left biblioblography: 2010

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Tuesday Funny–Calvin And Hobbes And Philosophy




Saturday, December 25, 2010

Everyone Has Problems– And Religion Fixes Them How Exactly?

Cross posted @ the Atheist Oasiswhatcrazychristiansattend

I stumbled across an article that tries to approach the concept of who is and who isn’t bonkers when it comes to religion. The qualifying word in that last sentence is “tries”.

Line between divine inspiration and religious insanity is a narrow one

(I’d substitute ‘nothing’ for ‘a narrow one’, but maybe that’s just me.)

(RNS) A teenager says God and Jesus appeared to him in a grove and told him to start a new Christian church. Another person claims the Almighty talks to him through the radio.

A French girl gets messages from heaven to lead an army against the British, while a Utah woman thinks she is meant to have Jesus’ baby and 12 husbands.

Some of these figures were considered prophets and saints, while others were judged insane. The question is: How do you tell which is which?

Nobody upstairs, so you tell me.

Brian David Mitchell, convicted Friday (Dec. 10) of kidnapping and raping Elizabeth Smart, insisted that God gave him license to do so, though his attorneys argued he was mentally ill.

Ah, the old ‘Sacred Cow’ argument. Who’s up for steaks?

The main difference between a prophet and a psychopath, says Ralph Hood, who teaches psychology of religion at the University of Tennessee in Chattanooga, is “whether or not (they) can get followers.”

Mr. Hood is obviously talking out his ass. Jamestown? Charlie Manson? Adolph Hitler? Hello?

Historic figures who started new religious movements—including Martin Luther (the Reformation), Joseph Smith (Mormonism), Mary Baker Eddy (Christian Science), Ellen White (Seventh-day Adventism), Jim Jones (People’s Temple) and David Koresh (Branch Davidians)—were viewed by outsiders as delusional.

Gee, why ever would that be?

But followers, ranging from the millions to the hundreds, found each of them to be credible guides to divinity.

Argument from numbers? How is it anyone takes this as a credible argument?

“There is ample research to suggest that, for the most part, religious people are no more inclined to mental illness than nonreligious people,” says Wendy Ulrich, a Mormon and founder of Sixteen Stones Center for Growth, a small group of mental-health professionals, in Alpine, Utah.

There’s ample evidence that everyone’s a little bit crazy, too. And I’d not trust a religious opinion about that, because it implies a confirmation bias.

The pathology arises, Ulrich says, when a person’s search for meaning “goes into extreme overdrive” and people “lose touch with vital aspects of reality.”

I’d say the pathology lies with some chemical imbalance.

From the start, psychologists must weigh a person’s religious and cultural expectations. The more important faith is, the more prominent a role religious language will play in a person’s mental process.

Which translates to a distinct lack of critical thought.

Maybe the person is speaking in tongues, communing with the dead, sensing the presence of a guardian angel or getting messages from milk cartons.

There’s no ‘maybe’ involved: these are all signs of mental imbalance, and should be treated as such.

So the first question becomes: Does the experience fit with some religious tradition that is dominant in a culture? Does it make sense to a particular faith community, or is it out of the norm? Is it consistent with the faith’s scripture, practices and beliefs or does it challenge them?

This all presupposes so many underlying concepts, such as assuming that if it’s a society that endorses it, then it’s normal, or that it isn’t right to challenge some faith’s issues.

As a clinical psychologist, Brent Slife might bring in a pastor or priest to help answer that question.

Which makes his credits questionable.

“I would want to know how contextually appropriate their behavior or the things they are espousing are,” says Slife, a Protestant who teaches at Brigham Young University. “Are they able to adapt to different contexts?”

Ach, and again, the confirmation bias.

Unbalanced people may repeatedly quote scriptures or obsessively perform rituals or adopt a grander, more spiritual identity such as King David, Moses, Muhammad or Jesus.

Having seen a huge amount of these behaviors from religious bloggers online, I’d say that they hide it well in real life.

“If the pope says he’s the Vicar of Christ, that’s OK because it fits with a centuries-old tradition,” Hood says. “If I think I am, I’m in trouble.”

Ummm…or the pope’s a crazy loon too?

There are at least two common ways in which mental patients describe their delusional experiences with God, Ulrich says. Schizophrenics hear voices or see things that are not there. Those suffering from paranoia, meanwhile, see conspiracy in everyday events or think God is speaking specially to them.

These behaviors are ubiquitous, but Ulrich makes them sound isolated and extreme.

“They over-interpret common experiences to mean either someone is out to get them or God is out to help them,” Ulrich says. “Ideas of grandiosity and thinking of themselves as special or chosen in some way are not uncommon.”

Again, ubiquitous to the point of embarrassing.

But it never is easy to assess the authenticity of another person’s spiritual experience.

That’s assuming there’s any such thing.

Ulrich has known people whose behavior could be inspiring or could signal a muddled mind. Many of them take part in church services without fellow believers even being aware.

Well, it gets glossed over quite easily.

She has known some religious folks who are unusually clairvoyant, with a penchant for and openness to revelatory experiences. They largely are calm, highly functioning, rational people, who are socially engaged but don’t call attention to themselves.

There’s no such thing as a clairvoyant. Just folks who have a finely honed penchant for reading social cues.

“They pretty much play by the rules of society and don’t think of themselves as special,” she says. “They know their `gifts’ are not always believed in or valued, so they have a sense of humor about them.”

Of course, no name-dropping.

She’s also seen people who are “very high-functioning in some areas of life and can be quite charismatic, intelligent and charming,” but they begin to “over-interpret impressions or events as messages from God in ways that make other people nervous, even people within their own value system or religious system.”

The internet abounds with such nonsense, so I leave it to the readers to supply them.

Such people think the “rules” of the community don’t apply to them and may start to feel that others are out to get them, she says, and they don’t understand why.

Disconnect with reality much?

If you ask a religious person how God communicates, she might say through impressions or a kind of whispering. But if you ask a mentally ill person that question, he might say, “I shook hands with him yesterday.”

All of these are signs of mental illness. The next sentence is classic:

Studies show that reasoning with schizophrenic patients about God never works, Measom says. They cannot be convinced of any other interpretation. It’s a matter, he says, of core beliefs and brain chemistry.

Measom obviously doesn’t surf the web much.

For a believer such as the Rev. Gregory Johnson, the line between genuine religious experience and madness sometimes is blurred.

The boundaries of sanity aren’t up for debate. They’re not ‘re-interpreted’ to suit the many or the one. There is no such thing as a ‘genuine religious experience’, just heightened alterations of brain patterns.

Johnson, who directs Standing Together, a Utah group of evangelical pastors, is not a charismatic Christian, so he doesn’t speak in tongues or engage in the more ecstatic practices. But he does believe God heals, speaks and leads.

But he’s sane, how?

“I see a range of healthiness and levels of extremity within the confines (of Christianity),” he said. “I see people who are zealous but not insane.”

Well, if he’d read this article with a discerning eye, he’d seen that just about all the religious folks that anyone anywhere knows fits into the multiple patterns already mentioned.

One of the tests, Johnson says, might be the “fruits” or outcomes of the divine communication. Does the experience lead a person into more altruistic actions, greater caring for others and deeper relations, or does it simply draw the recipient further into narcissism?

It’s easily demonstrated: people need to feel good about what they do, so they invent excuses to do so, and ‘religious experiences’ are as a rule, an excuse. It’s all narcissism.

As a pastor, Johnson says, he would worry about actions that are “destructive to other people or to themselves.”

