The Raving Theist

Dedicated to Jesus Christ, Now and Forever

The Gods Who Will Be There

June 17, 2005 | 79 Comments

The God Who Wasn’t There premieres in New York tomorrow night at 7 p.m. at the Two Boots Pioneer Theater (155 East 3rd Street, between Avenues A and B).

Writer, director, producer and narrator Brian Flemming will be there, conducting a Q&A session at the conclusion of the film.

The Raving Atheist will attend as well, his arrival announced by thunderclap at 6:58 p.m. as he descends from the sky sliding down a black rainbow in his flaming orange cape.

Afterwards we shall all drink the night away.

The world is invited. Be there.

Comments

79 Responses to “The Gods Who Will Be There”

  1. Kafkaesquí
    June 17th, 2005 @ 4:49 pm

    Flaming orange, eh?

  2. Crackerus Dadderus
    June 17th, 2005 @ 10:47 pm

    Who do you say jesus is and what do you do with him?

    Oh that was great. Too numerous are the jokes you could make out of that.

  3. AK
    June 18th, 2005 @ 3:21 pm

    ARGH Both Raving Atheist and Brian Flemming will be in the New York showing! Im so jealous!

    I was at the Los Angeles performance and Flemming was not there, and of course neither was RA. No biggie in itself, but when I find out that these two guys will be at the NY show, I got half a mind to purchase plant tickets to JFK airport just to be able to shake their hands and let them know how wonderful their work is.

    When you guys are living in up at the NY showing, remember that I am here in Los Angeles, praying for you… no WAIT! I mean, uh, plotting an atheistic takeover of the world! Yeah, thats the ticket!

  4. boywonder
    June 18th, 2005 @ 5:44 pm

    I’m sorry AK, I couldn’t resist: “..I got half a mind to purchase PLANT tickets to JFK airport…” It just sounded unusually funny to me.

  5. AK
    June 19th, 2005 @ 1:28 pm

    LOL that typo must have been a sign from God!

  6. Con Man
    June 19th, 2005 @ 8:44 pm

    Yes, I noticed that too. So this thunderclap, will there be any lightning accompanying it, ’cause that’s usually my cue to appear

  7. TrixieKatt
    June 21st, 2005 @ 12:43 pm

    OK, major disappointment here in our nation’s capitol. My local screening was supposed to be Sunday night according to the website. But when I called the theater to confirm, they had never even heard of the movie. I don’t know much about these universists who were supposedly sponsoring the screening (and emailed me a confirmation of the date and time), but clearly event planning is not their long suit.

    So how was the NY event? Did TRA work the red carpet? Was he wearing the orange cape, or a two-button Armani tuxedo with grosgrain peak lapels and a gunmetal satin four-in-hand tie? Because that’s how I pictured him last night in my dreams.

  8. TrixieKatt
    June 21st, 2005 @ 2:03 pm

    Damn, I mean capital. I always forget that the principal is my pal, too.

  9. Jeremy
    June 23rd, 2005 @ 8:29 am

    I feel very sorry for all atheist and will be praying for you. How do you deny God when you see his wonderfull creation. Have you heard the studies that show that sick people who are prayed for have faster and longer lasting recoveries.

  10. jahrta
    June 23rd, 2005 @ 10:10 am

    yeah, you go ahead and you do that, jeremy. go ahead and pray your empty head off.

    did the members of the children’s crusade find their way into a short brutal life of slavery or quick death at the hands of the turks because they didn’t pray hard enough?

    did your loving god decide to wash away a quarter million tourists in that tsunami out of his infinite love and compassion?

    let’s not forget this is the same almighty all-powerful all-seeing (but invisible, silent and intangible) entity who apparently hates gay people, even though there’s no evidence that he’s retired the mold. if he despises them and their lifestyles so much why are there still gays in world when we read in the bible about countless societies and cultures wiped out of existence merely because they fell out of favor with this so-called loving and peaceful god of yours (well, i suppose if everyone’s dead, peace reigns supreme).

    no, sweet, innocent, docile jeremy. i’m afraid everything you’ve been force-fed since your inception into the brainless club for christians has been grade A certified 100% horseshit. here’s the truth: there is no god, there never was and there never will be. get the fuck over it. live your own life and let others live theirs. can’t deal with it? stay off the site and get together with your own ilk as you do every sunday as it stands already for your weekly dose of pacification. god can’t be blamed for the tsunami, 911, smallpox or my eczema because he’s not real. i might as well get pissy with santa.

    and i’m getting really sick of this “look around you” bullshit. the world that is around us is a culmination of random chance, the big bang, and the plain and simple fact that NO ONE knows how many times life tried and failed before it took hold here. aside from that, and all of the variety of life that is all around us, courtesy of a little thing called natural selection, EVOLUTION and necessity, the rest of it has been cultivated, developed and erected by us humans. sure, some of the grandest structures in the modern world were created out of religious vigor, but as humanity grows and evolves so must our ideas and understanding of the world around us.

    leave your security blanky at home the next time you leave your house, jeremy – you’re getting too old for this shit

  11. JP
    June 23rd, 2005 @ 1:01 pm

    Yes, Jeremy, I have “heard” of the studies. I even did something more outlandish, I actually read them. Have you READ about the flaws of the studies? Were these people getting better because of the praying, or because of the community of people around to support them? Can we get the same results if we pray to Allah? How about Odin, or Zeus, Rha,?

    Feel sorry for me? I don’t understand this comment at all. You actually pitty me? You being a person that has based their entire worldview on a 2000 year old myth (not an original one at that) about a skyman, halfman/halfgod, that was written by a bunch of goatherders who thought it was a good thing to own slaves.

    Let’s see. I can either think that the world has evolved because of physical properties of natural processes, and that life is expanding and learing all the time. That simple chemical reactions, and complex emotions drive the human species, and that the world is in the condisition it is in because of all of the complex processes.

    Or I can believe that a supernatural skybeast took some dirt and made a man, made a woman from his ribs, and the entire condition of the world is determined by the fact that these two people got some bad advice from a snake.

  12. jahrta
    June 23rd, 2005 @ 1:50 pm

    JP – you forgot a doozy. how’s this for a revelation? :

    if god made adam, and eve from adam’s rib, and adam and eve had cain and abel – where the hell did these other people come from for their offspring well, cain anyway) to mate with? did he boink his mother, and are all peoples descended out of incest? well if that were the case we’d all be horribly disfigured by now from eons of in-breeding.

    was there another creation somewhere just east of eden that the bible doesn’t touch on?

    how about this for a question – why would an all-knowing, all-seeing, all-powerful god allow satan in the garden of eden in the first place? and why hold it against eve that she snatched an apple? god created her, so didn’t he know what she’d do, seeing as how he’s like, GOD, and stuff?

    do you blame a child for taking a cookie before dinner if you tell him or her not to? maybe the first time, but if it becomes a pattern, isn’t it then the fault of the parent for not doing a better job rearing their offspring? if god truly did “father” eve in a way, then isn’t it highly suspect that god: 1.) ejected his “children” from paradise after one offense, 2.) allowed satan into his “children’s” ultimate playground in the first place, 3.) showed favor of satan over mankind by punishing them with horrible rigors all the rest of their lives (and for their descendant’s lives as well) over a friggin’ apple – what the hell did he do to satan?

    at any rate, jeremy, your religion – just like ALL the rest that deal with absolutes and dogmatic bullshit – are flawed beyond measure and should be flushed down the societal toilet of bad ideas forever.

    and i wrote that sentence not even thinking about what happened with the koran…hmm…

  13. JP
    June 23rd, 2005 @ 2:16 pm

    jahrta- your are quite right. Maybe that is why my uncle Ben has those awkward looking facial features?

    But I actually think Cain went off to live in the land of Nod, and married a woman the bible doesn’t mention her identity. But maitaing the theory of Adam and Eve, Cain’s wife would still have to be his sister. Yuck!

    One minor point, sorry to be pedantic, but there is no “apple” in Genesis, nor egg in Humpty Dumpty.

  14. jahrta
    June 23rd, 2005 @ 3:21 pm

    no apple? what do they call it then, fruit?

    and if humpty dumpty isn’t an egg, it makes what happens to him seem pretty gory

  15. JP
    June 23rd, 2005 @ 4:38 pm

    Yep, just fruit.

    Humpty Dumpty is a gory tale, just as all nursery rhymes should be. Jack and Jill fell down the hill so many times that they had to break every bone in their body. “Rock-a-bye Baby”…rock a bye baby in the tree tops. When the wind blows the cradle will rock. When the bow breaks the cradle will fall and down will come baby cradle and all..” doesn’t exactly instill confidence in the parenting skills of the singer. Yankee Doodle puts a feather in his cap as a traditional showing-off method that he has killed somebody in battle, all the innocent days of youth.

  16. simbol
    June 23rd, 2005 @ 7:05 pm

    Jharta

    “well if that were the case we’d all be horribly disfigured by now from eons of in-breeding.”

