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General discussion, odds and ends

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  • Closed Accounts Posts: 114 ✭✭ KCF


    ISAW wrote:
    How about a critique of the "say no to DHMO" people or their counterparts? I think they have produced a wonderfully presented case with their "DHMO the silent killer" stance. I can't find any logical errors or scientific errors in their argument. The whole cultural signifigance of the campaign runs very deep and one can argue provokes a debate on the value of science and scepticism.

    Here is a link
    http://www.dhmo.org/facts.html
    That is simply hilarious. But at least the public are waking up to the dangers - 80% support a ban.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 114 ✭✭ KCF


    robindch wrote:
    Speaking of which, what's the latest on the periodical column idea? Has anybody moved forward with that?
    My friend who is an editor of Village magazine has an outstanding offer to assist in the putting together of a 'pitch'. If anybody wants to pursue it, pm me and we can arrange a meeting. Alternatively, if there is an upcoming ISS committee meeting or some other meeting in 'meat-space' I'll come along and explain the proposal in an environment that is less likely to lead to 'he's an anonymous oddball on the internet and could easily be a nutter' worries. ;)


  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 24,292 Mod ✭✭✭✭ robindch


    Not sure if anybody ever reads the Arab News, a Saudi-based English language newspaper, but occasionally, it publishes possibly unintentionally interesting insights into life under a religious administration. Today in Jeddah, for example, 1,750 people were rounded up by the cops for engaging in activities including "immoral practices and black magic" (see the article here), while last March, a guy was sentenced to four years in the slammer for casting spells upon a female student (see here). However, belief in black magick has its critics too -- see the last paragraph of this article.

    Anyone else been reading some of the lesser-known outposts of the world's press recently?


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 114 ✭✭ KCF


    Perhaps the most extraordinary purveyors of nonsense that I have ever encountered, the maharishi and their global country of world peace:

    "Inishraher Island in Clew Bay to become a Maharishi Capital of the Global Country of World Peace"

    I believe that this is run by the same people who brought us the Natural Law Party. I am still amazed that they can get away with such blatant nonsense for money. They want to build a peace palace in Clew Bay, which will bring world peace, um somehow. Send your cheques to the maharishi....


  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 7,142 ✭✭✭ ISAW


    KCF wrote:
    Perhaps the most extraordinary purveyors of nonsense that I have ever encountered, the maharishi and their global country of world peace:
    [snip]
    I am still amazed that they can get away with such blatant nonsense for money. They want to build a peace palace in Clew Bay, which will bring world peace, um somehow.

    Only part of it is silly. I mean is everyone believed in world peace and believed if we all did yogic flying then that would bring about world peace then we would have world peace. However the yogic flying would not have changed the laws of physics. People may believe the laws had changed but a fair test could measure that they hadn't.


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  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 7,142 ✭✭✭ ISAW


    Just listening on the radio there about Cabalism. A talk on on sunday 1:30 in the Westbury. The guy described it as (paraphrasing) a philosophy of life which can be applied to any religion. he also added the argument from Authority my additions in brackets e.g Plato (a pagan) and Newton( a heretic) studied the kaballah. Catholic priests (maybe ones that do irish dancing at the Olympics) and muslims ( maybe with pilots licences?) are in his London class.

    anyway I was wondering about this since I know nothing about it but have been involved in having a go at religious cults in the past. When he mentioned it was a system of describing everything and how it relates to us I thought we have science for that. Problem is science changed his philosophy didnt! It all sounds a bit theory of everything which explains everything as well sort of philosophy. Science or religion ios not so bold in their statements.

    Anyone know anything about or going to check it out?


  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 24,292 Mod ✭✭✭✭ robindch


    hmm.... the kabbalah turned up in the news last year, when Madonna announced her conversion, or whatever you want to call it; her interest, perhaps.

