips from Rev. Dowd's media interviews and live presentations
links to NEWS REPORTS of the book and Dowd's ministry, including articles published in New York Times Magazine and Washington Post.
Rev. Dowd's BLOG: "The Evolutionary Evangelist"
link for purchasing the book
"Michael, I loved your book. Excellent. Really powerful stuff. We're fortunate to have you on our side (the "our" being humanity). Your discussion of evolutionary integrity was especially meaningful to me."
Michael Shermer, author of Why Darwin Matters and The Science of Good and Evil
"Michael Dowd is a pioneering voice for a deep spirituality that both celebrates the wisdom of science and is juicy with love, intimacy, and aliveness. With intelligence, enthusiasm, and humor he welcomes us to participate in the unfolding discovery of our own spirituality within the sacred revelation that is our evolving universe."
Duane Elgin, author of Promise Ahead and Voluntary Simplicity
"I've Never Told Anyone"
extract from Dowd's book
More and more I feature evolutionary brain science and evolutionary psychology
in my public presentations. Why? Because the telling of our brain's
creation story evokes deeply spiritual and lifegiving responses. For example,
at a church in Louisiana a woman rose and told the gathering: "I am
studying neuroscience, and the more I learn about how the human brain
evolved, the more compassion I have for myself and others. Isn't it amazing,
and neither ironic that science leads to this religious virtue."
Elsewhere in the South, an older man took me aside after a church service.
I had illustrated the brain science segment of my sermon that morning
by describing how a rise in status will boost baseline testosterone levels
in humans and other primates. I explained that this kind of hormonal
response had, in fact, served our ancestors but we live in a very different
world. In our world there is language, there are social strictures, and there
are spoken commitments, including "till death do us part."
"If we are ignorant of the science," I proposed, "if we deny our evolutionary
heritage, then promotion at work or election to public office will catch us by
surprise and possibly wreak havoc in our marriages and other relationships."
As it turns out, such had indeed been the case for the gentleman who
pulled me aside after church. "I've never told anyone this before," he
began. "Many years ago, when I was working for a large corporation, I got
a big promotion. Immediately, my life began to fall apart. I couldn't understand
it. Within a year, I had multiple affairs and my marriage was in ruins.
It cost me my job, too." He grasped my hand and said, "Thank you for helping
me understand how this could have happened."
That's not the end of the story. The man was able to forgive himself. With
shame lifted, he set about making amends to those he had harmed long ago.
A month later I learned that his long-standing depression was not the only
thing that had lifted, and that he and his beloved were reaping the benefits.
1. DEEP INTEGRITY FOR MEN
Unleashing Your Evolutionary Potential
Theme for keynote address or multi-day retreat for
The new sciences of Evolutionary Psychology and Evolutionary Neurobiology teach us an astonishing fact. We have instincts that vitally served the survival and reproductive needs of our ancient ancestors but which are profoundly mismatched with living an honorable and fulfilling life in today's world.
Until we take an honest look at these basic drives (especially the sex drive and the tendency to take risks both of which escalate in tandem with the hormone testosterone), boys and men from puberty onward will be woefully unprepared to withstand the variety of temptations that come our way. Ponder these questions:
(1) What was there to be addicted to 10,000 years ago?
Now consider our present culture. For us, a plethora of highly addictive substances are either legal or easy to acquire. Gambling is no longer something one does occasionally as a form of male bonding (and with little to lose); gambling is now something one can do compulsively, in isolation, and to desperate ends. Masturbation no longer depends on imagination alone; we are bombarded with entreaties to view porn and purchase pharmacological assistance to get it up and keep it up virtually every time we open our in-box.
(2) Before humans acquired the ability to communicate using symbolic language, could anyone have made commitments to sexual monogamy?
(3) When our umpteenth great-great grandfathers (as young men) saw a naked woman gazing at them with sexual desire, do you think evolution prepped them to look the other way?
In this lively and life-changing program, drawing on chapters 9-12 of his book, MICHAEL DOWD helps men face up to the struggles inherent in today's world, opens possibilities for thriving relationships, and proposes how an appreciation of our evolutionary ancestry and commitment to integrity, with the support of others, can assist all of us in living life fully and loving the life we live.
ILLUSTRATIONS above right:
Our human brain contains the foundations of vertebrate brain evolution. The most ancient components of our brain (green) are the brain stem and cerebellum, which scientists call our reptilian brain and I like to call our LIZARD LEGACY. This part of our brain is the basic life force; it is concerned with safety, sustenance, and sex.
Evolution next provided our ancestors with our paleo-mammalian brain (our FURRY LI'L MAMMAL, in gray), which is the seat of basic emotions and the drives for bonded relationships and high social status.
Next came the neo-mammalian brain (brown; our MONKEY MIND), which comprises our neocortex and is the source of our rational abilities. Our rational mind evolved not as an end in itself but primarily to help the lower drives more effectively get what they want.
Finally, the most advanced part of our brain (in turquoise, our HIGHER PORPOISE) gives us the ability to override the lower drives in service of higher commitments, or higher purpose.
2. "EVOLUTION AND THE GLOBAL INTEGRITY CRISIS"
From crumbling economies to collapsing ecosystems, humanity is experiencing an unprecedented global integrity crisis. In a richly illustrated presentation, Michael Dowd sheds light on a wide range of personal, social, political, and economic issues through the prism of global integrity: humanity in right relationship at all levels, from the personal to the planetary. The evolutionary sciences teach us that throughout life's history, a vital trend is chaos catalyzing cooperation in ever-larger systems of interdependence. Dowd proposes that only an evolutionary worldview can help us co-create a just and thriving future at this new, planetary level of interdependence. The talk is based on his landmark book, Thank God for Evolution, which has been endorsed by 56Nobel Prize-winning scientists and religious leaders across the spectrum.
♦ Rev. Dowd and his wife, science writer Connie Barlow, have been called "America's evolutionary evangelists." Since April 2002 they have lived entirely on the road, visiting churches, schools, and spiritual centers across the USA.
♦ DVDs of Michael's performances
♦ PUBLICITY PHOTOS
♦ MICHAEL'S ITINERARY