O&I Statement of Purpose and Intent

I initiated Owl & Ibis - A Confluence of Minds as a private critical thinker club in mid-2013. On September 22, 2015 I made it public as an open-to-all freethinker online forum and in-person gathering. In late 2017 I changed the forum for O&I posts and comments from a Facebook page to this blog.

Owl & Ibis - A Confluence of Minds is a secular, humanist, free-thinker discussion group. There are no membership requirements and all are welcome. Meetings are held on the second and fourth Tuesday of each month from 7:00-9:00PM. Meetings take place at Douté Counseling Services, 500 W. Lanier Ave, (Hwy 54W), Magnolia Office Park, Suite 508, Fayetteville, GA 30214. See the left sidebar (click on the three horizontal bar icon at upper left) for driving directions.

Discussion topics are drawn solely from the natural sciences, social sciences, philosophy, history, and cultural studies, including the sacred. Sacred topics have to do with the impact of sacred beliefs and behaviors on t…

Luck - When Science, Religion and Common Sense Fail

Luck is a judgment many people produce after an unanticipated or uncontrollable outcome. It is a mental posture individuals learn and associate with their hopes for their future. If we decide an occurrence benefits us, another or anything’s wellbeing we conclude the occurrence was good luck; if not, it was bad luck. Luck’s most appropriate corollary is serendipity but even that is a human judgment. In raw, pre-human physics, yes, stuff happened. But, there was no luck, happenstance, serendipity. For example, when atoms combined to form a molecule with properties that the single atoms did not have, and no human was there at the time making a judgment about the event, there was no good or bad luck. There was simply, as far as we know, a non-judgmental occurrence. It happened and was neither an inherently good or bad event.
But, how far can such thinking be pushed - just how useful is it? Darwinian evolution would not have come to dominate the life sciences had Darwin not seen, judged and…

"Strange Brew: Religion, Politics and Business in America, Part II" by Pam Dewey

August 5, 2018
Today, Pam Dewey, author, blogger and video producer, posted "Strange Brew, Part III: Eye of Newt and Foot of Frog." It may be accessed here. Here's an accompanying note from Pam:

"If you have not yet seen Part 1 and/or Part 2, links to all three current videos in the series are available at the YouTube "Playlist" page linked below for the STRANGE BREW series. Be sure to watch them in order...the material in each one builds on information and commentary in the earlier entries. And stay tuned for more to come in the series. Links will show up on this playlist page on the YouTube website each time a new video is added to the collection. 
"The ongoing STRANGE BREW Series is an examination of the weird symbiosis of GOP Politics, Big Business, and Evangelical Christianity during the presidential administration of Donald Trump, which …

The Dark Mountain Project - An Owl & Ibis Assessment

More than a year ago I stumbled upon the Dark Mountain Project, a British social and literary movement to alert the world about Humankind’s threat to itself and Earth. DMP disturbed me. Most of what its founders and members had written rang true with my own thinking about the negative cultural evolutionary direction of Humankind over the past five centuries, and our rapid degradation of Earth along the way. But was DMP’s solution of a total abandonment of the Western, now global, approach to economics, politics and ecology justifiable, and would DMP’s suggestion for doing something different work?
These were questions I could not answer. So, in December 2017 I made an email proposal to my fellow participants in the Owl & Ibis Confluence of Minds hoping to answer them. The full text of that email is here. Here is an extract of the proposal itself:
I propose a close look at DMP by Owl & Ibis over the course of several meetings in 2018. This would require an O&I team approach t…

Political Disagreement - Choosing Understanding And Tolerance Over Hatred

Since a recent meeting with a close friend I’ve been thinking a lot about his caution concerning my views of those who hold political and moral views different from mine.

Specifically, I’ve been thinking about revising what I think of the mostly white, rich, Christian, (ultra)conservative, Republicans, WRCCRs (pronounced “wreckers”) for short, currently in power in the US. I’ve decided I want to shed my hatred for them and their beliefs and values, and replace it with a deeper understanding of why they hold the views they do.
Socially, I’m looking for common ground as a basis for a better dialog when I encounter them, in person or via media. Personally, I’m looking to replace my hatred based on judgment with a tolerance based on understanding. All things considered I think this approach is the only reasonable option. "Those folks," as my friend reminded me, aren’t going anywhere and their thinking isn’t going to change easily or quickly. My hatred won’t free up or change their…