Freethinkers of Indiana!

I lived in Indiana for a short while long ago, and they didn’t have any of these freethought groups in my neighborhood. It’s good to see Hoosiers are wising up: FreeThought Fort Wayne is hosting Dr. Robert M. Price who will be speaking about his recent book, “Top Secret: The Truth Behind Today’s Pop Mysticisms.” The presentation with a Q&A will be on Wed. Aug. 6th at 7 PM in the Main Allen County Public Library theater located on lower level 2.

Get on out there — Price is very entertaining.


  1. Goodthink says

    What’s a pubi chair doing on PZ’s face? Those things are vintage, do they even sell them anymore?

  2. says

    If you live in East Central Indiana, we’d love to hear from you!

    We’ve been on hiatus the past two months (most of our active members had family vacations ;)) — we have about 20-30 members currently, have an active mailing list, and generally meet once per month to socialize.

  3. says

    Thanks PZ for the shout-out. I didn’t find a freethinker group here at first so I helped form this one. If it can happen in a conservative town in IN, it can happen anywhere.

    Aaron- Thanks for the your link. Stay in touch with us in Fort Wayne.

  4. Murky says

    Does being considered a “free thinker” automatically mean that you’re an atheist? Can you be in the Free Thinker club if you’re not an atheist?

  5. says

    Hey! My grandfather taught German, History and (I believe) Philosophy at the University you attended in Greencastle.

    Unfortunately, I don’t think he was there when you were, but I’d like to think that the two of you probably would have had some brilliant conversations. In a way, you remind me of him, PZ.

  6. Christophe Thill says

    Price is a great guy, and a great specialist of HP Lovecraft. If you ask him “What would HPL do?”, he’ll surely have lots of interesting things to say!
    (Lovecraft was an enemy of astrology, religion, and woo in general).

  7. says

    Nice! My home town, the Fort!
    Don’t live there anymore but I have a friend or two who might be interested in hearing about this.

  8. Mercurious says

    Damn wish they had those while I was in Indiana. Gillt, I grew up in the Elkhart area myself. LOL Went to school in the middle of Amishville. I’ll have to pass this onto my father who is an unbeliever.

  9. Alan Chapman says

    Robert Price is very intelligent, articulate, and he knows his material. I definitely recommend going to see him. He appeared in the documentary film “The God Who Wasn’t There,” and he has been a guest on the Infidel Guy Show. You can listen to him debate a religious nutjob here:

  10. John Phillips, FCD says

    You know, I almost look back to Kenny, he of the NDE obsession, and his kind, with a certain fondness. As since crackergate the quality of troll appearing here really has declined markedly.

  11. Christopher says

    I live in Indiana and I’m glad to see more and more of these groups starting to form. Being in the heart of Jeebus country, one doesn’t get much opportunity to meet other free thinkers. Unfortunately, there still aren’t very many groups around and there are none in my area. Maybe I’ll just have to start one…

  12. says

    Gonna have to echo the “don’t live there anymore, but it’s good to hear this sort of thing starting up” sentiment.

    PZ, you must have lived in every state. Are you going for a record or something?

  13. Sandi says

    What a boring topic this is. Not too many comments, though. So…have I mentioned lately that Myers is a bigot? Imagine a professor bashing Jews on his blog. Imagine a professor bashing Blacks on his website. Everyone would be shocked. Oh, but that’s different, you cry. Those people aren’t Catholics, so of course we shouldn’t bash them. We’re not being bigots if we trash Catholics, though. It’s only bigotry if Jews, Blacks, or homosexuals are involved. You folks couldn’t analogize if your lives depended on it; absolutely no logic at all. Myers thinks it’s perfectly fine to intentionally insult and bait Catholics and bend over backwards to publicly desecrate whatever they hold to be sacred. The “intention” to insult is the main point. Not only does it demonstrate intolerance and bigotry, but it also shows great immaturity and incivility as well. Sort of like a teenager who hates his father, the government, and all authority figures. Yeah, sort of like a hippie. You know, Bishop Sheen was acquainted with a man who used to bash Catholics whenever possible. Sheen met the man and said, “What is your sin?” After talking and listening quite a bit, he learned that the man had stolen a great deal of money in the past. The man had turned his guilt into anger at the Church for its position that stealing was a sin. Obviously, Myers is hate-filled and angry at the Church. My question to Myers is: what is your sin? Marital infidelity? Anger at God for the death of a loved one? Plagiarism? I don’t know, but he’s obviously feeling very guilty about some sin and has inverted his guilt into anger. Enough psychoanalyzing the psycho. Hey, how many atheists does it take to change a lightbulb? It doesn’t matter; they never see the light anyway!

