Aliens or Aiens? Oh, MSNBC….

Everyone fudges up once in a while.  A couple of times I let a typo slip into a title of a blog post, and boy is it embarrassing.  But I’m just a mere blogger no one reads (well, no one except you, oh dear reader!).  One would think an organization like MSNBC would be more on top of these things.  I guess they are just as prone to make mistakes as the rest of us!

Whoops!  Incidentally, this sort of article is not to MSNBC:

http://tomverenna.wordpress.com/2011/01/10/would-alien-life-change-your-views/

Hatfields and McCoys….Aliens?

H/T Joel Watts on Facebook.

It is a legitimate question based upon their normal programming…

(See here)

Therefore Aliens…

io9 had an interesting article circulating today about alien abductees, their portraits (themselves and the images they have drawn of their encounters) and the stories they tell.  The stories seem to be very personal, but that is where my sympathy ends.  Clearly there is something wrong here; either a mental issue or a craving for attention…something is happening here.  The stories don’t make any sense, they are all different, and in the areas where they are the same they are most likely reflections upon stereotypical subjects (note how some of the aliens look identical–why?  Because they are portrayed that way in movies, television shows, comic books, and so on).  Here is the intro to the article (about the journalist/photographer):

Alien abductions make for a good sci-fi plot devices, but it’s easy to forget that we walk among people — in the real world — who claim to have been visited, beamed up and probed by little gray men.

New York photographer Steven Hirsch, 63, has met many of these people face to face. He visited this year’s International UFO Conference to meet, photograph and interview people who avow close contact with extraterrestrials.

Here are some of the examples of the stories (click through to see the faces and drawings that go with them):

Jeffrey

“It happened eleven years ago in St. Louis, Missouri at an exotic dancing bar. I went in there to just have a few drinks and look at some strip-girls dance around the pole. And this guy comes in out of nowhere and he was black in color but he had a very strange voice. And he knew things about me that no-one in the bar knew. Like how many trips I took. He knew things I was doing. He knew when my parents were going to die and what they were going to die of. Then he tells me he’s here to abduct me and replace forty nine chips [in my body].”

Sabastien

“It looked like a little kid except it had big eyes, it looked just like a little kid except it had big eyes, small nose and a little mouth. Albert EInstein was right about something. How there’s different dimensions and different realities and stuff. I’m thinking they went through time if you will you know. If they’re out there if they know all this and they have all this technology and all this stuff, what are the odds of them coming back you know?”

Vivian

“They said they had been coming to me ever since I was a child and they were not doing anything against my will and I used to be one of them and I had agreed to be this bridge between the pleiades. They had been teaching me things that I was supposed to bring through and teach to others here on Earth and I hadn’t been doing a very good job of it. So they were giving me a review of what they’d taught me. They were telling me things about cleaning up the environment, being nicer to each other and having more brotherly love. And also the big thing that was important to them was getting rid of nuclear power plants. They said it was contaminating the earth. And it also had the potential for harming them too.”

Jeanie

“I awakened in the middle of the night with feeling this weird heat down around my sexual area […] I could feel these long skinny bony fingers drawing circles on my right ovary and I felt the paralysis and I thought, ‘Oh shoot. they really are here. Oh, my God.’ I’m not sure how I saw them. If it was, you know, tuning in and seeing them on what level. So when I’m realizing they’re with me the energy feels different. It was totally unnerving to me to recognize that they really were visiting with me and I could see there was a smaller Grey on my right hand side and a slightly taller one on my left and I remember telepathing to the Grey, ‘Please stop doing that, I don’t want you to touch me.’ I asked him three times.”

via Cat People, Strippers, And Telekinesis: The Portraits And Testimonials Of Alien Abductees.

Oh no, don’t be fooled.  There are plenty more…

South Park on the History Channel, Ancient Aliens, and the Public Understanding of History

South Park spoofed the History Channel’s series Ancient Aliens and I have to say, it was both hilarious and scary.  South Park has always been on the front lines (so to speak) of social commentary and satire.  Spoofing silly beliefs is nothing new for the show.  A few years ago it spoofed Scientology and before that it spoofed Mormonism.  Both episodes were extremely entertaining but it showed a side of humanity that frightens me.   In both of these earlier episodes, it explained what these two groups actually believe (and what they believe is just nonsense; see for yourself and watch the videos and then do a little research to verify).  Needless to say, the show Ancient Aliens has decent enough ratings and a large enough following to scare me as well.

