According to bloke who wears the silly hats and red shoes, historians have got it all wrong.
No donkeys, asses, cows, sheep or even ducks were really there on the night of J.C’s birth – and then to top it all off, apparently the angels didn’t have a singing part either. “They just talked” is what his holy eminence has apparently proclaimed after years of personal ‘research’ in his latest book.
Well fine. As he even said himself – it doesn’t really matter as it’s just part of the tradition of Christmas. Heck we even have our lovely angel who looks suspiciously like Marilyn Monroe on top of the Xmas tree at our place – we just take it one step further and include Jesus and his (‘not really’ parents Mary & Joseph) as part of the traditional make believe too. I mean, most Christians have accepted that the figurines available in all the shops with lily-white anglo-saxon complexions are also pretty silly considering their actual nationalities and racial group they came from – but again, it doesn’t matter. It’s just tradition and a (really pagan) celebration that brings families together for the usual fighting, swearing and consumption of far too much food and drink once a year after all. I reckon us Aussies should embrace the thanksgiving celebration so popular in the States and forget the traditional Xmas feast and just go to the beach with the family instead. The usual turkey, ham and roast veg lunch is ridiculous in our mid summer climate anyway.
Of more interest is the popes genuine (I guess) attempts to quell the racial bigotry by those hard liners in the catholic church who blame the Jews for every misery in the world including Jesus’s death. Well, at least he’s done one good thing this year.
Kind of pales into insignificance when you consider the blood on his hands for the criminal anti-condom stance he still insists is a good thing.
Tell the millions of Aids sufferers and their families in Africa about the cows, cattle & angels controversy and see what they have to say…
Where is Charlie Pickering when we needed him? I bet he wouldn’t have copped out like Andrew Rochford did tonight on The Project. The segment was about ‘mediums’ and ‘psychics’ (failed) attempts to ‘assist’ police and relatives to locate missing people here in Australia. The embarrassed looks on all the show’s hosts said it all really but political correctness won out in the end and Rochford even said something like ‘We should clarify that (the mediums name) doesn’t accept any money from (the family holding out hope)… she is assisting them without charge…’
She might not be, but she is enabling the family to hang on to the ridiculous notion that their dead son is communicating with this person. Sorry, but I have no patience for this nonsense.
Charlie has poked fun at religions in the past including pretend ones like Scientology and I can’t see him missing the chance to add a few choice lines after the ridiculous piece was shown.
Come on. This is Australia after all, not the U.S and I’m proud to say the fastest growing (non) belief in this country is atheism. I’m a big fan of the show even though it targets a much younger crowd than I belong to, but wishy-washy segments annoy the crap out of me and I suspect many other viewers.
I understand that there are thousands of (usually female, sorry if that sounds sexist) people who want to believe this stuff. Many, who while professing to have ‘no religion’ still cling to the possibility of life after death and the chance that they can talk to dead relatives just one more time. Honestly, there is no evidence of this being possible… and I mean NO EVIDENCE, regardless of what the cold readers and charlatans would have you believe. I think that a percentage of them actually do believe that they have this ability, but most don’t. So what does that mean? Simply that they make a living out of the grief of others and that is very wrong both ethically and legally.
Bring on the age of reason. We are getting there slowly, but human imagination, as wonderful as it is in many other ways, is holding us back from it… Sigh.
I have been blogging here for some time now and this morning I was looking back at some of my earlier posts, in particular those with video content. I re watched the excellent TED talk by Michael Shermer in this post and decided to look for other lectures by this fascinating man and stumbled across the talk called Why Darwin Matters, below.
After watching it in it’s entirety (set aside an hour and a coffee) I soon became aware that this one video actually summarises my stance on science, religion and education almost perfectly. Watch this and you will - or should - get it. He uses humour, is able to put some of the most complex topics into plain english and has such an easy to follow way of speaking. Michael Shermer is one of my favourite lecturers.
If you have time, I’d suggest you watch this. A huge advantage of YouTube is the ability to pause a talk if an interruption occurs!
Let’s give religion a break – to be honest, it’s a dead issue as far as I’m concerned. There’s enough words written here (and linked to) to provide ample evidence to anyone with an open mind that all gods are man made.
Skepticism interests me more now and the effort needs to be made to debunk and ridicule, where necessary, the kind of silly thinking that humans waste so much time on during their lives. I’ve touched on spiritualism and mediums in other posts – this time I’ll take on the UFO ‘phenomena’.
