Of Tangible Ghosts, and The Ghost of the Revelator, by L.E. Modesitt Jr. - A couple of posts ago I wrote about *Solar Express*, by L.E. Modesitt Jnr., and mentioned that I have *Of Tangible Ghosts *and* The Ghost of the Revelator...
2 hours ago
I don’t know if Bill O’Reilly is aware that everything he’s saying is easily debunked with about 20 minutes of Googling, but that’s not really the point. The real reason Bill O’Reilly peddles this stuff is because it gives a cheap, crack-like high to the old fearful white audience that watches Bill O’Reilly and gives Fox News its power—also known as the Republican base. These are the folks Bill O’Reilly is feeding when he laments not being able to criticize black culture.
You can think of magical talent as a pyramid. Making up the lowest and biggest layer are the normals. If magic is colours, these are the people born colourblind: they don't know anything about magic and they don't want to, thank you very much. They've got plenty of things to deal with already, and if they do see anything that might shake the way they look at things, they convince themselves they didn't see it double quick. This is maybe ninety percent of the adult civilised world.
Next up on the pyramid are the sensitives, the ones who aren't colour-blind. Sensitives are blessed (or cursed, depending on how you look at it) with a wider spectrum of vision than normals. They can feel the presence of magic, the distant power in the sun and the earth and the stars, the warmth and stability of an old family home, the lingering wisps of death and horror at a Dark ritual site. Most often, they don't have the words to describe what they feel,...
The end of the twentieth century and the dawn of the new millenium had seen something of a renaissance in the public awareness of the paranormal. Psychics, haunts, vampires - you name it. People still didn't take them seriously, but all the things Science had promised us hadn't come to pass. Disease was still a problem. Starvation was still a problem. Violence and crime and war were still problems. In spite of the advance of technology, things just hadn't changed the way everyone had hoped and thought they would.
Science, the largest religion of the twentieth century, had become somewhat tarnished by images of exploding space shuttles, crack babies, and a generation of complacent Americans who had allowed the television to raise their children. People were looking for something - I think they just didn't know what. And even though they were once again starting to open their eyes to the world of magic and the arcane that had been with them all the while, they still thought I must be some kind of joke.
President Obama is now our Race-Baiter in Chief. His remarks today on the Trayvon Martin tragedy are beyond reprehensible.
Vatican offers ‘time off purgatory’ to followers of Pope Francis tweets
[gasp] On the one hand purgatory, on the other hand tweets.
In its latest attempt to keep up with the times the Vatican has married one of its oldest traditions to the world of social media by offering “indulgences” to followers of Pope Francis’ tweets.
The church’s granted indulgences reduce the time Catholics believe they will have to spend in purgatory after they have confessed and been absolved of their sins.
Reduce the time Catholics believe they will have to spend in purgatory? What good is that?? Surely the believers want the indulgences to reduce the actual time Catholics have to spend in purgatory. I wonder if that’s the actual deal, or if it’s just the reporter’s clumsy attempt to say that some people don’t believe in purgatory. ...
Oh dear god, how can anyone take them seriously? It makes as much sense as taking Sylvia Browne seriously.
It's everywhere. Religion is a pounding drum that has gone mostly unanswered for a long, long time. And religion is not satisfied with merely existing quietly in the homes and hearts of the faithful. Its very nature compels the believer to proselytize, preach, promote, convince, convert and prevail. If you play on the team of the religious, your game plan is to stay, always, on offense.
Throughout our history, those who raise a simple hand of protest against these advances have been portrayed as the real problem. Religion has attempted to marginalize and defeat legitimate questions and concerns by indignantly portraying any resistors as misguided, immoral, rudderless, angry, miserable, lost and alone.
And when skepticism challenges wildly improbable (or impossible) stories found in the bible, the Qur'an and other holy books, the religious wail, "Why can't you just leave us alone?"
The irony is thick.
In 2009 Hindu extremists attacked women in a fashionable bar in the nearby city of Mangalore, accusing them of “debauched behaviour” for drinking and smoking.
They followed up with a warning that any couples courting on Valentine’s Day risked being frog-marched to the nearest temple and forced to marry.
What’s missing in philosophy is that anvil of reality — that something to push against that allows us to test our conclusions against something other than internal consistency. It means philosophy is excellent at solving imaginary problems (which may be essential for understanding more mundane concerns), while science is excellent at solving the narrower domain of real problems. Science has something philosophy lacks: a solid foundation in empiricism. That’s a strength, not a weakness.
Roman Catholic Church officials in Milwaukee vigorously shielded pedophile priests and protected church funds from lawsuits during a decades-long sex abuse scandal, according to hundreds of newly released documents.
The documents include letters and deposition testimony from Cardinal and Archbishop of New York Timothy Dolan who, during his time as archbishop of Milwaukee from 2002 to 2009, appealed to Vatican on numerous occasions to help address the ongoing fallout from the scandal.
The 6,000 pages of documents related to eight decades of abuse cases showed in great detail the Milwaukee archdiocese regularly reassigned priests who were accused of sexual molestation to new parishes and Dolan himself asking the Vatican permission to transfer $57 million to a trust fund to protect it against court action.
A major evangelistic ministry is preparing to launch a 30-minute documentary that Christian leaders say will offer a “devastating,” “lights out” challenge to the evolutionary worldview. ...
The main premise behind “Evolution vs. God” is that top evolutionary scientists cannot convincingly support their theory, and instead rely heavily on unfounded assumptions. Even when Comfort personally interviews influential evolutionists from major universities in the film (such as well-known atheist PZ Myers), they are unable to satisfyingly answer Comfort’s prodding questions.
“As you will see on “Evolution vs. God,”” Comfort stated, “not one of the experts could give me a whisper of evidence for Darwinian evolution. The movie is going to shatter the faith of the average believer in evolution, and strengthen the faith of every Christian.”
I was one of those scientists. NO, I did not disagree with Dawkins about evolution or the evidence for evolution; NO, nothing I said provided any support to creationist claims; NO, there is not a lack of evidence for evolution.
What actually happened is that I briefly discussed the evidence for evolution — genetics and molecular biology of fish, transitional fossils, known phylogenies relating extant groups, and experimental work done on bacterial evolution in the lab, and Ray Comfort simply denied it all — the bacteria were still bacteria, the fish were still fish. I suspect the other scientists did likewise: we provided the evidence, Ray Comfort simply closed his eyes and denied it all.