O&I Statement of Purpose and Intent

NOTICE ~ As of December 1, 2019 and until further notice, Owl & Ibis will not hold in-person meetings.

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…

"I Can't Breathe" - George Floyd

I Can't Breathe George Floyd’s final words May 25, 2020

AVAAZ – The World in Action

"It's my face man I didn't do nothing serious man
please I can't breathe
please man
please somebody
please man
I can't breathe
I can't breathe
man can't breathe, my face
just get up
I can't breathe
please (inaudible)
I can't breathe sh*t
I will
I can't move
I can't
my knee
my nuts
I'm through
I'm through
I'm claustrophobic
my stomach hurt
my neck hurts
everything hurts
some water or something
I can't breathe officer
don't kill me
they gon' kill me man
come on man
I cannot breathe
I cannot breathe
they gon' kill me
they gon kill me
I can't breathe
I can't breathe
please sir
please I can't breathe."

Book Review: “The Overstory” by Richard Powers

A Review of The Overstory by Richard Powers James E. Lassiter
The Overstory Richard Powers 2019 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction
Buy and read this book. Within you will find yourself as you presently are. That is, your understanding of Life and humankind’s place within it. From reading it you might also find and become a better person.
Who are you now? Here are two reviews of The Overstory that reveal some of you, standing above and separate from nature:
The Atlantic called the novel "darkly optimistic" for taking the long view that humanity was doomed while trees are not. The Guardian was mixed on the novel, claiming that Powers mostly succeeded in conjuring "narrative momentum out of thin air, again and again." (Wikipedia) Others of you stand here, within, a part of nature:
Library Journal* called the book "a deep meditation on the irreparable psychic damage that manifests in our unmitigated separation from nature.” Ron Charles of The Washington Postoffered up effusive prais…

Permanent Changes Are Needed in Politics, Economics and Culture - Otherwise, We Remain Doomed

In Charts: Oil
A Collection of Charts, Graphs and Maps Exploring
the Global Oil Industry
The Globalist April 28, 2020
Just how big is the oil industry? Much bigger and more invasive in our lives than I thought. It is tied to almost every product and service we consider modern necessities and desirables. See the above link for eleven graphics providing facts on the global oil industry.
The last chart from The Globalist (see above, top) shows a selection of consumer products that can be produced from one barrel of oil.
Along with our technological efforts at fixing, ameliorating, and redirecting oil dependency we need a radical reset of our values and beliefs, especially those about our relationships with each other, and with Earth.
Regrettably, this involves efforts in politics and economics, areas where the vast majority of humankind have little to no control.
I say regrettably because of the deep dysfunctional and economic cronyism of current US and global politics. The troughs provided by th…

Forget "Tribe" - Become a Citizen of the World

Photo: Raising Miro: On the Road of Life (

“What is a Tribe?” Ligaya Mishan April 13, 2020 The New York Times T Magazine

Some things, the writer of this essay gets right, IMHO. Others, she does not.
Writer at large, Ligaya Mishan, declares she is going to rescue "tribe" from "decades of anthropological study that privileged Western civilization." Okay. I guess. But that would be a tall order in a short New York Times T Magazine essay. Yes, the British Colonial Office hired anthropologists in the early-mid 20th Century to further colonialism, and help expand the privileges of Westerners beyond Europe.
I am not sure what decades of anthropological study the writer wants to rescue "tribe" from. Because later she rightly refers to American anthropologist Marshall Sahlins who objected to the term in the mid-20th century; and who was quickly joined by virtually all other American anthropologists, especially…

Book Review: "Augustus" by John Williams

Caesar Augustus (63BC-14AD)
Over the past year or so, I have been reading ancient Roman history and biographies of notable Romans of that time. I have done so out of interest and at the recommendation of my doctor, a good friend who insists I need some “mental popcorn” to balance the nonfiction staple of my literary diet. Rather than the fiction he recommends I have opted for the grandeur that was Rome! I finished my most recent book, Augustus, this morning, in my bed. I mention where I was to express how grateful I am to be retired and have the time to read as much as I want, of what I want. Happily, government reports and white papers, emails, congressional inquiries, immigration law books, have not appeared before my eyes since November 2007. With that and having in mind my friends many of whom are also in their good, old age, I offer below some excerpts from the last pages of Augustus. Pagesthat focus on his final days, his summing the counts of his personal life and the accomplishm…