NTS LogoSkeptical News for 11 May 2001

Archive of previous NTS Skeptical News listings


Friday, May 11, 2001

Articles of Note

From Skeptic Newshound Joe Littrell
The Jesus Pyramid
by David W. Martin
Cleveland Scene
http://www.clevescene.com/issues/2001-05-10/feature.html/page1.html

"College agrees with Chris Hook, a Case Western sophomore with an earnest face and a feathery mop of brown hair. He's a conscientious student, double-majoring in political science and psychology. He's also a residence hall adviser and Spanish Club president."

Friday night in a ballroom with a traveling exorcist
By Sonya Huber
The Other Paper

http://www.theotherpaper.com/substory2.html

"The Rev. Bob Larson, a traveling exorcist, announced to his audience, "This is a safe place.""

It's all good: The appeal of Deepak Chopra
By David Beers
Salon

http://www.salon.com:80/people/feature/2001/05/10/allgood/index.html

"I am reading "How To Know God" by Deepak Chopra as I sit in Helen's Grill, a greasy spoon near my home in Vancouver, British Columbia. Outside the window in the rain, framed within the newspaper vending box, is the face of a young, beautiful girl. Next to that face is headline type, big and black: "'Amazing' teen killed in Whistler crash.""

'Losing sight of tenets of science'
The Hindu

http://www.indiaserver.com:80/thehindu/2001/05/09/stories/0209000i.htm

"Leading social scientists and academics from different research institutions and universities have issued a statement on the University Grants Commission Chairman, Dr. Hari Gautam's comments on social sciences and the introduction of astrology courses in universities:"

Hard Luck Blamed on Hot Rocks
By JULIE CART
Los Angeles Times

http://www.latimes.com/news/nation/20010507/t000038461.html

"Timothy Murray had a comfortable life: a college education, good jobs, fulfilling relationships. "I've always had real good luck.""

Big Cat' found in London, captured by zoo handlers

http://www.theage.com.au/breaking/2001/05/09/FFXXTX2ZHMC.html

"A large cat, thought to be a lynx, has been caught in a suburb by animal handlers from London Zoo."

'Haunted' wooden lion scaring Spaniards
Ananova

http://www.ananova.com/news/story/sm_287554.html

"The residents of a southern Spanish town fear a blue and yellow wooden lion in a children's play area is haunted."

Charlie Varon's amusing prank
by Jon Carroll
San Francisco Chronicle

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/2001/05/10/DD205113.DTL

"ASTUTE READERS will remember yesterday's column, about renowned Bay Area monologist Charlie Varon posing as one Albin Avgher, an expert in genetics, and giving a talk in this guise before a luncheon meeting sponsored by the California Medical Association."

Paul Kurtz to Receive Award From Univ. of Buffalo

Amherst, N.Y. (May 11, 2001)-On Sunday, May 13th 2001, Dr. Paul Kurtz, professor emeritus of philosophy at the State University of New York at Buffalo will receive the university's highest award-the Chancellor Charles P. Norton Medal. University President William Greiner and University Council Chairman Jeremy Jacobs will present the medal to Kurtz as part of the University at Buffalo's 155th commencement ceremonies.

Kurtz is the founder and chairman of the Council for Secular Humanism and the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal. The citation recognizes Kurtz as "a world-renowned philosopher" and "an authority in the fields of secular humanism and rational inquiry."

In 1969, he founded Prometheus Books, which is widely viewed as one of the world's foremost publishers in such areas as philosophy, science and critical thinking. A fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, he is the author or editor of more than thirty books, sixty book chapters and 650 articles or reviews. Among his most influential writings is his book, The Transcendental Temptation (Prometheus 1986), a seminal work on the subject of secular humanism. Kurtz's observations on the paranormal-translated into many languages-have generated lively debates, and he is a highly sought guest lecturer in the United States and abroad.

The Norton Medal is presented annually in recognition of a person who, in Norton's words, "performed some great thing which is identified with Buffalo... a great civic or political act, a great book, a great work of art, a great scientific achievement, or any other thing which, in itself is truly great or ennobling, and which dignifies the performer and Buffalo in the eyes of the world."

Dr. Kurtz received his Ph.D. from Columbia University in 1952. In addition to writing The Transcendental Temptation, Kurtz is the author or editor of Skepticism & Humanism: The New Paradigm (Transaction, 2001), Skeptical Odysseys (2001), Embracing the Power of Humanism (Roman & Little, 2000), Humanist Manifesto 2000 (1999), The Courage to Become (Praeger/Greenwood 1997), Toward a New Enlightenment: The Philosophy of Paul Kurtz (Transaction 1994), The New Skepticism (Prometheus 1992), The Transcendental Temptation (Prometheus 1986), and Philosophical Essays in Pragmatic Naturalism (Prometheus 1991).

Kurtz makes frequent appearances on national TV and radio programs, including "Larry King Live," "MSNBC Investigates," "Nightline," "McNeil-Lehrer Report," "Nightwatch," "CBS World of Religion," National Public Radio, ABC News, CBS News, NBC News, CNN News, BBC Radio, Associated Press Radio, and "All Things Considered."

RAPE SUSPECT'S KIN: VOODOO TURNED HIM BAD

http://www.nypostonline.com/news/regionalnews/39978.htm

By PHILIP MESSING, MARIA MALAVE, LAURA ITALIANO AND WILLIAM J. GORTA
-----
May 11, 2001 -- The shocked brother of the accused rapist in a turnstile-justice case yesterday blamed a voodoo curse for the Bronx man's recent string of arrests - but the suspect's ex-girlfriend said he's just a brutal bully.

Police charged Paul Testman, 20, with raping a woman in Manhattan Tuesday - only hours after he agreed to perform community service in a Bronx plea-bargain on a drug-and-weapons bust.

His brother, Anthony, said the family of his former girlfriend may have put a curse on him.

"Maybe they did some voodoo on him," he said. "Ever since he's been with her, he's been getting into trouble.

"She had him lighting up candles, wearing beads and hiding coconuts under the bed."

The ex-girlfriend, Ena Bules, offered a simpler explanation.

"I got tired of giving him my paycheck, so that's when he became violent and started hitting me and throwing things - just because I wouldn't give him money," said Bules, who is the mother of Testman's month-old son.

"It took me a year to open my eyes and get him out of my life."

She had Testman locked up three times for violating an order of protection.

But even she was shocked at the latest charge against him.

"He punched me in the face twice while I was pregnant, but it never crossed my mind he could rape someone," she said.

"He violated the order three times. The first time, he walked. The second time, he did three days of community service. The third time, he did 30 days in jail."

The Bronx district attorney's office said Testman was to appear before a Bronx judge today for a "compliance update" on a previous sentence of community service in connection with a violation of Bules' order of protection.

Testman agreed to another stint of community service Tuesday to settle an April 3 arrest for possession of 72 bags of marijuana and a knife.

His brother said Testman doesn't use marijuana.

"Maybe he was going to sell it," he said.

Testman is being held without bail on first-degree rape, sodomy, robbery and burglary charges. He faces up to 25 years in prison if convicted.

Texas' Rock Wall

Fortean Times 146, June 2001, p. 60

Reviews

Natural anomaly or underground city?

Carolyn Draper Giles
Ancient American, Vol 5, No 34

Discovered in 1852, and lending its name to the nearest town, this mysterious rectangular, subterranean structure is 3.5 miles (5.6km) wide and 5.6 miles (9km) long. As if its appearance weren't enigmatic enough, the rock itself weighs 200lbs per cubic ft (3.20g/cc), and is composed of minerals not found anywhere else, according to some researchers. A team of archaeologists and geologists has spent seven years unearthing a section of wall 36 feet (11m) deep and 100 feet (34m) long. They hope to dig another 60 feet (18m) to the bedrock where soil analysis, carbon and paleo-magnetic dating may provide further clues. So far they have found two metal rings, apparent man-made openings and a buttressing effect, suggesting either a fantastical human construction, or human modification of a unique natural formation. It is hoped that satellite imaging and ground-penetrating radar tests may throw more light on this monumental mystery. Ancient American
6 issues, $24.95 USA;
$29.95 ROW
PO Box 370
Colfax, WI 54730, USA
http://www.ancientamerican.com

Mysterious Huge "Alien Frogmen" in Central Asian Lakes !

Flying Saucer Review, Vol 46/1, Spring 2001, pp. 18 and 19

( by Paul Stonehill

Note on Paul Stonehill.

[In my article "UFOs in the Soviet Waters", in FSR 44/1 (1999), I gave an account of the book *The Soviet Files: Paranormal Encounters Behind the Iron Curtain* (ISBN 1-85833-858-1) by Paul Stonehill, the Ukranian-born (Kiev) investigator who founded the Russian UFO Research Centre at Tarzana, California.

Born in 1966, and so today aged 34, Mr. Stonehill tells us that he first became filled with the desire to explore the UFO mystery when, just 8 years old (1972), he met a retired Soviet pilot who told the boy how, when flying over the Russian Arctic regions, he had once seen a disk-shaped craft that followed him and his crew so closely that finally they had opened fire on it. One year later (1973) Stonehill's parents left the USSR and took the boy to the U.S.A. and adopted their less "Russian-sounding" new surname.

In my article under reference (in FSR 44/1) I gave a summary of some of Stonehill's researches on the Soviet experience with UFOs under the seas.

NOTE: Paul Stonehill reports that he is now planning to write a book in collaboration with Philip Mantle. G.C.] Notes on Paul Stonehill's article.

[On page 15 of FSR 44/1 (1999), at the close of Paul Stonehill's article on the "UFOs in the Soviet Waters", we gave the following brief item about *another* Russian mystery --- *not in the oceans, but in the lakes of Russian-controlled Central Asia!*:-

"A man named D. Povaliyayev was hang-gliding one day in the early 1990s above the town of Kavgolov in the Leningrad area. The region has many lakes, and in one of these lakes he observed what seemed to be "three gigantic fish". He descended in order to get a closer view, and was able to observe "swimmers in silvery garb". He mentioned this episode in a book written by him - "LETUCHI GOLLANDETS" ("The Flying Dutchman") - published in Russia in 1995.

In that particular area of Northern Russia there have been many UFO sightings."

Further and Fuller Report.

In continuation of this strange new phenomenon, "Alien Lake Frogmen", in Russian Ufology - certainly I myself had previously never heard of such a thing - I now give below a further and fuller report which Mr. Stonehill has just sent to us, and which describes weird great "alien frogmen" allegedly seen in, or reported from, several of the lakes in Soviet Central Asia, in the early 1980s, and only recently researched by him. G.C.]

Paul Stonehill's New Article.
Russian Underwater Encounters: What Lurks Beneath the Surface of the Lakes?