    Exactly, and we are. Had it not been by the in-breeding we all were beautiful, 7 feet tall, women with big bobs, and all with 500 IQ (excluding politicians). So, don’t discredit the sacred book making nefarious comments and destroying the reputation of grand-grand-grandma Eve.

    JP

    The people of Nod were the neanderthals who were the result of a god’s involuntary flatus, and although Cain had a lot of debauchery with female neanderthals, because of genetics he couldn’t have offspring. The sacred book is absolutely compatible with good science. Remember that it’s only a matter of right interpretation, that you atheists will never be able to do.

  17. simbol
    June 23rd, 2005 @ 8:19 pm

    And for the original sin, all was a matter of copyrights. Since God had the copyright for making men , Adam and Eve violate the copyright, and what is worse, without the quality of the established brand. So, you naive people, don’t discuss fool things like apples, the fruit was THE FRUIT, you get it?

    Fortunately for us, now we are totally lawful, because Christ got a settlement with only one payment with unlimited rights of copy. Of course God is no responsible for the quality of all the pirated copies and has closed the factory of Original men given the fact that the model had its defects. The God’s disclaimer is clear, He said “growth and multiply” but in no part he wrote this was for free.

  18. Viole
    June 24th, 2005 @ 12:08 am

    You forgot to add, Simbol, that the original model lived for nine hundred years, even after god told them they were going to die. Since lifespans in the bible decrease over time, I’d say our pirated model human has gotten more defective since Adam and Eve first got hold of it.

  19. simbol
    June 24th, 2005 @ 1:39 am

    Hey Viole, where were you? vacations? I missed you very much.

    Did you mean that parents Adam and Eve Lived 900 years? Seriously speaking I have always believed that Jews counted lunations as years in some parts of the bible. This way 900 years are equivalent to something like 75-80 years what was anyways a long life for those times. But is only a guess. The rest is pullings the legs of Jharta. As you know is inevitable discuss religion without good humor. There is plenty of comical situations.

  20. JP
    June 24th, 2005 @ 9:47 am

    Hey Simbol,

    Thanks for that bit of knowledge.

    Simbol said:[/quote]The sacred book is absolutely compatible with good science. Remember that it’s only a matter of right interpretation, that you atheists will never be able to do.[/quote]

    I know, we atheists are probably just not as smart as you. I mean honestly, I have been looking for you for some time, as YOU are finally a person that knows the correct interpretation of the bible. Gosh, it’s nice to finally meet you. So which one are you? Which one is correct? Is it the Lutherans? Gnostics? Quakers maybe? No, wait, I know, I know, Roman Catholicism, I mean there are like a billion of those cats. Of course, I’m not picky, for me it could just as well be the Pentecostals. Wait, it’s not Baptists is it? *shivers*

    Anyway, enough of my babbling, I can’t wait to here back from you, as I am sure the world is ready to hear from you, the “One True Christian”, that can finally shed some light on the correct interpretation of the bible for all of us. There might be more Muslims than Catholics I think, and since the Cain and Abel story is in the Quran as well, maybe they are the ones with the answers? The Catholics are gonna be pissed if their not right, and all those conversions may take a bit to finish, but their faith is strong. Anyway, I’m getting ahead of myself. (Can

  21. JP
    June 24th, 2005 @ 9:47 am

    Hey Simbol,

    Thanks for that bit of knowledge.

    Simbol said:[/quote]The sacred book is absolutely compatible with good science. Remember that it’s only a matter of right interpretation, that you atheists will never be able to do.[/quote]

    I know, we atheists are probably just not as smart as you. I mean honestly, I have been looking for you for some time, as YOU are finally a person that knows the correct interpretation of the bible. Gosh, it’s nice to finally meet you. So which one are you? Which one is correct? Is it the Lutherans? Gnostics? Quakers maybe? No, wait, I know, I know, Roman Catholicism, I mean there are like a billion of those cats. Of course, I’m not picky, for me it could just as well be the Pentecostals. Wait, it’s not Baptists is it? *shivers*

    Anyway, enough of my babbling, I can’t wait to here back from you, as I am sure the world is ready to hear from you, the “One True Christian”, that can finally shed some light on the correct interpretation of the bible for all of us. There might be more Muslims than Catholics I think, and since the Cain and Abel story is in the Quran as well, maybe they are the ones with the answers? The Catholics are gonna be pissed if their not right, and all those conversions may take a bit to finish, but their faith is strong. Anyway, I’m getting ahead of myself. (Can

  22. Viole
    June 24th, 2005 @ 9:58 am

    Thanks, Simbol. It’s always nice to feel appreciated! I didn’t realize I was gone quite so long, though. Sometimes, I just don’t feel like posting anything, or I don’t feel like I have anything important to say. I’m not a small talk kind of gal.

    Interesting theory about lunar cycles, but I have a hard time believing that even a bunch of priests, seeking to impress the world, would fail to make that correction. I find it much more reasonable that, seeking to impress the world, they made the whole thing up out of a smattering of local legends(the flood) and a whole heap of goat dung. Unfortunately, it seems to have worked.

    One other thing; doesn’t your theory take two to three thousand years off the age of the Earth? So instead of six thousand years old, it’s now three or four thousand years old?

  23. jahrta
    June 24th, 2005 @ 11:10 am

    well viole, there are more preposterous things than clinging to the belief that the world is only two or three thousand years old, such as the notion that mankind evolved from clams, which the cult of scientology fervently preaches. just do a search for “operation:clambake” and see what I mean.

  24. simbol
    June 25th, 2005 @ 1:15 pm

    JP
    I suppose your post 21 is a joke. In fact my knowledge of the bible is very superficial, which I do no regret because there are better things for using the most scarce resource one atheist has: the time of his life. Coming from a Latin country we are no used to read the bible, and those quotes you Americans use, like John 3.14, Mark 4.23, etc. are for me codes about I’m clueless unless I go to the bible, a book I don’t like except for some parts like Canticles of Solomon because for me is good Poetry, at least when translated in Spanish. When children we use Catecismo and Historia Sagrada (Catechism and Holy History) two books very boring which gives a resumed and sanitized version of the bible and modern catholic theology.Tha’s why we have not Bible thumpers. My post#16 was a joke about Jharta theory of “degeneration by in-breeding” . It’s needed to be a humorless person for taking seriously my post which I don’t think you are.

    Viole:

    NASA has confirmed the biblical version of time of creation telling that the difference between science and bible is inmaterial since Biblical Scholars sustain a span of time of 4×10 raised to power 3 and cosmology says is 4×10 raised to power 9. Don’t be so picky and make a fuss for a small difference of 6 (a million times) in the power number and instead watch that 4×10 are similar on both measurements. The difference in powers maybe were “lost in translation”.

  25. simbol
    June 25th, 2005 @ 1:22 pm

    hey Viole

    4×10 raised to 9 is related to earth. Related to universe is 15×10 raised to 9. Just in case some cosmologist watch this post.

  26. Viole
    June 25th, 2005 @ 4:50 pm

    Wait… so what you’re saying, Simbol, is that Adam and Eve lived not to nine hundred years, but nine hundred million? Or just seventy million, if your moon-theory is correct. That’s still a long time, and certainly explains why Cain was able to find a wife not listed in the bible–I’m sure Adam and Eve must have had several thousand children at least. Think about it–no sex for at least sixty million years?

  27. Jahrta
    June 27th, 2005 @ 10:10 am

    maybe we were descended from dinosaurs, seeing as how mutated the dna would have become from millions of years of in-breeding? :) does the bible ever give a description of what adam and eve looked like, apart from saying they were created in god’s image? maybe god was a giant scaly reptile with big sharp pointy teeth and terrible breath?

    think about it…”GODzilla”….hmmm……

    after all that in-breeding, mankind lost the powerful jaws, razor-sharp teeth and claws, got smaller and had to start developing table manners. oh well…

  28. Debbie
    June 27th, 2005 @ 12:37 pm

    Jaharta,

    No, Genesis 2:4-2:25 rules out that we are descended from dinosaurs. But perhaps Genesis 1:1-2:3 doesn’t. Oh dear … the bible isn’t very clear on this, which is disappointing for divinely revealed truth. http://www.holysmoke.org/hs00/biberror.htm gives an overview of the confusion.

    Other important questions are:

    For the Christian who believes in a literal interpretation of Genesis … did Adam and Eve have navels?

    For the Christian who does not require a literal interpretation, such as the Catholic Church which now accepts evolution as true but requires their god to insert a soul in the first humans, at what point in history did these humans have a soul, while their ape-like parents and ancestors did not?

  29. simbol
    June 27th, 2005 @ 2:03 pm

    Viole

    Sure you flunked math in primary school. Don’t you see the difference between power of 9 and power of 3?: is SIX
    How many day it took to god to make this world: SIX It is NOT a coincidence.
    At the seventh day He rested. And has been resting since, because otherwise you cannot explain this mess.
    Make a little effort of imagination and you’ll see that each day wasn’t a day but a lot of years. Don’t be literalistic.
    As an example, first day lasted: 4 x 10 ^9 minus 4 x 10 ^8 which is: 3600 million years. complete calculations and yo will see you were right when yo wrote “” Since lifespans in the bible decrease over time….””(post 18) and you will find that the 6th day occurred 4000 year ago in the afternoon. Don’t contradict yourself now that you agree with healthy mathematics. Of course some inaccuracies are present but very lightly and this is due to the fact that god was, like you, not very good at math 101 when in school.

