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   Tony Shepps  Tuesday Jun 26 11:05 AM

6/26: Homeschooling and animal skinning (thanks Slithy_Tove)

[IMG]pictures/ratskinner.jpg[/IMG]

Tove sent this one along and linked to it in his own Livejournal. You can read his entry for it at:

http://www.livejournal.com/users/sli...day/2001/06/23

Meet Amy Ritchie, homeschooler and hobbyist SKINNER. She's all proud and stuff. Unfortunately, her site seems to have died or been taken down between the time Tove sent this along and today.

[IMG]pictures/ratskinning.jpg[/IMG]

This was one of the images she had on her skinning page.

I don't mean to make fun of her. I'm a fan of homeschooling, although not a fan of skinning. I do find it interesting that she has become a near-expert on this subject, that this is her hobby. It's something she never could have learned at a public school, and a dying art, and something that probably most people knew how to do before the industrial age.



Serk  Tuesday Jun 26 02:21 PM

The page is still there, just on the web journal page someone inserted an extra _ into the URL...

The correct URL for the site is http://amyritchie.homestead.com/skinning.html

And for this girl's main site is
http://amyritchie.homestead.com



I'll withhold comment on the site itself... Kinda creepy, but as you said, it has it's place I 'spose..... I don't like it, but if I did I certainly wouldn't want someone telling me I couldn't do it...



Slight  Tuesday Jun 26 07:55 PM

Active girl

I think this young lady is pretty smart. At first I thought that the website was a joke but this girl has talent and ambition. She has lots of knowledge of animals and also lots of animals.

Her website has lots of "content." I know that I could make a site about stuff I am interested in too, but I probably have half the time Amy does, and half the ambition. Her site lacks good style but I could not expect someone that young to even care about such a thing. The funniest thing on the site is a script that keeps you from right clicking and downloading the images. It serves no copyright protection from the techno elite but shows Amy's tenacity.

I find nothing wrong with skining although I find some of the images disturbing. As long as the creatures were dead when found, then go ahead. I don't think I would ever buy my sisters dead pet just to skinit though.

I think this girl can become whatever she wants to be in life. I can't think of any girls her age I know that have websites like this.

These images taken out of context will be shocking, but it seems to be normal healthy activity to me.



nedritchie  Tuesday Jun 26 09:32 PM


Just wanted to say that I'm Amy's mom, and before anyone criticizes her too harshly, let me just say that she is such a wonderful, talented, and very gifted child. She aspires to be a trauma surgeon someday, thus the interest in anatomy etc. They all have to learn on something, and small mammals are physiologically quite similar to big ones. If you knew her, you would agree that she is a "breath of fresh air" compared to most of today's teens. Despite her "unusual" hobby, she is also very lovely and ladylike ("multi-faceted" we like to say!) and she plays classical piano by ear (since she was 3) and is very artistic and articulate. She just won the gold medal at our county's district competion for her Taxidermy presentation, and goes to compete at the state level next month. As her parent, I can honestly say that she is a joy, and I couldn't be prouder of her. She's a wonderful daughter and human being. America, after all, has always been known for it's unique, free-thinking, and generally"misunderstood by the masses" individuals. Give her the praise she deserves, or at least the respect. She's just a kid.



Tony Shepps  Tuesday Jun 26 10:00 PM

Hiya! I hope Amy doesn't mind that I used the images. From the guest book it sounds like she's getting some media attention! All of which must be pretty educational, too.

I have to agree 100% with Slight's post. Amy does seem like she's got great ambition, drive and intelligence. I guess we all have to think about what we were up to at 14. I had some interests, but I don't remember actually taking things on like this.

The homeschooling fascinates me. As someone who's generally a libertarian sort, I like knowing that there are people who are opting out of the system - for whatever reason.

So, why did you opt out? Religious concerns? Quality of the public system? You don't have to answer, I'm just being curious.



nedritchie  Tuesday Jun 26 10:38 PM

No, Amy didn't mind your using her images-everyone else on the net has, it seems! She has really been getting lots of publicity lately, and not all good. She's had her site memepooled, and put on about 10 other sites that I know of, and she's been interviewed and written up in the American Stateman newspaper in Austin Texas. She's received a lot of hurtful, rude mail, that I have deleted . She doesn't deserve or need to see that at all, because there is nothing to be gained from being call evil, sadistic, and worse. Thankfully, most people recognize that she's just basically a very smart, very independent, very unique, and very loved little girl. One of the main reasons we homeschool is because she is so smart and gifted that we felt she deserved better than to be forced to conform to peer pressure, and the generally dumbed down environment of the public school environment. She's a very self-motivated, self-directed kind of kid who never stops being excited about new things she's interested in, and we support her any way we can, but mostly just by giving her the time, space, and resources to just follow her interests and run with them. It's amazing what kinds of good things can come from a kid, who is completely unconcerned with what kind of label clothes she's wearing, or the latest fads, or whatever else most kids devote their brainpower to. She has plenty of socialization, which seems to be everyone's big unfounded concern, and is involved with lots of people of all ages, in lots of different ways. But, am I selective about the people she hangs out with? Sure I am. I'm not foolish enough to think that my great kid would not be pulled down by "bad" kids, long before they were ever pulled up by her company. I know that there are all sorts of lowlifes in the world, but I don't choose to hang out with them, and I don't expect my kid to either. I actually have four children, all wonderfully unique and blessed in their own ways and I just want them all to have the opportunity to blossom in a stable ,unstressful environment where they are loved and unconditionally accepted and not held back by the very sorts of stifled thinkers who have been more concerned about the feelings of the animals she skins, than with her feelings about the cruel things they write about her. Thankfully, because of homeschooling, she is very confident, and not easily upset by others' criticisms. She respects their right to a different opinion, because that's what she's been taught is right. Homeschooling is obviously not for everyone, but in our case, it has been great. My children, who would be virtual strangers because of their widespread ages, get to spend their entire days together, learning so much from each other, and we are making great memories together. I'll never be one of the parents who will look back regretfully, wishing I'd spent more time with my children, because we spend it all together, and we really are a very happy family, and each others' best friends. I didn't mean to ramble so- I'm sure that's way more info. than you wanted or needed! Amy's Mom