Hey, isn’t that the yardstick by which we measure crazy anyways? There’s benign crazy, and there’s malign crazy, and the latter is always scary.

Mormons are urged to seek and receive God’s guidance for themselves and their families. But only the church’s “prophet, seer and revelator” can receive messages for the whole faith and the world. Such institutional controls may inhibit individual experiences, but they do prevent mentally ill members from distracting or confusing the faithful.

Again with the Mormons? Among the top ten of crazy in Christianity?

Even as a young Mormon teen, Elizabeth Smart says she knew the difference between a genuine religious leader and Mitchell.

Ah, and the grist of this is: it’s all an apologist’s approach to detach the Elizabeth Smart kidnapping from any actual religious connections. The old ‘he wasn’t one of us’ excuse. 

“God would never tell someone to kidnap a young girl from her family’s home in the middle of the night from her bed that she shared with her sister ... and sexually abuse her and give her no free agency to choose what she did,” Smart testified. “I know (Mitchell) was not called of God because God would never do something like that.”

I find it fascinating that these people always seem to know the mind of their alleged deity, and how closely it syncs up with their own opinion. Fascinating, but not surprising.

Happy Holidays, troops.

Till the next post, then.


Sunday, December 19, 2010

Tuesday Funny–Drunken Octopus

(Hat tip to Deep Sea News)



Saturday, December 18, 2010

Another Wall Comes A’ Tumbling Down–DADT Repealed.

Cross posted @ the Atheist Oasis

gaysmilitarycartoonDon't ask, don't tell, just keep it all to yourself
And there's something about those blue eyes
And the sweet, sweet smell of a summer night
It makes me forget whoever it is I should be remembering
Remembering now. – Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, by Shut Up And Deal

It’s been an eventful year. Proposition 8 got voted into California legislature, and is now ruled unconstitutional. And now, another discriminatory practice, Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell is out the window.

There are still hurdles to be leaped. There is for instance, the ban of gay men giving blood. There is institutionalized homophobia in just about any country you can name (excepting the more secular ones).

In fact, homosexuality in the military was once sanctioned by Plato, yet widely discriminated against over the centuries. And it comes as no surprise, that the foremost opponents of the repealing of DADT are…drum roll please…a bunch of neurotic and repressed religionists:

Despite an outpouring of calls, emails and faxes, Illinois U.S. Senator Mark Kirk joined his liberal colleague Dick Durbin in support of invoking cloture on the radical anti-military, anti-family repeal of the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy for our military.
The lame duck U.S. Senate voted 63 to 33 on Saturday morning to end the filibuster, which clears the way for the bill to pass with a simple majority. Every Senate Democrat voted yes, and six Republicans joined them: U.S. Senators Susan Collins (Maine), Olympia Snowe (Maine), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) and Scott Brown (Massachusetts), as well as retiring Senator George Voinovich (Ohio) and our own junior Senator from Illinois, Mark Kirk.

That six Republicans actually joined the ranks is an amazing thing to me.

Just perusing the ‘Illinois Family Fantasy Institution” is actually a revolting stroll down false memory lane. The ‘articles’ they post are anachronistic memes screeching as they circle down the toilet. One such ‘article’ is way over the border:

Illinois U.S. Representatives Don Manzullo and Peter Roskam and 40 of their colleagues in Congress are calling on President Barack Obama to acknowledge America's Godly heritage.
Manzullo and Roskam co-signed a letter asking President Obama to correct remarks he recently made in Indonesia where he referred to America's national motto as "E Pluribus Unum -- out of one, many." The actual national motto, adopted by Congress in 1956, is "In God We Trust."

And actually, this is correct. IGWT is indeed the national motto. Of course, if anyone moves to have it stricken, there will be quite the fuss. And screw the Founding Fathers – these folks only quote the selected highlights, and play the contextomy game.

It’s in the nature of people to resist change, the paradox being that change is a mainstay of existence. But the war of attrition is slowly eroding the barriers that separate people from one another, and some day, raging xenophobia will be a thing of the past.

Till the next post, then.


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Wednesday Funny–Somewhat Amusing, Somewhat Poignant…

…mostly because the religious do indeed live in a comic book world. Nice fantasy.




Sunday, December 12, 2010

The NCP: Crazy People Making More People Crazy, And The Crazy Just Seems To Keep On Keepin’ on….

Council-for-National-PolicyThe lunatic is on the grass.
The lunatic is on the grass.
Remembering games and daisy chains and laughs.
Got to keep the loonies on the path.
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. – Pink Floyd,
Brain Damage

Surfing the web (or whatever phraseology is in vogue right now), I came across something that could scare any secular humanist in any country: a very benign-sounding council that is anything but benign, with the sobriquet of the Council For National Policy. Sounds harmless, no?


The Council for National Policy (CNP), is an umbrella organization and networking group for social conservative activists in the United States. It has been described by The New York Times as a "little-known group of a few hundred of the most powerful conservatives in the country," who meet three times yearly behind closed doors at undisclosed locations for a confidential conference. Nation magazine has called it a secretive organization that "networks wealthy right-wing donors together with top conservative operatives to plan long-term movement strategy." It was founded in 1981 by Tim LaHaye as a forum for conservative Christians seeking to strengthen the political right in the United States.

LaHaye is that crazy asshole who wrote those ridiculous books about Left Behind, a Christian superstition about their elitist deity who will only take those who ‘qualify’ for their ‘sinlessness’ at the End of Days.

The CNP describes itself as "an educational foundation organized under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. We do not lobby Congress, support candidates, or issue public policy statements on controversial issues. Our over 600 members include many of our nation's leaders from the fields of government, business, the media, religion, and the professions. Our members are united in their belief in a free enterprise system, a strong national defense, and support for traditional western values. They meet to share the best information available on national and world problems, know one another on a personal basis, and collaborate in achieving their shared goals."

What exactly are their ‘shared goals’? Reading between the lines (something you need when dealing with these crazies), you find hints of crazy:

Marc J. Ambinder of ABC News said about the Council: "The group wants to be the conservative version of the Council on Foreign Relations." The CNP was founded in 1981. Among its founding members were: Tim LaHaye, then the head of the Moral Majority, Nelson Baker Hunt, T. Cullen Davis, William Cies, and Paul Weyrich.

The Moral Majority? Are you kidding me? Top tier crazy. The rest is a who’s who of people I wouldn’t trust with the time of day:

Members of the CNP have included: General John Singlaub, shipping magnate J. Peter Grace, Edwin J. Feulner Jr of the Heritage Foundation, Rev. Pat Robertson of the Christian Broadcasting Network, Jerry Falwell, Senator Trent Lott, Senator Don Nickles, former United States Attorneys General Ed Meese and John Ashcroft, gun-rights activist Larry Pratt, Col. Oliver North, and philanthropist Else Prince, mother of Erik Prince, the founder of the Blackwater private security firm.

And to make it oh so much more frightening:

Membership is by invitation only. The membership list, previously made public, is now "strictly confidential." Guests may attend "only with the unanimous approval of the executive committee." Members are instructed not to refer to the organization by name, to protect against leaks. New York Times political writer David D. Kirkpatrick suggested that the secrecy since its founding was intended to insulate the Council from the "liberal bias of the news media".

The liberal what? Is that what they’re playing on their fascist banjos these days?

CNP's meetings are closed to the general public, reportedly to allow for a free-flowing exchange of ideas. The group meets three times per year. This policy is said to be similar to the long-held policy of the Council on Foreign Relations, to which the CNP has at times been compared. CNP's 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status was revoked by the IRS in 1992 on grounds that it was not an organization run for the public benefit. The group successfully challenged this ruling in federal court. A quarterly journal aimed at educating the public, promised in the wake of this incident, has not substantially materialized. The group has launched a website that contains selected speeches from past gatherings.

