Saturday 22nd of February 2020

the religious follies of the empire...

ding dong

The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire was written between 1776 and 1789 in several volumes by Edward Gibbon (1737-1794). It is very educational and controversial about the role of religion in the Roman downfall — still in our own century in which the American Empire is ruling over most of the planet. Considering that 85 per cent of US citizens believe in god, one should worry, but the theory is complex and contradictory. Gibbon studied this well.

According to Gibbon, the Roman Empire succumbed to barbarian invasions in large part due to the gradual loss of civic virtue among its citizens. They had become weak, outsourcing their duty to defend their empire to barbarian mercenaries, who then became so numerous and ingrained that they were able to take over the Empire. Romans, Gibbon believed, were unwilling to live a tougher, military lifestyle. 

In addition, Gibbon argued that Christianity created a belief that a better life existed after death, which fostered an indifference to the present among Roman citizens, thus sapping their desire to sacrifice for a larger purpose. He also believed that Christianity's comparative pacifism tended to hamper the traditional Roman martial spirit. Finally, like other Enlightenment thinkers and British citizens of the age steeped in institutional anti-Catholicism, Gibbon held in contempt the Middle Ages as a priest-ridden, superstitious Dark Age. It was not until his own era, the "Age of Reason," with its emphasis on rational thought, it was believed, that human history could resume its progress.

Here one must be circumspect, as the charlatans of religions always manage to sell their wares in whatever system of temporal comforts becomes available to us.

Gibbon saw the Praetorian Guard as the primary catalyst of the empire's initial decay and eventual collapse, a seed planted by Augustus when the empire was established. His writings cite repeated examples of the Praetorian Guard abusing their power with calamitous results, including numerous instances of imperial assassination and incessant demands for increased pay.

read more: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_History_of_the_Decline_and_Fall_of_the_Roman_Empire

Gibbons says it himself

[A]s long as mankind shall continue to bestow more liberal applause on their destroyers than on their benefactors, the thirst of military glory will ever be the vice of the most exalted characters.

The influence of the clergy, in an age of superstition, might be usefully employed to assert the rights of mankind; but so intimate is the connection between the throne and the altar, that the banner of the church has very seldom been seen on the side of the people (Chapter Three p. 52).

History...is, indeed, little more than the register of the crimes, follies, and misfortune of mankind (ibid. p. 69).

If we contrast the rapid progress of this mischievous discovery [of gunpowder] with the slow and laborious advances of reason, science, and the arts of peace, a philosopher, according to his temper, will laugh or weep at the folly of mankind.

So Can we interpret that Gibbons was an atheist, or at least a strong critic of the church?.. Obviously, the Church was strongly opposed to Gibbon's book. As his book became very successful, Gibbon was elected to the zealot Tory Dr Johnson's Literary Club... Dr Samuel Johnson's pissory lap dog, James Boswel was not impressed with Gibbon he described as:

An ugly, affected, disgusting fellow... poisons the literary club to me ... I class him amongst infidel wasps and venomous insects...

Ohlala... Zing...

Gibbon:

As Christianity advances, disasters befall the [Roman] empire—arts, science, literature, decay—barbarism and all its revolting concomitants are made to seem the consequences of its decisive triumph—and the unwary reader is conducted, with matchless dexterity, to the desired conclusion—the abominable Manicheism of Candide, and, in fact, of all the productions of Voltaire's historic school—viz., "that instead of being a merciful, ameliorating, and benignant visitation, the religion of Christians would rather seem to be a scourge sent on man by the author of all evil."[15]

As the happiness of a future life is the great object of religion, we may hear without surprise or scandal that the introduction, or at least the abuse of Christianity, had some influence on the decline and fall of the Roman empire. The clergy successfully preached the doctrines of patience and pusillanimity; the active virtues of society were discouraged; and the last remains of military spirit were buried in the cloister: a large portion of public and private wealth was consecrated to the specious demands of charity and devotion; and the soldiers' pay was lavished on the useless multitudes of both sexes who could only plead the merits of abstinence and chastity. Faith, zeal, curiosity, and more earthly passions of malice and ambition, kindled the flame of theological discord; the church, and even the state, were distracted by religious factions, whose conflicts were sometimes bloody and always implacable; the attention of the emperors was diverted from camps to synods; the Roman world was oppressed by a new species of tyranny; and the persecuted sects became the secret enemies of their country. Yet party-spirit, however pernicious or absurd, is a principle of union as well as of dissension. The bishops, from eighteen hundred pulpits, inculcated the duty of passive obedience to a lawful and orthodox sovereign; their frequent assemblies and perpetual correspondence maintained the communion of distant churches; and the benevolent temper of the Gospel was strengthened, though confirmed, by the spiritual alliance of the Catholics. The sacred indolence of the monks was devoutly embraced by a servile and effeminate age; but if superstition had not afforded a decent retreat, the same vices would have tempted the unworthy Romans to desert, from baser motives, the standard of the republic. Religious precepts are easily obeyed which indulge and sanctify the natural inclinations of their votaries; but the pure and genuine influence of Christianity may be traced in its beneficial, though imperfect, effects on the barbarian proselytes of the North. If the decline of the Roman empire was hastened by the conversion of Constantine, his victorious religion broke the violence of the fall, and mollified the ferocious temper of the conquerors (chap. 39).[16]

