For any speaking engagement I usually require travel & lodging, a $300 honorarium, and an opportunity to sell my books at your event. Some of that is negotiable. If you want to do a teleconference, I charge $150 per hour, and no expenses. I also teach regular courses online for considerably less, though not live.
But here are some additional options and things to know…
The largest expense is always transportation
I live in Columbus, Ohio, within twenty minutes of its airport. Often the lowest expense is lodging. I prefer a nonsmoking room at any reasonable establishment. But if you can find volunteers to take me in, all I need is a warm bed and a hot shower. Be aware that I do sometimes travel with a girlfriend (though that requires no additional expense, it should be acceptable to anyone hosting me). If instead of flying you would like me to drive to you in my own car, I charge 50 cents a mile (counting the distance once, not round-trip). For any engagement (virtual or actual) I am also often unavailable, as my calendar fills quickly, so arrangements should be made at least three months in advance, and preferably six months or more. Contact me for negotiating a date and other essentials. You can also check my Events Calendar for availability.
How you can get me for less money
If you team up several organizations for a single joint event, or more, even over multiple nearby cities or on a tour route, you can reduce my fee and split costs as well. I am willing to stay several days for multiple events. You will have to board me for those extra nights, but you might also be able to split the airfare among the partnering organizations. Additionally, anytime I book more than one event in the same tour or area, my honorarium drops to $200 per event (instead of $300 for a single event). Informal events are always free (like dinner parties and meet-and-greets, where I don’t have to give a formal speech or organize a workshop or anything; ideal for fundraisers and membership drives). Just feed me copious amounts of alcohol.
To give you an idea of how this can work, I once spoke at a university, the costs of which were split three ways by the campus freethought group and two different academic departments that were interested in the subject of my talk. On another occasion I spoke to two separate atheist community groups in cities near each other on different but proximate days, a volunteer driving me between them, and the two groups split my airfare and each enjoyed my discounted honorarium. So feel free to be creative. My time is flexible.
I will not speak at events run by organizations hostile to my values. I must feel comfortable that you agree with promoting reasonableness, compassion, and integrity, and opposing sexism, racism, homophobia, and transphobia. I might make occasional exceptions for debates (e.g. if co-organized by an organization in line with my values) and interfaith venues (e.g. sincere efforts at seeking mutual participation & understanding).
If you’ve already booked me
If you’ve already booked me for an event and just need bios or photos see my Publicity page. If I have confirmed for the event, you have permission to use those materials however needed.
What topics I can speak on
If you do want to book me, please tell me what topics you want me to speak on. Find out what your group or audience is most keen to hear. I’ve delivered many public speeches to religious and freethought groups around the country since 1998.
I lecture on critical thinking, historical method, the philosophy of naturalism, the intersection of humanism and feminism or polyamory, and ancient history, especially ancient science, technology, and religion, and the origins of Christianity.
But the following topics are my forte:
- Ancient Roman science, technology, philosophy, and religion
- The philosophy of naturalism and its role as a worldview
- My experience with feminism, polyamory, or other social justice causes
- Historical method and what makes for a good historian
- Arguments for & against God or the resurrection of Jesus
- Christian apologetics and the skills and tactics of debate
- The origins of Christianity
- The origins of science (and my books on the subject)
- The historicity of Jesus (and my books on the subject)
- Hitler’s religious beliefs (my research for GSR)
- The value, methods, or results of philosophy
- Critical thinking or Bayes’ Theorem
I’m also willing to participate in formal debates. See my Debate Requirements page. You may also hire me for writing, consultation, teaching or research, but for that I’m expensive and rarely available.
If you want to discuss booking me for any event or assignment please contact me by phone or text, especially if urgent. Although I prefer to communicate by email several months in advance.