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Dear Non-Prophets, As a practicing Atheist, I support many of your interesting, colorful suppositions, and eagerly anticipate each podcast with excited glee. However, I cannot stand your stance that, as far as I can tell, you believe that every single homeschooler are brainwashed, ignorant jackasses who have no knowledge of math, science, or English. While I realize that some homeschoolers fit your description, not all are fundamentalist Christians. In fact, I was homeschooled in an Atheist community near the University of Virginia (UVA) by my mother and father -both are PhDs- and entered the local community college when I was fourteen. I am planning to transfer into UVA or The College of William and Mary next semester -afterwards I plan on pursuing a degree in evolutionary biology, microbiology, or entering law, or medical, school- , and I am also a bronze level ballroom dancer -albeit with some silver level patterns-. Do I sound like an illiterate fundamentalist who cannot accept proven facts (exempli gratia evolution), and believe in outright lies (exempli gratia The United States is a "Christian Nation)? I am deeply offended each time you utter a bigoted statement about homeschoolers, as you did several time during the 6.14 podcast, for you are clearly either willfully ignorant or internally insulting. I hope you address this discrepancy in your next podcast or in a private e-mail -I copied this note into an e-mail that is currently waiting to be downloaded in cyberspace-, for I feel you are ignoring those who were homeschoolers for non-religious reasons.

Sincerely, "Ego Felem Ago" (My name has been withheld for security reasons.)

Hi Ego:

I cannot speak for what others have said. But is it possible that Non-Prophets are assuming their listeners are familiar with their context due to the nature and content of their program (i.e., that it is addressing problems caused by religion?).

Here in Texas we have precious little oversight or regulation for home-schooling; and that is a frightening prospect--to think that a child's education is not being reviewed on a necessary level to ensure they're at least recieving the basic knowledge of math, science, and literacy to ensure they'll be able to function as beneficial members of our societies and communities. These children are left to the whims of their parents--without peers or external adults (teahers or counselors) to observe that their home environments are conducive to real education.

I appreciate your statement that you were well schooled by your very educated parents in a home-school environment. In fact, I know, personally, at least one stay-at-home dad in the ACA who homeschools due to a lack of confidence in the Texas school system's ability to adequately teach his young son.

You are correct that dedicated parents who have a genuine concern regarding their child's education, welfare, and socialization, are out there doing a good job of raising well educated and well adjusted children.

Again, I did not hear the Non-Prophet comments, but I am sympathize with your point, and I only wonder if they do as well, and possibly only thought their meaning (and intended target) was clear due to the well known nature of their program?

Thanks for writing.

We addressed your comments on the last show.

I'm sorry it bothered you, but your case is exceptional. When I make a joke about homeschooling - I'm making a broad generalization and not stating that every homeschooler is an undereducated yokel.

The fact is that homeschooling is a poorly implemented idea that may not be warranted and certainly hasn't been justified. In Texas, for example, there are no testing requirements, no attendance requirements, no certification requirements and only the vaguest curriculum requirements.

My position (and it's my own, and not the ACA's) is that homeschooling laws are in desperate need of revision. As it stands, it's a horrible idea that is open to abuse with no hope of oversight.

It is analogous to putting up speed limit signs that read "Drive safely" and removing all patrol cars from the highway.

Matt Wrote: "The fact is that homeschooling is a poorly implemented idea that may not be warranted and certainly hasn't been justified." I disagree with you-this is very debatable, not a "fact." "Certainly hasn't been justified?' You must be joking. America, and particularly Texas, has some of the lowest ranking schools in this entire world, and a huge illiteracy rate that grows every year. I think any parent is well justified to abandon such a system. Matt wrote: As it stands, it's a horrible idea that is open to abuse with no hope of oversight. It is analogous to putting up speed limit signs that read "Drive safely" and removing all patrol cars from the highway." Why is it a "horrible idea?" What statistics are you basing that on? The ones I've read clearly show a decline in the cognitive abilities of Americans since the onset of public school. I do agree that the system of home schooling is "open to abuse," but so is the use of any of our civil rights. I don't intend to forfeit any of my rights, and I sure as hell don't want a state like Texas in charge of what I can and can't put into my (or my child's) brain-people have a right to autonomy-without that we are not a Constitutional Republic.

