left biblioblography: May 2008

Sunday, May 25, 2008

And Now, The Latest Bit Of Skullduggery From The New Age Papsters...

Cross posted @ God Is For Suckers!crystal-skull-1 

The lunatic is in the hall.
The lunatics are in my hall.
The paper holds their folded faces to the floor
And every day the paper boy brings more.

Brain Damage, Pink Floyd

With the advent of the latest Indiana Jones movie, the lunatics are indeed in my hall.

I was having a bit of a natter with my landlady's niece when the Sci-Fi channel put up this bit of fluff.

Bear in mind, this is the Sci-Fi channel, so I can't get too indignant over the televised idiocy.

But then these fellas started blathering about how there are "13 skull that are kept separate, and when they're brought together, will speak the secrets of the world," or somesuch nonsense. Here's a little more idiocy, if you have the taste.

No word of a lie, squire, I rolled my eyes, got a bit incensed, and told her, "Oh, I'll bet they'll mention Hoagland's 'face on Mars', and Atlantis too." She laughed.

Not half an hour later, sure enough, my prediction came true. All without the aid of a crystal ball, I might add.

I've mentioned Hoagland here, so I'm not inclined to veer off into that avenue.

Let's face it (no pun intended): it is a neat little artifact. Skulls remind us of our mortality, so much so they figure in just about every occult 'system' you can just about name. Most animals shy away from their dead, so you can pretty much explain the obsession via evolutionary means.

(Hamlet holding aloft a crystal skull, emoting: "Alas, poor Max, I knew him well. A man of infinite jest.")

So a crystal skull bespeaks a multitude of symbols: of death, antiquity, a secret past, mysteries beyond count.

Sadly, each and every one of them is a fraud.

And, if you're not inclined to take the BBC at its word, here's an anthropologist's take on the whole shebang.

Really, the entire tale behind these 'artifacts' is a sordid mess, replete with all sorts of nonsense.

Like the so-called curse of the Pharaohs, the skull is supposed to bring doom upon those who mock it. Reliable observers have reported extraordinary light effects, sounds and odors, suggesting occult properties. Extensive laboratory tests by the Hewlett-Packard Company, Santa Clara, California, revealed that the skull had remarkable optical properties that it would be virtually impossible to duplicate with modern equipment.

"Brings doom upon those who mock it?" That's an argument from force if ever I heard one. I'm sorely tempted to find one in a museum, and point and laugh at the stupid thing.

Perhaps the most famous and enigmatic skull was allegedly discovered in 1926 by Anna Le Guillon Mitchell-Hedges, adopted daughter of famed archeologist F.A. Mitchell-Hedges. However, because there is no documented evidence of this, some authorities prefer to hypothesise that the skull was actually purchased at auction by F.A. Mitchell-Hedges in 1943. In an affidavit from 1968 printed in Richard Garvin's "The Crystal Skull", Anna claims that she found the skull buried under a collapsed altar inside a temple in Lubaantun (Garvin, photo 25), in British Honduras, now Belize. In a letter to the author in 1970, she also stated that she was "told by the few remaining Maya, and was used by the high priest to will death" (Garvin 93). The artifact is sometimes referred to as "The Skull of Doom" because of its seemingly inexplicable properties and the supposed ill-luck of those who have handled it.

Anna passed away in April 2007, at the ripe old age of 90. There goes that old 'curse'.

Research carried out on several crystal skulls by the British Museum in 1996 has shown that the indented lines marking the teeth (for these skulls had no separate jawbone, unlike the Mitchell-Hedges skull) were carved using jeweler's equipment (rotary tools) developed in the 19th century, making a supposed pre-Columbian origin even more dubious. The type of (rather poor quality) crystal is Brazilian, and unknown within the Aztec or Maya territories. The study concluded that the skulls were crafted in the 19th century in Germany.

And for another skeptic's take (someone else who's still alive to this day, no less!), here's Skepdic's take on the whole sordid affair.

And for your snarky pleasure, here's a site with some truly frightening photos (hint: the scary photos I refer to are not the skulls themselves. Consider yourselves forewarned).

And one more (a little less frightening, but one I found vastly amusing), if you still want to indulge in some of this tomfoolery.

So, in a nutshell: relatively cool little hoax.

So, I'll interlock my fingers in my lap, lean back in my chair, and await the 'doom' from my mocking the crystal skulls.

