David Ancell's Virtual Home

Google and Supposed Diversity

  /   Monday, August 14, 2017   /   Comments(0)

James Damore no doubt got more than what he bargained for, or maybe he expected it. If you aren’t familiar with his name, he’s the 28-year-old man who was fired by Google for his memo that the media has named an “anti-diversity manifesto” or an “anti-diversity screed” (full text of memo is in this link). In it, he suggested something that is absolutely anathema to today’s promoters of diversity – that men and women are different from each other and that those differences, rather than discriminatory practices, may account for why there are not a lot of women in the tech industry. Well, really, I’m oversimplifying. Maybe I’m just strange, but I’m having a hard time understanding how his comments are “anti-diversity” or a “screed,” and I hope you’ll stick around for my explanation below. In fact, it’s really a carefully written memo that is well worth reading, and I’ve provided a link above to the whole document if you can excuse Gizmodo’s comments.

I’m perfectly fine with Google expressing disagreement with what Damore wrote. That’s one thing. Given the fact that Google controls a search engine, YouTube, and a major e-mail service, among other things, the fact that they fired him is really disturbing. I have no reason to believe that they are censoring people who disagree with their viewpoints on their search engine or any other site, but it would only take one misguided “anti-discrimination” initiative for them to start doing so at any time in the future.

It seems that corporate America in general is moving towards a view of diversity and inclusion where the standard of right and wrong is no more than hurt feelings, even if the cause is mere disagreement. I remember this being discussed back at orientation at my first real pharmacy job when we were basically told that what was important was how the other person felt. When there is disagreement, the reply is often a sort of canned, knee jerk, reaction rather than a well thought out argument to specific points made. It’s as though it’s just impossible for anyone to honestly disagree with the prevailing groupthink. In reading the official responses from Google, I think one could be forgiven for suspecting that those who wrote the responses never read, much less thought about, the actual memo.

If there are really no natural differences between men and women, then it would mean that men and women are merely interchangeable parts. If this is the case, then it seems to me that it would undermine the whole rationale of promoting diversity. Why in the world would we care how many of each completely interchangeable part we have in a particular workplace? Why couldn’t we acknowledge that there are natural differences between the sexes without going to the opposite extreme of stereotyping? Anyone who is carefully observant knows that the natural traits of masculinity and femininity can still be expressed in different degrees among either sex.

Actually, failure to understand the natural differences between the sexes is likely to lead to more unjust discrimination against women, not less. Modern feminism, instead of valuing women for who they are, tends to denigrate the things that make being a woman distinct from being a man. Their version of “equality” is not seeing the equal in importance and complimentary nature of both sexes. Rather, it is practically saying that what men have traditionally done is of greater importance, and women who don’t do those things are lesser beings. I just think of the stories I’ve heard of women who stay home with their children being accused of wasting their time, talent, or even their lives. After all, they could be helping to fatten some big corporation’s bottom line but are instead working to raise immortal souls who will one day, by their free choice, spend eternity in God’s presence or forever separated from him (not to mention ensuring survival of the human race). Who is to say that any unjust discrimination occurring against women might be caused at least in part by a failure to appreciate the fact that a woman will likely approach her work in a somewhat different manner than a man will and to respect that approach for what it is rather than expecting conformity?

However, with there being natural differences between the sexes, it’s perfectly reasonable that there will be some lines of work in which there are fewer women than men who are interested. This does not and should not be used to justify unfair discrimination (which does exist). Women with the aptitude and desire to do so should be able to pursue work in male-dominated fields. However, arbitrarily trying to increase the number of women in a profession is in and of itself an unjust discriminatory practice. We need to simply hire, pay, and promote people based on their merits instead.

