Thursday, November 1, 2007

open forum 7

October was a month of extremes. It had some of the highest highs I have had in years, and some pretty darn low lows as well. Inspite of the rather grim present, the future looks bright, hope blooms on the horizon.

It has now become a tradition here on my blog that on the first of each month I put up an open forum.

There have been times when visiting other blogs that I wanted to ask the blog owner a question off topic, but never really knew where to put it. I didn't want to be just bust into an on-going comment-conversation.

So- This post is the opportunity for any of my readers to broach a subject, ask a personal question, bring up a topic, talk about whatever is on your mind...

It is after all an open forum, speak your piece!


Reg Golb said...

I would really like to ask a question of fiery, and hopefully get some of the other commenters to add their two cents.

How do you reconcile your atheism with your politics?

My observation is that you are very conservative in your educational views and yet the group that seems most supportive to your homeschooling is primarily Christians.

Hound Doggy said...

IMO and in my experience.. I don't think that atheism has much to do with political standing.
It may be known about me that I don't particularly like labels but I would say that I am a libertarian mostly but you could also argue conservative democrat. More accurately it depends on the issue that is being discussed.
I feel the same way about religion. I think that there are some times when religion is good for some people. But who am I to say that everyone should believe as I do. I don't have all the answers and yes (gasp) I have made some mistakes. EVERYBODY HAS. Whether you believe in god or not.

In terms of homeschooling. I think that the parents have the right to decide how to educate their child. I think sometimes homeschooling is the best thing and I think other times it is the worst thing and I think most of the time it falls somewhere in the middle. There are so many things in this country that are so screwed up right now that if you can save your child from a little bit of that I think it's okay.
Some public schools are great but there seem to be so many where the kid doesn't even stand a chance. In my area there are, I think, 9 schools that have just been named drop-out mill. (is that what it was?) One had a graduation rate of 36%. You could be sure that I would yank my kid out of that school. I would most certainly have a better learning environment in an alley than that.

One thing does effect my political choices and many times it is related to religion. I have certain strong opinions about certain issues. If a candidate has differing views on those issues, I will not vote for him. There has never been a candidate that has the same views on everything that I do. I pick the lesser of the evils. Many times lately I don't think people are really voting for someone, rather they vote against someone. I believe that is what I will be doing this coming election.

Johnny said...

Glob haven't you asked this before? Do you think you are going to say something that is going to make Fiery go "hey shit he's right I am conservative so hell I may as well believe in god!!"
Glob like most fundies you just don't understand what atheism is. IT IS NOT BELEIVING IN GOD PERIOD Conservatism DOES NOT entail religious affiliation!! There are conservative atheists, racist atheists, homophobic atheists shit there are even pro life atheists!
So what if christians are supportive of her homeschooling. Seeing as the vast majority of the population is in fact christian we do deal and are friends and rely on christians we just don't agree with them when it comes to believing in the fairytail. What do you think we do punch every christian we see or something hahahahah that would be a great deal of punching hahahaha.
You as a christian have a vested interest in supporting homeschooling don't you? With homeschool you can ensure your own brand of the tripe you call religon is force fed into their heads. Glob an atheist can't do that because there is no "brand" to atheism, it is simply NOT BELIEVING IN GOD.
Tell us why you think atheism and conservatism aren't compatable?

Protium said...

I shits me that these fundies assume Atheism is a worldview.

Do you think you understand yet Glob.

Atheist = No believe in god.
That's it.

Sean the Blogonaut F.C.D. said...

I am Atheist and Green(politically).

Poodles said...

I am atheist, left of center. I am pro choice, pro death penalty. I am in favor of the right to have a gun, unless you are a convicted felon. I am pro gay marriage, I am not a member of PETA but I support animal rights and causes, but "meat is murder, tasty, tasty, murder" therefore, I don't belong to PETA. I am a member of the Humane society of the US though.

And I am childless by choice.

I am pretty sure I just made Reg's head explode.

Poodles said...

And oh yea, I was all of those things when I was a catholic.

Thump Thump Eyes said...

Hi Fiery *smiles and waves* :-D

And hi to everyone else too ;-D

Seeing as how its Open Forum Day I want to say how much I enjoy your blog. I havent really introduced myself before, just jumped in here and there with a few comments...

Protium and I live in Perth West Oz, and as we are working our butts off most of the time, we dont often get much of a chance to go out and meet people and chat. So its great to feel the warm sense of like minds here in your little online community (although those fundy boomerangs (they keep coming back) that you have attracted are a little wierd:)

I try to look in everyday, but some days I'm just too snowed under. I've also tried to start my own blog, but so far its a slow start....ha!

Anyways, keep firing up Fiery, love it!! And hope the downs go away and the ups keep going up!


Fiery said...


Awwwwww, *waves back*, if that isn't just the nicest comment. Thank you!!!!!

