slumber-powered

after the sleeping comes the waking up.

Posts Tagged ‘hoaxes’

Evolution according to L. Ron Hubbard

Posted by c. wagner on November 20, 2009

What to Audit lists a series of incarnations or a “time-track” from the beginnings of the universe to man: the evolution, or “genetic line,” of the human body. According to Hubbard, the “time-track” runs back to a point where the individual seemed to be “an atom, complete with electronic rings.” After which came the “cosmic impact,” then the “photon converter,” and then the first single-cell creature to reproduce by dividing, the “helper.” Passing quickly through “seaweed,” the evolutionary line moved on to “jellyfish” and then the “clam.” … The next stage in Hubbard’s evolutionary theory was another shellfish, the “Weeper” (also the “Boohoo,” or as Hubbard jovially refers to it at one point, “the Grim Weeper”). This creature is the origin of human “belching, gasping, sobbing, choking, shuddering, trembling.” Fear of falling has its origin with hapless Weepers which were dropped by predatory birds. After a few comments on “being eaten” (which allegedly explains diet fads and vegetarianism), Hubbard moves forward in evolution to the sloth. It seems that none of the incarnations between shellfish and the sloth was unpleasant enough to cause major psychological damage. From the sloth, Hubbard moves on to the “ape,” and the Piltdown man (who had very large teeth, and a nasty habit of eating his spouse); then the caveman (who presumably had smaller teeth, and used to cripple his wife instead of eating her). From there, usually “via Greece and Rome,” Hubbard’s theory moves to modern times. [page 131-132]

Whoa. I had no idea one of my ancestors was a creature whose skull contained a lower jaw from an orangutan and a cranium from a modern human that was buried by a hoaxster in a gravel pit in England in 1912. That’s what the Piltdown man was. So, technically he should come after “Greece and Rome” on the Scientology evolutionary tree. Sheesh, he’s young enough to be one of my grandparents.

Way to go, higher Scientological higher intelligences!

(quote from A Piece of Blue Sky by Jon Atack)

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Do I really need to talk about dowsing?

Posted by c. wagner on November 6, 2009

I’ll keep it simple for those who haven’t heard it before.

Dowsing. Does. Not. Work.

Ever.

Dowsing has been tested dozens of times by scientists under controlled conditions and  it’s failed spectacularly every time.

Which makes it extra disturbing that right now it’s being used for something vitally important. Bomb detection in Baghdad. That’s right, the Iraqi army is using dowsing rods to “search” cars for explosives. Even though the U.S. Army, that bastion of reason, has said the rod isn’t worth the metal and plastic it’s made of.

Still, the Iraqi government has purchased more than 1,500 of the devices, known as the ADE 651, at costs from $16,500 to $60,000 each. Nearly every police checkpoint, and many Iraqi military checkpoints, have one of the devices, which are now normally used in place of physical inspections of vehicles.

This can’t end well, can it?

The suicide bombers who managed to get two tons of explosives into downtown Baghdad on Oct. 25, killing 155 people and destroying three ministries, had to pass at least one checkpoint where the ADE 651 is typically deployed, judging from surveillance videos released by Baghdad’s provincial governor.

Nope. Not good at all.

Read the full article at the New York Times.

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Are meteor craters the new crop circles?

Posted by c. wagner on October 28, 2009

Reports of a meteor impact in Latvia may have been greatly exaggerated. It now looks like the crater was created by someone with a backhoe and some fireworks.

We may be seeing the start of a new series of circle-shaped hoaxes in the countryside for fame and cash. Only this time they’ll be loosely based on science instead of alien invasions or ley lines.

Read the article at the BBC.

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Did she have an affair with the Easter Bunny?

Posted by c. wagner on October 21, 2009

Wikipedia featured one of my favorite hoaxes on the front page today: Mary Toft and her rabbit “babies”.

Seems that Mary, after a miscarriage, began giving birth to rabbits. Or, more accurately, parts of rabbits. She was examined by a number of doctors, including some of great prominence, who declared that Mary was telling the truth. Miraculously, she was the mother of rabbit parts. Some doctors remained skeptical.

Eventually, Mary was isolated for a number of days. No more bunny bits. Under pressure, Mary confessed it was all a hoax. But that wasn’t quite the end of the story.

The public mockery which followed created panic within the medical profession. Several prominent surgeons’ careers were ruined, and many satirical works were produced, each scathingly critical of the affair. The pictorial satirist and social critic William Hogarth was notably critical of the gullibility of the medical profession.

Mary hoaxed some of the best medicine had to offer in the early 1700s. And it seems as though the profession has learned its lessons from her and other similar incidents. It’s much harder to hoax men of medicine now, but plenty of people are fooled by non-doctors making amazing claims about health and healing.

If your baloney detector goes off, it might just be a scam.

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