The Christian Science Mistake
Mary Baker Eddy, the supposed Discoverer and Founder of the Christian Science sect was a repressed woman who was denied a good education by her dominating father. As a child, she had fainting fits, chronic indigestion, and auditory experiences, all brought about by her struggle to obtain recognition from a strictly Protestant and overbearing father. Her father tried to break her will by harsh punishment.
She was so sickly she had to be tutored at home, and since there was not a whole lot of career choices for women during the 1840’s, got married and widowed, got remarried and divorced, and had her one child removed from her care and sent away for twenty years.
While she was single she boarded with various families for four years, and was asked to leave by every one of those host families on account of her combative and argumentative nature. The Chinese symbol for trouble is “Two women under one roof”. So Mary did not play well with others.
When she was married for the third time, she had a back injury due to a fall and her husband tried to get her to sue the city, but it never came to fruition.
The doctor who attended her injury said that she was never in a critical condition. Her “miraculous cure” came about because she got tired of malingering, and decided to exploit the religious fervor of the times, and claimed that reading the Bible healed her.
This is a favorite ploy of semi educated people who want attention, fame and fortune. Being a woman, writing was one way of exploiting the religious fears of the community, and garnering all the fame and fortune she could want.
Her claim of using science as her guide to the cures in the Bible is patent nonsense. She had no concept of what a scientific principal was, and only parroted the ongoing technical terms of the Industrial Revolution.
To be scientific, one must be able to prove out a theory by repeated results of tests run under controlled conditions.
The results must be replicable and the end product identical.
Her science consisted of here-say, and anecdotes from hysterical people thinking that their physical ailments were cured by prayer.
This hold true to this day in the modern literature. A little girl gets her thumb caught in a car door, and has her parent pray over it. She goes swimming in a hotel pool, and presto- chango the thumb is all better!
My son got his fingers slammed in a Volvo door and he cried a lot, we did not pray, but hey after a while presto- chango- all better!
Mary Baker Eddy claims that she went through the Bible and found all the stories of healing, but she left out mentioning all the nasty parts, like God commanding the razing of whole villages, slaughtering children, burning witches, pimping out daughters to strangers, and more juicy bits.
This is cherry picking, and makes the whole Bible thing suspect.
To compare anecdotal material and science is like comparing apples and oranges.
I doubt if praying over a severed limb every “healed” it like a lizard losing a tail and growing it back.
If praying would heal, then there would be no cancer, or cirrhosis of the liver, no AIDS or Ebola
That is the first thing anybody does when they have to have tests to confirm positive or negative results for a disease I doubt if anybody’s prayers were answered when they prayed for a miraculous cure.
People get ill and get well again for many reasons. Hysteria, panic attacks, high blood pressure, and hives all come and go without drugs or prayers. Sometimes all is needed is a good night’s sleep.
The anecdotes quoted in Mary Baker Eddy’s works do not prove the existence of an invisible,
Omnipotent entity listening to our pleadings and prayers, or directing our lives.
There is a reason for the separation of government and religion, as a claim of science directing religion makes it seem advisable to direct government through religious terms.
Claiming to have a scientific religion is the height of mendacity.
Chris Hadfield was interviewed on NPR about his experiences in space. When he was working on the outside of the space station he was awed by the view and became a bit maudlin.
He said that seeing the earth “roar by” silently gave rise to spiritual feelings.
He thought that this was proof that the earth and all the solar system must have had a purpose behind its existence.
Since beauty is in the eye of the beholder, his claim of a designer behind the universe and a purpose to it all, is directly in opposition to that of Carl Sagan, Neil deGrasse Tyson , Stephen Hawking and mine.
I too have had the joy and privilege of flying or floating above the earth, circling in thermals and gaining altitude on nothing but warm air bubbles. I have flown across America at an altitude that afforded a view of desert dunes, and green alfalfa circles.
This view only made me appreciate mankind’s’ achievement and marvel at how swift our progress in aviation has been from 1900 when my own father was born, to the present.
When I am in an airliner cruising at 30,000 feet, I do not think of spirituality and the grand design of an intelligent invisible being that “created” it all.
I think of how great it is that man has provided me with this magical vehicle to whisk me around the world so that I might witness and enjoy the wonders of our planet.
How marvelous that scores of human beings have toiled long hours to provide me with the seat in the air, the food on the table in Lhasa, Tibet, and the warm shower after a hard days hiking in the woods.
Everything that I see around me including my clothes, furnishings, shelter, and transport is the result of some person’s effort in creating these things.
