Francis I de nieuwe paus: wie is het: 25 feiten.

 imageWitte rook en dat betekent een nieuwe paus. Maar wie is het, wat kun je morgen bij de koffie automaat vertellen? De engelstalige wikipedia is er altijd snel bij en heeft een goed overzicht. De 25 highlights:

  1. Het is de 1e paus ooit uit de America’s (Buenos Aires, Argentinie)
  2. Het is de 1e paus ooit uit het zuidelijk halfrond
  3. Het wordt de eerst Jesuit Paus
  4. Het is de 1e non Europese paus in de afgelopen 1200 jaar (de vorige kwam uit Syrie in 731 CE)
  5. Hij heet Jorge Mario Bergoglio
  6. Hij is 76 jaar, geboren op 17 december 1936
  7. Hij was de tegenkandidaat van Ratzinger bij de vorige verkiezingen.
  8. Hij staat bekend om zijn nederigheid: hij woonde in een klein appartement in plaats van de Bischops residentie en kookt zijn eigen eten
  9. Hij is een paus die, zoals ook uit zijn gekozen naam blijkt, zich sterk maakt voor de allerzwaksten in de maatschappij. Eerder in Argentinie heeft hij de uitspraak gedaan: “arme mensen worden vervolgd doordat ze werk willen en voor rijke mensen wordt geapplaudiseerd omdat ze gerechtigheid ontvluchten”. Er wordt verwacht dat door een paus uit deze hoek te kiezen dat er vanuit die sociale gedachte meer aansluiting komt bij de grote groep allerarmsten. De kerk heeft, ook in Argentinie, te maken met een terugloop van leden en mogelijk keert dit het tij.
  10. Hij is uiterst conservatief en daardoor niet bepaald zachtzinnig over homosexualiteit: hij noemt het destructief tegen het plan van God en ziet ook adoptie van kinderen door homosexuelen als een vorm van discriminatie tegen kinderen. Daarmee kreeg hij ruzie met de Argentijnse staat die deze toon noemde “middeleeuwse toestanden die herinneren aan de inquisitie” (waar overigens de vorige paus nog steeds van aan het hoofd stond). (Dat beloofd ook niet veel goeds voor de verdere leegloop in Nederland juist vanwege dit soort middeleeuwse gedachtes).
  11. Hij is de 266e paus en volgens de voorspelling van Nostradamus en Malachy  (voor de alu hoedjes onder ons) (zie http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prophecy_of_the_Popes) daarmee de laatste paus waarna Rome zal worden vernietigd en het einde der tijden is aangebroken. Wat ook niet helpt is de datum waarop hij paus werd: 13-03-2013 gecombineerd met het zijn van de 266e paus.
  12. Als je je verbaasde over hoe goed hij Italiaans sprak op TV: dat klopt hij is de zoon van Italiaanse immigranten (in principe dus eigenlijk wel weer een Italiaan).
  13. Naar verluid heeft hij de naam Francis gekozen naar Francis van Assisi. De Italiaan die de orde van de Franciscanen stichtte en eerste die een stigmate kreeg (dat je wellicht kent van de film) (maar ook degene die de kerststal bedacht: die je kent van onder de kerstboom).
  14. Hij is tegen abortus en euthanasie (conservatief dus) (hij noemt het serieuze misdaden tegen leven en families) hij is wel voorstander van voorbehoedsmiddelen ter voorkoming van ziektes.
  15. Gedurende de dictatuur in Argentinie (1976-1983) (ref. de vader van Maxima) (en de film met Madonna in de hoofdrol en het lied…) heeft hij zich afzijdig gehouden ondanks confessies van slachtoffers en hun familie die vertelden over martelingen, moord en ontvoeringen aan de priesters waarvan hij aan het hoofd stond. Hij wordt daarvoor bekritiseerd.
  16. We krijgen dus nu een nieuwe Argentijnse Koningin Maxima en hebben ook een nieuwe Argentijnse paus ondertussen blijven de Falkland eilanden naast Argentinie een conflict gebied nu ook in December 2012 de regering van Argentinie wederom eigenaarschap heeft geclaimd over de eilanden. Dus mischien krijgen we ook weer een nieuwe Argentijnse oorlog.
  17. In zijn thuisland is 67% rooms katholiek maar blijft de kerk erg invloedrijk in de politiek en regering ook al is het kerkbezoek laag. 15% tot 20% van Argentinie is inmiddels niet religieus, een trend die eerder in Europa al is ingezet en nu ook in Zuid Amerika doorzet. Wellicht kan deze paus dat tij keren in zijn land. (de trend gaat hard omdat ook de cijfers in Wikipedia niet gebaseerd zijn op de laatste cijfers uit 2011) (van 92% gebasserd op de oudere cijfers als het CIA world fact book naar 67% in de laatste cijfers is een erg sterke daling). Daarnaast heeft het de hoogste hoeveelheid Moslims (1% van de bevolking) EN het hoogste percentage Joden (Buenos Aires is de 2e Joodse stad in de America’s na New York).
  18. De Paus spreekt vloeiend Spaans, Italiaans en Duits.
  19. Hij heeft een masters degree in scheikunde gehaald op de universiteit van Buenos Aires.
  20. Hij heeft ook lesgegeven in literatuur en psychologie in Buenos Aires.
  21. Hij heeft zijn doctoraal gehaald in Duitsland.
  22. In 1969 werd hij priester. In 1992 Bischop.. In 1998 Aartsbischop. In 2001 werd hij kardinaal. En… in 2013 paus.
  23. Vrijwel niemand had verwacht dat deze paus gekozen werd, veel mensen die voor geld online gokken op allerlei events hebben dan ook veel geld verloren (25-1).
  24. Hij is nu de “baas” over 1.2 milliard mensen waarvn 40% komt uit zijn basis Zuid Amerika.
  25. Hij heeft maar 1 long: toen hij tiener was werd er een long verwijderd door een infectie. Nu hij ouder wordt begint hij de gevolgen daarvan te ondervinden.

