left biblioblography: August 2013

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Giving One’s Life For The Fight…

Cross posted @ the Atheist Oasis
Narendra DabholkarI have belittled the religious foolishness of that benighted country called India – a nation that allows women to marry snakes, forces men to marry dogs, and has companies that elect imaginary friends to their board.

Alas, we have lost one of our own – an intrepid individual who made it his mission in life to expose all the religious garbage for what it is – garbage.

Battling Superstition, Indian Paid With His Life

PUNE, India — For nearly three decades, an earnest man named Narendra Dabholkar traveled from village to village in India, waging a personal war against the spirit world.

Police officers removed a banner bearing the image of Narendra Dabholkar near the spot where he was shot in Pune, India.

If a holy man had electrified the public with his miracles, Dr. Dabholkar, a former physician, would duplicate the miracles and explain, step by step, how they were performed. If a sorcerer had amassed a fortune treating infertility, he would arrange a sting operation to unmask the man as a fraud. His goal was to drive a scientist’s skepticism into the heart of India, a country still teeming with gurus, babas, astrologers, godmen and other mystical entrepreneurs.

That mission ended Tuesday, when two men ran up behind Dr. Dabholkar, 67, as he crossed a bridge, shot him at point-blank range, then jumped onto a motorbike and disappeared into the traffic coursing through this city.

Dr. Dabholkar’s killing is the latest episode in a millenniums-old wrestling match between traditionalists and reformers in India. When detectives began putting together a list of Dr. Dabholkar’s enemies, they found that it was long. He had received threats from Hindu far-right groups, been beaten by followers of angry gurus and challenged by councils upholding archaic caste laws. His home state, Maharashtra, was considering legislation he had promoted for 14 years, banning a list of practices like animal sacrifice, the magical treatment of snake bites and the sale of magic stones.

This is a sad and sobering reminder to us all – that sociopaths masquerade their narcissism in incense, prose and imagined piety, until it is all exposed as folderol. And then their masques are shorn away to reveal the blazing psychopath inside.

Narendra Dabholkar – you shall be missed.

Till the next post, then.


Sunday, August 18, 2013

UFO Religion Demands Swastika Back

Cross posted @ the Atheist Oasis
raelian_poster_webIt’s difficult to make this shit up:

UFO religion the Raelians want to rehabilitate the swastika

As the beachgoers of Long Island soaked up the sun last month, their attention was caught by a light aircraft flying above with a flag trailing behind it. On it was a huge swastika and the web address "proswastika.org". People were outraged. Who was responsible for publicly flaunting this ugly symbol of hate? Neo-Nazis? Pranksters? Neither, apparently.

The Long Island swastika actually belonged to the Raelians – the world's largest "UFO religion" – and the stunt was part of their pro-swastika campaign aimed at rehabilitating the symbol. Not because the Raelians are far-right extremists, they believe the Nazis' hijacking of the ancient Sanskrit peace symbol has been allowed to stand for long enough.

Before Hitler adopted it as the Nazi logo in 1920, variations of the swastika had been used by civilizations in China, Africa and South Asia since the bronze age.

"As long as we associate the swastika with Hitler and the horrors of the Nazi regime, they own it," argues Thomas Kaenzig, head of the pro-swastika movement. "We want to take it back. The swastika is an ancient symbol of good luck and harmony. It can be found all over the world.

Swastikas may have been depicted by ancient cultures since as far back as 2000 BC, but surely the pro-swastika movement recognizes that what it represents today still offends millions of people? ""If somebody associates the swastika with something negative, then I feel offended," says Kaenzig. "It's part of our official symbol. What about our feelings? When we flew the flag on the East Coast it wasn't to incite hatred, but to educate."

Have we discussed the Raelians before? Well, the wiki entry states that:

Raëlism (also Raelianism or the Raëlian Movement) is a UFO religion that was founded in 1974 by Claude Vorilhon, now known as Raël. It is numerically the world's largest UFO religion. An adherent of Raelism is a Raelian.

The Raëlian Movement teaches that life on Earth was scientifically created by a species of extraterrestrials, which they call the Elohim. Members of this species appeared human and when having personal contacts with the descendants of the humans they made, they previously misinformed (on purpose) early humanity that they were angels, cherubim or gods. Raëlians believe messengers, or prophets, of the Elohim include Buddha, Jesus, and others who informed humans of each era. The founder of Raëlism, members claim, received the final message of the Elohim and that its purpose is to inform the world about Elohim and that if humans become aware and peaceful enough, they wish to be welcomed by them.

Great story, isn’t it? At least it tries to be scientific – but it reeks of the panspermia.

But there’s much to like about this particular religion. For instance:

Raelian ethics include striving for world peace, sharing, democracy and nonviolence. Sexuality is also an important part of the Raëlian doctrine. The Raëlian Church has attracted some of its priests and bishops from other religions despite having liberal views of sexuality.


