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A Huge Leap In Human Evolution
Posted: 07 May 2012 07:52 PM   [ Ignore ]  
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To those who claim a faith in god, I have nothing in particular to say.  To those like myself, who look around at the planet we live on, and at the solar system that our planet resides in, and at the Milky Way galaxy, which our solar system is a tiny part of, and of the universe that our galaxy is but an even smaller part of, and at the black holes which now seem likely to have spawned our universe, as well as countless others which we can’t yet detect directly, and say, that logically, everything out there is too vast, complex and infinitely long lasting to have ever been “created”,  I wish to say…


It’s a pretty amazing thing that we humans exist. Each of us individually, has a very limited time in which we will live here.  Use it wisely, and never be afraid to state what you believe.  The people who believe in god are, in my opinion, confused about the nature of existence, but still, this is simply my opinion.  And unfortunately, at this time in human evolution, when it comes to god, opinions are all each of us has.


The scientific method tells us much more about the nature of existence than do the superstitious religious musings of long ago, so I’ll put my trust in science every time.  But our science will likely look very rudimentary to future generations of humans – if we survive long enough to advance our science beyond its current state of toddlerhood.  There is so much more to learn, and to do. We have not yet scratched the surface of our potential, or of the knowledge which waits to be discovered by humankind.


Our scientific advancement has to a great extent been misdirected by the nationalistic imperatives of our governments in order to develop weapons used to kill and maim in the noble cause of protecting us from ourselves.  Many of the advances science has put forth for the benefit of mankind have started off as military advancements. The militarization of science has to a tremendous degree perverted science from its true goal – the pursuit of knowledge, and redirected funding and research in ways that, were we a less fearful, and wiser species, could have put us on more beneficial pathways.  We humans can learn to stop fearing each other.  Nature offers us plenty to be frightened of.  Humans of the future might not need to fear other humans.

We just need to all “grow up” a little bit more.  I know that sounds naïve, but it might be true anyway.  Someday in the future, if we evolve down one possible path, perhaps human evil can be filtered from the human genome.
 
Yet even today, the question is, can we stop expending so much of our resources on defending ourselves from ourselves, in a traditional military sense, and start spending all that and more on protecting this planet and all of its inhabitants -especially humans - from the plethora of natural challenges that await us? It’s just a small shift in our thinking and our behavior.  But I believe it would be a huge leap in our evolution.

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Posted: 21 May 2012 07:40 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]  
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CrazySailr - 07 May 2012 07:52 PM

To those who claim a faith in god, I have nothing in particular to say.  To those like myself, who look around at the planet we live on, and at the solar system that our planet resides in, and at the Milky Way galaxy, which our solar system is a tiny part of, and of the universe that our galaxy is but an even smaller part of, and at the black holes which now seem likely to have spawned our universe, as well as countless others which we can’t yet detect directly, and say, that logically, everything out there is too vast, complex and infinitely long lasting to have ever been “created”,  I wish to say…


It’s a pretty amazing thing that we humans exist. Each of us individually, has a very limited time in which we will live here.  Use it wisely, and never be afraid to state what you believe.  The people who believe in god are, in my opinion, confused about the nature of existence, but still, this is simply my opinion.  And unfortunately, at this time in human evolution, when it comes to god, opinions are all each of us has.


The scientific method tells us much more about the nature of existence than do the superstitious religious musings of long ago, so I’ll put my trust in science every time.  But our science will likely look very rudimentary to future generations of humans – if we survive long enough to advance our science beyond its current state of toddlerhood.  There is so much more to learn, and to do. We have not yet scratched the surface of our potential, or of the knowledge which waits to be discovered by humankind.


