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Old 11-26-2011, 09:15 PM
 
Location: Sitting beside Walden Pond
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jcroc View Post
The gun thing Aussies don't really get. I don't know anyone with a gun
Thanks for the very informative response, Jcroc.

Yes, many Americans love their guns. Maybe it was because guns were so important in the development of our country - killing animals for food, fighting Indians, winning our independence from England in an 8-year long Revolutionary War, fighting Mexico and Canada to gain more territory, and in winning a nasty 4-year long Civil War. Don't forget the Spanish-American war where we gained a good deal of territory overseas.

Without guns, we would not have our country.

Maybe since Australia was given its independence instead of having to fight for it, you don't have a deep fear that your independence might be taken away. I guess I'm saying that we Americans have a chip on our shoulder.

On the other hand, I don't know why so many Americans (about 50%, I think) do not believe in evolution. Maybe it is because many of us have a mistrust of authority and being told what to believe. Maybe because many people are deeply religious - although evolution doesn't seem to bother the Jews.

By the way, do you like this song?


Joan Baez - And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda - YouTube

Last edited by hiker45; 11-26-2011 at 09:31 PM..
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Old 11-27-2011, 11:02 AM
 
Location: Sitting beside Walden Pond
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jcroc View Post
I like Michael Moore but I'm sure he's also very biased.
Of course he is very biased, but he really is funny. Like when he went to the bank that was giving away a shotgun to new depositors and asked them, "Do you see anything wrong with giving away a shotgun in a bank?"

Mike Moore is an embarassment to the Democrats and, in a way, we have him to thank for our good fortune of having George Bush serve two terms as our president.


Quote:
Originally Posted by jcroc View Post
I'd secretly lurve to go to the Creation museum
So would I, but I know they would throw me out when I laughed at the exhibit showing a guy using a Triceratops to pull a plow.
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Old 11-27-2011, 04:48 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jcroc View Post
Hi - I'm soon to be moving to Monterey CA with my family, and my son will be due to start school. We're Aussies, and Australia's a very, very secular society. The only two people I know who go to church regularly are a very religious aunt and our military chaplain.

Here about 60% of people consider themselves religious, but much fewer (20% or less) actually attend church or practice their religions beyond possibly christening/baptising their kids or sending them to a religious school (this is around 30% of kids, as here private schools are seen as a bit more elite and better quality in general, despite there being strong evidence they are in fact no better). We have religious classes offered in public schools, but many parents opt out, and we have a high court challenge underway aimed at axeing religion in schools.

Most people here have the view that religion is part of your home life, so people tend to be friends with a very wide variety of people and are unlikely to even know of their religion unless they visit their home. We've got a few fundamental types, and religion still pervades politics to a large extent, but it's certainly phasing out in terms of influence: people generally don't like it when religion and politics mix. Julia Gillard is an atheist, too.

I'm just wondering the extent to which people are religious in the area we'll be moving to. Will religion be taught in schools? Can you opt out? Will people notice or care if we don't go to church/believe in God? Are people generally accepting of atheism?

Thanks!
Well I live in Australia and have done some teacher training in the public schools. Yes there is religious classes at least once an week for an hour at least but the children dont have to go to them and the kids that dont go to the religious classes go to another class where they play games or read books. Generally the most religious people are immigrants from third world countries, but of course some Aussies are like religious fundamentalist but it is no where the same extent as the Southern parts of the USA or mid west.

Well here in Australia an vast majority of people dont really care if you are atheist or not. I guess religion here would be similar to California or the North west of USA or New England where the society is very secular. People dont really care if the prime minister is atheist as well. People more judge her on her performance. She may be atheist but she conservative on some issues such as against gay marriage.
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Old 11-27-2011, 05:14 PM
 
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Maybe it’s because guns were so important in the development of our country that we live in a society where they haven’t formed a large part of our culture. Australians built a frontier country just as Americans did, relying on guns to hunt and farm, protect themselves from Indigenous peoples who at the time were considered hostile (largely in defending their homes and ways of life), and to defend our region and other parts of the world in the many wars we’ve fought.

We use guns too where there’s a purpose for them: farm life, military needs, policing, sports shooting and hunting. Without guns we wouldn’t have our country, either. We just haven’t adopted them as culturally important as Americans have. It’s extremely rare to own one, and very few people have ever held or even seen one up close (I’ve have plenty of contact with weapons in the army, where shooting is obviously necessary). No one would own one just to protect themselves or their home because we don’t see a need to. Interestingly Australia has a higher rate of property crime (e.g. car theft, home break ins) whereas America has a much, much higher rate of violent crimes and homicide (we only have around 50-100 murders year, most of which are the result of spousal violence. Most murders are not shootings).

