Posts Tagged ‘cthulhu’

Which is all very well, since it would indubitably be Vogon-awful.

Anyway!

In the process of researching silly memes for my meme-post, which I will post tomorrow(1), I came across this gem:

“The two-horned mitre, which the Pope wears, when he sits on the high altar at Rome and receives the adoration of the Cardinals, is the very mitre worn by the priests of Dagon, the fish-god of the Philistines and Babylonians.”

NO JOHN RINGO NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

Do I have to list things that are wrong with this one very short sentence? Yes, I have:

1. It’s not two-horned. Don’t even try to suggest that it’s anything like the Mesopotamian Hörnerkrone, because you will be wrong, and I will tell you why you are wrong, where you are just wrong, and where you are wronger than wrong, and then proceed to verbally abuse you just because I can.

2. The pope, as far as I can tell, rarely sits on an altar.

3. Especially not when the cardinals are present, I should think.

4. No one has any bloody idea as to what the priests of Dagon actually wore.

5. And it was most likely different in different places and periods, and, you know. Dagan was a god with more or less 2000 years of well attested worship history from Middle Euphrates area to the Levantine coast. Does anybody(2) really expect there would be a standardised priestly uniform in that entire area during the 2000 year period? No, I didn’t think so.

6. Dagan was not a fish-god. This is in fact an old meme, made up by St Jerome and other early Christian theologians.

7. The Levantine coast was full of people, and, le gasp, not all of them were Philistines.

8. Babylonians weren’t really so hot about Dagan. He was primarily a Syrian deity.

This is how many things are wrong with just one sentence. Shall we even proceed? Yes, we shall, because I’m a nasty person and will not hesitate to kick a defeated meme, even after it already died and, went stiff, decomposed, and even stopped smelling funny ages ago.

The Mystery religion of ancient Babylon / Assyria, was noted for the priestly class of “Dagon” in much the same way that the “Mystery” religion of Rome has copied it.

NOOOOOOOOO!

1. While Dagan was indeed also worshipped in Assyria and Babylonia, he was primary a Syrian deity. Please note also that in the cuneiform his name was spelled “Dagan”, because cuneiform has no sign for “o”.

2. This is also a good moment to mention that while the imagination of modern day ignoramuses would suggest that there were only two different groups in the Ancient Near East, namely a) the Jewish people, b) the pagan people, this is a very inaccurate impression. There were marked differences between the inhabitants of southern and northern Mesopotamia, Elam (parts of modern Iran), various regions of Syria (the contrast that is easiest to see is inland Syria – coastal Syria), the Levantine coast, etc. The contrast between the Jewish people and the neighbouring pagan people, on the other hand, wasn’t as great as it’s usually made out to be in monotheistic memes.

3. There was very little “Mystery” in the ANE religions, I’m afraid(3).

4. Even less mystery in the Catholic Church(3).

5. It’s easier to parse cultural exchange when you think that religious concepts were copied by C&P sort of a deal between various religionists, but the thing is, this is absolutely incorrect. It would be more accurate to say that from a large pool of shared ideas, the most attractive were chosen and improved upon (there are gods in my city; they are stronger than the gods of our neighbours –> there is god in my city; he is stronger than the gods of our neighbours, because they don’t exist, etc).

There’s nothing in the Bible that indicates that Jesus wore such a hat.

Or a watch. Or boots. Or a dozen of other things, and yet. What sort of an argument is that?

Also, I don’t think there’s a tendency in most world’s religions to clothe the class of religious specialists in what their god used to wear.

Incidentally, even with my tenuous grasp of Catholic theology I  understand perfectly well that it’s not Jesus but St Peter whom the pope is supposed to represent, anyway.

But there’s moar!

“…there are strong evidences that Dagon was Nimrod…. All scholars agree that the name and worship of Dagon were imported from Babylonia. ”
– The Two Babylons, Hislop, p. 215

Absolutely not. All scholars agree that the name and worship of Dagan were exported to Babylonia.