Like the Second Coming, it'll never happen.

This is the Apostate, signing off.


Sunday, May 18, 2008

Allegories Gone Wild - We're All Satan's Hand Puppets, Dontcha Know? (Another Non-Book Review)

Cross posted at God is for Suckers!church_lady

One of the more..irksome habits of debating the religious online, one that drives me to the edge of bug-fuckery (luckily, not beyond!), is this insane need to see invisible hands behind everything. It's usually this 'theory' (I'm using definition number six here - 'a wild conjecture') that makes me abandon Formosa's law altogether.

The idea of old Scratch hisself having his hand up my ass is, well, fairly laughable but somewhat insulting as well (hey, Lucifer! Can ya check fer polyps, and nip a few while you're at it?).

So one day at work, I did a bit of searching on 'satan's hand puppets, atheism' (hey! I remembered how I got to this one! Aintcha all proud o' me?), and, sure enough, found another blazing crazy to taunt at and amuse you all.

This website is entitled 'Satan's Government', and yes, the Internet has provided outlets for all the looneys who scribbled their little lunacies in their precious journals - one can only hope that ridicule might fire the proper synapses.

A pipe dream, I know. But one can dream, no?

I will only target the intro, because there's a limit to my lunatic libations.

This book is written from a religious viewpoint. The basic assumption on which the book is based is that the bible is the Word of God and that the bible applies to our modern day and age.

There we go - honest presuppositionalism.

There are no human solutions presented in this book. The reader should know that the only solution the author will present is the solution which the bible presents - the return of Christ.

Already relegated to the 1.99 bin - a thousand years from now, our ancestors will shake their heads sadly.

What then, is the purpose of the book? It is a warning intended to show the reader how the events and trends of this age are leading to certain disaster.

Where have I heard this swan song before? Oh yeah - "The Earth is degenerating today. Bribery and corruption abound. Children no longer obey their parents, every man wants to write a book, and it is evident that the end of the world is fast approaching."
Assyrian tablet, c. 2800 BCE

There is a danger in the present material comfort we enjoy. This comfort tends to allow us to over look signals and signs which should be making us change our lives. Earthquakes, floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, volcanic eruptions, terrorism, bombings, wars, chemical and biological weapons. These things are a serious threat, and yet the present system we live in grinds along without any changes. There is a reason for this: The system we live in is engineered to destroy us. The system of governments, banks, corporations, media agencies, computer technology, and even the modern education system, is an intelligent, coordinated effort to destroy us.

Yeesh! Paranoid much? I already gave away the punch line, no?

 And it is orchestrated by Satan the devil, through occult and secret societies, who conduct the affairs of the world through unwitting politicians and corporate profit agendas.

What was that battle cry in the old Marvel comic books? ""Hail HYDRA! Immortal HYDRA! We shall never be destroyed! Cut off one limb and two more shall take its place! We serve the Supreme Hydra, as the world shall soon serve us!" I've said it before, I'll say it again: these people live in a comic book.

This is not a statement which will make it through the paradigm filters of the average reader. Talk of Armageddon, conspiracies, satanic cults, etc., are all classified by society’s collective mind as the fringe, the paranormal.

Ummm...my guess is that you 'occultic governmental conspiracy theorists' are usually among the top five percentile of the walking wounded? Couple that with the chomping-at-the-bit desire to see society collapse, well, they're just not...well.

Real life consists for most people of far more immediate threats, like paying the bills, advancing in one’s job, passing school exams, and getting a good parking spot at the office.

Call it reality, chum. Something you obviously struggle with on a daily basis.

Unfortunately, the time is upon us when none of these things will matter. All the "sensible" concerns of everyday life are about to become totally meaningless.

Gloom and DOOM is predicted! Head for your bomb shelters! Or better yet, reach for your bible!

 As it is written:

Oh joy. It's been reached for.

They will throw their silver into the streets, and their gold will be an unclean thing. Their silver and gold will not be able to save them in the day of the LORD’s wrath.

Ezekial 7:19

Bloody well can't even spell Ezekiel properly.

It is difficult to envision that the seemingly stable North American culture could be overturned. That is because for most of us, we have not been exposed directly to war and disaster. Such things are only images on TV. They happen to other people in far away places.

Only rational thing he's said thus far.

