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Go back to sleep, Pat.

13 Jan

Wow.

Ultra-right-wing Conservative and former Baptist minister Pat Robertson, the raddled Kermit the Frog of Christian Broadcasting Network, has still got it. Though whether anyone would want it is very doubtful. Continue reading

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The Final Countdown

21 May

Well, Judgement Day is officially upon us and the outlook so far is…

… pretty quiet, actually.

Sure, there are celebrations planned by godless heathens across America, but as I write this there seems to be little in the way of giant earthquakes, wailing and gnashing of teeth, screams of the damned and all the other signs we were promised. I appreciate the Hieronymus Bosch-style renderings of ravening demons and heavenly trumpets are the products of mediæval imaginings, but where are all the piles of clothing left behind by millions of raptured True Christians™ ? The airliners and cars careering out of control with nobody at the helm? I’d even settle for a message in the clouds reading “Game Over. Press START to play again.”

It’s not as if this is all some vague, shadowy portent of doom we’re talking about here. Harold Camping and his Family Radio Worldwide have gone on record as being absolutely certain. Phrases such as “Without a shadow of a doubt” and “There is no Plan B” don’t leave much room for manoeuvre.

Of course, when this is all over Camping and his cronies will probably be consigned to the ever-increasing ranks of False Prophets – thus, ironically, becoming a sign of the End Times themselves. It’s worth considering that false prophets are almost never labelled as such before their prophecies fail and the next prophet comes along.

It’s all rather sad, really.

Prophets without honour

29 Apr

Regarding my previous post about Harold Camping’s doomsday prophecy of May 21 2011 (“The Bible guarantees it!”), a deliciously ironic development has arisen.

Last Sunday, during The Atheist Experience’s Easter-themed “Zombie Apocalypse” show (available on their homepage for now; from their show archive as of next Monday), a caller who gave his name as Luca revealed that he had contacted Camping’s evangelical Family Radio Worldwide organisation to offer a donation of $10,000. However, there was a condition: if, on May 21, the world does not end, then on May 22 he will expect the money to be returned – plus 10% interest.

For some peculiar reason, they went off the idea at that point…

Carry On, Camping!

21 Apr

Meet Harold Camping:

That cheerful-looking gentleman is the president of a religious radio network based in California of which he is an evangelist mouthpiece. Perhaps it’s just me, but that picture makes him look like the sort of person for whom the word ‘camping’ would be le mot juste; but I digress.

This particular idiot character has been setting the internet buzzing for a while now with his End of the World™ prediction – and just for a change, it’s not December 21 2012. According to the prophet Harry, Judgement Day (AKA Armageddon, The Rapture) has been scheduled by Yaweh for May 21, 2011. That’s right; precisely one month away from this posting. It’s especially interesting because Family Radio claim to be a non-profit organisation (groan).

What? You want some proof, you say? You don’t think a real scientist (he has a B.S. in Civil Engineering) would make claims like that based purely on nothing, do you?

Well, yes as it happens. He’s applied a numerological system of his own invention to the xtian bible to come up with:

 By careful study of the Bible we learn that in the year 4990 B.C. (Before Christ) God brought a flood of water and destroyed the entire earth except for eight people and the animals that were with them. They were not destroyed because God brought them into the safety of the ark. Their leader, Noah, had obeyed God’s command to build a huge boat, called an ark, about 450 feet (137 meters) long.

The Holy Bible tells us in Hebrews 11:7:

By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.

Seven days before the beginning of the Flood that completely covered the entire earth, God commanded Noah to warn the peoples of the world that they had seven days to get into the safety of the ark. The Holy Bible tells us that on the 17th day of the 2nd month of that year God shut the door of the ark. Then, the Flood began to completely cover the entire earth.

About 5,000 years later God wrote in His Holy Bible in 2 Peter Chapter 3 about this worldwide destruction by water in the days of Noah. In the same chapter He also warned that the time would come when Holy God would destroy the whole world by fire. Our entire universe would be forever destroyed. In between these two declarations of worldwide destruction that would come because of sin God made a very important statement. God declared in 2 Peter 3:8:

But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.

God had written in the Holy Bible in Genesis 7:4:

For yet seven days, and I will cause it to rain upon the earth forty days and forty nights; and every living substance that I have made will I destroy from off the face of the earth.

God added in Genesis 7:10-11:

And it came to pass after seven days, that the waters of the Flood were upon the earth. In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, the same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened.

The ark that Noah had built was the only place of safety from the destruction of the Flood. Likewise, God’s gracious mercy is the only place of safety from the destruction that is coming on the Day of Judgment.