But this particular episode is interesting.  As I’ve said before, those who believe that there were ancient astronauts from outer space who came to earth–and that there is evidence for this–are just nuts.  It’s a new form of maximalism, whereby nonexperts pretend as if they know what they are talking about by making up ridiculous conspiracy theories and connecting the dots which can’t exist anywhere but in the fabric of their own imaginations.

To quote from Giorgio A. Tsoukalos (the guy pictured on the left):

“The Great thing about the ancient aliens theory is the fact that we can compare modern acheivements with stories from our ancient past.”  (source)

He goes on to argue quite absurdly that if we can create a two headed dog today, this allows for the possibility that two headed dogs existed in the past, created by ancient aliens.  Yes, that is exactly what he is saying.  Watch the video.

This is either a space suit or a scuba suit. We await the next History Channel series: 'Ancient Deep-Sea Alien Dive Teams'

And then compare this sort of illogical position with that of, say, the Zeitgeisters, who are just as crazy with their theories about astrotheology and the stars.  They say, for example, that the stars line up a certain way and on certain times of the year they do such and such and that is where the ancients get such and such an idea.  It’s all crap.  When you punch in the data to an astronomy program that maps the stars and can tell you about their positions in the past, they just don’t line up the way the Zeitgeist movement claims.  And when you start to factor in that some constellations are fixed and have no bearing whatsoever on the ancient Near East, it collapses the whole argument because the thread of links they correct are so fragile. For example the ‘southern cross’ constellation.  The movie Zeitgeist argues that the southern cross has bearing on the fabrication of the Gospel narratives.  But this just doesn’t work once you do a little fact checking:

The stars of the Southern Cross are just visible above the southern horizon in Alexandria, and in Jerusalem in antiquity although I don’t think it is visible there now. The constellation was, however, not recognized in antiquity, and its four bright stars were included by Ptolemy in Centaurus, which sort of surrounds it11 (bold emphasis is mine).

Why wasn’t the Southern Cross constellation recognized in antiquity? Dr. Swerdlow explains:

That Crux, the Southern Cross, was not recognized as a separate constellation in antiquity is probably because, as seen from the Mediterranean, it is low on the southern horizon and is surrounded on three sides by stars of Centaurus, which is a large, prominent constellation, and the four bright stars of Crux are included as stars of Centaurus in Ptolemy’s star catalogue. It is only when you go farther to the south, so that Crux is higher in the southern sky, that it becomes prominent as a group of stars by itself, so its recognition had to wait until the southern voyages of the sixteenth century.12

In other words, the “Southern Cross” (Crux) constellation could not have served as a basis for the Gospel account of Jesus, because it was not distinct enough for any of the ancient Mediterranean inhabitants to identify it.

(source: read all of it and judge for yourself)

To add to this, the movie tries to suggest that the Crux is visible in April, around the time of Easter.  This is only true, however, for anything at or less than the 25th parallel north.  None of the relevant cultures of the ANE would have been able to witness this (Egypt, Palestine, Italy, Asia Minor, etc…).  Only those locations in the far, far southern hemisphere see the Crux year-round.    But facts mean nothing to the Zeitgeist movement and its most ardent followers (of whom this author has had many encounters and none of them have been remotely interesting or cordial–they don’t take well to dissonant perspectives).  The same can be said for those who believe in ancient aliens.

I’m glad to see that the creators of South Park laid out all the glaring problems of the series Ancient Aliens in an entertaining way.  For those who want to see more about what I and others have to say about this series, check out this link after you watch the clip below.

South Park: Ancient Aliens Thanksgiving

A New Sort of Maximalist: Alien Astronauts

This is absolutely absurd and its a shame I have to waste my time to write this.  But as with all ridiculous conspiracy crap that exists out there, those dilettantes who actually believe in alien astronauts that came to earth and helped mankind are actually getting media attention through the History Channel. I don’t know why; these people are completely delusional.

