Dr. Hector Avalos-Why Intelligent Design is NOT Science

Join the Iowa State University Atheist and Agnostic Society as they present Dr. Hector Avalos-Why Intelligent Design is NOT Science. The esteemed Dr. Avalos is Professor of Religious Studies at Iowa State, the faculty advisor for the ISU AAS and lifetime member of the Iowa Atheists and Freethinkers. His most recent book, “The Bad Jesus: The Ethics of New Testament Ethics” was published in 2015 and adds to an already impressive list of accomplishments and personal triumphs.

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IAF Sunday Meetup

This is our regular, weekly, Meetup. Please come and join us for an interesting discussion on a variety of issues.

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Bad Christian Movie Night: “God’s Not Dead”

Join your fellow heathens to laugh, cringe, and groan for Bad Christian Movie Night featuring the super-popular film “God’s Not Dead”! Come see Kevin Sorbo play the bogeyman atheist intimidating his students into rejecting God! Be astounded by the complexities of the freshman’s arguments! Be in shock at the heartlessness of the godless businessman who rejects his girlfriend after she gets cancer! Soar in redemption and joy at the movie’s climax which absolutely proves God’s Not Dead!

Seriously though, God’s Not Dead is every Christian e-mail chain about liberal professors brainwashing students or the freshman schooling his professor on God’s existence (“And that student was Albert Einstein.”). The movie is a worthwhile experience is to discover what so many Christians think the world is like for them and what they think atheists are like. Remember that this is a movie that made over $60 million on a $2 million budget, so it resonates with many people.

Attendance is free.  Popcorn, candy, and drinks will be provided as well.  You needn’t suffer any more than necessary.

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IAF Sixth Annual School Supply Fund Drive-Science!

IAF Sixth Annual School Supply Fund Drive-Science!

Have you got four minutes? That is all the time you will need to read this missive and understand our goals for this year’s school supply fund drive.

For the past five years, the IAF has conducted an annual school supply fund drive, focused on Des Moines’ neediest children. Last year’s drive garnered a record level of support with $2356, but one experience served as a catalyst for change in how we approach our goal this year.

Toward the latter weeks of our 2016 fund drive, an out of state anonymous donor offered an additional $500, with one caveat: the entire amount must be spent on “science”.  Judging from prior fund drives, this was a generous donation, so we explored the needs of several DMPS schools, with an eye on the neediest schools and “science.” We ultimately purchased and donated two quality, classroom-adaptable microscopes: specifically, the “OMAX 40X-2500X Lab Binocular Compound LED Microscopes, with Double-layer Mechanical Stage and Digital Camera.” Both scopes are still used on an almost every-day basis by the science teachers at Hiatt Middle School here in Des Moines. And one of the things we noticed when delivering the scopes was need; the equipment our donation replaced was outdated, to say the least. We also took note of the reception we received; the teachers were surprisingly grateful and appreciative. From that point, we decided to focus our efforts on closing the gap between DMPS science departments, with sadly deficient budgets, and schools outside the district who appear to be far more fortunate. After working with the science curriculum department at DMPS, an effort that included interviewing several science teachers, we were able to identify several areas of need that seem to fit within our fund budget.

TELESCOPES: Nothing is more “science” than a telescope that enables students to search the heavens for what is really up there. The Orion Astroview 90mm EQ Refractor Telescope is surprisingly affordable – about $279.00 plus shipping. The director of the DMPS science curriculum department explained that “we offer astronomy courses at several of our high schools that would benefit from direct space observations.” About three hundred bucks would help open the minds and opportunities of close to 100 kids in one east-side middle school alone.

 

 

 

And should our drive be even more successful, another scope that would serve teachers and students even more is the Coronado Personal Solar Telescope (Hydrogen alpha) with 1A Bandwidth. This scope, costing about $700.00, enables solar viewing during daylight hours, expanding learning to many inner-city kids who lack the means to travel after-hours.

 

 

 

 

 

MICROSCOPES: The committee’s research into DMPS science needs revealed two things: first, the extent to which teachers are doing their best to teach with outdated equipment and miniscule budgets is astounding. Teachers really do reach into their own pockets for some of the basic tools for the classroom. And secondly, for quality science equipment to benefit kids, it should ideally benefit teachers also, and be classroom-adaptable. One such scope that would benefit many students is the Leica EZ4 W, an “educational stereo microscope with digital cameras” that allows students to electronically connect their personal electronic devices to the scope. Utilized for biology, earth sciences, environmental science, and chemistry, the cost is about $505.00 plus shipping.

 

 

 

STREAM TABLE: Not being teachers, we were unfamiliar with this device, but it would appear to be particularly suited to Iowa. The “Science First Deluxe Stream Table” is a classroom tool for teaching earth sciences, including study of erosion, sediment deposition, behaviors of rivers and lakes, applications to agriculture, etc. One teacher told us “most teachers would change how they teach if they got one of these.” The cost is $549.00. The potential for benefitting many, many DMPS students is enormous.

