Brief intro from a biologist downunder
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22-07-2016, 11:45 PM
Brief intro from a biologist downunder
Hi all,

Although I'd joined the forum with the intent of asking a technical question about downloading podcasts (which I will do in due course), I thought it would be rude if that were to be my very first post so here's a brief intro:

I grew up in a Jewish family in Canada and was sent to a religious school when I was young, where I not only studied the Old Testament in detail but in the original Hebrew. If the horrible/bizarre stories in that book (especially when not diluted in the process of translation) weren't enough to deconvert anyone, I also had a keen interest in science (zoology in particular) and was reading whatever material I could in my spare time. Although I can't recall if I had ever truly believed in a god in any real sense, by the time I was 15 I had gained enough of an understanding of both bible and biology to declare myself an atheist and consequently asked to be transferred to a secular public school for the remainder of my high school education. My parents were pretty good about it so I went to a public school as requested, after which I studied zoology at university and then went on to do my PhD research in Australia, where I now live.

I've watched/listened to enough Atheist Experience and Thinking Atheist shows (as well as taken frequent trips back to North America) to understand how different it is being an atheist in Australia than in parts of the USA. That difference was highlighted when a lawyer friend who discovered religion quite late in life confided in me that she was terrified of telling anyone else for fear of being thought of as 'weird'.

In general, I leave people alone who are quietly religious, until they try to introduce their religion into public spaces, education and/or government. I don't hold back for anti-science movements like creationism, though, but creationists are thin on the ground in this part of the world. AFAIK I've met only one. I would imagine it hard to maintain creationist views in Australia given that this continent is like the Galapagos writ large, with huge levels of island endemism that make no sense from a creationist point of view. Unless there was a second 'Bizarro world' style creator with a whacky sense of humour.
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23-07-2016, 12:14 AM
RE: Brief intro from a biologist downunder
You can download the podcasts via iTunes.

Welcome to our forum community.


But as if to knock me down, reality came around
And without so much as a mere touch, cut me into little pieces

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23-07-2016, 12:19 AM (This post was last modified: 23-07-2016 12:30 AM by Aliza.)
RE: Brief intro from a biologist downunder
(22-07-2016 11:45 PM)crocdoc Wrote:  Hi all,

Although I'd joined the forum with the intent of asking a technical question about downloading podcasts (which I will do in due course), I thought it would be rude if that were to be my very first post so here's a brief intro:

I grew up in a Jewish family in Canada and was sent to a religious school when I was young, where I not only studied the Old Testament in detail but in the original Hebrew. If the horrible/bizarre stories in that book (especially when not diluted in the process of translation) weren't enough to deconvert anyone, I also had a keen interest in science (zoology in particular) and was reading whatever material I could in my spare time. Although I can't recall if I had ever truly believed in a god in any real sense, by the time I was 15 I had gained enough of an understanding of both bible and biology to declare myself an atheist and consequently asked to be transferred to a secular public school for the remainder of my high school education. My parents were pretty good about it so I went to a public school as requested, after which I studied zoology at university and then went on to do my PhD research in Australia, where I now live.

I've watched/listened to enough Atheist Experience and Thinking Atheist shows (as well as taken frequent trips back to North America) to understand how different it is being an atheist in Australia than in parts of the USA. That difference was highlighted when a lawyer friend who discovered religion quite late in life confided in me that she was terrified of telling anyone else for fear of being thought of as 'weird'.

In general, I leave people alone who are quietly religious, until they try to introduce their religion into public spaces, education and/or government. I don't hold back for anti-science movements like creationism, though, but creationists are thin on the ground in this part of the world. AFAIK I've met only one. I would imagine it hard to maintain creationist views in Australia given that this continent is like the Galapagos writ large, with huge levels of island endemism that make no sense from a creationist point of view. Unless there was a second 'Bizarro world' style creator with a whacky sense of humour.

Welcome to the forum. Never heard an educated Jew call it the "old testament" before. I could always use a hand with my Hebrew, though. Perhaps we have some interesting discussions ahead of us. Smile
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23-07-2016, 12:51 AM
RE: Brief intro from a biologist downunder
Welcome to our little community. I have a BSc and part of an MS in biology, and we have quite a few of us who are in related science fields, whom I am certain you will meet shortly. Just based on that, you'll fit right in.

Sparring with the many variant subspecies of Creationists who grace our little site with their presence is just one of the bonuses conferred upon us by so many years of study. You'll be amazed at what some of them (especially Americans) think about the magic that formed the universe.

Glad you're on TTA. We have a couple of pretty cool Aussies already here, as well.

"Theology made no provision for evolution. The biblical authors had missed the most important revelation of all! Could it be that they were not really privy to the thoughts of God?" - E. O. Wilson
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23-07-2016, 12:54 AM
RE: Brief intro from a biologist downunder
Welcome!

The first revolt is against the supreme tyranny of theology, of the phantom of God. As long as we have a master in heaven, we will be slaves on earth.

Mikhail Bakunin.
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23-07-2016, 01:04 AM (This post was last modified: 23-07-2016 01:55 AM by kim.)
RE: Brief intro from a biologist downunder
Hi, CrocDoc - sounds like you've been around a bit.

Great to have you here. Smile

A new type of thinking is essential if mankind is to survive and move to higher levels. ~ Albert Einstein
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23-07-2016, 01:54 AM
RE: Brief intro from a biologist downunder
With a name with croc in it, are you working up north?

NOTE: Member, Tomasia uses this site to slander other individuals. He then later proclaims it a joke, but not in public.
I will call him a liar and a dog here and now.
Banjo.
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23-07-2016, 03:43 AM
RE: Brief intro from a biologist downunder
Hello! Big Grin
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23-07-2016, 11:49 PM
RE: Brief intro from a biologist downunder
(23-07-2016 12:19 AM)Aliza Wrote:  Never heard an educated Jew call it the "old testament" before. I could always use a hand with my Hebrew, though. Perhaps we have some interesting discussions ahead of us. Smile

You're right, it was the Torah when I learned it, but after multiple online discussions about religion I tend to use 'Old Testament' these days.

My Hebrew is probably far rustier than yours, for I didn't speak a word of it after leaving the private school at age 15 until a couple of years ago, when I tried re-learning a bit before visiting relatives in Israel. I discovered that I can still read it after all of these years and sound it out phonetically, even if I can't understand most of what I am reading.
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23-07-2016, 11:54 PM
RE: Brief intro from a biologist downunder
(23-07-2016 01:54 AM)Banjo Wrote:  With a name with croc in it, are you working up north?

You nailed it. I got the nickname from my family in Canada when I was doing my doctorate on crocodiles. My field work was up north, in Arnhem Land, but most of my research was lab-based in Sydney.
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