I find that when I am just putzing around with my own day, doing dishes, laundry, etc... and think of my blog, it's just such a warm fuzzy feeling. I always shake my head in wonder and disbelief how many people show up and comment here and genuinely seem to enjoy my blog as much as I do.

I suppose it would be quiet without the fundy boomerangs (great image btw) stirring the waters. Just wish they wouldn't post sermons. The dissenting opinon does stir things up a bit though. lol

As for blogs being a slow start, yep, they tend to. It's a rare blog that explodes from the starting gate. Protes' blog just had me and Sean for quite awhile there and now look, he's got a fair number of people commenting on it.

Mine certainly started slow, and I would have NEVER guessed that this is where it would end up.

I'd love to see what you've written, be brave! There is the most delightful trashbin beside each comment, that, as blog owner, allows you to dispose of anyone you don't want to talk to. It's like the little button under the desk that activates the trap door and sends them winging down the acme slide and out of your life.

Thump Thump Eyes said...

Initially I was just lurking and I dont like doing that, eventually I dredged up the courage to say something and woo hoo I was away....not so with my own blog though, but I will get going with it one of these days!

I read online newspapers from all over the place and pick out stories that are either outrageous or horrific or just a plain crazy example of what depths humans can descend to, and I am interested to see what other people think, so if I ever get it going I might be lucky enough to find out:)

And yes, I think the boomerangs are sermonistic by nature, no changing that....does make for a lot of good lively discussion though!!

Its Friday night here, another week gone, the weekend is looming nicely, think I'd better walk the dog in the last of the sunshine, then relax, talk to all you nice people again soon, have a good weekend Fiery....

Fiery said...


I think the most challenging time to comment on a blog is after you've been lurking awhile. If you stumble across a new blog and throw a comment out there, well, that's not too hard. However, you don't really know who the players on the blog are and can really stick your foot in it. (ok, that happened to me)...

BUT, if you'e been reading the blog regularly and kind of get a feel for the other commenters, pretty soon just reading becomes a habbit and you're not sure how to jump in. Kind of like watching kids at the playground and wanting to join in, but not sure if there are mean kids lurking who will start razzing you. (Not on my blog, no mean kids allowed!)

I'm so glad you came out of lurkdom to comment on my blog. I hope you have a fantastic weekend!!!! I hope you drag Protes from the shop and his nose from the tech manuals and do something really fun together. Even if it's just going for a walk with the dog on the beach and throwing handfuls of water at each other.

Richard said...

Hi Everyone (big wave):

Johnny is exactly right Reg. A more detailed look at why he is right can be seen in Atheism is not a World View by blogger Gus van Horn. It is not very long.

Johnny, I was pretty amused by your type of fairtytale, as "fairytail". Somehow the latter is appropriate, as something at the end, something that is left behind, or is the last thing seen as the creature LEAVES.

And Protium's "I shits me" cracked me up. LOL!!! Was that supposed to be "It", or is that a standard phrase Down under?

Richard said...

Sean, you get your own comment WOOOHOOO! :-)

Sean, with respect for your other thought processes, please don't be Green, especially politically!

Have you heard of "Oreos" as a description of Negroes who adopt a reasoned and productive lifestyle, especially in business? The notion of "Oreo", arose from within Black American culture as a put down for Negroes who have not adopted the Black Negro anti-culture and have "caved in" to white culture. This is as if working hard, accruing wealth, and using clear thinking to do so is somehow a skin color issue. Anyway these Oreos are Black on the outside but White on the inside.

Aside from the fact that there is almost NOTHING right about Environmentalism and being Green, the movement is dominated by "Watermelons"! A Watermelon is a reference to the politics of environmentalism: Green on the outside but when you cut it open it is Red on the inside --like Hilary Clinton on steroids.

Environmentalism is a big topic that Fiery may not want to get into. I can only use the suggestion that, as a research biologist and high school teacher of biology (not now) who has followed the movement since high school (1974 - when human technology was going to cause an Ice Age!) and as an intellectually sincere person, that environmentalism is as irrational as religion, and has many of the same elements. Just as we need not and should not worry that we offend God and place us in Hell, nor need need we worry that our use of Earth will ruin the Earth, let alone impoverish humanity. The Green intent, fundamentally, is not just the impoverishment of humanity but its destruction.

Prince Philip, the Queen's husband and celebrity leader of The World Wildlife Fund, has said (from memory), "If I were to be reincarnated I should like to return as something like AIDS to help reduce the world's population."

Richard said...

Poodles, please be careful with that animal rights idea. It purposely muddles together human Rights with caring and respect for animals. The latter is valid, but is not a matter of Rights.