Count Zero  Tuesday Jun 26 11:10 PM

Also very interesting...

http://bonsaikitten.com/

Yep. That's it. And always remeber: "You can't trim a cat !"

The watermellon was only the beginnig ! ;-)



jaguar  Wednesday Jun 27 01:52 AM

........alll very intersting, wasentt bonzaikitten pulled because of complaints?

Frankly i don't know what ot think, the second image is a tad distrubing but i've seen wierder hobbies, wouldn't like to cheat on her though, god knows how you'd end up lol.



OGREMkIV  Wednesday Jun 27 09:08 AM

I'm happy to see that parents still take interest in their children, and support them to such a great extent. Keep up the good work Amy's mom (for lack of another name), and best wishes to your daughter.



russotto  Wednesday Jun 27 09:41 AM

Quote:
Originally posted by jaguar
........alll very intersting, wasentt bonzaikitten pulled because of complaints?

Frankly i don't know what ot think, the second image is a tad distrubing but i've seen wierder hobbies, wouldn't like to cheat on her though, god knows how you'd end up lol.
Bonsaikitten got kicked from site to site thanks to threats from the thugs at the Humane Society (no joke). It ended up hosted at rotten.com. They used to have a picture of a bonsai kitten in an box resembling an Apple G4 cube, but they pulled that (probably for trademark violation)

Even the humane society can't complain about skinning, though -- the 4H club would take 'em to task over it.


Tony Shepps  Wednesday Jun 27 10:34 AM

Well Amy's mom, I'm glad you stopped in, and now reading what you wrote makes me glad beyond words.



Chewbaccus  Wednesday Jun 27 02:18 PM

Amy's Mom, a question:

A friend is with me here, as we were reading this board, and he got curious. The hate mail you deleted aimed at your daugter, was it all personal, or did you confirm any as officially coming from organizations like PETA or the ASPCA?

~Mike



nedritchie  Wednesday Jun 27 03:32 PM

No one actually claimed to be affiliated with any particular animal rights organizations, although I'm sure they were. They were all just a bunch of cowards who hid behind the anonymity of the computer, so they could say horrible things to Amy. Most of them were filled with misspellings and grammatical errors, while they berated her "inadequate" homeschooling parents (go figure!), or her large family - I believe we were called a case of"overbreeding" more than once. Lovely stuff like that. I love animals as much as the next guy, but ya know what? I love people more, and those folks need to get their priorities straight. If you're going to be kind, loving, and protective, it ought to start with your fellow "animals"- other human beings.

Lisa Ritchie



elSicomoro  Wednesday Jun 27 03:45 PM

I agree with Ogre...that's very cool that you take interest in your daughter's hobbies/interests.

This takes me back to dissecting a cat in anatomy class my senior year of high school...and I can relate to that. She's learning, and WANTS to learn...so I can go with that.

As far as the un-fan mail: Any village idiot can hide behind a computer screen and talk smack about people or ideas. They would NEVER have the cojones to say it to her face. 1) They're too chicken-s**t and 2) In the real world, why would you ever want to say something like that to a young girl?

As long as she enjoys it and has the support of her family (which she obviously does), then it's all good.



Griff  Wednesday Jun 27 05:33 PM

home schoolin'

Very Cool!

Every time I meet a home schooled kid, I come away impressed. I think the socialization aspect has been pretty well debunked. If the parent works hard to find people and resources for the child to take advantage of they will have a broader group of friends than most kids locked in school buildings. It seems like such a natural way to learn, if the parents are up to the challenge. One thing our industrial style education system may be doing is severing childrens ties to older generations, limiting the ideas they are exposed to. I'm sure there are some horror stories out there involving parents who couldn't do the job but all in all I'm for it.



kaleidoscopic ziggurat  Thursday Jun 28 10:45 AM

home schooling is the smartest thing a parent can do. massive respect.

and it is certainly wise to screen her email of all the idiotic filth that the public will surely be sending...

though i went to public school i learned 90% of what i know on my own and from my father... you simply cannot rely on the system in this part of the world.



Katkeeper  Thursday Jun 28 01:09 PM

I just had to post because I am TONY's Mom. He was a bright active kid, and was reading by the time he was 2. Fortunately the only time he was attacked was by soccer parents when he did a brief stint as an umpire.



elSicomoro  Thursday Jun 28 04:46 PM

Uh oh...time to get all the dirt on Tony now. ;-)

I was very fortunate to go to Catholic school from K-12. For me, it was a great educational experience. When I went to public college, I was WAY better prepared than many folk.