A crusade to rid America of freethinkers began (masked as mass education) in 1837 by Horace Mann. Mann was a Puritan who became a politician, and then converted to Unitarian. I imagine a Unitarian would appeal more to voters. Horace Mann's brainchild (mass education) would create harmony by unity of thought. (If they'd had mass media back then they wouldn't have needed Horace.) I suspect that politicians, and the industrialists who supported this, could benefit greatly by managing the voting public. This type of "schooling" is based on the idiotic notion that a stable society is maintained by identical unchanging views, and dissent is vilified. More to the point, ordinary people should be "molded" through instruction to accept one view since they have next to no capacity for independent thinking. Somebody needs to tell them what to think! One and all would be put through the process (cookie cutter) and they would all come out exactly alike. Mann's Puritan ancestors pictured a society without differences of opinion, no competition of ideas, and a stable conflict-free society. Though Mann had changed his own point of view to Unitarianism, and many people had fled Puritan colonies to escape their tyranny, Horace Mann still wanted to be the "decider." Besides, the instructions would include a nonspecific version of Protestantism in order to prevent conflicts. (He still had problems.) The Protestants were a diverse group who wanted specific religious instructions, so he had to solve this problem. However, when that problem was finally resolved he had a much bigger problem with the Catholics (problems that lead to riots and violence.) So, there was nothing but madness directly related to his concept of education. An entire political party was formed to answer the "Catholic Problem." It was called the "Know Nothing" party. (Excellent title)! In 1854, the Know Nothings won the governorship and both houses in Massachusetts. Mann's dream of everyone educated in public schools to think exactly alike failed when Catholics established their own separate school system, which was nothing like most of them nowadays.I doubt that those with the unrealistic vain desire to amalgamate the entire population under a single belief has ever really ended; it has continued to this day. An additional factor in the need for mass education was that by the second half of the nineteenth century agricultural life in America was replaced with industrial capitalism. The rising group of capitalists and industrialists, the greatest of them known as the Robber Barons, came to dominate American life. They ruthlessly exploited every chance to control the various sectors of American society; they sought to legitimize themselves as the true and worthy "upper class," and this has continued. The nouveau riche (new rich) in America was not aristocracy; and in some instances they had sized power through questionable methods. Industrial capitalist by 1870s and 1880s had created many institutions and social structures to protect their wealth and promote their exclusive status. The rich went to elite private schools where they could be protected from association with their subordinates. They were graduates of exclusive prep schools who mixed only with those individuals of similar backgrounds. Wealthy planters and merchants imported private tutors from Ireland or Scotland, and others were educated in England. The wealthy were obviously not educated in public schools, because mass education was designed to prepare workers for factories, and insure that the general public would be stable and manageable.

Some people do want an education to propagate an activist religion, but even those who disagree still know the difference between "schooling" and education. The goal of state-run education is to control the masses, prevent individuality and encourage uniformity. It is a system in which you can't succeed unless you conform. Those who are not programmable are useless, but most people do join the get-along-gang because they are told that if they don't get their "schooling" they will wind up a bum on the street. Multinational Corporations don't need eccentrics! So, if you're (one of a kind) you better educate yourself. And you better not forget - they really don't need too many humans, as many jobs can be done by computers/machines. It doesn't take twelve years to shove misinformation down anyone's throat, and if the trend continues we will have a total monkey-see-monkey-do population with no evolution.

They might elect a monkey President?

I watched "Jesus Camp" last night. One of the stats that the film showed is that 85% of American homeschoolers are Evangelical Christians.

So, the bias is not without basis.

It showed some scenes of this Evangelical mom homeschooling out of a VERY LEGITIMATE looking science textbook on creationist science.


That was a very disturbing movie on many fronts. I wanted to take some of those kids home with me. I felt so sorry for them.

Unfortunately very few polls can be trusted to actually reflect the truth of whatever! Using the statistics of their polls as a method of deciding what the facts are is fundamentally unsound (people usually believe the polls that tell them things they already know) but they don't poll people on issues that they don't even know about. Their findings usually show what they want to establish. There was a report of a poll that proved that most people believe that Iraq was responsible for the attack on 9-11. (Most people should be better informed than that.) Reporting by the media is usually one-dimensional; they don't reflect every aspect of any topic. One might think that the capacity of the average person might be superior to the inertia of the useless media ...but even so; I think the growing polarization in America is due to programming everyone to see things in one dimension. The one-dimensional left-right systemů a great example because (neither side is first-class or straightforward.)

There are many dimensions to most issues, but the one-dimensional reporting present one's good so the other's bad. If this is dreadful than the alternative must be excellent. There seems to be a need to keep the discussion moving back and forth between two extremes like a ping-pong ball to hypnotize the audience. When the truth is that One-dimension would not suffice to make clear almost any of the issues.

How does one practice atheism?

The same way they practice not believing in the tooth fairy, lol.

What's to practice?

"ok, I lack a belief in god. I need to practice."

"lack belief, lack belief, lack belief"

"still lack belief"

"Wow, that was a good practice. My lack-of-belief-in-a-god muscle is so pumped right now!"

I'm gonna go practice not jogging in the park for a few hours, brb.

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From the officers:

The ACA Lecture Series continues Sunday, February 4th, 12:15pm at the Austin History Center, 9th and Guadaupe. Chase Hunter will speak on "Inside Scientology 2: the Sea Org". The lecture is free and open to the public. The building opens at noon.