Posted by: andrewseverin | February 27, 2009

30 days TV show

I ran across this TV show on http://www.hulu.com about an Atheist living with a christian family for 30 days.  I find the christian wife in the show to be a little more open then the husband.  I thought I would share this with everyone to see if anyone would be interested in discussing this episode.

Posted by: Anastasia | February 16, 2009

Weekly update – 16 Feb

Most importantly, please take a minute to sign our petition against Iowa HF183, the “Academic Freedom Act”, which attempts to bring religion into science classroom. The petition was written by Dr. Avalos. Please ask your friends and colleagues to consider signing. If you want to do more about it, consider ISU Ambassadors Student Day at the Capitol on Monday 6 April 2009. Students from around Iowa will meet at the Capitol to encourage the Iowa General Assembly’s support on education issues, and this certainly counts as an education issue. Email isuaas if you are interested in representing AAS, and I will send the names along to ISU Ambassadors. This would be a great resume builder.

AAS does not have a meeting this week, but there are plenty of interesting events going on, including the Campus Crusade for Christ event “Jesus Without Religion”. See our Google calendar for more details. As always, if you hear of an event that may be of interest to AAS members, send it to isuaas and it will be posted on the calendar. We are also always looking for guest posts on the AAS blog, including summaries of events.

Tentatively, the topic for next week is Biological Determinism. We need a volunteer or two to find a good article about this topic and summarize it for us at the beginning of the meeting.

Our t-shirts have arrived. I have them in my lab G418 Agronomy Hall, just email isuaas if you would like to pick one up. We have a few extras in each size. If you didn’t order one, they are 1st come, 1st served. Shirts are $15.

An opportunity to have fun and help kids get interested in science (instead of superstition?) can be found at at the 2009 State Science and Technology Fair of Iowa on March 27th and 28th. They really need more judges. I was there last year and had such a blast talking to the kids about science that I’m going again. Sign up to volunteer here, view the schedule for the Fair here. Pass this message along to anyone who might be interested. If you have questions, email Vicki Speake.

We’re planning to run a series of ads in the daily during Free Speech Week/VIESHEA, sort of like the atheist bus ads that have popped up all over the world. So, we need some great quotes or phrases for the ads. Submit your ideas at this Google Form.

Posted by: Anastasia | February 16, 2009

Biography of Charles Darwin

As we strive to better understand how history affects the present, it often helps to examine the historical figures themselves in more depth. AAS member and Biology major Tasida Fisher has written a biography of Charles Darwin that may provide some insight.

Read More…

Posted by: Anastasia | February 12, 2009

Opposition to HF183

Important message from Brian J. Sabel, executive director of the Iowa Secularists:

This week we mark the 200th birthday of Charles Darwin, the man who profoundly influenced our understanding of evolution. Exciting celebrations all over the state of Iowa are commemorating this great man and his incredible discoveries. However, the enemies of reason are trying to rain on our parade. Last week, Rod A. Roberts (R-Carroll, Dist. 51) introduced House File 183, the euphemistically-named “Evolution Academic Freedom Act” [full text and current status available at the Iowa General Assembly Bill Book]. This bill, based largely on language by the Discovery Institute (famous for their Wedge Strategy of introducing Intelligent Design into science curricula) is the latest volley in the anti-science agenda of the Religious Right. We cannot tolerate such legislation in a state which prides itself in the quality of our public education system.

Today, I filed on behalf of the Iowa Secularists an official lobbyist declaration of opposition to this bill. We are joined by other powerful advocacy groups in the State of Iowa which oppose the introduction of religion into our public school science curricula. I encourage you to contact your Representative, especially those on the Education Committee, to encourage them not only to oppose this bill, but also to oppose introduction of legislation such as this. Not only does it offend the rights of all Iowans, it sends the wrong message to potential employers about the condition of public education in our great state. You can find contact information for your Representative [at the Iowa General Assembly site].

Please take action today to send a strong message to our Legislators that not only is House File 183 bad for the religious freedom of all Iowans, its mere introduction casts a bad light on our public education system. When you contact your Legislators, please let us know what action you’ve taken [contact at iowasecularists dot org] so we can keep track of which Legislators get the message!

Posted by: Anastasia | February 10, 2009

Darwin Days at Iowa State

Darwin Days at Iowa State

Feb 6-27  Celebrating Darwin Day: Selection of Works from Special Collections

Feb 11 and Feb 12 12pm  Flock of Dodos screening

Feb 12  2pm  Darwin and Culture

Feb 12  3pm  Darwin’s Citation Impact

Feb 12  7pm  Darwin and me: A panel discussion on science and religion

Feb 13  7pm  Darwin made me do it: Secular vs religious ethics by D.J. Grothe

Feb 18  12pm  A Conversation with Francisco Ayala

Feb 18  7pm  Darwin Bicentennial Celebration Committee reception and poster session

Feb 18  8pm  Darwin’s Gift to Science and Religion by Francisco J. Ayala

Feb 25 6-9pm Darwin Fest

Please find details and descriptions of these events below:

Read More…

Posted by: Anastasia | February 9, 2009

Point of Inquiry

Since DJ Grothe will be here Friday, I thought it would be a good idea for those of you who aren’t familiar with him to check out his website, the Point of Inquiry podcast, and he was also a guest on episode 7 of the Reasonable Doubts podcast.