Our scientific advancement has to a great extent been misdirected by the nationalistic imperatives of our governments in order to develop weapons used to kill and maim in the noble cause of protecting us from ourselves.  Many of the advances science has put forth for the benefit of mankind have started off as military advancements. The militarization of science has to a tremendous degree perverted science from its true goal – the pursuit of knowledge, and redirected funding and research in ways that, were we a less fearful, and wiser species, could have put us on more beneficial pathways.  We humans can learn to stop fearing each other.  Nature offers us plenty to be frightened of.  Humans of the future might not need to fear other humans.

We just need to all “grow up” a little bit more.  I know that sounds naïve, but it might be true anyway.  Someday in the future, if we evolve down one possible path, perhaps human evil can be filtered from the human genome.
 
Yet even today, the question is, can we stop expending so much of our resources on defending ourselves from ourselves, in a traditional military sense, and start spending all that and more on protecting this planet and all of its inhabitants -especially humans - from the plethora of natural challenges that await us? It’s just a small shift in our thinking and our behavior.  But I believe it would be a huge leap in our evolution.

Noble sentiments CS but I doubt it will happen since this evolution you suggest in order to be beneficial has to lead to the change of what we ARE. I believe that since we ARE as we ARE, everything IS as it IS.

Water seeks its own level. For us this means cyclical wars.

Science has been corrupted to further wars and methods of human destruction as well as the means to better the human condition. The essence of religion serves the purpose to heighten human perspective but secularized religion furthers the same need for prestige that leads science away from furthering truth into serving pragmatism.

If you can figure a way out of this mess, you are indeed needed in the world

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Posted: 23 May 2012 09:10 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]  
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Heh- this reminds me of the words of one Max Ehrmann: 
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“Go placidly amidst the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story . . . “
-
:^)
Methinks the next big step in human evolution may well be our near-extinction, sending us scurrying back into the bush like guilty monkeys who discovered fire, and in so doing, burned down half the planet.
-
“Stupid, STUPID monkey!” (to quote BMS)

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Posted: 08 October 2012 02:31 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]  
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CrazySailr - 07 May 2012 07:52 PM

The people who believe in god are, in my opinion, confused about the nature of existence, but still, this is simply my opinion.

I disagree with that part - I don’t think they’re confused, I believe they’ve settled and/or stopped looking.
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Confusion indicates to me that they are balancing up ideas, which they certainly are not in the habit of doing.
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As for growing up, it would be excellent for this to even start to hint at even slightly beginning. But as long as death is feared, I don’t think it can happen. If you do not care about what happens after you’re dead, you’re less likely to make lasting change. And if you believe in an afterlife, you’re less likely to care about earthly matters after your death.

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Posted: 13 October 2012 12:56 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]  
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GreenInferno - 08 October 2012 02:31 AM
CrazySailr - 07 May 2012 07:52 PM

The people who believe in god are, in my opinion, confused about the nature of existence, but still, this is simply my opinion.

I disagree with that part - I don’t think they’re confused, I believe they’ve settled and/or stopped looking.
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Confusion indicates to me that they are balancing up ideas, which they certainly are not in the habit of doing.
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As for growing up, it would be excellent for this to even start to hint at even slightly beginning. But as long as death is feared, I don’t think it can happen. If you do not care about what happens after you’re dead, you’re less likely to make lasting change. And if you believe in an afterlife, you’re less likely to care about earthly matters after your death.

Sorry about the lack of response… I did not realize at the time that my ‘crazysailr’ login points back to an email adress I no longer use much. So I did not realize anyone had replied to my silly little post. I’m not sure now what posessed me to post this thread, but whatever. I stand by what I wrote, although the “confusion” I was addressing, GreenInferno, was from my persepective, not the perspective of the people who belive in god.

In other words, it is my opinion they are confused, not theirs. I’m sure most of them are not at all confused about their beliefs. They are simply wrong about them.

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Posted: 13 October 2012 01:41 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]  
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It’s all back-story ignorance. For instance, few today realise that the modern Santa Claus was originally a Coca Cola ad.

