Monday, June 15, 2015

Rachel Dolezal is... know, I don't have the energy to attempt to peer into her soul.  She's not the first white girl to wish she were something else, but whatever.

Can we just please all admit that this emperor has no clothing, and move on with civilization?

Tuesday, June 09, 2015

So my employer recently got bought by a much larger company, one with deep enough pockets and enough stability that it recognizes the value in employee engagement even when we don't hit our revenue targets.

One of the manifestations is a monthly newsletter.  It's just a four-page glossy little thing written by the employees; articles range from good business and manufacturing principles to informative and acculturative stuff about the new parent company to important things about what we do at our facility.  All well and good, if often predictable enough to warrant just a quick skim.

Then there was a cover page article by our new plant manager, imported from the parent company.

Wouldn't you know it, it's about how they value Inclusiveness and Diversity.  In the opening paragraphs there even was the line"Diversity and inclusiveness is at the forefront of everything we do."

Really?  We're a manufacturing facility.  Diversity and inclusiveness may inform everything we do, but to put it ahead of production of quality product is to place the cart in front of the horse.  Are there hourly employees not getting scheduled to work because we shun them?  No.  Do employees of different races work well together?  Actually yes, because they are united in their outrage at the former, draconian owners and the hostile, dysfunctional legacy they left; although I think the new owners hoped for something a little higher minded.

Driving these things for their own sake?  You won't want to do it the way it's been done before now.  First pass yield is bad, customer satisfaction is worse.  We can pat ourselves on the back for our acceptance of each other while we wait in line at the unemployment office, if we have any more never-hit-our-revenue-target quarters like all the ones we've had since we got acquired.

The article went on with a paragraph that went something along the lines of "Diversity of talent...and apropos of nothing, we're pretty smug about our transgender employee group."

With what, two members, at different sites?  It's a big company but it's not that big.  Diversity of talent, if it means "broad base of expertise," I get; but putting this stuff together?  Props to them for coming up with a name that is a pronounceable acronym, but how does having your genitals surgically mutilated and making a wardrobe shift afford you fresh insights into our engineering problems?  And why is it anybody's business?  I'm not an especially private person, but I don't make a point of dragging my social proclivities into work discussions; apparently I act straight enough that people who would be inclined to make an assumption are comfortable doing so, but then again, I do happen to be middle aged and single, and even in this day and age you can interpret that differently.

See what they did?  It's a bait and switch, or in the political arena it would be a caption bill.  They start talking about one thing, and then take a half step to the side and make it about something related but distinct, all the while pretending they're still talking about the first thing.

This is a feature, not a bug.

Like when they say "Why don't you want gay people to get married?  They should be allowed to love whomever they want."

You can have a reason for refraining from extending legal coupling benefits to pairs who are not in a position to bring the next generation of citizens into society, and hence do not have heroic need for such benefits.  But permitting or banning how people feel about each other?  No way to control that, and in fact there have never been laws against  people's feelings, so now it seems like you're the one trying to change society for the worse, and you might as well give up trying.

I just hope our company is inclusive and tolerant enough not to fire me if I can keep my mouth shut about not changing my performance expectations of the woman from the lab who recently started growing a beard and insisting everyone call her Bill.

Although I will be interested in watching people grapple with the issue of male athletes who want to "identify" as female so they can compete in women's leagues and divisions.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Why is it that people who criticize the Church for admonishing people to help starving and destitute families while preaching against contraception and abortion, themselves never spare a second thought  for helping starving and destitute families who already have children?  Whom are they really trying to help?

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Why is it that, nowadays...

...when a couple of cops beat up a witness or a suspect only tenuously tied to a crime, the media call it a human rights violation, instead of the less abstract "assault" or "police brutality?"

Wednesday, February 04, 2015

I actually don't prefer to focus on recent events...

...but naturally I could not resist this.