Yes, there should be equal pay for equal work. While we are at it, we also need to look at how well we are paying people who pursue professions traditionally dominated by women, such as teaching. Of course, harassment of any kind, especially sexual harassment, is completely unacceptable. The answer to that, however, is the virtue of chastity for both sexes (but it’s probably more lacking in men), not the sexual permissiveness of the current culture that breeds the mentality that this is acceptable. Our culture can and should treat both sexes as equal in dignity without denying natural differences.

One final note . . . while I do think equal opportunity needs to exist, please understand that none of this is to be taken to negate my view that family, not job or career, needs to come first. This is true for both men and women though it will usually be manifested differently. Many of these problems tend to be exacerbated by the mistaken notion in our society that the job or career is the most important thing and the ultimate source of fulfillment. This is where we really need to put our efforts.

Category: Response


Videocast: Vlog – In Town By Myself

  /   Sunday, July 09, 2017   /   Comments(0)

I am not a regular vlogger, nor could I be. My life isn’t that exciting anyway.  If you don’t believe that, then watch this video of what I did while my wife and kids were out of town, and I stayed behind to go to work for a few days before joining them.

Yeah, I know it’s kind of silly, but it was fun to make.  If I get a chance, I want to make more.  They won’t necessarily be vlogs, though.  I thought I was going to get more stuff up but haven’t been able to do it, but I have an idea that may help me get more media up.

Category: Vlog


Unfit for Public Office

  /   Sunday, June 25, 2017   /   Comments(0)

By now, most of the buzz has already calmed down about Bernie Sanders’ criticism of the religious beliefs of Russell Vought that could very easily be interpreted to mean that Christians need not apply for public office. Well, maybe it’s okay to be a Christian as long as you don’t really believe the Christianity is true. Don’t even think about letting your faith influence you in a way that might affect others!

The existence of this mentality really shouldn’t be surprising. Secular society has long looked at some religious beliefs as though they were a personality quirk that needed to be worked around. There was a veneer of “respecting the beliefs of others” as though they were just arbitrary traits of a person that we can just humor. People were supposedly just taught these things, and we can’t expect them to be able to substantiated. This stops the moment someone show that a person takes what they believe seriously.

Sanders and those like him seem to have forgotten one thing – why would anyone believe anything? There’s really only one reason to believe anything, religious or otherwise – because it is true! No matter how beautiful something sounds or how much I like it, there is no point in my believing it if it isn’t true. If something is true, then it’s only logical that anything that contradicts it must be false. If I think my child ate the last cookie, but my wife thinks he didn’t, we can’t both be right. He either did or he didn’t. I know that a lot of people these days say that we really can’t be sure that any one religion is right. However, the people who say that sound darn sure that they are right in saying that we cannot be sure that any one religion is right, and that belief also has consequences for them and others as well.

So, does believing something is right and basing one’s life, including one’s public life on it, render one unfit for office? The left seems to think these days that it not only renders one unfit for public office, but it also renders one unfit for a lot of other things. If anyone wants to know how someone like Donald Trump reached the presidency, I think the actions of the left in this regard are a huge factor. There were enough people who didn’t want to see what would be a continuation of an administration willing to go after the Little Sisters of the Poor for not providing contraception in their insurance plan. There were enough people who were tired of bakers, florists, and other wedding professionals being sued for everything they have for not wanting to participate in a same-sex “wedding.” There were enough people who questioned imposing on everyone the ideology of people who think that they can be one biological sex but yet another gender. Oh, and there are people who are certain that they are right about these things, and they seek to impose them on others. They may not be religious beliefs, but if we look at history careful, we can see that militant atheists and secularists have harmed far more people than religious zealots.. The Communist revolutions of the 20th Century resulted in far, far more destruction of human life than did he Inquisition and the Crusades (the latter of which I will argue actually had a noble purpose).

The problem that makes one unfit for public office isn’t a belief that something is definitely right. Whether someone is fit for public office depends on 1) how people who are, or who are believed to be, in error should be treated 2) the objective morality or immorality of what one believes 3) the person’s willingness or unwillingness to substantiate what they believe. Too many people want to just cry “bigot” or “blaming the victim” instead of coming up with an adult argument. Also, despite popular opinion, religious beliefs can be substantiated. Take a look at the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.