Christians “scholars” make the mistake of trying to use the religion to explain itself. To do so is a case of bootstrapping, not research. The answers are not to be found inside religion, rather, they’re to be found a) by comparing religions and b) by looking outside of religion altogether.

For example, the Christian religion is plagiarised directly from a number of other religions that in turn plagiarised from one another. Much of the Christ myth is derived from the Old Testament story of Joseph. Both are derived directly from Egyptian mythology. Ra was the Sun god, was also the son of god, was also the lamb, and blah, blah, blah. He was born of a virgin, and from there the story contains all the usual suspects found in Christianity.

Also, the “three kings” myth is far older than any religion. The “three kings”, in fact, are the three stars of Orion’s Belt. The rabbit/egg of Easter is likewise derived from a constellation, and predates Christianity by thousands of years. The “three kings” follow Sirius, the dog star, and if you draw a line through the “three kings” and Sirius, you get the point on the horizon where the Sun (Ra, also meaning “son”, just as “sun”, which sounds like “son”, is the “sun” or “son” of god) intersects with the horizon.

On December 24, 25 and 26, the sun stops (dies for three days). The symbol of the cross is likewise a thingy in the sky. If you’re South of the Equator, you’ll see that the Southern Cross sits above this point on the horizon. So the son (“son”, Ra) “dies” on the “cross”, and after three days begins its ascent (returns “from the dead”) once more.

So the true story is that many thousands of years ago, people anthropomorphised groups of stars in order to keep track of stuff, and over time these made-up characters ended up in stories, and in some cases the stories developed into religions.

What’s nuts is the belief in those stories, especially since we know what they are and where they came from.

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Posted: 13 October 2012 02:50 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]  
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gsmonks - 23 May 2012 09:10 AM

Heh- this reminds me of the words of one Max Ehrmann: 
-
“Go placidly amidst the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story . . . “
-
:^)
Methinks the next big step in human evolution may well be our near-extinction, sending us scurrying back into the bush like guilty monkeys who discovered fire, and in so doing, burned down half the planet.
-
“Stupid, STUPID monkey!” (to quote BMS)

So, was my OP to mushy for you gsmonks? Yeah, I don’t remember now what the fuck I was thinking at the time I posted it. As I said in my last comment on this thread, “whatever”. It’s one of the advantages of calling yourself crazy. You can get away with just about whatever you want in your own mind.

While I certainly don’t disagree that we are on the path to destroying our planet, gsmonks. I am actually quite angry that it is so, and it did not need to be that way.

The sad fact is that there is a little known story about a source of unlimited electrical energy which was discovered back in the 1940’s during the Manhattan Project days. This technology was proven to work during the 1960’s and early 70’s by Alvin Weinberg, the father of the nuclear reactor and his team at the Oakridge National Laboratory. He was fired for his efforts by the head of the NRC and the US congress. It seems he committed the unforgivable sin of telling his bosses that they were wrong about trying to pursue a Uranium based fast breeder reactor (FBR) - a pipe dream we are still chasing more than 40 years later, after spending untold billions of dollars.

He tried to point out to his “superiors” that a different technology was inherently far safer and far better in every way for civilian power generation than the light water nuclear reactors (LWR) that we developed instead, or FBR’s that we still don’t have.  Keep in mind that Alvin Weinberg held the major patents for the LWR so there was no reason other than altruism for him to insist that a Molten Salt based reactor, using Thorium for it’s fuel was better for a number of very good reasons:

Liquid Salt based reactors (e.g. Liquid fluoride thorium Reactor or ‘LFTR’) runs at atmospheric pressure, rather than at 80 - 150 atmospheres of pressure as all LWR’s must.

LFTR’s can never meltdown. The reason for this are a bit to technical to discus’s here, but it simply can’t happen. If you doubt my facts, I’m sure you can use google and confirm them easily. The short version is that the molten fuel is as hot is it can ever become at around 700 °C. The fuel is heated through well understood chemistry, and does not have anything to do with the nuclear chain reaction that will cause solid uranium fuel rods to heat to more than 1900 °C shortly after they are deprived of cooling water. This is so hot that the zirconium cladding that the fuel is in will melt, and then you are fucked.  So because there is no cooling water needed - or wanted - in a molten salt reactor, it is impossible to have a melt down. 