A nine year old boy was suspended for bringing "the One Ring" to school and "threatening" to make a friend disappear.
Just let that sink in for a minute
I could see administrators suspending a child for bringing a gun to school, whether or not he understood the real threat it presented; and even a ouija board at a Christian school; but a toy replica of a fictional piece of jewelry? An obviously playacting "threat" that would have caused no real harm (except to the wearer, if the administrators had the faintest grasp of the One Ring's inherent malevolence)?  Sounds like they're the ones who can't tell fantasy from reality.
This child was suspended twice before, once for referring to a black classmate as "black" and once for bringing a children's book to school that contained a sketch of a pregnant woman.  It was for an astronomy unit, but I guess the book Nazi was asleep at the switch when the kid got the book and when, presumably, his classmates looked elsewhere in the book and noticed...well, I have no idea if the illustration seemed risqué or if there were a depiction of a coherently formed fetus that seemed pro-life or something.
No wonder they're hiding behind some confidentiality policy instead of defending or explaining their actions. Clearly this boy is perfectly normal. It's the adults who have issues. 

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Chincy bits from around the 'Net

So I'm minding my own business, snooping around my usual haunts, when I find a couple odd things I couldn't resist commenting on.  First:

What I find so amusing is that Christians will criticize Islam for promoting slavery, complete destruction of their enemies, etc. when the Bible says almost the exact same things.

This one got my attention because the critic doesn't even go so far as to say "Well, Crusades and Galileo and the Inquisition; that's the same as 9/11 and what's happening to the Chaldeans in Iraq."  He only goes so far as to say "Sure, Christians might condemn Islam because some Muslims of dubious fidelity can justify their actions by the Q'ran, but the Bible has examples of violence and human rights violations too!"

So what?  My response was "Show me the Christians today who kill their daughters for being raped."  The Crusades didn't happen because some "warrior pope" noticed that Psalm 150 gleefully endorses smashing the skulls of an enemy's children.  They happened because--and I realize I'm grossly oversimplifying, so bear with me--the Seljuks replaced the Arab hegemony in the Levant with something that took a much dimmer view of European pilgrims and traders.

All those nasty Bronze Age values taught in the Bible?  Old Testament.  Not to say they don't have their own significance, but there was never a time during Christianity when that stuff was considered the right and proper behavior of a Christian.  Unless you count the 21st century GOP.  Maybe that's what is inspiring this critic.

So yeah, the response to people who criticize terrorism and dhimmitude doesn't even rise above "Well, your past is checkered!"  Maybe so, but we know better now.  If opposing terrorism and dhimmitude is also wrong, then what's right?  Or is it just wrong because we're the ones doing it?  Do you have some better ideas, or are you just going to sit up there and gloat about how you and your intellectual tradition have never been uncharitable to people outside your in-group?


Atheism isn't an ideology.  It is the default position for understanding the world.

Okay, so atheism is your ideology of choice.  Good to know.

All I can figure here is that this critic soaks himself in a positively atheistic scientism.  He went on to say something about how belief in an afterlife is not exempt from science, because "the soul survives death and goes to exist in some new state outside the universe" is "vaguely scientific" because it describes something that is partly in nature.

No, it isn't scientific, unless you are the one who is vague about science; and not every phenomenon in the natural world is subject to science.  Some of those phenomena can be cataloged obliquely, but science won't reveal to you what they truly are.  If you're not sure, try to calculate for me the difference between the density of boogie woogie at STP, using the van der Waals equation, and the relativistic length of umami traveling at 0.92c. 

Whether the soul occupies or animates the body during life is a philosophical question.  Scientists may see the change when a soul departs from a body, but the sciences don't.

I think this distinction gets overlooked a lot.  Most scientists, believers and otherwise, just go about their business doing research and pimping for funding and whatnot.  A few atheistic evangelists who happen to have a STEM degree or pursue science as their day job or avocation then get credit for being "prominent and well-respected scientists who don't believe in God."  Okay, that's a half dozen any American might be able to name off the top of his head, compared to thousands or millions who don't sit down each morning at their lab benches and say "Okay, I do/don't believe in God, so this is the experiment I'm going to do to prove it for my next book."