Talk in North Carolina next week

A week from today, on May 2 at 7 p.m., I’ll be talking about the message of my book (and some about religion) at Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina (yes, it was named after Daniel Boone). You can see the announcement here for details and the venue.

I’m excited to be going for several reasons: ASU is a very good liberal arts school, which I’ve never visited; the mountains of western North Carolina are beautiful, and it will be spring; the organizers have planned an awesome series of restaurant visits for me, and I’ll get to hike up Grandfather Mountain to whet my appetite.

I doubt that there are many readers in that neck of the woods, but if you’re nearby, come on in, y’all!  They will be selling copies of WEIT, which I’ll autograph after my talk, and there will be a secret word (revealed on Tuesday or Wednesday of next week) which, if you say it to me, will get you a cat drawn in your book as well. If you want to be prepared, the ASU bookstore has been selling the book for several weeks.

Thanks to Professor Howie Neufeld for organizing my visit and the noms.


The top of Grandfather Mountain. I didn’t realize there was a bridge!



  1. Sajanas
    Posted April 25, 2013 at 9:33 am | Permalink

    If you get a chance, try and hit Melanies… they do awesome stuffed french toast there, best I’ve had.

    • Posted April 25, 2013 at 9:47 am | Permalink

      I’m having breakfast there on Thursday. Thanks for the tip!

      • Sajanas
        Posted April 25, 2013 at 10:30 am | Permalink

        Hope you enjoy it, and that you can get a table easily… when I went there it was packed.

    • ritebrother
      Posted April 25, 2013 at 10:06 am | Permalink

      I second the Melanie’s french toast recommendation. Boone is a beautiful place. I’m at the other end of the state, but go to Boone for the Music on the Mountaintop festival every Summer. Please keep us informed if you do schedule a talk in Raleigh!

    • vall
      Posted April 26, 2013 at 8:01 am | Permalink

      Is that the bagel place? I think that is the best (only) good food in town. My sister lives there so I am pretty familiar with Boone. The other place to eat is the Mellow Mushroom. Great non-Chicago style pizza. Everything else is horrible. Everything. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

  2. Posted April 25, 2013 at 9:35 am | Permalink

    Won’t you head over to the Raleigh/Durham area too? Don’t you want to visit Duke or another Uni here?

    I would love to hear your talk on speciation, but I can’t get out to Boone. I’ve gotta graduate first!

    Enjoy the gorgeous NC mountains.

    • Posted April 25, 2013 at 9:47 am | Permalink

      I may be in Raleigh this summer speaking to the atheist group there.

      • Posted April 25, 2013 at 9:55 am | Permalink

        Triangle Freethought Society?
        I’ve been so out of the loop with school, no time to keep up.
        I’ll definitely be there!

  3. jcalendine
    Posted April 25, 2013 at 9:35 am | Permalink

    You’ll love Grandfather Mountain! The bridge is a really cool experience, and it’s some of the most beautiful country in my state. I live in central NC, about a 4-hour drive from ASU, but I’ll be there!

  4. Marcus
    Posted April 25, 2013 at 9:35 am | Permalink

    Dr. Coyne,

    I appreciate your work. I have read WEIT and found it very informative. However, I am also a theist and believe you completely step out of your element when you begin discussing matters of religion or specifically matters of philosophy. Evolution is a theory that works through and through but it has NOTHING to say on the initial origins of life or WHY there is life to begin with. These are metaphysical questions that can’t be answered via the scientific method. I too deplore fundamentalist creationists who try to pawn off their work as science. Fortunately, they are the minority and will NEVER change their minds. Giving them publicity or recognition on your blog really does not serve any purpose.


    • BilBy
      Posted April 25, 2013 at 10:19 am | Permalink

      With respect; your last point – I don’t get this. Several times on blogs and websites I have read people rushing to state/complain that attention shouldn’t be paid to creationists or accomodationist arguments for fear of giving them ‘publicity’ or any kind of legitimacy. Well, if not here, then where? This sort of website or at talks at Universities seem the ideal place to respond.

      • brdke
        Posted April 25, 2013 at 10:32 am | Permalink

        Not to be a sychophant, which I’m not, and not to be rude to Marcus, which I won’t be, I don’t understand that either. As a philosopher, I sometimes wish Jerry were a bit more up on some things in philosophy, but it’s a minor quibble (that woudl be fun to have sometime). But he’s not a philosopher, and I don’t come here for professional philosophy. When I hear someone say “metaphysical questions can’t be answered by science,” I agree, but ask, do you think they can be answered by rational methods? If they say no to that, I know to stop the conversation. But if it’s yes, we’re back in business. Do you (I would ask) think then that the premises arrived at by science can ever figure into these rational arguments? A no answer on this is pretty tough! If yes, let’s talk.

        No, in a technical sense, evolution says nothing about hte matters you mention, but it DOES give an attempt at a perfectly naturalistic explanation of the large swath of biological phenomena, and then suggests naturalistic ways of doing the other things.