    And for sex, parents Adam and eve practiced abstinence as good Christians (avant la letre), save for having some children as was their duty. But I know your sinful and lecherous mind won’t accept this.

    My lunar theory fits nicely when right calculations are done. If it weren’t, it doesn’t mind because you can see it like this: use the concept parallel and don’t use sequential( Computing 101).What is this? I was sure you didn’t know. See: your grandma can live 300 years but in parallel with your mother, with you and with your siblings and the siblings of your siblings, without altering the sequence of generations. The only problem is that this grand-grand-grand-grandma is going to be republican when this Party had disappeared. Because of his age Methuselah was the most authoritative Historian of his age for one thing, he witnessed PERSONALLY a lot of things even the forecast of the Flood given by the weather channel and was also a respected coauthor of the book of genesis because as you know he was grandson of Adam-eve. Grandma Eve was compelled to explain what THE FRUIT was and how to eat it, when he was some centuries old, because in the nearby there was a guy named Onan, author of the first book of self help.

    Viole, don’t be nasty, and avoid senseless questions. Heavenly logic cannot be understood by men an the least by atheist women. Behave yourself, recant, repent and come humbly to the bosom of the true faith and you will be fully rewarded. If you hurry up your are on time of getting a Florida Lotto ticket whose number had a payoff of a million bucks. Of course this is only possible because god knows the future or if necessary can change it. But come soon because there are a limited quantity of these tickets. BTW, god likes very much to design the future, but he doesn’t like very much to change it, because atheist logicians argue that for god to know the future he can’t change it, otherwise he doesn’t know it. Those stupids still don’t understand that for god 1 plus 1 can be 37 in a bliss. Another BTW, some stupid atheist asked me if god, being omnipotent, can kill himself. I couldn’t answer that, but I am thinking the right answer. Can you help me? But be careful because the answer, it seems to me, is not easy but at the same time open a lot of scenarios. Can you imagine? Maybe it happened and that is why there are earthquakes.

  30. jahrta
    June 27th, 2005 @ 2:05 pm

    mankind will never surrender the idiotic notion of souls, heaven and hell, and the afterlife in general as long as there is a need to pat themselves on the back for being so special. they need constant positive (and negative, oddly enough) reinforcement in order to traverse the often hazardous path of life.

    here’s another odd point, and it’s proven to be a point of contention for those who like to challenge me when i tell them i’m an atheist: I don’t believe in souls, but i DO believe in ghosts. I don’t believe that one necessarily serves as proof for the other. i don’t know what the hell “ghosts” are, but in such that they have been previously defined – as best as they can be, under the circumstances and very nature of what they are – I have had extensive contact with them im the past. I used to live in pennsylvania, and my wife and I would regularly encounter strange activity which simply defied any rational explanation – or at least any which we could come up with. i took it in stride. i thought it was kind of neat. my wife didn’t seem to share my indifference, however, as the ghost seemed to like to target her – pulling her hair, slamming doors on her, that sort of crap. you can think i’m a loon, but this stuff really did happen. in fact, the day we moved in, when we were going to sleep, we heard (and i saw) our kitchen cabinet doors slamming pretty hard repeatedly (windows were all shut, no breeze, no nothing).

    other than that it was a pretty decent apartment. we stayed there for about 2 years. when we were moving out we learned that there were several elderly people who had lived in the building recently and died there – so i dunno if that MEANS anything…maybe i lived in the nexus of the universe ;P

  31. simbol
    June 27th, 2005 @ 2:52 pm

    Jharta

    “I used to live in pennsylvania, and my wife and I would regularly encounter strange activity which simply defied any rational explanation – or at least any which we could come up with.”
    It happens Jahrta. When I was living in Transilvanya, I very often came across the ghost of Count Dracula.

  32. Jahrta
    June 27th, 2005 @ 3:45 pm

    i expected as much from you people. oh well. no one believes in this shit fully until it happens to them. i wonder what you’d do or say, simbol, if you saw the crazy shit that i saw (entirely without any alcohol or drug influence). not only did i experience it, but my wife and a good friend of ours as well.

  33. hermesten
    June 27th, 2005 @ 4:03 pm

    “you can think i’m a loon, but this stuff really did happen.”

    Thanks. But I don’t understand why you don’t believe in God, as it was clearly Jesus going through your kitchen drawers and cabinets –a 2,000 year old “ghost.” He probably even had His Dad with Him.

    I’m afraid I don’t get the line of reasoning that goes: it’s bullshit to believe in God, but hey, my kitchen drawers rattled so there must be ghosts checking out my silverware. These were, what, really stupid unimaginative ghosts who couldn’t come up with anything better to do than check out your china pattern? Guess I’ll take your advice on the subject.

  34. Jahrta
    June 28th, 2005 @ 10:07 am

    why is it that you excel at chiding what you don’t understand, but you rush headlong into this activity without the slightest attention paid to reading comprehension? i said i had haunting activity and for lack of a better term said i had a ghost. it wasn’t just cabinets banging around. my whole point in bringing it up in the first place was to say that just because i saw and heard these things, and that they were independently confirmed, i don’t automatically believe in the pressence of souls, heaven hell or god. i believe there are other explanations out there, i just don’t know what they are.

    and herm, you’d probably have crapped yourself if these things had happened in your house, so keep it to yourself until that day dawns, ok chuckles?

  35. simbol
    June 28th, 2005 @ 12:28 pm

    Jahrta

    You wrote:” I don’t believe in souls, but i DO believe in ghosts.”

    Then you wrote

    “i believe there are other explanations out there, i just don’t know what they are.”

    So why you wrote in the first place that you believed in Ghosts?”

    You are going to be subpoenaed by our Inquisition to answer so horrendous heresy. Look for your Lawyer and don’t count in your second sentence, here quoted, as a mean to avoid conviction. Most probably your conviction include, but is not limited to be expelled from this blog for at least 3 years, stake can be added depending o the Judge. Hermesten will be the the prosecutor. Don’t expect clemency from him. You’ll be allowed to summon the ghost as a witness. I suggest you to use Frank as your lawyer.

  36. jahrta
    June 28th, 2005 @ 12:47 pm

    um…yeah. well, simbol, what would you call an unseen thing that pushes or pulls you, yanks your hair, slams cabinet doors, turns lights off in certain rooms (the actual wall switch, not the power) and slams doors on yer keister? the only word for such a thing, as far as i know, is “ghost” – although no one has gone so far as to pin down exactly what a ghost even is. religious people like to think of it as the disembodied soul of a dead person, but being an atheist myself, and seeing as how I don’t believe in souls, I believe that there is another explanation for this kind of activity.

    but i suppose there’s nothing in the universe that falls outside your understanding. there’s a saying that goes along the lines of “he who claims to know everything knows nothing” – don’t be so quick to dismiss what you didn’t experience firsthand. a belief (based on real-life experience) in “ghosts” – whatever the hell they may be – doesn’t necessarily lead inexorably toward a belief in the afterlife, which is all i’m saying.

    At any rate, i lived there for 2 years and haven’t had a problem since.

    and by the way, the day i subject myself to hermesten’s infinite wisdom is the day that purple paisley gibbons might come shooting out of my ass.

  37. hermesten
    June 29th, 2005 @ 11:03 am

    Jahrta, maybe you’re just so quick to backtrack and equivocate that you’re tripping over your own feet and slamming into those cabinets when you go down.

    “…don’t be so quick to dismiss what you didn’t experience firsthand.”

    I guess this doctrine is going to leave you at a loss for words next time a Bible Beater tells you all about his firsthand experience with Jesus. What, your “real life” experience is valid, but the “real life” experience of a Bible Beater who says he had a chat with God is bullshit? Science doesn’t work by “firsthand experience.” It works through objective and independently verified measurement. If we are to accept your standard for “verification” then we have no reason to reject the “verification” of “firsthand” experience claimed for the many supernatural incidents in the Bible. Maybe you should give Sagan’s “The Demon Haunted World” a read.

    Personally, I don’t think it takes much imagination to understand why or how someone who is as prone to exaggeration and emotionalism as your posts seem to indicate you are, might make more of some experience than a more rational observer.

    Anyway, thanks, cuase I’m LMAO.