“In their veneration and worship of Dagon, the high priest of paganism would actually put on a garment that had been created from a huge fish! The head of the fish formed a mitre above that of the old man, while its scaly, fan-like tail fell as a cloak behind, leaving the human limbs and feet exposed.”
– Babylon and Nineveh, Austen Henry Layard, p. 343

And here we get to the crux of crankery! Because A.H. Layard, one of the fathers of assyriology, was born in 1817, and died in 1894. This means that when he was excavating Nimrud – or, as the ancients called it, Kalhu – in the late 1840, he knew virtually nothing about the history and cultures of the Ancient Near East apart from what the Bible told him. Cuneiform – the writing system that was used by many civilisations in the ANE, was being deciphered at the time. Not only were there not nearly enough tablets recovered from ancient sites for the scholars to have any sensible idea of what the civilisations of ANE looked like, but the cuneiform tablets that were recovered? Well, bummer, but people couldn’t really read them yet. By 1851 Rawlinson and Hicks could read about 200 signs, and while it is enough to read most texts that are concerned with daily life, it is not enough to read religious texts at all. Which you would have to find and identify as religious texts first, anyway.

What we have is: an awe-struck Victorian scholar, uncovering for the first time in thousands of years monumental buildings and sculptures(4) that depicted stuff that must have been so absolutely incomprehensible to him as to be almost alien. He had no primary sources to help him interpret what he saw, apart from the Bible, and the works of early Christians and Roman literati. The Roman (and Greek) literati would have been awestruck, too, only none of them really saw what Layard did, because most Babylonian and Assyrian cities had long been destroyed by the time they were active (or, their Assyrian or Babylonian architecture, and do bear in mind that in a war, palaces and temples are the first to be plundered).

Therefore, when Layard saw men in fish costumes what could he possibly do but make up exciting stuff about wicked oriental pagan cults?

fish genius from Kalhu, has nothing to do with Dagan at all

There you go; a brief googling provided us with a photo of the nice fish guy from Kalhu. Nowadays we know that he was no priest, but a so-called genius, who was supposed to protect the king (whose palace was located in Kalhu) from evil.

(Incidentally, there was no temple of Dagan in Kalhu at all, which is to be expected in an Assyrian city)

“The most prominent form of worship in Babylon was dedicated to Dagon, later known as Ichthys, or the fish. In Chaldean times, the head of the church was the representative of Dagon, he was considered to be infallible, and was addressed as ‘Your Holiness’. Nations subdued by Babylon had to kiss the ring and slipper of the Babylonian god-king. The same powers and the same titles are claimed to this day by the Dalai Lama of Buddhism, and the Pope. Moreover, the vestments of paganism, the fish mitre and robes of the priests of Dagon are worn by the Catholic bishops, cardinals and popes.
-The Wine of Babylon; Pg 9

No, the most prominent form of worship in Babylon was of course dedicated to Marduk, the patron-deity of Babylon *eyeroll*. There was no such thing as “head of church” in the Ancient Near East at all. There were various temples with their own hierarchy of priests, and the importance of various temples was largely dependant on the current religio-political situation. To make is as simple as possible, in the third millenium BCE the most important temples that got most sacrifices and donations were the temples of Anum, who, it was thought,  awarded kingship to the kings. The situation changed in the second millenium BCE, when Enlil got more important than Anum(5).

The excavations done of ancient Nineveh and Babylon have shed light on the shocking connection between Dagon the fish-god and the Pope’s Mitre (hat).

Repeat after me: NO DAGAN IN NINIVEH, NO DAGAN IN NINIVEH, NO DAGAN IN NINIVEH, NO DAGAN IN NINIVEH.

Also, no Niniveh in Niniveh, really, which is something I probably should have said from the start. This only shows how really very little the first assyriologists knew about the stuff they were studying: Layard thought that Kalhu (which we discussed above, and which was the city he discovered) was the biblical city of Niniveh. The book he wrote about Niniveh is actually about Kalhu. The title of the modern editions of Layard’s book is usually left unchanged, but, for Ashshur’s sake, this stuff is on Wiki.

But I guess that if you’re a dimwitted incompetent crank you just wouldn’t bother to research that, would you?

Research, pah. It must be for Catholics or something *eyeroll*.

(1) OTOH: we (La Housemate, La Kidlet, and me) were making stuff from Salzteig, which is like home-made Play-Doh. I bravely produced: demented pig (one), demented cat (one), Dalek army (two Daleks) and the Great Cthulhu. Therefore, I might want to spend tomorrow painting it all  pink and sprinkling my Dalek army with pink glitter instead of blogging.  I am actually seriously considering my options at the moment.