That having been said, Catholic (or parochial or private school for that matter) schooling isn't for everyone. My brother hated it and didn't do well there. Once he went to a magnet school, he thrived.

Home schooling has become much more acceptable...and much more successful. I think the key is making sure that the children have social connections outside the home.



Katkeeper  Thursday Jun 28 05:45 PM

I promised Tony that I would not reveal any real dirt...

I went to a small private school for the first 6 years and had a very good education. I did 3 years in public school after that and was so far ahead of everyone there that I did no work at all most of the time. The only new subjects were Latin and Science. Point being, that the individual attention is what was important, especially in the formative years.

Tony would have benefited from home schooling.



Tony Shepps  Friday Jun 29 12:48 AM

Not only from your intelligence, but... I do feel that all the public schools I went to during my formative years were total crap. What a bunch of civil servants. Basically screwed me up from grades 2-5, and then spent grade 6 telling me how screwed up I really was. Left me in sheer terror and humiliation for grade 7-8. Let's just say that I don't *condone* Columbine... but I *understand* it.



jaguar  Friday Jun 29 01:02 AM

I went to public schools until year 8 (we have primary school till year 6, then secondary til year 12, then Uni) when i got into a palce called Melbourne HIgh, its an entrance only high school iwht more funding that it needs as is basicly a private school (full balzer uniform etc), because of the lack of distructive kdis and stuff (our school calls us the cream of the crop, personally i think its more they removed the gunky sediment form the bottom but...) the teachers are great and the amount we get though is jsut incredible, the workload boarders on insane (during term i'm often up till 2am, along with most of my class) but its worth it.

I haven't heard of any home schooling in australia but i've heard its better in most cases than Public schools at least. The only loss i would have htough would have been the social side of school...

Hate to sound really harsh and all but frankly, i think theres alot of animals that have more of a right to life than alot of people...

but hey, i am a supporter of VHEMT .......(i love the new URL buttons n stuff, makes it easier than trying to remember the syntax for 10 different sites)

Sycamore mentioned that he went to a catholic school, you stil catholic? were you ever?
The msot interesting thing i've foudn about them in Australia is they seem ot turn kids AGAINST Catholisim, which (and i'm not trying to offend anyone but ill back up my views if asked) is a good thing......



elSicomoro  Friday Jun 29 01:11 AM

Quote:
Originally posted by jaguar
Sycamore mentioned that he went to a catholic school, you stil catholic? were you ever?
The msot interesting thing i've foudn about them in Australia is they seem ot turn kids AGAINST Catholisim, which (and i'm not trying to offend anyone but ill back up my views if asked) is a good thing......
The simple answer is "no." A lot of people look at Catholicism as the "can't" or "guilty" religion. To be honest though, I'm not sure that really applies anymore. The biggest no-no is birth control (along with abortion). Other than that, Catholics gamble (bingo), drink (at church and at bingo), and women can wear pants.

I never regularly attended Mass, nor do I intend to marry in the Church, or believe in some of the tenets of the Church. I was never really big into the Church and just got sick of all the b.s. I'm not against the Church, just against most organized religions.

Isn't Australia primarily Anglican though?


jaguar  Friday Jun 29 02:04 AM

Quote:
Originally posted by sycamore

Isn't Australia primarily Anglican though?
I think that is hte largest church but i'm not sure about largest religion, i think you'll find alot of thsoe that put themselves down as anglican never attend church anyway....

Recently there has been a great lot of interest in Buddhisim and meditation which is partof the growing Asian influence here, which frankly i find very refreshing (and i love Viet food).

Personally i'm pretty much BUddhist (The happiest people i've ever met were buddhist monks, kinda inpspired me) and its a religion or philosophy about yourself not ass-kissing some diety for a half-decent afterlife......


alphageek31337  Friday Jun 29 04:10 AM

Parochial Schools and Religion

"Ein menuten biter. Tengo un problemo...avec...these...err...religiones."
---Eddie Izzard on Martin Luther

Just to throw one out there, I'd like to say that I've been through a solid bit of parochial schooling and relatively tight Catholic upbringing (either Super-Italian-Wants-To-Fly-To-The-Vatican-To-Die Catholics, or Mondo-Irish-Wants-To-Exhume-Then-Burn-Protestant-English-Monarchs Catholics). I've found that a strict upbringing like that can only really have one of two effects. The child will either also become a massive Catholic, with absolute, fanatical, nearly dangerous devotion, or will turn completley away from Catholicism, and probably all established, organized religion. It all depends on a person's willingness to accept authority, really. If you don't mind being ruled, you find comfort in the structure of such a life. These are the type of people who would also find a career in the army very satisfactory. On the other hand, some people (mineself included) feel stifled by an authoritarian hand, and choose to break free. Unfortunately, those who fall into this category often end up with a deep-seated contempt for those of the former lot. This also happened to me. I guess it all depends on the individual.



Griff  Friday Jun 29 09:39 AM

Warning! scattered thought debris watch yer heads

Looks like I'm the token practicing Papist here, no offense taken nor intended given. I have a younger sister who fits the hardcore Catholic stereotype to the t. My younger brother is essentially on the other end, only another Catholic would understand his complex relationship with his childhood faith. My older sister is the high-light reel type... Christmas, Easter, palms, throats, and ashes.