  14. says

    I live in Fort Wayne, and I am still surprised we have free thinkers — I thought I was the only one! Haven’t been to one of their meetings yet, but I fully intend on it. The first one, I hear, was kinda lame, but this looks promising.

    Where in Indiana did you live, PZ?

  15. says

    …have I mentioned lately that Myers is a bigot?” – Sandi, #19

    Atheists can’t be bigots, as they can’t swear “By God.” And PZ’s not a female, a Beguine or a Norman.

  16. Coinmaster says

    Haha! Sandi only meant for the last sentence to be comedic, but in reality, the whole comment was! If the post was boring to you, don’t comment on it.

  17. Todd says

    Does being considered a “free thinker” automatically mean that you’re an atheist? Can you be in the Free Thinker club if you’re not an atheist?

    No to the first, yes to the second.

  18. Owlmirror says

    perfectly fine to intentionally insult and bait Catholics and bend over backwards to publicly desecrate whatever they hold to be sacred. The “intention” to insult is the main point. Not only does it demonstrate intolerance and bigotry, but it also shows great immaturity and incivility as well. Sort of like a teenager who hates his father, the government, and all authority figures. Yeah, sort of like a hippie.

    Kind of how like Christians treated Jews, Muslims, heretics, schismatics, and pagans in the past.

    What is your sin?

  19. commissarjs says

    Lots of Hoosiers posting today. Up until last year I lived in Indiana. But I decided to trade in tornadoes and snow for earthquakes and mudslides.

  20. js says

    Wow! I live in Fort Wayne and run a 5 mile loop that takes me past 8 churches (one semi-mega church). Nearly every car (mostly SUVs or mini van) has Jesus fish and an unconstitutional “in god we trust” license plate. Great to hear there are free-thinkers milling about; misery loves company. Thanks for posting, I’ll be there.

  21. michel says


    have you ever considered that attacking somebody’s beliefs is not even close to attacking the person having the beliefs? so it’s not catholic bashing here, it’s catholic idea bashing. and if you feel bad for being attacked about those ideas, stand up an defend them. calling people bigots just because they challenge your ideas is not very convincing.

    as for homosexuals and blacks, nobody is black or homosexual because of a belief system. so no use for attacking them.

  22. KM says


    Please don’t copy and paste your in(s)ane ramblings on multiple threads. It’s not worth seeing once, let alone multiple times.

  23. says

    I’d love to hear Bob Price, that meeting sounds worth driving up to from Indy. I’ve always liked his Biblegeek shows over on the Infidel guys site even when he travels about 20 feet over my head sometimes with his obscure religious text references. He knows his bible nonsense, that’s for sure.

  24. Pablo says

    Fort Wayne’s not too far from the middle of north central Indiana, but I will be out of town that week.

  25. says

    What is your sin?” – asked by OwlMirror of Sandi, #25

    What about Sandi’s Church’s sins?

    Sandi, what comment do you have about the many Jews, Muslims, Cathars, Protestants, Native Americans and numerous other non-Catholics killed by your Church? How do these killings compare to PZ’s poking a hole in a cracker?

  26. Hoosier X says

    I’ve lived in California since 1988, but I spent the first twenty-four years of my life in the Hoosier state, most of it in a small town called Middletown not too far from Muncie.

    I know a few free thinkers who still live there, but they aren’t organized. And they sure as hell don’t live in Middletown.

  27. stanley says

    Hey PZ….I never got an answer: why did you promote that lady’s (Olivia Judson) article who claimed that the finches “evolved” when the finches did not, in fact, change genetically in order to get their new, adaptive beaks? For that matter, neither did the field mustard and neither did the lizards. Yet, ToE claims that a genetic change (mutation) must happen in order for “evolution” to happen, so what gives? Why are you promoting examples of “evolution” when they are no such thing?