First, they don’t seem to care (or they simply cannot fathom) the difference between modern history and ancient history.  That is, they haven’t yet figured out that ancient literature is exaggerated, often filled with fictitious tales that were outright fabricated using earlier literature, and often grounded in political and religious idealism.  So when one reads about ancient military victories, one shouldn’t automatically assume that the Greeks actually had a super weapon, or were literally handed gifts from the gods to win.  The same goes for the Romans, the Egyptians, the Israelites, and so forth.

Second, these dilettantes can’t seem to fathom that the ancient mythic mind was not at all concerned with ‘fact’ vs. ‘fiction’.  Those who were able to write the sorts of literature that have survived today (literature, mind you, not personal letters–ancient histories count as literature) cared little whether they were recounting things as they happened.  They didn’t care whether or not Apollo was there with his bow, mowing down Greeks outside the walls of Troy.  To them, it happened and it didn’t happen.  This might be a difficult concept for modern people who have a completely different, rational mindset then those authors from antiquity.

Finally, these alien astronaut ‘experts’ are reading all sorts of things into the text and are fabricating all sorts of nonsense based totally on pseudo-archaeology.  This sounds like something BAR would publish, if we replace “ancient astronaut” with “Biblical Israel”.   Indeed, these alien astronaut supporters are sounding more and more like maximalists.  And frankly, I’m not sure what is worse….

For a full analysis of the Ancient Alien show, I suggest everyone get acquainted with two links:

Astrophysicist Discusses Gods and Aliens

When I first saw the interview title (‘Is there a God? Aliens? An Astrophysicist answers’), my instinct was to say ‘Well, here’s another case of a person speaking on matters they have no expertise in.’   But I was pleasantly surprised when I read the following:

“What I tell people is that science in general and astronomy in particular do not address the question of whether or not there is a God. In science, conclusions are made based on evidence and confirmation of predictions, and that’s what differentiates scientific knowledge from unscientific knowledge.

“Recently Pope Benedict said something like this: ‘The Big Bang theory is proof that God exists.’ Actually it’s not. It’s only proof that something happened at the beginning of the universe, where there wasn’t space or time and then there became space and time. For many people, astronomers’ discoveries confirm what they thought was true all along: that God is there. And then for many others, the discoveries of astronomers confirm what they thought all along, and that is that God is unnecessary — that God doesn’t exist.

“So the Big Bang doesn’t really prove whether God or the gods are real or not, or whether the flying spaghetti monster is real or not; it’s just really, really cool — and what you believe follows from it is just a leap of faith.

via Is there a God? Aliens? Astrophysicist answers – Technology & science – Science – LiveScience – msnbc.com.

His answer, in sum, is simply ‘Why are you asking me whether God exists?’  He isn’t saying God does or doesn’t exist, nor does he offer any theological advice.

Jim West has posted up some thoughts on his blog about this:

Theologians don’t dive into science and opine on topics like physics and mathematics and chemistry, so why do sciency people think they have the tools to speak about theology?  Instead of answering questions they can’t, why can’t they just say ‘that’s not my field, I think it best you ask a theologian’.

But I think Jim might have misread the article (very unlike him).  He doesn’t offer a single comment related to the study of God–and in fact is rather dismissive of it, which is precisely what Jim is asking of him.  Saying ‘Science doesn’t address God’ is precisely what we’d expect to hear from a scientist when asked about God.

Jim continues:

Or perhaps theologians should babble on about science.  Let’s see how the sciency people like that.  [And we know they don't.  Just start a conversation on intelligent design or creationism and their little sciency heads explode in rage.  Well here's some rage back at ya!]

But the thing is, Jim, if more theologians said ‘well religion doesn’t address science’ more often, I think scientists would be less inclined to cringe every time a theologian (dilettante) states the world is only 6,000 years old, that multi-celled organisms don’t spring from single-celled organisms, or that evolution is a myth–all things that are outside their field of expertise.  What this scientist said is what you want scientists to say (essentially):

‘We don’t know, we don’t deal with those sorts of questions.  Ask me about quarks or something.’

When he was asked his opinion, he stated it.  But he was quite clear about his agnosticism and, in my opinion, quite appropriate in his answer.