I attend mass regularly and have have been asked to lector about once a month. For me, church going is about re-building community bonds in our increasingly fractured rural society. Big church Catholicism holds no attraction for me, maybe they can form communities in those huge parishes but I wonder if folks don't lose something in the convienience of anonimity. Catholicism can be as uplifting or oppressive as the individual (or his parents or priests) makes it. Right now we have a very talented (multi-lingual) very CHRISTIAN parish priest who was raised in a home split between the Russian Orthodox and RC churches. He is therefor much more aware that there are many paths, than our last priest (who almost destroyed our parish with his personality and political commentary). My wifes parents were Unitarians before they split and our extended family runs the full gamut of the American religious and irreligious scene, so naturally we don't take to exclusionary religion. Our new priest has a fascination with pre-Roman Celtic Christianity which should play well here in Irish country, although some of the old folks seem much more Roman than Celtic. As for those who are still cursing the House of Orange "We are," as Stan Rogers put it, "kindred in nothing but name." (brilliant folk anti-war tune I'll see if I can dig up a link)


My kids are in parochial school, more to avoid the public system than out of any religious concern. My wife and I discussed home-schooling, since educationally we make one good human, but didn't think we were organized enough. Our tuition is rising though and we may have to revisit the question. We both went to and hated public schools and both had nightmarish 7th grade experiences (now I'm wondering how common that is?)



Tony Shepps  Friday Jun 29 10:57 AM

Steve, I think there's a third category of religious refugees, and that's the folks who run screaming from organized religion in their late teens and 20s and go running back to it either when they have kids or when they find life tough to face. Something about the heavy questions of life, the universe, and everything makes it hard for people to bear without the comfort of what they grew up with, like a cosmic teddy bear that's always there for you.

That's not the ideal way to operate a personal belief system - like some sort of "break glass in case of life meaning emergency" box. But I bear no real ill wll towards those who choose it.



ndetroit  Friday Jun 29 12:47 PM

Hmmm... I'm by no means a 'religion expert', but I recall reading something similar to what Tony was talking about..

CS Lewis once wrote something like: "...All young people must, at some point in their life, cast off the cloak of their parents religion, leave the church, and come back to it for their own reasons"...

Obviously he was speaking figuratively (and I'm paraphrasing), but he is quite a well respected Christian author and philosopher, and seemed to suggest that if you want to develop a 'true belief' or 'faith', then just relying on what you were taught while growing up just does not cut it.
I guess this is your 'third type' of person...



Katkeeper  Friday Jun 29 01:38 PM

I have belonged to the Unitarian Church for many years, and since we do not have a creed, we are very aware that one of the main reasons for belonging to a Church is to belong to a community. And that is why I have been a member for as long as I have. I have single friends who do not have a community, and they are definitely lacking something in their lives. One of them shot himself last year, not wanting to go on with life as he was living it. I often think that a cmmunity would have helped him.
Tony grew up loosely connected with the Church, by the way. At least they let him believe what he wanted...



russotto  Friday Jun 29 02:41 PM

No disrespect intended....

But if my mom shows up, I am outta here.



elSicomoro  Friday Jun 29 03:50 PM

Quote:
Originally posted by Griff
Warning! scattered thought debris watch yer heads

Looks like I'm the token practicing Papist here, no offense taken nor intended given. I have a younger sister who fits the hardcore Catholic stereotype to the t. My younger brother is essentially on the other end, only another Catholic would understand his complex relationship with his childhood faith. My older sister is the high-light reel type... Christmas, Easter, palms, throats, and ashes.
You damned Holy Roller you!

I always liked the feast of St. Blase. It didn't hurt that we also got cool days off that no one else did (e.g. The Ascenion in late May). In Baltimore, every year, they have a Mass where they bless the tools of workers. Isn't that cool?

*snips part of thread*

I can respect where you stand, Griff. You are open-minded and willing to accept (not just tolerate) other folks and their religious beliefs. The problem is that some people are so hard-core over something that is really SUBJECTIVE, that they'll stop at nothing to convert others...because they feel that THEIR religion is the SUPREME religion. If you want to carry that on an inner level, fine...but don't even think about spewing that to the masses. For example, I respect the Jehovahs that used to give me little booklets at the Metro station where I lived in DC. They weren't trying to force anything on me, but were genuinely SHARING their faith. Sharing is cool...forcing is not.

You think I'm bad, you should meet my gf.

Quote:
My kids are in parochial school, more to avoid the public system than out of any religious concern. My wife and I discussed home-schooling, since educationally we make one good human, but didn't think we were organized enough. Our tuition is rising though and we may have to revisit the question. We both went to and hated public schools and both had nightmarish 7th grade experiences (now I'm wondering how common that is?)
My last year in high school (1993-94), my parents paid $2900 for me to go to Catholic school. And my school was one of the "lower end" schools too.

