EXCERPT: "We now know that evolutionary and ecological processes are at the root of life and human culture. To disregard, to dishonor, these processes through our own determined ignorance and cultural/religious self-focus is an evil that will bring untold suffering to countless generations of our own kind and all our relations. We must denounce such a legacy. Ours is thus a call to action a call to sacred activism." (posted November 2014) The 5 episodes are:
The video of Connie's live presentation in Durango Colorado (see below) is the core of this hour-long episode. Her prop: a necklace of "Great Story Beads" that she had assembled 12 years earlier, and which entailed beads chosen to represent key passages in the 13.8 billion year "epic of evolution" that are meaningful to Connie. (posted June 2014) (posted March and April 2014)
In 2013 leaders in the freethought tradition (Dale McGowan) and evolutionary humanism (Connie Barlow) independently presented talks on how each tradition counsels parents and liberal religious educators to assist children in developing their worldviews. Each VIDEO is under an hour. The video pair is ideal for a 2 or 3 session discussion program for parents and religious educators determining how best to engage children in their charge.
(posted July 2013)
Watch Karen Kudebeh present in 14-minutes the trajectory of cosmic, geological, biological, and cultural evolution, using her 2D and 3D Time Spirals, which have enraptured all ages with their pattern, colors, and superb attention to the key events discovered by mainstream science. Truly, "a bird's eye view of Big History."
(posted June 2013)
Michael Dowd and Connie Barlow explore how an understanding of our brain's evolutionary heritage can help us thrive despite "mismatched instincts" tempted by "supernormal stimuli". Watch 5-minute previews of each of the 6 sections:
Michael Dowd contributed the lead essay to the "Evidence" issue (Fall 2014) of Oneing Magazine. Access here the pdf.
Loyal Rue, Professor Emeritus of Religion and Philosophy at Luther College (Decorah, Iowa) wrote 5 books on religious naturalism and the epic of evolution. Over the course of 2 days, Connie Barlow and Michael Dowd filmed an interview/conversation with him at his cabin in Iowa. The first 3 episodes were published on youtube August 2014. October, November, December 2014 we are publishing in AUDIO format each of these three interviews via our Inspiring Naturalism Podcast series. Choose audio or video below. (posted autumn 2014)
Episode 6 of Connie Barlow's "Climate, Trees, and Legacy" videoblog series is now available on youtube. The focus is the 100th anniversary of the extinction of the Passenger Pigeon and what it now means for large-seeded forest trees of the eastern USA who now lack a long-distance seed dispersal during this time of rapid climate change. All six episodes can be accessed through a webpage that summarizes the content of each. (posted November 2014)
In an 8-minute 2014 religion and climate audio interview via the college radio station at Western Michigan University, Michael Dowd speaks boldly of human-caused climate change as "the great reckoning." (posted September 2014)
Michael Dowd's guest sermon in September 2014 at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Indianapolis IN, is now Episode 49 of our America's Evolutionary Evangelist podcast series (posted September 2014)
"Why are so many good people engaging in great evil?" is the question Rev. Michael Dowd poses at the outset of his keynote speech at the Climate Action rally held in Davenport, Iowa, 24 August 2014. Dowd suggested that good people do great evil when their religious guidance is frozen in time no longer helping them live "in right relationship to reality." "Evidence is how God is communicating today; facts are God's native tongue!" urged Dowd. (posted August 2014)
Loyal Rue, Professor Emeritus of Religion and Philosophy at Luther College (Decorah, Iowa) wrote 5 books on religious naturalism and the epic of evolution over the course of his career. Over the course of 2 days, Connie Barlow and Michael Dowd filmed an interview/conversation with him at his cabin in Iowa. The first 3 episodes were published on youtube August 2014.
Michael Dowd's guest sermon in June 2014 at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Durango, Colorado, is now Episode 48 of our America's Evolutionary Evangelist podcast series (posted August 2014)
July 2014 Michael launched the beta (draft) version of a free, online videblog series designed for both secular and religious educational settings.
1. The Big Picture (35 min)
2. Sacred Science (35 min)
3. Reality Rueles (43 min)
4. Sin and Death (30 min)
5. Evidential Prophets (49 min)
Episode 5 of Connie Barlow's "Climate, Trees, and Legacy" videoblog series is now available on youtube. Ten conifers native to Colorado are the focus, and Connie uses US Forest Service maps of species range projections as climate shifts.
Colorado's Durango Herald posted a feature story on Connie Barlow's June 24 talk, "Rocky Mountain Trees in Climate Peril." The talk was hosted by the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Durango. The report begins:
At Durango's Unitarian Universalist Fellowship on Tuesday, evolutionary biologist Connie Barlow began her talk about climate change's effect on wild trees in Colorado by telling the crowd: "This is the next step in sadness." Judging by the 40-strong crowd's reaction to her slides, which included sharp intakes of breath, mournful sighing and head shaking, Barlow made good on her promise to devastate the room.
"Reality Reconciles Science and Religion" was the title of Dowd's TEDx presentation in May 2014, posted on youtube in June. Description:
What we call "Reality" the ancients called "God." This insight, according to Michael Dowd, bridges the science and religion divide and clarifies our way into the future. This talk highlights six surprising points of agreement where millions of religious as well as secular people find inspiration.
This is the fourth episode in Connie's 2014 videoblog series promoting climate action by focusing on the dire need of forest trees to gain our assistance in moving north in this time of rapid climate change. (posted June 2014)
"This Is Our Story, Too!" was the theme that guest storyteller, Connie Barlow, performed for the Mother's Day 2014 Sunday Service at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Santa Fe.
