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

30 October, 2010

Why Religion Should Be Confronted

"It's time for secularists to stop sucking up to Christians -- and Muslims and Jews and Hindus and any others who claim they have some sacred right to decide what kind of society the rest of us must live in--what a human being can do with her own body. The good news is that young people are joining the rising atheist movement in increasing numbers. I have not met one yet who is an accommodationist. I have great hope that in perhaps another generation America will have joined Europe and the rest of the developed world in shucking off the rusty chains of ancient superstition."

Good 'ol Victor.  I need to get his latest book.  The new atheist community has been arguing how much to accommodate religion.  From derisive ridicule to full accommodation and respect for beliefs the argument goes.  Like Victor, I agree that all fronts need to be utilized in the goal for world domination by atheism.  Oops did I say that out loud?  Well yeah, that is the goal, right?  :-)  Actually the goal is evidence based policy decisions as opposed to political based ones.  The fact that religions are not based on evidence means they may be left in the dust waiting for the rapture or something.  But the rest of us are going to have to deal with global warming, over population and pollution problems that will make the two great wars of the 20th century look like 2nd grade playground pissing contests.  Religious based thinking is not going to help one whit.

20 October, 2010

A trolling I do go! A trolling I do go!....

I probably shouldn't do this, but sometimes I can't help myself.
Click the title for the original YouTube video.

1 week ago
Fiona Phillips You rock !! I have a friend who has 6 children 4 of them were changed over night after recieving MMR. 2 children were fine . But they were repeatedly told that the vaccine wasn`t the cause of their Autism my friend & her husband said they know it was the vaccines has the change was straight after having them with each child . God didnt intend us to be vaccinated otherwise wed of been born with a syringe in our hands he gave us an immune system instead.
1 week ago 

@UkTruthSeeker2009 So god intended small babies die the agonizing death by whooping cough. And god intended you to walk everywhere you go. Naked. Oh, and turn off your computer and wait for the rapture.
Anecdotes are not evidence. Period.

1 week ago
@fly44d For all you know there might not have been any illnesses people lived longer before ,how do you know they aren`t` all man made viruses, deseases, Illnesses ?
You weren`t` born neither was I.I could even say the weather was better in those days and clothes could be limited to a palm leaf lol. He would want us to move on Technology wise as to make our lives comfortable But I dont Think hed be impressed in how some of the technology is used these days to the advantage of rich people. Do You

1 week ago 

@UkTruthSeeker2009 Wow. The ignorance burns. I do know. The historical, paleontological and anthropological evidence show we lived short, harsh lives before modern medicine and technology. And religion didn't do anything to make anything better. In fact it has always been used by the rich and powerful to control the poor. Look at your leaders in the UK, they are all rich, powerful and religious.

19 October, 2010

Morals Without God?

"Perhaps it is just me, but I am wary of anyone whose belief system is the only thing standing between them and repulsive behavior. Why not assume that our humanity, including the self-control needed for livable societies, is built into us? Does anyone truly believe that our ancestors lacked social norms before they had religion? Did they never assist others in need, or complain about an unfair deal? Humans must have worried about the functioning of their communities well before the current religions arose, which is only a few thousand years ago. Not that religion is irrelevant — I will get to this — but it is an add-on rather than the wellspring of morality."
 This has always fascinated me.  Good article and very clear.  Are morals instinctive, have they evolved with us, what do other animals do, nature vs nurture?  It is pretty clear morals come naturally, but there seems to be some nurture that has to get it where we want it to be.  To mold the circuitry of our brains to function morally.  The examples of kids without the nurture are the Romanian and Russian orphans who were kept in cribs without any nurture in the 80's/90's.  Very horrible and I understand very damaging to their growth.  But I think it shows that morality is not just a biological wiring of our brains, society has to help mold the morals of the community.  De Waal describes how the monkeys and apes he works with also have many moralistic characteristics, that all mammals can be shown to have some level of morality.  He even states that most pets are mammals because they better match our morals.  Anyway, a great read!

17 October, 2010

Out of the closet

Mr. Myers is way out of the closet as an atheist — proudly, outrageously so: We're here. And we don't believe. And we have science and reason on our side. Get used to it.