In the autumn of 1982, a Soviet Army officer, Mark Shteynberg, and a Lt. Col. Gennady Zverev, were conducting periodic training sessions of military reconnaissance divers ("frogmen") from the Turkestan and Central Asian Military Regions. The training exercises had been taking place in ISSYK KUL (Lat. 42 degrees 30N., Long. 77 degrees 30E), a deep lake in the Transiliysk Ala Tau area, Kyrgyzia.

One day, totally unexpectedly, these officers received a visit by a very senior officer, Major-General V. Demyanko, Commander of the military Diver Service of the Engineer Forces of the USSR Ministry of Defence.

He had come to inform them of an extraordinary event that had recently occurred during similar diving exercises by military frogmen in the huge Lake Baikal, (Lat. 51 degrees 00N, Long. 108 degrees E, some 1,500 miles to the north-east, in the far eastern Trans-Baikal area of Siberia, and also in other lakes (not named) in Western Siberia.

In those lakes, during their diving exercises, the men had encountered mysterious "underwater swimmers, very human-like, but huge in size (almost 3m. in height!)"

These beings were clad in tight-fitting silvery suits, despite the icy cold temperatures of the lake waters. They encountered the "mystery swimmers" at a depth of 50m. The strangers had no scuba diving equipment ("aqualungs"), nor any other detectable equipment, apart from sphere-like helmets on their heads.

Alarmed at this situation, the local Military Commander at Lake Baikal decided to try to capture one of the entities, and sent an officer and a squad of seven divers with a net to do the job.

When however, the seven Soviet frogmen attempted to net a "Visitor", the entire group of seven divers were flung up out of the lake by a powerful force. When returning from such a depth, it was essential for the men to be decompressed, and this is a slow process that has to be strictly followed.

The seven men were severely ill as a result, with aeroembolism - Caisson disease, and a compression chamber was at once essential for every one of them.

In the Baikal area the authorities had several such chambers, but only one was in working order, and it could contain only two men at a time.

The local commanding officer tried to put four of them into the chamber at once, and the result was that 3 of the divers, including their leader, died, and the other 4 were left as permanent invalids, - the terrible consequences of characteristic Soviet inefficiency and bungling.

The Major-General was now rushing to Issyk Kul to warn the local military, lest any similar rash acts should occur. (Issyk Kul is a great deal shallower than Lake Baikal, but nevertheless the authorities evidently felt that such beings might be there. Or maybe they even knew this as a fact. Did the Major-General already know something?).

A short time later, the Headquarters of the Soviet Military Region of Turkmenistan received an order from the Commander-in-Chief of the Soviet Armed Forces. It gave a detailed account and analysis of the Baikal episode, and was supplemented by an information bulletin issued by the Headquarters of the Engineering Forces of the Soviet Ministry of Defence.

This bulletin listed numerous other deep-water lakes where there had been "anomalous phenomena": sightings of underwater creatures similar to those seen in Lake Baikal; the descent or the surfacing of gigantic discs and spheres into or from the lakes; powerful luminescence emanating from the depths, etc., etc.

The purpose of these documents, in all cases highly classified, "for eyes only" of a very limited circle of senior military officers, was stated to be "to obviate the occurrence of unnecessary encounters"!

The Thin Gnat-Voices

http://www.nationalreview.com/derbyshire/derbyshire051001.shtml

The Thin Gnat-Voices
Why waste space on astronauts?

Mr. Derbyshire is also an NR contributing editor
May 10, 2001 9:45 a.m.

Some years ago I was driving across the high desert of western Arizona at night. Needing to stretch my legs, I pulled off the road, shut down my engine and lights, got out of the car and walked a little way into the desert. It was an exceptionally clear night and there was little traffic. What immediately got my attention was the stars. So many stars! The sky was teeming with them. I have read somewhere that the most stars you can see on a clear night is three thousand. That can't be right, at least not up there in the high Mojave. There must have been ten thousand, at least. I couldn't even imagine counting them. Great drifts and swathes and swarms of stars, the Milky Way itself glowing clear and bright behind them. Most sensational of all, the air was so clear and still the "seeing," as astronomers say, so good I could actually make out new stars winking into view on the eastern horizon, as the earth turned towards them.

I stood and watched a while, not much longer than it took me to smoke a cigarette, then turned back to my car, to the humdrum business of life. It wasn't any kind of revelation or mystical experience, but it stuck in my mind, the awe and the beauty of it those stars flickering into existence down on the horizon, giving such a strong impression of the great planet actually turning under my feet I could almost feel the rumble of mighty gears as it turned, bearing me for ever eastward under the stars. Science fiction writers have a phrase I like: they talk about "the sense of wonder." That's what I got that night, full force: the sense of wonder. It wasn't much, a few minutes standing there in the desert looking at the stars, but I have never forgotten it.

Rupert Brooke must have had a similar experience one night in the fall of 1908. Being a great poet, though, he made something beautiful out of it.

The stars, a jolly company,
I envied, straying late and lonely;
And cried upon their revelry:
"O white companionship! You only
In love, in faith unbroken dwell,
Friends radiant and inseparable!"

All this came to mind on Sunday as Dennis Tito, the first space tourist, returned to earth. Tito had paid 20 million dollars to the Russian space agency to put him into orbit for six days on the International Space Station. NASA had refused to do it, and indeed seems to have tried their best to scotch the whole adventure. NASA chief Daniel Goldin is still sneering at Tito, noting that the space station is not "an orbiting dude ranch."

To which the correct response is: Pity. If the space station were an orbiting dude ranch, it might make some money. Dude ranching is quite profitable; NASA, on the other hand, is a financial black hole. Yeah, yeah, we need NASA, or something equivalent. There is a great deal of government business to do in space, mostly of a military kind: American Spectator had a special issue on this topic in November last year. But leaving space exploration entirely in the hands of a big, unwieldy, 1960s-style federal bureaucracy is the equivalent of giving the 15th-century Vatican a monopoly on ocean-going ships. There is stuff do be done in space, and money to be made, in ways that NASA's College of Cardinals could not dream of or, if they did dream of them, that they could never explain to the congressional pork distributorship that supplies their funds.

Tito described his time in space as "a euphoric experience ... paradise ... the time of my life." I can well believe it. What a thing to do! I'd do it myself, if I had the money. So would my uncle Fred Littlehales, though he is much too old now. It was uncle Fred who introduced me to science fiction, when I was a child. He was a fan himself, and had some fascinating books. My favorite was The Conquest of Space, a collection of those wonderful paintings Chesley Bonestell did for Life magazine in the 1940s, showing how the planets would appear to the space travellers who eventually reached them. I loved that book and dreamed of being out there with the explorers, on the baking surface of Mercury or the frozen seas of Triton, or seeing the rings of Saturn up close. (Saturn, as well as being very beautiful in herself, has a string of moons with exceptionally lovely names, which I learned from the Bonestell book and can still recite: Mimas, Enceladus, Tethys, Dione, Rhea,...) Uncle Fred, though born much too early, is a natural astronaut. When Apollo 8 went to the Moon that amazing Christmas, I remember him sighing, with great intensity of feeling: "Oh, I'd give anything to be up there with them!"

Light-heart and glad they seemed to me
And merry comrades (even so
God out of Heaven may laugh to see
The happy crowds; and never know
That in his lone obscure distress
Each walketh in a wilderness.)

One day the uncle Freds of the world will be able to fulfill their dreams. There will be a way to get into orbit to the planets, even, and one day to the stars themselves that doesn't cost 20 million dollars. There will be places to go out there that don't require a physics Ph.D. and six months of training to move around in. Dennis Tito, in a small way, has blazed a trail for this coming democratization of space, and we should thank him for that.

This opening-up of space isn't going to happen soon. We are looking here at the far future. Space tourism will be an expensive and not very rewarding proposition for a long time yet many decades, probably. Interplanetary travel is barely on the drawing board; interstellar travel so far from our abilities we may have to evolve into a different species to accomplish it. And for all Dennis Tito's enthusiasm, one has the feeling that at least some of the time up there in the space station, he had trouble keeping himself occupied. What did he actually do for six days? Well, he "photographed Earth from different windows." Uh-huh. What else? He "listened to opera on a portable CD player." That last would be one of my choices, too ... but for six days? Well, that's what extreme destinations are like, and will be for a long time yet. After all, Antarctica has been available for tourism for nearly a century. It is considerably less hostile to living things than outer space is, and cheaper to get to by a factor of about a thousand; yet few go there (though some do). We shall be playing golf in Antarctica long before there are tourist hotels on Mars.

One day, though, it will happen. There will be some reason for great numbers of people to go, and it will be affordable, and not too dangerous, for them to do so. One day a thousand or ten thousand years from now human beings will populate the galaxy, the Milky Way itself. I doubt it will be a government operation. Much more likely it will be messy, noisy, violent, cheesy, and commercial. We'll take all our humanity with us, all our faith and superstition, all our loyalties and rancors, all our wisdom and all our follies, operas and game shows, novels and comic books, poems and porn, all our jostling gregariousness and weeping inner loneliness.

I can barely imagine how or why this will happen, but I am certain it will, and that the voices of our descendants will be heard among the stars. Why, otherwise, were we given knowledge of them? How I wish I could live to see it! Or just that I had 20 million dollars so I could do what Dennis Tito did.

But I, remembering, pitied well
And loved them, who, with lonely light,
In empty infinite spaces dwell,
Disconsolate. For, all the night,
I heard the thin gnat-voices cry,
Star to faint star, across the sky.
Rupert Brooke, The Jolly Company
November 1908

Sixpak...uh, Deepak and Vic in Salon

From: Dave Palmer

http://www.salon.com/people/feature/2001/05/10/allgood/index.html

The disclosure project

http://washingtonpost.com:80/wp-dyn/nation/columns/roughdraft/A4199-2001May9.html

by: Joel Achenbach
A group of people who believe in UFOs held a press conference his morning that established beyond the shadow of a doubt -- that reached levels of credibility so high as to constitute actual proof -- that there really do exist people who believe in UFOs.

This was the big day for the Disclosure Project, an attempt to ncite the government to admit that UFOs are piloted by creatures from another world. The organizer, a Virginia emergency room physician and UFOlogist named Steven Greer, announced that this was a moment of historic, indeed planetary, significance:

"This is the end of the childhood of the human race. It is ime for us to become mature adults among the cosmic civilizations that are out there."

He had arranged an impressive venue, the main ballroom of the National Press Club. Upwards of a hundred people filled the room, and a phalanx of more than a dozen TV cameras documented the proceedings. At the front of the room, in a line, sat the 20 witnesses, most of them gray-haired men who had retired years ago from the military.

As they took turns at the microphone, it became apparent that this was a rather quaint event -- a return to the fundamentals of UFOlogy, the discussion of aerial anomalies. At one point a witness flashed two black-and-white photos of a saucer-shaped craft. The tales were set, for the most part, in the Forties, Fifties and Sixties; there was no talk of alien abductions, or an alien-human hybridization program, or the implantation of alien fetuses, or any of the extremely intimate Close Encounters of the Fifth Kind that have dominated the UFO mythology in recent years.

