Wednesday, 29 June 2011

mormon apologetics - pseudo-science + ad hoc assumptions

by Holy the Ghost
An ad hoc assumption or adhoc hypothesis is a way of explaining away your wrongness.
After you discover that you are mistaken, you make an assumption that, if true, allows you to conclude that you were not really mistaken
If I run an experiment in which I predict some psychic phenomena, but the results contradict my hypothesis, I can argue that my psychic phenomena still exists, but the problem is that there were skeptics who were observing the experiment, and they sent off bad psi vibes (or some such thing).

We believe that Joseph Smith is a mouthpiece for God.
Observation: He was wrong about men on the moon.
Ad hoc assumption: he was speaking as a man.

We believe Joseph Smith was a translator:
Observation: Book of Abraham
Ad hoc assumption: he didn't literally translate it, it was simply a tool of inspiration

We believe we will be blessed for paying tithing.
Observation: You are a bankrupt
Ad hoc assumption: God is testing you

We believe we can be healed by blessings
Observation: non healing
Ad hoc assumption: the recipient lacks faith

We believe that the church takes tithing & offerings for purposes of charity
Observation: There is little evidence that this is true
Ad hoc assumption: the church doesn't want to brag about it's charitableness

We believe that black people are cursed, and were less valiant in the pre-existence
Observation: 1978 revelation
Ad hoc assumption: that was simply a policy, never a doctrine

by Fetal Deity
Apologists are pseudo-scientists. That is, they do their "science" in reverse. They start with a conclusion. In the case of Mopologists, that means, for instance, that they have concluded ("spiritually") that the BoM is the word of God. Then, they look for evidence that supports their conclusion; any evidence that contradicts their previously arrived-at conclusion is either ignored, distorted or completely redefined.

Bottom line: it is impossible to engage in a rational, objective argument with an apologist in the area he or she is defending ... IMPOSSIBLE ... as in: DON'T WASTE YOUR TIME!!!

stephen hawking on the probability of intelligent life

Stephen Hawking: Asking big questions about the universe
05:35 despite an extensive search by the SETI project we haven't heard any alien television quiz shows. this probably indicates that there are no alien civilizations at our stage of development within the radius of a few hundred light years. issuing an insurance policy for abduction by aliens seems a pretty safe bet.

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

movie review - IOUSA - documentary about the US deficit

17:49 the only issue that's more severe than this (the projected social security + medical deficit after 2017: -2 trillion within 3 decades) would be the idea that an islamic fundamentalist will his hands on (or her hands on) a nuclear weapon and use it against us. - senator judd gregg, NH

43:48 in 2007, china had the largest trade surplus in the world ($315,700,000,000) and who was dead last? the united states of america (-$816,000,000,000)

1:07:49 our country would need $53,000,000,000,000 invested today which is about $175,000 per person to deliver on the government's obligations and promises. how much of this 53 trillion dollars to we have? zip. by the time today's college graduates are going to retire 40 years from now, the only things our government will be able to pay for are interest on the federal debt and some social security, medicare and medicaid benefits. all other parts of the federal government will be closed and out of business.

1:21:01 while you watched this film $85 million was added to the federal debt.

ragnar redbeard's real(istic) beatitudes

here are my "picks" from redbeard's beatitudes from might is right:

Blessed are the strong, for they shall possess the Earth.
Blessed are the powerful for they shall be reverenced among men.
Blessed are the bold for they shall be masters of the world.
Blessed are the iron-handed, the unfit shall flee before them.
Blessed are the destroyers of false hope, they are the true Messiahs.
Blessed are they who believe in nothing, never shall it terrorize their minds.

