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Lived in Northern Ireland until I was 26. Brought up Presbyterian, but parents were quite liberal and church-going intermittent. Church was OK; Sunday School was awful. After a short period of mental agony in my teens, decided the whole scene was not for me. Spent three years in Cambridge, Massachusetts, then came to live permanently in Australia. Married to an Australian; two adult children.

Comments

Would you ever tell your kid to 'get the hell out'?
Coffeo comments on Mar 24, 2018:
Didn't have to, but seriously can't imagine doing it anyway.
Astronomer Announces He Has Discovered ... Mars... [space.com]
Coffeo comments on Mar 24, 2018:
Face palm? ... or publicity stunt?
Anyone find it ironic that this year Easter and April Fools Day is the same day?
Coffeo comments on Mar 23, 2018:
I've been looking at the years in which Easter Day (the Sunday) falls on April 1st. There's a bit of a pattern to it. The last time it happened was 62 years ago, in 1956. But we only have to wait 11 years for the next one in 2029, and then another 11 years until 2040. After that, there's a massive 68 year gap until 2108. So if you want to play pranks on Easter Sunday, just three opportunities this century! (It happened 3 times in each of the 17th, 18th, 20th and 21st centuries and 4 times in the 19th century.)
NZ Police recruitment Video... [facebook.com]
Coffeo comments on Mar 23, 2018:
I want to join up! Is 74 too old?
If Antarctica wasn’t so cold I’d move there. Hardly no people.
Coffeo comments on Mar 23, 2018:
Thing is, if it wasn't so cold, there'd be lots of people there.
How do you cope with infatuation?
Coffeo comments on Mar 23, 2018:
I would be one of those "several people".
When I awoke Sunday Morning, I turned on the TV, and a preacher was using "Amen" as a question - ...
Coffeo comments on Mar 23, 2018:
For so little brain, he has a very big head.
Oh dear: [m.youtube.com]
Coffeo comments on Mar 23, 2018:
:O (Sorry can't be more specific than that.)
What?? I see english, but I don't understand. Something with mercury affecting us,but a cristal ...
Coffeo comments on Mar 23, 2018:
This happens three times a year (occasionally four). It really isn't a big deal.
Technology - coffee drInkers Is thIs you?
Coffeo comments on Mar 22, 2018:
Here's a guy waiting for a train. __Just__ waiting for a train.
Does the ends justify the means?
Coffeo comments on Mar 22, 2018:
Not usually. There may be exceptions, but not many.
Have you ever been asked, "What Church do you go too?' by your boss?
Coffeo comments on Mar 22, 2018:
None of my bosses ever showed the slightest interest in such matters.
Agnosticism step 1: prove a universal truth
Coffeo comments on Mar 22, 2018:
Pooh Bear!
Tea
Coffeo comments on Mar 22, 2018:
With milk and no sweetener. How would I vote if I took both? (But I prefer coffee anyway.)
Comets and asteroids shower Mars with organics
Coffeo comments on Mar 22, 2018:
I'm surprised too.
A Star Grazed Our Solar System 70,000 Years Ago, and Early Humans Likely Saw It... [space.com]
Coffeo comments on Mar 22, 2018:
While early humans might have seen it, it would hardly have aroused their interest. It would have taken generations to change perceptibly in position or brightness.
Well if religion has a pope then non religious should have a council to debunk all the untruths in ...
Coffeo comments on Mar 21, 2018:
An agnostic pope would, of course, have to be infallible. (H)
Which way do you lean politically and why?
Coffeo comments on Mar 21, 2018:
I voted far left, but definitely not communist.
Can you imagine being Gods PR, ? Scratch head and think "this guys a nut"
Coffeo comments on Mar 21, 2018:
I'd be doing so much spinning I'd fall down.
As a side note from the "dating a spiritualist" post and the "Harry Potter "house member" ...
Coffeo comments on Mar 21, 2018:
I find real science much more interesting.
Does anyone else find this site hard to get away from? It's like reading a good book and can't wait ...