Not all of Gibbon's work was perfect, but was so incisive few can dispute its worth. They only dispute the minutiae of some of Gibbon's arguments. The Russian historian George Ostrogorsky writes, "Gibbon and Lebeau were genuine historians — and Gibbon a very great one — and their works, in spite of factual inadequacy, rank high for their presentation of their material.

So, here we are in the 21st century, still fighting the religious bullshit — the bullshit that destroyed the Roman empire in part and completely created the dark ages with intent — all carefully invented to cultivate ignorance.

Spurred by the development of sciences in the 16th century, the sceptics of religion in the 18th century became aware of the need for change. The period ended up with the American war of independence, the French revolution, the industrial revolution and the scientific age. But we still have to fight the religious bullshit to this day. It seems the religious dogma has become somewhat desperate in protecting some idiotic beliefs proponents attack sciences relentlessly more and more with worse and worse bullshit. 

And of course, the conservative press, now owned by Mr Murdoch is pushing hard to sell us this semi-creationist porkies. We are presented with some "opinions" in the opinions pages, that would not have made it a few decent years ago, because opinions, then, still needed to be backed up by a minimum amount of decent facts and some research, not fantasies. These days everything goes: fantasies, fairy tales, ignorance, rubbish. This bullshit is grown like a GM crop of spaghettis in a field of complete ignorance and watered by illogical scienticide. 

Comes Melanie Phillips at The Times (a Murdoch publication). Melanie is a old ultra right wing conservative columnist:

Science is turning back to the dark ages

Overplaying the threat to coral reefs is just the latest example of ideology distorting research
According to a new study, scientists’ claims that coral reefs are doomed by ocean acidification are overplayed. An “inherent bias” in scientific journals, says the editor of ICES Journal of Marine Science, has excluded research showing marine creatures are not being damaged.Instead, he says, many studies have used flawed methods by subjecting such creatures to sudden increases in carbon dioxide that would never happen in real life. No surprises there. The claim that CO2 emissions are acidifying the oceans is a favourite of climate change alarmists...
The rest  of Melanie's article as you would expect is behind a pay wall. Cash rules over misinformation. Misinformation and one has to pay for it? Murdoch is deluded... What Melanie does not tell us in her article is who the editor of ICES journal is... Would the journal publish reports based on flawed methodology and the editor admit to it? I don't think so. Is subjecting marine creatures to sudden increases in carbon dioxide that would never happen in real life a scientific no-no? Despite having conclusive results on a study of a trend rather than a "sudden increase? And the claim that "CO2 emissions are acidifying the oceans is a favourite of climate change alarmists" is a bad sniggering attempt at denigration.
The reality is complex but can be explained in a seashell by the Smithsonian Institute with PRECISE OBSERVATIONS.

Ocean acidification is sometimes called “climate change’s equally evil twin,” and for good reason: it's a significant and harmful consequence of excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere that we don't see or feel because its effects are happening underwater. At least one-quarter of the carbon dioxide (CO2) released by burning coal, oil and gas doesn't stay in the air, but instead dissolves into the ocean. Since the beginning of the industrial era, the ocean has absorbed some 525 billion tons of CO2 from the atmosphere, presently around 22 million tons per day.

At first, scientists thought that this might be a good thing because it leaves less carbon dioxide in the air to warm the planet. But in the past decade, they’ve realized that this slowed warming has come at the cost of changing the ocean’s chemistry. When carbon dioxide dissolves in seawater, the water becomes more acidic and the ocean’s pH (a measure of how acidic or basic the ocean is) drops. Even though the ocean is immense, enough carbon dioxide can have a major impact. In the past 200 years alone, ocean water has become 30 percent more acidic—faster than any known change in ocean chemistry in the last 50 million years.