Cursed are the believers in good and evil for they are frightened by shadows.
Cursed are the God-adorers, they shall be shorn sheep.
Cursed are the haters of battle, subjugation is their portion.
Cursed are the humble, for they shall be trodden under hoofs.
Cursed are the weak, for they shall inherit the yoke.
Cursed are the feeble for they shall be blotted out.
Cursed are the poor in spirit, they shall be spat upon.

if you're looking for truth, redbeard's beatitudes are at least true. jesus' are wishful thinking, claimed to be true, when they dont represent reality, thus they are lies (or empty metaphorical promises, not intended to be fulfilled here in this life--how convenient), in my eyes =) there's a theory that jesus was invented by josephus flavius to keep the jews under rome's control. jesus' teachings would do just that, e.g. "turn the other cheek", "blessed are the humble", "if a man asks for your shirt give him your coat", etc.
historicity of jesus

caesar's messiah (this book is really interesting. i have it if you want to borrow it.)

jesus also fits the profile of a mythological hero. on Lord Raglan's scale of 1-22 of common traits for a mythological hero, jesus ranks around 19. it is said that no real, historical figure has ever scored above a 7 (alexander the great == not a mythological hero).
see also this lord raglan's hero page and jesus' hero explanation

see also:
jesus myth theory
jesus christ and comparative mythology

i originally posted all of this on facebook:

why the mormons always list a new leader's accomplishments before he speaks for the first time

while growing up in the lds cult i was always bothered by the bragging about the new leader or "important" guest speaker being presented to the congregation, how the person introducing him would always read through a long list of accomplishments/bragging points about all the education and positions he's held, etc. i always knew of somebody in my ward who was most likely way more humble and "spiritually qualified" to help and teach others, but who hadnt accomplished a lot in the worldly sense when compared to this businessman in a nice suit. it bothered me that the church leaders put such an emphasis on worldly achievements of their leaders.

i remember saying to myself every single time this happened: "why do they do this? what does this have to do with anything about the gospel?"

today i was reading The Essential Guide to Rhetoric
and found the answer to my lifelong question =)

page 38

Argument is not the only dimension of persuasive proof. You might sometimes hear what sound like strong arguments, yet be inclined to doubt them. To accept someone’s argument is, in a sense, to trust that person, so audiences make judgments about the speaker. Audiences ask questions (such as “What kind of person is this?") to evaluate the speaker and decide if she is credible and whether to change their mind about the topic at hand. This is the same as asking, “What kind of ethos does this person have?” When audiences wonder about the speaker’s ethos, they are considering his credibility (believability) and trustworthiness.

By telling the people in church the "impressive" info about the new leader/guest speaker, they are establishing the credibility of that person, which increases the chances that the people will trust him and believe what he says. It's a simple, well-known, rhetoric tactic.

if what the speaker was going to say was really true, and the "holy ghost" really existed, then creating ethos to strengthen your message (argument) would just be a waste of time and effort.

Monday, 27 June 2011

the equinox volume 3 number 10 book review

to apply for the OTO here in norway i was told to read the equinox vol. III no. 10. i had already the book of the law and didnt really get anything out of it. i like the idea of pursuing/testing religion/mysticism using the scientific method, but it's hard for me to get past a couple of things i read in the first chapter "the master therion":

page 16

The climax of their dealings with him came in the weeks immediately
preceding and following the Spring Equinox of 1924 E.V. At this time
he lay sick unto death. He was entirely alone; for They would even
permit the presence of those few whom They had themselves appointed to
aid him in this final initiation. In this last ordeal the earthly part
of him was dissolved in water; the water was vaporized into air; the
air was rarified utterly, until he was free to make the last effort,
and to pass into the vast caverns of the Threshold which guards the
Realm of Fire. Now naught human may come through those immensities. So
in that Fire he was consumed wholly, and as pure Spirit alone did he
return, little by little, during the months that followed, into the
body and mind that had perished in that great ordeal of which he can
say no more than: I died.

But these six months being accomplished, a certain Virgin came forth
at the bidding of the Secret Chiefs, at whose touch he resumed contact
with his human life.

Her he conveyed swiftly to the Desert of the Sahara, that in silent
communion with her Soul he might become aware of the intimate nature
of his Work for the Masters; for she was verily a symbol of the Virgin
Bride, whose redemption is the mystery of the Perpetuation of the

do thelemites really believe this? aleister crowley was vaporized, died, then brought back to the flesh by a virgin? come-the-fuck-on.

the next thing that bothered me was something in the oath:

page 18

that i will interpret every phenomenon as a particular dealing of God with my soul

how completely unscientific. after reading these two things i haven't had the motivation to read on. maybe i will, maybe i wont.

