27 February 2013

The Ramey Memo

Since we're on the subject of aliens, here is more evidence that a flying saucer crashed at Roswell in 1947. It is a photograph of General Roger Ramey holding a paper with some text on it, standing behind a deflated balloon and some foil and balsa wood. The paper in his hand has come to be known as the "Ramey memo." Using computer analysis it is possible to read at least some of the text of the memo, including key words and phrases such as "disk," "weather balloon," and "victims of the wreck." With this analysis it is unambiguous that a cover up was in place not even a week after the crash and that there were casualties involved, meaning the explanation that seven foot tall crash dummies that would not exist for another three years could not explain the eye witness accounts of bodies at the crash site.

22 February 2013

Dean Radin: Changes in Consciousness

Dean Radin talks about how meditation (usually) makes you a better person and trying to study the siddhis (supernormal powers attained through meditation) scientifically.

21 February 2013

Aliens, Serial Killers, and Mental Illness Part 1: Introduction

I've been thinking a lot lately about aliens taking human form (whatever they may be, beings from other planets or other dimensions, let us use the word "alien" here to mean "sufficiently advanced nonhuman intelligence"). Let us suppose that it is at least possible that aliens exist and that they may be able to disguise themselves as humans. For what purpose would an alien disguise itself as a human, who knows? Maybe they want to learn more about humans as an anthropological study, or to prepare the way for an invasion. Maybe they want to vacation on Earth undetected, or immigrate to the planet because they are unhappy with their home world for some reason. Maybe they just want to cause trouble with an inferior species for their own amusement.

How would you tell whether someone was a human or an alien disguised as a human? If these aliens are sufficiently advanced then their disguises would be perfect. Even at a molecular level there would be no way to distinguish their bodies from those of humans. The only possible way to tell them apart that I can think of is their behaviour (possibly). A sufficiently alien lifeform would have a sufficiently alien psychology to make it possible to distinguish it from a human*. No matter how good an actor, it is always possible for an infiltrator to be found out. Now, it is possible that an alien impersonating a human would be hypnotised before being dropped (or beamed) on Earth so as to forget that it is only pretending to be a human, however, if it is sufficiently alien then it should give itself away eventually.

With this as our metric, looking for humans with sufficiently alien behaviour, we can begin to assess whether someone is 1. a normal human, 2. a human with deviant behaviour, or 3. an alien disguised as a human. Please take note that I am putting emphasis on the term sufficiently alien, because I do not have any specific objective standards for which to assess whether someone is necessarily a deviant human or an alien in disguise. Right now I am merely dealing with possibilities, not actualities. This does raise an interesting question, namely: how do we distinguish between someone who has some mental illness but is otherwise human and someone who is an alien disguised as a human? If, as indicated above, these aliens are advanced enough to make human disguises that are indistinguishable from real human bodies on a molecular level, and all we have to go on is behaviour, how can we make the distinction between a genuine alien and a deviant human? Is someone, say a schizophrenic or serial killer, crazy or are they an alien?

In this series I will be trying to answer those questions.

One place to start is, interestingly enough, an episode of Ancient Aliens (no, I did not get the idea from the series). While the series pretty much uses aliens as their deus ex solution to absolutely everything, they do, on rare occasion, raise interesting points. The pyramids absolutely were not made by guys hauling stones up a ramp because the ramp would require more material than the pyramid itself and would represent an even more fantastic engineering feat. The "Baghdad Battery" was a source of electricity in ancient times used for purposes unknown, and it does fit nicely with the lightbulb carvings in Dendera in explaining how people worked in the pyramids when there are no signs of soot from oil lamps or torches and there is no other means of getting light inside than with electric lighting. The Stone of the Pregnant Woman at Baalbek in Lebanon is so massive that it does not have enough surface area to attach enough ropes to it in order to move it, yet it was clearly carved with the intent of moving it somewhere. This episode also raises the question of whether certain serial killers, such as David Berkowitz, who claimed to be hearing voices, were really hearing alien voices who wanted them to kill just to cause trouble with humans. Maybe some people so easily labled as crazy were perfectly sane, they were just aliens, or brainwashed by aliens. I will be analysing details from this episode in the next part in this series. For now it will suffice for you just to watch the program.

*There is an article titled "Xenopsychology" that I will be disgussing in a future part of this series that looks at how aliens might think differently from humans. There is also a book called Solaris by Stanislaw Lem (that was made into two films) that basically says it would be impossible for humans to communicate with a sufficiently alien lifeform because its way of thinking would be incomprehensible to humans. I never read the book, but it's short so you can breeze through it pretty quickly, unless it's boring.

18 February 2013

Anthony Flew on Why He Became a Deist

Anthony Flew, the world's greatest athiest, was one of the last true philosophical athiests (as opposed to the "new" atheists who belong to the religion of fundamaterialism). He was not wed to any particular ideas, but was willing to follow the evidence and argumentation wherever it led.

