torsdag 11. september 2008

No end today, it seems a common sight

While the silly buzz about the CERN’s Large Hadron Collider putting the world at risk is still eh... buzzing silly (of course we are safe as we all know K9 is faithfully stabilising the black hole as shown briefly in the Doctor Who spin off Invasion of the Bane), you could do worse than visit Times online for a take on 30 days when the world didn't end.

As there has been a lot of other days when the world didn't end either, the key here is the fortunate mismatch between someone declaring the imminent end and the universe not bowing to the decree.

It is interesting that the last 20 of these predictions is from after AD 1800.

The best one is undoubtedly #29:
Friday 13th April 2007: An un-named punter placed a £10 best at 10,000/1 with Ladbrokes, the bookmakers, that the world would end on that day. It is unclear how he expected to collect.
A note of caution, though. #2 - based on Matthew 16:28 - is easily misunderstood (and has been down the ages, hence many a doomsday sect) to necessarily mean the end of this universe. It seems at least equally probable to interprete it like New Testament scholar N.T. Wright in Chapter 13 (The Return of the King) of his lenghty but fast paced volume Jesus and The Victory of God.

Wright carefully argues (unlike e.g. The Jesus Seminar) that Jesus in fact was an apocalyptic prophet with an eschatological program. However, in view of the Old Testament, Wright concludes that Jesus "saw his journey to Jerusalem as the symbol and embodiment of YHWH's return to Zion".

In that case, the end of the world-images may well be taken as the end of the present phase of history. It is completed by Jesus' journey to Jerusalem and the fall of the city to the Romans in AD 70, which leads to a new Jewish exile.

Be that as it may. Before the world ends we still have time for another classic quote by Wright:

Heaven is important, but its not the end of the world.

tirsdag 9. september 2008

1434 and all that

Damian Thompson has another well deserved, timely and to the point go at "Gavin Menzies’ drivel" in The Telegraph.
Every bookshop in Britain is presenting a book called 1434 by Gavin Menzies as a major history title. Like the Olympic spectacular, Menzies' book celebrates Chinese history. Its subtitle is: "The year a magnificent Chinese fleet sailed to Italy and ignited the Renaissance." But, like the Beijing firework display, it is not quite what it seems.

In fact, 1434, published by Rupert Murdoch's HarperCollins, is not a history book in any meaningful sense of the term. That is because, to put it bluntly, a magnificent Chinese fleet did not sail to Italy in 1434 – or, if it did, not a single eyewitness recorded this amazing event. Did the Venetians have their backs to the water when it slipped past?
Read more about this counterknowledge at... eh... Counterknowledge

mandag 8. september 2008

Plovdiv plotting

Playing Plovdid last night.

And even better here.

Have fun!

søndag 7. september 2008

Have you heard of Necronomicon?

The old Christian one, Jack Chick, is not the only one out there.

H.P. Lovecraft, the old atheist one, also does inspire a tract or two.

The question then, to upset one's stomach, is not so much who goes where as who will be eaten first. In veritas, worldviews vary.

Thanks to P.C. Jørgensen for pointing the way.