Saturday, 11 June 2011

"god" as a "loving heavenly father"

here's my response to a christian friend on facebook telling me i have a heavenly father who loves me =)

the bible is a collection of (and excluding a lot of) writings from different people, many we dont even know who the author was, and contains contradicting statements about the nature of god. you have a "loving heavenly father" who says and does things like:
* stone your disobedient children (Deuteronomy 21:18-21)
* I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation. (Exodus 20:5)
* God is jealous, and the LORD revengeth; the LORD revengeth, and is furious; (Nahum 1:2)
* The LORD slew all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both the firstborn of man, and the firstborn of beast. Exodus (13:15)
* Therefore will I also deal in fury: mine eye shall not spare, neither will I have pity: and though they cry in mine ears with a loud voice, yet will I not hear them. (Ezekiel 8:18)
* Thou shalt fear thy God: for I am the LORD your God. (Leviticus 25:17)

the list goes on an on. christians cherry pick the nice scriptures about god, but the bible is full of contradictions or evidence against a loving god. even though i'm not the best father in the world, i'm confident in saying i'm way nicer than the god of the bible. if my child was crying out to me for help, i would help him immediately. i also dont want my children to fear me or mindlessly do everything i say or do.

i think if you feel like you have a connection to a heavenly father, it's not the one in the bible =)

this is a great article:

the "evils" of socialism (tongue in cheek)

it is hilarious how many americans dont realize how much socialism is in their democracy =) and how they think socialism is some kind of evil =) here's some insider info from someone living in a socialist country:
* there is no illiteracy in norway
* there are no homeless
* i dont have to have health insurance--my basic needs have always been taken care of, if i want to speed things up i can go to a private clinic or go to another country (i personally dont know of anybody who has ever had to do this though)
* we get paid to have children, get monthly allowance until the kid turns 18
* daycare is heavily subsidized
* there's no wealth distribution like the fairytale in american minds--many people still have a lot more than other people. you can make as much money as you're able to make, there's still incentive to invent, create, work hard, etc. the difference is that (see also point 2) the "poorest" have all their basic needs covered.
* if you need help with your kids for example, people from the government will come to your house for free and give you advice/help
* free dental care for children until they are 18.
* everyone is guaranteed 4 weeks paid vacation and 1 week unpaid if you want to take an extra week.
* it is very hard to get fired from your job
* our oldest has adhd and the government pays his aunt and uncle to watch him 2 weekends a month
* super low crime rate

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

how to write yourself out of the lds mormon church by email

My full name is X
My date of birth is X
My membership number is X.
My residence address is: X

I am a member in the X ward.

I hereby resign my membership in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, effective immediately, and request you to remove my name permanently from your membership records. Please confirm that my name has been removed from your records. I expect to receive that confirmation within a reasonably short time.
send this in an email to
replace all X's if you know what they are. you might need to follow up with the bishop from the ward you attended last, calling him and sending him messages until he complies. my process took exactly 7 days from when i sent my email to when i received my resignation letter from my bishop saying i had been removed. tell you bishop you do not want to wait the standard 30 days (at the stake president level), but that you want your resignation to be processed immediately.

Sunday, 5 June 2011

joseph smith boasting he is greater than jesus

history of the church, page 2432
I have more to boast of than ever any man had. I am the only man that has ever been able to keep a whole church together since the days of Adam. A large majority of the whole have stood by me. Neither Paul, John, Peter, nor Jesus ever did it. I boast that no man ever did such a work as I. The followers of Jesus ran away from Him; but the Latter-day Saints never ran away from me yet.

Saturday, 4 June 2011

thelema's the equinox volume 1 number 2 book review

this is my review of equinox 1.2

page 4

joseph smith is mentioned in a list of incompatible forms of faith =)
Faith has been proposed as a remedy. But we perceive many incompatible forms of Faith founded on Authority—The Vedas, The Quran, The Bible; Buddha, Christ, Joseph Smith

this appeals to me:
5. There is only one Rock which Scepticism cannot shake;
the Rock of Experience.
6. We have therefore endeavoured to eliminate from the
conditions of acquiring Spiritual Experience its dogmatic,
theological, accidental, climatic and other inessential elements.
7. We require the employment of a strictly scientific
method. The mind of the seeker must be unbiased: all
prejudice and other sources of error must be perceived as such
and extirpated.
8. We have therefore devised a Syncretic-Eclectic Method
combining the essentials of all methods, rejecting all their
trammels, to attack the Problem, through exact experiments
and not by guesses.

page 5

1. There is no hope in physical life, since death of the
individual, the race, and ultimately the planet, ends all.
2. There is no hope in reason, since it contradicts itself,
and is in any case no more than a reflection upon the facts of
physical life.
4. There is no hope in Faith, for there are many warring
Faiths, all equally positive.