    In short, it seems to be a 'Judaism meets scientology', roll-yer-own, whatever yer-havin' yerself pentagram + magic spells kinda thing. Looking through the nonsense available on the topic on the internet, it's difficult to pin it down to anything specific at all, as many pages devote themselves to its long history and political infights + holymen, rather than anything specific about the belief itself. Wiki's page at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kabbalah gives a general overview of the confusion and the rich variety of hebrew words which the adherent must learn in order to make headway through its corpulent anad rather dreary mass. The lads at 72.com will sell you apparently kabbalah-related feel-good literature while these guys have produced an FAQ, though having skipped through it, I have to say that I'm none the wiser about the mystery of the qu'ab'Allah, or whatever the blue blazes it is.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 114 ✭✭ KCF


    The basis of kaballah seems to be the idea that there is 'no reason to be guilty for anything', with a lot of esoteric mystic bits thrown on top. This is probably why it is so popular amongst self-obsessed hedonistic superstars searching for some meaning in life. It allows them to arrive at whatever 'spiritual' insights they want without questioning anything about themselves or their own lives - in return for a nice donation of course.

    New Age mysticism is a good racket. There's lots of rich angsty people out there who are looking for spiritual affirmation.


  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 24,292 Mod ✭✭✭✭ robindch


    > arrive at whatever 'spiritual' insights they want
    > without questioning anything about themselves


    ...which, of course, was the whole thing behind Douglas Adam's '42' and the resulting search for the appropriate question :)

    Did anybody see the film?


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 137 ✭✭ Yossie


    Just thought I'd share with you something which gave me a smile this morning.

    I googled transubstantiation and the first link was to the skepdic.com online dictionary. :)
    transubstantiation
    Transubstantiation is the alleged process whereby the bread and wine offered up at the communion service has its substance changed to that of the body, blood, soul and divinity of Jesus Christ while its accidents appear to be that of bread and wine. What looks like, tastes like, etc., bread and wine is actually another substance altogether. How this happens is a mystery and defies logic. How it can happen would require a miracle.
    Transubstantiation is also known as the doctrine of the real presence.

    Btw I saw the film. Really good. Particularly the previously mentioned mass/church sence with John Mal*. :)


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  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 7,142 ✭✭✭ ISAW


    Yossie wrote:
    I googled transubstantiation and the first link was to the skepdic.com online dictionary. :)

    As regards "real" presence. the various differences in Christian Churches are on "real" "substantial" and "permanent". For example Angllicans might send communion to a sick person but they would send a priest with it to re concecrate it when they arrive. Roman catholics would believe it remains communion and does not require re consecration. calvinists would take the hosts after a service and pour them back into a big bucket for the next service.


  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 24,292 Mod ✭✭✭✭ robindch


    Did anybody see the great work performed by the self-proclaimed "most powerful unconscious medium alive today" and "possibly the best-known healer of the past 2000 years", aka "John of God"/"João de Deus", formerly farmer João Teixeira de Faria, of Brazil?

    A Guarniad filmcrew lead by Maggie O'Kane -- who did some of the most memorable reporting on the Bosnian War, if anybody remembers it -- headed down to Brazil to follow the story of some terminally ill Irish people and found out how they were "healed" by this guy. Though in the case of the Irish people, no healing was actually carried out and the brain tumor guy still had his brain tumor (removed by a surgeon in Ireland), the muscular dystrophy woman still had her disease, though her sister, the alcoholic, had given up the bottle and taken to propagating JdD instead.

    Amongst the treaments on offer were sticking a scissors up you nose (remember Ian Rowland?), apparent operations on the scalp + eye lens with a kitchen knife, and lots of blood and guts of the "psychic surgery" type which James Randi demo'd on video last year in the RDS.

    The Skeptics' Dictionary has this entry on the guy and apart from one wide-eyed elderly irish medical man with a goatee whose name I missed coz I flicked over halfway through, no skeptics were consulted and the whole farrago was soft-soaped from beginning to end.

    I have the half that I saw available on video if anybody's interested.


  • Moderators, Arts Moderators Posts: 3,522 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Myksyk


    You know what? ... I knew it was on and couldn't even bring myself to look at it. I've read a bit about this guy on Randi's site and I just knew what I'd be letting myself in for!


  • Moderators, Arts Moderators Posts: 3,522 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Myksyk


    Look out for The Times Weekender section tomorrow. Paul O'Donoghue has a critical piece on this programme and old J of G.