Quotes: On Multiculturalism

Quotes: On Multiculturalism

BERLIN – Chancellor Angela Merkel's declaration that Germany's attempts to build a multicultural society had "utterly failed" is feeding a growing debate over how to deal with the millions of foreigners who call the country home.
Merkel told a meeting of young members of her conservative Christian Democratic Union that while immigrants are welcome in Germany, they must learn the language and accept the country's cultural norms — sounding a note heard increasingly across Europe as it battles an economic slump and worries about homegrown terrorism.
"This multicultural approach, saying that we simply live side by side and live happily with each other has failed. Utterly failed," Merkel said.
I would have to agree with her.  People who move around need to learn to accept the local norms of their new home. They don't have to practice them all, but they have to speak the language at least.  It is tough with all the diversity this world has, and unfair to those who are displaced from their homes, but I think it is necessary.

16 October, 2010

MASC Camera

In the MASC (our spacecraft operations center) a video camera was mounted high up the wall to show management what is going on. It shows the whole control room or can be panned and zoomed in on most places in the MASC. I got word from one of my people working in there that they were admonished for "undesirable" appearance on the camera. This was my response to my boss.
-----Original Message-----
From: Hail, Tom
Sent: Wednesday, September 01, 2010 10:26 PM
To: Fink, Randall R
Cc: Snyder, Jeff
Subject: MASC Camera
I had time to think about that camera on the way home and I have some thoughts.
When it was first described to me many months ago before the remodel, I was all for it. When it was installed the other day I was all for it. When it was operational I was impressed by how we looked on it. We look good. I got a few people questioning it but I brushed them off. I still think the camera is useful tool for the Schriever folks to see what is going on at our end, we can often see them in the background, they should be able to see us. It is good for VIPs to see the other ops center of excellence that is working to keep their expensive satellites healthy, safe, and in mission.
However. I very much object to the camera being used to "monitor" the performance of our people. The terms I've heard the camera described are "creepy", "insulting", and "disturbing." I personally find it insulting to have someone comment on our folks without including me in it. It brings to a higher level the perception of distrust higher management has of its lower leadership. (PMS, Merit, promotion planning, transfers, time recording, you name it, we aren't trusted.)
There are a whole lot of very smart and dedicated people in the MASC right now. They are all professionals. None of them signed on for weeks of 24/7 shift work as a career. They are not console jockeys. They are doing this out of dedication to the job and program, striving for success. They will do what it takes to succeed. Unless they start to perceive distrust from management. Inappropriate use of that camera, monitoring employee performance through it and sending down comments on what is seen through it will be very bad for morale and productivity. It is poor leadership.
These people, especially those on off shifts, are in a hard position. Their lives have been disrupted more than they planned on, their lives continue around them often interrupting sleep and down time. If someone on graves kicks back for a 10 minute snooze, I am all for it. Better for us in the long run if he needed it. Better for us to ensure he gets home safe after work. Stone age management thinking is that a nap is not done, ever. Modern thinking is that it in the long run, you get more alert people making less mistakes and smarter decisions. The same for some internet browsing, they are watching what is for the most part, a perfectly running satellite. This vehicle is doing extremely well in almost all respects. These people need to keep their interests up, to take breaks from the monotony of a healthy satellite. Better there in the MASC where they are in position and ready to go than off somewhere where the MVL will have to call them back. Checking out their kids on Facebook or paying some bills or catching some Jon Stewart should be ok.
If management doesn't like how that looks, then maybe management should only be looking when there is something going on. 24/7 monitoring of employees is not what that camera was about. In the past, if they wanted to keep a pulse on what is going on, they connect to the MVL camera. But have that also connect to one of the SAFB TA cameras. I suggest a three way between the SOC-42 PAYLOAD, MVL, and MDR cameras in a VTC meeting room if they want that.
I strongly suggest the MASC area camera get turned off unless there is something of consequence going on. People don't like the way it is being used. I don't like how it is being used.
Feel free to forward this on up the chain.
[Tom Hail from home]

14 October, 2010

America's True History of Religious Tolerance

America's True History of Religious Tolerance

"From the earliest arrival of Europeans on America’s shores, religion has often been a cudgel, used to discriminate, suppress and even kill the foreign, the “heretic” and the “unbeliever”—including the “heathen” natives already here. Moreover, while it is true that the vast majority of early-generation Americans were Christian, the pitched battles between various Protestant sects and, more explosively, between Protestants and Catholics, present an unavoidable contradiction to the widely held notion that America is a “Christian nation.”"