Daily Archives: 15 Jun 2012

Oh Canada…

Headline and photo don’t really match do they…  via Scott Harris on twitter.

More Absurd Angry Atheist Tricks

A lawsuit on behalf of two Hamilton County residents seeks to stop the county commission from praying at its meetings.  The Chattanooga Times Free Press reported the lawsuit was filed Friday in U.S. District Court.  The suit follows a letter to the Commission from the Freedom From Religion Foundation in Madison, Wis., in which the atheist and agnostic group asked the government body to discontinue opening meetings with prayer.  The commissioners have taken no official action to change their practice or consider the request.

Two residents, out of how many?  Two?  Do we live in a dictatorship where two people have the right to tell the overwhelming majority how to behave.  This is madness.  This is just more of the ‘evangelism’ of the angry atheists whose lives are so completely empty that they have both desire and resources to be frivolous and stupid.

I’m glad the Commission has ignored the whining.  Would that more people acted like America was actually a democratic country and not North Korea or Iran.  If you don’t want to pray, DON’T.  But don’t imagine that you have the right to tell others not to any more than they have the right to tell you that you must.  Grow up, in other words, and stop being spoiled whiny brats.

UPDATE:  Tragic angry atheists, please learn how to read before you submit comments.  Look to the right, now scroll down the page till you arrive at the ‘comment policy’.  I know it will be tough for you to manage it, but do try.

‘Crucify Him, Crucify Him’ – The Biblical Archaeology Review Cries for Zias’ Blood

I wasn’t at the trial so I don’t know what Joe Zias said on the stand.  I do know two things, though and they’re brief observations:

1- BAR hasn’t gone to such lengths to crucify someone (or at least destroy their reputation) since the 90’s when Hershel Shanks showed utter contempt for Keith Whitelam, Niels Peter Lemche, and Thomas Thompson.

2- I don’t really believe BAR is reporting all the facts or all the facts fairly.  I don’t trust BAR to do so as it has shown itself more than willing in the past to skew the evidence to its own advantage.

What this hatchet job shows, though, in my estimation, is that BAR and its editorial staff are a mean-spirited, vicious gang of thugs.  But I already knew that.  I’ve known that since the 90’s.

If, however, BAR has offered the facts as they really are two more things are worth saying:

1- I have been and will remain Joe’s friend.  I’m loyal to my friends and if they happen to fall beneath the weight of human frailty I don’t care- I remain loyal to them.


2- I still have absolutely NO respect for BAR, for Hershel Shanks, for his editorial staff, or for those who support their money-driven archaeology, and that won’t change either unless Shanks is fired and the magazine takes on a wholly new character by adopting a more scholarly and less greedy direction (which means ending advertisements for antiquities).

Government Waste, or, Our Government- What a Waste

Pop Culture: Maury Povich- An Observation

If monogamy were practiced and promiscuity a thing of the past, Maury Povich wouldn’t have a show.  But given the fact that too many men are sowing their seed in the welcoming fields of too many women, Maury seems guaranteed employment until the Day of Judgment.

Don’t look so surprised, Maury.  Promiscuity is the religion of our age.

The Fibbing ‘Forest’ Boy is Dutch

The forest boy known previously as ‘Ray’ has been identified as Robin van Helsum from the town of Hengelo, the Netherlands, Dutch police confirmed on Friday morning.


His own story, that he had been living in a forest with his father for the past five years, after his mother died in a car accident, has now been exposed as a lie.  Berlin authorities, who have been taking care of him for the past ten months, had assumed he was around 17 years old.  He spoke very little German, and only broken English and only allowed police to release a photo of him on Tuesday.  “This is no joke anymore,” Berlin police spokesman Michael Maaß told Die Welt. “If this is true he made right fools of us. The costs could come down to him.”

Apparently the guy doesn’t know that the Germans don’t think things are funny.  Nor do they like to be made fools of…  just ask the French…

“There were things that did not fit with his story – he was relatively clean and the tent he had with him did not look like it had been used for five years,” Thomas Neuendorf of the Berlin police told The Local when they released van Helsum’s picture on Tuesday, and his identity was still a mystery.

