Sunday, September 23, 2007

Creationism Explained

I came across this interview of a South Hampton Creationist by Sam Harris. I was stunned at the absurd answers he gave. Can you imagine a Tyrannosaurs Rex on a boat with several thousand other animals and humans? Seems to stretch the imagination beyond all. This is a sample of the questions.

How has mankind developed into so many different races in such a short time?

Adam and Eve would have had all the genetic information there and as they breed their offspring would have different
characteristics, and as the breeding continues and certain groups breed within themselves then certain characteristics would start to dominate, such as blackskin and smaller eyes. There is no reason that couldn't occur within several
hundred years. The common thinking at the moment is that Eve came from Africa.

What happened to god created Eve...from Africa?

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Baptism for the Dead

I am not ready to die, but then who is? Lately I have had a lot of medical problems and it has brought to the forefront that I am mortal! One day, maybe sooner than I think, I will die. I don't think I am so concerned about dying because, after all I have had a very good life. I have some wonderful children with whom I believe the world is in good hands, almost.

My daughter is smart and beautiful and truly works at being a good person; she is Mormon. Therein lies the problem. I'm not and I don't want to be Mormon, even after I die. I feel sure she plans to baptize me as soon as my ashes are cool. Why should I care? I'm not sure but I do. I remember all the Holocaust victims whose families were devastated because the Mormons were adding them to Mormons roles right and left. What right did the church have to do such a thing? I feel that if she is allowed to baptize me that somehow puts me in agreement with her; a position I would never assume in life. I am an atheist and I am comfortable with so being.

How do I tell her that I forbid it?

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Preventing groupthink

According to Irving Janis, decision making groups are not necessarily doomed to groupthink. He also claims that there are several ways to prevent it. Janis devised seven ways of preventing groupthink (209-15):Leaders should assign each member the role of “critical evaluator”. This allows each member to freely air objections and doubts. Higher-ups should not express an opinion when assigning a task to a group.

The organization should set up several independent groups, working on the same problem. All effective alternatives should be examined. Each member should discuss the group's ideas with trusted people outside of the group. The group should invite outside experts into meetings. Group members should be allowed to discuss with and question the outside experts. At least one group member should be assigned the role of Devil's advocate. This should be a different person for each meeting.

By following these guidelines, groupthink can be avoided. After the Bay of Pigs fiasco, John F. Kennedy sought to avoid groupthink during the Cuban Missile
.[5] During meetings, he invited outside experts to share their viewpoints, and allowed group members to question them carefully. He also encouraged group members to discuss possible solutions with trusted members within their separate departments, and he even divided the group up into various sub-groups, in order to partially break the group cohesion. JFK was deliberately absent from the meetings, so as to avoid pressing his own opinion. Ultimately, the Cuban missile crisis was resolved peacefully, thanks in part to these measures.

If only those in religious circles could or would be so inclined.

Friday, September 7, 2007

September Dawn

In a discussion about the movie a writer states:

This subject has become very personal to me as of late. I have read Jaunita Brooks and am now reading Will Bagley. Having been to Mountain Meadows twice in the last year, the latest about 10 days ago. It is history and as important to know about as any other tragic event.

Some questions I pose are:

1. Why did BY parade around for several years after in one of the carriages owned by the Fancher party, of course the best one?

2. Why did the small children remark that some lady was wearing their dead mother's dress?

3. Why is it when the children were returned to the families the people who had tended to them filed claims against the government for foster care payments?

4. Why were the children, dirty, lice infested when they were returned.?

and lastly,

5. Why weren’t the children returned immediately to their families, why the hold up?

These are questions that were raised in my mind, in researching the
tragedy. It happened, the Mormons participated, acknowledged that they did and answer the questions if you can.Hollywood is Hollywood and will add to the story, but instead of focusing on the Hollywood aspect, focus on the event itself.

I found this while lurking about and I would love to hear the answers.

Monday, September 3, 2007

A Good Word

Thanks. Sometimes, much too often I think, we forget to say thank you to those who make our life better in some way. Today I want to take the time to thank those of you who have patiently or not so patiently delt with my ravings. You have made my life interesting and I look forward to your continuing comments.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

The Demands of Society

“I know four Mormons very well. One is a close friend. At least three of them appear to be good, decent people. The other may be something of a racist. One of them is an umpteenth generation Mormon, has a high position in the Mormon Church, and is a closet atheist. The point, if there is one, is that society demands that people profess to have "faith." If your family is from Utah, that faith best be Mormon. Not everyone actually believes it.”

I was lurking around somewhere and saw this comment. Sorry, I don’t remember where; I liked it and emailed it to myself for later use. What struck me about this is the simple truth of the statements. Substitute any religious organization for Mormon Church and you still have simple truth.

We live in a society that demands that people profess to have some kind of religion. I recently became aware of a prayer group at my place of work. I received an invitation in my company email and my company mail slot. What is wrong with that picture? Let me count the ways.

1. Use of company resources for personal agenda
2. Mixing of church and state (my “company” is government)
3. Unfairly pointing out those who do not wish to participate
4. …and others which do not readily come to mind.

I am not offended that someone wishes to have a prayer group at work. That is certainly not for me to decide. If the management doesn’t have a problem with it and it does not infringe on my personal space, go for it. However, it is an infringement to invite every person, including those not personally known by the organizer of such event. In my case a few people know my disposition but it is not something I make a point of telling all. As stated above “society demands that people profess to have faith.": I refuse to do so but I do not make a point of advertising that I am atheist. If I am asked, I am honest about. I wish the religious would be so considerate.