Watch 4 excerpts: (1) "What We Call Reality, the Ancients Called God" 25 min., (2) "God's Evidential Word" 3 min., (3) "Called to Greatness" 10 min., (4) "The Triple Idolatries" 5 min. (posted May 2014)
Rev. Michael Dowd speaks to the marchers and local supporters in Albuquerque, New Mexico. 10 May 2014, about "systemic evil" as the root cause of our deteriorating climate. The Great March for Climate Action - 3000 miles from Los Angeles to Washington D.C. March 1, 2014 to November 1, 2014. (posted May 2014)
A 45-minute talk that Connie delivered in Prescott, Arizona, is the single best place to begin learning how rapid climate change is endangering even common trees of American forests and why our descendants will need to step in and help those trees disperse seeds farther north than birds and mammals can transport them. (posted May 2014)
This 21-minute guest sermon was delivered at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Gallup, New Mexico, on 4 May 2014. Here Dowd presents the key points that he will deliver in TEDx Grand Rapids later that week. (posted May 2014)
Michael Dowd spoke to the Sedona Integral Group on April 25, 2014. In this 9-minute excerpt, Dowd offers six points of agreement on which religious and secular people alike can agree and through which we all might join together to work toward a healthy future. (posted April 2014)
This 23-minute guest sermon was delivered at Granite Peak Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Prescott, Arizona, on 13 April 2014. Dowd offers that "all gods and goddesses can be understood in either a fictional or a factual way." Other memes include thinking of the human as the "Prodigal Species": "We have squandered our inheritance, and now we must come home to Reality." He advises secular folk to "Make your legacy your primary concern." For Christians he advises, "Make your legacy your Lord." Audio podcast version is also available. (posted April 2014)
Rev. Michael Dowd speaks to the marchers and local supporters in Phoenix, Arizona, about how "The Future Is Calling Us to Greatness." 7 April 2014. The Great March for Climate Action - 3000 miles from Los Angeles to Washington D.C. March 1, 2014 to November 1, 2014. (posted April 2014)
Rev. Michael Dowd delivered a short homily at Guardian Angels Catholic Community in Tempe, Arizona (March 2014). In this two-minute video excerpt Dowd encourages clergy in all faith traditions to "subscribe to Science News" and to occasionally preach "what God is revealing through science." Dowd closes with, what he calls, "my favorite piece of scripture." Carl Sagan: "Science is at least in part informed worship." (posted April 2014)
Rev. Michael Dowd delivered a short homily at Guardian Angels Catholic Community in Tempe, Arizona (March 2014). This one-minute video excerpt presents the core of his message, which is on the theme of "The Future Is Calling Us to Greatness." (posted April 2014)
In this teaching series of 2014, Connie Barlow posted episodes 2 and 3, based on trees encountered and researched in California and Arizona: "2. Lessons of Torrey Pine" and "3. Lessons of Joshua Tree"
In March 2014, the top organization of scientists, American Association for the Advancement of Science united in voice to publish a rare report on the role of RISK in climate change, and thus the need for urgent action. We link to that report, "What We Know about Climate Change", on our own CLIMATE VIDEO LINKS page, as we highly recommend the 8 short videos that accompany it. (posted March 2014)
February 2014, Michael Dowd delivered a new presentation to nurture "legacy consciousness" and to motivate action in joyful service of the future. He spoke at the Seaside Center for Spiritual Living in Encinitas, California. This was his inaugural presentation in collaboration with The Great March for Climate Action. You will hear embedded audios of three short videos that Michael played for the audience: (1) a TEDx climate talk by David Roberts, (2) a statement on the "intergenerational injustice" if we fail to act on climate change by climate scientist James Hansen, and (3) a recitation by poet Drew Dellinger. (posted March 2014)
"The Future Is Calling Us to Greatness" is this 7-minute children's story, told by Connie Barlow at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Monmouth County, New Jersey, October 2013. Connie improvised a story to accompany a guest sermon by Michael Dowd (same title), and used these props: her necklace of Great Story Beads, Michael's long strand of Great Story Beads, the "Earth from Space" stained glass window in the sanctuary, a pair of Hubble Space photos she has on poster board, and the children themselves. (posted February 2014)
42-minute VIDEOBLOG launching Connie's new learning and action series for helping trees adapt to climate change species by species, decade by decade. Citizen naturalists are invited to "Leaf a Legacy" to research a favorite native tree species and begin to work with others to keep up with the northward movement of forest zones by planting (and then monitoring) wild seeds of common species onto private forested lands well north of where those seeds were collected. Note: The audio soundtrack of this video was also posted as Episode 44 of our podcast series: "America's Evolutionary Evangelists." (posted January 2014)
Rev. Michael Dowd always delivers guest sermons extemporaneously. To prepare for his new sermon theme of 2014 (he is scheduled to present at churches along the route of the Great March for Climate Action), Dowd prepared a text version from which shorter talks will be drawn. (posted January 2014)
Episode 9 of Michael Dowd's Evolving Faith Podcast is a 50-minute interview with the pastor of a progressive Christian church in Springfield, Missouri. Topics include post-supernatural faith, the importance of compassion in action, conservative religious backlash, the future of church, and the importance of online communities, including posting audios and videos of sermons. (posted December 2013) Celia Hunter was a major mentor to Connie Barlow. Since Celia's death in December 2001, Connie has been placing a pinch of Celia's ashes in wilderness and other natural areas in the USA, as Celia was executive director of the Wilderness Society in the years leading up to the 1980 designation of many national parks and monuments in Alaska. (posted December 2013)
In a richly illustrated photo-essay, Connie Barlow reports on her serendipitous time travel "back to the Ediacaran", when she came upon a little pool in Alabama with hand-size blobs of torus-shaped green jelly masses. (posted December 2013)