But we are about to be consumed by the most horrifying and violent events in history. These events are foretold in the bible.

So it is written. Oh wait: these 'prophecies' (which were entirely topical) never came true anyways.

This book describes what is wrong with our world. I feel that no book or documentary in modern times has addressed the question of what is wrong with the world from a spiritual viewpoint.

Mostly because this 'spiritual viewpoint' is about as useful as mental masturbation.

Every discussion of world problems seems to be focused on very narrow subject matter, such as the economy or environmentalism for example. I do not feel that such limited discussions are useful, and I think they actually obscure the real issue, which is this: Who is in control of the present age and what is the agenda driving the events of this world?

Quoth the Church Lady: "Could it be SATAN?"

I have never read any book or heard any speaker address this question from the standpoint of religion combined with an analysis of technological and economic factors.

Because religion gets it all wrong, maybe?

 That is the aim of this book. I want to discuss what is fundamentally wrong with the world, and show how every modern development of our age is used to further an agenda which can be traced back to the fallen angel who is Satan the devil.

So now technology is a tool of Shaitan, the great Deceiver? Porch light's on, but it's flickering.

I struggled for years with the question of whether it was even possible to write such a book, given the enormity of the subject.

Or the irrevelance?

There are so many historical developments and social trends which play a role in the story. How can such a story be organized and told in a cohesive manner? Finally I decided to go ahead with the project based solely on my faith in God and my gut instinct. The result is the book you are reading.

Time better spent actually learning something of use, I'd say.

The basic premise on which I base my work can be found in one simple scripture:

"No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. Each tree is recognized by its own fruit."

Luke 6:43-44

Allegory. It's the mental crack of the right hemisphere, all right.

The words are those of Christ. The concept that we can determine the merit of something by the results it produces is the basis of my whole investigation, research and writing.

I could go on at length about the results produced by Christianity, but for the sake of brevity, I shan't.

I believe that we have allowed ourselves to become trapped by a system which takes away the joy from our lives and forces us to live in an unnatural and unfulfilling way. I believe that this unnatural form of life is being reinforced through the media, for the purpose of maintaining the dominant position of the government, banks and large corporations, who work together for a common and sinister goal. I do not believe that we live in a democratic, free market economy, but rather our economy and "democratic process" is manipulated in every respect, and the illusion of democracy and a free market is created and sustained by those in power. This triumvirate of banks, government and large corporations has complete control over the media, which is used to maintain the illusion of a free society.

I might go along with some of that, but this invested occult crap is hardly what I'd term a resource.

A person chooses to believe whatever they want to believe.

 A momentary glimmer of reason.

You can choose to believe the version of reality which is displayed on the news, or you can question it.

Another one! Hmmm...

 This book is written for those who question the standard, mainstream, scientific version of reality which is flogged in newspapers and on CNN. You then, have a choice to make.

I hear the echoes of Ben Stein in that, for some reason.

 Do you want to understand truth, which Christ has promised will set you free (John 8:32), or do you want to believe the comfortable lies which now surround you, which caress you gently and rock you to sleep at night? The awakening to truth is not comfortable, just as it is often uncomfortable to get up on a cold dark morning, but life awaits those with the courage to face each day. It is the unknown which you must resolve to assault.

Wait: assault on the unknown? What?

 You must resolve this to such a degree that you are even prepared to die for it, since, once you know what is really going on in this world, you become an enemy of this world, and your life will never be the same.

So we're pawns in some cosmic chess game between a deity and demiurge? That doesn't sound crazy how?

I'm already deemed an 'enemy of this world': I'm an atheist. People won't let me marry their daughters (well, maybe Jewish folks: most of them don't get all lathered up over un-belief), I can't get custody of my kids in some states, can't get elected to office in those same states, there's a quite a list on that one, believe you me.

So then, make your decision.

How long halt ye between two opinions?

- 1 Kings 18:21

My (humble) opinion is that this loon gets some therapy, toot sweet.

His TOC lists titles I've not delved into, but pretty easy to guess at content - the anti-gun agenda, the anti-gun agenda, the alien agenda,

alien abductions and the CIA, etc. Only thing left out was crop circles.

This has been the Apostate, reporting from la-la land, thanking the genetic lottery that I wasn't infected by this slavish silliness.

TIll the next post, then.


Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The Scatologist's Guide To Religion

(Hat tip to the Jaywalker for this one.)

Close-to-complete Ideology and Religion Shit List

  • Taoism: Shit happens.
  • Confucianism: Confucius say, "Shit happens."
  • Buddhism: If shit happens, it isn't really shit.
  • Zen Buddhism: Shit is, and is not.
  • Zen Buddhism #2: What is the sound of shit happening?
  • Hinduism: This shit has happened before.
  • Islam: If shit happens, it is the will of Allah.
  • Islam #2: If shit happens, kill the person responsible.
  • Islam #3: If shit happens, blame Israel.
  • Catholicism: If shit happens, you deserve it.
  • Protestantism: Let shit happen to someone else.
  • Presbyterian: This shit was bound to happen.
  • Episcopalian: It's not so bad if shit happens, as long as you serve the right wine with it.
  • Methodist: It's not so bad if shit happens, as long as you serve grape juice with it.
  • Congregationalist: Shit that happens to one person is just as good as shit that happens to another.
  • Unitarian: Shit that happens to one person is just as bad as shit that happens to another.
  • Lutheran: If shit happens, don't talk about it.
  • Fundamentalism: If shit happens, you will go to hell, unless you are born again. (Amen!)
  • Fundamentalism #2: If shit happens to a televangelist, it's okay.
  • Fundamentalism #3: Shit must be born again.
  • Judaism: Why does this shit always happen to us?
  • Calvinism: Shit happens because you don't work.
  • Seventh Day Adventism: No shit shall happen on Saturday.
  • Creationism: God made all shit.
  • Secular Humanism: Shit evolves.
  • Christian Science: When shit happens, don't call a doctor - pray!
  • Christian Science #2: Shit happening is all in your mind.
  • Unitarianism: Come let us reason together about this shit.
  • Quakers: Let us not fight over this shit.
  • Utopianism: This shit does not stink.
  • Darwinism: This shit was once food.
  • Capitalism: That's MY shit.
  • Communism: It's everybody's shit.
  • Feminism: Men are shit.
  • Chauvinism: We may be shit, but you can't live without us...
  • Commercialism: Let's package this shit.
  • Impressionism: From a distance, shit looks like a garden.
  • Idolism: Let's bronze this shit.
  • Existentialism: Shit doesn't happen; shit IS.
  • Existentialism #2: What is shit, anyway?
  • Stoicism: This shit is good for me.
  • Hedonism: There is nothing like a good shit happening!
  • Mormonism: God sent us this shit.
  • Mormonism #2: This shit is going to happen again.
  • Wiccan: An it harm none, let shit happen.
  • Scientology: If shit happens, see "Dianetics", p.157.
  • Jehovah's Witnesses: >Knock< >Knock< Shit happens.
  • Jehovah's Witnesses #2: May we have a moment of your time to show you some of our shit?
  • Jehovah's Witnesses #3: Shit has been prophesied and is imminent; only the righteous shall survive its happening.
  • Moonies: Only really happy shit happens.
  • Hare Krishna: Shit happens, rama rama.
  • Rastafarianism: Let's smoke this shit!
  • Zoroastrianism: Shit happens half on the time.
  • Church of SubGenius: BoB shits.
  • Practical: Deal with shit one day at a time.
  • Agnostic: Shit might have happened; then again, maybe not.
  • Agnostic #2: Did someone shit?
  • Agnostic #3: What is this shit?
  • Satanism: SNEPPAH TIHS.
  • Atheism: What shit?
  • Atheism #2: I can't believe this shit!
  • Nihilism: No shit.


Sunday, May 11, 2008

Si Hoc Signum Legere Potes, Deus Nusquam Esse...

Cross posted @ God Is For Suckers!sig_occam

"There is a very remarkable inclination in human nature to bestow on external objects the same emotions which it observes in itself, and to find every where those ideas which are most present to it."  - David Hume

Again, I approach the teleological argument, aka the fined-tuned universe (or what I amusingly term, the 'argument from long odds').

We've all no doubt heard the worn canard, "The odds of our universe being able to support life are 10 to the 86th power" or some such twaddle.