PETA and other such groups "muddle" the meaning of Rights to put animals above humans. If they really cared about animals they would not be releasing animals from labs. The animals are rarely able to thrive on their own once released. If PETA et al really cared about animals they would care about the human 'animal' too.

Like environmentalism (see my comment to Sean) their ultimate direction is the impoverishment of humanity, but through a different tack.

Reg Golb said...

Hey Richard,
I didn't think you would respond, joke.

I didn't really insinuate that atheism is a worldview in my question. That is another debate.

I am more interested in how any of you feel having to be lumped in with so many Christians. I know that no one here wants to be put in a box, but the fact is when you only have two legitimate choices for any office, you have to put yourself in a box whether you want to or not.

Fiery said...

I predict Richard will respond with the "false alternative" discussion.

Reg Golb said...

And what false alternative would you be referring to.

Fiery said...

The false choice between having only two legitimate choices for any office. I wonder if Richard will be along later to agree or disagree with my assessment.

Reg Golb said...

He can argue it if he wants, the fact is there are only two choices. Or are you saying that neither is legitimate. Now that would be an argument Richard would try to make.

I am sure that the ronpaulophites and the kucinicheers would argue, but lets get serious. Or maybe there is some libertarian who someone thinks has a chance (other than ronpaul)

I am sure up in NoDak there are plenty of other options besides Dorgan (who has basically been unopposed) and conrad.

Yeah, I am pretty much right on the two choice thing. It sucks though. Hillary is unelectable and the Republicans are questionable conservatives at best.

Poodles said...

Sorry Richard but I have to disagree on the whole animal rights issue. I agree that as animals we are higher up on the food chain than a house cat but I don't think we were "put" on this earth to rule over all the other creatures. They have as much right to exist as we do. I make no mistakes that I could get eaten by a bear or a shark.

And the fact that we shouldn't have the right to kill them just for shits and giggles (I don't mind killing to eat again, food chain) is another reason I am with Sean on being an environmentalist. I would never join green peace but I think we are doing irreperable damage to this planet and we will pay the price one day. Maybe not us, but our great grand children.

Reg Golb said...


It may be that dye you use.

Poodles said...

AAAWWW Reg, you make me blush, I didn't even think you noticed.

Thump Thump Eyes said...

Its much better being out of Lurkdom, and yes it is just like the mean kids in the playground....only these are the big kids....haha :-D
*hides under the desk*

Protium doesnt really like leaving the building - ever - almost have to prise him out the door sometimes haha...and as for getting him to go to the beach...well nah, he's a true redhead with very fair skin and he burns too easily...and he's not fond of the sand...or the flies...or the people....or the water for that get the idea:-)

Joe said...

TT Eyes, don't worry about a slow starting blog. I've written three times the posts this year than the first two combined. I don't know what bug bit me but so be it. I too look at articles, link to them and comment. It'll come to you.

Oh,and sorry to Fiery for the thread hijack. Back to your reguarly scheduled programming.

Fiery said...

Joe, that type of comment is exactly what my blog is all about! People talking to each other, being friendly, encouraging. No need to apologise for that!

Richard said...

Poodles, I'd like to emphasize two points.

Of the idea of animal rights, I wrote,
"It purposely muddles together human Rights with caring and respect for animals. The latter is valid, but is not a matter of Rights."

Animals cannot have Rights in any way, shape or form. Rights stem from the capacity of one individual to understand the living requirements of another individual, so that both can co-exist perhaps to mutual benefit. That is, Rights are only possible among conceptual beings. We can care for and respect the lives of animals, but they have no regard for our lives or Rights. Rights are not something bestowed by a government or God, they arise out of Man's Nature as a social and conceptual creature. Try and explain your Rights to a hungry Tiger, and you will be lunch --no co-existence or mutual benefit there!

On both the animal rights issue and the environment issue a great deal can be said. However, perhaps the most fundamental one is, if you care about your grandchildren, live as LARGE as you can in YOUR lifetime. The more wealth you and your generation *creates*, by using the Earth's renewable and non-renewable resources, the more of those resources can be extracted &/or changed to neat new alternatives.

E.g. Whale oil was a valuable commodity for lighting and other uses. Whalers found ways to bring more and more of it to market as cheaply as possible. Then, as the numbers of whales declined, the cost began to climb, but people were willing to pay. Whalers improved their search techniques.

But then someone (forget name) saw the advantage of a watery liquid that formed a puddle on some black slimy dirt. That liquid burned. He found it worked a lot like whale oil and though it was not as clean burning, it was much much easier to obtain. Poorer families were willing to use it, and get the benefit of being able to do more work after dark, because they had light. Sons and daughters could study or read, and parents could track their finances and plan future endeavors, all after dark.