The "Ancestors Meditation" link above will take you to this website's main, annotated list of Experiential Processes. Scroll down to number 4B and that will give you a direct link to the Humanistic Paganism website that Jon Cleland-Host posted his guided meditation on, which begins with our modern human ancestors and works back through the joys and trials of our furred and even fishy forebears. Highly recommended! (posted December 2013)
Chris Henderson is one of Canada's foremost thinkers on innovation in the areas of business, cleantech, renewable energy, and corporate sustainability. His 2013 book, Aboriginal Power: Clean Energy and the Future of Canada's First Peoples. This is the 18th episode in their Inspiring Naturalism Podcast series. Note: An October 2013 Video of Chris presenting "Aboriginal Power" to a business group in Toronto is also superb. (posted December 2013)
75-minute VIDEOBLOG by Connie Barlow summarizing her climate action volunteerism in founding and leading Torreya Guardians, which in 2005 began moving Florida's endangered conifer tree into North Carolina and even farther north. (posted November 2013)
September 2013, Michael Dowd and Connie Barlow posted a new audio podcast of their conversation about Michael's newest ideas on this theme. The 6 core points in this 51-minute audio are: (1) Reality is our God; (2) Evidence is our scripture; (3) Big History is our creation story; (4) Ecology is our theology; (5) Integrity is our religion; and (6) Ensuring a healthy future is our mission. (posted September 2013)
June 2013, Connie Barlow presented a guest sermon at Harbor Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Muskegon, Michigan. Her talk centered on 4 realms of profound mismatch between our instincts and the allurements within modern societies today: processed foods, feel-good substances (leading to addictions), connectivity compulsion, and elders suffering a prolonged death owing to advanced medical technologies. (posted August 2013)
In 1986 comedian Charlie Varon performed live a 14-minute show, "The Evolution Revival Meeting". It is out-of-print, but Michael Dowd had an audio cassette, which Connie Barlow digitized, excerpted, and then added graphics to produce a playful and richly illustrated video posted on YouTube. This video is a stitch! (posted July 2013)
Connie Barlow presented this topic in April 2013 to the South Points Association for Exploring Religion (SPAFER) in Birmingham, Alabama. The film is edited to 58 minutes and supplemented with illustrations and stories of 5 kinds of evolutionary curricula posted on this site: (1) evolutionary parables, (2) We Are Stardust, (3) Great Story Beads, (4) My Universe Story, and (5) We Are All Cousins. (posted June 2013) Filmed by Connie Barlow in 2004 at Sister Mary Southard's studio near Chicago, this video is a richly illustrated introduction to the paintings and drawings created over the course of two decades by the artist whose work so movingly visualizes the Universe Story and the human role within it, as articulated by Thomas Berry and Brian Swimme. (posted June 2013) Connie Barlow volunteers some of her time to climate activism by doing what she does best: reporting on the science and creating videos. In this new 42-minute Youtube video, Connie leads viewers through an enhanced understanding of polar ice melt, a changing jet stream, and new discoveries in paleoclimates by excerpting the richly illustrated and powerful 2013 videos by four women in climate science: Jennifer Francis, Julie Brigham-Grette, Natalia Rybczynski, and Lisa Graumlich. Dowd embeds this video in his HuffPo blog here. (posted May 2013) Episode 17 of "Inspiring Naturalism" podcast series features moral psychologist Jonathan Haidt in conversation with Connie Barlow and Michael Dowd about his new book, The Righteous Mind. (posted May 2013) Rev. Marlin Lavanhar of All Souls Unitarian Church in Tulsa preached a sermon the Sunday after Easter 2013, in which he offered "an evolutionary understanding of Easter." Beginning with an understanding of how the death of stars (we are made of stardust) makes life possible, he goes on to apply this wisdom to the practical challenges of life and the spiritual challenges of our own mortality. We have embedded this powerful sermon in our own death programs page. (posted May 2013) Soon after we launched our itinerant evolutionary ministry in 2002, Connie began taking notes of some of the "best practices" she observed during Sunday services in the Unitarian Universalist congregations we presented guest sermons in. Then she posted them online and has been updating that page ever since. Worship committees and ministers at UU congregations are encouraged to visit that ever-updated page. (posted May 2013) Dowd and Barlow visited Thomas Berry in April 2007 and took several photos of the 3 of us together. Connie just discovered that she could crop two photos into superb portraits of just Thomas (two years before his death). We've added the hi-res versions of these photos to the webpage we have devoted to photos, videos, and audios of Thomas. (posted May 2013) Dowd and Barlow cover article in the Spring 2013 issue of SpiritEarth magazine is a one-page manifesto of how the teachings of Thomas Berry are ever more urgent.
(posted April 2013)
Episode 8 of Michael Dowd's Evolving Faith Podcast is a 43-minute interview with Catholic theologian and author John Haught. Here Dowd and Haught probe where they agree and disagree on their own preferences for "evolutionary Christianity." Haught describes his enthusiasm for a "third way" neither naturalism nor supernaturalism grounded in the work of Paul Tillich. (posted April 2013) Episode 16 of Dowd and Barlow's Inspiring Naturalism Podcast is a 46-minute interview with story entrepreneur and author Jonah Sachs. The topic is his 2012 book, Winning the Story Wars: Why Those Who Tell (and Live) the Best Stories Will Rule the Future. Jonah weds the meaningful story-making patterns identified by Joseph Campbell with his own speciality in digital animation. The result is, what Jonah calls, "the Digitoral Era." (posted March 2013) February 10, 2013 at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Santa Fe, New Mexico, Michael preached a guest sermon, now in video in edited form. His opening line: "Ecology is the new theology; big history is the new Genesis. Those who fail to understand that evidence is modern-day scripture, and that the world we live in is an honorable world, betray God and humanity in the most egregious of ways." Dowd calls fellow baby boomers to attend to their legacy re: climate change and the enormous costs of medicalized death. Also available in audio format and the title of one of Michael's blogs in the Huffington Post. (posted February 2013) Now that Connie and Michael have become vocal advocates for systemic responses to climate change, they have been donating their services where possible. Since Connie loves to make videos, she excerpted/edited a fine educational video (but far too long, at 112 minutes) of a top climatologist, Jennifer Francis, presenting at the 2013 "Weather and Climate Summit". Note: Prof. Francis told Connie that she was grateful for this 40-minute version. (posted February 2013) After six years of testing and revising in actual classrooms, Connie Barlow has now made her evolutionary journey curriculum freely available for quick and easy download. She was forced to make major revisions in 2013, owing to new fossil discoveries and dating. This gave her a chance to update the digital downloads and instructions to make it easier for teachers to use. Highly recommended for 3 to 5 day programs in evolution-celebrating church summer camps.