  38. jahrta
    June 29th, 2005 @ 11:28 am

    so herm, you’re telling me you can’t tell the obvious difference between someone telling you a fairy tales about things that they themselves haven’t seen and cannot proivde evidence of having ever existed, and me telling you that i’ve personally experiencd something outside my scope of understanding? well, first off, unlike a bible beater, i don’t really give a flaming rat’s ass if you choose to believe in ghosts or not (whatever they are). I’m not emotionally or otherwise invested in garnering any sort of respect from you, or any other blogger who likes to belittle people on here to puff up their own sense of self-worth.

    my whole point – my only point, really – in bringing it up on this forum is that I wanted to illustrate that just because you can’t explain something, it’s NOT EVIDENCE of some sort of afterlife and certainly not proof that we have souls. And just for the record, i can’t help it if you read emotion or passion into blogs i write, when that emotion is unintentionally inferred. I am only passionate about exposing people for the double standards they impose on others, or for calling out fundies on here. if you took the time to process what i wrote in the first place you’d realize i only chose to call what happened to me a “haunting” because there’s no other word in our culture to sum it up.

    when people have chats with god it’s easy to call them crazy: no one else hears these little chats and there’s absolutely no physical evidence left behind to document the encounter. when the stuff I’ve mentioned in my previous posts takes place, and is witnessed by others, and DOES leave behind physical evidence in the form of kinetic activity (things being moved/slammed/turned off), it’s not so easily dismissed.

    i’d actually prefer it if you dropped any further prodding, as i’m sure you won’t have anything new or objective to say. as an atheist, how can you be so closed-minded to the things out there that defy rational explanation? doesn’t it really take more of an open mind to embrace the notion that there is no god than to just sit back and let the opiate of the masses rush through your system? you’ve already rejected the concept of religion, as most of us here can agree it does a piss poor job of explaining the mysteries of the universe. that being the case, however, i’m still waiting for a scientific explanation for what happened, and no, i’m not being facetious. i’d really like to know, because I have an open mind.

    for all the books you’ve read that encapsulate and reinforce your personal belief system, how many have you read that challenge it?

  39. jahrta
    June 29th, 2005 @ 11:37 am

    and for the record, sagan is a shit. he was invited to have a casual dinner at my brother’s fraternity in cornell when he was passing through, just to get together. it wasn’t advertised and no one prospered from the event other than the perceived sublime honor of having a mind of his caliber to break bread with them. well, much to everyone’s delight, he did show up. he stayed for about two hours and talked about this and that. they fed him and he signed some stuff for them, but nothing too crazy. three weeks later the frat got a bill from sagan’s PR reps for about ten thousand dollars. real nice guy, huh?

    i could understand the bill if he gave an actual speech or was inconvenienced (but like i said he was in town anyway) or if the school actually somehow prospered from the experience, but this was a private, casual dinner. about 30 guests, all members of the frat house. and he never once mentioned previously that this would cost them a thing.

    maybe that’s naive of me, but i think it was underhanded, and that he took advantage of their hero-worship to stick it to them.

  40. Viole
    June 29th, 2005 @ 12:53 pm

    You might find the reason we’re so down on your story, Jahrta, is that the vast majority of people who tell ghost stories want them to be true. Personally, I’ll choose to believe you as soon as you come up with a rational explanation. Until then, you’re either mistaken or making stuff up.

  41. simbol
    June 29th, 2005 @ 2:38 pm

    Jharta

    Seriously speaking, the main fault I find in your post is recurring to a concept like ghosts, for explaining material occurrences.

    Whatever the definition of ghosts you choose (e.g. visible disembodied soul of a dead person, a mental representation of a haunting experience, etc) there is a juxtaposition of two worlds, a supposedly spiritual existing world and a tangible one where, for you accepting ghost as an explanation, you must first demonstrate the existence of inmaterial bodies and how an inmaterial body can act on a material one like hair, drawers or switches. Til now, only religions or groups of the same family, have managed this type of relation and effects, without successful results, at least under the standards of the scientific method.

    This doesn’t mean that the happenings you told us didn’t occur, and I have no reasons for not believing you. This only means that you have not an acceptable material explanation for them, WHICH IN TURNS IT DOESN’T IMPLIES THERE IS NOT ONE, and the sense of this latter sentence is what really separate us, atheist, from those who lives in the magical world. Brain is a traitorous companion, see what happen when you are drunken, or what happen to schizophrenics. For this latter ones, their vision and sensation are real and first hand. I’m no meaning you or your wife were drunken or are schizophrenic, but only that in the case of your wife’s hair being pulled, you cannot exclude, for example, fear or imagination acting under it. And this is only an example because I’m not trying to discuss the real fact.

    Let me tell you that I have heard more rare things told by serious persons, and the usual answer I had for them is: I don’t know the “why” by the same reason nobody knew 500 years ago the “why” of earthquakes. Now we know why earthquakes occurs.

  42. jahrta
    June 29th, 2005 @ 3:39 pm

    i think you missed the point viole. i have no reason to make it up (why? so that i can waste my time defending myself to the lot of you? for what?), and under the circumstances of how the events happened, and what they were or seemed to be at the time, i grouped them under the category of haunting activity. there are some scientists and pseudo-scientists who argue that haunting activity, in particular poltergeist activity (which comes closest to what I was talking about) is the telekinetic manifestation of stress carried by the people who claim to be experiencing the haunting in the first place. so in theory you could be “haunting” yourself. i don’t buy into this theory though because i don’t believe in telekinesis or other scary mind powers. others claim that certain traumatic events leave imprints on the actual location, like a recording left behind. this, too, sounds like a lump of fresh horse shit. i wasn’t kidding when i said i wanted a scientific explanation. viole, if my only experience consisted of something that only I witnessed, then i would be forced to concede that it might be in my head, but these things were witnessed by a group of people with not too much in common, and without mind-altering drugs.

    and simbol, i explained several times why i chose the word “ghost” – do you really need me to say it again? there’s no other functional word to give form to what we experienced in the apartment. that having been said, i don’t believe in souls, spirits, demons, the boogy man or any of that. But although I have yet to find an adequate scientific explanation for what was going on (i.e. magnetic fields), it doesn’t mean that there isn’t one out there for me to find eventually. and for the record, there is no case of mental illness in my family (although it has to start somewhere, eh?). but your entire post rehashes everything i’ve already said as if you think you’re expressing a new concept to me. do me a favor and re-erad my earlier posts – i’ve always maintained that there must be another explanation for haunting activity. my choice to use the word “ghost” might seem ridiculous to you, given the connotations and implications associated with that word, but it takes too long to write “intangible, invisible force of nature that messed with my stuff and pushed/pulled/poked/scratched us.”

  43. hernesten
    June 29th, 2005 @ 4:04 pm

    I see no need to add to what Simbol said, except perhaps that unlike Simbol, I think the emotionalism of your posts is reason not to believe your claims –or more precisely, your interpretation of events. I don’t live in an artsy-fartsy world –in spite of my preferences– I live in a world of measurement. Time and time again I have seen the claims of people’s personal experiences evaporate on close examination, and turn out to be either false, exaggerated, or misinterpreted –often all three.

    I have read quite a bit of the literature on “ghosts” and the “paranormal” and none of the “evidence” for the supernatural has ever stood up to scientific enquiry or scruntiny. I have also heard from others that have had personal contact with Sagan that he is a “shit.” So what? Many brilliant people are “shits.” Sagan could be the biggest shit who ever lived and it would still be irrelevant to the existence of supernatural phenomenon. Your comment about Sagan is just another appeal to emotion.

    A lot of people get by with the kind of claims you’re making simply because others are too polite to challenge them, as such a challenge usually entails suggesting that they are either lying or deluded. Like Viole, I see no reason to believe you without evidence, and you don’t appear to have any. So far you’ve yet to distinguish the nature of your claims from those of a Bible Beater who says he saw, or was touched, by God; or those witnesses in the Bible who claim to have seen Jesus turn water into wine. In fact, from the mere standpoint of evidence and eye witness testimony, we have far more reason to believe Jesus turned water into wine than we have to believe you’ve had ghosts going through your silverware.

  44. Viole
    June 29th, 2005 @ 4:13 pm

    There is a sort of famous quote, Jahrta, which goes something like this; people will believe what they want, either because they desire it to be true, or they fear it is true.

  45. simbol
    June 29th, 2005 @ 4:26 pm

    jharta

    Now that you have totally recanted, receive our blessing and welcome once again to the flock who adores the nothingness. But !wacht out!, you are on parole, lest you make the same trick that Galileo.

  46. simbol
    June 29th, 2005 @ 4:56 pm

    BTW

    discrediting Carl Sagan, even if deserved, only will harass his ghost, because he died in 1996

  47. hermesten
    June 29th, 2005 @ 6:21 pm

    Yes, I should have used the past tense.

  48. Boywonder
    June 29th, 2005 @ 8:52 pm

    That was a very amusing conversation fellas. I might have hurt myself laughing. Jahrta, I think neurobiology will probably answer your dilema. If Doctors can shoot concentrated electrical shocks into specific parts of the brain and cause most everyone to have similar sensations (i.e. Frontal Lobe = Feeling of being one with the universe or god or nature), then it is quite possible ghosts, if not also aliens and demons, are caused in a similar fashion. Perhaps your brain is larger or smaller on average, or different parts are overcompensating due to fatigue or underdevelopment (I’m not saying you’re dumb, dude). The point is, there is quite possibly a reasonable explanation. You would have been unusual if you didn’t have an inclination to believe in the supernatural even just a century or more ago.