(2) Anybody sane, that is.

(3) In fact, the only mystery I can think of is “so, why did they believe all that bullshit again?”

(4)Yup, some of what he found is in British Museum. It’s HUGE.

(5) This is of course a gross oversimplification. But if you’re a non-specialist you’re probably not interested in the exact chronology of which god was most important where and why.

The Catholic Church has for years now bragged about its acceptance of science and the theory of evolution, citing the Galileo Affair and Giordano Bruno Affair as minor glitches in the otherwise perfectly working Improbability Drive Biblical Interpretation Machine.

However, with the appearance of Pope Palpatine, the Mighty Conqueror of Children’s Literature it became clear for many that the Catholic honeymoon with science could not last much longer.

Or could it?

I followed the rabbit and several other  commenters from PZ’s post until I got here, to a post about a conference about the lie that is evolution, allegedly in response to Pope Palpatine’s desperate plea for “both sides to be heard”. From the above Headline Bistro post, which makes a great deal out of the fact that the conference will take place in Rome, which is so close to Vatican, which must mean it’s all the pope’s fault (at least, until you notice that it’s hosted by a private university with 3 (three) faculties that was opened only 13 years ago(1)) — anyway from the post it’s clear that the organisers of the conference are suffering from a fairly transparent case of 1) jolly appropriation, 2) lack of any  reading comprehension skills whatsoever.

Anyway, this is from the conference’s press release:

The 150th anniversary of Darwin’s “Origin of the Species” in November 2009 will be the occasion for a unique conference at Pope Pius V University in Rome presenting a scientific refutation of evolution theory. According to Russian sedimentologist Alexander Lalamov, “Everything contained in Darwin’s Origin of Species depends upon rocks forming slowly over enormous periods of time. The November conference demonstrates with empirical data that such geological time is not available for evolution.” Recently returned from a ground-breaking geological conference in Kazan, sedimentologist Guy Berthault will present the findings of several sedimentological studies conducted and published in Russia.

Which leads us to two conclusions:

1. Ouch, that hurt.

2. Wow, creationism must sure be robust is Russia(3).

Anyway, I will be on the lookout for the presentations as they might appear online, and meanwhile(4), one look at the list of contributors, especially at the speaker number six, provides us with surprisingly valuable insights:

Maciej Giertych, Impact of Research on Race Formation and Mutations on the Theory of Evolution

Maciej Giertych, Impact of Research on Race Formation and Mutations on the Theory of Evolution

Maciej Giertych, Impact of Research on Race Formation and Mutations on the Theory of Evolution

Ahahahahaha, a part of my distinguished readership will surely exclaim smugly. Ahahahahahaha, indeed, for a large part of my distinguished readership will know very very well who Maciej Giertych is!

A short bio for newbies!

  1. name: Maciej Giertych
  2. nationality: Polish(5)
  3. family: married with clones children
  4. skills: Advanced Scumbuggery +10,  Lying for Jesus +20, Racism +100 000 000, Misogyny +100 000 000 (the article I linked to is, um, grossly exaggerated, but: facts! In English! So), Anti-Semitism +100 000 000, Batshit +1 000 000 000
  5. profession: while I’d gladly say that he’s a professional Liar for Jesus, I’m afraid I have to come clean about him being a Polish Member of the European Parliament(6).

Yes. He really really is.

In Poland, he’s mostly famous for being a laughingstock, and saying the following things:

1) Legends about dragons are proof that humans and dinosaurs roamed the earth at the same time,

2) Neanderthals are not extinct, but live among us still(7).

This all means that locally he’s to be considered  a creationist of about Ray Comfort’s notoriety.

And when I say “notoriety”, I mean “stupidity”.

You can read about his views in the Polish Wiki here, but not in the English one. I wonder why? Were his USian fanboys concerned that that would make him look unhinged and racist and obnoxious? Could not be! Such a pity, really, when major national news outlets have whole articles dedicated to mocking all sorts of his ridiculus or disgusting claims.

He also likes to praise general Franco for slaughtering the commies. Or, you know, the democratic opposition. But then, any opposition to Franco is by definition a commie opposition, which in turn makes is worthy of slaughtering QED.

So, what does Giertych write in the abstract of his doubtlessly magnificent talk?