Scientists formerly didn’t worry about this process because they always assumed that rivers carried enough dissolved chemicals from rocks to the ocean to keep the ocean’s pH stable. (Scientists call this stabilizing effect “buffering.”) But so much carbon dioxide is dissolving into the ocean so quickly that this natural buffering hasn’t been able to keep up, resulting in relatively rapidly dropping pH in surface waters. As those surface layers gradually mix into deep water, the entire ocean is affected.

Such a relatively quick change in ocean chemistry doesn’t give marine life, which evolved over millions of years in an ocean with a generally stable pH, much time to adapt. In fact, the shells of some animals are already dissolving in the more acidic seawater, and that’s just one way that acidification may affect ocean life. Overall, it's expected to have dramatic and mostly negative impacts on ocean ecosystems—although some species (especially those that live in estuaries) are finding ways to adapt to the changing conditions.

http://ocean.si.edu/ocean-acidification

-------------------

THIS is real life, not the fantasy brought up to you by the creationists or misinformation gods of the Tories. Because guess what? I believe that Melanie Phillips is a fundamentalist Christian despatched to fight the sciences as well as other pagan rites such as tattoos and cupcakes for LGBTs.

The heading of her article itself is misleading and pissing on reality: "Science is turning back to the dark ages". You can see some attempt at trying to turn the table of religion having created the dark ages... The dark ages as Gibbon mentioned were due entirely to "priests" and religion being stifling — or trying hard to asphyxiate real investigation of reality. 

So, where were we? The social construct of the empire and its many facets of deceit is used to distract us from reality, including the worth about other human beings. Melanie is a cog of the Empire. She has an opinion about everything and that's fair but where sciences are correct, she needs to place a baby-dummy in her trap. She knows zip. 

Melanie Phillips is a right-wing British journalist, author and public commentator. She started on the left of the political spectrum, writing for The Guardian and New Statesman. During the 1990s she moved to the right, and currently writes for The Times, Jerusalem Post and Jewish Chronicle, covering political and social issues from a social conservative perspective. Phillips defines herself as a liberal who has "been mugged by reality."

The reality is that Melanie has also been published by the GWPF, the dishonest Global Warming Policy Forum, which is Lord Lawson's baby of disinformation, effluenting from the UK. Melanie Phillips' propaganda is also lauded by another religious network called Breakpoint seemingly dedicated to denigrate sciences. 

Gibbon was correct in his assessment of the role of religion in the demise of the Roman Empire... We have been on the same road with the Brits, and now the Yanks. Meanwhile the surface of earth is warming up. Sciences are correct.

Gus leonisky

Local historian sitting on the Aurelian wall...

 

 

 

 

science makes mistakes...

Science makes mistakes. Religion does not: Religion IS ONE BIG MISTAKE. Belief in INTELLIGENT DESIGN is dishonest. if god existed He (god is a male) would have to be the devious devil incarnate. But no, the evolution of nature is the relative domain in which we live. Today, the publication that explored the taxonomy of the bacteria kingdom is a fascinating but not surprising development.

There are some scientists who do not believe a single word of Darwin's work. And these "Christian" scientists are working hard at convincing others that "intelligent design" is the better option to believe in. As you know intelligent design does not make any more sense than the nonsense of creationism.

A name of note — a pusher for ID — is a certain Stephen C Meyer who is often quoted by other religious nutcases, including Eric Metaxas (a religious zealot), already mentioned on this site:

 

 

In his book, “Darwin’s Doubt,” Dr. Stephen Meyer quotes Chinese paleontologist J. Y. Chen: “In China,” Chen says, “we can criticize Darwin, but not the government; in America, you can criticize the government, but not Darwin.”

A couple of Chinese researchers recently found this out the hard way when they published a paper on the workings of the human hand in the science journal PLOS ONE. Their title was innocuous enough: “Biomechanical Characteristics of Hand Coordination in Grasping Activities of Daily Living.”

But a sentence in the abstract got these authors in a world of trouble: “…the biomechanical characteristic of tendinous connective architecture…” they wrote, “is the proper design by the Creator to perform a multitude of daily tasks in a comfortable way.”

What? The creator mentioned in a scientific journal?

PFAFF... Who cares... The journal removed the article and so be it. The two Chinese fellows realised they had meant "nature" and translated wrongly. The peer review was sloppy. Sure. But let's not condemn sciences on such a small slip. Religiousness is full of holes and completely idiotic. The "Cambrian explosion" of life forms has nothing to do with "Intelligent design"... but with all the complex factors of the environmental circumstances and of easier adaptation. Stephen C Mayer is wrong and, despite all his academic degrees, is a well learned charlatan.

And please realise that we only have two hands. The monkeys have four. And they use them within the dictate of their memory ability. What influences the human behaviour is the size of our EVOLVED memory and the management thereof. Nothing else. No god. No designer. 