Although it can be costly, if your child is thriving, then it could be dangerous to pull them from that environment. I had a lot of non-Catholic friends that went to Catholic high schools...b/c their parents knew that the education was going to be top-notch. And that's the ONLY good thing I'll say about the Catholic life.


jaguar  Saturday Jun 30 03:03 AM

You point out an interesting thing Tony, one of my best friends and one of the smartest guys Iíve been lucky enough to know once said to be he'd probably be religious later in life as a kind of anchor, exactly what you said. I think itís the same with allot of kids my age who turn devout religious in there teens itís because itís something to cling to. Frankly i think people can believe anything they want, as long as they don't force it, or their rules on other people....thatís what *REALLY* shits me off, tings like gay kids at school getting bagged continually by hardcore Christians, and because i stand up for them Iím *obviously* gay coz no one but gays would support gays.....*sighs*, never mind my gf of 6 months....I had a good friend who was Christian until he joined in something like this, then preceded to abuse me coz i was not Christian, so i abused the shit out of him and his religion, and to be honest, thatís not hard, examples all though history and the bible make it far too easy (I advise you all read Mark Twain's Letters from earth, its incredibly good)....Another example is the catholic church throwing its weight around in France to stopping the distribution of the morning after pill in French high schools....that one really got me, particular since i have a 17y.o friend who is pregnant after being date-raped at a party and her parents refuse to let her have an abortion on religious grounds........

<rant>
HUMANITY BEFORE RELIGION PLEASE...
</rant>



Tony Shepps  Saturday Jun 30 11:35 AM

To be even-handed here:

The other night I saw a play called "The Laramie Project". A bunch of thespians and writers traveled to Laramie, Wyoming, the site of one of the worst gay-bashing incidents ever. For USians who remember, it was Matthew Shepard. And they basically interviewed the town; conducted 200 interviews of people. And it turned out to be the Catholic priest who was the conscience of the town. He was a true leader and he decided on his own to hold candlelight vigils, to mourn what happened, to speak out against it so that it would never happen again.

Now, to his dismay, a lot of the other church leaders in town decided that because homosexuality was involved that they wouldn't take a stand or, in a few cases, promoted the notion that the victim "asked for it". But in general the town learned to mourn Matthew Shepard and found some good in a terrible event.

This priest was truly a focus for good and a moral leader. So there's the other side of the story.



jaguar  Saturday Jun 30 06:20 PM

Interesting.....Religion, organised or not is not nescalary bad, and i'm sure it motivated alot of people to do good (charities for instance) but hey, i would have kind of lost my contention if i pointed tat out in the last post, damn englsih teacher has taught me too well....

BUt along the same line i think this quote is rather appropiate...

Quote:
By Albert Einstein
"If people are good only because they fear punishment, and hope for reward,
then we are a sorry lot indeed."



elSicomoro  Sunday Jul 1 02:35 PM

I don't doubt that priests can be lightning rods of change...in some cases, they become martyrs fighting for the little people (like Oscar Romero in El Salvador).

Jesse Ventura called organized religion "a crutch for the weak-minded." But I don't think that's really fair. Most people in this world believe in some sort of deity, being God, Allah, the sky, the sun, etc. But it's SOMETHING. And if you break it down, people gather to worship because of a unified belief in some sort of higher power. That doesn't sound weak-minded to me...that sounds like a community.

There are certainly some members of the clergy out there that focus more on the people than the bottom line (i.e. $$$)...but those turn out to be the best servants of the Lord.



Griff  Wednesday Jul 4 09:08 PM

Interesting discussion.

Now its my turn to see from the other side. I just spent a couple days with an atheist friend who has in the past been pretty adamant about hating religion. His Dad went from being an over the top charasmatic Catholic to a way over the top some other sect that KNOWS all about the end of the world (sometime next week I believe and now the Catholics are gonna fry too). Anyway his old man disowns him every time he disagrees with his flavor of the month and managed for years to keep he and his brother (now a Catholic) on separate sides of the feud. You have no idea how relieved I was when he quit the Catholics so I didn't have to keep trying to explain the misuse of my faith as a weapon for continued family strife and abuse.

The odd thing for me about the homosexual issues and the church is that as an alter boy I became quite comfortable with priests many of whom were probably gay and as a result I never suffered from the homophobia that some folks try to preach. I always thought the church saw gays as a natural source of clergy so they created an emotional incentive to join the priesthood.

Sycamore- Could you explain a little bit more about being a non-Catholic in a parochial school? Seems like you should have an interesting take on the system. thanks G



elSicomoro  Thursday Jul 5 12:18 AM

Quote:
Originally posted by Griff
Now its my turn to see from the other side. I just spent a couple days with an atheist friend who has in the past been pretty adamant about hating religion.
I'm curious Griff...does your friend not believe in GOD (as most of us would consider it) or A god?

The reason I ask is that I suspect that many people (and not referring to your friend here) who call themselves atheists are not truly atheists. I suspect that most people believe in some sort of higher power...being spirits, a pagan god, whatever.

Quote:
Sycamore- Could you explain a little bit more about being a non-Catholic in a parochial school? Seems like you should have an interesting take on the system.
Remember now...I was "raised" Catholic.

Most of the non-Catholic kids that went to my high school (a school of 1000 students) were Lutheran--I'd say there were 40-50 total in the school...most of them in my class (1994). Many of them went to the Lutheran grade school that was a mere 4 blocks away. Their parents were generally mellow on the religious tip and a) Didn't want the kids to have to go out to the suburbs to the closest Lutheran high school and b) Didn't want to shell out an extra $1000 a year to go there. If you were non-Catholic, you generally paid an extra $400 to go to my school. (My first year, tuition was about $1900. $2300 for non-Catholics.)

