(And how would those of us in Phoenix know what that's like?)
The Phoenix message group just doesn't seem to be taking off, so I'm going to do something that's anathema to me - I'm going to try to start a discussion. Yes, it's a calculated effort, and we here in Phoenix are deprived because we don't get to start many conversations about the weather.
"How about that weather?"
"Just like yesterday, eh?"
"Too right, and the day before... and the month before..."
So, the question that always comes to my mind is, what do you talk about when the explicit topic of discussion is defined by a concept that is so broad and unfocused?
"Phoenix"? I've lived here (since moving from my childhood home of Tucson) since 1982, and what is there to say? It's a city. People live here. People, who, as far as I can tell, have no defining characteristic because of the high immigration rates here.
...and then there's "Atheists"
Where do we start talking about? Do we talk philosophically, or practicality?
Philosophy: "What is the 'argument from evil'? or "Is 'agnostic' a pointless weasel-term developed by someone who wanted to be a lawyer?"
Practical: "Does a Eucharist make good bait in a mouse trap?" or "What do you say when the god-squad comes to your door trying to mind-infect your children?"
(Just as a note on the side, if, when they come to my door, they have a teenager with them, I try to make an effort to jump start the kids' mind in the moments I have before they depart. However, that can backfire, for example, one time it turns out that old fart dragging the kid around must have been her grandfather. She didn't seem to appreciate it when I called him an insane old maggot. Oh well, live and learn.)
So, given these rather broad topics, the intersection of each seems somewhat nebulous, at best, where do we go from here?
What do they talk about at the meet-ups that were mentioned elsewhere? Is it a non-stop polemic on religion destroying the world? A spirited debate on the color of Russell's teapot? (For the record: it's Blue Willow) or, if it's like a meeting of my friends, a spirited discussion on how the pilot of Space: 1999 could have been re-written to blast the moon out of Earth's orbit without violating the laws of physics and/or destroying both the Earth and moon at the same time. (That may say more about me than I care to reveal. :-) )