In fact, the reactor will always will go into a safe configuration if it is ever deprived of power. Think what that would have meant at Fukushima, after the Tsunami wiped out the power transmission lines and all of the emergency generators. In fact, without power, a LFTR can’t do anything except come to a safe stopped state using gravity. (The fuel will drain into a tank below the reactor and the nuclear reaction will stop if a “freeze plug” is not kept cold by a continuous stream of a cold gas is not pumped over the freeze plug.)

LFTR’s burn 92-94% of their Thorium fuel, as opposed to .05% for Uranium solid fueled reactor’s. therefore, there is less waste.

LFTR’s not only produce far less spent fuel, but the decay rate for it’s radioactivity is around 400 years, as opposed to around 10,000 - 100,000’s of years for spent uranium and plutonium fuel.

LFTR’s can burn-up the spent fuel from LWR’s there by providing a way to deal with the currently intractable problem of the ever growing number of spent fuel rods that are accumulating on storage pools all over the world. (It was those spent fuel rods that caused the explosions at Fukushima, when they overheated due to a lack of cooling water being provided to them.)

LFTR’s built near the sea easily can run industrial sized desalination plants co-located near them.

Thorium is plentiful. It exists in nearly every yard of dirt on this planet. A single small mine could power the entire US for years. It is four time more plentiful than uranium, and it is far more efficient at generation power. The US recently buried around 160,000 metric tons of refined Thorium in the desert in Nevada, because no one had any use for it.

So here we are. what do we do? Educate yourself about LFTR and then ask your congressman why they don’t know anything about it, or if they do, why they aren’t pushing funding a full blown crash program to bring this technology back to the head of the line, where it has belonged for more than 50 years.  We would most certainly be living in a cleaner world if we had started building these reactor in the late 1970’s, but that is no reason to not start building them now. We should never build another coal, oil or NG fired power plant. If we do, then we probably deserve to go “scurrying back into the bush like guilty monkeys who discovered fire and in so doing, burned down half the planet” as you so aptly indicated we will likely do, if we continue down our current path.

Check out this site for more information. If you happen to have a spare million dollars laying around, contact Flibe Energy. These guys are seeking a remarkably small amount of cash to produce a plan on building a machine. If they can do that, the rest of the funding will come from the government and utility companies.  If I had the money available, it would already be in their capable hands.

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Posted: 13 October 2012 03:11 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]  
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There are any number of ways and means of producing electricity. In many cases it’s just a question of doing it, and therein lies the rub- people are lazy.

I’m pretty much off the grid myself, and plan to get off it altogether at some point. My efforts this past year alone have netted me a $350 credit on the ol’ electrical bill.

Where I live, geothermal costs around $24,000, and solar costs around $12,000. Since the average cost of a house is now between $150,000 to $200,000, there is no reason not to factor in the cost of geothermal or solar.

Not having to make monthly payments on heat and electricity adds up, the initial hit notwithstanding.

My original plan was to render fat people for biofuel, but for some reason the idea was met with hostility and outrage, despite the fact that there are enough fat people to produce an almost limitless supply of biodiesel.

My modified plan was to render fat children only, but for some reason this only served to increase the level of hostility and outrage.

One can only wonder why this is so.

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Posted: 13 October 2012 09:11 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]  
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gsmonks - 13 October 2012 01:41 AM

It’s all back-story ignorance. For instance, few today realise that the modern Santa Claus was originally a Coca Cola ad.

Christians “scholars” make the mistake of trying to use the religion to explain itself. To do so is a case of bootstrapping, not research. The answers are not to be found inside religion, rather, they’re to be found a) by comparing religions and b) by looking outside of religion altogether.