(posted February 2013) Marge Gonzalez, religious educator at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Ft. Myers, has been using Connie's free downloadable "My Universe Story" curriculum for this school year. The photo at left is one child's creation during a crafts project recommended for Bead No. 2 - "Galaxies Form". Alas, owing to a lack of funding, Connie has finished only half of the 30-week curriculum. Marge will, thus, be creating her own stories and crafts for the remaining 15 weeks. (posted February 2013) Perhaps the most substantively rich and accurate news article on Michael's newest material is now available online. Ad Craber, a journalist with the local paper in Lancaster PA, did the story on Michael's invited lecture at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Lancaster PA in late January. (posted February 2013) Michael Dowd served as "Theologian in Residence" for First United Methodist Church of Boulder (Colorado) for the month of January. He gave many presentations in the area (including at Colorado School of Mines and University of Colorado). His sermon at the Methodist church can be listened to online: "God Is Back! (Prophets Too): Evidence As Modern-Day Scripture". There is also an online audio for a similar sermon he delivered in January at Wellshire Presbyterian Church in Denver. Both sermons included a call-to-action re climate change. Pictured at left, Dowd is standing before a global warming exhibit at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder. (posted January 2013) Connie Barlow continues to update TheGreatStory.org's new Climate Change Resources page. In addition to climate-specific blogs, news reports, and indexes, our page embeds more than a dozen climate-change videos. Videos are the most user-friendly, emotionally evocative, and thus most successful way to help others "wake up" to the profound intergenerational injustice that will ensue if the USA continues to ignore the need to evolve our ways of obtaining and using energy sources. (posted January 2013) Rev. Michael Dowd delivered an entirely new sermon on January 6 at the two Sunday morning services at Jefferson Unitarian Church in Golden, CO. Dowd presents "God" (Reality personified) as rebuking scriptural literalists for stalling collective action in response to climate change by engaging in denial or distortion of facts. Note: An online version is also available in audio. See the 2-minute excerpt, "Michael Dowd challenges baby boomers to leave a great legacy re climate change and death," now on Youtube. (posted January 2013) Connie Barlow leads an impromptu performance of a parable she wrote to celebrate the creation of chemical elements inside stars. You will see that she recruits 3 audience volunteers to play the roles of: Startull, Elder Yellow Star, and Big Blue Star. She, herself, serves as narrator. Performance recorded Sept 2012 in Missoula, MT. (posted December 2012) Jon and Heather Cleland-Host are two of the most imaginative and prolific creators of ways to bring inspiring "cosmic education" and scientifically accurate rituals celebrating the epic of evolution for families. After years of testing out birthday materials on their own 4 boys, these two scientists have made available for online purchase their "Elemental Birthdays" Guide (thus far, for birthday years 1 through 11). Each birthday year is named for the chemical element (atomic number; number of protons in the nucleus) that corresponds to that year. For example, kids turning 6 get to celebrate their Carbon Birthday. Those turning 8 celebrate their Oxygen Birthday. What playful, and life-long meaningful birthday parties! (posted December 2012) This video was created to be the single best quickie overview of the problem (and solutions) to climate change / global-warming. In 2012 the speed and magnitude of human-caused climate disturbance became undeniable, making this the fundamental moral issue of our time. This 49-minute program includes video excerpts from talks by the world's most respected climate scientist, NASA's Dr. James Hansen, and by two powerful advocates for systemic change: Bill McKibben and David Roberts. (posted December 2012; also posted on Michael's Huffington Post blog.) Excerpt: "Here lies an extraordinary opportunity for theologically progressive institutions to do what the fundamentalist churches cannot. Liberal churches can offer the youngers an evolutionary worldview that delights children in their wonder years, offers immensely practical insights and guidance for those going through puberty (by teaching them about "mismatched instincts" and "supernormal stimuli"), and empowers teens to ponder the meaning of life and their life as they edge toward adulthood." AUDIO format also available. See also Harold Wood's "Evolution Sunday" 2013 sermon, at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Visalia, which quotes extensively from this essay and from Cathy Russell's superb Epic of Evolution website. (posted December 2012) For Episode 37 of "America's Evolutionary Evangelists" podcast series, Michael Dowd is interviewed for Blog Talk Radio by Richard Brendan. Topics of this 50-minute program include: the evolutionary value of religions, how all religions necessarily are evolving, the "evidential wisdom" of science (science as humanity's "global collective intelligence"), science as "public revelation," and the distinction between "practical truth" (carried forward by all long-standing religions) and "factual truth" (the unique contribution of science). (posted December 2012)
Peter Adair follows up his acclaimed 2012 "Earth Story Calendar" with a 2013 version. This one is titled "The Great Journey" and you can sample online to preview the entire calendar, or go directly for purchasing. Here is a sample of the luscious narrative that weaves through the months:
"Beginning thirteen billion years ago, ushered by transparent fields of beneficence, immense clouds of hydrogen collect and condense along seams of the fabric of the universe, forming the hundreds of billions of galaxies that paint the heavens. The fields of beneficence comprise the songlines of the universe."