These guys were from the hardware wing of the movement. They'd seen things in the sky that they couldn't explain. Objects. Lights. Radar blips moving at extraordinary speed. What they didn't see, in almost every case, were any actual aliens.

Only one witness, Clifford Stone, a retired Army sergeant, professed to having directly seen an alien. He'd seen bodies at the site of crashed alien saucers; some aliens were still alive. Asked if he could describe their appearance, he said, "I could, but it would probably take a whole lot of time." There are 57 documented alien species, he said, including three types of grays. Many look just like human beings, he said. Some can touch an object in a dark room and tell its color, he said.

Ideally the press conference will trigger congressional hearings. Greer says he has conducted interviews with 400 people with intimate knowledge of the cover-up of the alien phenomenon. Many are afraid to come forward without congressional immunity.

"We know lethal force has been used to keep this secret," Greer said.

In the category of what a scientist would consider evidence, the press conference presented little, if any. The proceedings featured the Argument from Authority. The message here was that credible people -- people who are not kooks -- believe that UFOs contain aliens. These people have good resumes. Maybe that's not as impressive as someone coming forward with an actual alien antenna, but it's not trivial.

If nothing else this was an interesting glimpse of human psychology and the corrosive side-effects of government secrecy. The witnesses were grave, in some cases emotional -- they've carried these beliefs for decades. Collectively they've experienced centuries of suspicion. They've seen things that their superiors brushed aside or covered up.

"Such things do exist. Please believe me," said ret. Air Force Lt. Col. Charles L. Brown, who once analyzed UFO sightings and saw, just two years ago, "two inexplicable objects."

Graham Bethune, a retired Navy pilot, told of seeing a glow near Iceland that turned into a circle of lights with a dome. This was 1951. He's ready to testify under oath.

Robert Salas, retired Air Force captain, said a "bright, glowing red object" hovered outside the gate of a nuclear weapons site in Montana in 1967. The weapons suddenly went into a "no-go" condition. Did the aliens disable them?

The stories keep coming. People make connections. There are people saying that the Bush administration wants to build a missile defense shield in order to do battle with the aliens. Who's running this cover-up? Greer said there are compartmentalized elements of the secret government operation in multiple intelligence and defense agencies and throughout corporate America. The bad guys are everywhere.

The anxiety grows: What if everything we've been told by our leaders is a lie?

What if we're all just a bunch of dupes?

How do we KNOW the Apollo astronauts really went to the moon and not just to a Hollywood back lot?

Scientists who work in the esoteric field of "exobiology" would very much like to find a single scrap of alien life. They'd like to know if life out there parallels life on Earth. Does alien life also feature DNA, or is there some other molecule that fulfills DNA's function? Is it carbon-based? Does it use oxygen in its metabolism? Did the aliens evolve from simpler life forms? Does the alien home planet have multiple species that are intelligent and technological and self-reflective, or are those traits rare in any given biosphere? To what extent does the history of life on Earth follow a certain cosmic pattern, and to what extent is it a series of accidents and low-probability mutations?

Oh . . . sorry. Got off on one of those damn "science" tangents.

We have to decide, as rational people, which is the more likely scenario:

1. Intelligent creatures have piloted spaceships across trillions of miles in response to our discovery of nuclear weaponry. They hide, except when they decide to show themselves. Secret forces within our government have masterfully covered up the alien presence for half a century, duping the media and the scientific community, although sometimes the cover-up is imperfect, which is why, at Safeway, you can buy Chef Boyardee Flying Saucers & Aliens canned pasta. People like Steven Greer, the crusading emergency room physician, have seen through the lies and are going to help us reach the era of cosmic brotherhood.

2. Some people believe in things that aren't actually true.

You make the call.

(Rough Draft appears once in a blue moon at washingtonpost.com. To get the story of the press conference directly from the organizers, go to www.disclosureproject.org. For a scientific approach to the question of extraterrestrial intelligence, try
www.seti.org.)

The disclosure project

FOX news and ABC news have picked up the UFO Disclosure Project story. The rest will obviously soon follow. Congratulations to the entire Disclosure Project effort for breaking into pubic awareness with this effort.

The disclosure project website:
http://www.disclosureproject.org

For your convenience, this ABC NEWS spot:
http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/abc/20010509/pl/ufo010509_1.html

Scientists Claim to Revive Alien Bacteria

http://dsc.discovery.com/news/briefs/20010507/bacteria.html

May 10 Italian researchers claim to have found conclusive evidence that life on Earth arrived from outer space.

Bruno D'Argenio, a geologist working for the Italian National Research Council, and Giuseppe Geraci, professor of molecular biology at Naples University, identified and brought back to life extraterrestrial microorganisms lodged inside 4.5 billion-year-old meteorites kept at Naples' mineralogical museum.

"When in contact with a physiological solution, they became visible and began to move," D'Argenio said while presenting the finding at the Italian Space Agency yesterday.

The bacteria, called "cryms" (for crystal microbes) by the researchers, remained dormant for billions of years and survived extreme ambient conditions a clear indication, according to the researchers, that "life can exist everywhere in the solar system, though in a quiescent state."

Once brought back to life, the cryms were cloned by the researchers and their DNA analyzed.

"Their genetic code is unlike any known on Earth," said Giovanni F. Bignami, scientific director of the Italian Space Agency.

In studying the bacteria, the team found that they tend to gather in clusters. The bugs are also killed easily with antibiotics.

Disputing critics who suggested that the meteorites were contaminated with terrestrial microorganisms, Bignami added that the bacteria came back to life after the samples were sterilized at 950 degrees Celsius and doused in alcohol.

The discovery, if borne out, would strengthened the "panspermia" theory, first suggested by chemist Svante Aarhenius in 1900. According to this theory, outer space seeded Earth with primitive life forms about 4 billion years ago. The theory was recently supported by Noble Prize winner Francis Crick, as well as noted scientists Fred Hoyle and Chandra Wickramasinghe.

"Life would have formed as an initial seed in the protoplanetary nebula from which all the planets originated. This microorganism can be found ... in planetary bodies and in the meteors fallen to Earth," said Bignami.

The Italian researchers have also identified microorganisms identical to the "cryms" found in the Naples meteorites in 50 samples of billion-year-old terrestrial rocks from five continents.

"I'm skeptical, very skeptical," biologist Martino Rizzotti of Padua University told the daily newspaper La Stampa. "Those bacteria seem to be too similar to the terrestrial ones. I can't avoid thinking about possible contaminations."

Margherita Hack, director of the Inter-University Regional Center for Astrophysics and Cosmology in Trieste, is more positive. "It is very likely that life is spread in universe. This is an interesting result, but it requires more study to be completely accepted," she said.

Today the researchers present their findings at the Accademia dei Lincei (Academy of the Lynxes) in Rome, a prestigious scholarly organization that counts Galileo Galilei among its members

From out of this world

http://www.kfmb.com/special_assignment/archive/2001/04/weird.php

A strange phenomenon spinning off the coast of San Diego. Some say it comes from out of this world.

It can best be described as a giant whirlpool caught on videotape off Black's Beach. A man flying in a biplane shot the footage with his home video camera and it is extraordinary to say the least.

Oceanographers say they've never seen anything like it. But at least one expert says an unidentified underwater object could have caused the weird whirlpool.

Flying saucers, UFOs, strange lights - people say they've seen them in the skies, over the water, even in the water. Imagine for a moment what would happen if a spacecraft did land in the ocean off San Diego. What would it look like?

Saturday, February 3, 2001 - 1100 feet above Black's Beach. Mike Runion is a passenger in an open-air biplane on a sightseeing tour when he sees something he's never seen before. The pilot circles around for another look and there it is: a huge, spinning whirlpool.

Mike pulled out his video camera and started shooting - 37 seconds of footage that shows a spinning whirlpool, sucking up dirt and debris, just outside the surf line -- a spiral of foam rising up from the center.

Mike is a kayaker. He and his friends spend a lot of time in the ocean, but this video was like nothing they had ever seen. When NEWS 8 first aired this video about a month ago, we received a phone call from the director of the San Diego UFO society. Rob Baldwin wanted to take a closer look so we obliged.

Baldwin says UFOs have been reported for years off the coast of San Diego. But could an underwater spacecraft really cause a whirlpool? Baldwin says the spinning motion of an underwater flying saucer could do just that.

Scientists at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography are skeptical of the UFO theory to say the least. Bill Schmidt does extensive research on ocean rip currents. He says the spinning motion in the video appears to be a giant eddy, perhaps caused by two competing ocean currents.

Rip currents run perpendicular to the shoreline, flowing straight out to sea. Once they get outside the surf zone they sometimes collide with long-shore currents heading north or south. When the two currents come together a spinning, eddy motion can result.

There is also a deep canyon off the coast of Black's Beach, which can make ocean currents unpredictable. But because the video is so short Schmidt says it's difficult to say exactly what caused the eddy.

As for the man who shot the video, he's still at a loss to explain it. For now, the cause of the strange whirlpool off Black's Beach remains a mystery -- a phenomenon unexplained by either science or science fiction.

No one really knows just how common these whirlpool currents are off the San Diego coastline. But, scientists say they wouldn't be surprised if they occur as seldom as once a year or as often as once a month.

For more information go to Scripps Institution of Oceanography and San Diego UFO Society.

Have You Taken Your Herbal Cure Today?

This is from Dr. Dean Edell at

http://www.healthcentral.com/drdean/deanFullTexttopics.cfm?ID=52674&storytype=DeanTopics

May 09, 2001

I never thought I d live to see the day that this would happen. It says here that the sales of herbal supplements, which have been experiencing double-digit growth for the past few years, have stalled amid concerns over their effectiveness and confusion over the vast array of products.

I can t believe it. Maybe there is a God after all. Herbal supplement sales only grew 1 percent last year. The years before, it was 17 percent, 12 percent, 18 percent.

This analysis was done by the Nutrition Business Journal and Nutrition Industry Newsletter. They found that sales of botanical supplements was valued at an estimated $4 billion in 2000; that was up, of course, but by only 1 percent.

The experts say there are several reasons growth has leveled off. The article says, A lot of consumers saw the products, decided to give them a try and didn t feel anything right away and stopped taking them.

And, public expectations for many individual herbs were unrealistically high. Users must have thought, if I use St. John's Wort; I ll never be unhappy again. If I try echinacea, I ll never have another cold.

According to the editor of the journal, Consumers need to be more educated on how to use products and what they can do.

If you were educated about it, you d realize that they don t work at all and there would be no market whatsoever.

Experts say sales of some herbal products might continue to drop because of a recent study indicating that St. John's wort was unsuccessful in treating moderate to severe depression but herbal proponents say the research was flawed because the herbs& and it goes on.

