God Creates…


Ah, you gotta love the combination of the internet and the tendency for people in large numbers to suddenly lose all capacity for coherent thought. The Guardian reports today that, probably due at least in part to a Facebook group called 11 Maggio Terremoto a Roma, thousands of people in Rome believe that the city is destined to be destroyed by an earthquake tomorrow, May 11.

And it is, supposedly, all because of the predictions of a self-styled ‘geophysicist’ by the name of Raffaele Bendandi.

It will not surprise you to learn that Bendandi, who died in 1979, was not any kind of proper scientist. Despite being awarded a knighthood by Mussolini, he had no formal scientific training and none of his research was ever supported by independent corroboration. The many ‘theories’ that he advanced in his lifetime were not inhibited by actual factual content. Among other things, Bendandi advanced an hypothesis for the flooding of Atlantis and believed that he had discovered a planet in an orbit between the sun and Mercury.

But here’s the best part – the rising panic in Rome appears to be the result of some idiot somewhere getting his wires crossed. Bendandi didn’t actually ever predict an earthquake for May 11, 2011. According to Paola Lagorio, the president of an organization who looks after Bendandi’s legacy, there is no such indication in any of the the writings attributed to him. Someone just pulled that right out of their ass (Paola Lagorio didn’t say that, you understand, but I bet she was thinking it).

But hey – Rome is the where the Pope lives, right? Why don’t the people who think there’s going to be an earthquake just pray to God that it won’t happen?1 Oh, yeah, right. I guess they will, and that’s why it won’t happen. Silly me.

Be sure to tune in tomorrow Faithful Acowlytes, in order that we might comprehensively ridicule all those Romans who took their kids out of school and fled to the countryside. You know you want to.

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Thanks once more to Atlas for bringing this to the attention of the Cow.

  1. I’m betting that the Venn diagram of People Who Are Very Religious in Rome and People Who are Very Gullible in Rome has a pretty big area of intersection… []

Sometimes it’s completely baffling to me how a news service decides that something is news. Take this article that has been doing the rounds.

The gist behind it is that a Mr Carl Drews, from the National Centre for Atmospheric Research in Colorado (variously described as ‘a scientist’, a ‘Christian engineer’1 and a ‘Christian who accepts the scientific theory of evolution’), has used some computer modeling to bolster his hypothesis that the Biblical story of Moses parting the waters of the Red Sea to allow the Israelites to evade the pursuing Egyptian army, has some kind of physical basis in meteorological phenomena.

Gah.

Come on. Which is a more reasonable explanation – that the Red Sea story is an accurate factual account of preposterously unlikely weird and freaky weather conditions, or that, like so much else in the Bible, it is simply an allegory or an exaggerated tale that has expanded in the telling and re-telling over many centuries?

What is it with this need by religious people to attempt to prove that the Bible is a literal recounting of actual events? Why do they feel compelled to have physical evidence of something that they tell us time and time again comes down to a matter of Faith? And how come they can use science to bolster their myths when it suits them, and ignore it when it brings up evidence that doesn’t suit their beliefs?

OK Mr Drews, now that you’ve solved the Red Sea conundrum, how about you start on the story of the loaves and the fishes? What’s the scientific explanation for Jesus being able to feed a ‘multitude’ (supposedly five thousand men) with five loaves and two fishes? I suppose he had some kind of Star Trek-style replicator hidden under his robes? Or maybe it’s just a story…

And news services: why are you giving column space to idiotic non-news like this? Is the next step ‘The Science Behind Little Red Riding Hood’? (This Just In – Science Shows a Wolf can Speak!)

Again. Gah.

  1. I’m not quite sure why, but that term makes me feel rather nervous. Maybe it’s because I have this image of such a person designing a bridge or a plane or something and thinking to themselves ‘Oh well, that’s good enough. If it doesn’t work, God will hold it up…’ []

Day 3 (cont):

~ And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so.

~ And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good

In other words, God made all the plants. And felt mighty pleased with himself. Then he remembered that maybe the plants would all DIE if they had no sunlight (at least they had plenty of water), so when he went home that night he obviously scribbled up a few ideas for the next day’s chores.

Day 4:

~ And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years:

~ And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also.

OK, so I just want to go over that. In the first verse it says God made some lights in the firmament, and then in the next one he made the sun and the moon and the stars. What the fuck is the person who wrote this smoking? If he made lights in the firmament, what were they if they weren’t the stars? And didn’t he already make light anyway? Where the hell was that coming from if it wasn’t from the sun or the moon or the stars?1

If these verses tell us anything, it is that God is very fucking badly organized. Why the crap didn’t he do the sun & the stars and so forth before he did the Earth? It’s like he was doing this for the first time or something. Oh, right.

Anyway, God set the sun & stars in place…

…to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good.

Here he is acting smug again, even though he’s royally screwed up Day 4. Can it possibly get any worse?

Day 5:

~ And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven.

~ And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good.