Coffeo comments on Mar 20, 2018:
I always come here first, before checking email or Facebook or anything else.
What is your definition of The Universe? I grew up believing the Universe is infinite in time and ...
Coffeo comments on Mar 19, 2018:
Believing something in science is inadvisable — one's beliefs are liable to be altered. I recommend not believing anything. To say of something that it is 'basic and true' sounds to me just the same as a statement of religious faith. Open minds are essential in science. Hawking's final paper offers some possibilities with regard to testing the idea of a multiverse. To me, the multiverse just seems wrong. But I do not hold any __beliefs__ concerning the matter. I think we still have a great deal to learn.
What's the best book you've read lately?
Coffeo comments on Mar 17, 2018:
_The One Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared_ by Jonas Jonasson. A very entertaining read, if you want some light relief!
I truly believe the idea of an afterlife was invented by those in power as a way to convince the ...
Coffeo comments on Mar 14, 2018:
Yes, I've often thought the same thing.
Do you talk 'gibberish' to your pet?
Coffeo comments on Mar 14, 2018:
Not gibberish, but sometimes baby talk. (Not allowed to do it with human babies.) I also explain things to them in regular English (like why they can't have any meat yet because it's still frozen.) Of course they understand perfectly.
.......................................................................................
Coffeo comments on Mar 14, 2018:
All is not lost — you've forgotten what journal it was.
What's the best live performance you've ever seen?
Coffeo comments on Mar 14, 2018:
Chicago.
In honor of the day, here is a site that lets you search the first 200 million digits of pi. ...
Coffeo comments on Mar 14, 2018:
Never forget your PIN now! (All you have to do is remember where it is!)
Boys to Girls?
Coffeo comments on Mar 14, 2018:
Not for a moment. _With_, sure. _As_, nope.
Amen...Do you say it? If not, what do you use instead. It has never been a word I use. I ...
Coffeo comments on Mar 14, 2018:
For us Aussies "too right mate" is usually very suitable.
It's never too soon to get things done.
Coffeo comments on Mar 14, 2018:
Fine if you like your liquor with a dash of soapy water.
Who here has a passport?
Coffeo comments on Mar 14, 2018:
I do. But I'm Australian. We travel a lot.
Are you happy here?
Coffeo comments on Mar 14, 2018:
Happy enough — but am I really here?
Pi Day -- it's irrational.
Coffeo comments on Mar 14, 2018:
It transcends all else.
Who's got a religious name?
Coffeo comments on Mar 14, 2018:
My middle name is Joseph. (After my paternal grandfather.) I only use it on legal documents and the like.
Hi - new to this site. Excited to meet free thinkers who value critical thought and kindness . ...
Coffeo comments on Mar 14, 2018:
Hi! Welcome! Don't worry about the points — they'll just happen as you use the site. I got mine without thinking about it. Have a good time!
I am a citizen scientist. Not professional.
Coffeo comments on Mar 13, 2018:
I think anyone with a genuine interest in science should be welcome in this group. Do others agree?
As a not-scientist (my ex told me a million times that computer science is not a real science), I ...
Coffeo comments on Mar 13, 2018:
Outside of my personal area of expertise, I try to maintain the level of a scientifically literate layperson. Now that I'm retired, the same goes for my personal area of expertise!
New Member here. I know this subject is probably brought up all the time, but here goes. How did/do ...
Coffeo comments on Mar 10, 2018:
The distancing between me and the church has been fairly gradual. I think most people who know me have a pretty good idea that I'm not a believer, but they don't ask. Why should they? It's none of their business, and they know that. I don't know how many of them are believers, either. I'm not even sure about my wife, who hasn't been to church or spoken to a priest for a great many years but still writes 'Anglican' on hospital admission forms and the like.
It's is indeed wonderful that Paedo-Protecting, Cardinal George Pell, 3rd. Man in the Catholic ...
Coffeo comments on Mar 10, 2018:
As I mentioned in response to another post, I worry that there will not be a satisfactory outcome. Pell is employing an exceptionally capable lawyer (an atheist, as it happens) who will earn a handsome fee and probably get him off.