I earned the right to enjoy them by my human efforts working for the society’s good. Nowhere do I see anything but a human hand involved in life.
The music that we find consoling us in stressful times all come from the hand of human composers, although computers are talented too. These computers are designed and built by human beings so everything comes back to a tangible living being here on our beautiful planet.
In our quest to explore outer space and our appreciation of the beauty of our planet when viewed from above it, can sometimes confuse us in thinking the invisible forces at work have a purpose when it is all chance evolving over millennia.
DNA for Harry Potter
The ancestors of Harry potter probably included the Peveral family on his Dad’s side, as Harry inherited the Cloak of Invisibility. These magic artifacts came out of the Caucasus, as did many wizards, vampires and werewolf families. Since we know nothing of the actual DNA of the male lineage, we have to look at Lily Evans’ ancestors.
Here we have the actual Haplogroup of L1B with the subclave L1B1 (M349).
These groups came out of the Caucuses and migrated through northern Europe, and on into England, where they can be found today.
Anyone with families in the Cambridgshire region sent their DNA on to America. Witchcraft and wizardry was therefore spread to the New World.
The only defect that we can find in the DNA of Harry Potter is that there is a tendency of weakness in vision, hence those big ugly glasses Harry had to wear, and was always breaking and patching them together with Cello tape.
Well, that stopped when Hermione fixed them with a handy spell for minor repairs.
I hear that a muggle has built a replica of Hagrid’s hut on her property, and has furnished it with the proper outsized décor. I hope she has some souvenirs of Harry and his friends to go on the shelf above the fireplace.
The thing about delving into the past for proof of ancestry lines is that there is no changing the facts. Just as fossils show age like the rings of a tree stump, so do the snippets of our building blocks inside our living bodies.
I can be blue eyed and blond, and claim to a pure Aryan inheritance, but any scan of the genome in my cells show that there is some percentage of Neanderthal influence.
Just as we cannot fake our genetic story, so we cannot ascribe the inheritance of any tribe that is pure fiction. We might be able to show the source of where a books paper originates, but we cannot show the source of the genetic inheritance and origins of the tribe depicted inside those pages.
The real argument over proof of origin comes when the fiction in a book is presented as factual.
As long as there are inherent believers such as Scientologist’s who think that there was a trillion year old god named Xenu who populated earth , then we continue to confuse reality with fantasy.
I prefer my fantasy straight up with harry, Hermione and Ron having a drink of horribly strong tea in Hagrid’s cozy hut.
Today was the anniversary of the Mormon handcart disaster. In 1856 a group of Mormons tried to get to Utah from Missouri by walking and dragging all their worldly belongings in handcarts.
They were stupid in thinking that they could get to their destination in the winter, and as a result of budget shortfalls and poor leadership, over 200 people perished in a blizzard on October 19, 1856.
Instead of learning from this experience and questioning the poor leadership and nonexistent planning, the Mormons of today make it an event to duplicate in honor of this failure.
A group of teens take up the handcarts, and when there is a river to cross, take up the teen aged girls to carry them across the river.
I think this is not only unecessary, but demeaning to the girls, and if a teen boy can cross a river carrying a girl in his arms, then there is no reason that the girl can’t wade across by herself.
They babble on and on about how “spiritual” the experience was, at least those silly girls do, all the while ignoring the fact that this is not a fun trip or easy campout. They would all do better by actually going camping with proper supervision and keep all feet dry.
This annual “trek” by the gullible teens is actually a brainwashing experience, and purported to be faith promoting. Dressing up like pioneers should be kept to celebrating Halloween, and not in trying to recreate a shameful part of a cult’s history.
As someone has stated before this, the victors write the history.
We should say rather that the survivors rewrote their history and painted it in glowing colors to fool future generations. It is rather like the survivors of the doomed Donner party holding a barbeque on the anniversary of the cannibalism that resulted from that group being trapped in the mountains in a blizzard.
Shades of 1984!
When I read Les Miserables on my iPad, I found that there was a lot more to it than the basic plot that had been reworked in movies and musicals. There was a lot of philosphy, poetry, and opinions of the author about the famous Paris sewers. Hugo was of the opinion that all waste should be collected for application to farms outside the city. Then the spread of diseases would have been catastropic, so a good thing the builders decided to make large sewers instead.
Betty Friedan helped with the women’s lberation, but now we have books advising women to be more assertive and fight for the right to manage big companies, and develope stress like all the A type men. Welcome to the corporate world!