How to create a new religion

I read here (about scientology) (interesting comments by the way) :

I went to Art Center College of Design, where Ray Bradbury was on the board. He was a taciturn fellow, but recounted a story that I don’t know if it’s true or not, but basically he said Scientology was started on a dare.

That’s right; A DARE.

He said he and his contemporary sci-fi writer, L Ron Hubbard were discussing how religion is an obsolete human need, that science was taking its place, and that people didn’t need to believe in things like that anymore and that there could not be any new religions because humanity was past it. All religions are old religions (or factions thereof, like Mormonism via Christianity)

Well apparently L Ron bet him that he could create a new religion and wrote Dianetics, then created Scientology. It became so lucrative that essentially he went crazy, did in fact dodge taxes to the extent where he was living on a boat in international waters for the remainder of this life.

Bradbury was none to pleased about losing the bet.

So… I am like Bradbury. I can’t believe people would fall for it and I have the strange hope that science is prevailing. Still … this guy managed to create a new religion. “unbelievable but true”.  However… when I would live in 0 BC I probably would think the same. Heck, when I would live 2500 BCE I probably would be of the opinion that “we now live in a age where, after Imhotep, people probably won’t fall anymore for cults, religions and related anymore”… When I would live 5000 years BCE in Byblos I would probably think “well… we now live in  a civilized age where noone is really going to believe that our current dictator is actually a God…” (where he became THE god)…. (OMG!).

I saw an interview with James Randi on the Tros TV Show lately who debunked so many frauds like Uri Geller, James Hydrick, Joao de Deus, Allison DeBois (from the tv series Medium…) and so on and so on.. but most of them still make a lot of money. So no matter what happens the shows goes on. So why? How in the hell do these people actually get zillions of people giving them money?

And that is the real question. I read this course which gives some examples. And there are millions of sites who explains the nonsense of basically every fraud, from Nostradamus to organized religions to ufo-crazies to conspiracy-crazies and zillions of cults. But… the audience seems to be growing instead of the other way around.

I notice this also on my blog. Whenever I post something about “a strange thing” that article just get a lot of hits (see e.g. “is putin the anti-christ”). Somehow there are LOADS of people just surfing for these kinds of things. I just “did something funny” with an image, some mysterious text copy and pasted and wammo, shitloads of visitors. Science article? 4 visitors! “Bush Killed Kennedy” thousands of visitors!

Notice YouTube: just post something with UFO, no matter if it has been debunked a zillion times, mumble something as “conspiracy from people in your class who got better grades and got a science job instead of janitor…” and wammo 10.000.000 visitors all commenting on how mysterious our world is…………

Acupuncture is a good ‘case’. After so many years and so many researches they all basically say “nonsense”. But what happens? Nothing. People make still a gazillion dollars in the acupuncture industry.