Indeed- seeing the tent and sleeping bag on the news anyone would know they were new and simply had not been in use for 5 years.  People… they’re weird.

Where In the World is Chris Tilling Now?

Unsurprisingly, he’s in trouble with the authorities.  What did he do this time?  Oh this one takes the cake…. or rather, the sandwich…

Chris Tilling with a dye job and a big sandwich… kinda

A man angry that a deli had fouled up his sandwich order decided to take his beef to police. The man, identified by police as Rother McLennon Chris Tilling of Battersea East Hartford, called 911 on Wednesday and complained that he “specifically asked for little turkey and little ham, a lot of cheese and a lot of mayonnaise,” and the Grateful Deli in East Hartford got it wrong. “You’re calling 911 because you don’t like way that they’re making your sandwich?” the dispatcher asked. “Exactly,” McLennon Tilling replied.

Chris, Chris, Chris… 911 has better things to do (like send the police on donut runs and the like).

If St. Francis used the Twitter…

Via Thomas Römer on FB-

Faux Anger: the Case of the Chinese Abortion of a 7 Month Old Fetus

Chinese authorities have vowed to punish officials who forced a woman who was seven-months pregnant to have an abortion in a case that has sparked outrage over methods used to impose strict family planning rules.  Officials forced the woman, Feng Jianmei, who is in her 20s, to have an abortion at a hospital in the northwestern province of Shaanxi in June, state media reported.  The woman’s treatment drew the attention of national media and the fury of China’s micro bloggers after her husband posted pictures online of her with her aborted baby girl on a hospital bed.

via Google Images

Unfortunately there are countless abortions performed around the world every day and I find the public outcry against this particular and singular case both absurd and ridiculous. It’s faux anger. It’s anger without a basis because many of the people ‘outraged’ by the act of the Chinese government have no problem at all if their teen daughter trundles down to the local abortion clinic and sees to the murder of her 7 week old baby.  After all, there’s absolutely NO difference, morally, between murdering a 7 week old infant and a 7 month old one.

All you who are occupying your high horse of outrage need to climb down from it unless you’re willing to be consistent and assert that abortion is murder.  If you aren’t willing to stand up for a 7 week old you have no credibility to stand up for a 7 month old.

Forged in Faith: Matthew Kalman’s Detailed Report of the ‘Trial of the Century’ – Its Background and Outcome

First, there’s a brief editorial on the subject of the trial titled “Archaeology in a hole” online here. The main story, ‘Forged in Faith’ is currently behind The Jerusalem Report paywall here. Matthew has sent along a copy of the full essay and below I excerpt brief snippets which I find intriguing and have been given permission to share.

By way of background the essay opens with a description of the appearance of the ‘James ossuary’ and ‘Jehoash Tablet’ and the eventual arrest of Golan and his co-defendants. Then Kalman writes

In March 2012, Golan was acquitted on all 41 of the most serious crimes and convicted of just three minor misdemeanors unrelated to the to the ossuary or the tablet. … But despite Golan’s acquittal, the IAA continues to regard him as a crook, refusing to return any of the items they seized in 2003. Back home at his apartment in Tel Aviv … containing dozens of ancient artifacts, Golan says the IAA seems determined to punish him even though he is innocent. He is just as determined to get the artifacts back and put them on public display.


Judge Farkash is expected to rule in August on the fate of the artifacts. In the eyes of the archaeological establishment, despite his complete exoneration by the judge after an exhaustive seven year trial, Golan remains a crook. At the time of his arrest, the police and the IAA believed they had caught a master criminal and major forger. “We still do,” a senior IAA official tells The Report. “We know that he produced the artifacts.”

The essay includes a good bit about Golan’s background and his interest in ancient artifacts as well as his acquisition of the ossuary and the interest which Andre Lemaire had in it when he saw a photograph of it in one of Golan’s albums:

Andre Lemaire, a visiting professor of ancient languages from the Sorbonne, was leafing through the albums of Golan’s collection when he came across a photograph of the ossuary with the eye-popping inscription “James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus.” Golan was surprised by Lemaire’s interest. He had thought the ossuary worthless.