  28. Vanessa says

    Yay for DePauw! Go Tigers! PZ, you should really come speak here at some point. I’ve been planning to ask the administration about the process to request a speaker for a while, but somehow I keep getting distracted by unimportant things like classes. I know of some others here who would love to hear from you as well. Other than living at DePauw for the past year, I’ve lived in Muncie my whole life and really don’t know of many freethinkers who live there.

  29. Mercurious says

    @#26 commissarjs: LOL I know that feeling. I left Indiana 3 years ago, for heat and desert (and a job paying 2x as much). I am so glad I will never have to hear the words “Lake effect snow” ever again.

    @#31 Pablo: Sounds like your from the same area I was from.

    I’m just glad to see so many free thinkers in the area. Although growing up I had very few problems with any religious people. I actually think I dealt with more people sunday mornings working at the local country club than people who went to church.

  30. tr says

    We became Hoosiers because of hubby’s job, but luckily we live in one of the more free-thinking towns (Bloomington). Guess I’ll google Free Thinkers to see if there’s a chapter in this neck of the IN woods (and we really have woods around our house!).

  31. wonderer says

    This looks like a good time to plug the Lafayette Indiana Freethinkers group.

    Anyone interested can check out our page at

    For those interested in getting together with likeminded people, check out, and if you can’t find something in your area, get something started yourself.

  32. Olorin says

    I was in Fort Wayne last weekend. The things I most noticed about it were the prevalence of “In God we trust” license plates, and the “Faith” section of the newspaper, which was the largest section on Saturday.

    Are you surer we’re talking about the same place?

  33. RamblinDude says

    I grew up in near Fort Wayne!

    It’s a neighborly, rather unambitious state. As soon as you cross the state line (coming from the south) the land flattens and life..slows..down. People actually drive the speed limit, and as I recall, it is enforced. Rurally, it’s mainly cornfields and silos, cows and pigs, and you begin to realize that no one is in any particular hurry to get anywhere, anyways.

    With so farmers in the state, the people tend to be pleasant, unpretentious and pragmatic (and fat). Definitely bible belt country. Religion is an integral part of the social fabric – communal get-togethers, church picnics, etc. though I’d say they’re not as crazy, wacko (snake handling) about religion as some of the more southern states.

    It doesn’t surprise me too much that a group of freethinkers is getting together in Fort Wayne. Hoosiers tend to be tolerant – it’s not the least progressive state – but generally, they also tend to cluck their tongues at evolution, and you want to be careful when talking about something as radical as atheism because most of them will just shut you out. They know that “Jesus is Lord.”

  34. Ted Powell says

    stanley #34:

    … the finches did not, in fact, change genetically in order to get their new, adaptive beaks …

    Citation, please. Since there’s no earlier mention of finches on this thread, this is presumably a leakage from a different topic, so you will need to present your reference(s) again.

  35. stanley says


    “For the past 25 years, a cadre of evodevotees has been struggling to unify the fields of evolution and development. A recent paper published in the journal Science by Abzahnov et al (2004) reports on the role of the growth factor Bmp4 during the evolution in the beak morphology of Darwin’s finches on the Galápagos Islands. These data show that evolutionary changes to the developmental program of large- versus small-beaked species of Darwin’s finch arise from shifts in the heterochronic – timing of ontogenetic events – and heterotopic – spatial expression of ontogenetic events – expression of Bmp4.”

    no genetic change there……so why prop the finches up as “evolution?”

  36. Not that Louis says

    In regard to Sandi @ #19: That argument, that the only reason someone would dis Catholicism is because he or she is covering up for sins of his own, sounded familiar to me. I think I heard a Scientologist use the same argument against Mark Bunker in one of the Wise Beard Man’s Xenu-Tv Youtube videos.

  37. Damian with an a says



    The protein encoded by this gene is a member of the bone morphogenetic protein family which is part of the transforming growth factor-beta superfamily. The superfamily includes large families of growth and differentiation factors. Bone morphogenetic proteins were originally identified by an ability of demineralized bone extract to induce endochondral osteogenesis in vivo in an extraskeletal site.”

    How is that not genetic?

    And that is the paper that I linked to. So is this:

    “Gene Linked to Beak Length in Darwin Finch”

    The team has discovered the first genetic and molecular underpinnings of the different beak morphologies. Two years ago, they reported that a gene known to shape the faces of laboratory animals also sculpts the height and width of the finches’ upper beaks.