The funniest sentence in that paragraph is the first one. We all know that folks like these are more interested in sharing an isolated introspective travesty of reality as contrasted with what they’d like to actually be.

While those involved are almost entirely from the United States, their organizations and influence cover the globe, both religiously and politically. Members include corporate executives, legislators former high ranking government officers, leaders of 'think tanks' dedicated to molding society and those whom many view as "Christian leadership".

I’m pretty sure where that will end up.

And the leadership of this crowd is a laundry list of some of the more insane people in the limelight:

CNP was founded in 1981 by Tim LaHaye, author of the Left Behind series of books. Other early participants included Cleon Skousen, a prominent theologian and law enforcement expert; Paul Weyrich; Phyllis Schlafly; Robert Grant; Howard Phillips, a former Republican affiliated with the Constitution Party; Richard Viguerie, the direct-mail specialist; and Morton Blackwell, a Louisiana and Virginia activist who is considered a specialist on the rules of the Republican Party.

The council employs about eight people. Its first executive director was Woody Jenkins; later, Morton Blackwell served in this role, which is currently held by Steve Baldwin (b. 1957), not to be confused with actor Stephen Baldwin. Presidents have included Nelson Bunker Hunt of Dallas, Amway co-founder Richard DeVos of Michigan, Pat Robertson of Virginia Beach, Paul Pressler of Houston, and former Reagan Cabinet secretaries Ed Meese and Donald Hodel, as well as current president Kenneth Cribb. Former Texas state Republican chairman George Strake, Jr., was a member during the 1990s.

Seriously, this sort of thing freaks me right out: Schlafly is wackjob. Anybody associated with the Constitution Party is living in a self-designed bubble. Amway’s a religion of its own. Any Texan Republican is automatically bad news.

Here comes the scariest part:

The Center for Religion, Ethics and Social Policy at Cornell University considers the Council for National Policy a leading force in the Dominionist movement. TheocracyWatch, a CRESP project, describes it as "an umbrella organization of right-wing leaders who gather regularly to plot strategy, share ideas and fund causes and candidates to advance the theocratic agenda."

They will pry my ideological rights from between my cold dead fingers, is what. If this nation ever becomes a theocracy, I will (and this is no lie) pick up arms against the oppressor, and I will go forth to do literal battle with the slavemasters that would shackle those of us with their superstition, their fantasy, their mental slavery.

I will go to war.

Who is with me?


Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Wednesday Funny–Godwinned!

Very nice.



Saturday, December 04, 2010

Muslim Misfires: Pamela Taylor Misses The Boat…

Cross posted @ the Atheist Oasisdasdasdwss

It’s interesting, that the logical fallacies religious people use seem to be ever-present, and the only sort of ‘logic’ they can agree on. Here’s a few articles by Pamela Taylor:

Atheists, Pew, and Webster's

Clearly those folks who identified themselves as atheists and then went on to say that they believed in God and even prayed regularly don't know what an atheist is. Atheists by definition do not believe in God. It's not a matter of debate; that's what it means to be an atheist.

What a brutal non-starter. What? Who? I love the lack of name-dropping these people use.

It strikes me that the use of atheist by those who believe in God(s) and even pray to Him/Her/It/Them is parallel to the use of agnostic by hundreds of thousands of vaguely Christian folks who do not belong to a particular denomination or church. They aren't actually agnostic anymore than someone who believes in God is an atheist. A true agnostic believes that the question "Is there a God?" cannot be answered and therefore chooses not to ask it.

Again, who the fuck are these people? Some of this is correct, some of it sounds ludicrous.

It is also, perhaps, analogous to feminists who will not define themselves as such.

Umm…who isn’t a feminist these day? I mean, anybody in their right mind.

"Atheists" who believe in God, one suspects, prefer not to be identified with a particular religious group.

Really, the juggling of contradiction as paradox is ridiculous.

So too, "agnostics" who are really non-churched Christians prefer not to be identified with a popular notion of Christianity. And women (and men) who clearly adhere to feminist ideals prefer not to identified with that label. The common thread is the fact that those labels are either used pejoratively by various groups, or perceived as limiting and narrowing.

Screw labels, I say.

If you are feminist you have to eschew dressing sexy.

Hey, I’m a feminist, but I’m a guy. Afraid my dressing sexy days are over, though.

If you're a Christian you have to be socially conservative and intolerant of other faiths.

Not necessarily true – anyone can use religion as a rationalization for anything that blows their dress up.

If you're a ______ (fill in the blank with whatever religion) you have to follow certain tenets.

I don’t ‘believe’ in the supernatural, so I don’t have to follow any tenets.

In an attempt to avoid the negatives associated with various labels, people search for a different label for themselves.

Welcome to ‘playing with words 101’. Hey, say it loud ‘n proud.

Thus I'm proud to define myself as a feminist, and to admit I love men, not just as potential mates, but intellectually, artistically, as human beings. I'm proud to be Muslim, though I emphatically reject the branches of the faith that are misogynist, militant, and extreme.

Uh…that would be, what, 90% of them? The Koran, like the bible, is a load of hooey. Mostly because it’s built on the latter.

And to add more idiocy to the stew:

Atheism also a matter of faith

Faith is, obviously, a matter of faith. It's a belief that there is such a thing as God (or Gods). Atheism, also, is a matter of faith. It is a belief that there is no such a thing as God (or Gods). Since we cannot prove (or at least to date have not been able to prove) whether God does or does not exist -- though many point to evidence for and against God as though it were proof (and often the very same evidence is cited by both sides!) -- either position remains a position of belief, of faith. The only rational stance is to admit that we cannot prove either position; a stance which, incidentally, can be taken by believers or atheists or agnostics.

This is a huge swing and a miss – and strike three! Yer….OUTTA HERE!

It’s a trope we constantly get banged over the head with…and one of those items that send a goodly percentage of us into a tither. No, disbelief is not a matter of ‘faith’. It’s a critique of an extravagant positive claim. We want evidence. No – scratch that, we want verifiable, testable, falsifiable proof. Something that will hold up while we prod it, measure it, reproduce it. Not something that seems to vanish in a laboratory every single time. Every single religion offers up something that passes their particular litmus tests, and yet comes apart like ancient parchment when touched, vanishes like dust under close scrutiny. Because the bar is conspicuously close to the floor, ridiculously easy for even a toddler to hurdle.

And then Ms. Taylor comes up with this mind-boggling paragraph, which contradicts itself:

Similarly a rational approach to ethics, law, and politics can be adopted by believers, atheists or agnostics. One of the reasons I embraced Islam was that its ethics closely converged with my own Kantian system of morality. And where I found discrepancies between my personal ethics and Islam, I also found disagreement among Muslims over what Islam really teaches -- whether it be over the position of women in family and society, the role of hudud punishments in today's world, homosexuality, theocracy, or the meaning of jihad.

You must be joking. The position of women in family and society is that of chattel. Theocracy is a mainstay in the Muslim world. Homosexuals are punished, killed, harassed. Stop apologizing for this barbaric anachronism already. Accommodationist politics are pathetic.

