Greetings from Australia

HumanVuvuzela
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Greetings from Australia

Greetings from Australia. My name is Robert and I’ve been a long-term reader of these forums, but have only posted once before. I’ve enjoyed reading the discussions in these forums, and look forward to becoming a little bit more involved.

 

Having read a few other introductory posts, I thought I’d give a bit of history about myself, my experiences with religion and belief, and my education and work.

 

My life:

I was born in Tasmania, and lived there with my christian family until the age of 16 when we moved to Adelaide, South Australia. Both my parents are members of the Uniting Church of Australia (a merger between the Methodists, Presbyterians and Congregational Union of Australia (?) that happened in 1977), which is a liberal Christian church that supports social justice. I was baptised as a week-old baby, and as I was growing up was taken to church every Sunday.

 

I met my wife at high school in Adelaide, and we have been together for 14 years, married for seven. We have two beautiful boys, aged 5 and 3.

 

My religious history:

Being baptised at age 7 days gives a good indication of what Sundays were like for me growing up. Every Sunday morning was church, and other weekend activities needed to fit around that. I was quite a good soccer player throughout primary school, and was offered the opportunity to try out for the state team, but given that these extra sessions were on Sunday mornings, I had to refuse. Despite this, I didn’t resent my parents for this in any way; they only made us attend church – we didn’t have to fervently remember bible passages or anything like that. Most of my friends attended the same church too, so for me going was more a social occasion than a religious one.

 

My father was elected as the moderator of the uniting church synod in Tasmania during the 1990s, and spent a couple of years assisting in the management of the church. My mother is probably more devout than my father, and was heavily involved in assisting with services, playing the organ etc. Both my parents had been brought up in strongly religious families, and there was never any real doubt that they expected me and my two sisters to follow their beliefs.  

 

I was given the opportunity to be confirmed (baptised again) when I was 12 or 13 years old, but decided against it. I hadn’t really given it much thought at the time, but when the discussion arose I had a chance to reflect on the inconsistencies in religious belief. In 1993, the football team I support won the premiership (go you Bombers! ), and in the lead up to the grand final I had been praying to god for this outcome. When the desired result occurred, however, I had the thought that surely someone would have been praying for the other side as well? How would god decide which side to go for? Which team would be more worthy? And on what criteria would god decide? At that time I decided that there couldn’t be an all-powerful god. It appeared to me that religious belief was a human weakness that made people feel better about themselves by giving a semblance of certainty when they didn’t know the answer. For me, god didn’t (and couldn’t) exist. I haven’t been back to church since.

 

There has never really been a discussion about religion with my parents. I think this is probably why I am not comfortable debating religious belief with others in person, although I feel much more comfortable when I read debates. To their credit, my parents have never criticised my decision or dragged me to church against my will, nor have they ever threatened me with ‘hell’ or other biblical consequences – I think they are happy enough that they have raised a kid with the ability to think for himself.

 

My education:

Even when I decided that god didn’t exist (at the age of 14), I didn’t really have a strong interest in science. I was interested in the natural world, but the study of science just wasn’t something that attracted me. I had just been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, however, and this led me to investigate just how the human body works, and what happens when things go wrong. Even at this stage, I read these books for personal interest rather than any specific desire to study what was written.

 

In my final year of high school, I signed up for biology. I found I had a good understanding of many of the topics through my general reading and study of human anatomy and animal physiology, and more importantly, I enjoyed it. I studied a Bachelor of Science degree at the Flinders University of South Australia, and after studying topics focused on animal behaviour, population ecology and behavioural ecology undertook an honours degree that looked at the proximate causes of the evolution of siblicidal behaviour in Australian pelicans.

 

My work:

Since competing university, I have been employed by the Australian government (I could be more specific, but I’d have to kill you… ) based in Adelaide. I am currently in Canberra in week 3 of a 12-week stint working on a special project, and hence have the enforced time away from my family to sit down and introduce myself.

 

My (lack of) belief:

I am an atheist. I understand that there are further, more specific definitions of atheism, agnosticism, theism, deism and so on, but rather than worry about labels and precise definitions at this stage, I’ll just state that I don’t believe in the existence of any gods. I am perfectly happy with my belief, and the knowledge that I am small and insignificant in the greater scheme of things. I know the insignificant nature of my place in the universe, and I am not worried by it.

