Archive for December, 2012

'Against stupidity, the gods themselves contend in vain.' / Friedrich Schiller / PsiCop original graphicUpdate: It’s now the morning of December 22 where I live, the day after I wrote this post, and clearly the Maya Apocalypse never occurred. I’m waiting to hear the apologies of those who were proclaiming a devastating doom for our planet … but my guess is, there won’t be any. Cranks and frauds never admit error … ever. I’ve changed the title of this post accordingly.

As I type this, it’s December 21, 2012, around noon where I am (Eastern Standard Time). I don’t see any sign of an apocalypse. Granted, the day isn’t over yet, but it’s about 6:00 am on December 22, 2012 in New Zealand, meaning that part of the planet has already moved on to the day after doomsday with nothing to show for it.

NBC News’ Cosmic Log has an entry about the apocalypse that isn’t materializing (WebCite cached article):

After years of claptrap about the Maya apocalypse on 12/21/12, the Big Day has dawned in many parts of the world. It’s daytime in China, one of the world’s hot spots for doomsday angst. So far, no solar flares have fried the earth, and no mountains have fallen into the sea. The sun will soon rise on Mexico’s ancient Maya monuments, where thousands are gathering to greet a new era.

Then what?

“I don’t think there’s going to be a herd of jaguars descending from the heavens,” said John Henderson, an anthropologist at Cornell University who specializes in the Maya world.

Archaeologists and astronomers have thoroughly debunked everything about the doomsday myth: The Maya never expected that the world would end when their Long Count calendar rolled over to the next 144,000-day cycle in 2012. Earth’s magnetic field is not going haywire. There’s no threat from the Large Hadron Collider, or the sun, or unseen planets, or the galactic plane.

That doesn’t mean promoters of, or believers in, the Maya Doomsday 2012 aren’t creatively reinterpreting their previous predictions of destruction and annihilation in the wake of the giant fizzle:

Not everything about the Big Day is doom and gloom: Tourists and New Age types have flocked to the Maya ruins of Chichen Itza to greet Friday’s dawn and the start of a new age with rituals old and new. “There is an explosion of consciousness through this,” a gray-haired Californian musician named Shambala Songstar told Reuters. “We are becoming billionaires of energy. Opening to receive more light and more joy.”

So, it seems a putative “prophecy” that a rogue planet would smash the earth to pieces … or a magnetic pole-shift would wipe out all life on the planet … or that a “galactic alignment” would cause the world to go magically insane … never came true, however, it’s still valid, because humanity has now become “billionaires of energy.”

Uh, right … whatever you say … I guess … somehow, some way, somewhere.

I suppose it would be asking too much of this assortment of nutballs, lunatics, cranks, frauds, wingnuts, ignoramuses, and con artists to apologize for having lied to people about this so-called “Armageddon.” My guess is, they will all do what so many other failed prophets have done in the past, which is to creatively re-engineer their failed predictions so as to make it appear they hadn’t failed, after all.

But in the end, their irrational games, twisted reasoning, and mangled semantics can’t change the fact that the whole “Maya prophecy” is 100% pure grade-A bullshit. A colossal steaming load heaved straight out of the back of the barn.

Photo credit: PsiCop original, quoting Friedrich Schiller.

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Ancient Mayan BookIt’s the morning of December 20, 2012 as I type this. That means the end of the world is tomorrow. Just 24 hours away! … If, that is, you believe the assortment of con artists, cranks, liars, “New Agey” buffoons, suicidal lunatics and other ignorant clowns who’ve been propagating the so-called “Maya Apocalypse” garbage for the past few years. As you should know by now, I don’t buy into it; the modern Maya don’t buy into it; and neither should you.

That doesn’t mean people aren’t getting alarmed about it. As the Los Angeles Times reports, the panic is really starting to set in (locally-cached article):

If there’s one government agency really looking forward to Dec. 22, it’s NASA.

The space agency said it has been flooded with calls and emails from people asking about the purported end of the world — which, as the doomsday myth goes, is apparently set to take place on Dec. 21, 2012.

The myth might have originated with the Mayan calendar, but in the age of the Internet and social media, it proliferated online, raising questions and concerns among hundreds of people around the world who have turned to NASA for answers.

Dwayne Brown, an agency spokesman, said NASA typically receives about 90 calls or emails per week containing questions from people. In recent weeks, he said, that number has skyrocketed — from 200 to 300 people are contacting NASA per day to ask about the end of the world.

Sadly, it seems NASA’s efforts to educate the public about the fraud that is the “Maya Doomsday 2012” just aren’t working very well — even though they’ve been trying for quite some time now.