In 2 Peter 3:8, which is quoted above, Holy God reminds us that one day is as 1,000 years. Therefore, with the correct understanding that the seven days referred to in Genesis 7:4 can be understood as 7,000 years, we learn that when God told Noah there were seven days to escape worldwide destruction, He was also telling the world there would be exactly 7,000 years (one day is as 1,000 years) to escape the wrath of God that would come when He destroys the world on Judgment Day. Because Holy Infinite God is all-knowing, He knows the end from the beginning. He knew how sinful the world would become.

Seven thousand years after 4990 B.C. (the year of the Flood) is the year 2011 A.D. (our calendar).

4990 + 2011 – 1 = 7,000

[One year must be subtracted in going from an Old Testament B.C. calendar date to a New Testament A.D. calendar date because the calendar does not have a year zero.]

Thus Holy God is showing us by the words of 2 Peter 3:8 that He wants us to know that exactly 7,000 years after He destroyed the world with water in Noah’s day, He plans to destroy the entire world forever. Because the year 2011 A.D. is exactly 7,000 years after 4990 B.C. when the flood began, the Bible has given us absolute proof that the year 2011 is the end of the world during the Day of Judgment, which will come on the last day of the Day of Judgment.

Amazingly, May 21, 2011 is the 17th day of the 2nd month of the Biblical calendar of our day. Remember, the flood waters also began on the 17th day of the 2nd month, in the year 4990 B.C.

And that’s just a sample. The rest is here, if you really must.

To summarise:

  • The Great Flood happened in 4990 BC (I know – just roll with it, ok?)
  • Noah had 7 days to build, crew, load and sail The Ark;
  • “one day is with the Lord as a thousand years”;
  • 4990 BC + 7000 years = 2011 (you have to fudge around the Year 0 thing)

A couple of questions spring to mind, however. If “one day = a thousand years”, where do the forty days of The Flood fit in? They were supposed to take place after the seven days warning. Did the deluge last forty thousand years? And how much time did the forty nights represent? Then there’s all that stuff about knowing not the hour the Lord doth come, thus making prophecies of it pointless. By which I mean pointless for scriptural reasons, we all know the exercise is pointles for reality reasons.

Hmm. Fundy reasoning: now with 75% more self-contradiction.

And before the apologists start all the damage limitation and spin, let’s not forget that Camping previously said the world would end on September 6.

1994.

“It’s symbolic of his struggle against reality.”

5 Apr

With that in mind, here’s the final serving of Magic Sandwiches to chew over:

Part 10:

Part 11:

(The webpage referred to, exposing the ‘Cretaceous human hand bones’, can be found at the end of this link. Note that even Answers in Genesis, that fount of creationist bullshit, doesn’t agree with PCS on the subject of Cretaceous human fossils. When an organisation founded by the repellant Ken Ham which runs the ridiculous Flintstones Creation ‘Museum’ in Kentucky thinks you’re talking shit, you ought to be hearing alarm bells.)

Part 12:

Part 13:

In summary:

It’s clear that dialogue with someone as fossilised in their dogma as Shawn/VFX/PCS is for all practical purposes impossible. To us it’s a debate; to him it’s an opportunity to preach (he would call it witnessing). And to what end? Thunderf00t, Don, DPRJones and the rest try to educate. If the knowledge they share with us can get just one person to think, to perhaps question the misleading or inaccurate things they may have been told about our world, then they will have added to the sum total of human advancement. All the Shawns of this world want to do is to tell us we’re going to hell. They are just little people with little minds desperate to feel important.

Notice that when asked directly, PCS stated categorically that he rejects evolution outright and nothing can ever change his closed and locked mind. Even if he could be convinced of the reality of evolution and similar physical realities, he would see it simply as confirmation of the power and glory of his pet god. Contrast that with Don’s stating that he would be convinced that evolution would be false if he was presented with poodles from the Permian Era or comparable evidence. Which of the two is the open-minded one?

The icing on the cake was the ‘human handbones in Cretaceous rock’ myth thrown up in response to Don’s request. That illustrates why creationism is nothing but a shell game. Quite why anyone can possibly find such bullshit in the least convincing is one of those mysteries that we may never solve. If we could, we’d be able to inoculate against Time-Share holidays and kindred bottom-feeding parasites. Just remember: only lies require lies to support them. If creationists truly had anything of substance to offer, don’t you think they’d be doing more than posting videos on the internet, or building fake museums and Noah’s Ark amusement parks just so they can line their pockets by exploiting the gullible?

Now it’s just getting sad

5 Apr

The third Magic Sandwich trilogy is now online and I’m starting to think that Shawn, that odious Hovind-larva, is taking the piss. Nobody can be this pig ignorant…

Part 7:

Part 8:

Part 9:

By this point even the non-Shawns on the panel are losing patience. Not for nothing was he christened Posterboy for Creationist Stupidity (PCS) by Thunderf00t in his acclaimed and highly recommended “Why do people laugh at creationists?” series.

