Meet a member: Rocket scientist hopes to launch book
Name: Emory Lynn.
Where I live: Huntsville, Ala.
Where and when I was born: Savannah, Ga., 1946.
Family: Wife Shealy, son Kevin of Denver and daughter Christine and granddaughter Isabelle and grandson Owen of Huntsville.
Education: B.S. in aerospace engineering and MBA from Auburn University.
Occupation: I retired in 2005 as a launch vehicle design engineer. My career in the aerospace industry, mostly with NASA, included work on the Saturn V and space shuttle programs, and feasibility studies on launch vehicle and space systems in the Advanced Concepts Office at the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville. The career achievement I am most proud of was the development of a launch vehicle design (computer) program, which took me eight years to complete. That is now NASA’s standard analytical program for creating initial launch vehicle designs. The first design for the space shuttle replacement vehicle, called the Space Launch System (SLS), was achieved with this program, as were the initial designs for more than 60 launch vehicle concepts from which the SLS was selected. America’s plans for returning to the moon and venturing to Mars are riding on the SLS, the most powerful rocket ever, that took its first steps with the program I developed.
How I got to where I am today: I was raised in Christianity (Methodism) and long professed to be a Christian. However, for over 30 years I drifted on a sea of doubt about the actual existence of anything beyond the natural world. I became determined to eventually do whatever was necessary to sort through it all and arrive at a conclusion I could confidently base the remainder of my life on. Sorting fact from fiction began in earnest a few years before I retired. I have now spent 17 years rigorously researching every topic I thought might have any relevance to the truth of religion in general, but more specifically to the truth of the Abrahamic religions of Christianity, Judaism and Islam, and even more so to Christianity. From this research, I have just finished writing a very comprehensive and in-depth book that I hope to get published soon. It’s called Upon Further Review: The Search for Truth and Reality in the Abrahamic Faiths. The title is a reflection of my journey to nonbelief. My admittedly very ambitious goal is to provide more useful information about what is true and not true about one religion in particular, Christianity, than is available in any other single source. Consequently, it is not a small book.
Where I’m headed: My next task is to get the book published. To introduce it to the public, I’ve created a website: emorylynn.com. The site thoroughly describes the book and includes numerous extensive excerpts that should be enjoyable and informative reading. Feel free to visit the site. I hope to become a significant influence in the trend toward nonbelief in America. The book contains a wealth of factual information that other nonbelievers, who are more skilled at debating and speaking than I am, can use to more effectively confront religious apologetics.
Person in history I admire and why: This is a difficult call because there are so many. To pick one, I’ll go with Carl Sagan. He was an extremely gifted and influential advocate for science and secularity. High honorable mention: Charles Darwin, for obvious reasons; and Al Gore because of his tireless work to draw attention to climate change, in spite of the relentless B.S. he has been subjected to.
A quotation I like: “Some believers accuse skeptics of having nothing left but a dull, cold, scientific world. I am left with only art, music, literature, theatre, the magnificence of nature, mathematics, the human spirit, sex, the cosmos, friendship, history, science, imagination, dreams, oceans, mountains, love and the wonder of birth. That’ll do for me.” — Lynne Kelly (Australian science writer, researcher and science educator).
These are a few of my favorite things: The great outdoors, landscaping around home, hunting cagey whitetail bucks in nearby mountains with camera or bow and arrow, reading and forever learning, beagle puppies, an infant’s smile.
These are not: Global warming, global warming deniers, science fiction (for me, real science is too fascinating to spend time on the other), the Donald, sloppily written texts and e-mail messages that make little or no sense, overseas customer support personnel who sound like they’re speaking in tongues.
My doubts about religion started: This was a slow and steady march beginning in about my late 20s. The more I contemplated the religion I was raised in, the less sense it made, until I was troubled enough to begin a “second career”— sorting fact from fiction about religion, beyond any reasonable doubt.
Ways I promote freethought: First, I recently increased my support of FFRF by upgrading my Life Membership to After-Life. Second, I hope to become a significant freethought influence through Upon Further Review.
Before I die: Hopefully, I will live to see the suffocating tentacles of religion withdrawn from American public life because of an expanding awareness of the poverty of truth and reality in religious doctrine. Also, I’d like to visit Great Britain and Norway to see where many of my ancestors came from.