    Now, the researchers have found another gene whose activity independently contours the third dimension, length. In addition to identifying a new player in craniofacial development, the results provide insight into the nature of variation, the indispensable raw material for natural selection to act on. The findings are reported in the Aug. 3 Nature.

    Earlier and greater expression of the gene for bone morphogenetic protein 4 (BMP4) forms the deeper, broader beak, ideal for cracking seeds. The researchers first observed this in finch embryo samples and then demonstrated its direct effect in the chicken embryo model system. An earlier and greater exposure to the calmodulin (CaM) pathway correlates with longer finch beaks, suited for extracting nectar and insects, and it creates elongated chick beaks in the lab.”

    Now stop being so dishonest.

  38. says

    As far as commenter #19 goes, just ignore it. Starve it of the attention it seeks. Don’t feed the trolls

    A more interesting question (a la comments #8 & #24)is whether a self professed group of freethinkers should only accept athiests. Seems kinda contradictory to me. Maybe “Athiest group” would be a more appropriate name. Just wondering what the rest of the internet thinks.

  39. dcc says

    OT but when I saw it my first thought was this is perfect for PZ.
    From the NY Times – Help Save The Endangered Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus from Extinction

    Web readers are persistently weak at judging whether information is trustworthy. In one study, Donald J. Leu, who researches literacy and technology at the University of Connecticut, asked 48 students to look at a spoof Web site ( about a mythical species known as the “Pacific Northwest tree octopus.” Nearly 90 percent of them missed the joke and deemed the site a reliable source.

  40. Scrote says

    Sandi is absolutely right. I wish I had her maturity and insight, but I don’t.

    Which is why Paul Myers needs to have his sac sliced and finely minced, after which his balls need to be pulled out (while he watches, and without anaesthesia)and force-fed to him slowly.

    Then he needs to die whilst viewing the leftovers.

  41. Jeremy says


    You Christians are such loving people, full of Jesus’ teachings, aren’t you? Hypothetically, if fairy tales were possible, I think the first thing he’d do upon his “second coming” is slap the shit out of you for being a malicious prick in His name.

    I may have to make a trek to Fort Wayne. It’s only about 2 hours from me.

  42. Damian with an a says

    What is it with some people [I hesitate to say either Catholics or religious believers] and fantasizing about performing unspeakably violent acts on other peoples genitalia?

    If that were to happen to you, scrote, not only might the tweezers take your eye out, but you would end up with a rather nasty scare on your forehead.

  43. CortxVortx says

    Any freethought groups in south-central Indiana? Indy or Loo-uh-vl or such? You’ll know me: look for the Darwin fish on the bumper.

    Man, I miss Norman OK …

  44. says

    Sandi is absolutely right. I wish I had her maturity and insight, but I don’t.

    Which is why Paul Myers needs to have his sac sliced…

    Posted by: Scrote

    Nice people these religious. It’s almost as though they miss the bloody days of the Inquisition.

    Strange people. No wonder why they’re always being mocked and ridiculed. Clearly they deserve it.

  45. says

    How exciting to see so many like minded individuals from Indiana…. I WISH YOU PEOPLE WOULD STOP MOVING AWAY… But for those of you who are looking for a scientific outlet in central Indiana, we do have our own chapter of CFI in Indianapolis.

    If you are on the younger end of the spectrum, there is always the IUPUI Freethinkers, you don’t have to be a student to go to their meetings(which is good…because I am not). Just because god is on what seems like most of the license plates, that doesn’t mean you have to go through it alone!

  46. aratina says

    Re #18, Sandi: “Sort of like a teenager who hates his father, the government, and all authority figures.”
    You mean like John McCain?

  47. Ted Powell says

    stanley #42:

    [link to “Evodevo: Darwin’s finch beaks, Bmp4, and the developmental origins of novelty”]
    [quote of first paragraph from same]
    no genetic change there……so why prop the finches up as “evolution?”

    Non sequitur.

    No genetic change, no change in the heterochronic and heterotopic expression of Bmp4–or do you think He touches each embryo with His Noodly Appendage to cause those shifts?

    Have a look at Chapter 5 of Sean Carroll’s Endless Forms Most Beautiful, and learn about switches, which are just as much part of DNA as genes are.

  48. Angie says

    The only time I have been forced to attend church was in Indiana. I was an exchange student from Australia and was honestly shocked when my guardian (also a family friend) was so adamant about it. My parents (after a complaining phone call from me) just said I should just give it a try for her sake, though they had no religious convictions themselves.

