There Won’t Be Any New Earth

One of the Bible's repeated assertions is that, after the apocalypse and the destruction of the world, God will create a new, perfect earth where believers will live in harmony forever:"And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away... And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. And he that sat … [Read more...]

Atlas Shrugged: The Galtocaust

Atlas Shrugged, part III, chapter X(Thanks to Sajanas for the title suggestion!)With John Galt on board safe and sound, the capitalists' plane heads for the Gulch and freedom, leaving the looters' world behind. The countryside below them is "an empty black sheet", reduced to darkness by the collapse of society:But when the place that had once been the source of the tide — New York City — rose in the distance before them, it was still extending its lights to the sky, still defying th … [Read more...]

Weekend Coffee: February 20

• Last month, I wrote about Richard Dawkins being disinvited from NECSS for sexist comments. I'm disappointed but, in a sign of my cynicism, not overly surprised that NECSS has caved in and reinvited him. Needless to say, I won't be attending. Ophelia has more, and a follow-up.• In happier news, scientists at the LIGO detector confirm the existence of gravitational waves, a Nobel-worthy discovery if there ever was one. LIGO picked up the signal of two black holes colliding and … [Read more...]

Weekend Coffee: October 11

• eBible Fellowship, a Christian group with ties to Harold Camping, predicted the world would end on October 7. Oops! After the date came and went, they put up a defiant post in which they conceded their error, yet insisted the world is still going to burn in hell anyway. (Here's a graphic of some other end-time blunders through history.)• The men trying to stop Sikh women from marrying outside their religion, using violence if necessary.• I've written about the horrible … [Read more...]

Blood Moon Lunacy, or the Virtue of Vagueness

On Sunday night, I went out to see the "super blood moon" eclipse. It was a clear autumn night, and I got a good view of the Earth's shadow spreading across the Moon, like a dark slice taken out of a white sea. When the eclipse reached totality, the Moon's face dimmed to a ruddy polished-copper color, glimmering with, as Phil Plait puts it, the reflected light of every sunset on Earth.This was the fourth and final in a series of total lunar eclipses last year and this year. It was also a … [Read more...]

Atlas Shrugged: The Rapture of the Capitalists

Atlas Shrugged, part II, chapter XLeaving the stranded train behind, Dagny and Owen Kellogg set out into the night to seek help. As they walk along the tracks, they get to talking. Dagny tells Kellogg how hard her job has become, lamenting, "I don't have a single first-rate man left on the Taggart system" (ouch - sorry, Eddie!), and offers him any job he wants if he'll work for her again:"All right. Track walker.""What?""Section hand. Engine wiper." He smiled at the look on her … [Read more...]

What’s Behind the Appeal of ISIS?

Amidst the steady drumbeat of grim headlines in the Middle East, the trend I've been most concerned by is the strange drawing power of ISIS, also known as Islamic State or Daesh, the brutal extremist group rampaging through Iraq and Syria, capturing cities and committing horrendous acts of violence. ISIS seems to exert an almost magnetic attraction, drawing in not just the disaffected, the disgruntled, petty thugs and criminals, but also young Muslims from middle-class Western families, people … [Read more...]

Weekend Coffee: November 2

• After serving most of a ten-year prison sentence for tax evasion, Kent Hovind was due to be released next year... but now the government is pressing new charges, saying that he filed fraudulent liens in an attempt to stop them from seizing his property as part of the punishment for his original conviction.• Virgin Galactic's experimental rocket plane SpaceShipTwo crashed during a test flight in the Mojave Desert, killing one of its two pilots. It's a tragic setback and a … [Read more...]

Ragnarok Is Upon Us

You'd think that a news story this big would be impossible to miss, but somehow I overlooked it until just now. I hope you'll forgive my tardiness, readers, because I have urgent information to impart: the Jorvik Viking Center has predicted that Ragnarok, the Norse apocalypse foretold in the ancient texts called the Eddas, is due to occur on February 22, 2014 - less than two weeks away!As you doubtless know, Ragnarok is the world-shattering war in which the gods will be slain in battle with … [Read more...]

Notable (and Hilarious) Examples of the Christian Right’s Failed Prophecies

This article was originally published on AlterNet.The Christian right in America, like all organized religions, claims to have a correct and exclusive understanding of God's will. To hear them tell it, the almighty creator of the universe has strong opinions about corporate tax rates, firearm ownership, and what consenting adults do with their genitals, and he's delegated them to speak on his behalf.But if they want us to believe they have this authority, it seems only fair to consider … [Read more...]