  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 24,292 Mod ✭✭✭✭ robindch


    'Christian' fundies are spreading throughout much of the developing world to the benefit of nobody but the fundies' leaders. See this short photo essay of a guy in Nigeria, who may or may not have been connected with Pastor Benny Hinn (any relation to Benny Hill? why do these guys all have weird names?), fresh back from Nigeria and spreading the good word there. And collecting lots of money, I need hardly add, hence the heated argument which blew up with the tour organizers.

    Anybody got any suggestions as to why the charismatic/pentecostalists are getting absolutely nowhere in Ireland? I put it down to a reticent, and faintly heathen, Irish public who are too embarassed to stick their hands in the air and can't gyrate in time to the plonking music. Any more ideas?


  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 24,292 Mod ✭✭✭✭ robindch


    At last, the kind beacon of humanity and wisdom and all that's good in the world, currently resident in 1600 Pennsylvania Ave, Washington, has come out from his bunker long enough to tell us all The Truth:

    http://news.independent.co.uk/world/americas/article303559.ece

    One can only wonder what the unfortunate Mr Marburger must be feeling like.

    Praise the Lord!


  • Moderators, Arts Moderators Posts: 3,522 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Myksyk


    Just can't make up my mind whether it's a good thing for science for ID to have Bush pushing its agenda or a bad thing!!! Good editorial in the Times today on this.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 5,210 ✭✭✭ meditraitor


    tumbleweed_parachilna.jpg

    anybody Home? Irish sceptics. Is this forum on its last legs,


  • Registered Users Posts: 424 ✭✭ Obni


    From The Onion
    Evangelical Scientists Refute Gravity With New 'Intelligent Falling' Theory
    KANSAS CITY, KS
    As the debate over the teaching of evolution in public schools continues, a new controversy over the science curriculum arose Monday in this embattled Midwestern state. Scientists from the Evangelical Center For Faith-Based Reasoning are now asserting that the long-held "theory of gravity" is flawed, and they have responded to it with a new theory of Intelligent Falling.


  • Registered Users Posts: 424 ✭✭ Obni


    anybody Home? Irish sceptics. Is this forum on its last legs,

    This forum seemed to be populated by academics and students, for whom August is a time to relax and unwind away from the stresses and strains of browsing forums when they're supposed to be working. They'll be back (I hope) come early September, as full of P&V as ever.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 424 ✭✭ Obni


    Anyone know whether tickets for the RDS Richard Wiseman/Simon Singh lecture need to be pre-booked, or do you just turn up on the night?


  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 24,292 Mod ✭✭✭✭ robindch


    A group of our careful friends in the local Paranormal forum are heading off down the country tomorrow to Charleville Castle near Tullamore to do a little bit of light ghost hunting with casette recorders, still and video cameras, protoplasmic wet-wipes, flux capacitors, dilithium crystals, and whatever other paranormal paraphenalia and gear is usual on these trips. Unfortunately, I'll be in Cork for the weekend, so I won't be able to join anybody willing to spend an hour or two under a bush behind the castle, with sounds-effects tape, chilly-air generator and flashlight, but if anybody else is on for it, do feel free to write a report when yiz get back :)

    The last time that intrepid forum dispatched a team of redshirts was a few nights back, when a group spent a while scouting about the Sally Gap. Well, Things Were Seen (lots of black, and some blurry white and red things) and An Anomily (sic) was duly recorded. See the short writeup and photos here.


  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 7,142 ✭✭✭ ISAW


    ISAW wrote:

    I discover the above links are now dead. but one can locate the chomskybot at:
    http://rubberducky.org/cgi-bin/chomsky.pl


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 137 ✭✭ Yossie


    Great letter in the Irish Times today on the churchs "mumbo-jumbo", such as exorcism, limbo, churching etc. Just need to add one or two more to that list, say God for example, and the chursh might be worth listening to :)

    "....also welcomes the abolition of the equally barbaric ritual of "churching" and the consignment of the doctrine of limbo to, well, limbo. But why stop there?"

