Thumbs up, Iowa

I have to say that my opinion of Iowa has gone up in my short visit here. Not only have Iowa Democrats beaten back an attempt by Republicans to outlaw gay marriage, but the University of Northern Iowa Freethinkers and Inquirers has organized a whole Darwin week of talks — lots of talks, and all that I saw were remarkably well attended. I’m sad to say I have to drive back today, because I’d really like to hear Hector Avalos’s talk tonight. If you’re in the area, you should check it out.

Also, if you’re near Cedar Rapids tomorrow night, you should go to the Flying Spaghetti Monster fundraiser for the A-Team, which I’m supposed to tell you is the most bad-ass atheist organization in all of Iowa. It’ll have endless quantities of spaghetti, cheap beer, and pirates, so you can’t go wrong there.


  1. Gadfly47 says

    I drove two hours from western Iowa to attend PZ’s lecture and I don’t regret it a bit. I’m only sorry I was too shy to come up and say hi afterwards. Still, lots of interesting information on Evo-Devo.

  2. Sven DiMilo says

    Maybe it’s spurious–I can’t find it online–but I have heard Allen Ginsberg quoted to the effect that Iowa City is the only bastion of civilization between North Beach and Greenwich Village. Or something along those lines.

  3. Xena says

    Thanks PZ! Your lecture was excellent, except for that whole “cute” thing.

    And Sven, Cedar Rapids is totally the place to be. It’s where the the most bad-ass atheist organization in all of Iowa is located.

  4. patrick.rubbs.regan says

    Iowa has come a long way (it sill has some more to go), but when I tell friends I’m from Iowa they look at me like I’m a redneck in disguise. The truth is we can sometimes be a very progressive state. We have legalized gay marriage. We have a pretty large atheist organization that has put up sign campaigns. And our schools tend to be pretty decent with sticking with Science and not crap. (at least in my area they did).

    Disclaimer: I say “we” because I still identify as an Iowan, but I live in Ohio now.

  5. raven says

    Hector Avalos rocks. Also he is a very smart atheologian and a real philosopher, nor a Fodor or Monton.

    If you can’t hear his talk, read his books.

    The End of Biblical Studies

    Fighting Words: The Origins of Religious Violence

  6. eeanm says

    It was great to see you in person PZ, I honestly didn’t really understand what this evo-devo thing you often refer to was until last night. :)

    And yea Hector Avalos spoke at the university I was attending a couple of years ago, it was a great talk.

  7. ArmandTanzarian says

    Its not quite over yet. 2 IA lawmakers are now trying to remove an anti-bullying protection clause against gay and lesbian students in Iowa public schools.

    I sincerely doubt it’ll pass though. Still…

  8. Janine, Mistress Of Foul Mouth Abuse, OM says

    Is Hector Avalos’ lecture going to be recorded? And if so, can it be posted online. I would love tp hear it. Or is there an essay on the same subject by him online?

  9. Colin ML Burnett says

    I agree, until you look at the recently proposed HF 2291:

    “This bill strikes sexual orientation and gender identity from the definition of the term “trait or characteristic of the student” used for purposes of protecting students in public and nonpublic schools from harassment and bullying.”

    It shames me as an Iowan. Kids in public schools don’t need *more* reasons to be bullied and harrassed.

  10. Qwerty says

    Janine, I ditto your comment.

    As one who thinks the Darwin to Hitler thinking is idiocy; I’d like to listen to this lecture.

  11. Sense_of_Awe says

    Hey PZ! Joy here…
    #1 – You’re my first blog.
    #2 – In last night’s lecture when you talked about the possibilities of developing supermodels, I thought “You can take the scientist out of the man, but not the man out of the scientist.” ;)

  12. webs05 says

    Your talk was very interesting and I enjoyed it very much. Thank you.

    Also I did get to see Dr. Avalos’ presentation and it was fabulous. I would highly recommend listening to him speak if you ever get the opportunity.