  49. Jahrta
    June 30th, 2005 @ 9:45 am

    i still can’t believe that you guys don’t get what i’m saying. i don’t “want” to believe in ghosts or whatever. i’m not being “emotional” when i said sagan was a shit – merely stating opinion. i don’t care if you don’t agree with me or believe that i witnessed what i said i did. my only point was that people don’t have to jump to ridiculous conclusions when presented with something they can’t immediately explain. you weren’t there so you can’t tell me i’m making stuff up, and these events were independently verifiable. that having been said, i have always admitted that there is, more than likely, a rational explanation out there for what happened that has yet to be pinned down.

    as far as evidence is concerned, no, i have nothing to show you herm. you would have had to be in my apartment with me and my friends when these things happened to have any type of evidence, as i already stated. my goal in mentioning these events wasn’t to try to convince any of you in the existence of “ghosts,” but you don’t seem to understand that, so i’ll just stop because i’m not fond of repeating myself ad nauseum.

    how you take my statements and turn it into “spirits are all around us – repent now and fear the reaper” or whatever the hell it is that my words turn to in your head is beyond me.

  50. Jahrta
    June 30th, 2005 @ 9:51 am

    it must be nice to live in a world where every little thing makes sense and nothing ever gives you pause. or maybe it’s just that when something comes along that falls outside the defined boundaries of your life’s experience and understanding, you choose to stick your head in the sand like an ostrich rather than explore other avenues. In your heads, instead of suggesting the use of scientific reasoning and method, you insist it never happened in the first place – isn’t that what fundies say about the big bang? what would any of you have done in my place? and for the record, it’s not a mental condition because i haven’t lived in that apartment for about 2 years now and have never experienced anything like that since.

  51. hermesten
    June 30th, 2005 @ 10:27 am

    “…you weren’t there so you can’t tell me i’m making stuff up”

    Actually I can, no matter where I was. And in fact, when presented with such claims, the rational thing to do is consider the possibility that the person may indeed be making things up, since essentially, you would have us believe that while every scientifically investigated claim of this kind has been shown to be baseless, in your case it’s true. Exceptional claims require exceptional evidence.

    “i’m not being “emotional” when i said sagan was a shit”

    And I didn’t say you were. Sagan being a shit has nothing to do with the subject under discussion. I said you were making an emotional appeal, which is the basis of an ad hominem argument. Your very sloppy use of language is a big reason why I am very skeptical of your claims.

    “..it must be nice to live in a world where every little thing makes sense…”

    Here you demonstrate your penchant for exaggeration –another reason to great your claims with skepticism. But in the world I live in, most things –excepting perhaps individual human behavior– do make sense. When something happens that I can’t explain, and I care enough about it to understand it, I investigate. I try to duplicate the circumstances and the event. I gather evidence. I develop a hypothesis and then I test it.

    And if, for example, I suspected supernatural forces were snooping through my drawers and cabinets, you can be sure I’d have a videotape of those drawers and cabinets opening and closing. I’d use whatever information I could gather myself to enlist the assistance of other people with the resources to prove or disprove the existence of such supernatural phenonmenon. I think I could gather quite a bit of evidence in two years.

  52. jahrta
    June 30th, 2005 @ 11:33 am

    herm, yet again you demonstrate your complete and utter lack of ability to comprehend what it is that i’ve written and re-written here to no avail

    “When something happens that I can’t explain, and I care enough about it to understand it, I investigate. I try to duplicate the circumstances and the event. I gather evidence. I develop a hypothesis and then I test it. “

    you assume that i have not done precisely this, because this fits with the mental picture you’ve compiled of “people like me” even though you don’t know the first thing about me. of course it doesn’t matter because you won’t process this, but i DID try repeatedly to reproduce and better understand what was happening. when i was unable to do just that, i didn’t toss my hands in the air and say “oh well, i guess there are demons and spirits in my apartment.” Instead, as i’ve said numerous times, i hold out the likely possibility that there is a rational scientific explanation that I have yet to discover for what was going on. what about that statement do you find so reprehensible that you keep coming back here to attack it? if anything, you’re the one resorting to ad hominem emotional attacks, much as you always do when i write something you disagree with, rather than engage in an open and civil discussion. everything you’ve ever written in response to any of my posts has been derisive and insulting, written from the snobbish and self-satisfied air of a smug elitist, and not at all what i like to think of as something written by one of my peers. i can live with your insults – i’m not a delicate flower by any means – and i’ve never sought your approval. my comments on sagan do not result in an ad hominem attack as it’s just an anecdote i thought might interest you. i never intended to infer that simply because someone is an asshole, that their expertise in a field is irrelevant – that’s simply ludicrous. If you had a field of expertise, i’d still consider your professional opinion.

    “And if, for example, I suspected supernatural forces were snooping through my drawers and cabinets, you can be sure I’d have a videotape of those drawers and cabinets opening and closing. I’d use whatever information I could gather myself to enlist the assistance of other people with the resources to prove or disprove the existence of such supernatural phenonmenon. I think I could gather quite a bit of evidence in two years.”

    here you make another assumption – that i had two cents to scrape together, let alone the disposable income required to purchase a camcorder or enlist the services of a professional. if i did show you a tape you’d claim it was doctored anyway. and what “professionals” would you have believed? you dismissed this whole topic the second i brought it up. can you name even one expert in this field whose professional opinion would mean anything to you in the slightest? my interest in what was happening extended only as far as “can whatever this is hurt me?” when the answer came back “not really” i kind of let it slide. this wasn’t exactly the amityville horror (although that isn’t the best example as that has been irrefutably proven to be a complete hoax).

    i’ll leave it at this – you can call me whatever you like. it really doesn’t bother me. you can even think i’m making stuff up (because…yeah..this is SO much fun). you have every right to be skeptical. i’d be skeptical too if i were in your position, but i wouldn’t be intentionally rude or derisive, especially when that person wasn’t asking me to believe him. all i ever intended to accomplish with this post was to get across a point that has been trampled underfoot of your need to feel superior to me. I wonder if you can even tell me what that point was? I’ve stated it about five times so far, but i’m guessing you never actually read it. if you did, you’ve demonstrated an abysmal lack of comprehension.

    in closing, let’s assume that the stuff i mentioned earlier took place in your home, and after extensive “research” – however you choose to define that – you were unable to reproduce or otherwise explain the phenomenon. what would you do? I doubt you’d have the balls to mention it to anyone else as that would leave you wide open to the types of personal, pointless attacks you’ve subjected me to lately.

    so go ahead and think/believe what you want – it’s a free country. Also, as long as you’re not hurting anyone or impinging upon anyone’s rights, it’s the underlying basis for my ideology. just cut it with the personal crap – it proves nothing and only serves to weaken your arguments.

  53. hermesten
    June 30th, 2005 @ 12:44 pm

    “here you make another assumption – that i had two cents to scrape together, let alone the disposable income required to purchase a camcorder or enlist the services of a professional.”

    Actually, I made no assumption about your economic means. But I’m not surprised you have no evidence and plenty of excuses. Camcorders can be rented or borrowed. PC cameras are quite cheap even to buy. You said a “good friend” experienced this as well. If you were my friend, and I had experienced this “haunting” with you I’d loan you a camcorder. If I didn’t have one I’d even buy one and loan it to you. If I had one I might even buy a couple more just to make sure there was plenty of coverage.

    Apparently you could afford to go to an Ivy League college so it would seem you have some access to money. If you were my son I’d buy you a camera for something like this –or even if you were my grandson, nephew, or brother. There are plenty of people out there with resources looking to prove stuff like this who would gladly assist people like you in gathering evidence of “ghosts.” Again, I have to question the credibility of someone who is obviously educated, has friends, a wife, and presumably family, and claims that he could get no support from anyone to gather evidence for something as significant as this. Give me a fucking break.

    “if i did show you a tape you’d claim it was doctored anyway.”

    That depends on the tape. But it doesn’t matter what I’d say anyway. If you had such a tape –and apparently you just have excuses and no tape– you’d have evidence that could be analyzed. And you’d be famous too, since if it was legitimate, you’d be the first person in the history of the world to document the existence of “ghosts.” In fact, looked at from this perspective, your claim to poverty is even more dubious, since something like this could make you so rich the idea that you couldn’t put your hands on a video camera becomes rather ludicrous.

    And btw, my posts on this subject started with #33, and though my response was somewhat sarcastic, I did not insult you. From that point on, your posts directed at me include the following:

    “you rush headlong into this activity without the slightest attention paid to reading comprehension? ”

    “you’d probably have crapped yourself if these things had happened in your house, so keep it to yourself until that day dawns, ok chuckles?”

    “I’m not emotionally or otherwise invested in garnering any sort of respect from you, or any other blogger who likes to belittle people on here to puff up their own sense of self-worth.”

    “herm, yet again you demonstrate your complete and utter lack of ability to comprehend what it is that i’ve written and re-written here to no avail”

    “you’ve demonstrated an abysmal lack of comprehension.”

    So, you’ve essentially called me an idiot, a coward, a jerk, and a smug elistist (pretty funny given how you talk to the Bible Beaters) –and you think you’re standing on the moral high-ground. Are you sure you’re not part of the Bush administration or a Republican Party operative?