    I guess I can credit her for helping to shape my atheistic leanings. After a couple of weeks of tussles she gave up.

    I also got in trouble at school for saying “damn”, which up until then I hadn’t realised was a “curse word”. Oh well.

    This was in Edinburgh, a dot on the map south of Indy. Good times. (For the record, I loved my stay and have since visited for my high school reunion. They are still pretty churchified though.)

  49. stan says

    #58….sorry but ToE requires a change in a gene, not a re-expression of the same gene. If all there was to evolution was re-expression of the same genes, how did genomes get build up? Finches are not changing their genes, and therefore did not evolve.

  50. John C. Randolph says

    So…have I mentioned lately that Myers is a bigot?


    Dr. Meyers’ choice to ridicule the ridiculous does not make him a bigot. Your right to hold whatever superstitions you find appealing does not include a right to never be criticized for it.


  51. says

    stan wrote: “sorry but ToE requires a change in a gene, not a re-expression of the same gene”

    That’s very interesting, since Darwin initially formulated the theory of evolution without even knowing what a gene was. Where can I find this list of alleged requirements of the theory of evolution from which you are drawing this?

  52. TR says

    Paul Burnett wrote “There ought to be a few free-thinkers in / around Bloomington, home of Indiana University, the Kinsey Sex Research Institute ( ) and the Fern Hills nudist club ( ).”

    Fern Hills Nudist Club? No kidding? Never heard of it, but then given the size of the rock I hide under, I’m not surprised. ;> There’s a famous clothing-optional beach where I attended U for 6 years (Wreck Beach near Univ of British Columbia), and I’d never been there either.

    I did find out there’s a couple of small groups in Bloomington:
    Seems like they need more members (in case CortxVortx wants to drop on by), but maybe it’s just the summer lull.

  53. Ted Powell says

    stanley aka stan #60:

    ….sorry but ToE[-according-to-stanley] requires a change in a gene, not a re-expression of the same gene. If all there was to evolution was re-expression of the same genes, how did genomes get build up? Finches are not changing their genes, and therefore did not evolve[-according-to-stanley].

    With the indicated qualifications, I have no problem with your assertions except to note that they have no real-world relevance. This is a classic strawman ploy; invent your own flawed definition of evolution and then point out its flaws.

    The actual genes which code for proteins are only a very small fraction of the total information content of DNA. It is not the case that when a cell divides only the protein-defining parts of the DNA are passed on. New cells, and new organisms, get a complete kit, including the switches, whose actions are much more complex than the protein templates which you believe (or profess to, as the case may be) are the only things which are inherited.

    BTW, since “re-expression of the same genes” is not “all there [is] to evolution” your question does not apply.

    You have a choice: either look up the reference I gave you in #58 and learn something, or take your strawman to some less-knowledgeable group (or at least to a thread where it’s less far off-topic).

  54. Patricia says

    Sandi – Shut up you ignorant slut!
    Does the man that you are chattel and property of know that you are on the internet? Does your lord and master KNOW that you are not in silence and subjection?
    Madame, you commit a grievous sin. Trying to teach men and usurp authority over them.
    Sandi shut up – 1 Timothy 2:11 – 14.

  55. says

    Aw, I just moved away from Fort Wayne! Not only that, but I worked at the library mentioned in the post – it’s an incredible library for a city of its size, and the people there are amazing. Yes, Fort Wayne is pretty churchified, but I think there’s a lesser proportion of extreme fundamentalists there than you’d find in some places, too. You still come up against a lot of wrongheadedness, to be sure, but people tend to be a bit more relaxed about things. Despite all of the icky license plates.

  56. DM says

    I saw Dr. Price debate Dr. Green at UF (video here), and I must say that although Dr. Price is knowledgeable and very nice…

    do not invite him to engage with another scholar in a hugely-promoted debate event!

  57. says

    Thanks for the shout out PZ. Our group here in Fort Wayne is still growing and is still young.

    Of course, everybody is welcome, no matter what stripe you are.

    I was surprised to see in the comments section here that there are so many from around our quaint little city. I hope a lot of you guys and gals show up. We need more of a presence here in the “city of churches”. There will be reps from many of the surrounding faiths in attendance, I’m sure.