Throughout Europe evolution is taught in schools as a biological fact.

Gee, I wonder why?

The main evidence for this presented in school textbooks is based on the assertion that formation of races is an example of a small step in evolution. This is profoundly wrong. Races form as a consequence of genetic drift, selection and isolation. Genetic drift results from the accidental loss of some genetic variation in small populations due to inbreeding.

Is this just racist gibberish nonsense or a sophisticated reasoning that  bravely sets out to prove that it’s OK to have sex with your sister, because Adam and Eve, QED? You decide!

Selection depends on the elimination from a population of all forms not adapted to the particular environment. With this elimination also some gene variants (alleles) get lost. For natural races to be identifiable they have to remain isolated from the main body of the population. The same is true in breeding, where the breeder reproduces the race formation procedure only applying selection pressures of his own choice. Macroevolution requires increase of genetic variants, thus race formation which depends on their reduction is a process in the opposite direction, comparable to extinctions.

In short, typical creationist drivel about mutations and loss of information with  the extra topping of racist nomenclature. Meh.

Positive mutations, as a mechanism leading to new functions or organs, are an undemonstrated postulate. We can demonstrate many neutral and negative mutations, but no positive ones.

Where by “we”, he means “lying disgusting toads that live under very very thick rocks”. As it happens, even a non-specialist such as myself can easily recall at least one recent experiment, in which we could observe, witness with our very own eyes bacteria evolving to eat citrate as well as glucose. Which, I hasten to add, was a very positive development — for the bacteria, anyway; one could imagine, the citrate was rather unimpressed. I am of course talking about the famous Lenski experiment. You can read more about it on Wikipedia or anywhere(8) else, and I really do encourage you to do so, because it really is a very interesting and elegant experiment, and it can easily be understood by a person that doesn’t know anything beyond high school lever biology. I know I don’t!

The claim that the appearance of resistance to man-made chemicals (herbicides, fungicides, antibiotics etc) is evidence of positive mutations is questioned on the ground that it belongs to the multitude of defense mechanisms (like healing or acquiring immunity) which defend the existing life functions of an organism without creating new ones.

What we can read above, ladies, gentlemen and poo-flinging monkeys, is a standard denialist discourse tactic, among professional linguists known as “meaningless drivel”.

In short: the pope is not going creationist just yet, and the kooks aren’t even trying that hard(9). Let’s focus on the condoms for the time-being!

Also, what’s much more chilling is what you can find on Catholic websites regarding the conference:

After all the hoopla in academia some months ago with the 150 anniversary of the publishing of Darwin’s Origin of the Species, this is welcome news.  The organizers were interviewed by Zenit News Agency.  Here is part of what they had to say: “Results of recent empirical research published by scientific academies refutes the basic principles of the geological time-scale. It reduces the age of rocks and therefore the fossils in them.

It’s like the pope is the last thing that keeps many Catholics from unleashing their batshit upon the world. And what if the next pope will be a blithering creationist dimwit(11)? Shudder with me, ladies, gentlemen, and poo-flinging monkeys, shudder with me!

(Also, Cthulhu is speaking Czech! Look at this bit of very compelling evidence — just click on the picture — from Google!)

(Also, Karel Čapek! I almost forgot about Čapek!)

(I am the queen of all links, after all!)

ETA: typos fixed.

(1) I’s a big deal that the university is private, because in Europe it is statistically very probable that a serious university will not be private(2).

(2) Unless you are in the UK.

(3) Which in turn leads me to “SO WHY DON’T I SPEAK RUSSIAN AGAIN???”, but I digress.

(4) The abstracts, however, are available here, and, oh my.

(5) The possibility of exchanging him for some oil for the mutual benefit of Poland and Saudi Arabia is, I am told, being looked into at the moment by both countries’ governments.

(6) I now realize this should have been written in sparkly text. Please imagine there is sparkly text in this text where there is none.

(7) It was, as far as I remember, rather unclear whether he proposed  that the neanderthals were Jews or simply POC. Either way, he should DIAF.

(8) Although the recap at Conservapaedia should be most entertaining.

(9) They could try at least renting lecture rooms from La Sapienza or something(10).

(10) Heh heh heh.

(11) I am a bad, bad person, because before shuddering I actually thought “LOL @ creationist pope!”