She says much in the article that makes her out to be a moderate Muslim (because, yes, they do exist, I’ve met a few, mostly lapsed), but then:

And lastly, there is the rampant Islamophobia that seems to have gripped much of this political season. Factual discussion about Muslims, radical or not, is pretty much as elusive as rational discussion about the role of Christianity or parties in our politics. Some would have you believe we are in the midst of all out war of cultures; others claim that there is no such thing as a moderate Muslim; that there is no such thing as a loyal American Muslim, and that the real goal of American Muslims is to take over America and impose shari'ah on it. Sadly, these outrageous claims are being trumpeted not by the fringe, but by serious, influential politicians.

I’ve already stipulated there are moderates among Muslims, but am convinced that they are afraid to speak out against their more extreme sects. That right there, is a condemnation of that system. It allows bullies to dogpile onto rationality. I’m sure there are loyal American Muslims, and they just want to live their lives in peace and quiet, just like anyone else. The problem is, that there’s a lot of bad press. And I don’t mean isolated instances: there’s a LOT of it. And the tired excuse of “They’re not one of us!” just won’t hold up anymore.

Yes, I’m an Islamophobe, much in the same way I’m a Judeo-phobe, or a Christ-o-phobe: these people are, for the most part, unhinged. Frightening. Crazy. If I were to speak out against Christianity or Judaism in a crowd of those adherents, chances are that I would be pummeled. Muslims? I’m very sure it would go the extra mile.

So back on course: I am foursquare against taking people’s rights away. Regardless of the fact that their beliefs are pure fantasy. I am also foursquare against religion – because that’s what it does, it usurps reason, it deprives people of their rights and posits discrimination. It’s a conundrum wrapped in a puzzle, all right.

The only answer at this stage, is to stand up and calmly denounce any and all religion, regardless of the din it ignites.

Till the next post, then.


Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Wednesday Funny–Get Fuzzy

I think this is an accurate representation of how an anti-evolutionist thinks:



Saturday, November 27, 2010

More On The Madness Of Muslim: Nation Of Islam(e)

Cross posted @ the Atheist Oasis

Tolerate_Suicide_Bomb-Islam"The Honorable Elijah Muhammad told us of a giant Mother Plane that is made like the universe, spheres within spheres. White people call them unidentified flying objects (UFOs). Ezekiel, in the Old Testament, saw a wheel that looked like a cloud by day but a pillar of fire by night. The Honorable Elijah Muhammad said that that wheel was built on the island of Nippon, which is now called Japan, by some of the Original scientists. It took $15 billion in gold at that time to build it. It is made of the toughest steel. America does not yet know the composition of the steel used to make an instrument like it. It is a circular plane, and the Bible says that it never makes turns. Because of its circular nature it can stop and travel in all directions at speeds of thousands of miles per hour. He said there are 1,500 small wheels in this Mother Wheel, which is a half mile by a half mile [800 m by 800 m]. This Mother Wheel is like a small human-built planet. Each one of these small planes carry three bombs.

"The Honorable Elijah Muhammad said these planes were used to set up mountains on the earth. The Qur'an says it like this: We have raised mountains on the earth lest it convulse with you. How do you raise a mountain, and what is the purpose of a mountain? Have you ever tried to balance a tire? You use weights to keep the tire balanced. That's how the earth is balanced, with mountain ranges. The Honorable Elijah Muhammad said that we have a type of bomb that, when it strikes the earth a drill on it is timed to go into the earth and explode at the height that you wish the mountain to be. If you wish to take the mountain up a mile [1.6 km], you time the drill to go a mile in and then explode. The bombs these planes have are timed to go one mile down and bring up a mountain one mile high, but it will destroy everything within a 50-square-mile [130 km²] radius. The white man writes in his above top secret memos of the UFOs. He sees them around his military installations like they are spying.

"That Mother Wheel is a dreadful-looking thing. White folks are making movies now to make these planes look like fiction, but it is based on something real. The Honorable Elijah Muhammad said that Mother Plane is so powerful that with sound reverberating in the atmosphere, just with a sound, she can crumble buildings."

—Minister Louis Farrakhan, The Divine Destruction of America: Can She Avert It?

The “Honorable Elijah Muhammad” was obviously…what’s the phrase? Porch light is on, but it’s flickering? A few bricks shy of a load? Crazy as a shithouse rat? Check all that apply, and tack on a few.

I’d thought that old Louie Farrakhan has some serious mental issues as well:

The Nation of Islam teaches that Black people were the original humans. Louis Farrakhan has stated that "White people are potential humans…they haven’t evolved yet." However, Farrakhan further expounded by saying, "If you look at the human family — now, I'm talking about black, brown, red, yellow and white — we all seem to be frozen on a subhuman level of existence. In Islam and, I believe, in Christian theology and Jewish theology as well, there are three stages of human development. The first stage is called the animalistic stage of development. But when we submit to animal passions, then we can do evil things to one another in that animalistic stage of development. But when moral consciousness comes and we have a self-accusing spirit, it is then that we become human beings. Right now, we have the potential for humanity, but we have not reached that potential, because we are functioning on the animalistic plane of existence."

I’d say that he’s an idiot, but then I’d be accused of being a racist – the old double standard is alive and well.

And for a few more dizzying trips into psychedelic racism:

"The Blackman is the original man. From him came all brown, yellow, red, and white people. By using a special method of birth control law, the Blackman was able to produce the white race. This method of birth control was developed by a Black scientist known as Yakub, who envisioned making and teaching a nation of people who would be diametrically opposed to the Original People. A Race of people who would one day rule the original people and the earth for a period of 6,000 years. Yakub promised his followers that he would graft a nation from his own people, and he would teach them how to rule his people, through a system of tricks and lies whereby they use deceit to divide and conquer, and break the unity of the darker people, put one brother against another, and then act as mediators and rule both sides." -Elijah Muhammad.

And, like all good Muslims, they detest the Jews:

The charges are based on statements such as the following by Farrakhan:

"German Jews financed Hitler right here in America...International bankers financed Hitler and poor Jews died while big Jews were at the root of what you call the Holocaust...Little Jews died while big Jews made money. Little Jews [were] being turned into soap while big Jews washed themselves with it. Jews [were] playing violin, Jews [were] playing music, while other Jews [were] marching into the gas chambers...."

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) alleges that NOI Health Minister, Abdul Alim Muhammad, has accused Jewish doctors of injecting Blacks with the AIDS virus, an allegation that Dr. Abdul Alim Muhammad has denied.

The Nation of Islam has repeatedly denied charges of anti-Semitism, and NOI leader Minister Louis Farrakhan has stated, "The ADL .. uses the term 'anti-Semitism' to stifle all criticism of Zionism and the Zionist policies of the State of Israel and also to stifle all legitimate criticism of the errant behavior of some Jewish people toward the non-Jewish population of the earth."

Responding to the widely reported assertion that he referred to Judaism as a dirty and "gutter religion", Farrakhan wrote a June 18, 1997 letter to a former Wall Street Journal associate editor, Jude Wanniski, stating in part:

"Over the centuries, the evils of Christians, Jews and Muslims have dirtied their respective religions. True Faith in the laws and Teaching of Abraham, Jesus and Muhammad is not dirty, but, practices in the name of these religions can be unclean and can cause people to look upon the misrepresented religion as being unclean."


The Nation of Islam has had friendly relations with the Neturei Karta, a small, controversial Jewish group that is well-known for its association with and support for anti-Zionists.

Ah-ha! Of course they’re the only True Believers™! Sieg Heil Allah…er, I mean haloo snackbar…oh wait, sorry, I get my supremacist bullshit mixed up sometimes.