What intelligent creature (outside of the addicted gambler) actually stacks the odds against itself? Doesn't this run contrary to anything vaguely resembling sense? (I'll refrain from saying 'common', because as Voltaire noted so aptly, "I do not know why they call it common sense, as it is not so common".) I maintain that in fact, you have to have some other criterion - all these formulations are from one side of a fence only. Where is the criterion, then? Do we have other universes to compare to? If we had actual access to another universe, completely devoid of life, then there'd be something to compare our own against. Until then, this is idle speculation. Billions of years multiplied by billions of planets would produce some kind of spark, I'd bet.

(NOTE: am borrowing this from Hume, in my own clumsy way.)

Another hoary old chestnut is the "look at how complex life is! How could it be so, without someone designing it?" Then ensues the battle - the theist will round up some irrelevant figure, about how the human cell contains more info than the Encyclopedia Britannica or somesuch. Billions of years, compounded simplicity, anyone?

I say this: the diversity of life, the complexity of the cell, is a severe argument against intelligent design.

Occam's own razor prevents it.

Cogitate on this: if an 'intelligent designer' who is all-knowing, omnipotent, all-powerful, designed the world as we know it, why are there so many errors and misses? Why were the dinosaurs even brought about? There were even human species that died off. It's as if some blind mad scientist was using this world as a petrie dish, for some vague purpose beyond our comprehension.

(Oh, wait: I imagine I hear the burbling bullshit of apologists in the peanut gallery, preparing their cant, spouting their presuppositional silliness with such platitudes as "the ways of gawd are mysterious" or some other non-answer.) Do we have a concrete number as to how many misses there were, prior to hitting the bull's eye with our existence? A million? A billion?

"So the universe is not quite as you thought it was. You'd better rearrange your beliefs, then. Because you certainly can't rearrange the universe." - Asimov, Nightfall.

Till the next post then.


Sunday, May 04, 2008

Pareidolia Gone Wild - The Doctrine Of Signatures


Cross posted at God Is For Suckers!

As I read this at Pharyngula, one commenter brought up the Doctrine of Signatures.

Man, our ancestors sure had some wild imaginations.

The doctrine of signatures is an ancient European philosophy that held that plants bearing parts that resembled human body parts, animals, or other objects, had useful relevancy to those parts, animals or objects. It could also refer to the environments or specific sites in which plants grew. Many of the plants that were so regarded today still carry the word root "wort", an Anglo-Saxon word meaning "plant" or "herb", as part of their modern name.

I'll bypass the inferred sexual innuendoes for the nonce. "You are what you eat" may very well be a holdover of this imaginary legacy.

Of course, Christianity immediately jumped on this bandwagon:

Christian European metaphysics expanded this philosophy in theology. According to the Christian version, the Creator had so set his mark upon Creation, that by careful observation one could find all right doctrine represented (see the detailed application to the Passionflower) and even learn the uses of a plant from some aspect of its form or place of growing.

So what was the herb they used for hemorrhoids, I wonder? Something that vaguely resembles an asshole?

For the late medieval viewer, the natural world was vibrant with the numinous images of the Deity: "as above, so below," an expression of the relationship between macrocosm and microcosm; the principle is rendered sicut in terra. Michel Foucault expressed the wider usage of the doctrine of signatures, which rendered allegory more real and more cogent than it appears to a modern eye:

"Up to the end of the sixteenth century, resemblance played a constructive role in the knowledge of Western culture. It was resemblance that largely guided exegesis and the interpretation of texts; it was resemblance that organized the play of symbols, made possible knowledge of things visible and invisible, and controlled the art of representing them." (The Order of Things , p. 17)

Excuse me, but that sounds a great deal like animism, except that instead of everything having an individual 'soul', there was one 'soul' that permeated everything.

The radical visionary Jakob Böhme (1575-1624), a master shoemaker of Görlitz, had a profound mystical vision as a young man, in which he saw the relationship between God and man signaled in all things. Inspired, he wrote Signatura Rerum (1621), soon rendered in English as The Signature of all Things and the spiritual doctrine was applied even to the medicinal uses that plants' forms advertised.

The shoemakers of the 16th-17th centuries must've been using some pretty severe chemicals, I think.

This is still a working principle in homeopathy, that pseudoscience that no medical doctor worth their salt prescribes for their patients.

So there it is: eating a passionflower will no more gift the eater with the skills of cunnilingus anymore than the cucumber is the cialis of the natural world.

Let the innuendoes commence.

Till the next post, then.