I don’t think it’s down to a difference in development or how hard won anyone’s independence was. I don’t see what gun ownership has to do with fears of people’s independence being taken away. I think it’s just a cultural difference: different things are important to different nations.

I do like The Band Played Waltzing Matilda but I prefer the Eric Bogle version. Most Australians sing it in Anzac day in pubs. We also like Khe Sahn and I was Only 19.
I am familiar with Lionel Long. When I was very young I loooooved A Country Practice.

There are definitely gun enthusiasts in Australia. Pig hunting is probably the biggest form of hunting and happens a bit up north. I lived in Darwin for 5 years and meet a few who liked pig hunting. Roo hunting is pretty common too in some areas (culling is sometimes important where small towns become completely overrun with roos – believe it or not roos can be very dangerous animals and can easily gut a person).

Evolution isn’t hard to understand, even when you look at complex migration processes. Many people are locked into a sort of thinking where they find it hard to grasp the time scale of evolution. It’s also common to struggle with the concept of species. If you take your photo and put it next to a photo of your parent, there will be similarities and variances. Add on the last few generations, stacking the photos back to back. Add more. Add thousands and thousands of photos, each with the previous parent. A yard or two worth of photos of ancestors will take you back 30,000 years, and your ancestor will look just like you, with little family resemblance. You could have a baby with this person and it would be indistinguishable from any other human baby. Go back a few more yards and the ancestors will be very different, resembling apes but they will not be apes. Apes branched off in other directions. Perhaps at that juncture great-great-great-great-etc Uncle Joe the Ape went down one breeding line, and your great-great-great-great-etc granddad went down another.

The differences arise due to selection – often predation, climate, or just simple separation and development in difference places (Creationists seem to have the opinion all speciation occurs slowly, but in fact there are numerous current examples and it can happen quite quickly – it all depends on the degree with which adaption has to occur. The more drastic an adaption, the bigger the change). Continue going back and back through the photos, back hundreds of yard, and miles even, and you’ll notice there are countless branches going off in different directions, a little like the limbs of a tree. Go back far enough and you share a common ancestor with every species that has ever lived. In fact, we are all one big family: species are just something we separate animals into for convenience and our own perceived idea of ‘differences’.

Selection can happen extremely slowly, over many millions of years. Some animals have evolves at a very slow pace, changing very little (e.g. sharks, crocodiles, cockroaches) because they are very well adapted to their environments. Other animals are more vulnerable: look at the species we’ve seen driven to extinction by the changes in environment we’ve created, and the amazing variances we’ve brought about in the domestic dog. Migration patterns have simply developed over many, many generations. Frankly, it’s not that remarkable a concept. Some members of species travelled very widely and lived to breed successfully with animals who shared similar intrepid leanings. Those who stuck to the home ground were more vulnerable to changes in climate. Given enough generations, these animals adapted to migration, veeeeeeeeeeery slowly developing advantages (a good sense of direction would be favoured, as would speed, or the ability to return to the location of birth by remembering the way as this would be a known safe place. Winging it would be less favourable to survival, as you could pass through dangers like storm prone areas, or lose your way, or end up where none of your buddies did, making breeding a bit unlikely).

Advantageous qualities have often developed completely separately as the mechanics of a useful thing and sometimes be similar. An example is the eye or a tail: these can be hugely useful for seeing where to go (many, many different kinds of eyes have developed of course, but an organ that can transfer images of the outside world into that which the brain can understand is obviously very good for your chances. Tails are excellent for balance, or acting as a rudder, so many animals have them). Look at lemurs. They’re monkeys right? No. Not even closely related. Yet they’ve evolved an incredibly similar form by living in extremely similar environments, where they’ve survived by specialising in tree dwelling.

Another thing that’s commonly misunderstood is there’s no plan to it all. Many people want to assign a purpose or rhyme or reason to the natural world. Often you hear the comment that ‘isn’t it great we’re so well adapted to life on earth!’. Actually, not quite – we developed here over billions of years, and the environment changed with us (oxygen for example is extremely toxic to life. Our dependence on it is an incredibly fine balance. More interestingly, there was almost no oxygen in the atmosphere in the early days. Oxygen was produced by life and what was once a by product has been taken advantage of and has become essential). The world is just one huge series of chemical interactions, obeying local rules on a minute scale. It’s kind of magical when you think about it. Life as we know it is almost impossibly unlikely, but life could have developed in any number of other ways, and didn’t – it’s not remarkable that there’s life on earth. We just happen to be the life that survived.
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Old 11-27-2011, 06:58 PM
 
Location: Sitting beside Walden Pond
4,609 posts, read 4,121,764 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jcroc View Post
I don’t see what gun ownership has to do with fears of people’s independence being taken away.
Being an American, I am not the best one to truly understand our culture. When you are here, I bet you will have a good time finding the subtle differences between our cultures. Maybe if you go "Burning Man" you will gain many insights.