Because obviously that’s what they are. It isn’t ‘reverse racism’ – it’s racism, pure and simple. Using a skin color to cover it up (regardless of what that skin color is) is as abominable as using any kind of religion to accommodate the crazy. Because that’s all that any religion is – a means to cover the crazy. An excuse to do as they please, as long as they explain it in the correct (read: their skewed perspective) context.

The fact that Judaism is a bunch of horseshit renders the other two completely null and void. Return to sender, marked address unknown, as Elvis put it once.

Till the next post, then.


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Wednesday Funny– Spot The Nutcase!

A cartoon that says it all:



Saturday, November 20, 2010

The Times, They Are A-Changin’–Gay Folks On The Tube

Cross posted @ the Atheist Oasisgay_marriage

This is something that has been happening gradually – but it does my heart good to see it.

Earlier than 1979, there were ‘hot topics’ that were considered unsuitable for the average viewer. Things like racism, interracial marriage, abortion homosexuality, these were verboten. That is, until Norman Lear actually produced a show called All In The Family, that dared to touch on these polarizing subjects. True enough, there were shows prior to that, but AITF was really the ground-breaker for many people, due to the harsh contrast of Archie Bunker and his ‘lovable’ xenophobic tendencies, as well as its prime-time slot.

And, 31 years later, I’m happy to say, there’s an ample supply of television shows that treat it as if it is an actual part of the culture, instead of some back-alley filthy unnatural occurrence.

Now we are for the most part readers. But (and it’s sad to say), the Glass Teat (as Harlan Ellison likes to phrase it) is a somewhat accurate barometer of how folks think these days.

And while my esteemed colleague Mr. Garton has stated (accurately, I might add) that Gay Is The New Witch, there is hope. Yes, even the gag-inducing items like ‘Reality Shows’ (which violate the Observer-expectancy effect most outrageously), there are numerous LGBT shows even among the dregs. What does this mean, exactly? It likely means less gay bashers, less gay suicides, and yes, less credence in that quirky religious crap that was programmed into us from early on.

Anecdotally: in my twenties, I was always and steadily uncomfortable with the gay lifestyle. This is not to say I was violently revolted by it – I fended off those advances quite politely, never driven to the extremes of other people who were obviously xenophobically enraged (or terribly insecure about their sexuality). But I can say (shamefacedly) that I walked out on the film Cruising (or was it Making Love? I keep getting flashed of Harry Hamlin from that memory) because of my discomfort with it. Before the film even got to the sweaty parts.

Now, some decades later (and a LOT more education and insight under my belt), I don’t even blink an eye. Strangely though, among that list I linked to, one of my all time favorites, Torchwood, isn’t listed among them. What I enjoyed most, was the fact that the characters would sleep with people they were attracted to. There wasn’t any angst, and the only time there were moral struggles was when Gwen had a boyfriend AND was fooling around with Owen…but I digress.

And it is this gradual acceptance in our culture that is going to render stone-age groups like the AFA (who threaten to boycott harmless institutions like Home Depot), suggest stupidities like ‘have less gay students’, and even holler about ‘outlawing homosexual behavior’) thoroughly impotent.

There are better days a-comin’ – but it’s a long road, and it’ll take time.

So keep fighting the good fight. Because, let’s face it, there are no secular arguments against gay marriage, or even against homosexuality. It’s all a Christian legacy, and we’re better off rid of these foolish, dangerous anachronisms.

Till the next post, then.


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Tuesday Funny - Angry Turtles.

This cartoon really does say it all. Courtesy of Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal.


Saturday, November 13, 2010

The Madness That Men Call Muslim…


Cross posted @ the Atheist Oasis

The recent news (this did occur last year) is that someone had the audacity to talk smack about Muhammad (peanut butter and jelly be upon His name) in Pakistan, and the predictable result: a death sentence this year:

A Christian woman has been sentenced to  death for blasphemy in Pakistan, two police officials told CNN Thursday.

Asia Bibi was convicted of insulting Islam's prophet, Mohammed, while  working in a field with several Muslim women in a village southwest of Lahore.

She told them the Quran was "fake" and made comments about one of  Mohammed's wives and about his health in his final days, the police complaint  against her said.

She said that "the Quran is fake and your prophet remained in bed for one  month before his death because he had worms in his ears and mouth. He married  Khadija just for money and after looting her kicked her out of the house," local police official Muhammad Ilyas told CNN.

The true measure of any system is measured in how it takes criticism of any kind, along with how women and children are treated. And of course, Pakistan, a country built specifically for Muslims, is a prime example that accomodationists should use as a yardstick.

For one thing, it doles out a death penalty for anyone speaking out against Islam or Muhammad (PB&J be upon him):

Several sections of Pakistan's Criminal Code comprise its blasphemy laws.[4] § 295 forbids damaging or defiling a place of worship or a sacred object. § 295-A forbids outraging religious feelings. § 295-B forbids defiling the Quran. § 295-C forbids defaming Muhammad. Except for § 295-C, the provisions of § 295 require that an offence be a consequence of the accused's intent. Defiling the Quran merits imprisonment for life. Defaming Muhammad merits death with or without a fine. (See below Sharia.) If a charge is laid under § 295-C, the trial must take place in a Court of Session with a Muslim judge presiding.[5]

§ 298 states:

Whoever, with the deliberate intention of wounding the religious feelings of any person, utters any word or makes any sound in the hearing of that person or makes any gesture in the sight of that person or places any object in the sight of that person, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to one year, or with fine, or with both.

§ 298-A prohibits the use of any derogatory remark or representation in respect of Muslim holy personages. § 298-B and § 298-C prohibit the Ahmadiyya from behaving as Muslims behave, calling themselves Muslims, proselytizing, or "in any manner whatsoever" outraging the religious feelings of Muslims. Violation of any part of § 298 makes the violator liable to imprisonment for up to three years and liable also to a fine.

Charming. For another, ‘honor’ killings are highly valued:

An honor killing or honour killing (also called a customary killing) is the murder of a member of a family or social group by other members, due to the belief of the perpetrators (and potentially the wider community) that the victim has brought dishonour upon the family or community.

The perceived dishonor is normally the result of one of the following behaviors, or the suspicion of such behaviors: (a) dressing in a manner unacceptable to the family or community, (b) wanting to terminate or prevent an arranged marriage or desiring to marry by own choice, (c) engaging in heterosexual sexual acts outside marriage, or even due to a non-sexual relationship perceived as inappropriate, and (d) engaging in homosexual acts.

And the UN wants us to kiss these people’s asses? Fuck that, I say. If honor killings aren’t enough to dissuade the pikers, there’s a horrendous practice called honor suicides:

Sometimes people will commit suicide if they see themselves as having dishonored their families. Over 80 Iraqi women in Diyala province chose to become suicide bombers to escape the shame of having been raped. In fact their rapes had been planned in advance by 51-year-old Iraqi woman Samira Jassim, who confessed to Iraqi police that she organized their rapes so she could later persuade each of them to become a suicide bomber to escape their shame

The 18-year old unwed Ayat al-Akhras, the suicide bomber of a Jerusalem supermarket on 29 Mar 2002, was pregnant according to Israeli police report.

And of course, childish hijinks, real or imagined, aren’t tolerated whatsoever:

For almost 30 years Ahmadi Muslims have been continually stripped of their basic human rights under Pakistan's Blasphemy laws. Now four children and one adult are wrongly facing the death penalty or life imprisonment for crimes they did not commit.

These children have been falsely charged under Section 295-C of the Blasphemy law after fundamentalists in District Layyah pressured police to raid their homes.