Cardinal George Pell Appears in Court Over ‘Historical’ Sexual Abuse - The New York Times
Coffeo comments on Mar 9, 2018:
Pell has got himself an exceptionally good lawyer. This might all come to nothing. (The lawyer, Richter, is in fact an atheist, but that won't stop him from doing his job, for which he will get a very large fee.)
What was your favorite story book as a kid?
Coffeo comments on Mar 9, 2018:
*The Children's Encyclopædia* by Arthur Mee. OK, it wasn't *just* a story book, but it had stories in it. It also suited a wide range of ages, with all kinds of interesting stuff about how things work and the planets and things to make and do, and elementary French. It was published during the first part of the 20th century and had 10 volumes. (It had Bible stories, too, but I skipped those chapters — I got quite enough of that at Sunday school.) I spent hours at a time with it.
Why so sad ? [youtu.be]
Coffeo comments on Mar 9, 2018:
It's a lot nicer on strings.
Hard Solipsism The old "brain in a vat" problem. Well, only a problem if you demand absolute ...
Coffeo comments on Mar 9, 2018:
I recognized a long time a go that nothing is absoluely certain. But there are plenty of things that we can be pretty sure of ***for all practical purposes***, and that's what really matters.
Are we living in a computer simulation? Some serious thinkers like Elon Musk and Neil deGrasse Tyson...
Coffeo comments on Mar 9, 2018:
I don't see any way of ruling out a simulation, but I also don't think it is in any way helpful in explaining anything. So why bother? But if I'm wrong, and it helps to explain something, then we should be able to test it.
Zip tie frets?
Coffeo comments on Mar 7, 2018:
Very ingenious. I was trying to work out what language your heading was in, until I realized they are all English words. :-)
Honesty
Coffeo comments on Mar 6, 2018:
I am so lucky to live in Australia. Hardly anybody cares.
If we are all supposedly created in God's image, wouldn't that mean God is everyone, every race, ...
Coffeo comments on Mar 6, 2018:
Yes it would, but we aren't, so it doesn't.
Do any specific noises cause you anxiety or fright (without reason)? READ THE FULL QUESTION
Coffeo comments on Mar 3, 2018:
The noise that annoys me most is a chiming clock. Gee, shut up! If I want to know the time, I have ways of finding out.
Lol
Coffeo comments on Mar 3, 2018:
I do not think atheists hate god. I mean, how could they? I think the hateful thing is the behavior of many religious people. (Not the people themselves, but their actions.) I also do not think there is a great deal of hate on this site (obviously, there is some).
What is the personality of the Holy Ghost?
Coffeo comments on Mar 1, 2018:
I never understood any of the "explanations" I was given about the holy ghost/spirit when I was a kid. Or later. I went on to become a de facto atheist without ever understanding it. Maybe it was invented to give some meaning to the rather nice word "Trinity", since "Binity" just sounds stupid.
Are you more calculating or spontaneous?
Coffeo comments on Mar 1, 2018:
I am very uncomfortable with poeple who act spontaneously. I wish I wasn't.
Are there humans in here?
Coffeo comments on Mar 1, 2018:
No way to tell for sure.
What Happens to Your Brain When You Stop Believing in God - Tonic
Coffeo comments on Feb 28, 2018:
When I try to follow that link, I get this instead: https://www.vice.com/en_au/article/9kzzwd/how-is-it-possible-that-every-bakery-in-australia-has-won-a-pie-award Weird!
Are there any flat Earth believers among us?
Coffeo comments on Feb 28, 2018:
If I knew any flat-earthers, I'd want to ask them "Where is the edge? Why can't you show it to us?"
If God created the world, who made God?
Coffeo comments on Feb 28, 2018:
Daddy God.
Medical costs in America are so ridiculous that I just had a level 2 trauma walk into my ER. This is...
