Talk tomorrow at Appalachian State

As I’ve announced previously, I’m talking tomorrow at Appalachian State University in Boone North Carolina. (I arrive today but am devoting the afternoon to sightseeing and noms.)

The talk, on my book, evolution, and American resistance to evolution (which touches on religion), will start at 7 p.m. Thursday in Plemmons Student Union’s Blue Ridge Ballroom. Everyone is invited, and after the talk they’ll be selling WEIT, which I’ll hang around to autograph. (The talk will be livestreamed here, but if you’ve seen my book talk already, this one will be similar.)

If you’re there with a book, and say the secret word, I’ll also draw a cat on your copy. The word for this session (three words, actually) is the scientific Latin trinomial for the domestic cat: Felis silvestris catus (make sure it’s pronounced correctly).

This name takes into account the origin of the housecat as a result of artificial selection on the ancestor, Felis silvestris—almost certainly the African wildcat subspecies Felis silvestris lybica, domesticated around 10,000 years ago.

I’ll not only be speaking to the public, but also meeting with the ASU Atheist/Agnostic Student Organization, and (separately) with a class in “Research & Methods in Religious Study” in the Department of Philosophy and Religion.

Oh, and thanks to the kindness of the organizers, I have complete itinerary of noms, including visits to the Storie Street Grill, Melanie’s (for breakfast), Proper, Vidalia, and the Boone Bagelry. (Can one get a real Jewish bagel in Boone? Their motto: “the best bagel in Boone”, is unconvincing; it’s like saying “The best Chinese food in Dubuque.” But I’m reassured by the presence of lox and cream cheese.)

I’ll also be visiting either a barbecue or fried-chicken joint in Charlotte. I will, of course, provide pictures of the trip, including noms.


  1. Posted May 1, 2013 at 5:33 am | Permalink

    My hometown, alma mater, and summer retreat. Hope you love Boone as much as I do. Best wishes!

  2. Leigh
    Posted May 1, 2013 at 5:46 am | Permalink

    Where does one find the correct pronunciation of scientific names? I searched for the pronunciation of your last secret word, Felidae, and found several: accent on the first syllable, accent on the second syllable,
    first e short, first e long, i short, i long,
    final ae sounded as long a, but also long e.
    So which is correct?

    • Posted May 1, 2013 at 6:08 am | Permalink

      Actually, as Latin is a dead language no one really knows how any of its words were pronounced. Standards have arisen but it’s not clear, so far as I know, that how we pronounce Latin now is how the Romans did. I hope Jerry offers some wiggle room when fans whisper the secret three words… 😉

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted May 1, 2013 at 6:34 am | Permalink

      In THIS LINK

      Click the speaker symbol bottom right of the LEFT window & you will hear a women saying the magical cat drawing three word invocation

  3. merilee
    Posted May 1, 2013 at 7:55 am | Permalink

    There’s an incredibly (and amazingly) good vegetarian restaurant in Boone, with excellent Mexican food. Wish I could remember the name, but the college kids love it.

  4. Torbjörn Larsson, OM
    Posted May 1, 2013 at 7:55 am | Permalink

    the ancestor, Felis silvestris—almost certainly the African wildcat subspecies Felis silvestris lybica, domesticated around 10,000 years ago.

    I read that a current idea of d*gs are that they domesticated themselves by feeding on community garbage.

    That doesn’t seem to fit the noble cat. It has small animal hunting skilz (for better or worse), so I assume one idea would be that cats were agreeing to adopt humans in return for presented noms?

    • BilBy
      Posted May 1, 2013 at 9:05 am | Permalink

      Once humans could gather grain together, live together, not move around so much, you’d get commensals like mice and rats. That brings in cats who follow the rules of most carnivores presented with lots of food in a small area: they become less territorial and more accepting of conspecifics. Before you know it, kitty is in the food shed, with all her new friends, killing the vermin. More food for you, divine status for ceiling cat.

  5. brianbuchbinder
    Posted May 1, 2013 at 8:18 am | Permalink

    Even in Bagelopolis (NYC) it’s getting a lot harder to get a proper bagel. More and more places are turning out toroidal Wonder Bread. If you come here I can clue you in.

  6. Diana MacPherson
    Posted May 1, 2013 at 5:13 pm | Permalink

    Damn, I took Latin for many many years at the university level. I would have rocked this contest! 🙂

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