Infinite Beta

Random thoughts by Ryan

Same-sex Marriage, Discrimination, and Respect

RespectThere’s so much nonsense going on in politics.

I’m genuinely excited for my homosexual friends to feel less discriminated against. You should never have been treated badly in the first place. Nobody deserves to be discriminated against, be they black, white, straight, homosexual, Mormon, atheist, wealthy, homeless, whatever. We’re all humans and should treat each other with respect. Humans should have equal access to jobs, health insurance, tax benefits, etc. Pretty simple.

It’s pretty similar to religion really. I’m a Mormon. I was born this way and it’s how I feel. Others become Mormon later in life. I’m not going to change it to suit anyone else’s convenience, I’m trying to be true to myself and what I believe.

Having said that, legislation doesn’t change moral principles. You could legislate that gravity is illegal but it doesn’t alter the nature of gravity.

Burger King invented a burger called the Whopper. You could go to McDonald’s and demand that they sell you a Whopper but they can’t possibly make you one. Sure, they could make something similar but it’s not technically a Whopper since you didn’t buy it at Burger King.

God created “marriage” as a union between a man and a woman. I don’t know why He did it that way, He just did. Someday I’ll understand His ways better. I’m absolutely certain there’s a valid reason for it. You can say it isn’t fair. You can say it’s discriminatory. You can create your own version with the same name, but it doesn’t actually change anything.


To be clear, there are two topics involved in this debate. Discrimination and the definition of marriage. For many people the traditional definition of marriage has been used as an excuse to discriminate. This is, and always has been, unacceptable and I’m glad to see that we’re rising above giving ourselves excuses to treat people disrespectfully. We should have done that a long time ago without the need for legislation.

If we’re all on the same page there, then the fact that people disagree about the definition of marriage isn’t such a problem. Some believe that marriage should be between a man and a woman. Others believe that same-sex marriage is acceptable. Great. Everyone can choose to believe whatever they want to believe AS LONG AS they don’t use it as an excuse to mistreat others or attempt to force others to their way of thinking/living.

“We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.” –Eleventh Article of Faith


Now that we’re all respecting each others’ right to believe whatever you want to believe and live accordingly, we can have a friendly, healthy discussion about theology.

I’m actually not trying to argue for any particular church’s stance. Truth is truth and doesn’t change. Molecules are made of atoms. Objects with mass have gravity. Light travels 186,000 miles per second. The earth was created via known observable physical/biological/mathematical processes and some processes we haven’t yet identified. These are all discoveries that have become pretty much universally accepted as truth. In time, our understanding of them will mature and we’ll acquire additional knowledge.

Science and religion aren’t in conflict. They’re both attempts at describing the truths that govern the world around us. Where we perceive conflict, it’s because our understanding of science, or religion, or both is incomplete. As we continue to learn and uncover irrefutable eternal truth, science and religion will converge.

Something that I know to be truth is that our creator has given us instructions (i.e., rules and consequences) for happiness/health/longevity that are governed by these eternal truths. “If you do X, then Y will happen.” For some of these instructions both the rules and consequences are known and clear (e.g., if you touch fire, then you’ll get burned; don’t eat poison or you will die… or at least puke).

Others aren’t as starkly obvious, we know X but don’t fully understand Y (e.g., don’t kill, be honest, marriage should be between a man and a woman; etc.). These are the hardest ones to follow since they sometimes don’t seem to make sense and even seem to conflict with our understanding of the world.

In this situation, some people say, “Forget it, these rules don’t make sense, so I’m out.” Other people choose to just follow the rules expecting that it will make more sense later. (I fall into the second bucket. I don’t yet fully understand the complexities of why/how all of these rules are they way they are, but I know that they are truths.)


It’s okay and good that we fall into different groups. We’re all just doing what seems to make sense to us based on our own reasoning and collection of life experiences. We should support each other’s efforts to learn truths and pursue the path that leads to maximum happiness. Over time, our understanding will mature and develop.

Work hard to be the best person YOU can be. Recognize that others are trying to do the same thing and help them where they seek help. Judging or criticising isn’t productive or acceptable.


Clayton Christensen does a much better job than me of explaining the relationship between science and religion. Enjoy.

Beautiful Things

We watched Walter Mitty last night. It’s a fantastic show that just makes you want to go grab your hiking backpack and start wandering this beautiful world of ours. There was a line near the end of the film that really struck me so I decided to make a couple of graphics out of it. Enjoy. (Feel free to download, share, etc.)

Beautiful Things Don't Ask for Attention

Beautiful Things Don't Ask for Attention


Ambitious people often talk about wanting to “change the world”. The single best way to do that is to raise a good, happy family. Nothing else really matters. Do it, and you will have changed the world for generations.

Make sure you’ve got your priorities straight.

In Defense of the MVP

Most people misunderstand the concept of a “Minimum Viable Product”. They get distracted by the word “minimum” and forget that it also requires the product to be “viable”. This graphic sums up the difference nicely.

Do school pictures still matter?

It’s picture day for my 5 year old, which reminds me of picture day when I was growing up. As I recall, school pictures were a really big deal. It was one way to reliably get a good photo of me every year. But now we take photos of our kids daily with high-resolution cameras and probably have more pictures than we’ll ever know what to do with. Sure many of them are candid and certainly lack the professional polish of a studio shot, but a few of them are brilliant.

Now, I’m guessing my kids won’t think that school pictures are all that special. What do you think?

Something about watching craftsmen make something makes we want to buy it. It’s not just a door handle any more, it’s something that people have labored over to ensure that it’s just right. I really respect that.

Now more than ever?

What compels us to use phrases like, “…greater pressure on margins…”, “…busier than ever…”, or “…less free time nowadays…”?

Is there really a greater pressure on margins now than there was 20 years ago? Are we really busier than we were 50 years ago? Is everything really more amplified now than it was in the past? Or is it just that we’re personally busier than we were when we were kids and there’s more pressure on us individually than there was earlier in our careers?

We have a tendency to use our personal experiences and extrapolate them to apply to the rest of humanity. I’m pretty sure that my great grandfather had tremendous demands on his time. If he wasn’t working in his fields he was losing money. If he accepted a lower margin on his crops, there was one more thing his family had to do without.

Is it appropriate to use terms like these without clear evidence to back them up?

Meat Mountain

Have you heard about Arby’s new “Meat Mountain” sandwich?

  • roast beef
  • angus steak
  • brisket
  • corned beef
  • 3 strips of bacon
  • ham
  • turkey
  • chicken tenders
  • 2 kinds of cheese

It’s pretty much every single kind of meat they have on the menu held together with some cheese.

What do you think? Awesome or nasty?

Carpe diem!

Robin Williams

Cereal Killers

Those horrible people at Kellogg’s murdered this poor Mini Wheat while she was expecting.

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