So, folks, this is a fad, it s come, it s gone, and now we ll let science answer these questions and indeed we are finding some of these herbs have useful elements in them.

Botanical experts say the industry has been dogged by problems with quality assurance and the lack of standardization. And whose fault is that? The supplement industry lobbied hard to get this huge loophole and Congress fell for it. And now experts are complaining because there are problems with quality assurance? What part of this don t they get?

The article goes on to say that consumers are confused with the different products on the market. The usage of St. John's wort is off 45 percent, ginkgo usage is off by 32 percent, ginseng is off 27 percent. Valerian is currently up, soy is up and green tea is up. So these are just fads, and like all fads, fads come and fads go.

Source: USA Today, May 9, 2001

Who wrote Dead Sea Scrolls?

http://www.thestar.com/cgi-bin/gx.cgi/AppLogic+FTContentServer?pagename=thestar/Layout/Article_PrintFriendly&c=Article&cid=988774402047

COPIED FROM: THE TORONTO STAR
May. 5, 01:01 EDT

Who wrote Dead Sea Scrolls?
Integrity of scholars and Bible itself at stake in debate

Neil Altman and David Crowder
SPECIAL TO THE STAR

Since the discovery in the late 1940s of a huge cache of scrolls in caves near the Dead Sea, a tight-knit community of scholars has insisted they were written by a Jewish sect before the birth of Jesus.

But new theories and findings are stirring up the debate about the origins of the scrolls as images of them have become more available to scholars and the public. And evidence is mounting they were written later, perhaps hundreds of years later than most scholars believe, by Christians.

At stake is the credibility of the original eight-member team of Dead Sea Scroll scholars. Also at stake is the integrity of the Bible itself, which has undergone scores of changes because of the scrolls. And more changes are on the way.

Some scholars, for instance, say the Temple Scroll should be incorporated into the Old Testament as the sixth book of Moses.

"The New Revised Standard Version (of the Bible) adds a significant passage to 1 Samuel 10:27 from the text of the Qumran Samuel scroll," says David Scholer of Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, Calif.

Interestingly, it is Christian versions of the Old Testament to which almost all of the changes have been made. Publishers of Jewish Bibles are far less willing to alter the scriptures because of the scrolls.

Among Christians, their ministers and priests, few are aware that the Dead Sea Scrolls have led to more than 800 "minor" changes in Old Testament editions so far.

The first scrolls reportedly were found in 1947 in a cave near the ruins of Qumran overlooking the Dead Sea. Archaeologists and others discovered 11 caves in all that held more than 800 manuscripts, some remarkably well preserved and others reduced to fragments. Among the documents were parts of all but one of the 39 books of the Old Testament.

The prevalent theory is that the scrolls were hidden there in about 68 A.D. to keep them out of Roman hands during the Jewish revolt that led to the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D.

A long line of scholars have asserted the manuscripts belonged to the Essenes, a Jewish sect thought to have occupied Qumran before the time of Christ. But St. Epiphanius, a 4th century A.D. scholar and church father, wrote that the name Essene, or "lessaeans" in Greek, was used to designate early gentile followers of Jesus. And the actual writers of the scrolls never called themselves Essenes, but referred to themselves in Christian terms, such as "the poor" or "poor in spirit.''

Christianity is generally unaware of its Jewish roots and influences, which existed well into the medieval period that began about 300 A.D. and lasted 1,300 years.

If the scrolls are regarded as documents that Essene scribes did not produce, they take on a much broader significance and become a link in showing just how much Judaism influenced medieval Christian thought.

One well-known scholar and author broke ranks with the Dead Sea Scrolls establishment in the 1990s, contending that many of the major scrolls come from the first and second century A.D. and speak cryptically of Jesus and his brother, James.

"If we can identify the scrolls within the first century (A.D.), then all the official positions of scroll scholarship collapse," says Robert Eisenman, chairman of the Religious Studies Department at California State University in Long Beach.

The most famous of all Dead Sea Scrolls, the Great Isaiah Scroll, contains an abundance of evidence that suggests it was copied much later in Christian times.

Prior to the scrolls' discovery, the three oldest known copies of Isaiah were part of the Cairo, Aleppo and Leningrad codices, which have been dated from 895 to 950 A.D. The Isaiah scroll has been officially dated at 100 B.C., yet it contains clear separations between sentences and paragraphs that appear more advanced than the three medieval Isaiah texts.

The evolution of Hebrew manuscripts is described in the Encyclopedia Of Judaism, where sentence and paragraph separation along with vowel marks are said to have been developed by the Masoretes from the 6th to the 10th centuries A.D.

The Isaiah scroll also contains examples of how Christians, rather than Jews, copied Biblical manuscripts. Corrections made in the body of Isaiah text, for instance, suggest it was transcribed by Christian hands because Jewish scribes made their corrections in the margins of biblical texts. In 1992, The Lutheran magazine reported that Christian copyists usually made the change in the text itself.

Since 1950, scholars have recognized that the Great Isaiah Scroll, the most complete biblical text found at Qumran, contains eleven Xs, most of which are heavily marked in the margins. Randall Price, in his 1996 book The Secrets Of The Dead Sea Scrolls, writes that Eastern Christianity's Syriac Church used the X as a sign of the cross in manuscripts to mark passages about Jesus Christ. That fact, Price wrote, came from Epiphanius.

The Xs in the Isaiah scroll also correspond to passages often recognized as prophecy about the coming messiah, adding credence to the possibility those marks were made in the Christian era.

"Isaiah chapters 42:1 and 42:6 are clearly messianic passages that speak of Jesus, and the Xs here relating to him are an extremely important discovery," says Philip Comfort, senior Bible editor at Tyndale Publishing House.

There is a previously undiscovered 12th X at the start of Isaiah 7:14 that deals with the virgin birth of the Messiah. The presence of that X is confirmed by Sheynin and other scholars consulted for this article.

Sheynin also confirms that a uniquely Christian-sounding change was made in the 11th verse of Chapter 7 in the Great Isaiah Scroll.

In that passage, according to the New International Version of the Bible, God tells the Jewish king Ahaz, "Ask the Lord your God for a sign, whether in the deepest depths or in the highest heights.''

But it reads very differently in the Isaiah scroll a fact overlooked by scroll scholars but confirmed by Sheynin and others. As it appears in the scroll, Sheynin says he would translate the passage as ``Ask a sign from the father of the Lord (your) God . . .'' Sheynin says, "it looks like somebody wrote and corrected it. There is a possibility that someone corrected it to fit his own religious beliefs.

"The change was made after Christianity became prominent. We cannot think anything like this would appear before 90 AD.''

Other scholars give the passage an even more Christian twist, saying it could also be translated as God telling Ahaz to ask for a sign not from the father of God, but from the mother of God.

John Trever, the first scholar to photograph the scrolls, now disputes the transcription of Isaiah 7:11 that appears in the 1950 book written around his photos, The Dead Sea Scrolls Of St. Mark's Monastery, and in his own book about the scrolls, published in 1972. Asked why the passage was given the traditional reading that omits any reference to the words "mother" or "father," Trever says, "That's a good question, and I don't have an answer.''

Norman Golb, who holds the chair of the Jewish people at the University of Chicago and author of Who Wrote The Dead Sea Scrolls? (Scribners, 1995), reluctantly acknowledged the change as well when, during an interview, he provided an on-the-spot translation of Isaiah 7:11.

"Ask of thyself a sign from the mother of God," Golb says, adding, "or the father of God.''

Asked why the passage was not accurately transcribed, Golb dismissed the change, saying that it would have been "gibberish" to refer either to the mother or father of God.

While scholars were willing to discuss the changes in Isaiah 7:11, they balked at the apparent changes in Isaiah 53, a chapter that Christians believe refers to the Messiah's suffering for the sins of mankind.

Isaiah 53:1, the Hebrew word "al" was changed to "El'', implying that the Messiah would be God.

Farther down, in the Isaiah 53:9, a passage that refers to the slain Messiah, the scribe again altered the traditional text by adding a word that can be translated as "awaken," suggesting the resurrection that is at the heart of Christianity.

Although the Dead Sea Scrolls were reportedly discovered 53 years ago, scholars have paid little attention to the use of red ink in some of the Biblical texts found at Qumran.

Yet, University of Pennsylvania scholars say the earliest use of red ink in Biblical manuscripts, such as the Codex Sinaiticus written by Christian monks, was in the 3rd or 4th century A.D. Sheynin says it wasn't until 1,000 years later that red ink first appeared in Hebrew manuscripts.

Rabbinical sources state categorically that from ancient times on, only black ink was to be used in Torah texts. Yet red ink is used in more than a few scroll fragments, including two from the biblical book of Numbers. That would seem to suggest that the texts were written by non-Jewish scribes

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Neil Altman is a Philadelphia-based writer who specializes in the Dead Sea Scrolls and religion. David Crowder is an investigative reporter for the El Paso Times.

Schizophrenia: The Biggest Hoax Of The 21st Century

So you hear voices do you? Do you hear them outside of your head or in that brain of yours? Fact is, 60 Minutes broadcast a 20 minute segment on non-lethal weapons. The interviewer said there is a acoustical weapon that puts a voice inside a persons head. Janet & Chris Morris of www.m2technologiesinc.com advocated and obtained the rights to use such technology. Contracted by various companies and higher education places, M2 Technologies Inc. provides a central information database to integrate the usage of non-lethal weapons. Trained by former CIA deputy director Ray S. Cline (deceased), the Morrises were involved with the Persian Gulf War, WACO & Ruby Ridge. During the late eighties I gave permission to the Morrises to use what they had just so I could experience it. Last year during the mid winter while in front of the computer at home I heard Mr. Morris tell me "you will be greeted by a full bird Colonel". His voice was from in front of the monitor. The speakers are located elsewhere. Over a month later, sure enough I was greeted by a full bird Colonel who worked with me as a meter man. A couple weeks later, two more former Colonels started working at the same temporary job I had. Not paranoid, no schizophrenia-just technology at its current state. Put down your drugs and tell your psychiatrist goodbye! http://www.mahlers.com/womp.htm ...And Al Gore said he had a way to help people with Schizophrenia...indeed!!!!!!

Sincerely,

William K. Mahler
54 Sea Street Ext. Apt. #26
Hyannis, MA U. S. A. 02601
Home Phone: 1-508-778-7567
Cell Phone: 1-508-737-0078
ICQ: 14407421
http://www.mahlers.com

Encyclopedia of American Conspiracy Theories

Contributions are invited for The Encyclopedia of American Conspiracy Theories. This is a two-volume scholarly reference work due to be published by ABC-Clio in 2004. There will be approximately 300 entries (ranging in length from 1000 to 4000 words) on topics from the Revolution to the present.

