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…

Little-Known Facts About Gardening, Steve Yothment

Kudos and a sincere thank you to Steve Yothment on his excellent January 8, 2019 O&I presentation, "Little-Known Facts about Gardening!"
Steve, a master gardener and core group member of O&I provided basic information on plant anatomy and physiology as well as detailed information on plant taxonomy, soil types and soil testing, and photosynthesis and plant respiration. He also provided other little-known information on farming and the major plant crops in our area and elsewhere in the U.S.
A PDF of Steve's superb slideshow may be found here.

Great presentation, Steve!
O&I ]:> ~:)

Letter to a Friend

Photo: Ann Kreilkamp
Dear Friend,
Here is a short read for you:
How I Got Bamboozled by Fake News: And the Good That Came of It Ann Kreilkamp Exopermaculture January 6, 2019
 “And thus, a few years later, was Green Acres Village born, first as a neighborhood garden, and then fully fledging as a potent little human community in communion with our Mother Earth. It has been evolving, organically, for over decade now, starting on the mental plane in 2007, when I took the permaculture design course, and was astonished to recognize in its principles real hope for a transformed world...
“It was just then, just when I had worked my mental/emotional system into a frenzied intensity, that I heard a little voice in my right ear: ‘No need for that. Just change perceptions in your neighborhood.’”

Here’s some folks doing something other than violent revolution or trying to reform our dead-end, powerful and wealthy-controlled way of living. They see what’s coming, like what happened in Cuba when the USSR col…


"The Evangelism of TED Talks Has an Eerie Resemblance to this 19th Century Religious Tradition" Roxanne Cooper AlterNet January 12, 2019 
“But if TED and the 19th century lecture circuits—the new lyceum and the old—can offer us anything, it’s a reminder that science and research offer more than new knowledge. They come with a kind of aesthetic, and they invoke certain emotions—among them thrill and hope. ... [A] certain fuzzy optimism takes hold. There’s a promise here that would be familiar, I think, to anyone who’s been moved by a great motivational speech or sermon. It’s a sense that, faced with the grind of daily life, and the intractability of its problems, somehow, through some flash of understanding, the basic terms of our struggle will change.”

“Thrill?” I’ll pass. “Hope?” Okay, but not based on “fuzzy optimism” or “somehow” or “some flash of understanding.”

I am not dark, gloom and doom, or nihilistic. I am not a hedonist or an Epicurean. I am a realist, skeptic and…

The Evolution of Western Individualism, Part II of II

Wanderer Above the Sea of Fog (1818) by Caspar David Friedrich At the December 11, 2018 meeting of Owl & Ibis yours truly presented Part II of II of The Evolution of Western Individualism, "Individualism in the 20th and 21st Centuries, A Closer Look." A PDF of the evening's slideshow is here.
This presentation was Part II of II of The Evolution of Western Individualism. The following handouts were given at the meeting – Handout 1, Handout 2. As always, comments and questions about the presentation, slideshow and handouts are welcome. Topics covered during the presentation included:
Recap of Part I Collectivism as a Reactionary Force Measuring Individualism/Collectivism by Geert Hofstede The Historical Spread of Individualism Beyond the West Objectivism by Ayn Rand Individualism in the U.S. The Modern Rise of Individualism Outside the West Neoliberalism & Individualism by Noam Chomsky Closing Thoughts    Individualism-Group Equilibrium    Individualism and Morality Individualis…

Enlightenment Lost: A Faustian Exchange of Liberty, Equality and Fraternity for Self Glorification and Material Convenience

Tech C.E.O.s Are In Love With Their Principal Doomsayer [Yuval Harari] by Nellie Bowles The New York Times November 9, 2018
How Silicon Valley is Erasing Your Individuality by Franklin Foer The Washington Post September 8, 2017
Imagine observing a group of chimpanzees in the woodlands of western Tanzania. One day, an otherwise ordinary member of the group decides he will affix wildflowers to the hair on his head and rub a red ochre paste on his face. Imagine further that he, so adorned, then swaggers among his fellows gesturing to his new appearance and pointing at and laughing disdainfully at his group mates. Finally, imagine that this same chimp begins taking overt and deceitful actions to get what the others consider a disproportionate share of food that the group has hunted or found. 

Three Questions 1. What do you think Mr. Special’s group mates will think of him, and what consequences might he face for such behavior? His fellows might ignore his appearance or find it amusing. Then again, the…

FROM THE ARCHIVES: The U.S. Peace Corps and Social Development in Africa

(Peace Corps Logos, Old and New)
The United States Peace Corps and Social Development in Africa A paper read at the University of Ghana, Legon, Department of Sociology April 29, 1990 by James E. Lassiter

DOCUMENTARY: No Room in the Inn by Pam Dewey

No Room in the Inn by Pam Dewey
"Attempting to severely limit immigration to America is a hot-button issue in the political debates of the 21st century. Yet the plaque on the Statue of Liberty has extended a warm invitation to the tired, poor, wretched, huddled masses to find refuge in America for well over a century. Has the view expressed by Lady Liberty somehow changed in recent years? No Room in the Inn is a docucommentary I created that explores the long history of her offer. The political debates over immigration in the Trump Era are nothing new. You may be surprised at what the man or woman in the street thought about immigration and refugees in the 19th and 20th Centuries, including Jewish refugees from the Holocaust of World War II." - Pam Dewey