Raëlians believe that sex is a normal, natural and healthy part of life and encourages people to be true to their natural sexuality. They promote healing from damaging messages from strict puritanical belief systems and social stigmas that stifle one's natural sexuality. Acceptance of masturbation, homosexuality, bisexuality, pansexuality, naturism and any legal, safe and consensual adult activity is promoted as part of a healthy and long life, and this is used to attract young converts to the religion. Raelians believe that sexuality is a gift of pleasure to mankind from the Elohim. The Raëlian book Let's Welcome our Fathers From Space says that new advanced extraterrestrial civilizations will ultimately practice a final religion or "religion of the infinite" that involves ubiquitous practice of Sensual Meditation.

Aside from the little green men from Mars weirdness, this sounds a little bit of all right.

They’re pro-cloning too:

As opposed to the scientific definition of reproductive cloning which is simply the creation of a genetically identical living thing, Raëlians seek to both genetically clone individuals, rapidly accelerate growth of the clone to adulthood through a process like guided self-assembly of rapidly expanded cells or even nanotechnology. and then transfer the mind and personality of the donor into the clone. Raëlians believe humanity can attain eternal life through the science of cloning.

In the final stages of development, hitherto unknown information contained within undamaged DNA would be enough to bring others back from the dead including their memories and personality. This would be done by taking a small sample from someone's body and preserving it at the time when the level of the brain's efficiency and knowledge is highest. On the day of death, a cell would be taken from the sample for the cloning to take place, and the memories and personality would be restored to their peak level.

Claude Vorilhon told lawmakers that banning the development of human cloning was comparable to outlawing medical advances such "antibiotics, blood transfusions, and vaccines."

Wow. Coupled with the topless rights of women, sounds kinda cool, no?

Problem is, their cosmological views are inconsistent with the evidence:

Raëlian cosmology as proposed in 1973 by Raël states that the observable universe has no creator and is infinite in time and finite in size and surrounded by infinite space.

In Raëlian cosmology, our observable universe is an "atom" of a much larger level of matter (and possibly organism) and subatomic particles in our bodies also possess universes like our own, but on a much smaller scale. This pattern, atom within universe within atom, is believed to be infinitely repetitive, from the infinitely small, to the infinitely large. The Raëlian Messages by Raël state that humanoid extraterrestrials, who were originally called under the name Elohim (singular: Eloha), verified this cosmology scientifically.

Because of the difference of mass, the activity of life inside in a living thing's atoms would undergo many millennia before enough time passes for that living thing to take a single step. Raëlians believe the universe is infinite in time and space and lacks a center. Because of this, one could not imagine where an ethereal soul would go.


The universe is most definitely not infinite. This is fact. As far as I’m concerned, infinity is an abstract placeholder, a way of stating a numberless number that has no measurable limit. But everything is finite, and can be counted.

What really dampers my enthusiasm for this cult (and yes, it fits the parameters), is that there’s a lone individual claiming extraterrestrial contact, a charismatic individual who is the messianic center of it all, and yet nobody anywhere else has seen heard or spoken with these alleged ‘Elohim’.

Definitely a deal-breaker for the hard-core skeptic.

Till the next post then.


Saturday, August 10, 2013

More On The Madness Of Muslims: Bangladesh Bozos Making Trouble….

Cross posted @ the Atheist Oasis
Muslim-Cartoon1Here’s a common refrain, whether it’s in the blogosphere or realtime: “Hey, it’s only a few crazy troublemakers making the rest of us look bad.”

Look again, people: it’s more than a few crazies – it is in fact, hordes and stampedes of crazy assholes, making the moderate minority look like nutcakes.

Case in point:

Bangladesh's radical Muslims uniting behind Hefazat-e-Islam

Passersby cast wary looks at a bunch of men lurking outside the entrance to the Hathazari madrasa. They stand out, having neither beards nor traditional dress. Indeed, one of them has had the bright idea of wearing a flowered shirt. For the past few weeks the madrasa in Chittagong, central Bangladesh, has been under police surveillance. It houses 12,000 Qur'anic students, guided by Shah Ahmad Shafi, who heads Hefazat-e-Islam, the country's largest radical Islamic movement.

At his instigation over 500,000 demonstrators clogged the streets of Dhaka on 5 May, demanding the application of 13 measures, including a ban on mixing of men and women in public places, the removal of sculptures and demands for the former wording of the constitution to be reinstated, affirming "absolute trust and faith in Almighty Allah". About 50 people were killed in clashes with police and several leaders were arrested. Since then Hefazat has avoided the media, for fear of reprisals. The government is extremely wary of a movement that has steadily gathered strength since its launch three years ago.

So when confronted with a statement like ‘demands for the former wording of the constitution to be reinstated, affirming "absolute trust and faith in Almighty Allah"’, the first move any interested party should make is to look it up, and guess what?