If you are interested, please visit the Encyclopedia website for further information on how to contribute, remuneration, available topics and so on:

www.art.man.ac.uk/english/staff/pk/research/Encyclopedia/front.html

Please forward/crosspost this to anyone who might be interested.

Dr Peter Knight
University of Manchester

John of God

From http://www.JohnofGod.com

John of God
Casa de Dom Inacio, Abadiania, Goias, Brazil
From an original interview by Robert Pellegrino-Estrich

They come in their thousands. The sick, the lame, the 'incurable' and the medically discarded, to a small town in central Brazil. They endure long international flights and for some long bus trips to Abadiania, high on the plateaux of Central Brazil. They come to be cured by the miracle healer, Joao Teixeira de Faria ... the man they call John of God.

He will scrape away cataracts and eye tumours with a knife, remove breast cancers with a small incision and cause the crippled to walk with just the touch of his hand. In a meditation room a ceiling high stack of discarded crutches, wheelchairs and braces pays silent testimony to his success. He is acclaimed as the greatest healer of the past 2,000 years.

Buses arrive throughout the night. At 5am it is cool and still. A heavy mist blankets the town of Abadiania much of which has grown to cater for the thousands who pilgrimage here. People sit outside the simple lodging houses talking softly... waiting. Some sleep in cars or buses or simply stand around waiting for the sunrise. The lodging houses provide free coffee for the weary travellers who spill from newly arrived buses all through the night. Dawn will bring new hope of a life without pain or illness.

The hospital-style centre opens at 6am. The sick collect their queuing numbers as cameramen prepare their equipment for the filming of the day's activity. In an unmarked room Joao rests in preparation. Rita, a dentist and volunteer aid, who says she was healed by Joao of an incurable disease, explains that he can call on more than 34 doctor entitles who use him as a vessel to perform the amazing surgery and healing. Joao is an unconscious medium, she explains, who does not remember anything once he is incorporated by entity. The principal entity is Dom Inacio, after whom the centre is named - Casa De Dom Inacio.

My initial interview with Joao is in the unmarked room at the rear of the centre. He lies on a couch in the dimly fit, sparsely furnished room. On the wall above his head hang pictures of his principal entities. On the adjacent wall hang a dozen Honorary Degrees, Certificates of Appreciation and Civil Awards bestowed upon him by grateful countries and VIPS, among them a plaque bearing a Medal of Honour from the President of Peru in gratitude for healing his son. Joao greets us with an outstretched hand from the couch where he is resting. We do not stay long. He has another busy day ahead. The people are lining up - over 600 already and it is only 7.30am. Soon he will say a simple prayer and incorporate the entity. Time enough for us to inspect the premises before the healings begin.

The healing centre, affectionately known as The House, is simple, efficient and designed to cater for large numbers of people. The main hall is open at one end leading out to a covered walkway, toilets and a rose garden. This is the main treatment area where most of the visible operations are performed on patients where they stand. A lilting song heralds his entry. Followed by assistants carrying trays of surgical instruments, he moves slowly in trance. Anaesthesia and sterilisation are provided invisibly by the entities, a fact that astounds medical doctors who come to observe him. In 35 years there has never been a single case of septicaemia in the house.

During the first morning 1 saw operations performed that defied my logic. Touching the head of a woman who had a large tumour in her stomach, he lifted her shirt to reveal a freshly stitched four-inch incision. Two hours later she seemed well, in high spirits and happy to show me her incision. 'See,' she said, 'the tumour is gone, and I'm going home to cook dinner!'

Some of the operations are unorthodox in the extreme. With a pair of long nosed forceps and a cotton swab he operates through the nose, twisting the forceps high in the sinus cavity. I am told that he can perform 28 different operations throughout the body with this technique. While gruesome for the viewers, many feel only a mild unpleasantness whilst others experience considerable discomfort. One woman said that the sensation was so good she was sorry Joao had not done the other one. One man I interviewed declared he had six broken bones in his feet repaired by this method. A similarly illogical operation is performed by scraping the eyeball with a kitchen knife, a procedure absolutely impossible by any medical doctor. Apart from the removal of eye tumours and cataracts, he also operates elsewhere in the body by scraping the eye. Invited to watch at close range, I saw a small blue light emanate from the tip of the knife. This light strobed deep into the iris and seemed to break up into multiple white fingers. At no time was there an anaesthetic or aseptic used in any operation. Incisions produce virtually no bleeding, a fact which astounds doctors and scientists alike.

I was warned by a kindly assistant to watch for an amazing phenomenon: 'simultaneous invisible operations' which occur in the crowd as he operates. Even so, 1 was not prepared for the frequency and, simplicity of this remarkable occurrence. People began dropping like flies all around me. 'Get that one!' Joao said as he paused from a delicate eye operation and pointed into the crowd. 'There is another over there. Take them to the recovery room,' he said with firm compassion. These were truly miraculous healings.

I watched in amazement as a man, confined to a wheelchair for 50 years, was told to stand and walk after a simple touch of his legs. The grateful man burst into tears as assistants walked him away and the wheelchair was removed to become part of the static display in the meditation room. l pulled myself away to check on patients in the recovery room.

Fitted with two rows of clean white beds, the recovery room smelled clean and sterile; a spiritual air, not the chemical smell of a hospital. I sought out some of the 'simultaneous operations' to check their post operative condition. Hopeless cancer cases, gallstones, hernia, cataracts, chronic arthritis, leukaemia, heart problems and many undiagnosed illnesses. All were drowsy but calm and content. Everyone I spoke to had been operated on; successfully, they assured me. One man, who had not been able to sit or bend and previously required assistance to lie down, had received a small incision between his shoulders. Immediately he could bend, squat and sit. He was so happy tears rolled down his big square cheeks as he described his amazing cure.

The house contains three other major rooms. One is a meditation room where 30 or more mediums, all dressed in white, sit in deep meditation. This, they tell me, generates a strong healing current. Next door, in the main interview room, sit another 60 or more volunteer mediums. The long line of ailing pilgrims walk through the centre of this room to receive their cures or prescriptions from the medium Joao, who is in entity. Following the visible operations, he sits in a large chair as the people file past. The entity scans each person and 'sees' their problem. For many, he will write a script for herbs in a strange spirit shorthand. Limping, on crutches or in wheelchairs, the line seems unending. Some who need operations are directed to wait in an adjoining room where major surgery or prolonged treatments take place. As he speaks, his hand, seemingly disconnected from the man himself, flashes across a notepad. Another script, another instruction and the line moves on. An engineer who first brought his daughter to the house seeking a cure for a painful leg condition, tells me the medium will stay until all have been treated, sometimes late into the evening.

Although a successful businessman in his private life, Joao Teixeira is a simple man of humble origins who now devotes three days every week to healing his fellow human beings, without payment of any kind. A heavy-set man with a slight bodily slump, he exudes deep compassion and remarkable inner strength. He speaks with an economy of words but his deep voice commands attention.

Born into an impoverished family, he is intimately familiar with hunger, deprivation and the humility of poverty. As revealed in his biography The Miracle Man, he discovered his extraordinary gift at age 16 when a female vision appeared to him and told him to go to a nearby spiritual church. Greeted by a senior member when he arrived, he does not remember the next few hours but on awakening he was told that he had performed miraculous operations. He has continued healing for 38 years despite relentless persecution. For much of his youthful life he was forced to live as a wanderer, traveling from city to city healing the sick and living from their donations of food. The police harassed him constantly with beatings and incarceration. Despite his compassion and unselfish dedication to the thousands of sick who seek his help, he is still ridiculed by his enemies. Amazingly, he treats many of his persecutors - doctors and police - with their own incurable diseases. Clergymen, rabbis and nuns from all over the world write testimonies to his miraculous cures.

The poor and the famous are equally welcome. The famous include actress Shirley Maclaine who was told she could never dance again until Joao cured her stricken legs caused by a tumour in her stomach. Thousands of written testimonies are filed in the office along with piles of newspaper clippings and personal letters of gratitude. It is estimated he has cured more than 15 million people in his 38 years of healing. Reports by scientists from all over the world support claims of miraculous healings of every malady known and unknown, including incurable cancers, lupus disease and 139 cases (at the time of writing) of AIDS. Many come with their white coats of scepticism, but all leave totally convinced that he is a genuine paranormal phenomenon of medicine.

The sick do not pay for treatment. If herbs are prescribed they pay only a few dollars to cover the cost of production. They will be fed at lunchtime with a simple wholesome soup, bread and herb tea, for which there is no charge. The week before I arrived he treated and fed over 15,000 people in three days! He and his volunteer staff worked non-stop up to 14 hours each day. It is said that he treats and operates on more people for major maladies in a single week than the largest western hospital would treat in a month.

Like other renowned healers before him - Edgar Cayce, Ze Arigo and Britain's Harry Edwards, his miraculous cures provide hope for the terminally ill who have exhausted all avenues of modem medicine. Joao is the living proof of spirit existence that even the sceptics cannot refute.

A trip to this sanctuary is a spiritually uplifting experience even for the hale and hearty.

Are UFOs Mining Chalk for UFO Propulsion

Filer's Files #19 -- 2000, MUFON Skywatch Investigations
George A. Filer, Director, Mutual UFO Network Eastern
May 8, 2001, Sponsored by Electronic Arts; Majorstar@aol.com.
Webmaster Chuck Warren http://www.filersfiles.com,

ARE UFOs MINING CHALK FOR UFO PROPULSION

I received a letter from Jo Glapan a former French College professor. In gratitude for sending him my files, he sent a copy of his book dealing with UFO propulsion, that I'm having translated from French. He claims that UFOs use CaCO3 (Calcium Carbonate) in their propulsion systems. This is mostly chalk or calcareous earthly substance of opaque white colors, soft, and easily pulverized. I think they have been robbing our planet for thousands of years. That's why we find enormous caves under the seas in the Bahamas or Australia. I hope my gritting ideas will show you that our "formal science is not quite honest-there are too many holes --- or lies. Thanks to Jo Glapan

Editor's Note: Calcium Carbonate is a variety of limestone, calcium and is composed mainly of small seashells but may include bones, teeth, and plant ash. It is used in making lime. Calcium Carbonate is a crystalline compound found mainly in limestone, marble, and chalk. I was discussing Jo's letter with Nancy Talbot who mentioned that most crop circles are sitting on chalk or limestone. Its thought that water filtering through the porous chalk soil attracts the electrical or microwave energy that is associated with crop circles. We speculated that UFOs are often seen near crop circles and there appears to some relationship that Jo Glapan's statements would substantiate. Earthlights or discharges of electrical ball lights are often observed near Crop Circles. These crop circles in turn are often situated near megalith prehistoric stone monuments such as Stonehenge. These sites often include dolmens that are large prehistoric tombs or monuments consisting of large, flat stones laid across large upright stones. These monuments are found all over the world often in circular configurations. These monuments frequently contain electrically charged areas. I personally visited many of these sites in England, Greece, and Turkey. The sites are often tied to beliefs in healing, and fertility. Through the ages people learned these sites helped increase the growth of crops, the successful birth of off spring, prosperity and happiness. A person who sees the grandeur and intricacy of crop circles realizes that there is some powerful force at work. In recent weeks the Earth has been pounded by radiation from solar flares and coronal mass discharges. It is reasonable to assume some of this energy does more than light up the sky with Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights). The incredible energy may react inside the chalk and limestone soil creating the Crop Circles.

