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 the well-being of the individual and his/her society, and on Humankind as a whole. Owl & Ibis is not the forum for religious apologetics and proselytizing.

Participants accept and advocate, totally or in part, an understanding of the Universe based on the principles and methods of scientific-secularism, skepticism, and reverence. The owl and ibis are the group’s totems and have been adopted for their symbolism, beauty, and inspiration. They symbolically represent the pursuit of knowledge and truth in the European and Egypto-African civilizations, respectively. The owl is associated with the Greek goddess of wisdom, Athena, and the ibis with the Egyptian god of knowledge, Thoth.

Respectful of the rights of its members to hold personal beliefs of their choosing, Owl and Ibis, as a learning endeavor, is interested in all civilizations, societies, cultural traditions, and belief systems but professes to none. It holds in high esteem secular-scientific thinking yet is committed to ideological pluralism and tolerance regarding all other modes of thought and inquiry. At the same time, Owl & Ibis participants will critically assess and when necessary challenge the beliefs and values of persons and groups in terms of the harm they may do or the purported benefit they provide to specific persons, peoples, and Humankind as a whole.

The chair of meetings rotates among the participants. At each meeting a presentation is made by the chair. Presentations may be oral or via electronic media. Printed handouts are helpful. Each presentation covers a topic from one of the above subject areas and should include a point of argumentation. Any time remaining after the presentation is used for discussion. Occasionally a special guest is invited to make a presentation on a topic from the prescribed subject areas. Passionate intellectual intensity may at times arise during discussions. Free expression, civility, mutual respect, and the absence of animosity prevail at all meetings.

Some staunch scientific-secular freethinkers may consider Owl & Ibis’s pluralistic approach to be naïve, wooish claptrap. That association, engagement, dialog, or compromise with religious believers is a waste of time. Don't let the Owl & Ibis totems mislead you into thinking the group is pro-science and anti-religion, or vice versa. The totems are there to make the group special, and for solemnity. Symbolism, ritual, reverence, and a fascination with the mysterious and unknown have always been and shall forever remain a vital part of humanness.

Owl & Ibis is tolerant of a wide range of worldviews and belief systems. Pluralism and inclusion are regarded to be the best ways forward in Humankind’s efforts at forging a global morality and civilization, and for acting responsibly as Earth's steward. Owl & Ibis attempts to contribute to such a future.

For information on upcoming meetings, past presentations and links to O&I slideshows and documents, go to the O&I Main Page here, then click on the three-bar icon at the upper left.

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