It was, then, Lemaire’s interest which brought the ossuary to light in the pages of BAR.

Kalman also describes the ‘Jehoash Tablet’ and the path – rather amazing- which these artifacts took to arrive finally in an Israeli courtroom. Then he remarks

Golan’s acquittal and the Judge’s penetrating criticism of the prosecution case do not appear to have discouraged IAA officials who continue to refer to the items as fakes, and to Golan as a forger.  They say they only lost because Marco Ghatas, his alleged Egyptian co-conspirator, refused to testify.  Indeed, the IAA appears to have a broader agenda: to shut down even the legal trade in antiquities altogether.

The essay turns next then to the debate between those who think the antiquities trade hurts archaeology or preserves items which would otherwise be lost.  It concludes with a description of Golan’s sentence and the Judge’s comments about the case (along with one final word about the Jehoash Tablet’s acquisition by Golan).

Kalman’s essay is an extremely well written, fair, and intelligent piece and unlike BAR doesn’t screech and scream and clap gleeful hands in childish self-congratulatory tones.  I recommend that those who have an interest in the topic read it straightaway.

No, They Have Not Found John the Baptist’s Bones

And I can say that without hesitation because there’s NO WAY they could  – short of an inscription in an undisturbed grave-  know who’s bones they are.  It’s just another overblown silly claim appearing in the press because with its 24 hour news cycle they have to ‘report’ something.

A small handful of bones found in an ancient church in Bulgaria may belong to John the Baptist, the biblical figure said to have baptized Jesus.

There’s no way to be sure, of course, as there are no confirmed pieces of John the Baptist to compare to the fragments of bone. But the sarcophagus holding the bones was found near a second box bearing the name of St. John and his feast date (also called a holy day) of June 24. Now, new radiocarbon dating of the collagen in one of the bones pegs its age to the early first century, consistent with the New Testament and Jewish histories of John the Baptist’s life.

“We got some dates that are very interesting indeed,” study researcher Thomas Higham of the University of Oxford told LiveScience. “They suggest that the human bone is all from the same person, it’s from a male, and it has a very high likelihood of an origin in the Near East,” or Middle East where John the Baptist would have lived.

‘No way to be sure of course’…  Well good grief if you recognize that why would you even hint that they ‘may’ be?  After more explanations of the ‘discovery’ of the relic box which contained the bones we get to the real reason the story is coming out now…

None of this proves that the bones belonged to a historical figure named John the Baptist, but researchers haven’t been able to rule out the possibility, Higham said. Their study has not yet been published in a peer-reviewed journal, but a program detailing the research will be aired on the United Kingdom National Geographic Channel on Sunday. National Geographic funded the research.

Their study hasn’t been published but that won’t stop NatGeo from airing a special on it.   Ah, the glories of relic-pimping for the sake of corporate profit.  If you want to know what drives so much ‘archaeology’ today just look at the money trail.

Armed Robberies are Up 110% in Greece

The AP reports

Some Greek pharmacies will close on Friday, but not in protest against the relentless burden of austerity or the withering of state reimbursements for the drugs they sell. Rather, they are mourning for one of their own, a pharmacist who was shot dead in an apparent holdup.

Violent crime is more ingrained in many other societies, but the slaying of 54-year-old Spyros Poukamisas this week is the kind of sad event that cuts deeply into the Greek sense of community at a time of crisis and division. It is a symbol of the national handwringing about how far a country, steeped in glorious tradition, can fall.

And further on-

A statement by the Greater Athens pharmacists’ association said the killing reflected an “unprecedented” situation in Greece and “proves that our society is in a state of collapse and has been surrendered to the mercy of uncontrolled criminal activity.”

While aspects of such rhetoric appear overblown, statistics show a deterioration in law-and-order during the economic crisis. The Public Order Ministry reported an increase in nearly all categories of crime between 2010 and 2011, with murder up 5 percent and armed robberies in occupied homes up 110 percent.

Desperate people do desperate things.  The more desperation, the more crime.