On the Fifth Day we find God creating winged fowl and whales. The most astute of you will have already noticed that God’s To Do List for Day 5 specifically describes ‘Birds and Fish’ and so again he has fucked up from the get-go by creating whales, which as anyone knows are mammals and not fish. As for the fowl, he has given them free reign to flap around the firmament, which, as we learned from the last installment he designated as Heaven. Yes, that’s right – Heaven is full of chickens.

Stay tuned to Tetherd Cow Ahead for Episode 3 of ‘What God Did’, where we find out what God got up to on Day 6, and examine in depth his obsession with ‘creeping things’.

  1. Out of his ass is the obvious answer. OK, I guess if anyone can claim that the sun shines out of his ass, it’s God, come to think of it []

As Reverend of the Church of the Tetherd Cow, one of my many duties is to ponder the Big Questions of Life so that I may duly pass my received wisdom onto you, my flock of faithful Acowlytes. Recently, I found my mind wandering onto one of the biggest puzzles of them all – that of the Creation of the Universe. Specifically, the kind of Creation as taught primarily (but by no means exclusively) by those who advocate the Christian view of things.

In case your Sunday School lessons have receded a bit too far into the foggy haze of memory, here’s a quick refresher on how the Almighty got things under way:

In the beginning there was nothing at all. Except, self-evidently, for God Himself.1 This must have been deadly dull for dear old God. Imagine the most boring day you’ve ever had and then multiply that by ten gazillion. There wasn’t even so much as a crossword to fill in or some paint to watch dry. There was just a whole big heap of nothingness. Just God sitting in a chair, on his ass, wondering what to do with himself. No, wait, there wasn’t even a chair.

So God decided to bring the universe and everything we know into existence.2 The conventional wisdom has it that he did this over seven days. Well, technically six, but more of that in a bit. This was the To Do list:

Day 1: Light.
Day 2: Separation of the Waters.
Day 3: The Earth
Day 4: The Sky.
Day 5: Birds and Fish.
Day 6: The Animals including Humans.
Day 7: Rest.

Day 7 wouldn’t count as a working day in any job I’ve ever had, so we can only assume God filled in His timesheet something like this:

But really, if you start to scrutinize God’s first week of work, some interesting questions arise…

Day 1: How long, exactly, does it take to create Light? It’s not like you can carve it out of something, or cobble it out of stuff to hand – there isn’t anything. So you’ve got to conjure it up from scratch. To you and me this sounds rather daunting but it is of course no real problem for God, since He is omnipotent. This means he could easily whip up a whole batch of light in a good 8 hour day. But waiddaminute… if he’s omnipotent, why spend a whole day on it? He could do it in half an hour. A minute. A second even. Just what was God doing all that first day? Is it possible he rocked up to work, zapped light into existence, grabbed a cup of hot java3 and then sat on his fat ass all day? Are you with me here? Alright. Then, the very next thing that happened was:4

~And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.

Whoa! Wait just one damn minute there Big fella! Everyone knows that night and day are the result of the earth’s rotation5, and the Earth doesn’t get created until Day 3, according to the List. What the crap is going on here pal? You’ve got days, but you ain’t got rotation! Or even a planet. How the heck does that work?

Day 2: To me, creating Light sounds pretty damn tricky, but that’s a snack compared to what God did next:

~ And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.

~ And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so.

OK, now did you get that? It seems there was a lot of water (I don’t exactly know where that came from, because there is no mention of it actually being created, as such. The water was just there.) and God divided it into two portions, separated by a firmament – a sort of watery firmament sandwich. God then called the firmament Heaven. Just so you’ve got a visual picture here, there’s Heaven, with a whole lot of water above it, sitting in a whole lot of water. I trust that God made sure Heaven has good caulking.

Day 3:

~ God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so.

From here on in, there is no mention at all of the waters that float somewhere above Heaven. Like it doesn’t matter. What bothers me is if this supra-water was not important, then why bring it up it in the first place… What has it got to do with ANYTHING? And, as far as I know, we never again hear about this extra water in the whole course of the Bible!6

Well, I’ll leave you to ponder that until the next installment, when we will learn some more about the Creation of the Earth and then about the Sky, including the Sun and the Moon (Yes, yes – I know we have days already without the Sun being in place… if you think that’s daffy, wait till you see God make all the trees and plants and then the Sun. Talk about workflow inefficency.)

  1. There may also have been a lot of water – see later []
  2. Why He did this all of a sudden is anybody’s guess. []
  3. OK, I guess he couldn’t have done that – he hadn’t created coffee beans yet []
  4. All biblical references are from the King James Bible, ‘cos I’m an old fashioned kinda Reverend and I don’t hold with these modern ‘interpretations’ of the Holy Bible where some joker has gone ‘I know God said that, but this is what he really meant’. []
  5. Anyone going to argue with me over that? No? I thought not. []
  6. Although I guess God had to get the water for the Great Flood from somewhere… []

God Creates the Frisbee

God Creates The Atheists

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A study made last year by researchers at the University of Minnesota found that people declaring themselves to be atheists are the least trusted in America. A phone survey of more than 2000 people rated atheists ‘…below Muslims, recent immigrants, homosexuals and other groups as “sharing their vision of American society.”‘

In America, it seems, one has freedom of religion, but when it comes to freedom of thought, not so much.

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