Bestselling Author Jerry Coyne will Deliver a Talk on Free Will at Williams College

Media contact: Noelle Lemoine, executive assistant; tele: 413-597-4277; email: [email protected]

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass., October 1, 2019—Jerry Coyne, Professor Emeritus in the Department of Ecology and Evolution at the University of Chicago, will deliver a talk titled “You Don’t Have Free Will” at Williams College. The event, which is free and open to the public, will be held on Thursday, Oct. 3, from 7:30 to 9 p.m. in Wege Auditorium.

Coyne’s scientific work focuses on the genetics of species formation, the very problem raised but left unsolved by Charles Darwin in his book, On the Origin of Species. He has written more than a hundred scientific papers and is the author of Speciation (2004), Faith versus Fact: Why Science and Religion are Incompatible (2015), and New York Times bestseller Why Evolution is True (2009). The Washington Post, The New York Times, The New Republic, The Times Literary Supplement, The Guardian, Slate, and The Nation have also featured his articles and book reviews.

In addition to his publications, Coyne is an elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the recipient of the 2011 “Emperor Has No Clothes” Award from the Freedom from Religion Foundation. In 2015 he won the Richard Dawkins Award for his efforts in promoting the acceptance of evolution. His blog, Why Evolution is True, has more than 60,000 subscribers, in which he writes not only on the latest research in evolutionary biology but also philosophy, food and cats.

Coyne’s lecture explores a subject situated at the intersection of neuroscience, psychology and philosophy and asserts that human behavior is governed entirely by the laws of physics. His lecture will also discuss the definition of free will. To supplement his lecture, he will describe experiments demonstrating the absence of “will” independent of physical law, dispel misconceptions about free will and determinism, and discuss the implications that a purely naturalistic view of human behavior could have in reforming our society.

This event is sponsored by the biology department, the Science and Technology Studies Program and Phi Beta Kappa.


For building locations on the Williams campus, please consult the map outside the driveway entrance to the Security Office located in Hopkins Hall on Main Street (Rte. 2), next to the Thompson Memorial Chapel, or call the Office of Communications 413-597-4277. The map can also be found on the web at