2. We are Men of Science, ever eagerly acquiring
pertinent facts.
3. We are Sceptics, ever eagerly examining those facts.
4. We are Philosophers, ever eagerly classifying and coordinating those well-criticised facts.
5. We are Epicureans, ever eagerly enjoying the
unification of those facts.
6. We are Philanthropists, ever eagerly transmitting our
knowledge of those facts to others.
7. Further, we are Syncretists, taking truth from all
systems, ancient and modern; and Eclectics, ruthlessly
discarding the inessential factors in any one system, however

page 6

3. Mysticism, being based on pure experience, is always a
vital force; but owing to the lack of trained observation, has
always been a mass of error. Spiritual Experience, interpreted
in the terms of Intellect, is distorted; just as sunrise shows the
grass green and the sea blue. Both were invisible until sunrise;
yet the diversity of colour is not in the sun, but in the objects
on which its light falls, and their contradiction does not prove
the sun to be an illusion.
4. We shall correct Mysticism (or Illuminism) by Science,
and explain Science by Illuminism.

1. We have one method, that of Science.

page 13

2. In this book it is spoken of the Sephiroth and the Paths;
of Spirits and Conjurations; of Gods, Spheres, Planes, and
many other things that may or may not exist.
It is immaterial whether these exist or not. By doing
certain things, certain results will follow; students are
earnestly warned against attributing objective reality or philosophical validity to any of them.
3. The advantages to be gained from them are chiefly
(a) A widening of the horizon of the mind.
(b) An improvement of the control of the mind.

Friday, 3 June 2011

lds mormon "holy ghost"/"spirit" testimony

from Lyndon Lamborn "Standing for Something More",

The holy spirit as a sole guide is very unreliable. Many examples
prove this point

1. Since the holy spirit truth test is universally used by all
religions, and most religions conclude that their way is the only true
way to find God, they cannot all be correct. Therefore, there are
hundreds of millions of false positives. The truth test formula is
therefore proven unreliable.
2. Many LDS have described the confirmation truth test feelings in
relation to stories that were ultimately found to be fabricated.
Examples include the faith-building stories told by Paul H. Dunn.
These stories were absolute treasures to many, and accompanied by the
warm feelings, tingly spine, and burning in the bosom for thousands.
Dunn later confessed that the stories were contrived . The truth test
formula is therefore proven unreliable, even among LDS members.
3. Many LDS describe the burning in the bosom, the tingly spine, etc.
as being indistinguishable from feelings when reading other inspiring
stories (especially patriotic) or quotes that have nothing to do with
religion or the plan of salvation. This is more evidence confirming
the unreliability of the truth test.
4. Finally, unfulfilled and false prophecies made by prophets when
‘under the influence of the Holy Ghost’ are another indicator of the
unreliable nature of the truth test. In 1835 Smith prophesied that the
second coming would take place by the year 1891 . April 5, 1843, at
the General Conference of the Church, while the Spirit rested upon
him, the Prophet Joseph said: “Were I going to prophecy, I would say
the end would not come in 1844, 5, or 6, or in forty years. There are
those of the rising generation who shall not taste death till Christ
comes. ” Since all those in the rising generation are now dead, the
truth test failed Smith. The truth test is therefore also unreliable
for LDS prophets. (Joseph Fielding Smith, Teachings of the Prophet
Joseph Smith page 286 )

here's a great quote by "apostle" dallin oaks:
"What does a “burning in the bosom” mean? Does it need to be a feeling of caloric heat, like the burning produced by combustion? If that is the meaning, I have never had a burning in the bosom."

"The holy spirit as a sole guide is very unreliable"
the "holy spirit" can actually be explained by biology/psychology =)

read about "A Short Experiment – Comparing Descriptions of Spiritual Feelings from Different Religions"

then read about the church's registered trademark called HeartSell

bonneville was established and is owned and run by deseret management--the church's for-profit "arm"