Religion and SpiritualityScienceSkepticism

Cassie 101 (YAY! My first post!)

On Saturday January 5th, 1991, there was a Bush in office and we were at war with Iraq.  Unfortunately, it seems that some things haven’t changed since the day I was born.  To be fair, I would have to say that the Bush administration has played a big role in my growth as a skeptic. But this isn’t a political blog. So ‘nuff said.  But lots of things have changed in my house since that day.

I was born into a Fundamentalist/Evangelical Christian family.  My father and his parents were all Pentecostal ministers. Yep, speaking in tongues, laying hands on the sick, falling under the power, the whole enchilada. My grandfather and grandmother founded the church that we attended and my dad was the youth pastor. My father broke away from the church when I was six. He had a kind of mid-life crisis.  In this case, it was for the better.  He began to question his faith and soon felt that he could no longer accept what the church believed. Today he is a skeptic and a freethinker. 

However, back then he didn’t push his beliefs or lack thereof, on me.  He wanted me to make up my own mind. So I still went to church with my grandmother until I was around 11. My mother attended with me sometimes, but for her own reasons, she eventually left to attend another church.   She is a theist, kind of a cafeteria Christian.  She’s also the kindest person I’ve ever met.  (Except when I leave the house a mess and take the car…) 

My grandfather and grandmother are still active in the Pentecostal church. I really don’t know what my grandfather thinks about our situation, but my grandmother is convinced that God told her that my family would return to the church. I am convinced by observation and evidence that our return is not likely to happen.

Eighth grade science was the first time I learned about evolution. I found it enthralling. It was the most exciting idea I’d ever heard. I was lucky to have a really cool science teacher in eighth grade and he got me really excited about science. About this time it occurred to me that science was the best source for answers about my place in the universe. This began my journey toward skepticism.

Around this time I started debating my friends and family on the topic of evolution. I live in a rural area and let’s just say that my hometown is not loaded with intellectuals. (Sorry, Rebecca, I still can’t believe that you could have been produced by this environment!) I also would argue with people I met online. I would get really ticked when, in the end, after I’d presented all my evidence, they still would disagree. I call this portion of my life my angry atheist stage. I don’t think I was helping our cause very much at this time… I learned since then that that anger and insults are not sufficient tools for convincing people that I am right. 

I really got going in skepticism after listening to “The Skeptics’ Guide To The Universe” podcast, and through them I discovered Skepchick. I don’t want to sound like a kiss up but Rebecca, SGU and the Skepchicks have played a huge part in my skeptical development and I am thankful for all they have done.  

Okay… a few more facts about my favorite subject, me: 

Skepticism is my anti-drug, not that I need an anti-drug. 

I love school, (although my fall college calculus class scares the living heck out of me). 

I love seafood, particularly raw oysters.  (And no, they aren’t an aphrodisiac. They just taste great!)

I love my science academy cohorts and science teachers.

As far as my romantic life goes, I really don’t have one. My friends in the science academy possess a firm belief that boys have cooties, so they won’t let me date. By cooties, they basically mean that boys are stupid.  This is a hard argument to refute. Not that I have the time to date <sigh>, most of my life is devoted to school, sports, skepticism, family, friends, and maintaining my sanity. 

When it comes to my future, I haven’t figured that out yet, but I’ll let you know when I do.  However, I am a teenager, therefore I do know everything.  So if you have any questions about anything, just send them my way. 

Seriously, I am looking forward to having enlightening discussions and sharing the inner workings of my mind with all of you.

 

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26 Comments

  1. July 3, 2008 at 7:03 pm —

    Hello!

    I don’t have much else to say, other than this: calculus isn’t really that hard once you learn all the mechanics. Some of the problems are long and complicated, but the same could be said about math in general. I bet you’ll do fine. 🙂

  2. viccro
    July 3, 2008 at 7:37 pm —

    Calculus is so much fun! You’re going to love it if you love science; there are similarities to both geometry and algebra, so it sort of fits all types of math-y people =D

    Science academy? I just finished a 2 yr program like that here in Texas…all college classes, right? It was probably the best choice I’ve ever made (and it let me too find my argumentative-atheist-side!).

  3. Cassie
    July 3, 2008 at 7:45 pm —

    lol I am not a “math-y” person.

    Yes, this academy is the best decision I have ever made too! I cant tell you how much more prepared I am for college. It’s great!

  4. SteveT
    July 3, 2008 at 10:30 pm —

    I learned since then that that anger and insults are not sufficient tools for convincing people that I am right.

    Realizing this means that you are wiser than a large majority of the people in the world.

    By cooties, they basically mean that boys are stupid. This is a hard argument to refute.