People are still under the impression that the Maya long-count calendar will “end” tomorrow, on December 21, 2012 … despite the fact that no calendar ever “ends.” All calendars are cyclical and perpetual. The Maya calendar cannot “end,” any more than our own can. Just as our own year 2012 will end this coming December 31 and 2013 will begin the next day on January 1, what will happen tomorrow is that the Maya 13th baktun will end, and the 14th will begin.

Moreover, the idea that the Maya “prophesied” the end of the world, is ludicrous on its face. They did no such thing. But even if they had, the accuracy and credibility of their predictions are in question, when one remembers that the classic Maya had not managed to foresee the decline of their own civilization and the upheavals that accompanied it.

Oh, and to add to the confusion, it’s entirely possible the presumed date of the turn of baktun may be wrong, and it might have already occurred! But that seems beside the point.

Photo credit: Jan Vrsinsky, via Flickr.

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MeditatingDespite the fact that it’s relatively common … and mostly done in a completely non-religious way in the occidental world … there are Christians out there who can’t get over yoga. They don’t understand that, while it did originate within Hindu religious tradition, yoga can be — and almost always is — non-religious. They object to it anyway, just because they think they can.

A couple years ago I blogged about evangelical theologian R. Albert Mohler going on a tear against it, but he’s hardly alone. As the (UK) Telegraph reports, some Christians in California are suing their local school district because it plans to have yoga as part of the phys-ed curriculum (WebCite cached article):

The Encinitas Union School District plans to offer yoga instruction at all of its nine schools from January, despite a protest by parents who say they believe it will indoctrinate their children in Eastern religion.

The growing popularity of yoga is forcing US public schools to address the question of whether it is a religious practice or simply exercise.

The parents have their reasons … which are incomprehensible:

Mary Eady, a parent who has pulled her child out of yoga classes, said the pupils were learning to worship the sun and it was “inappropriate in our public schools.”

I’m not sure how or why Ms Eady thinks yoga is “sun worship.” She might be referring — perhaps — to something like Surya Namaskara, which might be called a yoga practice … however, it is, at best, a subset of yoga, and is certainly not the entirety of yoga.

It’s actually not uncommon for fundamentalist Christians to dismiss or condemn things they dislike as “sun worship.” They similarly dismiss Islam as “moon worship.” I’m not sure why, but they do.

In any event, as I blogged previously, these Christians forget that a lot of the meditative practices which are part of yoga, also happen to be traditional within Christianity … particularly in the monastic and mendicant movements. In other words, they’re condemning something that can also be found within their own religion. The meditative practices of Christian monks, friars, nuns, etc. may not be something these fundamentalist Christians are personally familiar with, but they’re no less “Christian” than any of their own rites or practices. That they’re ignorant of their own religion’s traditions, is the real problem here.

Photo credit: RelaxingMusic, via Flickr.

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Louisiana College, via the Christian Post / Dr. James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family, speaks at the chapel service for the 2012 Founder's Day observance at Louisiana College.No sooner do I get done blogging about another in a long line of pricks for Jesus using the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting to promote his fierce fundementalism, than I hear about a rather prominent Religious Rightist doing the exact same thing. This one is James Dobson, founder and former head of Focus on the Family. The Christian Post reports he thinks God allowed the shooting, because of atheists, abortions, and gay marriage (WebCite cached article):

James Dobson, the founder of Focus on the Family, said Monday that he believes the Connecticut shooting is a result of God allowing judgment to fall on America because it has turned its back on Him.

“And a lot of these things are happening around us, and somebody is going to get mad at me for saying what I am about to say right now, but I am going to give you my honest opinion: I think we have turned our back on the Scripture and on God Almighty and I think He has allowed judgment to fall upon us. I think that’s what’s going on,” Dobson told listeners of his “Dr. James Dobson’s Family Talk” program.

It’s the same tired litany: atheists, abortion and gays are to blame for anything bad, and the country isn’t Christian-fundamentalist enough. They’re the reason for earthquakes, droughts, crime, hurricanes, tornados, and … just about everything.

Well, too fucking bad, Dobbie. You don’t run the country. You aren’t getting your way any more. And the country is growing increasingly secular, so it’s not very likely you’ll be able to get your way any time soon. Wah wah wah, you fucking crybaby. Grow the hell up, fercryinoutloud.

Photo credit: Louisiana College, via the Christian Post.

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Old Paths Baptist Church, Fayetteville, TNMilitant Christians must still be in a state of elation over the school shooting in Newtown, CT last Friday. It seems they can’t — or won’t — shut up about it. They keep wielding it like a club, repeatedly using it to pound their sour, vicious beliefs into people, and they keep setting it forth as “proof” that they’re right. As the Raw Story reports, the latest example is a pastor, Sam Morris, who’s had enough of “government schools” and blames the massacre on a number of bogeymen (locally-cached article):

A Tennessee pastor on Sunday told his congregation that the number of mass shooting were escalating because of schools were government “mind-control centers” that taught “junk about evolution” and “how to be a homo.” …

“Why do you still send your kids to the governmental schools?” the pastor asked the congregation. “What’s behind this shooting that we saw on Dec. 14 in Newtown, Connecticut and the other one’s like it? What’s going on. Well, number one, deception… I got news for you, when you kicked God out of schools, you’re going to be judged for that.”