So… I think that is the real problem to crack. I don’t think discussions with religious people, cult people, religion 2.0 people, paranormal xxx believers, conspiracy believers and so on are of any use. Maybe you can drop some interesting points but its to no avail. The feedback is mostly “fuzzy”, as in “you should not think”….. or “there is more between heaven and earth”.

And all in all “my group” is only a teeny weeny teeny weeny little percentage of the people on earth. A  mega minority.

So … what is the problem here? Is it the absence of critical thinking classes in our education system? Could that be it? That critical thinking classes are only part of (some) university educations? 

I really want to solve this problem, it’s an interesting one. Or actually… I want you to solve it.

To die for an idea: Hipassus and the Irrational numbers

When reading history it seems that every time someone has a ground breaking scientific idea he is either killed or expelled, normally we take “the earth is flat/round” as the prime example but the discovery of irrational numbers could be a good one to break with that cliché:

Greek philosophy on mathematics was strongly influenced by their study of geometry.

For example, at one time, the Greeks held the opinion that 1 (one) was not a number, but rather a unit of arbitrary length. A number was defined as a multitude. Therefore 3, for example, represented a certain multitude of units, and was thus not "truly" a number. At another point, a similar argument was made that 2 was not a number but a fundamental notion of a pair.

These views come from the heavily geometric straight-edge-and-compass viewpoint of the Greeks: just as lines drawn in a geometric problem are measured in proportion to the first arbitrarily drawn line, so too are the numbers on a number line measured in proportional to the arbitrary first "number" or "one."

These earlier Greek ideas of numbers were later upended by the discovery of the irrationality of the square root of two.

image Hippasus, a disciple of Pythagoras, showed that the diagonal of a unit square was incommensurable with its (unit-length) edge: in other words he proved there was no existing (rational) number that accurately depicts the proportion of the diagonal of the unit square to its edge.

This caused a significant re-evaluation of Greek philosophy of mathematics. According to legend, fellow Pythagoreans were so traumatised by this discovery that they murdered or expelled Hippasus to stop him from spreading his heretical idea. Despite the validity of his discovery, the Pythagoreans initially treated it as a kind of religious heresy and they either exiled or murdered Hippasus for having produced an element in the universe which denied the doctrine that all phenomena in the universe can be reduced to whole numbers and their ratios. Legend has it that the discovery was made at sea and that Hippasus’ fellow Pythagoreans threw him overboard.

The funny thing is that “in the world” that knowledge was already out there. The concept of irrationality was implicitly accepted by Indian mathematicians since the 7th century BC, when Manava (c. 750–690 BC) was aware that the square roots of certain numbers such as 2 and 61 could not be exactly determined.

Greek ideas remained dominant until the 17th century.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philosophy_of_mathematics
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hippasus
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irrational_numbers
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Commensurability_(mathematics)

Here: http://www.cut-the-knot.org/proofs/sq_root.shtml I found 19 proofs that √2 is irrational.

image There is always at the start just 1 single person who finds a new thing, after that he has to convince the whole world that his or hers idea is right. I wonder how many ideas actually “make it” through the “wisdom of the crowd”. How many ground-breaking ideas got lost?

There are however occasions when groups do help e.g. when estimating it has been found that the average guesses over a large group of humans do produce a more actual result. Which is, of course, something totally different.

In the uber connected world we have today however one thing that worries me is that we all are slowly becoming locked in. Maybe some of the most basic ideas are wrong and the ideas that once were there needed to form a correct tree got lost in time. Maybe we should start completely disconnected societies which have no interaction with each other to be able to verify some principles, ergo creating wisdom of crowds over multiple (virtual) planets who are totally disconnected. Maybe in one of these planets someone will find a completely other theory that would e.g. easily explain π − e or if they are real or not or even develop some set of philosophy or sciences that do not even exist in our interconnected crowd.

Sam Harris Video at Idea City 2005

I hadn’t seen this one before. It’s interesting to see how he builds up his story. What he says is terrifying. 44% of the Americans is unbelievable dumb. The mightiest country on earth, loaded with military, believes in total nonsense.

The time for respect for religion is long past. The time for political correctness is over.

He clearly lays out what the greatest challenge is of this century: curing our friends, family, relatives and any other human from these absurd ideas. We have to confront them with the notion that they are lunatic, idiots if they really fill their brains with religious nonsense.

Here is a bonus:

Personally, I think, that the answer lies not in battling on ideas on the current state of science. I think we should discuss history. And what exactly happened the past 6000 years.