Here’s a piece of free advice for you Shawn. Countering any point that shows up the plot holes in your silly story book with “Well I don’t believe that’s true” but never actually backing that statement up doesn’t make you look clever or intelligent, nor does it win the argument for you. It just makes people want to hit you.

Until next time, Shawn: here’s a compass and a map. Reality’s over that way.

Creationists get funnier!

4 Apr

Further to my previous post, parts 4 & 5 of the Magic Sandwich Show are now online [EDIT – Part 6 is up now, too]:

Part 4:

Part 5:

Part 6:

It never ceases to amaze me just how far some people will twist the facts of reality merely to paper over the gaping plot holes in their holy books. When Star Wars or Star Trek fans do it, we laugh and maybe urge them to get out of the house more. Here, Shawn believes the Earth is little more than six thousand years old (because that’s the figure you get when you add up all the ‘begat’s in the bible – which must never be questioned); thus he is forced to distort, corrupt and otherwise ignore all data that contradicts that belief.

To quote the good Doctor, “The very powerful and the very stupid have one thing in common. Instead of altering their views to fit the facts, they alter the facts to fit their views… which can be very uncomfortable if you happen to be one of the facts that needs altering.”

Creationists are funny!

4 Apr

Yesterday popular BlogTV channel “The Magic Sandwich Show”, perhaps in an attempt to one-up The Atheist Experience last week, hosted the infamous YouTube creationist VenomFangX. The RationalWiki article at the end of that link will give readers unfamiliar with Shawn, as he is also known, a fairly detailed summary of his personality – such as it is – and qualifications. However I can boil it down to one revealing sentence: RW lists the page under the heading “List of internet kooks”.

Anyway, Magic Sandwich has begun uploading the show onto YouTube for those of us who missed the live version. As I write this, the first three parts are available and without wanting to give too much away, Shawn is as knowledgable and as intelligent as he ever wasn’t. Enjoy the show as my YT friend [2012 Edit: and now fellow WordPress blogger] Thunderf00t – upper left corner, named Xavier Lumens for reasons best known to himself – toys with Shawn as a cat does with a mouse.

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

Ministry of the bleeding obvious

21 Jan

Had to visit my doctor’s surgery yesterday. The person I had to see was located on the first floor of the building . A sign on the wall next to the stairwell informs visitors as to which office is on each floor, then ends with the instruction to “Please use lift or stairs.”

Thus ended my plan to scale the outside of the building and force open a window.

Astrology: the anchor of real science

15 Jan

Astrology, like all pseudosciences, has been the bane of civilisation for centuries. While the case is often made that without astrology we would not have astronomy, this is overstating the case more than somewhat. It’s rather like saying “if it wasn’t for a child building a sandcastle on the beach, we wouldn’t have the Great Pyramid”.

In the case of  the “ology/onomy” divide, it was only when we stopped talking to the stars and began wanting to learn about their nature and their movements that we as a race took a huge leap forward from the world of superstition.

Now we seem to be sliding back, at an accelerating rate. Minneapolis astronomy professor Parke Kunkle has announced the stunning new discovery of precession. This is something so radical that it literally rocks the world. In fact, its repercussions are so revolutionary that they appear to have travelled back in time in order for ancient Greek astronomer Hipparchus to know about it in at least 120 BC.

Professor Kunkle has also rediscovered the constellation of Ophiucus, the ‘mysterious’ thirteenth sign of the Zodiac. This is something that pops up every few years, each time emerging as a “new” discovery threatening to overturn astrology.

Let’s get a few things straight. Ophiucus is hardly a new discovery, as I said it gets discovered almost on a regular basis. And it’s far from being a brand new constellation: a forgotten one, maybe (except to astronomers).

Predictably, we now have (apparently) mass panic of people who have never heard of Google, terrified as to what this all means to their star-signs. And for once, the stellar snake oil merchants are correct when they say there’s nothing to worry about.

What’s most amusing to me is that astrologers didn’t see this coming (or if they did, they kept quiet about it).

The question has to be addressed though: why are horoscopes unaffected by these changes? If you were trying to find your way around London using a map of New York, discarding it in favour of a London one is definitely going to make a difference. If you are a chemist trying to get two substances to react, making sure to select the correct bottle from the shelf certainly makes a difference.  However, just as with typical-fundy Blair rationalising his ‘wobble’, the -ologers reveal the non-scientific nature of their racket: it’s all been worked out and set in stone; any contradictory evidence will be buried or spirited away.

Real science works by falsification; that’s how (and why) experiments work. It’s like testing cars by smashing them into brick walls until there’s nothing left but interestingly shaped paperweights. It also leads to technology that works. Pseudoscience… doesn’t.

(In a shameless attempt at self-promotion, I present astronomer and rising TV star Phil Plait’s views on this teacup storm.)

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