29 November 2009

Global Warming Cartoon

27 November 2009

Does it Bug You Too...?

At the risk of being a complete pedant (a title which I have not earned) have you noticed how many people are using the word ‘loose’ instead of ‘lose’?

Each time I see it I cringe. Why has ‘loose’ become the new ‘lose’? Does it bug you too?

22 November 2009

The Qualifications of a Shaman

This time of the year seems to be an opportune time for people who profess to be experts or 'special proponents' of supernaturalism to crawl out of the woodwork and make more money. People want to know what the next year will bring. Will they find a new love? or will their current relationship improve or their finances or career take a turn for the better. Who else to seek advice from but someone who appears to have special powers and insight? A shaman, priest/ess, obeah wo/man, psychic, faith healer - whatever they choose to call themselves. They fall into the same category.

Leslie A White, a cultural anthropologist wrote a fascinating book: 'The Evolution of Culture - The Development of Civilisation to the Fall of Rome' (1959), (sadly out of print), where he explains the cultural purpose of these people. Here is an excerpt:
"...Let us turn first to the qualifications of a shaman.
 Traffic with the supernatural world is by its very nature mysterious. Extraordinary abilities are therefore required or are at least an asset. Epileptic fits, trances, hallucination, and hysteria are mysterious experiences, and hence eminently suited to communication with the supernatural world. Dreams during trances are interpereted as visits to the land of the spirits; fits and hysteria are states produced when a spirit seizes and possess the body the shaman. This conception is preserved in our word "epilepsy" (Gr. epi, upon; lambano, seize). Hence neurotic, abnormal, and unstable individuals are better qualified for the profession of shamanism than are normal and stable persons. As Tylor long ago observed: '...In all quarters of the world the oracle-priests and diviners by familiar spirits seem really diseased in body and mind...'  More recently, Lowie has commented upon the abnormal character of the shaman: 'From Africa and Oceania, from Siberia and Tierra del Fuego we thus have evidence that shamans are either abnormal or at least temporarily capable of passing into abnormal mental states.' The advantage of abnormality in trafficking with the supernatural world is further indicated by the widespread use of drugs, liquor, fasting, self-torture, and solitude to produce temporary pathologic states as a means lor a condition of supernatural experience. Thus we see that some individuals are better qualified to become shamans than others."

17 November 2009

Quote of the Week: Adolf Hitler

"I have followed [the Church] in giving our party program the character of unalterable finality, like the Creed. The Church has never allowed the Creed to be interfered with. It is fifteen hundred years since it was formulated, but every suggestion for its amendment, every logical criticism, or attack on it, has been rejected. The Church has realized that anything and everything can be built up on a document of that sort, no matter how contradictory or irreconcilable with it.
The faithful will swallow it whole, so long as logical reasoning is never allowed to be brought to bear on it."

                                        - Adolf Hitler, from Rauschning, The Voice of Destruction, pp. 239-40

11 November 2009

Is the Universe Fine Tuned for Life?

Although I write about religion and atheism and so on - sometimes I am bored by the idea of people believing in the supernatural. There's not much I can do nor want to do to change minds.

My previous post caused a bit of a stir as I stated my views about the hysteria surrounding climate change, but I chanced upon this video which I would like you to watch and let us all know what you think.

06 November 2009

Carl Sagan - 'Pale Blue Dot'

 If ever we need to put things into perspective...

04 November 2009

Panic, Panic: Global Warning

Film poster for An Inconvenient TruthImage via Wikipedia
Am I the only one who views the hysteria about 'climate change' as nothing more than a cynical way for people in power to make money whilst scaring us either to death or to spend some money?
I don't buy it and I couldn't care less about the whole issue.
Humans think there is something special about us, don't we? 'We were created in God's image'....blah,blah,blah. The fact is Earth has been through tremendous climatic changes for millions of years and no doubt will continue to do so long after we cease to inhabit this planet. I am not worried about this overpopulated planet and I don't think you should be either - at least not to the extent that we are going to panic about the future. Who cares if in 20 years time sea levels are going to rise? Big deal.

Harsh, maybe, but I am not going to rush around buying carbon credits (what a classic con!) or switch to solar panels (tried that for 2 years and hated it, plus you need a bank of batteries which themselves are not 'eco-friendly') - so Al Gore won prizes for 'An Inconvenient Truth' which should be taken with a pound of salt - this man (and his ilk) makes money from scaring us into making choices which fatten the wallets of himself and his cronies.
Yes, our focus should be on creating new alternative sources of energy which are easy for people to use but until that time I will continue in the way I always have. This means I don't fear death and therefore whatever happens happens. It's called 'shit happens'.

You don't have to agree with me, but you could let me know what you think!

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02 November 2009

Leap of Faith