In any event, the article is worth the read.  And to all of my atheist friends, take heed!  Using science as a device to say ‘well, God doesn’t exist’ just doesn’t work.

Over 100 Dead Birds Fall Near California Highway

Jim West blames Bob Cargill for this (and in the process, through some bizarro-world implication,  lends supernatural prophetic abilities to the Golbs…scary!):

Who’s at fault? Americans supporting the Palestinians? No, my friends, the cause of this is obviously Bob Cargill! Yes, Bob Cargill! It’s because he rejects Golb-ianity that God has smitten these poor helpless birds. But what’s the connection? It’s so obvious: Bob begins with a ‘B’ and so does ‘bird’!

But you know what this means, right?  Oh noes!!!!  It’s teh endz of teh worldz!!11!!!1!!  And that means it was either alien spacecraft or one of God’s new plagues.  At least, that is what the conspiracy theorists and dilettantes will Google search (and, as it goes, find my blog in the process).

GEYSERVILLE, Calif. – California wildlife officials are trying to figure out what caused the death of more than 100 birds found clustered together just off Highway 101.

The Santa Rosa Press Democrat reports that California Highway Patrol officers found the dead birds near the roadway on Saturday and called in the state Department of Fish and Game to investigate.

The officers who found the birds described them as small with brown and black feathers. They were intact and had not been shot.

The reports come as other, larger bird deaths have been reported in Arkansas, Louisiana and other states.

Scientists say mass die-offs of wildlife happen regularly, and are usually unrelated and unreported.

More than 100 dead birds found off Calif. highway – Yahoo! News.

Blah.  And let the circus begin.

Would Alien Life Change Your Views?

This is a question I have asked; would the detection of alien life–especially an advanced civilization (or one similar to our own state)–cause everyone to question what it is they hold dear?  How would religions handle this sort of knowledge (would they react like they do in Contact? Would theological exegesis adjust to allow for this?)?  Would Fox News call it Obamaworld?

Alan Boyle writes:Would the detection of extraterrestrial life cause the kind of paranoia or alien worship we see in science-fiction shows ranging from “The Day the Earth Stood Still” to “V”? In a fresh round of studies, scientists and theologians suggest it really wouldn’t have much impact on what we do or what we believe.The Brookings Report warned in 1961 that the discovery of life beyond Earth could lead to social upheaval. But Albert Harrison, a psychologist at the University of California at Davis, says “times have changed dramatically” since then.

via Cosmic Log – Would alien life change your life?.

History According to the History Channel

So. True. It makes me want to cry.

 

 

The Alternate History Channel – GraphJam: Music and Pop Culture in Charts and Graphs. Let us explain them..

UFO Community Links Recent Bird Deaths to Aliens

Ugh, seriously?  If it’s not the dilettantes who pretend to care about the Bible it’s the crazy alien conspiracy people.

In what’s viewed as a scene from a horror movie, both birds and other wildlife are dying on a massive scale from Beebee, Arkansas, to central Oregon coast beaches and beyond; while the Mutual UFO Network (MUFON) points to alien technology as interfering with bird migration patterns and other factors as UFO visits become more prominent in the new year.

Birds along Oregon coast staying grounded

MUFON’s “UFO community” has been sending out guidance to investigators of the mysterious bird and wildlife animal deaths. One popular theory among UFO experts is a “cloaking device,” used to make alien spacecraft invisible, as possibly causing the birds in Arkansas and other areas to fly into it and die as birds often do when encountering aircraft flying at vast speeds.

Because UFO sightings are often over bodies of water, such as the Arkansas River, MUFON believes the dead drum fish that’s been reported in the hundreds of thousands may be linked to exposure to UFO craft and lights.

“There’s been regular UFO sightings south of Beebee in Minden, Louisiana. The object spotted was an orb or disc that was pulsing colors and eventually disappeared. The object’s relationship to what’s been happening in BeeBee is not yet known,” stats a MUFON official.

via UFO community links recent bird, wildlife deaths to alien technol….

I’m disappointed in humanity.  Listen, people, it’s not god or aliens or secret hidden technology.  It’s just birds dying and some fish dying; it’s not an invasion, a research project, or a mark of the end of the world.  Simmer down.

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