1. YES I CAN HAS THE GREATEST SHOW ON EARTH FINALLY.

My book-sniffing skills turned out to be awesome after all(1)! I haven’t got the time today, so I’ve only read about 60 pages so far, but! Awesome!

I liked: the stuff about ultra-violet and primroses, and how Dawkins emphasises that creationism has a lot to do with complete and utter ignorance.

2. The “poor expats who can’t get used to live in their cruelly culturally different host country” meme is as robust as ever, but what about the ex-expats? I’m concerned!

This is because I spent 30 minutes being lost, because I forgot that “the first floor” means actually “second floor”. Or at least it would, if I were still in Japan.

Note to self: first floor is second, the real first floor is zero. Must concentrate moar.

Fail!

3. I have discovered the most ridiculous meme ever. How could I miss it before, I asked myself today, looking stupidly at pictures that will remain undisclosed for a couple of days, as I will be collecting evidence in the library.

Hint: fish and funny hats are involved.

Also, chariots.

(Well, a bit(2))

4. Apparently Claude Levi-Strauss died.

I… I have to say, I can’t really be upset, because until today I was sure he had died already.

So, in a way, when I went online, my worst fears were confirmed :( Thank you for fun times with Tristes Tropiques, Claude, and inspiring one of my favourite profs when he was young.

5. I have to confess: I’ve been having the urge to look for moar vaccine-deniers on the intertubes all the time lately(3). I’ll start posting when my hands will stop obeying me and continue typing on their own even when I sleep. SLEEEEP!

6. For all internet troll aficionados, a tragic news indeed: Tom Estes, the voluble pastor of the Hard Truth fame (?), seems to have deleted himself from the interwebs. I, for one, will be inconsolable for weeks to come, and I haven’t even broken the news to Dan yet :\ The last googlable post (a bit stale).  Google Cache to the rescue: he flounced ’cause “I’m no longer all that intrigued by Pharytales, or Helga’s Battle-ax, or the NotSoFreeThinker, and I think the reason for the that is because they are so repetitive in nature.  Basically what they do everyday is criticize rational Christians, and for a while it made me angry, then I found it amusing, but now it’s just tired.”

Tom also warns his faithful readers that he’s got two other blogs here and here. Stay tuned! Once an attention whore, always an attention whore.

(You can also follow his rants on Twitter:

NY Times’ Dowd is a super feminist, UNLESS it’s Obama is the one excluding women, than it’s okay. #tcot http://s.nyt.com/u/Waf

I laughed!)

Anyway, RIP, Hard Truth!

 

(1) Throw some ink at me. I could probably tell which genre it came from.

(2) The other bit is that I like the word “chariot”. Chariot!

(3) Shooting fish in a barrel much? And yet!

This morning strange news appeared in my Google Reader.

Lo, says the GW, behold, the pope-infested country of Italy, as its journalists struggle with righteous outrage after a leftist journalist dared to call BXVI “a mediocre theologian”. SCANDALOUS!

(A semi-related hilarious development is that — well, so far — you can only find the news in Polish and Italian newspapers. This is because nobody else cares)

Like here:

«Si può criticare Benedetto XVI, ma non si può assolutamente affermare che Joseph Ratzinger è un modesto teologo», scrive il «paparatzingerblog».

(“You can criticise the pope Benedict XVI, but you can’t claim that Joseph Ratzinger is a mediocre theologian”, wrote the “paparatzingerblog”.)

I admit, I giggled.

And on the next page:

«Paparatzingerblog», il sito cattolico che monitora quotidianamente quello che viene scritto su Benedetto XVI, apre una pagina illustrata con l’immagine di San Sebastiano trafitto dai dardi. E cita gli innegabili successi editoriali di Ratzinger teologo: 178 titoli, più il libro «Gesù di Nazaret» e le prime 3 encicliche, diffuse in milioni di copie e in cima a tutte le classifiche.

(“Paparatzinger blog”, a Catholic website monitoring what is written about Benedict XVI on a daily basis, opens its article with the image of St Sebastian pierced with arrows. It mentions the undeniable editorial successes of Ratzinger the theologian: 178 titles, and later the book Jesus of Nazareth and 3 encyclicals published in millions of copies.)

I found the blog. The picture of St Sebastian is really impressive, albeit in a very giggle-inducing way.