For example, the Christian religion is plagiarised directly from a number of other religions that in turn plagiarised from one another. Much of the Christ myth is derived from the Old Testament story of Joseph. Both are derived directly from Egyptian mythology. Ra was the Sun god, was also the son of god, was also the lamb, and blah, blah, blah. He was born of a virgin, and from there the story contains all the usual suspects found in Christianity.

Also, the “three kings” myth is far older than any religion. The “three kings”, in fact, are the three stars of Orion’s Belt. The rabbit/egg of Easter is likewise derived from a constellation, and predates Christianity by thousands of years. The “three kings” follow Sirius, the dog star, and if you draw a line through the “three kings” and Sirius, you get the point on the horizon where the Sun (Ra, also meaning “son”, just as “sun”, which sounds like “son”, is the “sun” or “son” of god) intersects with the horizon.

On December 24, 25 and 26, the sun stops (dies for three days). The symbol of the cross is likewise a thingy in the sky. If you’re South of the Equator, you’ll see that the Southern Cross sits above this point on the horizon. So the son (“son”, Ra) “dies” on the “cross”, and after three days begins its ascent (returns “from the dead”) once more.

So the true story is that many thousands of years ago, people anthropomorphised groups of stars in order to keep track of stuff, and over time these made-up characters ended up in stories, and in some cases the stories developed into religions.

What’s nuts is the belief in those stories, especially since we know what they are and where they came from.

The number of “kings” was never specified in the bible.  The number came from a comparatively recent song, which likely based the number of “kings” on the number of presents.  The presents are symbolic, being the same 3 presents the Queen of Sheba brought to King Solomon, in yet another attempt to connect Jesus to the House of David.

 

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Posted: 13 October 2012 09:48 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]  
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gsmonks - 13 October 2012 03:11 AM

There are any number of ways and means of producing electricity. In many cases it’s just a question of doing it, and therein lies the rub- people are lazy.

I’m pretty much off the grid myself, and plan to get off it altogether at some point. My efforts this past year alone have netted me a $350 credit on the ol’ electrical bill.

Where I live, geothermal costs around $24,000, and solar costs around $12,000. Since the average cost of a house is now between $150,000 to $200,000, there is no reason not to factor in the cost of geothermal or solar.

Not having to make monthly payments on heat and electricity adds up, the initial hit notwithstanding.

My original plan was to render fat people for biofuel, but for some reason the idea was met with hostility and outrage, despite the fact that there are enough fat people to produce an almost limitless supply of biodiesel.

My modified plan was to render fat children only, but for some reason this only served to increase the level of hostility and outrage.

One can only wonder why this is so.

Too funny!  While I personally don’t find your suggestions for biofuel worthy of much hostility or outrage, they don’t really do much to help the situation we now find ourselves in, do they? Our world need mass quantities of electricity, on tap and available at all times. Nuclear power is the only solution known to man that can safely meet the need. And LFTR reactors are by far the safest ones man has so far devised.


BTW, nuclear power in general - even the foolish way we currently do it - is, by every measure, statistically far safer than any other form of generating electricity cost effectively in the amounts that we require… (I’m not including Solar, Wind, and Geothermal, in these safety calculations, because they remain too expensive to deploy without huge government subsides)
But keep in mind that many more people have been killed installing renewable technolgies than people have ever been kiiled by working at or living near a nuclear power plant, so it even kicks other renewable energy sources asses in safety. Come to think of it, no one has ever been killed outright by any sort of accident at a nuclear power plant - even construction. A few people will die or have died from radiation exposure due to accidents, but when you compare it to the number of people killed every day from breathing the air which gets belched out of our coal fired power plants, well there can be no comparison really. (And clean coal? Don’t make me laugh) And do you know how many people have been killed falling off of roofs installing solar? Me neither, but I’ll bet it is more than zero.