The only real difference that they had to put up with was the slight difference in religious ideals--and the fact that our Bible has 5 extra books. (Am I right on that Griff? The Catholic Bible has 5 extra books? Or is it the King James that has the extra books? Don't remember.) And by the time you start taking religion in high school, it's more about social justice, human sexuality, etc. Most of them took it in stride, and did rather well...it was also nice because you had different perspectives to reflect upon.

They took the whole experience well. There was good-natured ribbing between us and the non-Catholic, such as:

NC: "You put up with this shit for what? 9 years now?"

C: "Look, our parents don't have to shell out as much money as yours do."

The cool thing about going to Catholic high school is how you identify yourself. Rather than saying what neighborhood you were from, you identified yourself by parish. (Saying my own parish--Resurrection of Our Lord--was strange, because only a handful from my little school went to DuBourg.) But you generally knew where the schools were (mainly because you played against them in CYC or competed against them in speech meets).

Parallels: My neighborhood here in Philadelphia and my old neighborhood in St. Louis are frighteningly similar. Back home, I lived within short walking distances of 2 Catholic parishes...and could easily drive to 2 more. Here in Philadelphia, I live within walking distance of 3 parishes...and a short drive to a fourth.


jaguar  Thursday Jul 5 04:57 AM

Quote:
Originally posted by sycamore


The reason I ask is that I suspect that many people (and not referring to your friend here) who call themselves atheists are not truly atheists. I suspect that most people believe in some sort of higher power...being spirits, a pagan god, whatever.

Well you have to remember alot of people don't know the meaning of the word agnostic, which for the uninated means (from dictionary.com)

One who believes that it is impossible to know whether there is a God.
One who is skeptical about the existence of God but does not profess true atheism.

For the record i fall neither side of the line really, i follow alot of buddhist PHILOSOPHY but i don't consider that my religion. At the same time faith in science and rational tought is still in the end a faith....


elSicomoro  Thursday Jul 5 10:34 AM

Quote:
Originally posted by jaguar
For the record i fall neither side of the line really, i follow alot of buddhist PHILOSOPHY but i don't consider that my religion. At the same time faith in science and rational tought is still in the end a faith....
Nice point.

That was the one interesting thing about taking biology classes in college...the professors I had were atheists...because their thought process was so narrowed down to the logical. That's all well and good for some, but I can't help but believe that there is a higher power out there.


Tony Shepps  Thursday Jul 5 11:08 AM

Faith in science and logic? I don't know about that.

It is very difficult, these days, to sort through everything you read or see or learn and try to separate out what is fact and what is conjecture or bad reporting or guesses. But science is totally dependent on what is proven.

So, those people who pit science against religion are, IMO, missing the point. One can be scientific and logical and still be religious. Faith could "fill in the gaps" of what is not proven or evident or logical.

The debate about evolution versus creation is different. Science currently holds that evolution is the accepted theory because that is what we have proof of. But if there was evidence that evolution was wrong, scientists would abandon evolution as a theory. Because science does not have a "creed"; it only demands evidence and proof.

If there was evidence that a fossil record was 1000 years old instead of 100,000 years old, science would accept, record, and teach that evidence, theories would change, etc.

The question of faith in logic and what is provable and known is more of a question of philosophy than of science/religion. Some philosophers say that nothing can be known, that we might all be in a dream state and that we can't prove that we aren't. But before all this stuff gets too heavy (too late!) I'll just step off now...



ndetroit  Thursday Jul 5 12:00 PM

Sycamore:

It's the catholic bible that has the 6 'bonus books'... (and you went to school for 9 years and don't remember that??? hehehe..)



elSicomoro  Thursday Jul 5 12:33 PM

Quote:
Originally posted by ndetroit
Sycamore:

It's the catholic bible that has the 6 'bonus books'... (and you went to school for 9 years and don't remember that??? hehehe..)
Truth be told, we really didn't go over the actual books of the Bible until my freshman year of high school...and it was rather brief. That's been over a decade now, so I don't claim to remember a hell of a lot from then.


Tony Shepps  Thursday Jul 5 01:57 PM

What are the bonus books?



elSicomoro  Thursday Jul 5 02:36 PM

I know Tobit off the top of my head...

*looks at his Catholic Bible...compares it to the KJV at Bibles.net*

Judith
Maccabees 1 & 2
Wisdom
Sirach/Ecclesiasticus
Baruch



elSicomoro  Thursday Jul 5 02:51 PM

Quote:
Originally posted by Tony Shepps
Faith in science and logic? I don't know about that.

It is very difficult, these days, to sort through everything you read or see or learn and try to separate out what is fact and what is conjecture or bad reporting or guesses. But science is totally dependent on what is proven.
I see what you mean Tony...

Granted, yes, science is an exact. But it does require lay people (i.e. non-scientists) to rely on scientists and their complex statistics. I would never expect John Q. Public to under an Analysis of Variance.

Quote:
So, those people who pit science against religion are, IMO, missing the point. One can be scientific and logical and still be religious. Faith could "fill in the gaps" of what is not proven or evident or logical.
Certainly. Big Bang and Oparin's Theory were standard teachings in Catholic school. On top of that, Catholics take a contextual interpretation of the Bible, not literal. I am a big fan of Oparin's "Organic Soup" theory. Now, how did that come together? *shrugs* God? A good possibility. Unfortunately, it would seem that it took some time for Catholicism to come to this...for example, their treatment of Galileo.