 

From reading hundreds of different forums on this site, I feel that I know a little bit about many of you from what you’ve shared with others. Most of you are far better debaters than I’ll ever be – not least because most of you appear to have a very good understanding of the topics being discussed and an in-depth knowledge of the bible – but I’ll try to post when I see a topic I have an interest in to begin to redeem my voyeuristic surfing of the last few months.  


BobSpence
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Hey, Welcome!In case you had

Hey, Welcome!

In case you had missed my posts where I mentioned it, I am from Brisbane, did Electrical Engineering at the University of Queensland.

I too was baptised at some early age, but never took religious ideas very seriously. My mother was conventionally religious, but my father was not, AFAIK, so I was not pressured to 'believe'. My mother sent me to Sunday School, but didn't push me to keep going when it became obvious I was losing whatever interest I ever had in going.

Sounds like you are a very well-adjusted, rational sort of guy.

And in case you hadn't guessed, I was also 'christened' Robert...

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

"Theology is now little more than a branch of human ignorance. Indeed, it is ignorance with wings." - Sam Harris

The path to Truth lies via careful study of reality, not the dreams of our fallible minds - me

From the sublime to the ridiculous: Science -> Philosophy -> Theology


cj
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Hi from Portland, Oregon, in

Hi from Portland, Oregon, in the Pacific Northwest.

Glad to see you.  Please do try to find the time to contribute and correct me when I'm wrong.  (I would rather be corrected than continue in error.)  I have had one - 1 - university class in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology.  Which does not make me an expert in biology or ecology or evolution by any stretch.  But I enjoy reading about the subject, have continued to read about it and have found myself attempting to shine some light on the subject for those willfully ignorant.

Can you really make a sound similar to a vuvuzela?  Is the sound you make as loud?

 

-- I feel so much better since I stopped trying to believe.

"We are entitled to our own opinions. We're not entitled to our own facts"- Al Franken

"If death isn't sweet oblivion, I will be severely disappointed" - Ruth M.


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Gebus kristos on a cracker

Gebus kristos on a cracker man, more upside down people. Bob and now you? Your country was started as a penal colony. On top of that you rip off the U.S. constitution without even being brave enough to break away from the queen. Not to mention your animals look like they come from a si fi movie. Pouchs? Really? And how the hell do you pee upside down?

(Note to self: Did I think this, or type it?)

This is my silly way of saying welcome. Please don't hurt me.

 

 

"We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus -- and nonbelievers."Obama
Check out my poetry here on Rational Responders Like my poetry thread on Facebook under BrianJames Rational Poet also on twitter under Brianrrs37


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 welcome to the forum.  

 welcome to the forum.  


harleysportster
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Welcome to the forum

Welcome aboard.


butterbattle
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Hi. Welcome to the forum.

Hi. Welcome to the forum.

Our revels now are ended. These our actors, | As I foretold you, were all spirits, and | Are melted into air, into thin air; | And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, | The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, | The solemn temples, the great globe itself, - Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve, | And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, | Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff | As dreams are made on, and our little life | Is rounded with a sleep. - Shakespeare


Atheistextremist
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Hey there, HumanVuv

 

 

Orthodox Presbyterian minister's son from Sydney here. Pleased to meet you. 

 

 

 

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck


HumanVuvuzela
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Thanks

  Thanks to you all for your welcomes. 

 

Can you really make a sound similar to a vuvuzela?  Is the sound you make as loud?

 

No, although I picked this name as my sister called me this when I was ranting about some religious influence in the affairs of government - how a bunch of priests were better placed to offer opinions on ethics than others I think - and it kind of stuck. I'll certainly try not to be as annoying as the real things. And I'm definitely not as loud. 

 

**********

Gebus kristos on a cracker man, more upside down people. Bob and now you? Your country was started as a penal colony. On top of that you rip off the U.S. constitution without even being brave enough to break away from the queen. Not to mention your animals look like they come from a si fi movie. Pouchs? Really? And how the hell do you pee upside down?

(Note to self: Did I think this, or type it?)

This is my silly way of saying welcome. Please don't hurt me.