(posted November 2012)
The two newest timelines added to our hotlinked list of 16 different evolutionary timelines are among the most scientifically sophisticated and digitally accessible. We highly recommend you explore both the Chronozoom Timeline and the 100-events Stone-Age Institute Timeline. (posted November 2012) The most recent blog Barlow and Dowd posted on the Metanexus site points to very helpful scientific resources on understanding emergence. Prior posts include Big History Educational Resources, several posts on death and other topics. Access the index to all their Metanexus posts. (posted November 2012) Connie Barlow delivered this sermon at Cadboro Bay United Church, Victoria BC. (posted October 2012) After half a dozen years testing out the original script for this evolutionary parable (on audiences throughout the USA), author Connie Barlow has made substantial improvements, including more audience participation. Both adults and upper elementary children can perform this story (with no advance preparation or rehearsal!) about the creation of chemical elements inside dying stars. (posted August 2012) Connie Barlow, Michael Dowd, and many other long-time collaborators in the Epic of Evolution movement (including Cathy Russell and Jon Cleland-Host in the photo at left) participated in the inaugural conference of the newly formed International Big History Association. Click on the link above to peruse this colorful photo-essay/collage. (posted August 2012) Michael Dowd delivered this sermon at First Unitarian Church of Rochester, NY. (posted July 2012) "Why We Struggle Now" is the title of Dowd's 18-minute TEDx Talk, performed in Grand Rapids, Michigan, April 2012. Superbly filmed! The best short introduction to Michael's take on the practical importance of an evolutionary worldview. (posted June 2012) Tagline of this superb multi-media website is "Anything and everything from an evolutionary perspective." Among the expert editors supervising the growth of this website full of evolutionary resources is biologist David Sloan Wilson, author of Evolution for Everyone. (posted June 2012) Barlow and Dowd converse with Alison Gopnik about her research toward understanding how young children acquire their picture of the world especially the ways in which they seem to develop, test, and amend hypotheses not unlike the methods of scientists. What sparked the interviewers' interest, however, was a widely read essay she published in a January 2012 edition of the Wall Street Journal, titled "What's Wrong with the Teenage Mind". There she offers both an evolutionary understanding of why making the transition from childhood to adulthood is so prolonged and problematic today and what can be done to improve the situation. (posted May 2012) 48-minute video now on YouTube of Thomas Berry (1914-2009) reciting nine of his poems to an enthusiastic audience. This was one of the last videos filmed of Thomas in public performance. Videography by Lou Niznik. See also one poem as excerpted, "Thomas Berry recites his 'Earth's Desire' poem." (posted April 2012) "We're fortunate to have Michael Dowd on our side (the 'our' being humanity)," says Michael Shermer, publisher of Skeptic magazine, who introduces Dowd as part of Skeptic's Distinguished Lecture series at CalTech. This is an unabridged video of Dowd's bridge-building religious naturalism program, as presented in 2009. (posted April 2012) 90-minute video on YouTube of Connie Barlow presenting a highly interactive children's program that journeys back through time (based on Richard Dawkins' 2004 biology book, Ancestor's Tale: Pilgrimage to the Dawn of Evolution.) Connie is thrilled to finally have a video of her presenting this program, as this video should empower teachers, parents, and religious educators to conduct this program themselves. Make sure you click on "more info" so that the text fully scrolls open beneath the video window; you will see an annotated Table of Contents with hotlinked time codes for instant access to different parts of the video. Slides, scripts, and a leader's manual are all freely downloadable for this program.(posted April 2012) 38 hour-long conversations with leading Christian scholars and ministers who fully embrace a deep-time, evolutionary understanding of the world. Hosted by Michael Dowd, this teleseries aired Christmas 2010 and is now available for purchase and digital download (mp3 audios and pdf transcripts, plus study guides) by church discussion-group leaders and college teachers. (posted March 2012) Michael Dowd began blogging for the Huffington Post and Metanexus in March 2012. He continues to host the Evolutionary Christianity blog he initiated in November 2010. Click on images left to sample his blogs. (posted March 2012) 54-minute video of a presentation on the practical insights of evolutionary brain science, which Connie Barlow and Michael Dowd delivered at Seabeck Conference Center (Puget Sound, Washington) in August 2009. Make sure you click on "more info" so that the text fully scrolls open beneath the video window. You will see an annotated Table of Contents with hotlinked time codes for instant access to different parts of the video, just like the chapters in a dvd. (posted February 2012) Barlow and Dowd posted a 64-minute audio interview of evolutionary biologist / neuroscientist Terrence Deacon. The topic is his 2011 book, Incomplete Nature: How Mind Emerged from Matter. Terry is chair of the anthropology department at U.C. Berkeley. His previous book, published in 1997 book, is The Symbolic Species Note: You can access the full archive of the Inspiring Naturalism audio series. (posted February 2012) Michael Dowd posted an essay that previews three forthcoming books (by Jonathan Haidt, Edward O. Wilson, and Christopher Boehm) that together might turn the tide from a restricted focus in biological and cultural evolution on the gene and the individual organism to a broader understanding that natural selection occurs at higher levels, too. This is especially true for the emergence of internally cooperative human social groups at far greater scales than kin selection and reciprocal altruism have ever been able to account for. As well, this paradigm shift would recast religion as a key adaptation for bonding humans at these greater scales. (posted February 2012) Michael Dowd spoke from the pulpit on a Sunday morning in August 2011 at All Souls Unitarian Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma. His sermon was part of their summer series: Re-imagining Religion. Michael's sermon title: "Reality Is My God, and Integrity Is My Religion." (posted January 2012) Connie Barlow posted a richly illustrated photo-essay of her 7-week participation in the life of "Sallie Pond" an ephemeral forest pool in northeastern Alabama in which a local population of Spotted Salamanders lays eggs. Learn why a Spotted Salamander Pond is a superb place to experience in one's imagination two key transitional times in the Epic of Evolution. Note: You can access the full archive of all Sacred Sites of the Epic of Evolution. (posted January 2012) Michael Dowd was interviewed by Terry Patten in Terry's "Beyond Awakening Teleseries." Michael's topic was "Big Integrity: Deep-Time Eyes and a Global Heart." Audio length = 62 minutes. Note: You can access the full list of free audios by Michael Dowd (and Connie Barlow). (posted December 2011) Peter Mayer's classic end-of-year ballad, "One More Circle," has