Morris insisted that “humanism” in schools taught Lanza that he was God and “he can just go blow away anybody he wants.”

“When I got in high school, man, I started learning all this kingdom, phylum stuff, all this junk about evolution,” he recalled. “And I want to tell you what evolution teaches — here’s the bottom line — that you’re an animal. That’s what it teaches. So, you’re an animal, you can act like an animal. Amen.”

“So, here you are, you’re an animal and you’re a god! So, what are we going to teach you about in school? Well, we can teach you about sex, we can teach you how to rebel to you parents, we can teach you how to be a homo! But we’re definitely not going to teach you about the word of God! Amen.”

The Raw Story thoughtfully provides audio of the pastor’s remarks, which you can listen to right here:

The picture that headlines this post (view full size) is taken from the Web site of the pastor’s church — Old Paths Baptist Church in Fayetteville, TN — and it illustrates, better than anything else I can think of, their insane obsession with the Bible and its text. Yes, these people are idolators; they worship their Bibles. It’s absurd … but it’s not uncommon among fundamentalists.

Photo credit: Old Paths Baptist Church Web site.

Hat tip: Why Evolution is True.

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Practical: The bunkers have escape tunnels with one sided hatches which can only open from the inside, as well as sealed contamination rooms between the entrance and living areas / Atlassurvivalshelters.Com, via (UK) Daily Mail.Here in Connecticut, a lot of folks aren’t likely to notice the passing of “the Maya Doomsday,” for obvious reasons. But elsewhere, there’s still a lot of interest. To the point where there are companies making living off this delusional non-event. The (UK) Daily Mail reports on folks who bought bomb shelters they think will help them ride out this coming worldwide catastrophe (WebCite cached article):

If you’re seriously concerned about the world ending on Friday, then this could be just the ticket.

Ron Hubbard has built a luxurious underground bomb-proof shelter in Montebello, California, with a leather sofa, plasma TV and wooden flooring — just in case the Mayans’ predictions come true.

The civilisation’s Long Count calendar which began 5,125 years ago in 3113 B.C. ends on December 21, 2012 — sparking fears among a small group of people that a major catastrophe could happen.

That “the Maya” never actually “predicted” any such thing, doesn’t seem to matter to folks willing to plunk down thousands of dollars on underground shelters.

Mr Hubbard manufactures hi-tech underground ‘recreational bomb shelters’ — and has seen his business boom from selling one a month to one a day in the past year.

The luxurious bomb, nuclear and chemical weapon-proof bunkers are kitted out with beds, kitchens, flushing toilets and even fireplaces — and sell for an average price of £46,000.

Just goes to show a lot of people in this world have more money than brains. I particularly love the fact that these people don’t seem to want to live after the Maya Apocalypse without their precious HD TVs.

As always I will point out that there will be no “doomsday” on December 21, 2012 … not a Mayan one, nor any other kind. The Maya long-count calendar will not “end” on that date, because calendars are by definition cyclical and perpetual, and they never “end.” See 2012 Hoax and this page at NASA if you really wish to understand the fraud behind the so-called “Maya Doomsday.”

Photo credit: Atlassurvivalshelters.Com, via the Daily Mail.

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YHWHOnce again, in the wake of a horrific crime, believers around the country are asking the question, “Where was God when this was going on?” That they’d be doing so — yet again — is not really unusual or strange. It’s an old trope within the Abrahamic religious tradition. CNN is asking it (cached), and so is Hartford FAVS (cached) … among many others. I blogged on this very issue after the Aurora, CO massacre.

Part of my remarks back in July were:

The question, “Where God was during the Aurora massacre?” is a direct consequence of “the problem of evil” which lies at the philosophical heart of the Abrahamic faiths.

Elsewhere I’ve devoted an entire Web page to this particular dilemma. To keep it brief, the problem lies in the fact that the Abrahamic faiths believe in a creator deity which is simultaneously omnipotent (i.e. having the power to do anything s/he/it wants), omniscient (i.e. knowing everything that can be known: past, present, and future alike), and benevolent (i.e. wanting there to be no suffering on the part of anyone). In spite of this supposed combination of traits, though, we know that this deity’s creation contains suffering … a lot of it. Over the centuries many theodicies have been proposed to explain how this presumed creator deity can have all three of these traits yet still there is a lot of suffering.

Check out that blog entry, for the rest.

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons.

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