    LOL! My daughter is going to like it around here! From her descriptions of the boys in her class, she would agree with your friends 100%.

  5. July 3, 2008 at 10:54 pm —

    I’m offended. Boys aren’t stupid. People are stupid. Of course, most boys are people (more or less), so I guess it applies, but still, you needlessly narrow the field here.

    Also, calculus is relatively easy to learn if you have the right grounding in algebra and trig.

    Also, don’t worry about sounding like you’re trying to kiss Rebecca, you’re in good company there. Most of the people… wait… Kiss up? Oh, sorry. My mistake.

  6. July 4, 2008 at 1:05 am —

    Very very awesome. I as well had a completely awesome 8th grade science teacher who taught me the complete awesomeness of evolution.

    Methinks we’ll get along well. 🙂

  7. July 4, 2008 at 7:03 am —

    Cassie, I’m from a rural, “un-intellectual” area myself, so I know exactly where you’re coming from. I still live in the Midwest, but now I live in a decent-sized city, which helps immeasurably 🙂

    For the record, boys don’t have cooties, but they can occasionally be more trouble than they’re worth 😉 I think you’re fine on your own right now.

  8. July 4, 2008 at 8:41 am —

    I’m not sure what you mean by “cafeteria Christian”. I’m assuming it means someone who attends church as a social event rather than for some deeper, underlying faith. Please correct me if I’m wrong.

    if you any questions about anything, just send them my way

    Is it safe to let my 13 year old daughter have a blog of her own? You see, I’m so very old and blogs didn’t exist when I was an ankle biter (we hadn’t even discovered electricity or gallium arsenide silicone layering techniques when I was 13) and I’m skeptical about the motives of others. Basically I want to protect my little girl from the big bad monsters that live online and might eat her and spit out her bones for the dogs to chew over (not literally).

  9. July 4, 2008 at 9:15 am —

    (Sorry, Rebecca, I still can’t believe that you could have been produced by this environment!)

    No need to apologize, Cassie, I’m still surprised, myself! I think it was, overall, a great place to be a kid, but I’m glad I got out when I did (at 17). I’m just happy to see that our town is producing even more critical thinkers like yourself.

    And debating evolution in 8th grade? And loving oysters? Every time I think I couldn’t like you more….

  10. w_nightshade
    July 4, 2008 at 9:19 am —

    Cassie, nice to meet you. I look forward to seeing your contributions to this awesome project.

    Ooh, ooh, hoverFrog, let me take a crack at that one, please?

    If your thirteen year old daughter wants to start a blog, <b. she will start a blog. Period. In which case you are much better the give her your blessing, check it every day, even contribute if appropriate, and stay involved. Stamp your foot down, and you will get shut out – and you can’t protect her from monsters when you are out in the cold.

  11. Cassie
    July 4, 2008 at 11:56 am —

    Rystefn,
    I don’t think all guys are stupid. My friends just get a little too protective sometimes. To be fair, a lot of the guys I attract are quite dim. I also think my standards for a boyfriend are too high for my age group.

    Hover frog,
    w nightshade did a wonderful job of answering your question. Just teach her how to be safe about it and work with her. And by cafeteria Christian I mean she takes what she wants out of the religion, and yes, she loves the social aspect as well.

    Jen,
    Sadly my hormones highly disagree with you. Luckily I am in control, and I agree that I really don’t need to bother myself with a relationship right now.

  12. July 4, 2008 at 12:38 pm —

    HoverFrog, I started when I was fourteen. The best thing you can do is to avoid giving out personal information if its online stalkers you’re worried about.

    As for “trolls” who hang around on blogs just to make the blogger feel bad about their personalities, they can be emotionally taxing at first but you eventually learn that there are people who are simply really stupid and will start accusing you of things because they are bored.

    I once had a commenter on Bad Astronomy saying that I worshipped Richard Dawkins like a Fundamentalist Christian because I said that I fell out of my chair and giggled madly when he e-mailed me back once (what was I supposed to do? Speak in tongues, cry, and start having spasms on the floor?).

    I can say, however, that the Internet is a place where I tend to meet more intellectually inclined people and that it is less anti-intellectual than my school. I think this is mostly because the students at my school don’t read blogs since they’re off playing games all day.

  13. July 4, 2008 at 12:49 pm —

    I had a really cool wood shop teacher in 8th grade. He used to keep all the digits and appendages his students sliced off in jars on a shelf that my class made. . . . Probably not the same type of inspiration you received from your teacher, but I didn’t really have anything else to say to start this comment. But since I’ve gotten past that, welcome and I look forward to reading your skeptical genius on these pages.

  14. July 4, 2008 at 1:13 pm —

    To be fair, a lot of the guys I attract are quite dim.