    Sincerely, and still LMAO –that is, when I’m not ROTFL.

  54. simbol
    June 30th, 2005 @ 2:35 pm

    Jarta

    “but your entire post rehashes everything i’ve already said as if you think you’re expressing a new concept to me. do me a favor and re-erad my earlier posts – i’ve always maintained that there must be another explanation for haunting activity” (Post 42)

    Sorry brother Jharta but I did it before you commanded me to do that, and that’s why I made, in my post 41, a solem and respectful summarizing statement about the matter under discussion for the benefit of your existence as an atheist.

    As you can see in the following statements made by you, you can trace a changing thinking, what was the reason whereby you were readmitted to our sacred congregation.

    1)” I don’t believe in souls, but i DO believe in ghosts.” (post 30)

    —at this point you became a dualist. The capitals are yours, so you wanted to emphasize your departing of our community (this is apostasy, and the worst one)

    2)” I said i had haunting activity and for lack of a better term said i had a ghost. (post 34)

    —You recognized, implicitly, that you only changed words but not substance. Can you think cardinal hermesten wouldn’t catch your trick?

    3) a belief (based on real-life experience) in “ghosts” – whatever the hell they may be – doesn’t necessarily lead inexorably toward a belief in the afterlife, which is all i’m saying.(Post 36)

    —-Brother Jharta: if not to afterlife, to what a thinking like that inexorable leads? Would you think a ghost is made of electrons and protons?. Mother Viole advised you not to be leaded by your own expectations, but for reality. You didn’t recant since in the technical jargon of our field, ghost is a word with powerful connotations, as you very well know having belonged to this church enough time.

    4) my whole point – my only point, really – in bringing it up on this forum is that I wanted to illustrate that just because you can’t explain something, it’s NOT EVIDENCE of some sort of afterlife and certainly not proof that we have souls.( Post 38)

    —reality began to shine in your mind but not completely, you have renounced to soul but still don’t jettison ghosts.

    5) my choice to use the word “ghost” might seem ridiculous to you, given the connotations and implications associated with that word, but it takes too long to write “intangible, invisible force of nature that messed with my stuff and pushed/pulled/poked/scratched us.” (Post 42)

    —Now you recanted totally since you recognized the invisible force of nature. While invisible is acceptable imperceptible is not. Cardinal Hermesten Okayed your beliefs but has some reservations about your stressed mind, which is very understandable given the ordeal you have suffered. For the rest of the congregation your emotionality doesn’t hamper your ability to know that five notes of 100 dollars sums up 500 dollars and that you was all but emotional when you didn’t spend a dime in investigation of ghost activity. Bishop Boywonder is ready to help you in your rehabilitation and the generous spirit of Mother Viole is delighted. Notwithstanding some words of Mother Viole looks like knives, take them as they are, a stern but lovingly way of good advise.

    6)i don’t “want” to believe in ghosts or whatever.(Post 49)

    —-This humble and voluntary contrition remarks you return to the true faith and honors you. We understand clearly that quotes on the word WANT, only means you want to surrender with honor, and by our code you are entitled to that.

    Consequently,

    I, as chairman of the board of the Congregation for The Purity of the Faith, declares that brother Jarhta has been cleared in matter of belief purity and can enjoy all the rights and benefits of all participating members.

  55. jahrta
    June 30th, 2005 @ 2:41 pm

    I didn’t try to document this activity because, like i said:

    “my interest in what was happening extended only as far as “can whatever this is hurt me?” when the answer came back “not really” i kind of let it slide. this wasn’t exactly the amityville horror (although that isn’t the best example as that has been irrefutably proven to be a complete hoax).”

    i did what i could afterward to try to deduce whether what we witnessed was caused by drafts, and when it was concluded that that was not a possiblity, we went through other possiblities. in regard to the light switch incident, my wife and I consulted the building electrician to see if he had any idea what could cause an actual switch to turn off or on by itself. he said that a faulty circuit could temporarily dim or turn off the light, but not the switch itself. we asked him about a possible build-up of current or static electricity, and whether that could have any effect on the physical switch. he told us he’d never heard of anything like that happening and he had been an electrician for 20 years at that point in time. does that mean that it’s impossible? no, but we explored that possibility.

    again, i should probably stress that my goal in exploring the phenomenon wasn’t to prove it to anyone else. we were more interested in exploring it for our own benefit. we witnessed the cabinet doors slamming and the stuff being tossed about, so we didn’t need to prove that it happened to ourselves. maybe in retrospect it would have been nice to try to capture it on tape, but that poses another problem: most tapes only go for a few hours, and when do you decide when to start taping? this stuff usually took place after 10 or so but when both you and your wife hold down 8-5 jobs, staying up until all hours to film your cabinetry simply isn’t a real option.

    your claim that all i have are excuses is lame, because an excuse is just something people tell you when they feel they need to defend themselves or convince someone else that they did the right thing. i really don’t care to convince anyone here of anything. the only thing i did wrong was to share this with you in the first place.

    “If you were my friend, and I had experienced this “haunting” with you I’d loan you a camcorder. If I didn’t have one I’d even buy one and loan it to you. If I had one I might even buy a couple more just to make sure there was plenty of coverage.” – why, that’s downright decent of you. i didn’t ask my friends to borrow surveillance equipment. refer to the top of the post for the reason why.

    “Apparently you could afford to go to an Ivy League college so it would seem you have some access to money.” – again, more assumptions. there’s a little thing called financial aid. i’ll be paying off my loans until i’m 50. and brandeis isn’t an ivy league school – they were offered the option on several occasions to join up and declined. it’s probably for the best, though – i can’t imagine what my tuition would have been if i had to pay for the added bonus.

    “Again, I have to question the credibility of someone who is obviously educated, has friends, a wife, and presumably family, and claims that he could get no support from anyone to gather evidence for something as significant as this. Give me a fucking break.” – ok mr. reading comprehension. i’ll say it again – we weren’t trying to build a case. after attempting to figure this stuff out, we decided that if we could live with it that it wasn’t worth pulling out our collective hair. our goal was never to prove anything to anyone besides ourselves, and while we weren’t satisfied with the results of our investigation into the phenomenon, we didn’t really see the point in continuing to delve into it as we had exhausted our (free) options and didn’t want to bring anyone else into the fray. other than a 24 hour surveillance operation, there would have been no way to gather evidence, and we weren’t about to do that to ourselves.

    “And you’d be famous too, since if it was legitimate, you’d be the first person in the history of the world to document the existence of “ghosts.” In fact, looked at from this perspective, your claim to poverty is even more dubious, since something like this could make you so rich the idea that you couldn’t put your hands on a video camera becomes rather ludicrous.” – i wouldn’t be the first person to capture this type of activity on film, nor would i be the first person to have something that could not be debunked. there have been plenty of examples of things seemingly moving by themselves that skeptics cannot dismantle, either on the tape or upon visiting the site in person. lots of times these cases are deemed “open ended” in the sense that they’re sure it’s BS, but they haven’t yet figured out how the hoaxer is doing it. if, on the other hand, i had witnessed a free-floating apparition, or anything else of that nature, you better believe i’d look into renting a video camera. As far as poverty is concerned, i’m doing much better now.

    “So, you’ve essentially called me an idiot, a coward, a jerk, and a smug elistist ” – actually, all i ever really called you out of that list is a smug elitist. I implied you’d be scared if this activity took place in your home, but that doesn’t necessarily make you a coward. it’s scary to see stuff moving on its own, but that’s only because we’re scared of what we don’t understand, by our nature. you can still be scared and inquisitive in a scientific nature at the same time. in terms of you being an idiot or a jerk, well that’s subjective. i was only saying you ignore my point (as evidenced through your inability to repeat it back to me when i challenged you to do just that). i don’t necessarily consider you to be anything other than someone who is highly biased against that which does not fit nicely with your preconceived notion of the universe. allow me to restate my point – i believe there is a perfectly rational and logical scientific explanation for haunting activity, but as of yet I haven’t been able to find one that i find palatable. i also believe that this activity actually takes place, because i have witnessed some things which fall under the auspices of “haunting,” but that this does not lead me to believe in souls or the afterlife. i think this is where we really differ in our approach to this topic. i’m sure you think that people who have experiences like me are either full of shit, insane, or misinterpreting the data – have i pretty much encapsulated the scenario right there? barring the “mass hysteria” hypothesis, and ruling out dementia, if you would be so kind, that leaves the “full of shit” theory. i’m
    ok with you thinking i’m full of shit. it doesn’t alter what happened, and you’re not the first person to think i’m making stuff up.

    as far as the moral high ground is concerned, all i have against you is that you like to twist what i say into what you want me to say so you can attack me while ignoring the actual meat of the issue at hand. it gets really annoying and ultimately adds nothing to the conversation. do i think i’m any better than you morally speaking? not really, although you do seem mean-spirited to me.

    calling me a republican is perhaps the lowest blow you could have delt

  56. jahrta
    June 30th, 2005 @ 2:55 pm

    simbol – you crack me up man

  57. Viole
    June 30th, 2005 @ 4:33 pm

    ‘Mother’ Viole? Ugh. What an awful title. Stick with ‘Sister’ or, better, ‘Lady’, unless you just want to go straight to ‘Goddess’ and be done with it.