To see people’s fitness for public office, look at how they view those of a different belief. What do they want to do – evangelize them, leave them to their fate, or destroy them? If they wish to evangelize, how would they do so – by proclaiming the message or by force? Finally, how would they settle a matter of justice between a believer and an unbeliever? Do they believe in principles of right and wrong that would lead them to render a decision in favor of an unbeliever if justice demanded it? Do they hold people of their own faith accountable for doing what’s right, even to an unbeliever? Obviously, a judge that would always rule in favor of a Christian who stole from a Muslim, Hindu, Jew, or even an atheist isn’t fit to be a judge.

Whether we understand it or not, we want people in office who base their lives on unwavering moral principle and expect the same from others. Every law on the books is someone’s imposition of beliefs in what is right or wrong on others.  Otherwise, what else is going to be the basis for their decisions? They could make them based on whatever benefits them personally, whatever some group of influential or powerful people thinks, or whatever is blowing in the latest political wind. To quote one of my favorite country songs “You’ve got to stand for something, or you’ll fall for anything.” While that may be just a song, I do fear that one of our greatest problems today is that we are indeed falling for anything because little worthwhile is being held to be true.

Category: Uncategorized


Adventures in the Dental Office

  /   Thursday, June 15, 2017   /   Comments(0)

Not too many people will associate the dental office with adventure. Maybe that word isn’t quite the right one to describe it, but oh well, I’ll use it for now. I went to a different dentist than I had been going to for a checkup. I’ll refrain from mentioning names here. I had been to the dentist maybe seven or eight months earlier, and no cavities were found. Needles to say, I was a bit surprised to be told by this new dentist that I had eighteen teeth that needed at least a filling, or was I?

Well, maybe a bit surprised is accurate. For the record – no, I don’t believe that I need that much dental work. I believe the dentist believes it. He showed me these pictures from the digital camera and the x-ray showing how I had these bad places in my teeth. The thing that they didn’t seem to understand is that they can show me as many spots on pictures as they want, but this doesn’t mean that it’s beneficial to the tooth to drill it out and replace it with artificial stuff that will ultimately have to be redone later. Fillings don’t last a lifetime.

You see, this isn’t my first dental adventure of this sort. In 1998, my home town dentist told me that I had a couple of cavities that needed to be filled. I was away at pharmacy school and didn’t have time to get back home to have the work done. I made the mistake of going to a dentist near where I was in school only to be told that I had a whole bunch of cavities. Not only that, but the dentist told me that I had better get these done as soon as I can or they will get much worse. His near-threatening tone of voice should have convinced me to flee. I let him do maybe two or three. I shouldn’t have. I stopped letting him do these and went to another dentist in my home town, and was told that I needed only one filling.

I had similar incidents in 2003 and again in 2010. Granted, during both of those times I had waited way too long to go to the dentist. The one in 2010 wanted to do over $10,000 work of work in my mouth. Both of those times, I didn’t need or have nearly as much work done as those dentists said that I needed. I went somewhere else. If I truly needed all that work done, my entire jaw and maybe even my nose should have rotted off by now. I have more than my share of dental work in my mouth, but I still did a lot less than was originally suggested once I got a second opinion.

So, what’s the point of this story? I can make a couple of points here. First, if you get a dentist who tells you that you need a lot of work, it’s a good idea to seek another opinion before you get it done. There are dentists who seem to think that they need to fill anything that doesn’t look quite normal. Others are more conservative and question whether drilling it out will be of benefit to the tooth. There’s a good possibility that one of the “cavities” that I was told that I had in 1998 has never been filled to this day. If so, it definitely didn’t progress too much. I still have all of my teeth except for my wisdom teeth.

