left biblioblography: September 2008

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Scientology Vs. Psychiatry: What's Big Dispute, Anyways?


Cross posted @ God is for Suckers!

I trust it's no secret that I detest Scientology. As religions go, it lacks a great deal in cohesiveness, critical thinking, and I think it safe to say, the practitioners of it are pretty much close to rabid dogs.

One of the main staples of the Xenuphiles is the anti-psychiatry movement. In fact, they even accuse psychiatry of having induced the 9/11 attack. Oh yeah, they blame Hitler on psychiatry too. In fact, the woes of the world entire can be laid squarely to rest at the feet of psychiatry.

Is it me, or is this sounding...eerily familiar?

I chanced across a copy of Freedom a couple of weeks ago, and began reading it, not noticing the 'published by the church of Scientology' header in small print in the upper right-hand corner.

(On a side note, if you read one of their 'articles' on the website, you'll notice that any citations that come at the end of it, are just pointers to the article you just read. Religious folks sure have a thing for repetitive circularity, don't they?)

So, here's the skinny, the poop, the scoop, on why these Xenubites loath this profession:

Maw Confederation

The Maw Confederation are from "the Sixty-third Galaxy", says Hubbard in Aberration and The Sixth Dynamic, and they practiced "total psychiatric control" by pushing people's faces into supercooled sheets of glass. Hubbard claims this so-called "method of brainwashing" was developed about five billion years ago by a "whole-track psychiatrist". (Hubbard, Aberration and The Sixth Dynamic, catalog #5611C13 15ACC-22)

And these people want to be taken seriously?

For more general hilarity:

Aliens in ancient Egypt. Hubbard maintained that ancient Egypt was "a battleground between two space groups" who infiltrated humanity and become integral to Egyptian culture. (What is Knowable to the PC, 1961) In Responsibility and the State of OT, he claimed that the biblical Moses had a "disintegrator pistol", and also said:

"Ancient Egypt, if you care to look it up on the track, was a combination of Earth and space opera all mixed up as one. As the high Pharaoh stands on the side of the pyramid and blesses the multitude, he has to be careful that his cloak doesn't blow aside and reveal his ray gun."

Wow - so who knew that Hubbard actually had an original idea that resulted in a so-so space opera TV show?

The other fact under consideration, is that Hubbard actually lifted the techniques of psychiatry in order to found his ugly little cult. (True, the article linked to has spelling errors, and a little too much anti-communism fervor, but it makes a solid point.)

For those of you with investigative interests, here's two anti-Scamatologist websites to peruse at your leisure.

A vivid imagination is a healthy thing, as long as it doesn't dictate to you or others how to live.

Till the next post, then.


Saturday, September 20, 2008

Mythological Hearsay - Where Are These Witnesses, Anyways?

Cross posted @ God Is For Suckers!500witnesses

I honestly admit it: I'm a Jebus Mythicist. I can say with a strong degree of certainty, that I'm utterly underwhelmed by the alleged 'evidence' that most Christians bring with them. They tend to whip out these frenzied copy 'n pastes from some website as if it were some grand salvo to sink the ship of one's atheism.

One can't blame the poor dears for becoming upset when they're laughed roundly out the door.

One of the more irritating 'proofs' I've seen trotted out is this idiotic '500 witnesses' bilge. Here is a link, for those of you who can stomach the intricate mental gymnastics necessary to re-affirm the faith of the believers.

But of course, this addled argument derives directly from the scriptures:

1 Corinthians,15:6:

After that, he was seen by more than 500 brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have died.

Prior to my choice of becoming an atheist, I saw through this nonsense immediately.

If you've ever played the game of telephone, you'd know how daft this argument is. Apart from granting the existence of the Apostles, Mary Magdalene, maybe old Joe of Arimathea (let's say we just grant all the names from the NT), once the math is done, it's somewhat less than one hundred. Who were they? Did they have names? Name half of them, please. This is usually followed by a lot of fum-fah's, an occasional harrumph! and some pretty unspectacular logic. 'Well, they were Christians, so we should just go ahead and believe it.'

Needless to say, a friend-of-a-friend-of-a-friend-of-a-friend doesn't fly in my book, or even in a court of law.

 The more we discover about perceptions, the more we realize that there are few absolutes, and grey areas multiply like so many gray hares. Case in point: this article points out just how spectacularly inept human memory tends to be;

What's more, a significant proportion of people seem to be highly suggestible and will quite readily change what they remember if given appropriate cues.

In one famous study, Dutch researchers questioned people about a 1992 accident in which a cargo plane had crashed into a block of flats near Schiphol Airport.