And the Taliban have been taking matters into their own hands again:

Taliban extremists killed over 50 worshipers at two Mosques belonging to the Ahmadiyya Muslim community during Friday prayer services. Early reports indicate several hundred hostages.

The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community has faced intense governmental and extremist persecution in Pakistan for nearly 40 years.

The Tahreek e Taliban Pakistan (TTP) is taking credit for the attacks. Terrorists attacked Bait ul Noor Mosque and Darul Zikr Mosque with automatic weapons and hand grenades while thousands of members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community were offering their Friday prayer services. Each had over 1,500 worshipers present.

Yet somehow the excuse always seems to be, “This doesn’t count. We’re not really like that. Those people are perverting the Holy Word of [insert name of bloodthirsty deity here].” It isn’t just Islam. All religion is the enemy. It turns brother against brother, it destroys lives and families, it isolates the dissenters, it doles out excuses for atrocities like faitheists dole out pamphlets. It rapes cultures, people, children.

Or rather, it gives people the excuses to do as they please, and rationalize it.  It is the umbrella to hide under, the get-out-of-jail-free card, the sanctimonious absolution of atrocity.

Religion. Nothing becomes our lives more than ridding ourselves of the supernatural.

Till the next post, then.


Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Tuesday Funny–Kung Pao, Enter The Fist

Being a Wushu aficionado and having grown up watching Kung Fu (not the Legend Continues, that show was rank), I love the parody/spoof genre on these movies. So….Enter The Fist!



Sunday, November 07, 2010

Sing The Body Politic–In This Case, It’s A Hymn To Idiocy…


Cross posted @ the Atheist Oasis

Creationists make it sound as though a "theory" is something you dreamt up after being drunk all night – Isaac Asimov

For those of you who become irritated with blithering stupidity, here’s a real gem from that ranting radical republican, Glen Beck:

How many people believe in evolution in this country? I'd like to see. I mean, I don't know why it's unreasonable to say this.

Because, I dunno, reality isn’t subject to a consensus vote?

I'm not God so I don't know how God creates.

What this crazed loon doesn’t know could fill the shelves of the Smithsonian library. Oh, wait…there’s nobody up there anyways.

I don't think we came from monkeys.

The DNA evidence is in, and 98% are pretty damn good odds…

I think that's ridiculous.

The other evidence is in, Glenny boy, and it distinctly points to one thing: you don’t think. You parrot the party line and insert some shock-jock tactics for ratings.

I haven't seen a half-monkey, half-person yet.

Nor will he ever see one. Of course, having fallen off a turnip truck (on his head no less) is no help.

Did evolution just stop? Did we all of sudden -- there's no other species that's developing into half-human?

Here Beck just demonstrates the misconception of evolution, a ‘throwback’ to the 1950’s, if you like. Back then, it was conceived that evolution followed a straight line, and it appeared that it had a purpose: us. This is the 21st century, and anyone who can read doesn’t really have that excuse anymore.

It's like global warming.

Another reality.

So I don't know why it is so problematic for people to just so, I don't know how God creates.

Ill-defined fairy tales don’t define the real world, Glen.

I don't know how we got here. If I get to the other side and God's like, "You know what, you were a monkey once," I'll be shocked, but I'll be like, "Whatever."

And talking like a Valley Girl is unbecoming. Also, obnoxious.

They have to make you care.

Sad but true, number 2.

They have to force it down your throat.

Cranky children need their medicine.

When anybody has to force it, that's a problem.

I agree with that. However, the real world is cruel and cold, and it’ll force itself on you soon enough.

You didn't have to force that the world is round.

It comes as no shock that history, as well as biology, isn’t Beck’s strong point. As shown by the next appallingly ignorant statement:

Truth is truth. You don't have to force the truth.

Oh, no, because we didn’t have to fight a war over slavery, or that the Jews shouldn’t be slaughtered en masse, or argue that blacks and women deserved to vote equally with white males, or that human beings are equally deserving of proper ethical treatment…did we? Oh yes we did. It took a great many people to take arms against a sea of sorrows, to force the tides to recede.

Evolution isn’t a screed, a creed, a ‘belief system’, a ‘theory’ (see Asimov’s quote from above), or some ‘radical atheist/gay agenda’. It’s simply a cataloguing of observations and deductions made from induction. It’s fact, reality, the backbone of biology and more. 

At this point, we the people of the United States of America need, are rational individuals who are also somewhat entertaining, without pandering to the lowest common denominator. Instead, we are besieged with simpletons who prance an epileptic dance on stage center, ranting whatever nonsense their ‘constituency’ wants to hear, and pontificating on topics with absolutely no research other than imaginary raconteuring.

It’s a sad state of affairs. We should toss the ‘all opinions are equal’ modality right out with the bathwater, and start holding our pundits and journos to a higher standard, and those that fall short, should have their feet held to the fire. Pedantry is a dying art, and fact-checking is swiftly going the way of the dodo bird.

Till the next post, then.


Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Wednesday Funny–Sterling Archer

Sterling Archer is perhaps the best (animated) spoof of the suave and debonair spy movie genre I’ve ever seen. It’s been compared to being “James Bond meets Arrested Development.”



Saturday, October 30, 2010

Sing A Song Of Samhain, As Summer Goes Away…

Cross posted @ the Atheist Oasis

Clear light on a slick palm
as I mis-deal the day500x_Samhain_by_midnightstouch_02
Slip the night from a shaved pack
make a marked card play
Call twilight hours down
from a heaven home
high above the highest bidder
for the good Lord's throne
In the wee hours I'll meet you
down by Dun Ringill ---
oh, and we'll watch the old gods play
by Dun Ringill
We'll wait in stone circles
`til the force comes through ---
lines joint in faint discord
and the stormwatch brews
a concert of kings
as the white sea snaps
at the heels of a soft prayer
In the wee hours I'll meet you
down by Dun Ringill ---
oh, and I'll take you quickly
by Dun Ringill

- Dun Ringill, Jethro Tull


Comes the winter’s touch, its breath felt but slightly on the nape, we bid wistful goodbye to summer and spring, and watch the leaves tumble brownly to the earth.

Of all the seasons, amid tumescent spring and burning summer and icy winter, of the four, autumn is the one that feels quite nearly mystical: the fog creeps in stealthily, cloaking the trees that shed their burden of growth from sunnier days, the breath becomes ever so slightly visible, the cycle swirls from vibrant life to a slow crawl towards the deep stillness of death. It is no wonder that our forbears attempted to fit the world to their structures, the seasons to the human condition. The fog-hidden trees seem to whisper of mystery, punctuated with the call of some bird that sounds eerily human. The sky grows darker, as if it were an eye slowly, slowly closing. Shed leaves whirl in the cold winds, almost promising to write some written message, but never quite. Grey branches seem to become the gnarled fingers of sun-frozen trolls, pointing somewhere that’s lost to the eye.

Time to thresh the wheat, to store it against the inexorable creeping of old man winter, to huddle by the fire in the hearth, and spin a tale or two, because winters are long and time stretches tautly, and the mind cries for diversion.

Oh, and the tales that are told! Of souls and saints, Valkyries and Valhallas, bonfires and Banshees, witches and Walpurgisnacht, the human imagination is a wondrous thing indeed.

On the proviso, of course, that one can distinguish between the tale told and the real world.

Have a safe and secular Samhain, my friends.

Till the next post, then.


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Wednesday Funny–MadTV

One of the funniest parodies – the Terminator meets Jesus.