been made into a captioned and richly illustrated music video for contemplation or sing-along, using Connie Barlow's nature photos from travels throughout North America. You can also access all four music video collaborations between Peter Mayer and Connie Barlow. (4:30 min, posted December 2011) Michael Dowd presented the Sunday morning service at Unity Center of Davis on 28 August 2011. His theme, "Thank God for Evolution," centered on distinguishing sanity v. insanity and maturity v. immaturity in the world today, especially given the widespread "idolatry of the written word" demonstrated by many religious institutions. Audio length = 45 minutes (posted November 2011) Connie Barlow's 2001 book is now freely available online. It is a classic in evolutionary ecology and an entertaining example of using "deep-time eyes" to help us see the magic of reality in our kitchens and lurking nearby some of our favorite street trees (honey locust and ginkgo). Connie posted a playful 5-minute video introduction to this book on her YouTube channel. Also, a short text article (in PDF) on its practical implications: "Garden of Eden on Your Dinner Plate?". (285 pages, posted October 2011) The hosts of this TheGreatStory educational website (Connie Barlow and Michael Dowd) visited our friends and colleagues in Santa Cruz this past week: Joel Primack and Nancy Ellen Abrams co-authors of the books The View from the Center of the Universe and The New Universe and the Human Future. There we learned of a superb new 18-munute video of their work: "Changing The World Through A Shared Cosmology". (18 minutes, posted October 2011) Barlow and Dowd created a VIDEO posted on Youtube that celebrates the 2011 book by Richard Dawkins, The Magic of Reality (22 minutes, posted October 2011) The news report is titled, "Evolution doesn't have to clash with Christianity, author tells CLU crowd." An interview with Dowd prior to the event can be accessed online: "Bestselling author to give free lecture at CLU". (posted October 2011) Michael Dowd's dynamic illustrated talk for the interfaith celebration of Darwin Day in Omaha, Nebraska, February 2011, and hosted by Countryside UCC Church. Evolutionary topics include the importance of a Big History perspective in which we forthrightly see our evolved human nature as challenging us with mismatched instincts, especially in modern environments full of "supernormal stimuli" temptations. Death as "natural and generative at every level of reality " means it is to be honored, not feared." (68 minutes, posted September 2011) Episode 10 of the "Inspiring Naturalism Podcast Series" features astrophysicist Joel Primack and cultural historian Nancy Ellen Abrams in conversation with Connie Barlow and Michael Dowd. Images and metaphors for helping us understand and feel a sense of belonging with the entire cosmos are topcs of discussion, drawn from their 2006 book, View from the Center of the Universe, and their 2009 Terry Lectures at Yale University, now available as an illustrated book, The New Universe and the Human Future. (70-minute audio, posted September 2011) In August 2011, Connie Barlow and Michael Dowd gave twinned theme talks at two events in the American West: "Evolutionize Your Life" (by Michael) and "Evolutionize Your Death and Legacy" (by Connie). Inspired by the audience response and poignant storytelling that ensued, Connie wrote a call-to-action in essay form, urging her boomer generation to transform the debilitating and financially untenable death-denial that pervades American culture largely because of literalist Christianity that interprets death as "the enemy." More on a naturalized understanding of the role death plays in the universe can be accessed via our webpage "Death Through Deep-Time Eyes". (posted August 2011) Michael Dowd promoted an evidential, evolutionary understanding of reality and faith at the local Unitarian Universalist Church in Durango. The news report concludes with Dowd saying, "Sending our teenagers out into the world without an understanding of mismatched instincts surrounded by supernormal stimuli is like sending out teenagers 20,000 years ago and not telling them anything about sabertooth cats." (posted August 2011) Episode 9 of the "Inspiring Naturalism Podcast Series" features children's book author Jennifer Morgan in conversation with Connie Barlow and Michael Dowd. Key topics include how creativity emerges from chaos, and how individuals and cultures can derive gratitude and hope from our common creation story. (54-minute audio, posted August 2011) Big Historian David Christian published a provocative paper in 2010 that called for the return of "universal history." He calls for history to, once again, have "a powerful impact on public thinking about the past because it will begin to play a role similar to that of traditional creation stories: it will aspire to create a map of the past as a whole. That map that will allow individuals and communities throughout the world to see themselves as part of the evolving story of an entire Universe, just as they once mapped themselves on to the cosmologies of different religious traditions, from the dreamtime stories of indigenous Australians to the Ptolemaic maps of medieval Christianity." (posted August 2011) Michael Dowd delivered one of his most prophetic sermons on Darwin Day at Countryside UCC Church in Omaha Nebraska on Feb 13, 2011. Title: "Getting Real About God, Guidance, and Good News". (posted July 2011) Paul Martin was a major mentor to Connie Barlow. He wrote the foreword to her 2011 Ghosts of Evolution book, and coauthored with her the first advocacy piece for assisted migration. Here Connie posts an hour-long AUDIO interview she recorded of Paul in 1999, plus a 6-minute video she just produced from a recording of him she made in 1997, with images overlaid. (posted July 2011) Connie Barlow posted a new destination for this website's Sacred Sites of the Epic of Evolution inventory. She made the pilgrimage in 1999 to the stupendous fossil site in Hot Springs, South Dakota, called "The Mammoth Site." But here she posts reflections, photos, audio, and links to inspire others to make such a pilgrimage. (posted July 2011) Mary Hitch delivered a sermon titled "Evolutionary Spirituality" at her Unitarian Universalist congregation in Comal County Texas in July 2011. She did a great job of using some of the evolutionary brain science material in Michael Dowd's book, Thank God for Evolution, so we have posted her sermon template on this website and encourage others to download and adapt it for their own purposes. (posted July 2011) Connie Barlow was interviewed by Claire Zammit for the online series Women on the Edge of Evolution. The topic: Why evolution served our ancestors, why it challenges us now, and how to step toward a brighter future. (posted May 2011) Announcing Michael Dowd and Connie Barlow's first ONLINE COURSE, developed in collaboration with professionals pioneering a new approach for transformative e-learning. "Evolutionize Your Life!" draws on Dowd and Barlow's approach for translating the discoveries of evolutionary brain science and evolutionary psychology into practical tools for improving lives and relationships. "EVOLUTIONIZE YOUR LIFE": The science of how to decode human behavior, eliminate self-judgment, and create a big-hearted life of purpose and joyful integrity. Preview teleseminar May 18 (downloadable later, as well); course begins in June.