Coffeo comments on Feb 28, 2018:
I have a feeling that things in the UK have changed since we were last there, but back in 2012 we were touring in England (on Australian passports), and my wife twice experienced severe asthma attacks. We went to A&E (as they call it there — accident and emergency) at a hospital in Lancashire, where she was treated and discharged later the same day. About a week later it happened again in Yorkshire. This time she was admitted overnight and discharged next day with some medication. How much did all this cost us? NOTHING! (In fact, if you consider the fact that she got a couple of free meals, less than nothing. Well, there was probably a car park fee.) And if you're thinking travel insurance — we had it, but didn't need it.
Is there anyone here who has ever seen a UFO? And, if so, what do you believe you were witnessing?
Coffeo comments on Feb 27, 2018:
I'm agnostic about UFOs. (But I think alien explanations are unlikely.)
Are you in favour of a revolution?
Coffeo comments on Feb 27, 2018:
I think the benevolent dictator idea has a lot going for it. Provided it's me.
High anxiety day here, well the last 3. anyways here is a pic of my little brat not letting me have ...
Coffeo comments on Feb 25, 2018:
I hope you got your pants back. It would make going out in public a little easier for you. Meanwhile here's our cat Darcy, equally determined to be a rabbit for the day.
Has a faith healer ever wanted to try to heal you?
Coffeo comments on Feb 25, 2018:
My mother could cure warts, and did so several times, on the fingers of my young cousin (her nephew). She simply drew a ring around them with a ballpoint pen and told him they would go away, and they did. However, she never claimed that it had anything whatever to do with religion or faith in god. It was purely autosuggestion, but it worked. (Yes, well of course they might have gone away anyway — I know that — this is purely anecdotal.) My cousin is now an Anglican priest. I don't think there is any connection.
I am seriously considering building a "church style" building on my place complete with steeple and ...
Coffeo comments on Feb 24, 2018:
I hardly ever encounter bible-thumpers. I consider myself very fortunate.
Have you read the Bible?
Coffeo comments on Feb 24, 2018:
I never read more than I had to, which wasn't all that much (the well-known bits). I found it much too boring and frankly silly to ever read any other bits. I gather there's a lot of really bad stuff that I never read and am not going to.
A cuppa
Coffeo comments on Feb 22, 2018:
Lived in the UK until I was 26, but have always preferred coffee.
High anxiety day here, well the last 3. anyways here is a pic of my little brat not letting me have ...
Coffeo comments on Feb 22, 2018:
That is a _determined_ look. Nice kitty, though.
I saw this on another post on Facebook and decided to bring it here with my own twist. Burgers, ...
Coffeo comments on Feb 22, 2018:
Both, but not together.
Which word best describes you?
Coffeo comments on Feb 22, 2018:
Until I joined this community, I had no idea there was so much disagreement about what these terms mean. How much does it matter, anyway? I voted hard agnostic, which I think is the best fit for me. I have yet to figure out whether an atheist is one who does not believe deities exist, or one who believes deities do not exist.
Anti-matter on the Move..g:8 [livescience.com]
Coffeo comments on Feb 21, 2018:
Quote: Positrons (bizarro electrons) do occur in lightning bolts and occasionally show up in outer space, but they tend to annihilate one another long before they have a chance to accumulate. So physicists at the CERN (European Organization for Nuclear Research) physics laboratory near Geneva generate them, Nature reported, by "slamming a proton beam into a metal target, then dramatically slowing the emerging antiparticles so they can be used in experiments." But it seems they are now talking about anti-protons. Some clarity would be helpful.
I want to live forever. Do you want to live forever?
Coffeo comments on Feb 19, 2018:
For a start, I don't think it's actually an option. Anyway, forever is an awfully long time. So, no, I wouldn't. I'd like to live long enough to see a permanent base established on Mars, though, but that seems unlikely, since I'm now 74.
How many republican atheists/agnostics are members of this website?
Coffeo comments on Feb 17, 2018:
I have to say YES to both. I'm a republican, because I think the Queen has been Head of State for long enough. We need an Australian President. But also, I'm not affiliated with any political party. Oh wait, were you talking about US politics?
So I posted something earlier that I took down because my intentions were being misunderstood. I ...