I was wondering if any of our readers are chemists, scientists, or electrical engineers who would care to comment on these findings. The first UFO book I read was by Ivan Sanderson called "Invisible Residents." He contends that large numbers of UFOs are seen entering and leaving the water.

Mystery surrounds 'success' of Nessie hunt - Ananova Alerting

From Ananova at:

http://www.ananova.com/news/story/sm_287221.html

A team which spent two weeks hunting for the Loch Ness Monster claims it has "a photographed sighting".

Newspaper reports have claim Jan Sundberg and his team left Loch Ness at the weekend after a disappointing expedition.

But the group's website claims it will soon publish details of "mysterious tracks" and "a photographed sighting".

Jan Sundberg has been quoted as saying: "We spent 50 hours on the loch using sonar and achieved very little. The results were meagre, to say the least."

But his Global Underwater Search Team's website carries a one-line teaser which claims they did spot something.

It reports: "We are back from Loch Ness! Soon to come are sonar success, mysterious tracks, a photographed sighting, and more."

'Haunted' wooden lion scaring Spaniards

From Ananova at

http://www.ananova.com/news/story/sm_287554.html

The residents of a southern Spanish town fear a blue and yellow wooden lion in a children's play area is haunted.

One theory doing the rounds in Tomares, near Seville, is that the spring-mounted lion, for children to ride like a rocking horse, is instead being ridden by the spirit of conquistador Hernan Cortes who is buried in a nearby town.

Rumours have been triggered by the lion's tendency to rock back and forth long after the rider has dismounted. Officials believe a nearby motorway is generating gusts of air which make the lion rock.

For several weeks, people in the town and from other communities have been gathering at Diamantino Plaza to watch the wooden lion, one of several attractions in a new park that has yet to open. Children have apparently been sneaking under a fence to ride it.

Another theory for the mysterious rocking is that the lion is haunted by the souls of Republicans shot by fascist forces around Tomares during the Spanish Civil War.

Town hall environmental chief Cristina Perez said: "It's a snowball effect. Everyone says what they think it is and in the end, everything is true."

Claims that the mayor of Tomares is going to hire a medium to exorcise the lioness have been categorically denied.

Free Energy -- 500% Efficient!

http://www.sightings.com/general9/unveil.htm

Yeti@home

http://www.phobe.com/yeti/project.html

By mapping not only the Pacific Northwest, but wooded and non-wooded areas across the entire planet, YETI@Home will be the largest completely unscientific study of nonexistent phenomenon to date.

Where will the next Bigfoot sighting occur? An abandoned soup factory in Piscataway, New Jersey? The back seat of an AMC Pacer in Redding, California? Or in your very own backyard?

Until now, individual sightings have been sporadic and poorly documented. They are generally reported by isolated men living in remote shacks wearing caps with fuzzy earflaps, sporting "mullet" hairdos and eating Dinty Moore Stew out of the can with sharpened twigs.

As we in the scientific community like to say: "raving nutbags".


Wednesday, May 09, 2001

IS THIS PIC 'PROOF' OF PAST LIFE ON MARS?

From the New York Post at

http://www.nypostonline.com/news/worldnews/30158.htm

May 9, 2001 -- Scientists yesterday announced the discovery of a new image of a human-like face, tunnels, pyramids and signs of living vegetation on Mars - a red-letter day for those who believe alien life once existed on the planet.

But NASA said researchers Tom Van Flandern and Brian O'Leary ought to face the truth: There has never been intelligent life on the red planet.

Van Flandern, a former U.S. Naval Observatory astronomer, and O'Leary, an ex-Apollo scientist and astronaut, said their new findings were made in images taken from among 65,000 recently released photographs by the Mars Global Surveyor.

"We believe this compelling evidence . . . proves Mars was once inhabited by an intelligent civilization," O'Leary told a Manhattan press conference.

"This is a bombshell finding. This could be one of the most important discoveries in the history of human civilization."

The researchers said the face is 11/4 miles wide and located near Syrtis Major, about 3,000 miles from the famous Sphinx-like face photographed by the Viking 1 Orbiter in 1976.

They also found glass-like tubes, measuring 60 feet in diameter, with exposed 1,000-foot sections and other artificial structures - as well as vegetation and trees.

"NASA doesn't put any credibility in our findings, or other independent studies," O'Leary said.

"But what we would like is for NASA to rephotograph the face and some of the surrounding regions under good conditions."

Since the Martian "Sphinx" photograph, believers have tried to convince the world aliens influenced ancient Egyptians. But the space agency concluded that the humanoid face was produced by the combination of light and shadows on an unusual arrangement of hills and valleys.

NASA's Mars Global Surveyor, which orbits the red planet, has been mapping its surface for more than three years.

'Messiah' Gets No Respect

B A Y C I T Y, Mich. It would have taken a miracle for convicted robber Chad Gabriel DeKoven to win his lawsuit demanding he be recognized as "Messiah-God," released from prison, and given millions of tons of gold and silver.

Michigan District Court Judge David M. Lawson dismissed the convicted armed robber's suit, calling it "patently frivolous, implausible, unsubstantial and devoid of merit."

In his 200-page court filing, DeKoven also demanded a full pardon, public acknowledgement from Israel that he is King of Jews, peace in the Middle East, safe passage for Osama bin Laden, and the return to the United States of all American military personnel within 90 days.

Additionally, he asked for thousands of animals such as bison, fish and mollusks.

The judge, however, was unmoved by DeKoven "scientific" proof he was God.

"The plaintiff's overwrought attempts to judicially establish 'scientifically' through numerology, symbolic name analysis, and sheer repetitive assertion that he is the Messiah or Messiah-God are unconvincing and clearly baseless," Lawson wrote.

"The plaintiff has no constitutional right to be recognized and treated as the "Messiah-God" or any other holy, extra-worldly, or supernatural being or power," he concluded.

UNH prof will testify in Washington that aliens do exist

From the Daily Democrat at:

http://www.fosters.com/news_2001b/may_01/06/do0506c.htm

UNH prof will testify in Washington that aliens do exist

By ROBERT EMERO
Staff Writer

DURHAM - A University of New Hampshire professor will present evidence this week in Washington he says proves that aliens have visited Earth and the government is suppressing breakthrough technology we've stolen from them.

"The implications ofthis are enormous," says Theodore Loder, a professor of chemical oceanology at UNH';s Institute for the Study of Earth, Oceans and Space. "It's going to chance the way we do things on the planet."

Loder co-authored a briefing document which The Disclosure Project will release at the National Press Club on Wednesday. The project hopes to convince Congress to holed open hearings on extraterrestrials and pass legislation banning space-based weapons - nothing less than the human future hangs in the balance, he says.

Although U.S. government investigations of UFO sightings from the 1940s to the 1980s reported no conclusive evidence of alien spacecraft, Loder said top-secret government agencies have been aware of extraterrestrial civilizations for decades.

These "black" government projects are withholding antigravity propulsion devices and nonpolluting energy systems reverse engineered from alien spacecraft, according to Loder. If declassified and put to peaceful uses, he said, this technology would empower a new human civilization without want, poverty or environmental damage.

The Disclosure Project said it will present more than 500 pages of testimony from military, intelligence, government, corporate and scientific witnesses, along with supporting government documentation. More than 100 witnesses have been videotaped and a four-hour tape of their testimony will also be presented at the press briefing.

"That's the kind of evidence that is very compelling," said Loder, who claims to have seen UFOs with his own eyes. "As a scientist, I base my science on a combination of things. One is observations."

Loder has been a faculty member at the University of New Hampshire since 1972. He has led a number of projects focusing on the relationship between land-based runoff and the marine ecosystem.

"He's a fine teacher," said David Bartlett, assistant director of the institute where Loder works. "He's a mentor for a number of students, including several graduate students."

Despite the respect they have for his oceanographic studies, Bartlett said Loder has not convinced his colleagues of a government UFO cover-up. "I'm not aware of any change in views on the part of our scientific staff," he said.

Loder said he has had a lifelong casual interest in UFO phenomena, but began serious study of the issues after learning they were real in the mid-1990s from a cousin who is a brigadier general in the Army National Guard Reserves.

Since then he said he has devoted countless hours researching UFO sightings. He said he has briefed NASA and National Science Foundation scientists as well as congressional staff members on this government UFO cover-up. He has given talks and class lectures on the topic at UNH, Rotary Clubs and private groups. Such extracurricular activities are just that, said Bartlett. "It's viewed as something that he does on his own time," he said. "It's not endorsed by the institute or the university."

In April 1997, Loder attended a three-hour closed congressional briefing on UFOs held in Washington, as a representative of Gov. Jeanne Shaheen. During these briefings he said he met a number of top-secret military witnesses who described events they observed firsthand to members of Congress.

More than 20 witnesses will attend the press briefing Wednesday, according to the Disclosure Project, including John Callahan, former division chief of the Accidents and Investigations branch of the Federal Aviation Administration; Major George A. Filer III, former Air Force Intelligence; and Graham Bethune, retired Navy commander pilot with top-secret clearance.

"If one person stands up and says something, nobody listens," said Loder. "If a lot of people stand up and say something, particularly if they have these credentials, we listen."

Callahan's testimony recounts a 1986 Japanese Airlines 747 flight that was followed by a UFO for 31 minutes over Alaska. The pilot described it as a huge ball with lights running around it, about four times the size of the 747, according to Callahan. After meeting with CIA and FBI agents and members of president Ronald Reagan's Scientific Study Group about the incident, Callahan said the CIA agents told everyone assembled, "We never had this meeting."

"He said this is the first time they ever had 30 minutes of radar data on a UFO. And they are all itching to get their hands onto the data and to find out what really goes on," Callahan said in his testimony. "He says if they come out and tell the American public that they ran into a UFO out there, it would cause panic across the country. So therefore, you can't talk about it."

Callahan's testimony also touched on the stigma many people attach to those who claim to have seen a UFO. "The only ones that see a UFO in the TV programs are the rednecks out in the country that are out coon hunting or alligator hunting at night. You don't find anybody with any kind of smarts or some professional individual saying, 'Hey, last night let me tell you what I saw.' They don't display that in the United States," he said. "So if you talk about seeing a UFO, you are putting yourself in a funny kind of category. That's probably one of the reasons why you don't hear about it anymore. But as far as I'm concerned, I saw a UFO chase a Japanese 747 across the sky for over half an hour on radar. And it's faster than anything that I know of in our government."