I’m really excited to see DJ in person!  Hope you can all make it!
Tori Crum

Posted by: Anastasia | February 8, 2009

Darwin Week update

  • For those of you that ordered shirts: they will be ready on either Wednesday or Thursday this week. We do have a few extras that we’re hoping to sell at DJ Grothe’s talk on Friday.
  • We’re planning to apply for GSB funding for atheist/agnostic/secular/etc books that will be stored in the Memorial Union browsing library. The books have to be something the ISU library doesn’t already have. Reply no later than Feb 12 with books you would like us to request (the budget is due on the 13th).
  • Somehow, most of the campus has overlooked Darwin’s 200th birthday. Let’s remind them! This week, compose a letter to the editor about a topic related to Darwin or evolution. Send them to the ISU Daily, the Ames Tribune, and the Des Moines Register. Also send your letters to isuaas@gmail.com so they can be posted here (whether or not they get published). There are almost 500 people on the AAS email list. If even 1/10 of us write letters, it would be huge. Invite your friends to write letters via our Facebook event.
  • The Des Moines Register has some Tips for being published: The shorter the better. Make your point quickly. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (If you don’t include your name and address, we can’t consider your letter for publication.) Remember — ALL letters are subject to editing. MOST letters are edited for clarification and length. Choose your words carefully. Letters that contain libelous or slanderous statements will likely either be edited or rejected.
  • If you are at a loss for topics for your letter, consider this: the Evolution Academic Freedom Act. For those of you who don’t know, “academic freedom” is the newest creationist buzzword to smuggle religion into science class. The bill is currently in subcommittee. Lets do what we can to see that it never leaves.Send your letters to the editor and send them to Iowa legislators. Read the full text of the bill at the Iowa General Assembly website. Thanks to Sid for the info on HS 183.
  • We’re planning to run a series of ads in the daily during Free Speech Week/VIESHEA, sort of like the atheist bus ads that have popped up all over the world. So, we need some great quotes or phrases for the ads. Submit your ideas at this Google Form.
Posted by: Anastasia | February 6, 2009

Darwin Week at UNI

Our own advisor, world renowned biblical scholar and Professor of Religious studies Dr. Hector Avalos, will be presenting Intelligent design: Why it is not science at UNI on Feb 12 at 7pm. UNI is hosting a series of Darwin related talks and events which can be found at UNIFI‘s Darwin Week website. The events are also listed below. Read More…

Posted by: Anastasia | January 27, 2009

Weekly update for Jan 26

We will discuss the ubiquity of prayer at our meeting on Thursday Jan 29 at 7pm in room 3219 of the Memorial Union. As many of you may have noticed, President Obama’s Inaugural Day began and ended with prayer. In his inaugural speech, President Obama said “We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus — and non-believers” (USA Today). He also included at least one each Muslim, Jew, and Hindu in his prayer service (US News note the description of Rev. Sharon Watkins’s sermon). However, all four religious leaders who spoke at the Inauguration were Protestants (Beliefnet). What do you think about President Obama’s choices of words and religious speakers? What do you think about the number/type of prayers offered at the inaugural events? Does this say anything about our President, or about our society?

Sunday Feb 1 is another Sunday Brunch 11am in the Heritage room of the Union Drive Marketplace on campus. Brunch is all you can eat for $8.75 for students and non-students.

Please see the AAS Google Calendar for more upcoming events, such as seminars and workshops from the Wesley Foundation and the belated Winter Solstice Soiree from the Iowa Secularists.

We are getting ready to order AAS shirts for this semester. The shirts are light blue with “The ISU Atheist and Agnostic Society” on the front and “The deepest sin against the human mind is to beleive things without evidence. – Thomas H. Huxley” on the back (see the AAS shirt page for images). They are $15 each and help to fund AAS events. Please email isuaas at gmail dot com with your name, phone number, and shirt size no later than Monday 2 Feb so we can get the shirts ordered quickly. Apologies to those who already put in requests – we didn’t get enough requests to place an order, so you will need to resubmit your request.

Posted by: Anastasia | January 22, 2009

Joy and Frustration at the Inaguration

20 January 2009 was certainly a significant day, no matter your political affiliation.  I was unfortunately in class during the inauguration (Evolutionary Genetics followed by Professional Practice in the Life Sciences) so didn’t get to see or hear it live. The clips I heard on NPR after class made me want to stop everything and simply revel in the moment. I’m happy to see Obama in office for many reasons, but one in particular resonates. As of now, anyone can be president. Anyone can rise up from any upbringing, and with a little work, reach for the stars.

Well, almost anyone. While our new president himself gave a shout-out to “Muslims, Jews and Hindus — and non-believers”, even inviting one each Muslim, Jew and Hindu to his prayer service, Christians definitely took center stage. Prayer after prayer, breakfasts and benedictions made it clear to me that non-believers (and non-Christians in general) are not welcome. Would Christians have noticed or minded if there had been a little less praying and a little more secular celebration? Was it really necessary to reinforce the idea that Christians are in charge and that the rest of us are little more than an afterthought? Read More…

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