Coffeo comments on Feb 17, 2018:
I don't use it as a dating site (wife wouldn't approve), but I don't even have the impression that it's the main purpose of the site — at least not since I joined. (I'm not meaning to imply any causal relationship there :# ).
Do you realize if you are an atheist, in the Christian world you are going to hell? As a matter how ...
Coffeo comments on Feb 17, 2018:
Not all Christians are like this. I went to a Methodist school, and we were taught about other religions. That chaplain said that they weren't really all that different from us and yes, of course they would go to heaven (or whatever their belief prescribed) if they had faith. It still left the atheists out in the cold (or fiery pit) though.
KIC 8462852...g:8 [youtube.com]
Coffeo comments on Feb 17, 2018:
This, and other recent posts in the same vein, are very interesting. I find myself irritated by the use of the phase "we can't explain". Just because something hasn't been explained _yet_, or is not yet fully understood, doesn't mean we _can't_ explain it. I would much prefer it if they used the phrase "we haven't yet explained".
With the way this world is going, we need EVERYONE
Coffeo comments on Feb 16, 2018:
Well, there are some we are NEVER going to get.
I see posts often enough here which criticize the chump for what is obvious hypocrisy concerning ...
Coffeo comments on Feb 16, 2018:
I'm seeing this in _Silly, Random & Fun_. Is that deliberate?
Anyone on this site being paid by Russia?
Coffeo comments on Feb 16, 2018:
Payments unaccountably delayed.
UFO Turns Up In British Museum!!!... [livescience.com]
Coffeo comments on Feb 16, 2018:
Just to be clear, the London Science Museum is _a_ British museum, but it is not The British Museum. Strange story!
I'd like throw down a new challenge
Coffeo comments on Feb 16, 2018:
There once was a man who said "God Is really a terrible fraud. He says what he'll do Is look after you, But he's not worth two peas in a pod."
Memories
Coffeo comments on Feb 16, 2018:
Too many! Here are some (I lived in Belfast, Northern Ireland): Sometime before my third birthday — walking with my mother beside the railway line hoping (and yet slightly frightened) that a train (steam back then) would come rushing by, really close. Holidays in a little cottage near the beach — water from the pump in the back garden; rockpools; making tranches and canals in the hard damp sand; the mournful foghorn sounding on foggy mornings; riding on a cushion fastened to the bar of my dad's bike; walking to the village for eggs, milk and other provisions; a crackly radio that ran off a very large battery; hurricane lamps and a Primus stove. Another holiday (age 7) also near the sea, but with walks across fields of bracken and sheep to a shoreline with rocky beaches and secluded coves (smugglers?!); also a sandy beach slightly farther away from where you could watch passenger ferries coming to and from Scotland. Age 8 — a trip to London! Overnight on the ferry to England then a long thrilling ride in a steam train to the capital with its underground railways ('the tube' ); parks where you could feed sparrows and pigeons; river cruises and a terrific fairground left over from the previous year's Festival of Britain. My childhood wasn't completely carefree but I had some great times!
It appears I'm the slacker of the group. My college is sparse & sporadic, so little formal ...
Coffeo comments on Feb 15, 2018:
I'm pretty much a lay person myself once again, having retired more than a decade ago, and not following the specialist literature. It's lay reading for me now. _New Scientist_ is very good, and the online _Quanta_ magazine. Some of the Ted talks, too.
Father/Son Ritual (for women & men to answer) I have observed a male-centered "ritual" (for want ...
Coffeo comments on Feb 15, 2018:
I might have had the hair ruffling thing _very_ occasionally, and only from one particular uncle. None of the other stuff. I could have done without the hair ruffling but it didn't bother me much. I was brought up in Northern Ireland.
My story is, for the most part, "based" on a true story. After all, I am merely a figment of my own ...
Coffeo comments on Feb 15, 2018:
Yes, I imagine you are.
Difference between Dogs and Cats.
Coffeo comments on Feb 14, 2018:
True! We are owned by two cats.
Are you afraid of heights?