After Bangladesh gained independence from Pakistan, Secularism was included in the original Constitution of Bangladesh in 1972 as one of the Four State Principles, the others being Democracy, Nationalism and Socialism. In 2010, the High Court upheld the secular principles of the 1972 constitution. Bangladesh follows secular government system in democratic state. However, Bangladesh also follows combined system of state laws and individual religious laws applicable to people of respective religious group.

In fact, reading the item in question, it’s pretty unambiguous:

We, the people of Bangladesh, having proclaimed our Independence on the 26th day of March, 1971 and through a historic struggle for national liberation, established the independent, sovereign People's Republic of Bangladesh;

Pledging that the high ideals of nationalism, democracy, socialism and secularity, which inspired our heroic people to dedicate themselves to, and our brave martyrs to sacrifice their lives in the struggle for national liberation, shall be fundamental principles of the Constitution;

As far as I can see, there’s absolutely no mention of this ‘Allah’ character in that constitution at all. In fact, that little tidbit was slipped in around 1977, and Ass-lame became the state religion in 1988. And ‘Secularity’ was replaced by this Allah fellow (peanut butter and jelly be upon his name).

And it becomes a huge mess from then on.

Politics is a disgusting mess no matter where one goes, but throwing religion into the mix is the equivalent of trying to put out a fire with gasoline.

Till the next post, then.


Saturday, August 03, 2013

Of Monks And Molestation: The Madness Never Seems To End..

Cross posted at the Atheist Oasis

bighatOne day when Alfred Hitchcock was still a churchgoing Catholic, he was driving through a Swiss city when he suddenly pointed out of the car window and said, "That is the most frightening sight I have ever seen."

His companion was surprised to see nothing more alarming than a priest in conversation with a little boy, his hand on the child's shoulder.

"Run, little boy," cried Hitchcock, leaning out of the car. "Run for your life!"

There are few things that are sicker than abusing children – the violation, the abuse of innocent trust.

Some things that the Catholics seem to excel at.

Ex-pupils allege they were raped and abused by monks at schools in Scotland

Dozens of pupils at exclusive Roman Catholic boarding schools in Scotland have alleged they were sexually and physically abused by monks, one of whom allegedly raped at least five boys.

Nine Benedictine monks who taught at the Fort Augustus Abbey school in the Highlands and its preparatory school in East Lothian have been accused of repeatedly beating, sexually assaulting and verbally abusing boys in their care over several decades.

One monk, Father Aidan Duggan, who taught at Fort Augustus and Carlkemp prep school, which both closed in the 1990s, was accused by five ex-pupils of raping and sexually abusing them, but they claim their allegations were ignored and rejected by two headteachers, according to the BBC.

Duggan, an Australian, died in 2004 after returning to become a parish priest in Sydney.

Another priest, Father Chrysostom Alexander, now 77, is also alleged to have abused one pupil at the Fort Augustus school in the 1970s.

Alexander, also an Australian, returned to work in Sydney and has now been suspended by the Catholic church after he was challenged about the allegations by a BBC journalist. Alexander did not respond to the allegations.

The allegations, in a BBC documentary Sins of the Fathers, broadcast on BBC1 Scotland on Monday, are now being investigated by Police Scotland in the latest in a series of scandals about abuse by priests and misconduct by senior figures within the Scottish church.

The church endured its most serious crisis for decades earlier this year after Scotland's most senior Catholic, Cardinal Keith O'Brien, was forced to resign and retire early in disgrace after he admitted having had affairs and sexual encounters with several priests.

According to the BBC two brothers who attended Carlkemp, Christopher and David Walls, also alleged that Duggan had groomed them.

David Walls said Duggan had been bullying and oppressive in class but then when Walls was 11, Duggan became much friendlier and began being physically intimate.

Walls recalls being made by Duggan to sit on his bed during recorder-playing practice, and has memory blanks about what happened next.

"Why would somebody treat you horrendously and then for no reason, all of a sudden, start cuddling you and kissing you?," Walls said.

"At the same time, it was a relief that you weren't on the receiving end of unpleasantness.

"Because that all stopped; the beatings stopped, the sarcasm and the making a fool of you in public and so on, that all stopped once the cuddling started. And you definitely felt this kind of sense of gratitude, almost."

One former pupil, Donald Macleod, told the documentary that Duggan had effectively groomed him before raping him when he was 14.

Macleod tried to raise the alarm but the then head teacher refused to hear about the alleged rape, warning him that lies were a mortal sin.

It’s enough to wrench the stomach. The hypocrisy, the misuse of power,  all stemming from an ancient but very convincing lie.

The denial of human needs as pertaining to ‘original sin’ are multitudinous – and repression of basic human needs leads to a form of mental illness that is well-shielded by the folderol of faith.

And ‘pure’ blind stubborn faith is the fodder of fools .

Till the next post, then.