And what we grasp with our hands has been mostly designed BY US so the act of grasping is most comfortable for us. But we have to consider that there are big hands, small hands and a multitude of items have been created in order to cater, including the left-handed can opener. Go fetch.

 

 

...and the empire works...

 

So how does the American Empire deal with the conflicts brought out by a "peaceful religion", the progress of sciences and technology — and the military necessary to service the Empire? These conflicts could easily bring the empire down like they did for the Roman Empire...


It's a simple high wire act of proportions, in which complete and utter disinformation is paramount. It's actually very easy. Too easy. People are bred to be gullible. People are bread to be hypocrites and people are sociopaths to various degrees. As well most people educated by the Empire are also GREEDY. The smell of cash can send them bananas like the smell of piss at the bottom of a tree makes another dog piss over it. Going to the park with a dog is like a non-stop piss-stop and you wish the council took down all those lovely Moreton Bay figs.

So the Empire has various ways to deal with the possibility of mellowing of spirit amongst its citizens. First, the constitution is completely misinterpreted to give every one and his dog the right to bear arms. The word "militias" gets an astonishing bypass. Fundamentalist Christians love it. Most Christians are anti-violence though they have their limit as to whom they would shoot first. Keeps the military spirit flowing. Military parades, expenditure on new killer toys and overseas excursions are part of the maintenance of the patriot ideals. The concept of competition keeps the slackers on their toes and those who fall down get pointed out as failure and not worth the dog food they buy with food stamps. 

As well, the threat of going to prison is enormous. Prisons are a well run enterprises for cash and are looking all the time for new "customers"... Some police will proselytise and arrest anyone they chose.

As well, unlike the Romans, and unlike the UK Empire, so far, if you live in conquered lands, you are still not an "American", unless you are born in one of the fifty states. This is the major problem in regard to the Mexicans. Trump to the rescue. Actually the Empire does not conquer any lands and here lies the ultimate trick of the American Empire. The Empire will destroy your ability to be your own master and servant, and make you dependant upon the Empire for survival. In return, the Empire allows itself to plunder your resources. And should you refuse you will be bombed, alla Libya or Iraq, under the basest of false pretences. As well the Empire will do all that it can to maintain a level of fear amongst the citizens in regard to unruly hordes trying to defeat the Empire from outside — read Al Qaeda, ISIS, and others such as COMMUNISTS.

The main ingredient for this to work without too much resistance from the people is cash. DOLLARS. The Dollar is god. Let's not forget it. 

And there are ways to help the rich stay rich while guiding the system from ivory towers as the poor compete for the crumbs at various levels of the ladder to "success". 

And the Empire works.

 

the religious tight-arsing of australian politics...

 

how to explain the trainwreck that is the last three years of the federal government? The debacle poses a challenge that will dog journalists, policy wonks and historians for decades to come. The explanations for its dysfunction and sustained under-achievement are complex, but there are at least two distinct theories worth considering.

In Malcolm Turnbull’s second ministerial reshuffle in February, Alex Hawke was promoted to the office of assistant minister to the treasurer. In 2005, the then young Liberal office holder prophesied that conservative politics in Australia would move increasingly towards an American model. Hawke explained that: “The two greatest forces for good in human history are capitalism and Christianity, and when they’re blended it’s a very powerful duo.”

Can the relentless incoherence and incompetence of the current government be attributed to a particular blend of capitalism and religion that has found favour in the US? Perhaps. British author Will Hutton argues that a malaise has swept the political right throughout the west and that it has given up on the Enlightenment and in doing so has rejected “tolerance, reason, democratic argument, progress and the drive for social betterment as cornerstones of society.”

read more: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/apr/13/alarmism-economic-idiocy-and-orwellian-appointments-three-years-of-political-disaster

 

Read from top...

 

the golden bough...

The Golden Bough: A Study in Comparative Religion (retitled The Golden Bough: A Study in Magic and Religion in its second edition) is a wide-ranging, comparative study of mythology and religion, written by the Scottish anthropologist Sir James George Frazer (1854–1941). It was first published in two volumes in 1890; in three volumes in 1900; the third edition, published 1906–15, comprised twelve volumes. The work was aimed at a wide literate audience raised on tales as told in such publications as Thomas Bulfinch's The Age of Fable, or Stories of Gods and Heroes (1855). The influence of The Golden Bough on contemporary European literature and thought was substantial.[1]

read more: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Golden_Bough

 

 

Sir James George Frazer OM FRS FRSE FBA[1] (/ˈfrzər/; 1 January 1854 – 7 May 1941), was a Scottish social anthropologist influential in the early stages of the modern studies of mythology and comparative religion.[2] He is often considered one of the founding fathers of modern anthropology.