  58. simbol
    June 30th, 2005 @ 6:51 pm

    nuns are “sisters” and “mothers”. Mother is the superior rank, remember Mother Theresa?. You cannot be less that her otherwise Jahrta wouldn’t respect you.

  59. Viole
    June 30th, 2005 @ 9:39 pm

    Screw Jahrta. I have to be able to respect myself, and being called ‘mother’ would be a serious blow to my self-image. Besides, if this little group of yours is so sexist that the highest rank a woman can obtain is ‘mother’, I’d prefer not to join.

  60. simbol
    July 1st, 2005 @ 2:44 am

    mother viole

    I really regret to inform you that our superiors have totally rejected you claim about sexism. They sent me a communication quoting Jefferson when he was proposed to appoint a woman to the Cabinet “I’m no prepared for that change and I think the same goes for the american people”. And about you quiting your convent, this has been accepted, being official when mother Anunziata arrives from Rome and take your office. I did my best in behalf of you because I know you have the potential of a Pope, but as you know, this church is very conservative and I don’t expect changes in this matter a least in the next two millenia, if history teachs something. And about “screwing” Msgr. Jharta, I must remember you that our church doesn’t “screw” anybody because as you very well know, celibacy is the rule. On the other hand, better manners are expected from you even if you are quitting your post and your vows because it doesn’t mean your are quitting our Belief whose essential tenet is adoring The Nothingness.

    That The Nothingness bless you.

    Father simbol.

  61. jahrta
    July 1st, 2005 @ 9:11 am

    allow me to assure you, viole, that my respect for you or lack thereof has absolutely nothing to do with title ;)

  62. Viole
    July 1st, 2005 @ 10:23 am

    Vows of celibacy? Just when did I sign up for THAT monstrosity? Thanks, but I find sex neither repulsive nor sinful, and in fact enjoy it greatly. I’m sure I broke that vow on multiple occasions.

    Furthermore, I reject your assertion that the church is ‘conservative’ in any sense of the word. We most certainly are not conservative, in fact we’re highly liberal. It’s those self-deluded idiots in the Catholic church that are conservative. I posit, therefor, that you are not doing your job, and in fact are attempting to take control of the church for yourself in an undemocratic coup.

    This is obvious, as you attempt to speak not only for yourself, but Hermesten and myself, and in fact the entire church hierarchy. Do not think your foul deeds will go unrecognized.

  63. hermesten
    July 1st, 2005 @ 10:36 am

    “i really don’t care to convince anyone here of anything. ”

    You really are a funny guy. My first criticism was on post #33. The last post was #61 –yours. Since #33 you have posted 11 replies, some of them, like #55, very lengthy (55 was 13 paragraphs). I guess it’s a good thing you don’t care to convince anyone here of anything.

    And for the record, I don’t think you’re “making it up.” I’m inclined to think there were a couple of unexplained events that you have exaggerated out of proportion. And of course, that is probably the reason you didn’t make more effort to gather evidence: there wasn’t anything much to document.

  64. jahrta
    July 1st, 2005 @ 11:54 am

    herm, i will continue to post as long as i feel i’m being attacked. don’t take it as a sign of me needing to convince you as much as it is my right to defend my character from your claims that i am deluded or a good ol’ fashioned garden variety liar.

    “You really are a funny guy” – thanks. i’ll be here until friday. try the veal and tip your waitress.

    “I’m inclined to think there were a couple of unexplained events that you have exaggerated out of proportion. And of course, that is probably the reason you didn’t make more effort to gather evidence: there wasn’t anything much to document.” – why are you “inclined to believe” i’m exaggerating the events as i’ve described them to you? it all comes back to the fact that you don’t want to acknowledge something, so you dismiss it. of course this is much easier for you to do than it is for me, seeing as how you didn’t witness these events (but according to you, neither did i). Aside from staking out in my apartment with several video cameras like jane goodall with the apes, there would have been no way to gather any real evidence. I’ve already explained in my previous posts why I didn’t go down this road, and i’m not really fond of repeating myself. You are right about one thing though, after everything is said and done there wouldn’t have been much to document aside from the random five second interval of kinetic displacement. this activity was by no means constant or prolonged, and occured rather sporadically, nor was it predictable in terms of where or if it would happen. i’d focus on that type of phenomenon instead of anyone in the apartment being pushed/pulled or whatever for obvious reasons – too easy for someone to say that the person was faking or imagining it, and i wouldn’t believe that type of thing at face value either.

    one last point about my choice not to try and gain financially from all of this – wouldn’t you find my claims to be MUCH more suspect if I were trying to make a buck off of this? wouldn’t that just further fuel the fires of skepticism? In the end though it doesn’t matter, as you’re entitled to your opinion. I still think you’ve either missed or ignored my whole point, however.

  65. simbol
    July 1st, 2005 @ 1:15 pm

    Viole

    Not seriously: You have been excommunicated.
    Seriously:Do you think that by being atheist it automatically follows you are liberal?
    I have my doubts. Ideas related to religion are only one set of a wider group that shapes your thinking. By experience I know that atheists can be whatever you want in politics, economics and morals. Besides there is a problem, what is precisely what defines a liberal and where?
    European concept of liberals, or more technically defined, neoclassicals, refers mainly to protecting private property and reducing to the least the role of government in participating in production of good and services that can be produced by the market (this doesn’t exclude education and Health) and reducing to the minimum controls over economic activity, specially monetary and fiscal policy, while protecting basic political rights, which doesn’t include education, health, employment, housing, pension, etc. They also, by principle are against generous subsidies for unemployment or those who can be named as “social solidarity” as pensions, and view unions as an intervention and hampering of the free movement of the workforce. The people who thinks this way are called in Europe and Latinamerica rightists. Reagan and Thatcher are the best examples. Since I and telling you nothing that you didn’t know, wha is important for me is: what you call a “liberal” in Usa?, because even when the word here is used in a different way, it seem to me that is not exactly the contrary than in Europe. As an example, in Europe religion has nothing to do with wether you are or not a liberal. The catholic Italy was dominate for decades for a social-democratic party, the Christian-Democrats opposed by a powerful communist party that included a lot of militant christians.

  66. Blap
    July 1st, 2005 @ 4:51 pm

    Jahrta,

    Did you consider (and investigate) these possible explanations?

    1. If you were as near poverty as you indicated, perhaps the apartment was not very well made. Could the material the cabinets were made of (cheap plywood, perhaps) have been expanding, contracting, or flexing with the cooling of the day (you indicated it often happened after 10 pm), causing the doors to move?

    2. Staying with the cheap apartment theory, could there have been sources of wind INSIDE the cabinets?

    3. Building settling? (Viciously difficult to investigate, I’ll admit!)

    4. Rats!

    Notice I didn’t suggest any insanity on your part? Do I get brownie points for that? :)

    -Blap-

  67. Viole
    July 1st, 2005 @ 6:09 pm

    Economically, Simbol, I’m a communist. And they call us the same thing on both sides of the Atlantic, and pretty much everywhere else, too. In terms of ethics, I’m for letting people do whatever they want, so long as it doesn’t hurt anyone else. I guess you could call me a communist libertarian.

    I think it’s safe to say that most atheists are more libertarian that authoritative or the morals scale. Which is the only relevant one, at present.

  68. Jahrta
    July 5th, 2005 @ 12:51 pm

    blap – my wife and I ruled out the wind theory as best we could. at the time of these phenomenon, the windows were closed and we couldn’t detect any breeze. we lived there for two years and never saw a rodent, roach, or anything like that. the complex was built in the 60’s, and was good enough for what we needed – we weren’t living in the slums or anything. one of the reasons we were so damn strapped for cash was that we paid way too much in rent. after moving to minnesota we have an overall nicer (albeit smaller) apartment for roughly 300 dollars less per month.

    if this were anything wind-related it would have taken one of those huge floor fans to deliver the kind of force necessary to slam the cabinets like that.

  69. Blap
    July 5th, 2005 @ 4:21 pm

    Definitely puzzling. Did you every try preventative measures, like putting latches or locks on the cabinets? And on a related note, what was your emotional reaction: were you afraid, curious, amused, etc.? I think I’d be curious, and want to experiment with the phenomenon. But then, it didn’t happen to me, so that’s just speculation.

    I’ve always been curious about these kinds of reported phenomena, but also have always been skeptical of any supernatural cause. This is not to say that I think mankind knows everything there is to know–not by a long shot. But I will always believe that every measureable phenomenon has a physical, scientifically explainable cause. If I admit to the possibility of the supernatural (i.e. that which requires no physical cause, and permits no scientific measurement or analysis), then I might as well hang up my atheism, too. Highly unlikely, so I’ll continue to speculate on possible physical causes for your (and others’) observations.

    Engaging topic.