Firstly, I’m 100% convinced that other sentient life exists in the universe. If you consider the trillions of suns and billions of planets that exist ‘out there’, the odds that our earth is the only one that life and then intelligent life has evolved on, is frankly ridiculous. In our galaxy alone there are around 100 billion stars and there are billions of other GALAXIES – you do the math. But a couple of points are often dismissed by those who believe that we have been visited by aliens is – distance, or the reality of getting from one star or galaxy to another.
Our Milky Way galaxy is around 100,000 light years in diameter. Think about that for a while – even if we were somehow able to travel at close to the speed of light (even half the speed of light would be near impossible, but I’m talking theory here) from one side of our galaxy to the other and somehow avoid all the ‘stuff’ in between – the voyage would take over 100,000 years. It is possible that there are stars with planets that support life much closer of course, but the immense distances between such planets makes it highly unlikely that the kind of space travel depicted in TV shows like Star Trek and the like can or has ever happened.
Star Trek fans will of course know all about ‘warp drive’ – the mythical means of somehow travelling faster than the speed of light. Possible? Well, I’m no expert but I can only say that it involves somehow getting around the laws of space/time that so far just isn’t possible. If it is possible then I would have thought that many other sentient races would already have announced their presence in far less ambiguous means than crop circles or fuzzy, out of focus shots and video of UFO’s, but more on that later.
Our best means of discovering other sentient beings is, of course, radio. Radio waves which travel at the speed of light (or very close to it) have presumably been broadcast all over the universe for thousands of years – if we assume that this means of communication is used by other advanced beings. So why haven’t we encountered any so far? It comes down to money, luck and distance really. If we were to spend less than a thousandth of the military budgets spent by all the governments of the earth on a serious radio search of the universe, I reckon we’d probably find we aren’t alone within a few decades or less. SETI might get lucky and happen to check a particular solar system and ‘hear’ signals of intelligent origin – but more likely the reason we haven’t discovered any so far is – distance.
We have only had the ability to listen for just over 100 years – which of course equates to 100 light years in distance. So we could not currently be aware of any civilisation that is further away than this, just as any civilisation that has been listening for us would have to be closer than this to have heard OUR radio signals.
I believe that we will one day discover (hopefully soon – I fantasise sometimes that it might be in my lifetime) that we are not alone.
That will be an amazing day for the inhabitants of this planet, but even assuming the best case scenario we can imagine, that they inhabit our galaxy and are our close neighbours (ie: no more than 1000 light years from us) unless the laws of the universe can somehow be modified – the fact is we will never be visited by them or visit them ourselves. The ‘communication’ will simply be one-sided. We will know they are out there but have no practical way of telling them they have been heard.
Finally, to return to the ‘evidence’ for UFO’s and aliens. It might be useful to compare this with the evidence for supernatural beings (gods). Quite simply – there isn’t any credible evidence of either. Do you really think that another intelligent species that has encountered us would make no effort to communicate in as unambiguous manner as possible with us?
No, I’m sorry you UFO-olgists (and I’m talking about those that are ardent ‘believers’ rather than those who investigate the phenomena but keep an open mind) are as crazy to me as fundamentalist christians, scientologists and mediums.
Of course, can you imagine all the crazies that will come out of the woodwork when the first radio signals are heard? One good thing is that it might divert the planet’s inhabitants away from fighting over who’s imaginary friend is real…
As I was updating the random youtube videos today (sorry it’s been so long!), I was watching the Michael Shermer video below and a thought suddenly struck me. If evolution and natural selection in particular are working as we know they do - will humans eventually evolve to lose the need for irrational beliefs?
What I mean is, will humans who prefer to believe in the power of prayer over medical science or vaccination eventually die out due to their beliefs - or am I being too hopeful here? As Shermer discusses in the TED video, our brains have evolved with something he calls ‘patternicity’ that was very useful when our survival depended on it working correctly. I’d argue that because we no longer need this as much as we did, then possibly we may evolve to lose or have it greatly reduced - and this might be beneficial to the species.
Too hopeful? Maybe, but we all know that if an organism can have a very slight advantage over another because of a modified trait then eventually that trait will become dominant.
Might take a few thousand more years, but you never know. Imagine a world filled with ‘Hitchens’…