Weekly Update

  • Discussion this Thursday at 7pm in the MU Gold Room.
    • Topic of discussion: Are science and religion compatible? Can one hold a religious worldview and a scientific worldview consistently? Are faith and reason both ways to knowledge?
    • Zach, our Discussion Chair, has some suggested reading and videos to help get us thinking: 1) an accomodationist argument from Ken Miller, 2) an anti-accomodationist rant by Sean Carroll of the Cosmic Variance blog, 3) a 3 minute video by Eugenie Scott of the National Center for Science Education, and 4) a 3 minute video of Neil deGrasse Tyson.
    • At the Thursday meeting, we’ll also briefly discuss the Superstition Bash.
  • Ask an Atheist Booth this Friday 11am to 1pm in the Free Speech Area. Rain location is in the covered walkway by the library facing the Free Speech Area.
  • Some major events are coming up. Details and RSVP at this spreadsheet, indicate if you can drive or need a ride, and add comments as needed.
    • Darwin 2009 Conference: series of talks celebrating the 150th Anniversary of On the Origin of Species.
      • Oct 29-31 in Chicago, RSVP by Oct 16 so we can get rooms reserved and make plans on when we’ll leave Ames.
      • Talks start at 6:30pm on Friday, it takes about 6 hours to get to Chicago.
      • Registration for students is $20.00, and includes 2 lunches and the reception.
    • Reggie’s Sleepout: an event to raise funds for homeless youths in Des Moines.
      • Oct 24 in Des Moines, RSVP by Oct 19 so we can arrange carpools and collect boxes.
      • This will be our Secular Service Day event.
      • Whether you can or can not attend, help us collect boxes (particularly big sturdy ones) for the Boxed In Design Contest and solicit donations for our team. Contact Andrew for where our boxes are being stored.
      • Sleeping bags and tents are not necessary, but are allowed. You can rent equipment for cheap through Rec Services.
      • For registration questions, contact Andrew or Anastasia. When you register, sign up for the team “ISU Atheist and Agnostic Society“.
    • Living History Farms Run: a 7 mile cross country “fun run” to benefit Living History Farms.
      • 9am on Nov 21 in Des Moines, RSVP by Oct 21 so we can get spots (there is a 7,500 max # of runners).
      • We need to decide on a team name – and then all enter our team name exactly the same on the registration form. Teams are recognized for their costumes at the start of the race. IAF and IS will be invited to participate with us. Vote on a team name and costumes on the spreadsheet.
      • The course takes you through farms, past barns, across streams, etc. You will get dirty and wet, you will have a blast.
      • The entry fee is $30 if you register online before Nov 4 at noon. You get a shirt and a runner’s goodie bag.
      • On race day, we’ll meet in the Orange lot at 6:30 so we can be there no later than 7:45. The parking lots around the race start get very crowded after 8am. Post a comment if you need a ride from your house rather than from the Orange lot.
  • For those of you who are following the story of Ray Comfort’s edited version of On the Origin of Species, see the Secular Student Alliance for a nice overview of what’s happening.

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.