My second point concerns something that may be a little harder to explain to non-medical people. There are different opinions out there in any medical science about what does and does not need treatment and why or why not. Medicine is not the exact science that everyone wants it to be. Some problems will be diagnosed differently by different doctors.

It’s odd that, when I visit a dentist, a more conservative dentist normally understands why more aggressive dentists want to do more fillings. They will rarely disparage the more aggressive dentist. However, more aggressive dentists have never seemed to understand that there are more conservative dentists who may see reason not to do certain treatment. When I mentioned that I hadn’t been told I had cavities to the dentist I just saw, he couldn’t understand why they weren’t caught. I think I know why not, though, and I am a pharmacist, not a dentist.

Still, it’s not abnormal for one doctor to see a scan and think nothing of it and for another to choose to observe it for now. In my case, the past experience with my teeth and the supposed cavities told me that I don’t have dire need of fillings. I have the past history to justify that, and the dentist to whom I just went didn’t seem to understand that. Relying on that, I can come to a good conclusion of what to do, or, in this case, what not to do.

Category: News on My Life


My Fasting Strategy

  /   Saturday, April 15, 2017   /   Comments(0)

I must admit that I am not good at fasting. I guess I just like my food too much. Yes, I know I need to do something about it, and having days of fasting like Ash Wednesday and Good Friday are good for me. I guess I have also not been good at getting posts up at the right time since I meant to do this earlier and also meant to post more, but i guess it can give some people who had trouble fasting this year some help.

For me to do a day of fasting, I have to be pretty deliberate about how I am going to do it. Like everyone else, I need to be able to perform the duties of my state of life, and being too hungry doesn’t help with that. I realize that, as one priest said, we get to eat more on fast days than many people get to eat every day. Still, I need a strategy for fasting.

So, here it is … but please note that this isn’t for everyone, and I am certainly not taking responsibility for anyone who shouldn’t do it this way who tries it anyway (or anyone else either). I just want to put it out there to see if anyone thinks it will work.

Here’s the questionable part … I normally eat a big dinner the day before the fast. Maybe I shouldn’t, but as far as I know it’s allowed. Then, I wait until as late as possible to eat anything on the actual day of fasting. It’s like getting it over with early as much as possible. I normally go to work on fasting days to keep my mind off it. I packed a couple of peanut butter or almond butter sandwiches to use as my lighter meals, and I eat the first one when I really need to eat. I then try to wait as long as I can before eating the next one. I have my full meal at home that night to hold me until thee next day.

With this strategy, I have been able to fast while still doing my work. Of course, it helps to go to Mass and Good Friday service on the day of fasting to keep occupied and reminded of why we are doing this. I hope this is helpful for at least some of you.

One other thing … Holy Saturday up until the Easter Vigil is a time to continue prayer, and, you guessed it – fasting! You are not required by the Church to fast on Holy Saturday, but I certainly encourage anyone who can to continued, and so does the US Conference of Catholic Bishops. Think if it as a time of reflection on Jesus in the tomb and of waiting for the Resurrection.

Category: Uncategorized


Videocast: Why I Returned the Panasonic GX850

  /   Friday, March 17, 2017   /   Comments(0)

I have posted a new videocast

Since I did a review of the GX850 and gave it a pretty good review, I believed it was only right that I gave an update since I returned it.  I wanted people to know what happened so that anyone considering this camera can make a decision as to whether it will suit them or not.

The bottom line is that the first one I bought had the touchscreen quit responding.  I exchanged it and got another one, and then I noticed the lens motor sounds in my video.  They made the camera unusable for my purposes, but there may be some people who can use this despite this issue with the kit lens.  A Panasonic engineer said that the noise was part of the normal operation of the camera, so others are likely to experience this.

Another user posted a video with the same issue.  Here is the link to that video.

Category: Technology, Videos


Podcast: It’s Ok to Give Up Chocolate

  /   Saturday, March 04, 2017   /   Comments(0)

I have posted a new podcast episode.