        And I offer a different response than Jerry’s to your point about not giving publicity to creationists. Insofar as JC does this, I appreciate being informed about the machinations of say, Ken Hamm. But mostly what Jerry gives publictity to is accomodationists and less conservative xians that really do merit long, careful responses.

        • brdke
          Posted April 25, 2013 at 10:43 am | Permalink

          Ooops, I had thought the response before mine was Jerry’s but it was Bilbys. No matter, I agree with it one way or the other, just wanted to get the attribution right.

          • BilBy
            Posted April 25, 2013 at 11:30 am | Permalink

            It’s because I called this a ‘website’ isn’t it? 🙂

            • brad
              Posted April 25, 2013 at 11:55 am | Permalink

              A mortal sin here, indeed!

    • Veroxitatis
      Posted April 25, 2013 at 11:21 am | Permalink

      I see “WHY” in this context as nothing more than a word commencing a grammatically correct question.

    • Kevin
      Posted April 25, 2013 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

      Your “concern” is noted.

      However, if you don’t like the contest of this web site, there are approximately 2 billion others that can occupy your time.

    • Kevin
      Posted April 25, 2013 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

      Also, the origins of the universe is a scientific question, not a “metaphysical” one. It involves study of deep space (cosmology) and the tiniest of particles (particle physics). It most definitely is NOT a religious question.

      Same with the origins of life — whether or not on this planet. The disciplines involved are physics, chemistry, and biochemistry. There is no suggestion from any of these disciplines that the answer to the question of how life arose will be answered by “god did it”.

      So, please kindly open a book or two on the various subjects involved before demanding that we accept your extremely narrow viewpoint (presented without evidence, FWIW).

      For example, I’m currently reading “What Is Life. How Chemistry Became Biology” by Addy Pross. So far, no need to invoke a deity at all in the process.

      Educate yourself before you embarrass yourself further.

      And finally, I’ll pit Dr. Coyne’s knowledge of philosophy and theology against yours any day of the week. I’m quite certain that unlike you, he’s actually read and studied those disciplines.

      Have a great life.

    • Cremnomaniac
      Posted April 25, 2013 at 8:29 pm | Permalink

      I probably shouldn’t bother with this but for the sake of practice, here goes.

      Evolution is a theory that works through and through but it has NOTHING to say on the initial origins of life or WHY there is life to begin with.

      “Evolutionary theory deals mainly with how life changed after its origin. Science does try to investigate how life started (e.g., whether or not it happened near a deep-sea vent, which organic molecules came first, etc.), but these considerations are not the central focus of evolutionary theory. Regardless of how life started, afterwards it branched and diversified, and most studies of evolution are focused on those processes.”

      Why? Too much has been written on this topic. But, as it may be of some comfort to you to assume a purpose, any rational person is perfectly fine excepting the absence of purpose. There is no evidence of any supernatural force from which meaning must be derived. So you are at a dead end here. Any “why” answer that theology offers is pure and simply fabrication, because any explanation of “why” that you think you have, is no better than a creation myth.

      Your response also demonstrates some ignorance of evolution and science in general. Take the suggestion, read WEIT.

  5. Posted April 25, 2013 at 9:36 am | Permalink

    I will be there! And yes, the North Carolina mountains are gorgeous. Hope you enjoy your time in this lovely state. Looking forward to seeing your talk.

    -Chris Schaich, Winston-Salem

  6. SA Gould
    Posted April 25, 2013 at 9:39 am | Permalink

    *…just to make sure you see this.*

    and a map. get two friends to go, and you’ll hardly notice the drive!

    MUCH MORE FUN in person. Very nice. No stress!


    and *you* make a good impression, too!

  7. Posted April 25, 2013 at 9:57 am | Permalink

    Cool! I live in Winston-Salem, about an hour away. I will definitely try to make it out there. Boone is great.

  8. Veroxitatis
    Posted April 25, 2013 at 10:07 am | Permalink

    It looks a beautiful area Jerry. With all that mountaineering will your next step be the ropes up Half Dome in Yosemite?

    BTW, isn’t it “all y’all.” But what do I know, I’m only a Brit!!

    • brdke
      Posted April 25, 2013 at 10:38 am | Permalink

      Y’all is adequate in most instances, Verox, but when you need emphasis that you mean everyone, all y’all is useful. As my brother says, all y’all is like the plural of y’all.

      • Howie Neufeld
        Posted April 25, 2013 at 11:26 am | Permalink

        Actually, folks, here in the mountains of western North Carolina they have their own accent, and instead of saying “y’all”, they say “you’ins” and instead of “there” they say “thar”. FYI

        • Veroxitatis
          Posted April 25, 2013 at 11:41 am | Permalink

          Interesting. Lots of Scots ended up in yhay part of the woods in the late 18th., early 19th. centuries. West Coast (Glasgow) dialect would say “you yins” or (to use the emphatic plural mentioned above) “yous yins”.

          • Hempenstein
            Posted April 25, 2013 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

            Which in Pittsburgh became Yinz, and which once had a heavy influx of Scots.

            I’ve heard You’uns about an hour S of St Louis, too, from someone who rented canoes on the Huzah(sp?) River & who I suspect may never have left that county.