This is a good start: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Osiris 

Egypt was founded by people who practiced cannibalism. Straight from the stone ages like everyone did those days:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_sacrifice

These people, the Nilotecs: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nilotic believed that people are what they eat. So they ate even their parents. Slowly these ideas became mingled with the Osiris religion

“He eats men, he feeds on the gods…he cooks them in his fiery cauldrons. He eats their words of power, he swallows their spirits…. He eats the wisdom of every god, his period of life is eternity…. Their soul is in his body, their spirits are within him.”

seizeth those who are a follower of Set…he breaketh their heads, he cutteth off their haunches, he teareth out their intestines, he diggeth out their hearts, he drinketh copiously of their blood!

If you have followed the wikipedia link on Human Sacrifice you will not wonder about the cruelty.

Although crude, this was a core concept, the conviction that one could receive immortality by eating the flesh and blood of a god who had died became a dominating obsession in the ancient world. The cult of Osiris thus did not outlaw dismemberment and eating of enemies, and practiced the ritual rending and eating of the sacred bull, symbolizing Osiris.

So slowly the more primitive cannibalistic offering ideas were replaced with the idea of Osiris, the savior, who could bring immortality by his death and offerings.

Primitive!

The sacrament however, the stone-age thoughts of offering or eating humans was still spread all over the world.

1000 years later, in that same Egypt, the mythical figure Moses:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moses , http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hebrew_Bible , http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Torah

wrote, according to legend, the Torah, the first 5 books, part of the old testament.

Influenced by not only the Egyptian, Osiris civilization but also other great civilizations like Babylon.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panbabylonism 

Particularly the idea of 1 God, invented also in Egypt, but 400 years earlier:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atenism

And the 10 commandments from the Book of Death of the Egyptians.

1300 years later a new Jewish sect arose. Every religion has thousands of sects, not only now but also then.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sect , http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hindu_sects , http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Divisions_of_Islam

“sects lay a claim to possess unique and privileged access to the truth or salvation and “their committed adherents typically regard all those outside the confines of the collectivity as ‘in error’”.

This sect was based around the jew Jesus. It took the sect 30 years to decide, in a meeting, that several Jewish traditions were no longer required, although first debated.

And contrary to the Jewish religion who finally got rid of human offerings or god offerings. The only single core concept it brought was the return of “the sacrifice of a super human” which would bring of course “super immortality” (back to square Osiris again). The original story of Adam and Eve (1500 years older) was changed to accommodate this to include “original sin” which Jesus solved. ALL the rest of traditions, beliefs, practices has been added the hundreds of years following by religious managers.

“eat my flesh, drink my blood”, this is what our forefathers said about 6000 years ago when they ate humans because they believed they would get “their power”.

Science now knows that you do not get the power of someone else when you eat him! Not only that but is seen as barbaric don’t you think?

Is this the complete story? No. You might want to read up on what all the other religions were doing: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion and how they became “big” and where they all started.

You might want to start reading about writing and papyrus and how that started the development of philosophy.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Writing, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cuneiform

The oldest writing was invented by the Sumerians, 5000 years ago. It led to an amazing amount of things since it led to a more advanced way of transferring knowledge and building knowledge on knowledge other than oral.

Papyrus accelerated this. When transferred to Greece, soon afterwards,Philosophy started. It has a direct influence on new ideas and new religions and new scientific inventions. As with the printing press much later.

And now there is the Internet, the new library of Alexandria, hopefully this will cause another increase in knowledge and hopefully a new form of beliefs.

There is so much more to find out there.

No (gay) marriages anymore in Rolduc

imageWe are married in the 18th century Rococo library of Rolduc, within the abbey founded in 1108 (more info). It is one of the most magnificent places to marry in the Netherlands (and Europe) and has been a few times on “television marriages”.

Today I read in NRC, which just dropped in my mailbox, that there will be no marriages any more in Rolduc.

The reason: Rolduc apparently does not want any gay marriages within their abbey.When the gay marriage became possible in 1998, the local Roman Catholic precinct made a agreement with the local government that marriages between partners of the same sex would not be done.

Recently this “agreement” became known and caused a lot of commotion. Today the mayor of Kerkrade, the city/jurisdiction in which also Rolduc falls, announced that no more marriages will take place any more in Rolduc starting from januari 2009 because disallowing a certain group of people to marry is in direct conflict with the constitution.

If I would have known that Rolduc had such an agreement I would not have married there.