Coffeo comments on Feb 14, 2018:
I'm happy to look out of aircraft, or over cliffs if there's a sturdy railing or balustrade. Otherwise _yes_ I am.
Hello all, glad to find some scientists in the community. I am a retired Aerospace Engineering ...
Coffeo comments on Feb 14, 2018:
I think many scientists love music. I don't know how many make a career out of it, but the astrophysicist Brian May of Queen comes to mind.
Fallacy of False Equivalence
Coffeo comments on Feb 12, 2018:
Is this Joe G. ?
Whoa! Slow Down... [youtube.com]
Coffeo comments on Feb 12, 2018:
This is very entertaining, if not exactly of pressing importance! But she implied that Mercury is tidally locked with one side always facing the sun. It has been known since the 1960s that its tidal lock is in a 3:2 spin orbit resonance. It doesn't always have one side facing the sun.
How interesting is this website?
Coffeo comments on Feb 11, 2018:
I've found a lot of interesting stuff here. Do _you_ find it interesting @Beautie0000 ?
Question for former believers
Coffeo comments on Feb 11, 2018:
I was probably atheist or at the very least agnostic before I even realized that there were other non-believers. Discovering that was a relief, for sure! My mother always hoped I would "come back" some day. My father expressed no views about religion, although he went to church sometimes and enjoyed singing the bass part in hymns even though he wasn't in the choir. It wasn't until _much_ later that I began to think he might be a closet non-believer. He couldn't sing in the choir because he wouldn't take communion. Why would he not? He expressed no opinion when I stopped supporting the church. It didn't matter to him? I didn't want to ask; religion was something he never discussed. Anyway, after few months of trying hard to believe, I gave up, and yes, that was a relief.
What’s your “guilty pleasure” song?
Coffeo comments on Feb 9, 2018:
_Déranger Les Pierres_ (for example) by Carla Bruni. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T7PX3E_-rwk=PL5nl_yZZGb9nqd73iuwAQk7h3Vj5j3Gex=26 Possibly not the most accomplished female singer. but golly, so sexy! (Which is why I think it fits here.)
Hello everyone. Darwin Day is close. What do you think about evolution?
Coffeo comments on Feb 8, 2018:
Good idea. Let's do it.
Gymnast Who Exposed Larry Nassar Says Church Isn’t Safe for Assault Victims February 4, 2018 by ...
Coffeo comments on Feb 8, 2018:
Is it even possible for a repeat offender to "truly repent" on every occasion?
The World's Newest Major Religion: No Religion
Coffeo comments on Feb 8, 2018:
I like this meowry.
If you met god after you died, what would you tell him?
Coffeo comments on Feb 8, 2018:
You don't really play fair, do you?
blocking a god believer? I came into this community for free enjoyable exchanges with reasonable ...
Coffeo comments on Feb 8, 2018:
Someone would have to be very persistently annoying for me to block them. It hasn't happened yet. I'm normally quite capable of simply ignoring posts that I dislike.
Rev barbour
Coffeo comments on Feb 7, 2018:
Here in Australia there is a wonderful Anglican priest called Rod Bower. https://www.facebook.com/anggos/ He always speaks out for fairness and is sometimes quite a thorn in our current very conservative government's side. I wish all Christians were like him.
'Not the Nine O'clock News' was a mostly satirical sketch show that aired in the UK in the early ...
Coffeo comments on Feb 7, 2018:
Some things don't change much.
I have a question for both believers and unbelievers. If God Himself appeared to you and told you ...
Coffeo comments on Feb 7, 2018:
Is this apparition saying "I do not exist" or "God does not exist"?
Has anyone else seen and understands the double slit experiment?
Coffeo comments on Feb 7, 2018:
There is a lot of difficult and surprising stuff in quantum theory. The double slit experiment is a good introduction to it.
I'll never forget watching three Apollo rockets launching from across the schoolyard when I was kid ...
Coffeo comments on Feb 7, 2018:
I was so fortunate to be able to witness the launch of Apollo 16. You could never ever capture that awesome sound from watching TV.
Agnostic, Atheist, Humanist, Secularist, Skeptic, Freethinker
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