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Bioethicist Richard Dawkins: Morality, Society Can Be "Intelligently Designed"

Author Richard Dawkins was the featured speaker at a Bellevue event that promoted secularism to a crowd that included attendees from the Northwest Free-thought Alliance's annual convention.

Famed British bioethicist Professor Richard Dawkins, a leader of the New Atheism movement, encouraged a crowd of almost 1,200 people gathered at Newport High School on Sunday to "take back American values" and become a more influential force of American culture.

 “True American Values. The values of Jefferson and Madison  …  Let’s intelligently design our morality rather than trying to read what’s right and wrong in a 3,000-year-old book. Religion has hijacked morality for centuries," Dawkins told an audience that ran the gamut of ages from pre-teens to senior citizens.

The event, “Cornwell, Faircloth, Dawkins: Working Together for a Secular Society, A Celebration,” also included presentations by Dr. R Elisabeth Cornwell, executive director of the U.S. branch of The Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science, and Sean Faircloth, director of Strategy &  Policy at the foundation and a former Maine state legislator.

The event was part of the Northwest Free-thought Alliance's annual convention which took place at Renton Technical College, though the talk and book signing at Newport High School was a public event.

Dawkins, the author of books including “The Selfish Gene” and “The God Delusion,” was philosophical and spoke with a droll English accent fitting of his former professorship at Oxford University. The main theme of his presentation was reclaiming the phrase “Intelligent Design” -- a term championed by the Seattle old-earth creationist think-tank The Discovery Institute -- and applying it to secular ethics and living.

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