I think it is awesome that you are nearly off the grid, gsmonks, and I applaud you for installing solar, but you probably received a nice fat subsidy in the form of a generous tax credit to install it, right?  Think about what it would cost in subsidies if every home in the US decided to go solar, and you get an idea of how expensive it would be. Going solar house by house is not the answer.  And going solar on an industrial scale is not happening for many reasons, not the least of which is that we don’t have the battery capacity to store enough of it for use when the sun is not shining, and it’s still way to uncompetitive in it’s cost per Kwh. Subsidies only shift the cost burdens to taxpayers, they don’t really do much to spur the technology to becoming more cost effective.


Thorium reactors can meet our energy needs at a cost advantage over coal, using technology that we already have at our disposal and understand well. It’s fuel source is for all practical purposes inexhaustible, because there is enough of it to last for thousands of years. We need only start to building them.

 

[ Edited: 13 October 2012 11:51 AM by CrazySailr]
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Posted: 13 October 2012 08:07 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]  
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Nope- no subsidy, CrazySailr. I did it all on my own, bit by bit. It helps that I have a fair chunk of property and can do pretty much what I want on it, including experiment.

I heated my house for a while using a glass-insulated steel barrel that was bombarded with concentrated sunlight, courtesy a series of fresnel lenses, but the temperature fluctuations were pretty wild, and a woodstove had to take up the slack (rather often, as I recall . . .). A better system could easily be devised, but I just wanted to see if it’d work. At peak there was boiling water burblating through the pipes, and heating my abode as though it were sitting atop a boiling kettle, but we have a problem here with the hardest water you’ve ever seen, which leaves a residue in the bottom of a boiled pot and ruins kettles. Filtering large quantities presented something of a problem.

Nice to see you here, Ice Monkey!

While the number of “kings” isn’t specified, the number of gifts IS. Regardless, you’re missing the point. The connexion IS to the three stars of Orion’s belt, which have various names, all of which can be found in religions either derived from Judeo-Christianity, or those from which Judeo-Christianity is derived. The evidence is not in “the three kings” per se, but in the long list of religions that use the names associated with the stars, and the fact that the stories are unified in terms of content.

Also, it’s not just the stars of Orion’s Belt that are involved. It’s the mythology as a whole, and not just the Christian mythology, but those of dozens of other religions.

I’ve just spent an hour and a half digging around the disorganised mess that is YouTube and found a videos that explains the matter with illustrations:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m_zytOaQxYg

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Posted: 14 October 2012 12:21 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]  
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gsmonks - 13 October 2012 08:07 PM

Nice to see you here, Ice Monkey!

While the number of “kings” isn’t specified, the number of gifts IS. Regardless, you’re missing the point. The connexion IS to the three stars of Orion’s belt, which have various names, all of which can be found in religions either derived from Judeo-Christianity, or those from which Judeo-Christianity is derived. The evidence is not in “the three kings” per se, but in the long list of religions that use the names associated with the stars, and the fact that the stories are unified in terms of content.

Also, it’s not just the stars of Orion’s Belt that are involved. It’s the mythology as a whole, and not just the Christian mythology, but those of dozens of other religions.

I’ve just spent an hour and a half digging around the disorganised mess that is YouTube and found a videos that explains the matter with illustrations:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m_zytOaQxYg

Hey GS.  I’m sorry to hear you spent that much time on something that was ripped to shreds awhile ago in Skeptic magazine by an acquaintance of mine named Tim Callahan.

I addressed the # of gifts, with an explanation as to why the author used those specific gifts.  If the Queen of Sheba hadda given gold, frankincense, flowers, and chocolate, guess what Jesus would have received.  Now he has four gifts, rendering the Orion connection just what it is now - imagined by some now, but not possibly imagined by the biblical authors, of whom you are giving way too much credit to.

The gifts are merely a tool to fulfill part of the prophecy - the Messiah will be from the House of David.

