With over 30 years of experience in foreign policy, national security expert in defense, diplomacy and intelligence, Jason Howk has written numerous books on Afghanistan, interfaith issues, Islam, and other foreign policy and national security topics. On Tuesday, November 8, the Society of Skeptics welcomed the return of Mr. Howk, a veteran speaker on the hilltop and a perennial favorite with Skeptics audiences.
For his fifth Skeptics talk, Mr. Howk elaborated on his latest article for The National Interest, titled “Why the World’s Religions Are Dying a Slow Death,” where he argues that those who most often “speak for” their religion are not the ones who necessarily should. Mr. Howk discussed his findings that “‘so many extremists [who speak] loudly about their religion’ are often causing the decline in popularity of their own religion,” he said in a pre-event interview.
Though the subject of this talk differed from his last visit, Mr. Howk’s affinity and admiration for Blair students and their eagerness returns.
“Blair students are hungry to learn about diverse ideas and to challenge their own views on various topics. I am humbled to get to help them think about ideas they may not have encountered yet,” said Mr. Howk.
“It’s a great honor to spend time with such inquisitive young people, who are not afraid to ask challenging and smart questions. I learn a lot from my discussions with Blair students.”
When he is not speaking to students and various audiences, Mr. Howk writes as a columnist for ClearanceJobs News and is an Islamic and Afghan studies professor at the U.S. Air Force Special Operations School. Additionally, he works as a contributing writer for over two dozen journals and regularly appears on news outlets to discuss Afghanistan.
Mr. Howk holds a master’s degree in Middle Eastern and South Asian studies and served as a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations. He is a Malone Fellow in Arab and Islamic Studies and studied Afghan Farsi (Dari) and Arabic.
Click "play" below to watch Jason's Skeptics presentation.
History of Skeptics
The Society of Skeptics was established as a forum for students and faculty to discuss and debate important global issues; it has grown to become one of the premier high school lecture series in the United States. Each week, speakers from the political, social, scientific, economic and literary arenas share their unique perspectives with students, who are encouraged to engage with presenters, asking questions and debating points of view.
The program, which is funded in part by the Class of 1968 Society of Skeptics Endowment Fund, is an outgrowth of the Blair International Society, begun in 1937. Forty years later, former history department chair Elliott Trommald, PhD, Hon. ’65, established the modern Skeptics program as a regular forum for student discussion and debate; history teacher Martin Miller, PhD, took over in the mid-1980s and molded the program into a weekly lecture series, one that has since continued without interruption. Under the tutelage of Dr. Miller and his successor, history department chair Jason Beck, Skeptics has featured a wide variety of speakers who are thought-provoking, engaging, accomplished in their respective fields and often controversial. For a listing of upcoming Skeptics programs, please visit Blair’s website.