    Well, they can’t be completely hopeless if they’re attracted to smart chicks. So there’s hope, anyway.

    I also think my standards for a boyfriend are too high for my age group.

    Do not lower them. It’s never worth it.

  15. July 4, 2008 at 2:33 pm —

    I had a really cool wood shop teacher in 8th grade. He used to keep all the digits and appendages his students sliced off in jars on a shelf that my class made. . . .

    Pleasant man.

    Do not lower them. It’s never worth it.

    Seconded.

  16. July 4, 2008 at 2:33 pm —

    “I also think my standards for a boyfriend are too high for my age group. ”

    I remember feeling that way about girls in my own age group in highschool. I made a really risky choice that only turned out well by dumb luck……I dated a much older (26) woman.

    My mom nearly had a heart attack, but over the course of a few months she realized that this girl was really normal, good natured and well meaning. Obviously my dad had no problem whatsoever with it, and seemed prouder of me then than he has before or since.

    Imagine if the genders had been reversed. I’d probably be dead in a ditch. o_o

  17. July 4, 2008 at 2:45 pm —

    Well, at 26, I was with an 18-year old, I fail to see a problem with it. If you’re wondering how it worked out, I’m buying her diamonds for her birthday this year. 😉

  18. July 4, 2008 at 4:20 pm —

    Thanks for the advice, when I next let her out for her guarded walk round the exercise yard I’ll talk to her about it.

    I also am with an “older woman” but there’s only four years between us and that makes next to no difference at all when she’s over forty. I love her grey hairs and laughter lines.

    I lowered my standards for years. As a man I could leer and say this was a lot of fun but the truth is that I’m much more fulfilled with a more equal relationship. Don’t tell anyone though or they’ll take my membership to the lad’s club away.

  19. Electro
    July 4, 2008 at 5:39 pm —

    Cassie: “To be fair a lot of the guys I attract are quite dim”

    Bear in mind that “smart guys”of your age, due to incessant bullying and ostracization are probably some of the shyest people on earth.

    Not to sound like a neanderthal but I didn’t start to feel socially accepted until I learned that there was indeed a time and a place to punch someone in the mouth (repeatedly if necessary)

    Rystefn/Rebecca et al: “Don’t ever lower them”

    Thirded ( if thats real word )

  20. Joy Wang
    July 5, 2008 at 10:08 am —

    Cassie–
    Random aside: I have the same birthdate as you, just 4yrs. later.

    I’m looking forward to the enlightening discussions too! And the awesome postings.

    I’ve had one really inspiring science teacher (7th grade) who taught our class about evolution.

    Sam Ogden @12: Does everyone here have insane woodshop teachers? Mine liked to break wood over his head. And draw dots on people’s noses. Loved the class though.

    Cheers!
    Joy

  21. July 5, 2008 at 10:44 am —

    You’re both Aquarians!!!

    http://www.psychicguild.com/horoscopes_zodiac.php?sign=Aquarius

    Hahaha eccentric little water signs…

    Wait… I’m not an Aquarian… why does this apply to me so much too?

  22. July 6, 2008 at 9:02 am —

    I look forward to your posts, Cassie! It was great meeting you at TAM6!

  23. Amanda
    July 7, 2008 at 8:11 am —

    Hi Cassie! It’s true what they say, calculus is fun. I’m terrible at it but I still find it fascinating and like beating my brain against it.

    And having been dumped by a few guys as a teenager for being “too smart”, it’s really not a bad thing to wait until you find someone who’s mature enough to not be scared of your brains. There are actually guys out there who are secure enough in their masculinity to not feel threatened by a smart woman. 🙂

    Then again, dating those stupid guys is a learning experience and gives you stories to tell when you’re old and wrinkley.

  24. July 7, 2008 at 9:02 am —

    I never got dumped for being too smart, but I did dump guys for being too stupid. 🙂 Of course, that’s a reflection on me for actually dating the stupid. But I had a bigger, more compassionate heart then 🙂

    Welcome to the party, Cassie and Elles 🙂

  25. July 9, 2008 at 1:51 am —

    Calculus is easy in my mind, or at least easy until trigonometry is involved. I swear, trigonometry makes everything harder than what they are.

  26. July 19, 2008 at 4:09 am —

    Hello and welcome to the totally cool and extraordinarily smart Skepchick community, Cassie.

    Don’t be scared of calculus – it’s a wonderful thing, and it truly means you no harm.

    “By cooties, they basically mean that boys are stupid. This is a hard argument to refute.”

    Oooh, ouch. I’m going to take my Y chromosome and go off and sulk in the corner now.

    (NB: Rystefn is absolutely right.)

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