  70. jahrta
    July 6th, 2005 @ 9:20 am

    Blap – I believe there is a scientific reason behind what was going on but we never settled on one that satisfied us. The cabinet incident only happened a couple of times. The “measurable” kinetic activity tended to center around light switches and objects that weighed up to around a pound or so being tossed in random directions. the rest of the stuff dealt with the sensation of some unseen force pushing, pulling or scratching various parts of our anatomy. Our reaction to all of that? Pretty freaked at first. It’s scary to have something affect your physical world when you can’t see what it is, no matter what your belief system may be. i developed a sort of bemused attitude toward the whole thing halfway through our two years there, and after having moved out we haven’t experienced anything like it since.

  71. hermestsen
    July 6th, 2005 @ 9:55 am

    “I think it’s safe to say that most atheists are more libertarian that authoritative or the morals scale.”

    The funny thing is, the Chimp regime has demonstrated that many libertarians aren’t really libertarians –except as it regards their personal right to masturbate to internet porn and smoke dope. They don’t appear to be so hot on the right to just stay alive –at least when we’re talking about the lives of foreigners. For them, if you were stupid enough not to be born in the US, you can be blown away at roadblocks (by occupiers in your own country), bombed, torturted, and imprisoned indefinitely without trial, and that’s AOK.

  72. Viole
    July 6th, 2005 @ 10:47 am

    True enough, Herm. That’s kind of what made me so angry with libertarians, at first. Of course, I find the same is true of just about everyone, in America. Republicans, after all, are supposed to be in the party of states-rights, and yet they’re perfectly happy to use the federal to override those rights when states make the wrong choices. Democrats, on the other side, talk about caring for other people, but often manifest this by sending emails and attending the odd protest.

    The minority parties, like the communists, tend to attract more active people, but they still have their share of hangers-on. Overall, I’d say the average American cares only about themselves, possibly their spouse, and usually their legitimate heirs, which is, in the end, perfectly capitalistic of them.

  73. simbol
    July 6th, 2005 @ 10:58 am

    hi Herm

    Can you describe for me what is an “american liberal”?

  74. hermesten
    July 6th, 2005 @ 11:18 am

    Simbol, I’m not sure I can. “Liberal” is now primarily a right-wing swear word used to dismiss anyone who doesn’t serve the Republican Party agenda. Most of the people who use the word “Liberal” use it with equal ferocity against lilbertarians, progressives, communists, democrats, independents, environmentalists, and even “traditional” conservatives. Since the dissolution of the USSR it’s sort of the all weather substitute for “commie.”

    In general, I would say that even the proper usage of the word today is not in the classical sense of someone who believes in individual rights and limited government. Generally speaking this term is now used to describe someone who believes in a particular set of limited individual rights (generally full rights to expression and limited economic rights), and a large State (by limited rights I mean they would use State power to curtail some behavior that does not injure others). A conservative today is someone who believes in a different set of limited individual rights (generally full economic rights, but only to a portion of society, and limited rights to expression), and a large State. Today, both “Liberals” and “Conservatives” share the notion that a large powerful State is the appropriate mechanism for regulating behavior in accordance with their political philosophies.

  75. jahrta
    July 6th, 2005 @ 1:24 pm

    Viole

    Do you see communism taking a legitimate hold in american politics any time in the near future? I would think that the stigma carried over from the cold war would be enough to keep it underfoot of more “popular” ideologies, broken as they are. It’s the same stigma that surrounds atheism in general, as some of us can attest to firsthand with stories of being treated like lepers in our own communities, or by members of our own families.

    I happen to think that communism, in its purest form, would help to build a strong and productive america. the only problem with things that seem perfect on paper is that they’re never implemented in the real world in the way they were intended. In the end, any plan that seems too good to be true probably is, because mankind is too stupid, superstitious and corrupt to govern anyone or anything effectively for any extended period of time.

  76. Viole
    July 6th, 2005 @ 1:58 pm

    As someone who concluded many years ago that mainstream politics tended to be circular in direction, rather than anything remotely resembling ‘forward’, I found myself with something of a choice. I see three different ‘utopian’ visions for the future, of which there are multiple variations. Those are communism, libertarianism(or ‘Objectivism’), and anarchy. Objectivism is out because I have absolutely no faith in the free market. Anarchy, because I don’t think society would survive the change without unacceptable levels of casualties. So I’m a communist, because it involves the best elements of anarchy and libertarianism(respecting other people’s rights while having no government), with strong community and cooperation.

    To answer your question, though, I’ve always found that people are more reasonable individually about communists than they are about atheists. It’s the politicians and the pundits who do most of the screaming. Really, once you clear up the more glaring misconceptions(mandatory atheism, all-powerful government, government control of business), people can be receptive to communist ideals. Those who think communists are completely evil generally don’t have a clue what a communist stands for.

    If the USA is to have anything to do with communism in the future, though, there’s much work to be done. I’m convinced that the Communist Party USA needs to be destroyed, as they’ve been voting Democrat since FDR, with a few exceptions. And I can’t justify that. In fact, all the different communist groups(Maoists, Trotskyists, Marxist/Leninists, Castroists) need to get back together if they’re to make any real progress. After all, they differ mainly in method, not substance. Sadly enough, their internal squabbling reminds of christianity. They can worry about method after they become a viable political force. As we’ve seen many times in history, the united front will generally win out against the more popular but divided one.

    In any case, I’d be surprised if a communist or socialist got elected to any office higher than state senator in the next twenty years. After that, it’s hard to say. If the republicans stay in power, people will be open to communism–they’ll be open to almost anything. If they don’t, I’m not so sure. The democrats do, in general, make life a little easier for the working class, though perhaps not enough to really make a difference.

  77. hermesten
    July 6th, 2005 @ 3:19 pm

    Most people in this country are just too complacent and comfortable for any substantive changes to occur. Nothing is going to happen until the cost of not doing anything becomes greater than the cost of opposition. In this country, nothing has ever happened without the middle and upper-middle class feeling some pain –like seeing their children drafted and sent to die pointlessly in Vietnam. This is essentially how people like the Chimp have aggregated so much power: nobody gives a shit unless they, or someone they love, is suffering personally. And don’t forget, when those in power don’t reveal their hand too quickly, they can do just about anything with virtually no opposition. The Germans murdered 6 million Jews –after systematic scapegoating, confiscation, relocation, forced labor, and mass arrest– and only had to contend with one small uprising in the Warsaw Ghetto.

    I was just watching a Polish movie about the communist reistance in Poland during WWII (Kanal), and found it very interesting to hear one of the characters say: “I’m a communist, but I can’t afford to take any action because I have to take care of my father. What would he do if something happened to me?” I’m not exempting myself from this attitude either. And after all, why should I risk ruining my comfortable life for a bunch of dolts who are too lazy and too stupid to do anything but park their fat fannies in front of a TV set (and just for the record, I consider TV to be the single most destructive influence in the world)?

  78. Blap
    July 9th, 2005 @ 5:25 pm

    Hermes (#10?),

    I read post #77 the same day you posted it, and got into such a funk that I immediately left the site, and haven’t returned until now. Damn, but the truth hurts!

    So the question now is, where do we go from here? I see three possibilities:

    1. We the people do nothing, and things keep deteriorating along their current trend. Your comparison to Nazi Germany was apt. The tendency of any group in power is toward totalitarianism. As you suggested, Joe Six-Pack, busy watching the tube, just thinks what the media tell him to think, and never realizes there’s a problem, even though some stories (like Guantanamo) get through. Even though he sees evidence every day that the government can deny people their rights at any time, justified by whatever they’ve declared war on (drugs, poverty, terrorism). But that’s okay with him: if they didn’t have it coming, it wouldn’t happen to them, right? Maybe we should just declare war on “evil,” and be done with it! (I’d better shut up: somebody will take that seriously.)

    Possibility #2: We the people try to act within the bounds of the law to change the current system. We organize, we vote, we run for office. We fight the good fight…against the two reigning parties. Unfortunately, Joe Six-Pack can’t see past his TV screen to what’s really going on, so he thinks there’s actually a difference in the two. For him, a two-party system is just fine (especially “his” side). This is reinforced by a media that almost never recognizes the existence of any other parties, and usually paints every issue in extremes, so nobody gets used to thinking in shades of gray.

    Possibility #3: The situation gets bad enough that some people are motivated to act outside the bounds of “the law” to try to right the wrongs. This is what happened in 1776. The governed (some of them, at least) got tired of being bled dry and abused by the government. Back then, enough of them were fed up that they were eventually successful in throwing off the rule of the King. But I’m sure that America of the Revolutionary period had its own equivalent of Joe Six-Pack: I suspect many Tories were really just too lazy to join the Revolution, and espoused loyalty to the Crown because it was the path of least resistance.

    “…all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.”
    –The Declaration of Independence

    Hermes, which path do you predict we will follow? Separately, which path would you prefer we take? Or do you see other possible outcomes?

    I’m interested in your thoughts (or anyone’s) on this topic.

  79. hermesten
    July 11th, 2005 @ 12:56 pm

    Blap, you

  • Basic Assumptions

    First, there is a God.

    Continue Reading...

  • Search

  • Quote of the Day

    • Fifty Random Links

      See them all on the links page.

      • No Blogroll Links