Ten months later, they conducted a survey asking if people remembered seeing the TV film of the plane hitting the building. More than half of the respondents said they had. A later study found that the proportion had gone up to two-thirds.

The problem is, there is no TV film of the accident. Asking the question had itself apparently changed people's memories.

So I think that pretty much puts paid to that argument. In a nutshell: we can barely trust ourselves, let alone our neighbors to give a factual account of an occurrence, but that 'eyewitness' accounts in an ahistorical set of documents should be considered more trustworthy is...madness. To be blunt.

Till the next post, then.


Sunday, September 14, 2008

Allegories Gone Wild - The Knight Of Lemuria

Cross posted @ God Is 4 Suckers!PowerInYou

While religious folks tend to get under my skin (the word gullible needs a far more gratuitous version - "You believe in...WHAT?"), what really grinds my gears are these spiritual predators. You know who I'm talking about. People like Madame Cleo, Allison Dubois or Uri Geller - I don't much cotton to liars and thieves. When they take it a step further, you get someone like Ramtha. And when I hear folks blather about this idiot, it takes all my self-control not to shake them by the shoulders and shriek "She's a fake! Atlantis never existed! Lemuria never existed! ARE YOU A MORON?!?!?"

(Deep breaths - gotta watch the blood pressure. Thanks a fucking bunch, Plato.)

So here's the skinny:

JZ Knight makes this claim about this 'spirit' that allegedly channels himself through her:

Ramtha is the entity that Knight says she channels. According to her, Ramtha was a Lemurian warrior who fought the Atlanteans over 35,000 years ago.[3] She says that Ramtha led an army of over 2.5 million across the continents, conquering two thirds of the known world, which was going through cataclysmic geological changes. According to Knight, Ramtha led the army for ten years until he was betrayed and almost killed.

Let's just dissect the geographical claim:

Lemuria (IPA: /lɨˈmjʊəriə/[1]) is the name of a hypothetical "lost land" variously located in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. The concept's 19th century origins lie in attempts to account for discontinuities in biogeography. The concept of Lemuria has been rendered obsolete by modern understanding of plate tectonics. Although sunken continents do exist — see Zealandia in the Pacific and the Kerguelen Plateau in the Indian Ocean — there is no known geological formation under the Indian or Pacific Oceans that corresponds to the hypothetical Lemuria.

Well, there goes that pet theory. But wait, there's more!

Atlantis (in Greek, Ἀτλαντὶς νῆσος, "island of Atlas") is the name of a legendary island first mentioned in Plato's dialogues Timaeus and Critias.[1]

In Plato's account, Atlantis, lying "beyond the Pillars of Hercules", was a naval power that conquered many parts of Western Europe and Africa 9,000 years before the time of Solon, or approximately 9600 BC. After a failed attempt to invade Athens, Atlantis sank into the ocean "in a single day and night of misfortune".

9600 BCE? The math don't add up. And if we had this incredibly advanced civilization for centuries, then obviously there would've been colonies. And Sumer would've been by far more advanced than it was (if it were a colony).

So - just hypothetically, if Knight does INDEED have some boogeyman spirit dripping honey into her ears, it's pretty much fucking lying.

And at the very least, she's guilty of murder:

JZ Knight has been involved in several court disputes, some personal (her divorce from Jeff Knight) and others business-related, for example, one involving the dissemination of material containing the copyrighted Ramtha. [2] In Knight vs. Knight, 1992-1995, Jeff Knight alleges that he lost years of his life by postponing modern medical treatment for his HIV infection, due to advice from his wife that Ramtha could heal him — he died before he could appeal the court's decision against him.[3]

So in summation - yet again, stupidity at it's extreme, kills. At the very least, it lightens your wallets considerably.

There are no laws against supernatural fraud, only material fraud. Which goes to show how truly gullible our species is.

Till the next post, then.


Thursday, September 11, 2008

Always Remember, Remember, The Eleventh Of September


Cross posted @ God Is 4 Suckers!

"Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it." - Santayana.

The anniversary of Black Tuesday has arrived yet again. Seven years have passed. But we should not let this memory dim, this wound heal. It was an important lesson: it taught us that religion, that cheap rationale of the relusional, can be twisted like a knife into the metaphorical heart of things. Whether it is one human, several human beings, a cross-section of humanity, or an arrow into the heart of a nation.

Islam proclaims itself a religion of peace. But like all the other monotheisms, hatred and contempt for the flesh is the hidden corrupt blossom at the heart of it. The sickly sweet stench of attar clings to the meme, and neither the flowery rhetoric nor bonfires of incense can mask it.