The witness testimony reveals that the military has shot down extraterrestrial spacecraft, retrieved them and studied their technology in places like Area 51, a top secret Air Force base in Nevada, and Roswell, N.M., since at least the 1940s and possibly as early as the 1930s, according to Loder.

"Holy mackerel, there's tons of evidence," said Loder. "If this was any other subject other than UFOs, which have been debunked very well by the CIA ... we'd be dumping tons of research money into it."

Tom McDonough, a senior scientist at the Skeptic Society, does not believe such scenarios, however.

"I find them entertaining, but unconvincing." said McDonough. "There's no really good, hard evidence."

The Skeptic Society is an organization of scientists, scholars, historians, magicians, and professors. It's mission is to serve as an educational tool for those seeking clarification and viewpoints on controversial ideas and claims.

McDonough attributed the popularity of UFO conspiracy scenarios to "an emotional longing for something bigger than us ... an older, wiser creature like Yoda out there."

Not that McDonough doesn't want to believe. "I would love for an alien to land outside my door," said McDonough, who is also coordinator for the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence at the Planetary Society in Pasadena, Calif. "And I would get in a flying saucer in a minute."

In fact, McDonough said that he and most of his colleagues believe there is alien life elsewhere in the universe. "There's a number of scientists doing SETI around the world and almost all of them believe that extraterrestrial life exists, but I don't know of any of them that believe they have been here."

The SETI project, which no longer receives any government funding, is now sponsored by the Planetary Society and the SETI Institute. Project Phoenix, it's most well known endeavor, targets sun-like stars with the giant Arecibo radio telescope in Puerto Rico. Scientists sift through the static of space noise it receives looking for alien transmissions.

Now nearly 3 million home computer users are assisting them with . This screensaver software analyzes small chunks of the data from Arecibo while a computer is not in use. For information on how to get involved, go to www.planetary.org.

McDonough said he even supports the aims of the Disclosure Project. "I wish them the best of luck and would like to see more openness in government," he said. "What we'll probably find out is there are a lot of Cold War aircraft and tanks in secret storage."

But while the group's goals may be harmless, McDonough said that claiming the planet's environmental problems will be solved by alien technology is not. "It is a real danger if people think this way because, as far as we know, no one is going to solve our problems except us," he said.

I was haunted by volcano goddess, says sand snatcher - Ananova Alerting

From Ananova at:

http://www.ananova.com/news/story/sm_286330.html

A man claims he has been haunted by a Hawaiian volcano goddess, after taking sand from the volcano.

During a holiday to Big Island And Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, imothy Murray scooped up sand into a pop bottle.

Since returning to his Florida home, his pet died, he split up with is fiancee and FBI agents arrested him . He's sent the sand back and says things are improving.

He said: "My life literally fell apart. One minute you're working and you're law-abiding and you've got money in the bank. The next minute you are sitting in a federal penitentiary in Miami. I couldn't figure out what was happening or why.

"Even the FBI agents said they never arrest people for what I did. They told me, 'You really must have pissed someone off.' After some research, I figured out who it was."

He blames Pele, the volcano goddess who apparently punishes people who take anything belonging to her.

He's now sent it back. In his note accompanying the sand, he wrote: "Please take this sand and put it back somewhere on your island. I have had very bad luck since it came into my life and I am very sorry I took it. Please forgive me and I pray that once I send it back where it comes from, my bad luck will go away."

Park ranger Terry Reveira said: "As Hawaiians, we have been raised that when you are in nature, you ask permission to take something. That's true for rocks too. I've seen people take rocks from the park and I know the rocks don't want to go. On the way back to the car the people keep dropping the rocks on their feet."

The Los Angeles Times quotes Mr Murray as saying: "These are unexplainable things. You may have your doubts about Pele, but let me tell you, when these things happen, you are willing to be on your knees in front of anyone or anything. You feel like, 'Get this stuff away from me!' Since I sent the sand back, I've started getting my life back. That's all I know."

See this story on the web at
http://www.ananova.com/news/story/sm_286330.html

New parapsychology book

Arnold have just published "Parapsychology" by Ron Roberts and David Groome. It's a textbook that presents an up-to-the-minute examination of many of the most puzzling phenomena in psychology.

You can look at further information on the book at

http://www.arnoldpublishers.com/Scripts/webbook.asp?isbn=0340761687

We are offering free inspection copies of this book to academics who teach courses with 15 or more students in relevant areas. If you'd like to see a copy of the book, simply email me at cathy.every@hodder.co.uk, letting me know your name, college address and the course details.

(Please note that inspection copies are sent on 28 days approval on the understanding that after this time they will be either: adopted, in which case the lecturer may keep the inspection copy; returned in mint condition; or purchased.)

With best wishes,

Cathy Every

Academic Product Manager

Arnold Publishers
338 Euston Road, London, NW1 3BH, UK
tel: +44 (0)20 7873 6035
fax: +44 (0)20 7873 6325
http://www.arnoldpublishers.com

Articles of Note

Posted by Barry Karr

From Skeptic Extraordinare - John Allen Paulos - news on his latest column on the website for ABC News.
http://abcnews.go.com/sections/scitech/WhosCounting/whoscounting.html

An American Prophet
Yeah, Right!
By John Allen Paulos
Special to ABCNEWS.com

James van Praagh, John Edward and Sylvia Browne are only the most well-known of the large current crop of on-air psychics and mediums. They deliver their flapdoodle on TV with seeming sincerity and often claim to speak with the dead.

Fellow Skeptic and firewalker, David Willey, Dept. of Physics at the Univ. of Pittsburgh, writes to tell us that he will be a guest on "The Tonight Show" with Jay Leno on Wednesday, May 9. David organized a world record firewalk at the University of Pittsburgh. He also organized a firewalk here at the Center for Inquiry (where a hot time was had by all)

From Skeptic Newshound Joe Littrell

Prayer Urged Over 'Zero-Year Curse' on White House By Andy Butcher Christian Broadcasting Network

http://www.cbn.com/CC/article/1,1183,PTID2546|CHID101024|CIID216474,00.html

"Nationwide prayer has been urged to protect President-elect George W. Bush from the so-called former "Zero-Year Curse" on the White House. Intercession leaders are calling for "reaffirming warfare prayer" over the supernatural link they believe was behind the death in office of seven presidents."

Happy Thoughts May Prolong Life
By STEVE BAILEY
Associated Press

http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/ap/20010507/sc/aging_study_1.html

"If you're happy and you know it - you just may live longer."

ET-Hunting Software Nears 3 Million Users
SPACE.com

http://www.space.com:80/searchforlife/seti_3mill_010507.html

"The popular computer software program SETI@home, which allows anyone with an Internet connection to participate in the search for extraterrestrial intelligence, is expected to add its 3 millionth participant any day now."

Stillwater bridge not sinking (even if some wish it were)
by AMY BECKER
St. Paul Pioneer Press

http://www.pioneerplanet.com/yhoo/mtc_docs/031091.htm

"Psst -- Did you hear the Stillwater bridge was destroyed by the flood?"

No let-up in monkey-man's menace
by M K Mittal
Hindustan Times

http://www.hindustantimes.com/nonfram/080501/detNAT23.asp

"Ghaziabad is in the grip of panic. Not a day passes in this city without sightings of the weird monkey-man. It appears that someone donning a rhesus monkey mask has been stalking various localities of the city, spreading terror among its residents. The monkey-man has even injured a few." From Dr. William Hay, MD
Clinical Assistant Professor of Family Medicine
University of Nebraska Medical Center

I haven't seen this series of articles mentioned in your "Articles of Note" section that I thought would be of interest to your readers. The journal Academic Medicine recently had a series on teaching aternative medicine in Medical schools. You can look at the abstracts at
http://www.academicmedicine.org/content/vol76/issue3/#SPSET


Tuesday, May 08, 2001

Panel bashes Darwin

(5/2/01)

A House committee ignored pleas from scholars and approved a resolution branding Charles Darwin's theory of evolution as racist Tuesday. The House Education Committee approved the measure 9-5 and sent it to the full House.

To read the entire story please point your web browser at
http://www.theadvocate.com/news/story.asp?storyID=21173

E-SKEPTIC: JUDGE NOT DARWIN, UPCOMING SKEPTICS EVENTS

UPCOMING SKEPTICS LECTURES AND COURSES
ADDENDUM AND LETTERS ABOUT DARWIN AND RACISM

--------
ATOM
An Odyssey from the Big Bang to Life on Earth--and Beyond

Dr. Lawrence M. Krauss
Professor of Physics and Astronomy, Case Western Reserve University
Author of the bestselling The Physics of Star Trek

7:00pm, Wednesday, May 9, Baxter Lecture Hall, California Institute of
Technology

Donations at the door: $5.00 members, $8.00 nonmembers.
Book signing to follow lecture.

Through the arc of a single oxygen atom's voyage through eternity, the story of life and the universe is told by world-renowned scientist and acclaimed author Lawrence Krauss, based on his latest book of the same title.

"Lawrence Krauss has Carl Sagan's knack of expanding the imagination and explaining the mysteries of the universe in simple terms. --Stephen Hawking

Hear Michael Shermer's interview with Lawrence Krauss Wednesday morning at 10am on KPCC 89.3 FM.
-------------
THE BORDERLANDS OF SCIENCE: WHERE SENSE MEETS NONSENSE
The Eighth Isaac Asimov Memorial Lecture sponsored by New York Area Skeptics
Speaker: Michael Shermer
Saturday, May 12, 3:00pm, Unitarian Community Church, 40 East 35th St. (between Park and Madison), Manhattan, New York. Contact: Ted Debiak, or or www.nyask.com

In a lecture based on his newly released book of the same title, Dr. Shermer explores the fuzzy fringes and blurry edges between science and pseudoscience, science and nonscience, normal science and revolutionary science, and between sense and nonsense. Shermer turns his critical thinking from the pseudoscience he has investigated in his previous works, to that gray area between science and pseudoscience, where it is not clear whether a claim will turn out to be the next great revolution in science or the next big hoax in pseudoscience.

