The closed-minded open-minded people

I wanted to read an article on Tam O’Shaughnessy, Sally Ride’s partner for 27 years.  I found a really great one at http://www.ibtimes.com/articles/365992/20120723/tam-shaughnessy-oshaughnessy-sally-ride-lesbian-partner.htm.  I call it great because it didn’t make the fact that Sally was a lesbian a big deal.  It focused on her partner and the great work she and Sally did.  There was one sentence way of the end of the article that said, “Though Sally Ride was open about her partnership with Tam O’Shaughnessy, it does not appear to have been a controversial topic.”  I was getting ready to make a response commending the author for simply stating facts and not trying to capitalize on Sally’s death.  Then I came across a person that I will call, “John Q. Public.”  He wrote the following:

I’m very saddened about Sally’s death. She was a fantastic woman and a great contribution to society. It’s way too bad that people from the Religious Right are so bigoted towards gays and lesbians. May they read and educate themselves what gays and lesbians have contributed to our society. Rest in Peace Sally!!!

John Q. is a perfect example of closed-minded open-minded people.  I wrote this in response:

To borrow your words, “It’s way too bad that people like John Q. Public are so bigoted toward religious conservatives.” It’s also too bad that you tarnished a beautiful article that treated Sally’s sexuality as just another part of who she was instead of making a big deal out of it. I’m a religious conservative and an ally. You see, my conservatism dictates that the government has no right to barge into people’s affairs and determine which adults of consenting age may enter into a contract. My theology is my own theology which I am entitled to. I’d be a hypocrite if I wanted my liberty and wouldn’t give bigots like you your liberty. Whenever you say “all _______” and fill in the blank with an ethnic group, faith group, geographically defined group, etc., you are being a bigot. Would you ever say, “all Jews,” or “all Muslims, or “all Asians,” or “all New Yorkers?’ If not, you should seek a worldview of understanding and liberty instead of letting people be free unless it cramps your style.

Here is a homework assignment: find out who Fred Karger is and look up a group called “The Log Cabin Republicans.” You’ll find that your incorrect stereotypes don’t fit. One last thing, look up the political party of the president that signed the unconstitutional Defense of Marriage Act.

FYI, Fred Karger is an openly gay Republican that was on Ronald Reagan’s staff.  He was the first person to throw his hat in the ring for the 2012 presidential election.  The Log Cabin Republicans is a group of openly gay people that hold to traditional Republican platform issues such as reduced government, responsible spending, and a government that makes sure everyone has opportunities to succeed instead of giving them success at taxpayer expense.  The Defense of Marriage Act was signed into law by William Jefferson Clinton, a Democrat.

Afterword: Just in case anyone doubts that the International Business Times semi-censored me, here is proof:

So it is OK for one person to write that the Religious Right are bigots but it’s not OK for me to write that people who make broad-brush comments are bigots?

By the way, the rating on my post is now five in favor and three against.  It seems that maybe the International Business Times needs to listen to its readers a bit more.

Statisticians and actuaries

A good statistician knows how to not lie and yet fail to tell the truth. The same holds true for actuaries. The only difference is that a statistician can use data to convince you that what didn’t happen, did, while an actuary, armed with the same data, can convince you that what won’t happen, will.

Do we really want to be hiring Narcissists?

As part of my doctoral research in techno-ethics, I am in a running dialog with some excellent students involved in PhoenixConnect’s Information Systems and Technology Community. PhoenixConnect is the the University of Phoenix’s social network.  The branch of the discussion that follows is from a thread I started on Ethics and Technologists. The subject revolves around the debate as to whether or not to hire former hackers as security consultants. I have seen the devastating affect that pathological narcissists have in companies, families, and society in general. The following is a response to a person’s questions related to the issue of the notorious criminal, Frank Abagnale, Jr., being a free man that is a multimillionaire in his post crime life.

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These things I believe

Socrates said “The unexamined life is not worth living.” I’ve taken some time to be alone, in quiet, and examine what I believe. Some of these are theological, some philosophical, and others are political. They are in no particular order and may not be comprehensive. These are right for me. You may feel differently and I’d love to civilly and respectfully discuss those differences. Here is the result of my self-examination of what I stand for. These things are an integrated unit so if you are interested, read them all first and then we should talk. I believe…

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Standing in the stead of God

Technology has given us the ability to breathe lifelikeness into a person whose soul has long since departed. God knows the paths we walk and when we are to walk no longer. Whenever we stand in the stead of God, no matter how innocently nor unawares, we simply prove that He is and we are not.

These are the words of Qoholeth, the Preacher,

Remember also your Creator in the days of your youth, before the evil days come and the years draw near of which you will say, “I have no pleasure in them”
before the sun and the light and the moon and the stars are darkened and the clouds return after the rain,
in the day when the keepers of the house tremble, and the strong men are bent, and the grinders cease because they are few, and those who look through the windows are dimmed,
and the doors on the street are shut–when the sound of the grinding is low, and one rises up at the sound of a bird, and all the daughters of song are brought low–
they are afraid also of what is high, and terrors are in the way; the almond tree blossoms, the grasshopper drags itself along, and desire fails, because man is going to his eternal home, and the mourners go about the streets–
before the silver cord is snapped, or the golden bowl is broken, or the pitcher is shattered at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the cistern,
and the dust returns to the earth as it was, and the spirit returns to God who gave it.
–Ecclesiastes 12:1-7