Callahan ripped the shit out of the movie,  demonstrating a common difference between atheists and believers.  Believers will sit and listen or watch a fellow believer pass on information he knows isn’t true.  Atheists are far more likely to exhibit integrity and call each other on their bullshit.  The movie reminds me of the style used in others, such as What The Bleep Do We Know, where the audience is bombarded with points that most people have no way of knowing if they’re true or not, but just by the jargon and the quantity, it sounds impressive.  Like some “documentaries” I’ve seen that promote numerology, or the “bible code”.  Start checking facts and facts start to disappear.

Cheers.
Sounds like we may have met before.

edit to add - It was Skeptic Magazine, Vol 15 No.1.  That was back in 2009.  Of course, we are talking about Zeitgeist Part 1.  Part 2 was too stupid to be addressed.  Shermer has addressed conspiracy theories ad nauseum.

[ Edited: 14 October 2012 12:44 AM by Ice Monkey]
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Posted: 14 October 2012 02:03 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]  
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Actually, Callahan’s critique of Zeitgeist was less than stellar, and has received a lot of criticism. What he failed to do was discredit the mountain of historical and archaeological findings. Yes, Zeitgeist was a flawed, sloppy effort, and there are aspects of it that make me gag. However- much of the historical, archaeological and astrological (the stuff to do with the stars) is right on the money. Mithraism is well-documented, as are the various religions of the past which are cited as evidence, and the connexion between it and early Christianity has been known and documented for centuries.

It has long been known that Christianity is a ripoff of previous religions, including Judaism (Christ is based on the old testament Joseph), Mithraism (sp?), Egypt, Rome, Greece, and other religions that predate Christianity, by hundreds and sometimes thousands of years. Scholars who profess to be Christian tend not to be good researchers in this area for the simple reason of conflict of interest in terms of reasoning. You have to check your beliefs at the door in order to good research, otherwise your findings are worthless. You have to follow the evidence in order to be credible, not your instincts, which are very often dead wrong, or your preconceptions.

Where Zeitgeist falls down is its adopting of conspiracy theories (EG the world banking conspiracy) and its failure to take on belief itself.

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Posted: 14 October 2012 09:58 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]  
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gsmonks - 14 October 2012 02:03 AM

Actually, Callahan’s critique of Zeitgeist was less than stellar, and has received a lot of criticism. What he failed to do was discredit the mountain of historical and archaeological findings. Yes, Zeitgeist was a flawed, sloppy effort, and there are aspects of it that make me gag. However- much of the historical, archaeological and astrological (the stuff to do with the stars) is right on the money. Mithraism is well-documented, as are the various religions of the past which are cited as evidence, and the connexion between it and early Christianity has been known and documented for centuries.

It has long been known that Christianity is a ripoff of previous religions, including Judaism (Christ is based on the old testament Joseph), Mithraism (sp?), Egypt, Rome, Greece, and other religions that predate Christianity, by hundreds and sometimes thousands of years. Scholars who profess to be Christian tend not to be good researchers in this area for the simple reason of conflict of interest in terms of reasoning. You have to check your beliefs at the door in order to good research, otherwise your findings are worthless. You have to follow the evidence in order to be credible, not your instincts, which are very often dead wrong, or your preconceptions.

Where Zeitgeist falls down is its adopting of conspiracy theories (EG the world banking conspiracy) and its failure to take on belief itself.

And that’s the problem with movies such as this.  Fact and falsehood, interweaved.  Yes, there is certainly little that is new in the bible.  No question.  Callahan agrees with much in the movie.  Except the parts that were dead wrong, where you were bombarded with extraneous information you didn’t check.  Vaguely waving at a hodge-podge of writings and saying “look at all the evidence” isn’t gonna cut it with me.  If there is something very specific you want to talk about, let’s do that, instead of talking past each other in generalities.  I’ve seen debates between Callahan and the strange, secretive woman who wrote the book that Part 1 was based upon.  She didn’t seem to want to speak of specifics, either.  Just kept appealing to quantity, not quality. 