Examples of borderlands science include superstring theory, inflationary cosmology, theories of consciousness, grand theories of economics, SETI, hypnosis, chiropractic, acupuncture, cryonics, and Omega Point Theory. Shermer introduces the "Baloney Detection Kit" that can be applied to any claim that lies in the grey borderlands, and a fuzzy logic solution to determining where the line should be drawn for any particular claim.
Book signing follows lecture.
---------
INTELLIGENT DESIGN: THE NEW CREATIONISM
Speaker: Michael Shermer
New England Skeptics Society
Sunday, May 13, 2:00pm
The Fairfield Public Library, 1080 Old Post Rd., Fairfield, CT
203/256-3155, Just off exit 21 from I-95 in CT.
---------
UNDERSTANDING BELIEF: HOW WE KNOW WHAT ISN'T SO
National Capital Area Skeptics Annual Workshop
May 19 and 20 (no speakers listed), Hampton Inn, Winchester, VA (1204
Berryville Ave., 540/678-4000, just off I 81 Exit 315. Contact:
301/587-3827,
, www.ncas.org
----------
SCIENCE V. PSEUDOSCIENCE: WHERE REALITY ENDS AND ILLUSION BEGINS
A National Science Foundation Short Course for College Teachers
June 7-9, Austin, TX
Dr. Charles M. Wynn, Eastern Connecticut State University and Dr. Arthur W. Wiggins, Oakland (Michigan) Community College
www.engrng.pitt.edu/~chautauq/
Contact: James Barufaldi, or 512/471-7354
----------
INTERDISCIPLINARY SCIENCE EDUCATION: A MODEL COURSE
A National Science Foundation Short Course for College Teachers
June 21-23, Dominguez Hills, CA
Dr. Charles M. Wynn, Eastern Connecticut State University and Dr. Arthur W. Wiggins, Oakland (Michigan) Community College
www.engrng.pitt.edu/~chautauq/
Contact: Gilbert Yanow, or 818/354-8060

These professors are the co-authors of "The Five Biggest Ideas in Science" and the soon to be released "Quantum Leaps in the Wrong Direction," an absolutely delightful book for skeptics and especially non-skeptics.
-------------------------
ADDENDUM TO DARWIN AND RACISM
While most of the responses to my short piece on Darwin and racism were positive, I got two rather angry (and one absolutely nutty) letters claiming that I was purposefully targeting Christians as racists. First the nutty one, which I reprint because I laughed so hard at being called the "Bill Clinton of Skepticism" that I 'bout fell off my chair:

"Lux sit. You are a pompous "high School Cheerleader" when it comes to Darwin and Darwinian Evolution !!! This must be because you and your closest associates have such a deep HATRED and FEAR of RELIGION and CREATIONISTS. The Skeptics Society should find OFFICERS who are REAL Skeptics, not one-way Skeptics or LEFT-HANDED Skeptics !!!

The fact is that Darwin was a BELOW AVERAGE STUDENT in college and was a man little intellectual vigor during his adult life; he has been made into a "god of Science" by the same "POLITICZED PROCESS" that claims Bill Clinton was a great President !!! You, Michael Shermer, must be part of the LEFT, because the LEFT is MORALLY BANKRUPT !!!!!!

Do I really have to say it ??? Darwinian Evolution is obviously a "Dog-Eat-Dog Philosophy" !!! Objectively, it is not only RACIST but even worse, ANTI-LIFE; if anything, it is a PRO-SUFFERING and a PRO-DEATH Philosophy !!! The fact that you try to SUGAR COAT Darwinian Evolution exposes you as a DISHONEST JERK, a CHALATAN, and "the Bill Clinton of Skepticism" !!!!!!"

Slightly more tame another reader penned the following to a friend, who cc'd it to me:

"Shermer will stop at nothing justify his angst against Judeo/Christian fundamentals. I mean, this guy has an axe to grind, man, and I can't help but to wonder why. I am about half way through "How We Believe", and I have noticed that the velvet gloves with which he opens the book have been removed. In his opening chapter, at least, he tried to muster some semblance of scholarly objectivity, which I thought was commendable. But now, halfway through the book, I perceive angst that is nothing short of bitter. His commentary is laced with caustic and sarcastic remarks that show clearly that he is deeply involved, emotionally, with his subject matter.

Chris, do not for a moment believe that this man is where he is because REASON has led him there. There are personal issues involved: I guaran-damn-tee it.

This Platonic essentialism...allowed intellectuals to rank essences from lowly stones to lofted angels, with humans between the apes and angels, and within the human essences, blacks closest to apes, European white males closest to the angels. This is creationism pure and simple, and it is racist to the core.

This is Shermer pure and simple, and it is bullshit to the core. I had been moderating my frustration with this guy until I read this article today. My respect for him has plummeted, because what he is doing here is so obviously fraudulent. He is so BENT on twisting everything around to make Christians look like the bad guys, and stupid ones at that, that he resorts even to this."

MY RESPONSE:
Actually it doesn't take much effort at all as some of them so well fit your description. Of course, MOST Christians are not racists. It was the Louisiana legislators that I was railing against in this short opinion editorial, not Christians in general, most of whom accept the theory of evolution (even if guided in some manner by God). Of course there are racialist evolutionists as well, such as J. Phillipe Rushton, who famously ranks the races with Asians on top, Whites in the middle, Blacks on the bottom for intelligence, and the reverse for penis size, which he relates inversely to intelligence through a convoluted series of arguments involving r and K selection in evolution, where Blacks are r selected for rapid breeding and lots of babies, whereas Whites and Asians are K selected for high parental investment in a small number of babies. So I do recognize that it would be unfair to judge all evolutionary biologists by what Rushton says, just as it would be unfair to judge all Christians by what some Louisiana legislative lepton says.

For the most part my attitude toward religion is neutral until forced to fight, which is the case with SOME creationists and SOME Christians who make ridiculous arguments such as the one about evolutionary theory leading to racist doctrines. Why didn't these Louisiana legislators also publicly denounce the biblical passages that have been used to justify slavery, war, and the separation of the races? Why target Darwin and leave out David Duke and his biblically-based rants about segregating America and purifying the White race? The good book is filled with bad advice about such matters, so why conveniently leave that out? Of course, the good book is also filled with good advice, so I'll leave you with this from the Sermon on the Mount, when Jesus admonished his listeners in Matthew 7:1-5:

"Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.

And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?

Or how will thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?

Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye."
----------
ADDED COMMENTS FROM READERS:

* The KKK has always been a heavily Christian organization, and many of its members are Christian fundamentalists.

* The fundamentalist Bob Jones University has long been criticized for it's racist policies, which were based on biblical interpretation. Until last year they had banned interracial dating, which was lifted after increased scrutiny in the national media following a Bush campaign speech there.

* Neo-Nazi groups in America, such as the Church of Jesus Christ Aryan, base themselves on a theology called "Christian Indentity." This includes the belief of polygenism, the idea that the non-white races are a separate and inferior creation to the white Adam and Eve.

* Another biblical justification used for racism is the Curse of Ham. Ham is one the sons of Noah, and he and all his decendents are ordained to become the servants of his brothers' decendents for the offence of seeing his father drunk and naked. Ham's decendents are identified as the African and Asian races. One proponent of this view is Dr. Henry Morris, co-founder and past president of the Institute for Creation Research. From is book The Beginning of the World (1991),
pp. 147-148:

The descendants of Ham were marked especially for secular service to mankind. Indeed they were to be 'servants of servants,' that is 'servants extraordinary!' Although only Canaan is mentioned specifically (possibly because the branch of Ham's family through Canaan would later come into most direct contact with Israel), the whole family of Ham is in view. The prophecy is worldwide in scope and, since Shem and Japheth are covered, all Ham's descendants must be also. These include all nations which are neither Semitic nor Japhetic. Thus, all of the earth's 'colored' races,--yellow, red, brown, and black--essentially the Afro-Asian group of peoples, including the American Indians--are possibly Hamitic in origin and included within the scope of the Canaanitic prophecy, as well as the Egyptians, Sumerians, Hittites, and Phoenicians of antiquity.

Often the Hamites, especially the Negroes, have become actual personal servants or even slaves to the others. Possessed of a genetic character concerned mainly with mundane matters, they have eventually been displaced by the intellectual and philosophical acumen of the Japhethites and the religious zeal of the Semites.

Also see: Creationism Implies Racism? from talkorigins.org
http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/racism.html
-----
I wonder if the state legislature is willing to condemn KKK leader David Duke who wrote:

On Segregation

"I don't see anything wrong with a neighborhood association wanting to keep their neighborhood a certain way or their apartment complex a certain way. I don't see anything wrong with white kids wanting to go to school with white children, or black kids wanting to go to school with black kids."
-- "David Duke Conservative Hotline," January 5, 1994

"Our clear goal must be the advancement of the white race and separation of the white and black races. This goal must include freeing of the American media and government from subservient Jewish interests."
-- "Klan Code of Conduct," Duke Speaks Out, a column in the Crusader (newspaper of the Knights of the KKK, then led by David Duke), November 1978
-----------------------------
Michael Shermer is the Publisher of Skeptic magazine, the Director of the Skeptics Society, host of the Skeptics Science Lecture Series at Caltech, columnist for Scientific American, and author of Why People Believe Weird Things, How We Believe, and The Borderlands of Science.

"MIRACLE" IMAGE OF DARWIN APPEARS IN DOGGIE DOOR FLAP

Submitted by Steven Graf

RICHARDSON, TX (DPI) - Excitement was the order of business today at the home of Alfred and Martha Wallace, due solely to the miraculous appearance of an image in a stain on their back door. "I was just sitting on the den floor playing with my beagle, Russel," explained Alfred, "when I noticed that his comings and goings over the last 2 years had left a stain on the rubber flap on the doggie door. That's when I noticed that the stain was the perfect likeness of Charles Darwin." The Wallaces' neighbors seem to agree that there's something strange and wonderful going on.

"Once Al pointed it out to me," family friend Vera Deven relates, "I could clearly see Darwin's fatherly face, flowing beard and bald pate. He's looking downward, to his right, maybe at a piglet or puppy, I can't tell which. Sometimes, he even appears to be crying."

Martha Wallace is "thrilled" that Darwin has chosen their home to make his appearance. "Frankly, we're honored to be host to such a miracle, and hope that many others can come witness it with us. I truly believe that this is a sign that Darwin cares for us, and wants us to live together in peace and harmony. Maybe it will inspire some of those desperate, lonely people who haven't seen the light to shed their ignorance and accept evolution as the one, true Way! That would be so wonderful."

Attention conspiracy fans

No comment. Just the link

http://www.modelmodel.com/

Its a real life WAR people are dying and its happening in the United States. People are being exterminated. You have to read all of the site to truly grasp that it is true. The site IS a nationwide investigation. The author himself is under life threatening attack as well. If you dare to step out of the box and rise to the occassion so be it. Men,Women and Children are being experimented on and tortured in PUBLIC, its obvious from viewing history in hindsight that we are being attacked in public on purpose because they are about to do something big to the public at large (that means you and everybody else too). Hold on its going to get intense. If you don't believe it you will suffer the consequences of not heeding the warning. To do nothing or wait for anyone else besides me to get you to act is to invite disaster. I guarantee that more people than you can imagine will step foward once you take that first step (and Respond or yell to the world whats going on). Your participation will mold history and either destroy subsequent generations or allow them to exist (literally).

The Nazi's have risen and are pretending to be patriots, but their actions betray their real aganda. We need you to educate the people who have become dulled from repeatedly being conditioned not to care or act (thats the heart of their plan).


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