I don't know about Aussies, but Americans have a REAL dislike of being told what to do, and many of us do feel like our independence can be taken away. We like to feel that our home is our castle and we can defend it with firearms. We have a deep distrust of our government.

Many people are against Obama's health care plan because it forces people to buy health insurance, and that irritates us.

Of course, I personally do not have these feelings. I worked for the government and while I do not support Obama, he is better than Jimmy Carter (just typing his name gave me cold chills).

You are going to like it in America. Here is a video to make you feel at home. Play it REAL LOUD!


Toby Keith-i love this bar (music video) - YouTube
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Old 11-27-2011, 10:15 PM
 
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Why what's Obama's health care plan?
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Old 11-28-2011, 02:31 AM
 
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A mandate that every person must buy insurance. People find that very coercive (although those against it are not willing or able to waive their rights to be treated in any expensive ER in case of emergency, and no ER is allowed to turn someone away for lack of insurance).
I've seen it written that the U.S. has more Nobel Prize winners and more sociopaths than other societies. This could go along with the "why Americans love guns" idea- a self-selected group of people came to this country on purpose (except for enslaved people). What kind of personality leaves the place where their people have been for centuries, leaves their language and family and everything else to strike out for something unknown? Not a shrinking violet. However much that trait is in DNA, the U.S. has a significant weighting towards it. (I think of my own Jewish grandparents, who, if they hadn't left the Old Country to escape pogroms, likely would have been killed then or in the war, and couldn't pass on their DNA).
Just an idea.
The OP will love Montery. Not only quite secular (except as someone pointed out, the farmworkers) and one of prettiest places on the planet. Best wishes on the move!
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Old 11-28-2011, 02:56 AM
 
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So universal health care?

Here we have medicare, which is a bit like 'forced' medical insurance I suppose. It's a tax of 2.5% of your income, so wealthier people pay more, poorer people pay less. If you choose to have additional private health cover, which is approx $120 a month for top hospital family cover and around the same if you want to add extras cover (dental, optical, various other random things), you only pay 1.5% which for some can basically pay for the cover (a single person earning about 50k will often get the private cover for 'free').

Medicare is a bit like UK's NHS. It covers all hospital care and medical care except dental, optical and physio (and quackery like homeopathy). When you see a regular doctor, you choose whomever you like and most of the cost is covered under medicare (some doctors charge an additional fee and the fee charged varies according to choice of doctor, but any gap paid is easily affordable - usually no more than about $30). If you need hospital emergency treatment it is free. If you need surgery or specialist treatment you are triaged according to need - urgent care usually happens very quickly, but if you need less urgent care there can be waiting lists. Something like gastric banding could take years. This is why many choose to have private cover, which allows you to just skip waiting lists and go straight to a private hospital. Some pluses are if you have medical costs (private or public) greater than about $500-1000 depending on income, the government will pay 80% of all out of pocket medical costs over this amount (it's called exceeding the safety net).

No system is without its flaws but it works pretty well. The lack of dental care is incredibly annoying as it's maddeningly expensive. Private dental cover is also quite pricey and doesn't cover the full cost, and in my opinion too pricey to bother with (besides there are rarely exclusions in private care. If you need complicated dental work there's usually a year or two worth of 'waiting period' before you are covered. The waiting period for most dental is either nil or a couple of months). Public hospitals can be seen as a bit crap in some towns, so many people will choose private cover or even pay full price for private treatment (my grandfather paid about $5000 to get some complicated foot surgery privately despite no cover. This included a stay in the hospital).

We pay private hospital care which would allow us to go privately if we ever needed surgery. It allows us to choose our doctor or hospital and all costs would be covered as they would be under Medicare, which we could also choose. We have no co-payments or deductibles or anything like that. I stayed in hospital for about 3 months and there was no cost.
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Old 11-28-2011, 07:12 AM
 
Location: Sitting beside Walden Pond
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I think one of our problems is that America has a lot of really poor people, many of them recent immigrants.

Some people think that if we had a national health care system, it would be overwhelmed with poor people.
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Old 11-28-2011, 11:54 AM
 
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Originally Posted by hiker45 View Post
You don't have to try to be an Atheist. If you believe there is a supreme being who makes the Universe operate, that's fine. Most people are like you.

In my case, I am an Atheist.
WHY do you want to be an atheist ? Is it based on scientific reasons or personal philosophical appeal ?
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