(posted May 2011) Connie Barlow discovered this 2003 photograph (left) of a feast they enjoyed, prepared by Epic of Evolution elder PHILEMON STURGES (1929 - 2005). So she added the photo full size to illustrate the page used to share the lyrics (and audio) of the "grace" song Philemon wrote, and which they love to sing at meals. (posted May 2011) Backed by stunning illustrations, Prof. David Christian narrates a complete history of the universe, from the Big Bang to the Internet, in a riveting 18 minutes. This is "Big History": an enlightening, wide-angle look at complexity, life and humanity, set against our slim share of the cosmic timeline. Also, check out the "Big History Project" website being developed (with funding from Bill Gates) to make timelines and course syllabuses freely available to high school teachers throughout the world. (posted April 2011) Finally, available for complementary listening or download is the classic audio, which in cassette tape format 2 decades ago, awakened so many people who are now leaders in the Epic of Evolution movement. (posted December 2010) This 27-minute documentary, produced by New Hampshire's public television station, first aired in December 2010. The camera crew filmed Michael Dowd, "America's evolutionary evangelist," at one of seven presentations he made during November 2010 at UCC and Congregational churches in New Hampshire. (posted December 2010) 28 hour-long conversations with leading Christian scholars and ministers who fully embrace a deep-time, evolutionary understanding of this world are broadcasting each evening till Christmas in the month of December. Hosted by Michael Dowd, the free series (with all audios posted online for later listening or downloads) is a lively, insightful, and sometimes poignant opportunity to listen in on some amazing dialogues. (posted December 2010) The 1:15 hr program Michael Dowd has been delivering as his introductory talk to a diversity of secular and religious audiences during 2010 is now available for free online viewing. Note: If your internet speed is slow, it may take a while for this page to upload, so be patient. If your internet speed is exceedingly slow, you will need to access a faster server. (posted September 2010) Scientifically accurate and inspiring videos available on YouTube have been embedded on this classic page of The Great Story website. Also updated is the companion Stardust Background webpage that contains a wealth of accessible information and charts to understand the process of stellar nucleosynthesis and how the mass of a star profoundly affects its brightness and lifespan. (posted September 2010) While creating a full-year curriculum for elementary age kids ("My Universe Story"), Connie Barlow wrote 2 rap poems for use alongside 2 beloved evolutionary parables: "The Lucky Little Seaweed" and "Ozzie and the Snortlefish." (posted October 2010) Connie Barlow has produced a 30-minute script, and Jon and Heather Cleland-Host have produced a 45-minute script, that tells the 65 million year story of the North American continent. Performers include elementary-age children, plus older teens or adults. Costuming and props are important, but little rehearsal is required because the only words spoken are by 2 narrators, who get to use scripts. Because the theme is "death and rebirth" the play is ideal for the Easter/Spring season. (posted October 2010) In preparing the online resources for an audiocourse that Michael Dowd and Connie Barlow will offer in 2011, Connie stumbled upon a vital hubpage (already on our own website!) for classic essays in the 1990s phase of the Epic of Evolution movement. You can access here 14 such essays in PDF by Connie Barlow, Ursula Goodenough, Thomas Berry, Brian Swimme, Ruth Rosenhek, John Seen, Bill Bruel, Larry Edwards, Jennifer Morgan, plus intra-group forums. (posted August 2010) Connie Barlow has just rewritten this script for easy and fun use in elementary school classrooms. In this new kids' version, in addition to the 4 main characters, now 8 other children get to volunteer in the moment to read 1-3 sentence scripts when they each come on-stage to briefly assume the role of one of our Solar Systems' planets. (posted August 2010)
In early August 2010, Michael Dowd delivered a new sermon title at several large, liberal Christian churches in Oklahoma City. His title, "Thank God for the New Atheists!" Although his message was well received in liberal Christian settings, media attention led to conservative Christian responses that were highly critical. In response to such a posting by Albert Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Dowd wrote this essay specific to the "biblical Christianity" that Mohler uses as his base. (posted August 2010)
"The Great Story in Kosovo", which was created onsite in 2010 by resident James Nicholls, is a remarkable 21-minute example of how this story encircles the globe and can delight children everywhere. Note several remarkable sequences where a book of evolution is paired with the Koran, so that children can see they can honor both. Here, the children learn that they are made of stardust, and go on a physical journey that carries them through the countryside around Kosovo, as the 13 billion year epic of their ancestry is laid out proportionally over the miles. (posted July 2010)
Connie subtitled this 9-page essay, "An invitation to parents and religious educators to present a coherent cosmology to our children." Composed as a critique of Dale McGowan's invited lecture at the annual gathering of Unitarian Universalists nationwide (in June), Connie calls for a reassessment of the way kids in religiously liberal families and institutions are taught "religious literacy". Our postmodern celebration of diversity and advocacy of free choice actually means we deny our children a basic human requirement: "a coherent cosmology (creation story / worldview) through which to enjoy and securely navigate the years of childhood wonder, learning, and innocence." (posted July 2010)
Finally, Connie Barlow is working on a FULL-YEAR children's curriculum, to bring the 13.7 billion year story of everyone and everything into the classroom of liberal religious institutions or private schools. She posted the first 3 lesson plans in draft form to solicit feedback for shaping this new project. A total of 28 events are put into story and craft, one per week, with a bead selected to signify each. Final class project: a full loop of Universe Story beads. (posted July 2010)
Connie Barlow and Michael Dowd posted on their "Inspiring Naturalism" Podcast Series a 2-part interview/conversation with curriculum innovator Jon Cleland-Host. Podcast 4a, "Inspiring Naturalism for Families" is full of practical suggestions for bringing the Universe Story into family holidays and other celebrations. Podcast 4b, "It's All Really There!" is a stunningly inspiring and emotionally resonant reflection by Jon on how the Universe Story gives him meaning and purpose, and why he and his wife are determined to make this living force available to their 3 young sons. (posted July 2010)
In June, 2010, People's Church (Unitarian Universalist) in Ludington MI invited Rev. Dowd into the pulpit to preach, for the first time, a controversial new sermon titled, "The New Atheists As God's Prophets." This sermon is based on material Dowd first posted in podcast form in September 2009, immediately after having been diagnosed with cancer. (posted June 2010)