Welllll. I’m hardly the expert on the intricacies of Catholic theology, but!

1. If they can’t say anything better than “BUT LOOK AT HOW MANY BOOKS HE EDITED” in the pope’s defense, then 1) either they aren’t very good at defending the pope, 2) or, hohoho, somebody is grasping at straws here, heh heh heh.

2. Furthermore, St Sebastian? Really? Poor darling persecuted Catholic martyrs! Someone said mean things about the pope!

3. The “mean things” being “mediocre theologian”.  This of course illustrates how privileged the Catholics really are: the meanest name their leader gets called is “mediocre”*.

4. Furthermore, encyclicals published in millions of copies? Duh. Trust me, Catholics, they weren’t published in millions of copies worldwide because of their literary and theological merits. Grasping at straws much?

5. That was funny.

This whole debacle also brought another interesting fact to my attention. Remember when last year, the pope had to cancel his visit to La Sapienza, because students and professors protested against his commenting that the church’s treatment of Galileo was “rational and just”?

THE POPE WAS QUOTING FEYERABEND WHEN HE WAS SAYING THAT.

OMD!

The epic fail is epic. Also, the irrationality that is created when the pope quotes Feyerabend should have torn apart the very fabric of reality.

Good thing we have Cthulhu protecting us from the end of the Universe as we know it.

Until the stars are right, anyway.

* Not anymore! Personally, I think that the popes stance on condoms re: Africa makes him a complete and utter bastard. Also, indirectly responsible for the deaths of people who will listen to him.

OK.

1. I have a flat!

2… with no internet connection yet.

3. But the plums here are awesome!

4. The fountain in the Schillerplatz in the ugliest thing ever.

5. By which I mean, I wholeheartedly approve.

6. Of course, I forgot my camera, so I can`t take any photos to prove my point.

7. Mainz is like 2kmx2km.

8. Only the campus is like 200kmx200km.

9. This can only mean one thing: BIGGER ON THE INSIDE!!!!!!

10. Right in front of the Johannes Gutenberg Universität campus is a cemetery. I find it strangely fitting.

11. I haven`t been there yet, `cause they had no flats to offer there.

12. Not the sort of I was looking for anyway.

13. And none of them had an internet connection, so there.

14. I hate German keyboards. They have “y” where normal keyboards have “z” and vice versa. This is sick and perverted.

15. People are seriously so nice it almost creeps me out.

16. It also remains a mystery what they do on the weekends. Because, shops closed, restaurants and cafés closed, pubs closed, and only a small number of people can be found engaging in the wholesome activity of walking or cycling. WHERE IS THE REST? WORSHIPPING CTHULHU? Somehow, I wouldn`t be surprised. There is something about the small towns and the Great Old Ones, you know.

17. Lol, prime number!

18. Also, nobody cares if Polanski rots in prison. YAY.

Every field of study, no matter how completely unlikely, will have its fair share of woo, fringe “science” and wacky conspiracy theories.

This is an indisputable, scientific fact*.

This is, among other things, because for some people,

It says so right here! In this very old book! Therefore, it must be the truuuuth!

is a sufficient argument proving things that are otherwise impossible to prove, like the existence of giants, Huwawa, deluge, Ishtar, aliens, or fairies. For some people, the older the source text the better, and also, the bigger the chance that hardly anybody will be able to question the way they choose to interpret the super-old source text, which is an added bonus when you are crazy.

Therefore: many magic-practitioners and/or alien conspiracy theorists like to find obscure languages nobody knows and claim,

But it’s written RIGHT HEREEE!

(Only, it’s not)

However, sometimes a slight creative manipulation of written sources is required, and what results is even more craziness  (original spelling preserved):

The sumerian language is one of the oldest languages we know. This release contains only some common words, but the dictionary is ALWAYS under construction, because I will update it as often as I can. Future publications should contain more information about the language (spelling,grammar, …) and MORE words. Also thanX to THE ARRAY. The words of the first publication I have taken of his dictionary.

Ahahahaha. Gosh, that guy, s/h/it fails so much. Where do I even start?

Common sumerian words for magickal purposes

LOL. He’s serious, ’cause he spelled it “magick”. Just so you know.

Cut for self-indulgent linguistic geekery.

(more…)