Sunday, October 24, 2010

Television–The Wave Of Self-Righteous Entitlement Seems To Be Receding…

Cross posted @ the Atheist Oasisreligion-demotivational-poster

If you’re anything like me, then when some religious reference appears in a TV show or movie, the ears prick up, an eyebrow arches, and a somewhat irreverent smirk curls your lip.

Personally, it drives me a bit batty. I can’t begin to count on my fingers and toes the multiple times when a usually excellent show approaches religion with kid gloves, especially when it braces other topics with a far more critical and skeptical point of view. Far worse in my opinion, are the deliberately religious nonsenses that pollute the airwaves. You know, the shows like Saving Grace (according to that logic, we should all have cigar-chomping good-ole boy angels trying to save our atheist asses), the moronic Medium (it’s imminently watchable, until you find out that Allison Dubois is a complete fraud in reality), idiocies like the Ghost Whisperer (hey, I like pretty underwear models as much as the next guy, but there are limits to what the little head has to say in that, or any, matter), or arbitrary fantasies like Touched By An Angel (more like Touched In The Head). I’ve even seen two episodes of Criminal Minds, a usually fantastic and interesting show, that plays accomdationist with the faitheist meme. In one, we find out Derek had been molested by a priest, and subsequently had ‘lost his faith’, but the ending was predictably apologetic. In another, Reed is being influenced by a religious serial killer, and Jason tells him “don’t listen to him, he’s twisting the word of God!” Just recently I was watching an episode of StarGate: Universe (an SG spin-off that doesn’t suck ass, is pretty good actually), and some crew members on the ship are reciting the lord’s prayer.

However, more skeptics and skepticism is appearing on television shows. On an episode of Bones, the main character Temperance refers to a “zombie Jesus”. She’s a skeptic. On TV’s House,  one episode dealt with the good doctor being so curious about the afterlife, that he temporarily died to find out (His prognosis? “There’s nothing.”)  One of my latest favorites is The Mentalist, where the protagonist is a former psychic who does a 180 and declares “there’s no such thing as psychics!” (I figured out who Red John was by half-way through the 2nd season, but I’m not telling). Psych is a fairly amusing show, as the main character is someone pretending (very convincingly) to be psychic. However, the slacker-super-observer is accepted by the police of Santa Barbara (albeit it’s because he gets results) as a psychic.

So it’s getting…slightly better.

And of course, there’s always the Family Guy, and the show’s ongoing barrage on religion in general.

So hang in there, folks. The message is getting through. It’s an uphill battle, but it’s not looking so Sisyphean anymore.

Till the next post, then.


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Wednesday Funny–CLOPS

This was MADTV’s spoof of COPS – chock full of pop references that are hysterical, especially if you’re television was a part-time babysitter.



Sunday, October 17, 2010

“As Predicted By NostraDumbass…” Diary Of A Madman

Cross posted at the Atheist Oasisnostradamus-bush

Recently, the super at my apartment complex responded to my usual rant about how “there’s no such thing as psychics” with the usual crap about “What about Nostradamus?” (I think he just likes to watch me get worked up about it, I doubt he’s really that stupid). He blatted on about how Nostradumbass predicted Henry the Second’s death in a jousting tournament, and brought up the usual crap (predicted JFK’s assassination, the WTC towers, etc.)

I threatened to address this, and as usual, I wasn’t bluffing.

Michel de Nostredame (14 December or 21 December 1503[1] – 2 July 1566), usually Latinised to Nostradamus, was a French apothecary and reputed seer who published collections of prophecies that have since become famous worldwide. He is best known for his book Les Propheties ("The Prophecies"), the first edition of which appeared in 1555. Since the publication of this book, which has rarely been out of print since his death, Nostradamus has attracted a following that, along with the popular press, credits him with predicting many major world events. The prophecies have in some cases been assimilated to the results of applying the alleged Bible code, as well as to other purported prophetic works.

Most academic sources maintain that the associations made between world events and Nostradamus's quatrains are largely the result of misinterpretations or mistranslations (sometimes deliberate) or else are so tenuous as to render them useless as evidence of any genuine predictive power. Moreover, none of the sources listed offers any evidence that anyone has ever interpreted any of Nostradamus's quatrains specifically enough to allow a clear identification of any event in advance.[2]

The general (and ridiculous) address to the messiness of  ‘Les Propheties’ is that he was under scrutiny and feared the inquisition. As a counterpoint, I have chosen a website, Nostradamus 101 (googling renders 5.6 million hits, so I picked one at random using the same eenie-meenie-miny-moe methodology of the crazy Frenchman we are discussing, haha), and will hereto forward deconstruct the mess.

He was a practicing physician, astronomer and astrologer who lived in the mid 16th century (1503 ‚ 1566) who turned his hand to prophecy later in life. As a physician he treated those suffering from the Bubonic plague and then in a twisted irony lost the members of his family to the disease. He was a devout student of pagan methods of divination at night who wore the mask of a devout Catholic during the day to avoid persecution from the Spanish Inquisition. In the end he predicted his own death, and some say also cursed the marauders from the French Revolution that he foresaw would desecrate his own burial tomb.

This automatically tells you this person is wrong. The Spanish Inquisition was exclusive to Spain, and he was using methods like leeching in order to treat the Plague.

After he resigned from treating the victims of the bubonic plague and settled down in a psychic studio in Salon, France, this self-styled soothsayer was in the habit of writing long letters to world leaders warning them of future events, that is until the Vatican decided that magicians were evil. The fact is that Nostradamus did indeed qualify as a magician according to the definitions of those days, which was anyone who produced visions and predictions through scrying.  Scrying was considered to be a form of conjuring spirits and Nostradamus taught himself this skill by reading ancient texts about Egyptian and Alexandrian magic.

Prophecies and astrology actually were allowed by the Church, and he had a great relationship with them.

Unfortunately this great prophet also lived during the time of the Spanish inquisition. Conjuring spirits (or channeling as we call it today) was a crime punishable by death, which meant that he was force to scramble up the meaning and the order of his quatrains so that he could not be tried and executed for being a soothsayer. Even though his quatrains are divided up into books called Centuries they do not chronologically represent the timeline of any centuries. Scrambling the quatrains so that they did not follow a time line was one of the tricks that Nostradamus used to disguise his work as the ramblings of a mad poet. This explains why when you read the quatrains, he seems to be referring to incidents from all of the centuries at the same time.

Yes, because Torqemanda would most likely take a ship over to France and come get him. Sheesh.

The rhymed quatrains of Nostradamus were written mainly in French with a bit of Italian, Greek, and Latin thrown in to throw the Spanish Inquisition off if they should ever discover his manuscripts. This is because the Spanish Inquisition had been dealing with metaphysical literature by holding public burnings in the public squares.

Even in France. Wait, what? And he mixed up languages too? How does this resemble sanity, exactly?

To disguise his own metaphysical manuscripts also used words from the “Languedoc” or Provencal dialect of southern France and swaps words around so that the quatrains don’t make sense. That is why so many of his prophecies are left wide open to interpretation and also great debate, particularly among English speaking scholars who have a habit of interpreting the quatrains with the French phrases that suit them best. In this book we are using the public domain verses of Charles Ward, an English scholar who was one of the first to translate the quatrains from the original Latin, French and other dialects and leave them as naked as possible.

So let’s get on to the mad babblings, shall we?

King Henry the Second:

Here is the quatrain:

The young lion will overcome the older one,
On the field of combat in a single battle;
He will pierce his eyes through a golden cage,
Two wounds made one, then he dies a cruel death.

(Century 1, Quatrain 35)

In June 1559, Henry II ignored all warnings that Nostradamus gave him and participated in a jousting tournament against the Comte de Montgomery. Both men used shields embossed with lions. Montgomery was six years younger than Henry.