His most famous work, The Golden Bough (1890), documents and details the similarities among magical and religious beliefs around the globe. Frazer posited that human belief progressed through three stages: primitive magic, replaced by religion, in turn replaced by science.

read more: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_George_Frazer

 

Pastafarian Spaghettus to fight on...

 


Quirky church, Flying Spaghetti Monster, hits court wall
Despite constitutional guarantees of religious freedom, a German court has banned the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster from hanging up official notices. Chief Pastafarian, Brother Spaghettus, has vowed to fight on.


Brother Spaghettus had a bad day on Wednesday. A court in the eastern city of Frankfurt an der Oder announced that his religion, the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, had no right to hang official signs at the entrances to the town of Templin, Brandenburg, giving information about their weekly services, next to those of the local Catholic and Protestant churches.
"The suit has been denied," Judge Sabine Selbig said in court. "It does not depend on whether the organization is a world-view community or not."
The judge ruled that the government of the state of Brandenburg had legitimately overruled a verbal agreement to allow the four signs, which Brother Spaghettus, aka Rüdiger Weida, chairman of the religious society, had made with Templin mayor Detlef Tabbert in December 2014.
Weida was defiant after the ruling was announced on Wednesday. "We completely expected this verdict," he told DW. "The next step is we're going to take it to a higher state court."

Equal rights
Weida, who answers all questions with scrupulous earnestness, was disappointed with the way the court treated the case. "Our impression was that the judge was not in the slightest interested in engaging with the substance of the case, and dismissed it merely as a formality," he said. "And she was completely wrong, and that's why we see good chances for our appeal."
Weida also said his church intended to sue the local road authority of "attempted collusion" in the trial for making false claims about the church.
For the Brandenburg Infrastructure Ministry, on the other hand, the case is straightforward. "The question was whether the group is a religious group or not," spokesman Steffen Streu told DW. "As far as the road signs are concerned, there are clear rules - a recognized religious community is allowed to do that."
Weida was offended by the implicit discrimination in this point of view. "For us these signs are simply to be taken for granted," he said. "We are just as serious as every other religion, and we want to be able to articulate ourselves just as seriously. We consider it completely unreasonable that other views of the world in Germany get special privileges. If someone has privileges, it always means that someone else is discriminated against."

A new creationism
The Flying Spaghetti Monster was born in Kansas, in the US, in 2005, when "concerned citizen" Bobby Henderson wrote an open letter to the state's school board after it decided that "intelligent design" should be taught as an alternative theory to evolution on the school curriculum.
Henderson argued that it wasn't fair to only allow schools to teach just one creationist theory, and claimed that he, and "many others around the world," believed that a Flying Spaghetti Monster had created the universe.

read more: http://www.dw.com/en/quirky-church-flying-spaghetti-monster-hits-court-wall/a-19184730

 

tortellini marries spaghettoni in same sex union...

The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster has held its first legally recognised marriage, with the offbeat movement hailing the New Zealand ceremony as a world-first milestone toward acceptance.

Key points:
  • NZ ruled in March that the church was based on genuine philosophical convictions
  • Wedding marks world's first legal marriage by a pastafarian ministeroni
  • FSM's prophet argues that believing a pasta god made the universe is no less valid than Christianity's intelligent design

Church adherents call themselves pastafarians, wear colanders on their heads, revere pirates and believe the world was created by a deity made of spaghetti.

But while they have a love of pasta-based puns and celebrate holidays such as "Talk Like a Pirate Day", followers insist their religion is no joke.

New Zealand officials agreed, and gave Wellington-based pastafarian Karen Martyn the legal right to conduct marriages last month after ruling the church was based on genuine philosophical convictions.

Ms Martyn conducted her inaugural wedding as an ordained "ministeroni" on Saturday, when Toby Ricketts and Marianna Young became the first couple in the world to "tie the noodly knot" in a legally recognised ceremony.

"It's a formal recognition that we are a church and that's just great," Ms Martyn said ahead of the ceremony.

She said many more weddings were planned, including same-sex unions, which were legalised in New Zealand in 2013.

"I've had people from Russia, from Germany, from Denmark, from all over contacting me and wanting me to marry them in the church because of our non-discriminatory philosophy.

"We will marry any consenting legal adults who meet the legal requirement."

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-04-16/noodly-knot-tied-in-first-legal-marriage-of-pastafarians/7332360

 

May god (the Flying Spaghetti Monster) bless their little pastinellos...