 

No offence taken. Indeed our country was started as a penal colony (and like the US, we don't have a great record for our treatment of indiginous people, either). Don't start me on the monarchy vs republic debate - I'd get rid of them tomorrow if I could, but I don't expect to see any significant push for change until QE2 dies and King Charles takes over **shudders**.

I'm proud that our animals have contributed to evidence for 'missing links' in evolution eg platypus:

Genome analysis of the platypus reveals unique signatures of evolution. Nature 453: 175-183

Not only that, but who can deny Skippy the Bush Kangaroo's contribution to the world of moving pictures? As for peeing upside down, I guess it is an ability that is gained when you have a particularly large appendage Smiling


 

 


Brian37
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HumanVuvuzela

HumanVuvuzela wrote:

  Thanks to you all for your welcomes. 

 

Can you really make a sound similar to a vuvuzela?  Is the sound you make as loud?

 

No, although I picked this name as my sister called me this when I was ranting about some religious influence in the affairs of government - how a bunch of priests were better placed to offer opinions on ethics than others I think - and it kind of stuck. I'll certainly try not to be as annoying as the real things. And I'm definitely not as loud. 

 

**********

Gebus kristos on a cracker man, more upside down people. Bob and now you? Your country was started as a penal colony. On top of that you rip off the U.S. constitution without even being brave enough to break away from the queen. Not to mention your animals look like they come from a si fi movie. Pouchs? Really? And how the hell do you pee upside down?

(Note to self: Did I think this, or type it?)

This is my silly way of saying welcome. Please don't hurt me.

 

No offence taken. Indeed our country was started as a penal colony (and like the US, we don't have a great record for our treatment of indiginous people, either). Don't start me on the monarchy vs republic debate - I'd get rid of them tomorrow if I could, but I don't expect to see any significant push for change until QE2 dies and King Charles takes over **shudders**.

I'm proud that our animals have contributed to evidence for 'missing links' in evolution eg platypus:

Genome analysis of the platypus reveals unique signatures of evolution. Nature 453: 175-183

Not only that, but who can deny Skippy the Bush Kangaroo's contribution to the world of moving pictures? As for peeing upside down, I guess it is an ability that is gained when you have a particularly large appendage Smiling


 

 

In all seriousness, at the bottom of the last post in any thread there is a "reply" and "quote" option. If you are going to quote someone use the "quote" option so their text and your text are clearly separated. It just makes it easier for people to read.

 

 

"We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus -- and nonbelievers."Obama
Check out my poetry here on Rational Responders Like my poetry thread on Facebook under BrianJames Rational Poet also on twitter under Brianrrs37


HumanVuvuzela
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Thanks

Brian37 wrote:

HumanVuvuzela wrote:

  Thanks to you all for your welcomes. 

 

Can you really make a sound similar to a vuvuzela?  Is the sound you make as loud?

 

No, although I picked this name as my sister called me this when I was ranting about some religious influence in the affairs of government - how a bunch of priests were better placed to offer opinions on ethics than others I think - and it kind of stuck. I'll certainly try not to be as annoying as the real things. And I'm definitely not as loud. 

 

**********

Gebus kristos on a cracker man, more upside down people. Bob and now you? Your country was started as a penal colony. On top of that you rip off the U.S. constitution without even being brave enough to break away from the queen. Not to mention your animals look like they come from a si fi movie. Pouchs? Really? And how the hell do you pee upside down?

(Note to self: Did I think this, or type it?)

This is my silly way of saying welcome. Please don't hurt me.

 

No offence taken. Indeed our country was started as a penal colony (and like the US, we don't have a great record for our treatment of indiginous people, either). Don't start me on the monarchy vs republic debate - I'd get rid of them tomorrow if I could, but I don't expect to see any significant push for change until QE2 dies and King Charles takes over **shudders**.

I'm proud that our animals have contributed to evidence for 'missing links' in evolution eg platypus:

Genome analysis of the platypus reveals unique signatures of evolution. Nature 453: 175-183

Not only that, but who can deny Skippy the Bush Kangaroo's contribution to the world of moving pictures? As for peeing upside down, I guess it is an ability that is gained when you have a particularly large appendage Smiling


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In all seriousness, at the bottom of the last post in any thread there is a "reply" and "quote" option. If you are going to quote someone use the "quote" option so their text and your text are clearly separated. It just makes it easier for people to read.