During the final bout of fighting in the tournament, Montgomery failed to lower his lance in time. It shattered, sending a large splinter through the king’s gilded visor (golden cage). The result was two moral wounds (two wounds made one and then he will die a cruel death.) One splinter spliced eye; the other impaled his temple just behind the eye. Both splinters from the lance penetrated his brain. Henry lived for ten days in agony, thus fulfilling the Nostradamus prophecy that he would die a cruel death.

The issue with this ‘prophecy’, is the complete and utter lack of attestation. There’s no proof that old Nosty wrote this before the accident. We’re just supposed to take this on faith.

2. The Fire of London

This is one of the few prophecies in the quatrains where Nostradamus actually got the year dead on!

The blood of the just will be demanded of London,
Burnt by the fire in the year 66

(Century 2; Quatrain 51)

On Sunday morning, the 2nd September 1666, the destruction of medieval London began with one simple spark. In five days a cataclysmic fire destroyed the city of Shakespeare. An area of one and a half miles by half a mile lay in ashes; 373 acres inside the city walls and 63 acres outside, 87 churches destroyed (including St. Paul’s Cathedral) and 13,200 houses. Although the blood of the just in the quatrain was demanded of London, only six people died.

Some people see the blood of the just as it was translated from the French to mean that justice was done to the Black Death. This fire did the city a great service by destroying the millions of rats that were carrying the Black plague through the city’s population.

Let’s just hypothesize for a second: Nostril predicted in the year 66 – he died in 1566 and I’m sure that destroying an entire city because of the black plague is hardly what one could call justice. Besides which, it didn’t originate in London, so the whole idea is stupid.

There are many quatrains referring to the French Revolution in the Centuries but these are the quatrains that most interpreters of the quatrains agree are seminal proof of the predictive abilities of Nostradamus.

From the enslaved people, songs, chants and demands,
The princes and lords are held captive in prisons:
In the future by such headless idiots
These will be taken as divine utterances.

(Century 1, Quatrain 14)

This quatrain aptly describes the serfdom of the French peasants (enslaved people) and their subsequent imprisonment (The princesses and lords are held in captive prisons). The headless idiots portion of the quatrain may refer to the fact that they were all beheaded.

Actually, this is entirely vague – it could be used easily to describe serfs under the vassels of any European aristocracy.

Before the war comes,
the great wall will fall,
The King will be executed, his death coming too soon will be lamented.
(The guards) will swim in blood,
Near the River Seine the soil will be bloodied.

(Century 2, Quatrain 57)

On July 14th, 1789 the people stormed the walls of the Bastille, the prison that stood as a symbol to the detested monarchy. This was a precursor to the revolution that shook France, and to the rise, and fall, of the guillotine, that stood on the banks of the River Seine. (The guards will swim in blood near the River Seine.)

The French Revolution WAS the war, a prison isn’t a wall (the Bastille still stands), and European monarchs were ALWAYS getting slaughtered. The ‘bloodied soil’ could be a sacrificial calf for all we know.

3. Emperor Napoleon

This is one of those classic Nostradamus quatrains where a scrambled name (an anagram) is used to refer to Napoleon.

PAU, NAY, LORON will be more of fire than of the blood,
To swim in praise,
the great one to flee to the confluence.
He will refuse entry to the Piuses,
The depraved ones and the Durance will keep them imprisoned.

(Century 8, Quatrain 1)

PAU, NAY, LORON” when rearranged becomes NAPAULON ROY, or Napoleon the king, given the Corsican spelling of his name, Napauleone. The text also describes him as a man of ‘fire’, or of war, rather ‘than of the blood’, or of royal lineage. The ‘Piuses’ of the third line are the Popes Pius VI and Pius VII, who were both imprisoned by Napoleon as is implied by the last line.

An…anagram? Are you joshing me? There were two Piuses prior to Old Nostril, do we know if he was referring to them? I’ve tried looking up the variant names for Napoleon, but the internet is polluted with this crap.

Here’s one of the wonkier nonsenses:

The following quatrains from various Centuries are widely agreed upon as being the quatrains that predict the rise of Hitler and World War II. Nostradamus misspelled Hitler’s name referring to him as “Hister.”

From the deepest part of Western Europe
A young child will be born to poor people
Who will by his speech seduce a great multitude,
His reputation will increase in the Kingdom of the East”

(Century 3, Quatrain 35)

This particular quatrain is believed to describe Hitler’s childhood (a young child born to poor people), his charismatic personality (who will by his speech seduce a great multitude) and Germany’s alliance with Japan (his reputation will increase in the Kingdom of the East.

Umm…no, the name Hister refers to is the Latin name for the Danube

Beasts ferocious with hunger will cross the rivers,
The greater part of the battlefield will be against Hister.
Into a cage of iron will the great one be drawn,
When the child of Germany observes nothing.

(Century 2, Quatrain 24)

Beasts ferocious with hunger will swim across the rivers is generally interpreted as Adolf Hitler and the German Army invading France. The greater part of the army will be against Hister is interpreted to mean the alliance that eventually defeated him. The cage of iron may refer to his bunker or to tanks, which Nostradamus would have no words for or ways of describing back in the sixteenth century.

Seriously? It’s a war against the river? And really, tanks would be described as ‘great metal beasts with long noses shooting fire that destroys’ – it’s not that hard, really.

Oh, and here’s the World Trade Center prediction:

Earthshaking fire from the center of the Earth
Will cause tremors around the New City.
Two great rocks will war for a long time,
Then Arethusa will redden a new river.

We all know that the towers were hit by airplanes. So the ‘earthshaking fire from the center of the Earth’ is out. ‘New City’ – new cities are always being built. ‘Two great rocks’? That could literally mean anything. The Arethusa reference completely shatters the illusion.

Here’s the atomic bomb ‘prediction’:

Near the gates and within two cities
There will be scourges the like of which was never seen,
Famine within plague, people put out by steel,
Crying to the great immortal God for relief.

The ‘people put out by steel’ shatters the ‘prophecy’. How were they put out? How was the steel employed? Too vague by half.

Louis Pasteur:

The lost thing is discovered, hidden for many centuries.
Pasteur will be celebrated almost as a God-like figure.
This is when the moon completes her great cycle,
But by other rumors he shall be dishonored.

‘Pasteur’ translates from French to English as the pastor, or clergyman. So that’s out.

The JFK/RFK assassinations:

The great man will be struck down in the day by a thunderbolt,
An evil deed foretold by the bearer of a petition.
According to the prediction, another falls at night time.
Conflict at Reims, London and a pestilence in Tuscany.

Too vague, and what conflict is old Nostril pontificating about?

Hurricane Katrina:

The cities of Tours, Orleans, Blois, Angers, Reims and Nantes
Are troubled by sudden change.
Tents will be pitched by (people) of foreign tongues;
Rivers, darts at Rennes, shaking of land and sea

Obviously this is way off. French and English aren’t foreign tongues for old Nostril, there’s no Tours, Angers, Reims or Nantes in Louisiana, and Rennes is a city in France.

Let’s summarize, since the post is getting overlong:

Nostradamus was a medieval doctor (he may as well have been a barber, for all the good it did), he wrote some agonizingly vague and esoteric poetry that anyone could apply to anywhere and any time, has been mistranslated and misconstrued as a ‘prophet’ (there are no such things), and his gibberish is a cottage industry that has spanned the centuries.

It is to weep, to think that people actually believe this nonsense.

Till the next post, then.