Journalist and well known advocate for Christianity Lee Strobel interviews Anthony here regarding his conversion from atheism to deism. What prompted the change? The very thing the new atheists oppost most vehemently: intelligent design. The design in nature and more importantly the design in life is undeniable to anyone with intellectual honesty. To put it simply: life could in no way arise through natural processes, it had to be created by a very powerful intelligent agent (the odds of all the proteins necessary for a cell to spontaneously arise through stochastic processes on the early Earth is something like 1 in 10^4000, or completely impossible even if the universe was around for trillions of years).

The video is 18 minutes long and more than worth your time.

17 February 2013

Country Days

"Country Days"*
A poem written by a young soldier to his lover before he is to go to war to die for his country. Written in the Linear language (Linear being a place holder name). See if you can translate it.

I started this piece on 29 November 2012. It was for a poetry reading that was reschedueled for this week, so instead of rushing through it I took my time, which ultimately was better because it let me work out the word order properly. There are a few pretty obvious loan words and two odd phrases that are idiosynchratic in that they represent a much older version of this language. Interestingly, those quirks make Linear more similar to a natural language. Linear has an unexpected lyrical quality to it that makes everyday speech sound like poetry.

Due to its length, there might be a real chance someone could actually translate this. I am nowhere near proficient in this language (largely because 1. I have no one else to talk to, 2. I have no real imperative to learn faster, and probably most importantly 3. I'm not learning this like a natural language, I'm learning bits and pieces as I need them for specific writing projects). Writing something of this size, for me, would take a week if I really worked on it. It is not impossible for someone else to figure this out. Don't feel daunted by the magnitude of the task. Have fun.

(Yes, it is a totally different language, from a different culture. It is not just symbols replacing English sounds and words. If you try to read this thinking it is like English you will just get a bunch of nonsense.)

*In case you're wondering, the complete phrase "country days" does appear in the poem.

12 February 2013

Petrus Romanus

Pope Benedict XVI, age 85, has announced that his health is too poor to faithfully fulfill his duties as Pope, and he will step down on 28 February, being the first Pope to step down in 598 years. He is a very courageous man and I applaude his decision.

Pope Benedict is also a theologin, and well aware (as is everyone in the Vatican) of the prophecy of Saint Malachy. The prophecy, which was hidden in Vatican archives for nearly five centuries, reveals a highly accurate list of 112 future Popes, following Innocent II, until the end of days (starring Richard Harris). Pope Benedict XVI, who took his name from Saint Benedict, founder of the Benedictine Order, the symbol of which is an olive branch, was the  111th Pope on the list.

There is one Pope left. The final part of the prophecy (according to wiki translation) reads: "In the extreme persecution of the Holy Roman Church, there will sit Peter the Roman, who will pasture his sheep in many tribulations:
and when these things are finished, the city of seven hills will be destroyed,
and the terrible judge will judge his people.
The End.

If the prophecy is correct, and it has been scary accurate so far, the next Pope, who is expected to be selected before Easter, will preside over the Church during the end of days. Just when the end of days will begin no one can say, but there are supposed to be seven years of tribulations ultimately culminating in the creation of the new Heaven and new Earth; the final defeat of sin and death, and the glorious reign of the Lord forever.

Now, the official position of the Catholic Church and fundamaterialist archskep-dicks is that the prophecy is a 17th century forgery, which is probably the only thing both groups agree on. Supposedly, since the prophecy is "too accurate" it must have been fabricated to take into account the past Popes, and that, supposedly, all the predictions after the document was released to the public have to be fudged to fit. Unfortunately for both that's not true, as anyone can see that the later predictions have indeed been eerily accurate. Here are just a few:

* Benedict XV (1914-1922) was prophecised as "religion destroyed." He reigned during the rapid rise of Communism, which saw hundreds of millions of people forced into atheism, attempts by the Soviet Union to destroy the Russian Orthodox Church, and the First World War that led to widespread disillusionment with religion among the peoples of Europe.

* Pius XI (1922-1939) was prophecised as "intrepid faith." He stared down fascist dictator Benito Mussolini to establish the Vatican as an independent state, freeing it from decades of oppression by the Italian government.

* Pius XII (1939-1958) was the "angelic shepherd" who first sheltered the Roman Jews during the Holocaust, and later made pleas to the Hungarian government to protect the Jewish population of their country as well.

* John XXIII (1958-1963) "Shepherd and sailor." He was Patriarch of Venice, the spiritual leader of probably the world's most famous maritime city.

* Paul VI (1963-1978) "Flower of flowers." His coat of arms contains three fleur de lis.

* John Paul I (1978) "From the midst of the moon." His reign began during a half moon, and lasted one month.

* John Paul II (1978-2005) "From the labour of the sun." He was born during a solar eclipse and later entombed during another solar eclipse.

The past seven Popes have been predicted with stunning accuracy. If the document were a forgery how could a forger have gotten such a remarkable string of hits three hundred years after the document was supposedly written for political purposes? Even if you don't believe the prophecy to be genuine (I do), this is still a highly significant time historically. We are living during the last days of a prediction made 900 or 300 years ago, depending upon which side you take, which may or may not have had a significant influence on the past several centuries of Church history. Either way, we are living in interesting times.

Always love.