Accuracy counts.  I’ll stick with authors such as Callahan, Helms, and Ehrman.  Their explanations, such as the one I provided regarding the gifts, are far more sound, IMO.  I’ll take the simpler explanation that fits perfectly over a convoluted one with a forest of loose strings hanging from it.  Pointing to the forest and saying that there is a kernel of truth somewhere in there isn’t exactly sound journalistic practice.  Let’s leave that for the con artists like Sylvia Browne, and the nutjobs who write books like The Bible code.  That’s how they make their living.

Even if we set aside my sound explanation for the gifts, let’s take a look at what the movie actually says.  The star followed by the wise men (NOT KINGS) is Sirius, in the constellation Canis Major, which is said to line up with three bright stars of Orion.  Sounds like an intriguing start to a story.  Problem is, the stars don’t line up.  We are misinformed from the start and, as expected, the rest of the explanation falls apart, and fast.  Not exactly “right on the money”, IMO.  YMMV.  The problem with trying to square a hypothesis to a supposed historical event is, maybe the historical event didn’t happen.  This is an example.  Stars don’t stop over a specific house.  They can’t be said to be directly above any house, or even a city.  Pick out a star tonight and tell me what it’s over.  If you’re more specific than what hemisphere, you’re guessing.  And why the star’s detour?  Why not have it go straight to Bethlehem?  That’s as silly as suggesting that the sun stood still so agents of the lord could continue the murder of a conquered foe.  An event not recorded by people around the world who were not ignorant of the movement of celestial bodies as the biblical authors obviously were.  These are better talking points than trying to come up with a serious hypothesis to fit an event that never happened.

The God Who Wasn’t There is a far more enjoyable movie, and more accurate.  A few quibbles, but the discussion on the important but often ignored Unforgivable Sin is worth the price of admission alone.

Part two of the the Zeitgeist train wreck just isn’t worth the time to watch.  Let’s not speak of it again, except to perhaps point to it as an example of what we do agree upon - just how wrong these guys can get things.  What’s more reasonable to believe?  That these guys got part 1 bang-on, and lost their marbles when they did Part 2, or that their were consistently sensationalistic and sloppy, often letting the facts take a back seat throughout?  Think about it.  It’s worth asking.  I’m sure you’ll agree that it’s best to either debate a believer with accurate points, or say nothing at all.

[ Edited: 14 October 2012 02:32 PM by Ice Monkey]
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Posted: 16 October 2012 02:58 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]  
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Actually, the stars in Orion’s belt DO line up with Sirius. It’s not an exact, straight line, but it’s close enough.

Sure you’re not thinking of the three stars in his scabbard?

The three stars in the belt line up with Sirius, and all four point to the moving spot on the horizon where the sun’s intersection moves back and forth with the seasons. That bit of information appears in lots of books on astronomy, and is mentioned in the book that came with my solar illumination gauge.

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Posted: 16 October 2012 05:16 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]  
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gsmonks - 16 October 2012 02:58 AM

Actually, the stars in Orion’s belt DO line up with Sirius. It’s not an exact, straight line, but it’s close enough.

Sure you’re not thinking of the three stars in his scabbard?

The three stars in the belt line up with Sirius, and all four point to the moving spot on the horizon where the sun’s intersection moves back and forth with the seasons. That bit of information appears in lots of books on astronomy, and is mentioned in the book that came with my solar illumination gauge.

Bit of a pointless stretch in an attempt to replace a more simpler, plausible explanation, don’t you think?

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What can be asserted without proof can be dismissed without proof.
~ Hitch

I prefer the full-on embrace of reality to the spiritual masturbation that is religion.
~ S.A. Ladoucier

I think the world is being much helped by the suffering of the poor people
~ M. Teresa, Fruitcake of Calcutta

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