Connie Barlow has posted on her YouTubeChannel ("ghostsofevolution") 3 short video clips taken from the public domain, which she edited and embellished with graphics. Most recent is a 6-minute clip of Loyal Rue, presenting the essence of his book, Religion Is Not About God. A second video (3 minute) is a clip of a presentation at Yale by Nancy Ellen Abrams, coauthor of View from the Center of the Universe. Third is an amazing 8-minute clip of a widely heralded extemporaneous presentation by astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, which Michael Dowd regularly uses in his own public presentations. (posted June 2010)
May 30, Michael was called the night before to substitute for his colleague, Rev. Ian Lawton, executive minister at the large and progressive church in Spring Lake, Michigan: C3 Exchange. Michael rose to the occasion and extemporaneously delivered "Deep-Time Remembering, Deep-Time Blessing". You can access this free audio via our podcast series at the link above. (posted June 2010)
In this podcast series Michael Dowd interviews/dialogues with clergy, theologians, religious educators, and other leaders in evolving faith to not only accommodate but to celebrate the evidential understanding of ourselves and our universe, as given by modern science. The first interview posted is with theologian and Episcopalian Bishop John Shelby Spong. (posted May 2010)
We launched our first podcast series, "America's Evolutionary Evangelists" in September 2009, to give us an opportunity to offer ideas and experiences from our own work. Now we have launched an entirely new series, "Inspiring Naturalism," in which we interview/dialogue with scientists, educators, and other leaders in this emerging movement toward science-based (hence, natural) worldviews and wonders. The first interview posted is with evolutionist Prof. David Sloan Wilson. (posted May 2010)
You can read online Dowd's chapter in its entirety: "A Story Big Enough to Hold Us All", and download in PDF 6 questions for group discussion. You can read or download Connie's chapter in its entirety: "We Are Stardust: The Epic of Evolution in Children's Religious Education", and download in PDF 6 questions for group discussion. (posted May 2010)
On our own podcast page ("America's Evolutionary Evangelists"), we have added a list of the podcasts that we (Connie Barlow and Michael Dowd) regularly listen to. (posted April 2010)
February 27 Michael and Connie hit the road again, after 6 months of cancer treatment for Michael and healing in the Seattle area. February 28 Michael gave the Sunday morning lesson at the Unity Church of Portland (posted March 2010)
Tory Sonstroem, Director of Religious Education at
First Unitarian Universalist Church of Stockton, California, has posted on this site the stage directions that her congregation used in performing this short evolutionary parable at an intergenerational worship service in February 2010. The script itself can be downloaded via the main parables page on this website. (posted March 2010)
Connie Barlow has posted a 5-minute music video on YouTube that she created to playfully summarize the science concepts in her 2001 book, The Ghosts of Evolution. Richly illustrated and ideal for kids, too! (posted February 2010)
Michael Dowd discusses how and why the Bible has become perhaps the Church's greatest liability: Atheists Promote Bible Reading?! He goes on to suggest that the future of faith lies in moving from mythic (unnatural) to measurable (undeniable) views of "divine revelation": The Salvation of Religion: From Beliefs to Knowledge. (posted February 2010)
Connie Barlow has posted the Stardust component of her "Death Through Deep-Time Eyes" program, from film captured at her July 2009 presentation on this topic at the Unitarian Center of Ashland, OR, and with lots of added illustrations. (posted January 2010)
In preparation for his live online interview for the "Awakening the Impulse to Evolve" series, Dowd produced this essay and posted it on his blog. It is available here in PDF. You can also listen to the 1:15 hr interview of Michael, by Craig Hamilton, on these concepts by signing onto the "Awakening to the Impulse to Evolve" on the website EvolutionarySpirituality.com (posted January 2010)
Connie Barlow has posted two 10-minute segments on YouTube of her evolutionary program on death, from film captured at her July 2009 presentation on this topic at the Unitarian Center of Ashland, OR. (posted January 2010)
Connie Barlow wrote a chant-song, "In the Beginning," to tell the story of stardust and our deep connection with the night sky at the world's first evolutionary revival (held at the First Unitarian Universalist Church of San Diego, February 2008). She has now produced slideshow and/or movie forms available for free online viewing or download. (posted December 2009)
Connie Barlow has posted 10 videos thus far under her new YouTube name "ghostsofevolution". Among them, music videos of her photographs set to evolutionary songs by Peter Mayer and by Keith Mesecher, plus YouTube video remixes of segments of Neil deGrasse Tyson, Carl Sagan, Michael Dowd, and Nancy Ellen Abrams (posted December 2009)
When we launched our website in April 2002, "Great Story Beads" was one of our first pages. It has remained one of our most visited pages. Representing the 13.7 billion years of cosmic history in beads is a fun and meaningful activity for both kids and adults. Because so many people have sent us photos of their loops of beads and also children's curricula based on this project, Connie had to do a major webpage revision to make this topic attractive and navigable. (posted November 2009)
Skinner House Books has published, The Whole World Kin: Darwin and the Spirit of Liberal Religion, edited by Fredric John Muir. Michael Dowd's contributed chapter, "A Story Big Enough To Hold Us All," was selected as the preview chapter and is thus available in its entirety for free online viewing. (posted November 2009)
EXCERPT: "We now know that evolutionary and ecological processes are at the root of life and human culture. To disregard, to dishonor, these processes through our own determined ignorance and cultural/religious self-focus is an evil that will bring untold suffering to countless generations of our own kind and all our relations. We must denounce such a legacy. Ours is thus a call to action a call to sacred activism." (posted November 2014)
The 5 episodes are:
The video of Connie's live presentation in Durango Colorado (see below) is the core of this hour-long episode.
Her prop: a necklace of "Great Story Beads" that she had assembled 12 years earlier, and which entailed beads chosen to represent key passages in the 13.8 billion year "epic of evolution" that are meaningful to Connie. (posted June 2014)
(posted March and April 2014)
In 2013 leaders in the freethought tradition (Dale McGowan) and evolutionary humanism (Connie Barlow) independently presented talks on how each tradition counsels parents and liberal religious educators to assist children in developing their worldviews. Each VIDEO is under an hour. The video pair is ideal for a 2 or 3 session discussion program for parents and religious educators determining how best to engage children in their charge. (posted July 2013)
Watch Karen Kudebeh present in 14-minutes the trajectory of cosmic, geological, biological, and cultural evolution, using her 2D and 3D Time Spirals, which have enraptured all ages with their pattern, colors, and superb attention to the key events discovered by mainstream science. Truly, "a bird's eye view of Big History." (posted June 2013)
Michael Dowd and Connie Barlow explore how an understanding of our brain's evolutionary heritage can help us thrive despite "mismatched instincts" tempted by "supernormal stimuli". Watch 5-minute previews of each of the 6 sections: