Friday, November 30, 2012

Bigfoot and Talking to God

Pat Robertson

Michelle Bachmann

George W Bush

God Got It Wrong

God usually refers to the single deity in monotheism or the monist deity in pantheism. God is often conceived of as the supernatural creator and overseer of humans and the universe. Theologians have ascribed a variety of attributes to the many different conceptions of God. The most common among these include omniscience (infinite knowledge), omnipotence (unlimited power), omnipresence (present everywhere), omnibenevolence (perfect goodness), divine simplicity, and eternal and necessary existence. -Wikipedia

   I was just watching The Young Turks on Current TV. They were doing what they called a "light' story concerning Bigfoot,  also known as Sasquatch, which are supposed hairy ape-like creatures that some think inhabits forests, mainly in the Pacific Northwest region of North America (Bigfoot of course has a cousin, the Yeti's of the Himalayan region of Nepal, and Tibet. They get together for family reunions once a year in Paramus, New Jersey).
   They ran a clip in which a Dr. Melba Ketchum has conducted a study in which she claims Bigfoot is not only real and exists, but that they are closely related to humans.
   This claim is made after studying the DNA of Bigfoot, and Dr. Ketchum would be an appropriate specialist to make this claim being the only staff member listed at the company she directs,  DNA Diagnostics, Inc. d/b/a Shelterwood Laboratories, which states: "DNA Diagnostics is a multi-species molecular genetics laboratory specializing in human and animal DNA testing for individuals, law enforcement, attorneys, breed associations, private investigators and state regulatory agencies."
   The five-year-long DNA study claims to confirm Bigfoot is a human relative that arose about 15,000 years ago as a hybrid cross of modern Homo sapiens with an unknown primate species, which would be a form of some hot interspecies ag pumpáil (Irish for having sex).
   Here's one link to the story:
   Dr Ketchum, of Nacogdoches, TX., is a veterinarian by training, and is listed as having 27 years experience in research in genetics and forensics, and having been published as a participant in mapping the equine (horse) genome.
   She and her team began testing the Sasquatch hair samples some five years ago.
   "Our study has sequenced 20 whole mitochondrial genomes and utilized next generation sequencing to obtain 3 whole nuclear genomes from purported Sasquatch samples. The genome sequencing shows that Sasquatch mtDNA is identical to modern Homo sapiens, but Sasquatch nuDNA is a novel, unknown hominin related to Homo sapiens and other primate species. Our data indicate that the North American Sasquatch is a hybrid species, the result of males of an unknown hominin species crossing with female Homo sapiens.
   Sasquatch nuclear DNA is incredibly novel and not at all what we had expected. While it has human nuclear DNA within its genome, there are also distinctly non-human, non-archaic hominin, and non-ape sequences. We describe it as a mosaic of human and novel non-human sequence. Further study is needed and is ongoing to better characterize and understand Sasquatch nuclear DNA."
   Dr. Ketchum has called on public officials and law enforcement to immediately recognize the Sasquatch as indigenous people: "Genetically, the Sasquatch are a human hybrid with unambiguously modern human maternal ancestry. Government at all levels must recognize them as an indigenous people and immediately protect their human and Constitutional rights against those who would see in their physical and cultural differences a 'license' to hunt, trap, or kill them."
   Okay, I know what you're thinking (because I'm telepathic, another scientifically proven ability), "There is no such thing as Bigfoot." "Where did Ketchum aquire these Sasquatch hair samples (why from the Sasquatch Barbour Shop of course)?" "This so-called study has not been reviewed by qualified peers, so it does not meet the standards of the basic scientific method, as of  yet, so the claims made by Dr Ketchum are at best premature." "There is no evidence supporting the survival of such a large, prehistoric ape-like creature." "The evidence that does exist points more towards a hoax or delusion than to sightings of a genuine creature." "Bigfoot is alleged to live in regions unusual for a large, nonhuman primate, such as temperate latitudes in the northern hemisphere, wherein all species of primates and apes are found in the tropics of Africa and Asia." "As with other proposed megafauna cryptids, climate and food supply issues would make  Bigfoot's survival in the reported habitats unlikely." "No Bigfoot remains have ever been found." "The current scientific consensus is that the breeding population of such an animal would be so large that many more purported sightings would have been reported than currently occur, making  it's existence almost certainly impossible."
   Well, first off I have to compliment you all on your critical thinking and skeptical capabilities. Wow, you're pretty good. I had no idea.
   So what are the odds that we have hairy and extremely shy relatives who live in the forests of the  the Pacific Northwest region of North America?
   Fortunately we don't have to speculate. Here is incontrovertible proof that they do indeed exist:
   And I wouldn't worry too much about people getting a "'license' to hunt, trap, or kill them," as they seem to be perfectly capable of taking care of themselves, and if indeed they are part human their propensity for violence will only escalate. 
   Seriously now... they do exist. I spent 11 months in Portland, OR., in 1981 when my ship was in dry dock and some of my best friends were Sasquatchs.
   But I was drinking heavily in those days. Everybody looked like a Sasquatch to me.
   But really seriously now, unless more evidence is presented which substantiates Dr. Ketchum's hypothesis, and which is subjected to the rigors of the scientific method for testing theories, then it seems unlikely Bigfeet are related to us, or even exist.
   And the burden of providing further proof is all on her. It's not us making the claim, and it's not our job to prove that she is wrong.
   My sister and I watched all ten episodes of HBO's and Aaron Sorkin's "The Newsroom" when I visited her recently (in the interest of full disclosure my sister slept through episode 8. 
   She did stay awake the next night for episode 9, "The Blackout Part II: Mock Debate." In this episode we saw the lovely actress, Alison Pill, who plays associate producer Maggie Jordan, who made this argument:
   I agree. Why wouldn't that be the first question? According to Maggie, Michele Bachmann claimed that God instructed her to run for President of the United States.  That's quite an endorsement! Considering the last time Gallop polled Americans on this issue (June of last year) more than 9 out of 10 people believe in God in this country. That alone, without God having to intervene in some way, should have insured that Michele Bachmann got 90% of the popular vote in the general election.
   And another thing, I for one want to know what God sounds like. Why don't some of these people who profess to talk with God have tape recorders?
   Anyway, so what's up with the American people?  90% of them believe in God, Bachmann had God's backing... so why was she the first to quit the the race during the Republican primaries?
   No, I really want to know! Please tell me.
   I mean, if God wanted Michele Bachmann to run for President I assume he/she/it wanted her to win. Being a omnipotent being that really shouldn't have been very difficult, don't you think? I mean if you can make the universe and the Earth, and all of the creatures that live on Earth including a man and a woman in 6 days, then fixing an election shouldn't be all that hard. Hell, the Republicans did it in 2000 and 2004, for his/her/it's son's sake!
   It's difficult to explain if you take Ms Bachmann's story and view at face value.
   Marion Robertson, better known as Pat, Chancellor of Regent University and Chairman of the Christian Broadcasting Network, and a former candidate for President himself, says he talks to God too. In that first clip above he clearly states that God told him who was going to win the presidency, but he couldn't talk about it.
   "I spent the better part of the week praying and saying, ‘God show me something,’” Robertson shared on CBN’s "The 700 Club," January 3rd of this year.. “I think He showed me the next president, but I’m not supposed to talk about that so I’ll leave you in the dark.”
   Pat knows he was hearing from God because he took notes.
   "I'm going to read just as I wrote down, as if I’m hearing from the Lord these words,” he said.
   "Your country will be torn apart by internal stress. A house divided cannot stand. Your president holds a radical view of the direction of your country which is at odds with the majority. Expect chaos and paralysis. Your president holds a view which is at the odds with the majority -- it's a radical view of the future of this country, and so that's why we're having this division. This is a spiritual battle which can only be won by overwhelming prayer. The future of the world is at stake because if America falls, there's no longer a strong champion of freedom and a champion of the oppressed of the world. There must be an urgent call to prayer."
   Okay, God didn't exactly say who would win the election... why not? Why be coy about it? God is after all omniscient, which means he/she/it knows freaking everything! Everything! There is nothing that God does not know. So why didn't he/she/it tell Pat who the next President was going to be since he was feeling so chatty?
   I don't know why.
   Let's talk about what God did talk about.
   "Your country will be torn apart by internal stress.." As far as I know the United States is still in one piece. And internal stress? Well we do have the tea party, yet we still get by.
   "A house divided cannot stand." Golly, God is either misquoting or paraphrasing Abraham Lincoln. How Godish of him/her/it.
   "Your president holds a radical view of the direction of your country which is at odds with the majority." Obama's average approval rating is 49% for the last year according to Gallop, which is in the margin of error for being above 50% which is at odds with his views being discordant with the majority of Americans. God declined to clarify which of Obama's views were radical, and in what way. Health care for all? Is that a view that God would declare radical? Fair pay for women? Ending a war?
   And so what if his views were not those of the majority. Being the president is not a popularity contest. If asked most Americans would probably vote not to go to war with anyone, yet we're almost constantly at war!
   "Expect chaos and paralysis." He/she/it got Republican obstructionism right.
   "Your president holds a view which is at the odds with the majority--" God is repeating himself/herself/itself.
   "it's a radical view of the future of this country, and so that's why we're having this division." We've discussed radical views, and this country is divided because it is racist, ignorant, and half of it listens to Rush Limbaugh and Fox so-called News.
   "This is a spiritual battle which can only be won by overwhelming prayer." I'm glad God brought up the subject of prayer. This is what the late Dr. Carl Sagan had to say about prayer, in his book "The Demon Haunted World, Science as a Candle in the Dark:"
    Does prayer work at all? Which ones?
   There's a category of prayer in which God is begged to intervene in human history or just to right some real or imagined injustice or natural calamity -- for example, when a bishop from the American West prays for God to intervene and end a devastating dry spell. Why is the pray needed? Didn't God know of the drought? Was he [she, it] unaware that it threatened the bishop's parishioners? What is implied here about the limitations of a supposedly omnipotent and omniscient deity? The bishop asked his followers to pray as well. Is God more likely to intervene when many pray for mercy or justice than when only a few do? Or consider the following request, printed in 1994 in "The Prayer and Action Weekly News: Iowa's Weekly Christian Information Source:"
    Can you join me in praying that God will burn down the Planned Parenthood in Des  Moines in a manner no one can mistake for any human torching, which impartial investigators will have to attribute to miraculous (unexplainable) causes, and which Christians will have to attribute to the hand of God?
     We've discussed faith healing. What about longevity through prayer? The Victorian statistician Francis Galton argued that -- other things being equal -- British monarchs ought to be very long-lived, because millions of people all over the world daily intoned the heartfelt mantra "God Save the Queen"  (or King). Yet, he showed, if anything, they don't live as long as other members of the wealthy and pampered aristocratic class. Ten of millions of people in concert publicly wished (although they did not exactly pray) that Mao Zedong would live "for ten thousand years." Nearly everyone in ancient Egypt exhorted the gods to let the Pharaoh live "forever.
   By making pronouncements that are, even if only in principle, testable, religions, however unwillingly, enter the arena of science. Religions can no longer make unchallenged assertions about reality -- so long as they do not seize secular power, provided they cannot coerce belief. This, in turn, has infuriated some followers of some religions.
   ""The future of the world is at stake because if America falls, there's no longer a strong champion of freedom and a champion of the oppressed of the world." Champion of the oppressed? I guess God means people like American Indians, the poor, the elderly, minorities, babies once they are out of the womb, and people in other countries that the government doesn't like. I guess God is speaking about those people.
   "There must be an urgent call to prayer."" Prayer again.
   I don't know about you, dear readers, but the statement sounds more like something that would emanate from the consciousness of a political hack, much like Pat Robertson himself, then the words of an entity that is omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent, and omnibenevolent.
   You know what I think? I think this is all a big scam to get people to vote for Republicans (I haven't heard a single Democrat say God told them to run for office) to vote for them. That's what I think.
   I think they are using God to manipulate religiously orientated gullable people.
   I could go on and on. If you're talking to God, then it's your job to first prove that God exists in the first place. That God's messages to right wing politicians seem to always benefit those same politicians. That hearing voices telling you to do things is a recognized symptom of schizophrenia (a mental disorder that makes it hard to tell the difference between what is real and not real... oh wait a minute... that's Fox News).
   On and on.
   I don't think much about people who order God around either, which both Democrats and Republicans do all of the time.
   "God bless America." Why should God favor America over other countries? God created all of us. We are all his/her/it's children, so I don't really believe God would be an adherent of American Exceptionalism.
    Alright, I've ranted enough for now. I must prepare for the upcoming Mayan day of apocalypse.
   And so should you.

6th Grade Atheist debate!

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