Diane Gabaldon is one of my favorite writers, and she takes so long to produce a book because she fact checks, grammar checks and spell checks the heck out of each word!
I especially like her medical history plot lines, and can do with less gratuitous sex in the latest book.
We love our escapism, and time traveling romantics fill the bill.
Forger’s trifecta, Mark Hoffman
Mark Hoffman is presently doing a life term sentence in prison for murder. He was so despondent over his wife divorcing him that he obtained some sleeping pills in order to kill himself.
He only succeeded in maiming his forging hand by laying on it and cutting off the circulation.
He started out small, with forging the Oath of a Freeman, purporting to be a contemporary document of the Bay Colony in the 1600’s.
His ink was manufactured by using the recipe so generously provided by another “expert” on forgeries, Charles Hamilton. He burned a piece of 17th Century leather to obtain the tannic acid. When mixed into iron gallatanate ink, any testing would show a type of ink that would be similar to the ones used in that era, especially if the testing was the Carbon -14 method.
The paper for the Oath was old paper stolen out of 17 Century books with chain marks similar to that found in the Bay Psalm Book. After he printed it up, he then placed it in a glass chamber and subjected it to an electrical spark, which generated ozone. This bleached and oxidized the ink, so that it aged 350 years in an instant.
The only thing that Hoffman could not do was to have the ions of the ink migrate into the surface of the paper for the proper distance. During later investigation a new technique for measuring ion migration was used on several of his documents to prove that none were older than 20 years.
Hoffman certainly did his homework and was meticulous in producing these voices from the past, but he only provided for the first one or two levels of scrutiny.
When a critic examines a supposed forgery, he looks for anomalies in hand writing, language mistakes, such as wrong gender use, or improper use of puns. Then there is the technical side with age of paper and ink. All these were mastered by Hoffman and in fact his products passed muster with examiners because he had what looked like proper provenance to back up the actual artifact.
He started young and practiced long, but being too hasty in wanting to make a big score, he over reached himself and his talents.
His talents did not extend to the matter of constructing pipe bombs, with which he hoped to silence a few critics who were getting too close to the truth. One of them went off in his car, damaged his knee, and opened up his can of worms.
At the time of his arrest, he was planning to re-create the first lost 116 pages of the Book of Mormon, and had 3 by 5 cards all indexed with all the words in the book. This supposedly would have been his epic fantasy, as there had never been any real proof that the lost 116 pages were truly destroyed.
He was hoping to sell this work to the leaders of the Mormon Church for $25 million.
Later on, after being incarcerated for life without chance of parole, Hoffman admitted that there was still one of his forgeries locked away in the vault of the LDS church in Salt Lake City.
He claimed that the leaders did not even suspect that this document came from his production, and was not ever going to reveal anything more about it.
Hoffman could change the appearance of the passage of time in his forgeries, but the real passage of time is now being written on his own body.
Ademar, the nimble fingered monk
I now turn to Ademar of Chabannes, France, eminent historian, scribe and forger in the Year of our Lord, 1029.
This year marked the peak of his production of letters from popes, bishops, dukes and sermons all supporting the apolisticity of Saint Martial. Martial was the one who locally brought Christianity and Ademar wanted, with the collusion of his bishop to declare that this man was one of the original apostles.
He was thwarted in this plan when he was publicly denounced by Benedict of Chiusa on the premise that Saint-Martial would turn against this lie, and condemn all on Judgment Day.
After all Ademar’s plans for a new liturgy were destroyed, he retreated to the scriptorium and produced more forgeries in order to re-write the scenario.
In order to have his revenge for the blocking of his plans, Ademar forged letters and attached them to the end of the Easter tables, which would not be read or needed for fifty years. This would lend authenticity to the forged work, in which his version of events were put forth, and prevent any more criticism from his contemporaries.
In order to produce a corpus of works, he stole parchment from the ongoing works by writing smaller script. In this manner he obtained materials for his own use without having his superiors noticing. It was the equivalent of about two dozen sheep hides, a small fortune for the time.
His forgeries and fictions were brought to light and used by the church years after his death, but were not critically examined until about 1920. Not until the 1990’s was the church able to admit to his misdeeds.
Wikipedia gives a more full account of this little monk who monkeyed around seriously.
One of my sources for those who like to have these things was-
Landes, R.A. (1995) Relics, Apocalypse and Deceits of History: Ademar of Chabannes 989-1043. Cambridge Massachusetts, London England, Harvard University Press.