Download it here.

A popular Lenten devotion series online advertises itself with the line “Don’t give up chocolate for Lent.”  I’m sure they had good intentions, and I’m not saying that there is anything wrong with that series.  However, this is really not a good way to promote your devotion.

The practice of giving something up is valuable.  Lent involve prayer, fasting, and almsgiving, and giving something up is a good way to practice fasting.  I explain more in this episode.

Category: Podcasts


What About the Other Side of This

  /   Wednesday, March 01, 2017   /   Comments(0)

I have heard over the years about different politicians and groups insisting on protecting “access” to contraception as though it were something necessary and hard to obtain. I have also heard all I can stand from people who insist that the new version of “nondiscrimination” is more important than the faith of people who run businesses and provide services. I’ve often thought about how such policies, and especially the actions of our previous administration, would end up limiting the medical profession to people who will essentially follow our culture, preventing people of faith from being able to practice both their faith and a healing profession. I’m glad to see that there still are some people still trying to stand up for the rights of faithful health care professionals.

However, there is another aspect of this that needs to be considered. I have had my fill of media describing women seeking abortion, contraception, or a morning-after pill being made to feel guilty about their “reproductive choices,” but very few in the major media are willing to apply that to faithful Catholic women who wish to embrace the Church’s teaching about openness to life. Where is their “access” to faithful physicians who have a mindset other than the prevailing cultural mindset about families and children? Where is their “access” to an OB / GYN who understands natural family planning? If you want to talk about discrimination, then you should hear the comments these women (including my wife) get when they try to explain that they don’t want contraception.

However, for all the grief they get, at least there is not yet legislation pending to make the teaching of natural family planning illegal or to saddle it with ridiculous requirements. For another group, such laws are in place in some form in a number of states and cities. They city of Toledo, Ohio is the most recent I have seen to ban any form of “conversion therapy” for people with same-sex attraction. Claims you hear are that it protects people, presumably minors, from being forced to undergo supposedly harmful therapy for something that supposedly isn’t a problem. The Toledo version doesn’t appear to be limited to minors, though, as some are.

Well, I really don’t know how well current methods of therapy work for same-sex attraction. Even the NARTH institute is not suggesting that everyone (or even most people) with same sex attraction can completely reorient themselves. Therapy certainly will have no helpful effect on anyone who does not want to change. However, banning all therapy with such a goal sets a dangerous precedent.

What about those people who do want to try and change or reduce unwanted same sex attractions? What option are we leaving them? Some people may be able to do so if they get help before the feelings become deep rooted. Instead, the only “support” option available to them in these jurisdictions is someone who tells them to accept this as who they are and get on with it. The same can also happen to someone who experience discomfort about their gender. They may not have anyone to turn to except people who insist that they believe that they are really a woman in a man’s body or vice versa, and this is who they are.

For their own ideology, the activists are shutting down the scientific inquiry and the treatment choices for people. By doing this, the only freedom or choice they support is for people who fit their ideas. Those of us who want treatments in conformity with our faith may find ourselves out of luck if we don’t do something about it.

Category: Catholic, Response


Videocast: Stone Mountain Hike

  /   Tuesday, February 28, 2017   /   Comments(0)

Just before Lent, I wanted to get this posted . . .

Last fall, my family and I took a trip to Stone Mountain near Atlanta, Georgia.  I managed to take a few minutes away to hike up the mountain, and it’s a beautiful and fun hike.  Here I share some footage as well as my comments about the hike.

Category: Videos


Podcast: New Season of Podcasting

  /   Thursday, February 23, 2017   /   Comments(0)

I have just posted another podcast after a long hiatus.  I’m starting my new season.

Go hear or download the episode here.

This one’s really just a brief introduction to what I’m hoping to accomplish with the blog, video, and the podcast.  I’ll try to get another episode up later about Lent.

Category: Podcasts


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