SYNOPSIS: When considering this year’s school fund drive, think “science.”  Please be as generous as you can afford to be. Help us teach DMPS kids what is really “up there” through a good telescope; help literally hundreds of young people learn about the true composition of matter with a quality microscope; give an entire science department a quality Stream Table, and teach a hundred kids about “earth science.” SCIENCE is part of what IAF is all about and the IAF will match donations up to $1000!

Thanks so much,

IAF 2017 School Fund Drive Committee

 

P.S. The donation phase of the campaign will run from Sept 15- Oct 15. Presentation of the science equipment to the DMPS system will be on Carl Sagan Day, Nov 9, 2017.

IAF Sixth Annual School Supply Fund Drive

$650 of $3,500 raised
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Donation Total: $10

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IAF Sunday Meetup

This is our regular, weekly, Meetup. Please come and join us for an interesting discussion on a variety of issues.

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IAF Book Discussion, Session 2017.10 – How Propaganda Works

The IAF Book Discussion Group is an ongoing effort to provide interesting intellectual conversations for members of IAF and other interested parties on texts and topics relevant to the Secular perspective.

For this session the group will continue our three-part series on the mechanics of Propaganda, a particularly relevant topic in this day and age. The text of choice for this series is “How Propaganda Works” by the author Jason Stanley.

The Reading Schedule for the rest of this series will be as follows –

October – Chapters 3 & 4

November – Chapters 5 – 7 & the Conclusion

For this, and all subsequent sessions, please be prepared if possible, to present things from the reading assignment that stood out for you so that we can gain a good cross-section of individual perspectives where the reading is concerned. Consider questions of content, such as particular passages that really jumped out at you or particular facts/ideas you found interesting that you might want to explore further. Definitely don’t be afraid to ask questions about concepts and ideas that are new to you.

The conference room that has been reserved at Kirkendall Public Library has a maximum capacity of 20 so RSVP early to get a seat. Social time will be available from 6:30 to 7 PM if you want to come and just chat before the discussion begins. We’ll see you there. 🙂

You can read about the book by going to the Goodreads page for the title HERE.<a href=”https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1348990566l/5470.jpg”></a>

If you prefer, though, here is a brief synopsis of the title from the same –

Our democracy today is fraught with political campaigns, lobbyists, liberal media, and Fox News commentators, all using language to influence the way we think and reason about public issues. Even so, many of us believe that propaganda and manipulation aren’t problems for us–not in the way they were for the totalitarian societies of the mid-twentieth century. In “How Propaganda Works,” Jason Stanley demonstrates that more attention needs to be paid. He examines how propaganda operates subtly, how it undermines democracy–particularly the ideals of democratic deliberation and equality–and how it has damaged democracies of the past.

Focusing on the shortcomings of liberal democratic states, Stanley provides a historically grounded introduction to democratic political theory as a window into the misuse of democratic vocabulary for propaganda’s selfish purposes. He lays out historical examples, such as the restructuring of the US public school system at the turn of the twentieth century, to explore how the language of democracy is sometimes used to mask an undemocratic reality. Drawing from a range of sources, including feminist theory, critical race theory, epistemology, formal semantics, educational theory, and social and cognitive psychology, he explains how the manipulative and hypocritical declaration of flawed beliefs and ideologies arises from and perpetuates inequalities in society, such as the racial injustices that commonly occur in the United States.

“How Propaganda Works” shows that an understanding of propaganda and its mechanisms is essential for the preservation and protection of liberal democracies everywhere.

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How do our state and local governments try to hide information from citizens

The Humanist Society of Iowa presents Randy Evans, Executive Director of the Iowa Freedom of Information Council. The former chief of the Des Moines Register’s editorial pages will talk about his defense of public information. Evans’ work facilitated the 2017 Pulitzer Prize-winning editorials of Art Cullen, editor of the Storm Lake, Iowa, newspaper.

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IAF Sunday Meetup

This is our regular, weekly, Meetup. Please come and join us for an interesting discussion on a variety of issues.

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IAF Quarterly Member Meeting

Iowa Atheists and Freethinkers is a member driven organization. The Board and Officers are volunteers charged with executing the vision of the members. Our quarterly Member (Business) Meeting is your opportunity to let your voice be heard and help chart our course as the IAF nears its 10th anniversary.  We invite and encourage your participation!  

We will gather at 6pm to order food and beverages. The meeting starts promptly at 6:30pm.

Our Mission Statement: 

“Iowa Atheists and Freethinkers is a community of nonreligious people carrying out social, charitable, educational, and civic activities which flow from science, empathy, compassion and reason.” 

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IAF Quarterly Members’ Meeting

Join your fellow IAF members to help shape the future of atheism in Iowa. This quarter’s members’ meeting will be especially focused on future goals and plans. The business will begin at 6:30, but we have the room starting at 6:00 so come early and grab a bite to eat.

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