Before I go any further, I want to stress that if you believe that the world was truly created in 7 days, cool. I respect your opinion...I don't agree with it, but respect it.

I find it highly unlikely that Moses lived over 900 years. I find it highly unlikely that the Israelites wandered in a space for 40 years that you could generally walk across in 3-5 days tops. Not to mention, if Adam and Eve had Cain and Abel, how was Cain able to take a wife? The Bible is a wonderful book...of faith, not history.

Since you mentioned philsophy Tony...

My physics teacher in high school had a friend while in college who had a philosophy class. The final for the class was only one question. The question was:

"Is?"

His friend's answer: "Ain't!"

The guy got a B on that final...


Tony Shepps  Thursday Jul 5 04:59 PM

Well, I just figure that faith in the truth of others is different from faith in something you can't possibly prove.

A speaker I saw once pulled this on a crowd. "OK, stand up if you believe that E equals M C squared." Almost everyone stood up. "Now sit down if you can explain it." Most sat down. Moral: you believe things you don't understand all the time.

On the other hand, about 15 minutes of study should give us a pretty good understanding, at least a seat of the pants understanding of most theories and proofs in science that we take for granted.

As for the finals question, I would have assumed the question was just an abbreviation of "Can we prove that existence exists?" and would have taken an hour to rehash everything I knew about that. That probably would have gotten a B as well. The A answer might be "I think, therefore I am."



elSicomoro  Thursday Jul 5 06:26 PM

Quote:
Originally posted by Tony Shepps
Well, I just figure that faith in the truth of others is different from faith in something you can't possibly prove.
That's true...but remember, there's no real proof in science...strong support, but no proof.

*college classes in biology and psychology coming back to him* Aaaaaaaahhhhhh!!!

Quote:
A speaker I saw once pulled this on a crowd. "OK, stand up if you believe that E equals M C squared." Almost everyone stood up. "Now sit down if you can explain it." Most sat down. Moral: you believe things you don't understand all the time.
Especially given that E=MC2 has been generally refuted these days. Lord knows there are a lot of things out there that we perceive to be true, but may not be the case. And as you mentioned, sometimes, we just take some people's words for it.

*recalling the job interview I had yesterday, in which the job worked along this premise* Dear God...

Quote:
As for the finals question, I would have assumed the question was just an abbreviation of "Can we prove that existence exists?" and would have taken an hour to rehash everything I knew about that. That probably would have gotten a B as well. The A answer might be "I think, therefore I am."
This story was from the same guy whose class was fun, but exams were mind-numbing experiences. I got a 9 out of 100 on my final--it was good for a D.


Griff  Thursday Jul 5 07:08 PM

Quote:
Originally posted by sycamore


I'm curious Griff...does your friend not believe in GOD (as most of us would consider it) or A god?

The reason I ask is that I suspect that many people (and not referring to your friend here) who call themselves atheists are not truly atheists. I suspect that most people believe in some sort of higher power...being spirits, a pagan god, whatever.

I've seen that confusion in some folks as well but not this guy. As far as religion filling in the blanks, I believe that would have been Aquinas' position. If I'm remembering properly, He felt that religion and science couldn't be in conflict so in the face of scientific evidence religion must change.


elSicomoro  Thursday Jul 5 08:05 PM

Quote:
Originally posted by Griff
I've seen that confusion in some folks as well but not this guy. As far as religion filling in the blanks, I believe that would have been Aquinas' position. If I'm remembering properly, He felt that religion and science couldn't be in conflict so in the face of scientific evidence religion must change.
*enlightened*

Religion can certainly be an important part of one's life, but I fear for those that would be deemed "overzealous." Or better yet, those in the clergy. As an example (although perhaps a tad extreme), look at Jim Bakker and Jimmy Swaggert. Now perhaps all they cared about is the bottom line, but realistically...I'm sure at one point, they truly cared about serving God. But then Bakker fell to Jessica Hahn (and why not? She was a hottie...). Swaggert went down his path...now Jesse Jackson. I can only imagine the fine line those folks have had to walk.


jaguar  Thursday Jul 5 09:12 PM

Well i think sycamore and Tony have pointed out what i meant by faith in science, which is that very few understnad have the science they 'beleive' so in a sense, its still a faith. (sure generated alot of response too) . In relaition to creationisim vs evolution i have a very good quote

Quote:
Creationism doesn't sound so crazy if you bend it and twist it until it matches the best that science can currently muster.
'nuff said?

Which seem to me so true, all these theiries about the length of days and other crap seem to me like desperate people clutching at straws after the boat has sunk. The same i think applies to 'metaphorical' interpretations of the bible, if you can't make it work, come up with a different interpretation! I mean come on, if this is meant ot be the book christians live thier lives by, imainge if we could take metaphorical interpretations of the law....
clutching at straws, and most churches seem to have kinda of shoved the totally indefensible old testament out of sight, pity its not out of mind. (and yes i realise that paragraph will be shot to hell, and i will correct it accordingly)

Blind faith in anything i don't beleive is good
Quote:
Or are you going to use the "God works in mysterious ways" statement which basically says "I'm too stupid to realise that blind faith without reason is nothing by itself and that if the evidence does not match the theory it is a bad theory?
This applies to all faiths.

