You couldn't be here if stars hadn't exploded.
To the question, “Why me?” the cosmos barely bothers to return the reply, “Why not?”
Atheist: Natural Morals, Real Meaning, Credible Truth

22 September, 2007

'Taking exception to Jake' by PZ Myers, Pharyngula -

'Taking exception to Jake' by PZ Myers, Pharyngula - "The public acceptance of science isn't something we defer in the unfounded hope that the public will be more receptive towards at some vague time in the future. We fight for it now … and not just some small obligingly plastic part of it all, but the whole damn thing."

16 September, 2007

Why I have no faith

Why I am godless.

I don’t understand how perfectly rational, intelligent, kind, and responsible people can believe in a God. It baffles me totally. And I think about it a lot, not like I feel like I am missing anything myself but in wonder at how this belief can be corrected. You know, I wouldn’t trade our family for any other family, I enjoy and love them all and the fact that most have faith saddens me somewhat.

I do not see any god anywhere I look. From the maelstrom of quantum mechanics in particle physics, to the busy chemistry of each living cell, to the beautiful physics of aerodynamics, to the majestic geology of our earth, to the titanic forces in our solar system, to the stupendous forces driving our galaxy and universe… it is all so awesome and beautiful that to attribute any of it to God’s creation is, to me, insufficient. That there are questions and problems with what we understand only makes discovery all that more meaningful. It is all so hugely complex in total, but it all builds upon many simpler things. Evolution is perfect simplicity which builds very slowly into the complex beauty of life we have today. I feel that beauty in my heart much better than I can express in words. Even without the controversies of life and evolution, the complexities of the universe are so much beyond a god, needs no explanation with a god. God is so unnecessary.

I have a saying that has gelled in my mind over the last year or so… Atheism: Natural Morals, Real Meaning, Credible Truth.

Our morals come naturally, someone writing them down and calling them the word of God seems like plagiarism to me. And I think they added in the rules to help control the masses better, or at least to control the women better. It looks to me that our natural morals come from our need to survive, we can’t survive if we are killing each other, we are wired for survival and propagation of the population. Stoning women for adultery seems wrong and it is, it isn’t a natural moral, but the writers of the “messiah’s” words seem to have another motive, valid at the time maybe, probably to help control the population to their benefit. The need to survive and procreate is very simple but a lot of things derive naturally from it. Helping others, kindness to your children, education, it just builds and builds on it.

Real meaning in life also comes from the need to survive and procreate, to do so means we must discover how our world works, adapt, learn, overcome problems, coexist with the individuals of our species, coexist with our world. This is real meaning to me. To worship a deity hoping for a good result when I die doesn’t provide any meaning. The discovery of our world may be the most important and leads us into our future. If we stop, we will stagnate and suffer. I think our species made a mistake creating religions, it is a dead end that we have to back out of to progress on, but maybe it was a lesson we had to learn.

Credible truth, the biggest being that this is it. This is heaven, hell, whatever you make of it. This is your one life. You are only borrowing the atoms you consist of for your sort life time and then they are recycled into the universe to be used again. I am ok with that. It doesn’t scare me. I wish it weren’t so but that is the way of the universe. We are such a small mote in just our galaxy which is a small object in an immense universe. But the meaning of life is to be all that you can be to your family and friends, community, and world. That is a real truth that I can believe in.

Why is this important to me? I see thousands dying monthly, sometimes daily in fighting to the death over what are to me fairy tales. Fighting over essentially worthless land, fighting for what boils down to power. Much of it in the name of their religion. It makes me angry. The war in Iraq has many religious overtones that disturb me. The trillions of dollars this is going to cost us is going to hurt.

I didn’t mean to write this on a Sunday, it just turned out that way, I’ve been busy and I had to compose it some in my mind first. I had a great day yesterday with flying passengers for the 99’s scholarship fundraiser. Allena came over and helped out the ladies. It was one of those things I do that gives real meaning to my life, showing 10 people their world from above.

15 September, 2007

Watsonville Open House 2007

I flew four loads of people for the 99's Women's Pilots Association today. They were all very pleased with their rides, some more than others. This lady was very excited and had a great time. Today was the WVI open house wherer for the first time there were a bunch of hot rod cars on display as well. They seemed to get the most attention. Allena helped the 99's guide riders to the planes and organize who was flying with who.
Afterward Liz, Allena and I went to dinner at Mama Mia's before taking Allena back to her dorm at SJSU. Said dorm room is below.

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09 September, 2007

Byron airshow

There was a mini airshow at Byron today. They were staging out of Byron for a show in Pittsburg appearently. A Pitts, AT-6/Harvard/SNJ, this Sea Fury and Super Stearman. I talked to the Stearman and Sea Fury pilots and helped them fuel up. The Patriots team went and came back as well. Most of this happend after we were done for the day so no impact to glider operations. Good day! :-)

The Stearman took off with a 10 ft roll... mostly because it was already blowing 18 kts down the runway and he has a bunch of excess power. The Sea Fury... flown by this old guy who could get under the tail, lift it up to swing the tail wheel where he wanted it. He was one crusty old dude.

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View from the tow pilot's seat.

Rember at the last safety seminar Mike mentioned how hard it is to see over the nose of the tow plane? I had thought it was an important point he made and found this opportunity to show what it looks like. Especially for the newer members. I haven't had any close calls or worrisome moments recently. I just thought it might be a good point to reinforce now that more operations will be returning to Byron this month.

You will notice that this picture is taken as I sit in the seat normally without moving side to side. It is pretty easy to hide from my sight when in front of the plane. If you are in front of the tow plane and the engine is running, you should be highly concerned about my ability to see you. Be assured I am highly attentive about the people around 16Y, but in the rush to get started and going out on the runway... I might miss someone.
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03 September, 2007

The Skeptics Guide - Skepticast #110: 8/28/2007

The Skeptics Guide - Skepticast #110: 8/28/2007: "'Thinking critically is a chore. It does not come naturally or easily. And if the fruits of such efforts are not carefully displayed to young minds, then they will not harvest them. Every school child must be implanted with the wonder of the atom, not the thrall of magic.'

-Perry DeAngelis, 1963-2007, a skeptical philosopher and activist, and a good friend, of some considerable note."

It was very sad to hear the Perry DeAngelis had passed away, he was a great skeptic.

Sept 2007 Young Eagles

Nice set of kids flew with me on 1 Sept Young Eagles day at WVI. A good day flying. Tried out my PCAS and it worked great.
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Sam Harris: OnFaith on

Sam Harris: OnFaith on "Ask yourself, when even the doubts of experts are thought to confirm a doctrine, what could possibly disconfirm it?"

Wow... even Mother Teresa was doubting the existance of a god. Sounds like the church is going to make it a sign of how good she was to perservere in spite of her doubts. She is just one of the millions of people sadly wasting their time in service to the fairy tale. Just a bit sadder than most.