Remember, remember, the 11th of September. Let not the memory recede into the dustbins of history. Wear the wound, and when the savages try (as they shall) to dilute it, to explain and rationalize it, skin your lips back, snarl, and point to it, and declare:

"No one deserved this. Innocent citizens died. It is unforgivable."

Never forget, never forgive.


Sunday, September 07, 2008

Profiles In Atheism: The Parishioner Who Walked Away

Cross posted @ God Is For Suckers!

I came across this little ditty at approximately the same time I was vigorously cheering Paine in his complete and utter lambasting of the Christian bible. This was a powerful article written as far back as 1924.

Why I Quit Going To Church

by Rupert Hughes

There was a time in this country when I should have been punished for not going to church. In the good old Puritan and Pilgrim days, though only a third or a sixth of the citizens were church members, the parsons were in power and they fined people and put them in the stocks if they stayed away or if the pastor did not like their expressions.

They whipped more than one for criticizing a sermon. They tried to sell two Boston children into slavery because they could not pay their fine for staying away from the church. And they would have done it, too, if the ungodly shipmasters had not refused to carry the children off.

It is incessantly astonishing how often the laity have had to restrain the clergy from cruelty. The Puritan elders held that "the gathering of sticks on the Sabbath may be punished with death." Sometimes a mob would rescue Quaker women from the whips, but in Cambridge, Benanuel Bower, a Quaker who obstinately stayed away from the Puritan church, was fined annually for twenty years, hauled down a flight of steps by the heels, kept in prison for more than a year, and with his wife publicly whipped several times.

But in these wicked and degenerate times, not only can I stay away from church without getting arrested, but I can tell why without being any more than reviled.

I did not quit going to church because I was lazy or frivolous or poetically inclined to "worship God in the Great Outdoors near to Nature's Heart." I don't believe that nature has a heart.

I quit because I came to believe that what is preached in the churches is mainly untrue and unimportant, tiresome, hostile to genuine progress, and in general not worth while. As for the necessity of paying homage to the deity, I began to feel that I did not know enough about God to pay him set compliments on set days. As for the God who is preached in the churches, I ceased to worship him because I could no longer believe in him or respect what is alleged of him.

I cannot respect a deity who would want or even endure the hideous monotony and mechanism of most of the worship paid him by hired men, hired prayer-makers and their supporters. When I think of the millions of repetitions of the same phrases of prayer and song smoking up to a helpless deity I feel sorry for him. No wonder he gets farther away each year. No wonder the ex-priest Alfred Loisy says (in his "My Duel with the Vatican") that "the eternal immutable, omniscient, omnipotent, etc.," who created the universe "by a caprice very imperfectly benevolent ... begins to be conceived with increasing difficulty."

As for the picture of God in heaven, "sitting on the Cherubim" or riding on a cherub (2 Samuel xxii, 11), and listening to everlasting praises of himself, it is simply appalling. I can no longer adore in a god what I despise in a man.

It is a long but powerful diatribe - so I will skip to the end, and leave it to the readers to explore the depth, strength and power of this statement in toto:

Our earth here! that is parish enough for us. Knowledge relieves miseries, brings comfort, saves lives, spreads beauty within the reach of the poorest. If the billions spent in huge empty buildings were devoted to housing the sick and the poor; if the billions spent on the wages of myriads of clergymen who waste their lives in calling aloud to their god Baal or whatever they call him, were spent in really useful human works, these often well-meaning and often gifted men would not squander so much history, so much power, so much eloquence on the hideous folly that "the fear of god is the beginning of wisdom" and the secret of virtue.

Two hundred million dollars spent this year in this country to adding to the number of half-empty warehouses of piety! Thousands of Ministers warring with one another and with common sense. If there is a god such as they insist on immortalizing from the fancies of ancient and ignorant nomads, what need has he of these innumerable dollars?

If there is a god and he is a god of love, God knows he must wish that his children's treasure and their toil and their fervor should be spent upon one another and on the countless miseries of this unhappy world, which might be made so beautiful. Instead of sanctifying piety, let us make a religion of pity, of mutual help, of the search for truth and power, and the increase of freedom.

 In the heat of the many frays we encounter as atheists, let us take moments to remember the brave hearts who stood against superstition, who fought the good fight, who brought the cold cool light of reason to bear on the atavistic shadows that haunt our species even to this day.

We can only hope that our children, or perhaps our children's children, will be free of the shackles of the oppression men call religion, that instead of searching outwards for some external vindication, they will find all they need in the moments of their lives and in reality.

So say we all?