Whale oil paved the way for kerosene, which was subsequently studied and improved upon until not only were different types of gasoline developed but the automobile industry was fueled as was an entire plastics industry and much much more. The poor got richer, and the whales were left more alone. The dramatic increase in wealth due to cheaper energy showed the importance of energy to humanity as never before. As techniques for fossil fuel extraction were improved the cost of fuel decreased enormously. (Gas should still be 30 cents a gallon!)

All that energy made the pursuit of countless other things possible. The value of electricity was being explored. Soon electrical lighting began replacing kerosene lamps, and lead eventually to nuclear power generation.

Nuclear fission is the cleanest, safest and most reliable source of energy man has ever discovered, yet the environmental crowd largely opposes it. The result has been continued use of coal fired plants and a 35 year period where this cheapest source of energy has been kept expensive. Development of electric cars has been slowed because nuclear power is overpriced (due to ridiculous safety requirements that quadruple(?) the cost of production). Cheaper energy (and associated technological benefits) would also make investigation of nuclear fusion less expensive. It promises enormously more power with no radioactive waste (not that radioactive waste is much of a problem).

If left alone nuclear power would predominate, and we would no longer use fossil fuels for cars let alone for the generation of electricity. That this would reduce pollution is obvious, yet the Greens oppose nuclear power. Greens do not want the planet to live, they want you to die --or at least cease to procreate. The same is true of those who advocate Rights for animals.

The fact is, the more you leave the free market alone, the cleaner the environment, the happier and healthier the populace, and the fewer kids they have. Those kids ("our grandchildren") have a far better future on Earth than the kids produced by any other approach to politics, economics, and resource use. The 'Green' alternative for our grandchildren is a lifestyle that is a cross between East Germany (before The Wall came down) and the late 1800s. A completely lousy way to live.

For your grandchildren's sake see through people like Al the Goron. Environmentalism, on every front it has, is as much a religion as any ritual-driven theism.

[Pls note my remark in my post to Sean: I've been following the above issues since the mid 1970s, as a research biologist and teacher.]

Richard said...

You have already been answered. Atheism is not a Worldview, which means it is not a view to conservative politics or to tribal elders' choice of tobacco, or to homeschooling or to whether you should wear pumps or stilettos with a miniskirt on your nights out with the boys.

And what do you mean by "reconcile" atheism with politics, as if there is some sort of conflict. The ONLY chance at rational politics IS atheistic. Are you trying to smuggle in some sort of conflict where homeschooling reflects a political view like that of Christians? Perhaps that is so as a *rejection* of something, but that in no way means there is some sort of common ground FOR something.

Atheism just means there is no GOD, because there is no god, period. Yes, your question is based on some sort of false alternative, but it is so stupid I refuse to sort it out. So what if Christians and Atheists both reject public schooling, there are Christians and Atheists who embrace public schooling.

Hitting on a non-essential such as "OOOOOOOOh they both homeschool!" is puerile. It is like judging a person by their skin color... just stupid. Look a little deeper and you will find color, political persuasion, religious belief or non-belief, choice of heels are not fundamental determinants of homeschooling practice.

Reg Golb said...

Actually this was a political argument. What I would like to know is how do you atheists with an obviously conservative worldview vote when the Republican party is so predominantly Christian?

Poodles said...

Richard Said: "Animals cannot have Rights in any way, shape or form. Rights stem from the capacity of one individual to understand the living requirements of another individual, so that both can co-exist perhaps to mutual benefit."

So, Richard with that argument, should children have rights? They don't understand them.

Sean the Blogonaut F.C.D. said...

I vote Green for a couple of resons. They are the only party left in this country with any integrity, by voting for them I hope that they will gain control of the senate and help form a control valve on whichever of the two major political parties get back into goverment.

Starhawk said...

I'll be posting more Monday morning, I've been really busy this last week. I just wanted to step in quick and give Fiery a big thumbs up for those 3 links on the main page, those sites are awesome.

*Thumbs up*

Plus welcome to the party Thump Thump.

Richard said...

Hiya Poodles,

you wrote,
"So, ... should children have rights? They don't understand them.

That's a great question! For related example, what about the significantly retarded; should they have rights?

The answer is requires a contextual understanding in terms of essentials.

Whether a retard or a healthy child, each has a limited capability of understanding Rights, but both are still Human. Being Human does not only mean being a human adult. Nor does being human *only* mean being a "rational animal". The latter is the essential that distinguishes humans from other organisms, but it is not the only characteristic of humans. Obviously, humans are composed of much more than just a (potentially) rational mind. We have to acknowledge that and accommodate it accordingly.

Children are undeveloped minds, but they are still human in every other respect. As they mature they acquire more Rights. First, they have a right to Life, but it requires time before they have the Right to property and liberty. Indeed that is why property is held in trust for children.

Animals, even the most advanced apes, cannot grasp such principles, regardless of how long they live or how smart they may otherwise appear to be.

Humans are as different from animals as animals are different from plants.