 

 

 

Thanks for that. I have wondered how to get that working properly. 


cj
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HumanVuvuzela wrote: Thanks

HumanVuvuzela wrote:

Thanks to you all for your welcomes.

cj wrote:

Can you really make a sound similar to a vuvuzela? Is the sound you make as loud?

No, although I picked this name as my sister called me this when I was ranting about some religious influence in the affairs of government - how a bunch of priests were better placed to offer opinions on ethics than others I think - and it kind of stuck. I'll certainly try not to be as annoying as the real things. And I'm definitely not as loud.

 

Darn. That would have been so funny.  Though I can understand your sister's POV.

 

HumanVuvuzela wrote:

Brian37 wrote:

Gebus kristos on a cracker man, more upside down people. Bob and now you? Your country was started as a penal colony. On top of that you rip off the U.S. constitution without even being brave enough to break away from the queen. Not to mention your animals look like they come from a si fi movie. Pouchs? Really? And how the hell do you pee upside down?(Note to self: Did I think this, or type it?)

 

This is my silly way of saying welcome. Please don't hurt me.

No offence taken. Indeed our country was started as a penal colony (and like the US, we don't have a great record for our treatment of indiginous people, either). Don't start me on the monarchy vs republic debate - I'd get rid of them tomorrow if I could, but I don't expect to see any significant push for change until QE2 dies and King Charles takes over **shudders**.

I'm proud that our animals have contributed to evidence for 'missing links' in evolution eg platypus:

Genome analysis of the platypus reveals unique signatures of evolution. Nature;453: 175-183

Not only that, but who can deny Skippy the Bush Kangaroo's contribution to the world of moving pictures? As for peeing upside down, I guess it is an ability that is gained when you have a particularly large appendage Smiling

 

Pfffffffftttttttttttttttttt......... Don't try fooling an old woman.  Large appendage.  Sure. 

And just think - if Australia were a republic, you could be just like the US.  Feel better about ol' Lizzy now?

See, I fixed up your quotes - it works like this.

[ quote=namehere ] text here [ /quote ]

with out the spaces.

namehere wrote:

text here

You can even put any name you want like this [ quote=http://favoritewebsitehere.org  ].  But you have to put in the extra space at the end of the link for this to work.  Otherwise, it gets confused.  Be sure there aren't any spaces between the word quote and the equals sign and the name.  I have to remind myself because I took some programming classes this last term and the professor always wants your formulas to look like a = b; otherwise you lose points for style.  I hate programming classes.  Picky, picky.

When you are editing a post, you can scroll down and there is a Preview comment button.  Very handy to check that your post looks like you want it to look.  And then you can edit it some more in the window below the preview. 

I used to be an IT systems admin, so I have a tendency to play around with the app and figure out what kind of trouble I can get into.  That's from when I had to fix other people's problems.  I would know how to fix them since I had been there and done that.  Also, if you don't hit the Post comment button, nothing happens.  So if you totally screw it up, just navigate away from the page, and it will be as if you never typed a character.

I use Firefox - other people prefer other browsers.  But from what someone else said, Firefox is most compatible with the editing functions on this forum software.  But you can muddle along with IE if you can't or don't know how to switch.  

 

-- I feel so much better since I stopped trying to believe.

"We are entitled to our own opinions. We're not entitled to our own facts"- Al Franken

"If death isn't sweet oblivion, I will be severely disappointed" - Ruth M.


Atheistextremist
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In somewhat

HumanVuvuzela wrote:

Not only that, but who can deny Skippy the Bush Kangaroo's contribution to the world of moving pictures? As for peeing upside down, I guess it is an ability that is gained when you have a particularly large appendage Smiling

 

Silly proof of the few degrees of separation, I used to work with a woman who played Skippy's paws in the TV show Skippy the Bush Kangaroo. They obviously weren't her hands, but 'roo paws on sticks and the film crew, according to my source, used to get up to all sorts of tricks with them the conservative public of the early-mid 70s would have quailed to see. Like smoking grass, for instance....

 

 

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck


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Baptized and circumcised

Baptized and circumcised shortly after birth.

Have fun.