        • Posted April 25, 2013 at 9:50 pm | Permalink

          We say “y’all” too. The big difference between the Southern Appalachians and elsewhere in the South is that our accent is rhotic instead of non-rhotic.

  9. Posted April 25, 2013 at 10:28 am | Permalink

    I’m in the other side of the state. Come to the Raleigh/Durham area sometime.

  10. Ross
    Posted April 25, 2013 at 10:31 am | Permalink

    Maybe Franklin Graham, who lives there, will come to your talk. Surely he will then realize the many errors of his ways, and fall to his knees before your audience and cry out “I was blind and now I see. Ceiling Cat, how great thou art!”

    Maybe not.

  11. brdke
    Posted April 25, 2013 at 10:36 am | Permalink

    Get your picture made with the statue of Doc Watson sitting on the bench downtown! I thought the Thai restaurant there was pretty good, but I understand the desire to do suthuhn things with in the South.

    Unfortunately, my friend who I could have stayed with and visited in conjunction with seeing you is moving to Asheville the weekend before your talk!!

  12. darrelle
    Posted April 25, 2013 at 10:40 am | Permalink

    That is beautiful country. About once a year several friends and I take 10 days or so and go riding in that general area. We set up camp typically a bit West of where you will be, in the area to the North of Franklin NC close to the TN border. There are many very nice camp sites in the area.

    Our riding ranges from NC to TN, to KY, and we have been all over the Pisgah National Forest. Can’t wait till the next trip.

  13. steve
    Posted April 25, 2013 at 10:46 am | Permalink

    Travel to that part of NC every other summer to ride the dragon, cherohala skyway etc. Went up grandfather mountain for the first time 2 summers ago. Full dress tourer, fully packed, 2 up, in the rain. Challenging ride, well worth it. Enjoy the visit and thanks for the continuously interesting articles.

  14. Sean
    Posted April 25, 2013 at 10:51 am | Permalink

    I’m an ASU grad (class of ’00) who unfortunately now lives in Indianapolis, IN. Boone is indescribably awesome. Here’s a hint on pronunciation for your visit re the word “Appalachian.” The A’s in the first and third syllables are pronounced like the a in “hat.” Second and fourth syllables are pronounced “uh”, or like the vowels in “won,” “done,” or “fun.” The “ch” is pronounced the regular way, like “chart,” “chip,” or “choose,” NOT the “sh” way you so often hear.

    Maybe in other parts of the mountain chain (it goes from Georgia to Maine, covering a lot of linguistic ground) they say “Appulayshun,” but I never heard that in four years on Boone. Actually, I first heard that – and I heard it EVERYWHERE – when ASU beat Michigan in football. Every sportscaster had a unique way of saying the name of my school, very few of them the way I heard it when I went there.

    • Kevin
      Posted April 25, 2013 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

      In my neck of the woods we just call it “App State”. Saves a lot of vowels.

      Both my niece and nephew graduated from Western Carolina — they call it something entirely different!

  15. Prof.Pedant
    Posted April 25, 2013 at 11:10 am | Permalink


  16. Samuel Chapman
    Posted April 25, 2013 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

    I am stoked that the Prof is coming to the Tarheel state. I missed the visits to our step-sister state due to work but I will not not miss this one. Hopefully, I can drag a few Atheist from Charlotte along.

  17. Posted April 25, 2013 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

    Might want to bring your summerwear, Jerry, because it’s my understanding that Appalachian State is hot hot hot!.

  18. Jon Mummaw
    Posted April 25, 2013 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

    You’ll just miss Merlefest 2013, an annual traditional music festival held in memory of Doc Watson’s son Merle at Wilkes Community College (about 30 miles East of Boone).

  19. Posted April 25, 2013 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

    It’s some of the best salamander country in the world. Be sure to get out in the woods and look under rocks and logs.

  20. Posted April 25, 2013 at 9:53 pm | Permalink

    If you have time, go to the Hebron Rock Colony. It’s a giant cascade with lots of huge boulders and you can climb all the way up to the top where it joins with a lake.

  21. Bea
    Posted April 25, 2013 at 11:11 pm | Permalink

    As I understand it, you review your posts before they are posted to the site. As I do not know of any other way to contact you, I was curious of your thoughts on the recent ‘viral’ 4th grade test out and about. I found the article on snopes:
    Personally – I would pull my child from school if I found this, regardless of performance.
    Thank you for taking the time!

  22. shermanbj
    Posted April 26, 2013 at 4:19 am | Permalink

    I’m looking forward to seeing Jerry next week at ASU and hoping he’ll draw kitteh for me in my copy of WEIT.

    Took day off this past Monday to go to Grandfather Mtn. with my son’s 2nd grade class. There is a rock in the museum with a sign that says “Touch 1.3 billion years” . . . a child was interested in the rock when another parent-volunteer pulled her away and said something like “Yeah, well, that’s a discussion for another place.” and the young person’s learning opportunity was killed by what I strongly suspect was a Young-Earther. We have many around here. Keep up the good work, Jerry.

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