    "What a pity all this mumbo-jumbo was foisted on our benighted ancestors by Fr Good's fellow churchmen who lacked his enlightened theological views"

    Fairplay Mr. JOHN A MURPHY from Cork


  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 24,292 Mod ✭✭✭✭ robindch


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    When: 8pm, Wed, Feb 1, 2005
    Location: Gandon Suite South, Davenport Hotel, Merrion Square, Dublin 2

    Professor Crown is a Consultant Medical Oncologist at St. Vincent's University Hospital and St. Luke's/St. Anne's Hospital. He will examine current progress in the understanding and treatment of cancer and will refer to the many quack therapies that are foisted upon cancer patients and their families.

    €3 for members, €6 for non-members.


  • Moderators, Arts Moderators Posts: 3,522 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Myksyk


    Anyone see the "Generation Mumbo Jumbo" article in The Dubliner's April issue addressing the rise of gobbledegook in Ireland ... a breath of welcome fresh air in medialand ... even quoted the ISS!


  • Registered Users Posts: 424 ✭✭ Obni


    http://www.theonion.com/content/node/38575

    Quotes from article
    "following the 1997 publication of physicist Stephen Hawking's breakthrough paper, "Lorentz Variation And Gravitation Is Just About The Hardest Friggin' Thing In The Known Universe."

    "To be a scientist, you have to learn all this weird stuff, like how many molecules are in a proton,"


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 112 ✭✭ skeptic griggsy


    :eek: One can tell that we have a moral decline, since we are not fighting over transubstantiation versus consubstantiation! Gee, what has the world come to?:p


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 1 Corozon333


    the number 333 does not mean "Expression" not that I have found anyway. In numerology it represents the "Ascendant Masters are with you". Angels of great power who agree with you and are there to help guide you. In Greek Grematica it means " Hope" but the most interesting meaning I have found was from Aleister Crowley who used Grematica to eh ..discover? the meaning to represent the Demoness Chorozon which he changed from Corozon to make it fit better I think. This Demoness is some sort of lord of the Abyss (and yes I mean Lord she is oft represented as male) The Abyss being a Cesspool of psychic waste (anger fear obsession doubt) and the number 333 represents a person about to cross her domain (The Abyss) a very difficult task by the way. This person may transcend to an entire higher level of conciousness if they succeed or...apparently be destroyed if they fail.
    333 in the bible represents the trinity and while it is indeed half of 666 it is not representing the anti-christ version 1.5 it is the nearly the opposite.
    There is another popular "numerology" where it represents some silly thing about angels as your co-pilot meh I never pay much attention to modern "Numerology" scientists use the term Numerology to mean fake science because the methods used in numerology are very suspect as math can pretty much create any number combination you could ever imagine and obviously some of those are going to be coincidental.


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  • Moderators, Arts Moderators Posts: 3,522 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Myksyk


    Corozon333 wrote: »
    the number 333 does not mean "Expression" not that I have found anyway. In numerology it represents the "Ascendant Masters are with you". Angels of great power who agree with you and are there to help guide you. In Greek Grematica it means " Hope" but the most interesting meaning I have found was from Aleister Crowley who used Grematica to eh ..discover? the meaning to represent the Demoness Chorozon which he changed from Corozon to make it fit better I think. This Demoness is some sort of lord of the Abyss (and yes I mean Lord she is oft represented as male) The Abyss being a Cesspool of psychic waste (anger fear obsession doubt) and the number 333 represents a person about to cross her domain (The Abyss) a very difficult task by the way. This person may transcend to an entire higher level of conciousness if they succeed or...apparently be destroyed if they fail.
    333 in the bible represents the trinity and while it is indeed half of 666 it is not representing the anti-christ version 1.5 it is the nearly the opposite.
    There is another popular "numerology" where it represents some silly thing about angels as your co-pilot meh I never pay much attention to modern "Numerology" scientists use the term Numerology to mean fake science because the methods used in numerology are very suspect as math can pretty much create any number combination you could ever imagine and obviously some of those are going to be coincidental.


    Em ... Whatever you say :confused::confused::confused:


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