Hi! My name is Chris Lamke.
I’ll start by saying I’m far too busy to keep this page up to date. This information is correct as of late 2014.
I am a happily married father of three children and a variable number of cats. I have several cats because I believe in providing food and shelter to any animal that comes to our home seeking help, and I’m committed to adopting any animal that wants to join our family. All of our cats are adopted from the wild or from rescue agencies.
I work as an software and systems engineer, currently in the geospatial field, providing software and systems architecture guidance to a number of software development teams.
I’m an amateur philosopher and studied philosophy in grad school. I am also an avid reader of science fiction, neuroscience, classic literature, and the basic sciences. I love designing and coding software, but I often find myself reading and writing at the expense of my software development work. So if you see an open source software project of mine announced on this site but languishing, blame my love of reading. If you want some tentative source code that isn’t yet fit to publish, feel free to ask for it using the contact form.
I’m generally considered a progressive. I believe that to live well, we must each find a purpose to live for, and that we owe it to our fellow humans to help them find and achieve their purpose, as long as that purpose is creative and not harmful to others. For all non-human sentient life, this means not interfering with their ability to live according to their instincts and minimizing their suffering where possible. Practically speaking, I believe that human nature is such that a strong government, both national and local, is necessary to safeguard the freedom of living things to be free to “pursue happiness”. History has repeatedly shown that left to itself, without a strong central and progressive government, humanity tends to organize so that the vast majority of resources go to a privileged few and the rest suffer under the yoke of the few in power. I believe that for the current state of human consciousness, a social democracy with government provided basic services and government limited capitalism as the driving economic engine is the optimal form of government. The success of this combination in Canada and Europe (relative to our situation in the United States) illustrates my point.
Note that I use this site as a holding area for various things I’m working on so if you see something half-baked, it’s probably just me leaving something that way until I can get around to finishing it.
Well, enough about me. I hope you find something interesting here. Feel free to contact me using the form here.
I consider the follow issues worthy of my time:
- Fighting Regressivism, including:
- Religious extremism (e.g. “conservative” Christianity and Islam)
- fascism disguised as patriotism
- Ending the “War on Drugs”
- Creating a Palestinian State based on the pre-1967 boundaries, with Jerusalem as an international zone
- Creating an autonomous TIbet free from Chinese authority
- Banning capital punishment in the USA
- Creating an immigration policy that lets workers from other nations come to the US openly, work safely for fair wages, and have a path to citizenship if they want it
- Spending a significant portion of US GDP on research into clean, renewable energy
- Creating an independent state for the Kurdish people
- Creating a global animal welfare charter and an agency to enforce it via sanctions.
- Creating an environment in the US where it’s very expensive to outsource engineering and manufacturing to developing nations
- Establishing severe penalties for companies that directly or indirectly exploit workers in other nations. Set up a global standard for what constitutes a safe workplace and reasonable wages, indexed not to the US dollar but to the local buying power in the worker’s home nation
Here’s a quick summary of my life so far:
I’ve lived a very eclectic life so far. Briefly, I moved all over the US during my childhood, served as an infantry soldier out of high school, then did a little time as a security guard and bicycle messenger, got hit by a truck and took time to recover, then worked as a deputy sheriff for two years. Once I got past my wild man/experimental phase and was disgusted with my experience of our criminal “justice” system, I went to college. While at college and grad school, I studied computer science and liberal studies, working as a bouncer/doorman briefly and as a computer consultant and software developer to pay my way. Since I left college, I’ve worked as a software and systems engineer, technical lead, and now software architect. I used to do quite a bit of pro bono work but I’ve mostly stopped since my twin boys were born. I still help where I can contribute without a major time commitment.
I was baptized and raised Christian, but was never able to completely accept the whole idea of a personal being with anything like the properties of the Christian (or Judaic or Islamic) god. I read extensively and took classes on various religions and eventually decided that secular humanism is the correct path for me and for humanity. I am convinced that most or all the extant major religions harm humanity much more than they help, with the notable exceptions of Buddhism and Taoism, which are more philosophical systems than religions as they are normally defined.
If you follow me, you’ll notice that while I’m willing to debate religion with any intelligent and sane/non-troll person, I’m convinced that a personal-type god (especially the one portrayed in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam) is inconsistent with logic and antithetical to the world we live in. I’m an ardent secular humanist and my worldview is essentially naturalistic, with no belief in the supernatural. The world makes a lot more sense to me now than when I was struggling to believe absurdities.
My wife Barb and I raise our children as secular humanists, and they are much happier not having to struggle with the logical inconsistencies I did. They instinctively understand that the god some of their friends believe in is a lot like Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy, a pretend person some use to provide them comfort, meaning, and direction. It’s evident that teaching children to believe in a god is a burden to them and that letting them discover for themselves the world “as it is” is much more loving on our part and healthy to their development.
Note that I discuss religion with my children and encourage them to explore the various belief systems, offer my library of religious and philosophical literature as tools to help them decide for themselves what to believe, and let my daughter go to church with friends when she wants to. I’ve noticed that most of her friends go to church as a social event, with the religious content being superfluous.
My life focus is on supporting all sentient life at the local (family), species (all humans), and global (all life on earth) levels. Thankfully, we’re not advanced enough to screw up other planets yet, but we’re definitely in a struggle against the regressives (represented here in the USA by the so-called Evangelicals and Tea Partiers) to preserve life on earth.
I consider my home a sanctuary for all animals. Practically speaking, that means that if an animal shows up looking for food or shelter, I provide it. If the animal wants to live with me, I take them in. I’ve adopted two (feral) cats from the wild this way. The others have come from rescue organizations. There are other cats who use our home as a feeding station on their travels and that’s fine. I have a friend and neighbor who’s in a feline rescue group if we need to trap an animal for some reason (like medical treatment).
Given my statements above, you could probably guess that I’m a progressive activist, and you’d be right. I held beliefs on the right of the US political spectrum during my time in the Army and law enforcement, and I was even a life member of the NRA at one point before I resigned after realizing they were completely insane (even for a conservative group). In my late 20s, I overcame my narrow regressive beliefs as part of my continued development as a person. I’ve noticed that the more I learned about the world and the more I was able to consider objectively my initial military training and conservative upbringing, the more I saw that the regressive world view results from a combination of tribalism, ignorance, selfishness, and inability to consider opposing viewpoints. Regressivism, particularly as embodied in the Tea Party dominated current GOP and Ayn Rand inspired libertarianism, is a threat to the integrity of the United States and the world and I do whatever I can to oppose it.