Quote:
Originally posted by Tony Shepps So, those people who pit science against religion are, IMO, missing the point. One can be scientific and logical and still be religious. Faith could "fill in the gaps" of what is not proven or evident or logical.
I think sycamore covered this but the fact is religion doesn't agree with science(Galileo?), they overlap far too much, you can try and go half-half but it dosen't really work. For hundreds of years the Church persecuted science, then science eventully won so tried to adapt, and it does not really work (see above). Alot of scientists are in fact religious and there was a statement signed by a large number of major scientists a few years back i seem to remember stating that they didn't know all the answers and religion could be one. I personally beleive in Karma but i think in the end thats more to keep myself on the straightish and narrower than anything else =)

Quote:
Originally posted by Tony Shepps If there was evidence that a fossil record was 1000 years old instead of 100,000 years old, science would accept, record, and teach that evidence, theories would change, etc.
Yes, science is fluid, religion (mainstream/major anyway) is pretty unbendable in reality. As for the whole 'lets create a new religion' fad at the moment, i'm highly scepticial, but hey, if people are happy, and they feel forfilled(and in some cases, thier walets are alot lighter) then i don't think there is a problem.

Pardon any spelling/typos i don't have a spellchecker installed at the moment (formatted a day ago) and my manual checking often misses things.


warthog  Saturday Jul 7 01:31 PM

Rewinding a bit to the beginning

I apologize for rewinding back to the source of this conversation, but it hits pretty close to home.

Just to set some background... I grew up in the shadow of Philadelphia, right smack between Swarthmore College and Widener. Everyone had their perfect little houses, and perfect little lawns. It was laughable to think anyone would even try keeping livestock on their own property (The Man would surely put a stop to that right quick). I went to a high school that was rated really well (Strath Haven HS). No agricultural classes were taught there, nothing in the way of simple living and old fashioned skills. Heck, they even got rid of the cooking class in my freshman year.

Teachers didn't know what to make of me. My science teachers all called me a genius and wanted me in advanced classes. Math teachers thought me a moron and put me in the "slow classes". Imagine the emotional conflict that ensued trying to sort that one out! I slept through most of my classes. Some out of boredom due to already covering the stuff in my spare time reading. Others because the pace of the class catered to the slower kids and it was a waste of time to move that slowly. I was understanding the math concepts with the help of a tutor that presented things to me differently than the teachers. The math teachers knew this and could not change their teaching style for me when they had ~25 other kids in the class to teach.

After surviving public education there was no way I'd go to college for more of the same (with even BIGGER classes). These days I make more money alone than your average combined family income, enjoy the work that I do, have NO student loans to pay off, and I'm entirely self-taught.

Homeschooling is a concept I have put a lot of thought into over the years. My web site deals with a lot of issues relevant to rural families (who tend to homeschool quite often) and others interested in preserving the basic living skills that have been burned out of our collective minds via public education. I have my first child on the way, due in December, and I'm pretty sure we're going to homeschool.

Let me be blunt. I think public school is a blight on our society. I honestly believe we are stunting the development of our children by pushing them through a cookie cutter education system that cares more about bell curves and numbers than the personal enrichment of individual children. The closest thing to public school that can possibly work is a mentoring program where no more than 3 or 4 kids are coupled with a mentor who is an expert in their respective field of study. As the children grow older and their studies are greater in depth, that ratio should go down to 1 or 2 students per mentor.

Breaking down the real world into subjects is also a big mistake, at least later in life. It is okay to say "okay, Johnny, we're going to do basic addition today" when you are dealing with a 5 year old. But when you're teaching a 15 year old, the only way to teach math concepts is in its proper context. I remember in high school we were learning about non-base 10 numbering systems and how I struggled so much with it. But in my computer studies I had to learn the interrelationships between binary, octal, hex, and base 10. And it all clicked.

I applaud this young lady, and her parents for having the testicular fortitude to try something different. She has a brighter future because of her homeschooling that she may not have had if put through a mentally crippling public school. I do think that if medicine is her calling, her work with small mammals will be an assett to her. She already has years of practice behind her doing surgical incisions and understanding the basic anatomy of a mammal.

If anyone is still reading this far, I'd like to extend an invitation to this young lady to write for yonderway.com. This is a non-profit web site that would love to have some articles online about animal skinning and any other subjects she'd like to cover.



Griff  Saturday Jul 7 02:00 PM

I took a quick look see at your site, looks like some good stuff there. I noticed you've got The Contrary Farmer on your book list. That is pretty much my favorite book of all-time. I almost never read something more than once but I've burned through that about three times. I'm supposed to be building a woodshed right now, while designing protein sequences so I'll keep it short. I'm an owner builder doing the get back to the land thing and you can see what I'm up to at http://home.epix.net/~griffins/

cool site Griff



warthog  Saturday Jul 7 02:32 PM

Thanks for the kind words, Griff. Yeah, Contrary Farmer has been read through twice so far. If it gets much hotter out I'll have to put the tools away and stretch out on the hammock for a third reading. I think it is a must read, that even people who don't have any interest in farming or country living should read just for the personal enrichment.



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