Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Mind Games and the Star Children of Terra

In 1997, a bold group of adventurers set out on a quest to rendezvous with an alien spacecraft that was trailing behind the comet Hale Bopp. They believed that the time had come to shed their earthly human shells to become the star children they knew they were all destined to be. - Either that or a bunch of misguided fools had just committed suicide for nothing. You tell. And how many of us ridiculed – even laughed at – the Heavens Gate followers who so confidently laced up their Nike sneakers, dropped a few bucks in their pockets, and then poisoned themselves (working in shifts) to hasten their journey to the stars?

They must have been nuts.

Then we dutifully prayed that their lost souls would be delivered safely into Heaven as we sifted through the morning paper to check out our horoscopes. But that’s okay. It seems we all have our own superstitions, whether it’s the fear of catastrophic pole shifts and other "Earth Changes", or the forever-warned approach of Judgment Day. After all, didn’t Nostradamus predict these things were going to happen? Sadly, some of us are willing to die for our own beliefs – to achieve some kind of spiritual Good, while still others are willing to kill for them. And that’s not okay.

I think, initially at least, the Internet was a boon for fringe astrological cults, dark conspiracy advocates, and New Age pseudo-religions. People may not have blindly fallen for their teachings and proclamations, but many still went to their websites out of curiosity and a sympathetic willingness to hear them out. For many people, they simply wished to keep an open mind about other people’s belief systems. But I think that way of thinking lends legitimacy to these groups – at least in the eyes of the "open-minded" among us.

Want a taste of what’s still out there? Below is a very partial listing of what these groups have to offer. Many of them will come off as being quite serious and knowledgeable about their ideas and predictions. But all reasonable folks should see these whack-job sites for the silliness they truly represent.

The Enterprise Mission

Galactic Diplomacy


The Universe People

The Nibiruan Council


Amazingly, there are people out there who will actually buy audio tapes and books from these sites. It’s strange to think that would be so. But even Charles Manson has his admirers. And it's also true that there are websites out there that are not so obvious in their dubiousness. Check out the CSETI Homepage, which many folks might confuse with the real scientific site, the SETI Institute. Until you read on a bit, that is, where they talk of alien visitors and government conspiracies.

As for me, I stopped reading my horoscope over fifteen years ago. Astrology is a dreamy-eyed sham. I’m sure many of you will disagree, and that’s okay. Feel free to spend your dollars on those natal charts and palm readings. Even con artists have to make a living.

Astronomy is the real science of the planets and stars. Here’s some planetary distances for you to consider the next time you think Neptune’s alignment with Jupiter caused you to get pregnant (or for you guys, caused you to get someone pregnant). The Earth is approximately 93 million miles away from the Sun. For reference, that’s measured as 1 astronomical unit. Going past little Mars and the asteroid belt, we come to Jupiter, which is 5.2 astronomical units (AUs) from the sun (that’s 93 million x 5.2). Next up we have Saturn, which is 9.5 AUs from the sun. Think that’s far away? After Saturn, things start really getting distant: Uranus is over 19 AUs away from the sun. (Yes, that means that Uranus is as far away from Saturn as Saturn is from the sun.) And then there is Neptune, which orbits the sun from 30 AUs out there, and tiny Pluto, which is about 39 AUs distant. Still farther out are two small, newly discovered worlds, Sedna and Xena. Now, these are incredibly long distances we are talking about here – even for such large bodies as Jupiter and Saturn. The gravitational attraction of the person standing next to you is greater than anything those planets together could render.

So, you may ask, what about the Moon and the violent effect it seems to have on folks when it is full? Actually, the Moon is no larger when it is full than when it is one quarter. (Don’t laugh – some people think that is the case!) Its phase is merely the angle at which sunlight hits its surface as it orbits the Earth. And though it’s true the Moon’s distance to the Earth varies, the phase of the moon and its distance to the earth are not in any way related. A full Moon can be either at its closest distance to Earth or its farthest. Personally, I think there may be more crime and other "activity" during a full Moon simply because the nighttime is so much more illuminated, and so it’s easier to see and move around. (The "full moon" effect, by the way, is still very much debated in scientific circles, so one should not consider this effect as being a unquestioned "fact".)

Unfortunately, even with the most reliable, well-known scientific and astronomical facts at our fingertips, there will still always be those who simply choose to believe in the paranormal and spiritual state of our universe. For these believers, science cannot be trusted. The Council of the Enlightened Fathers said so. And that’s too bad.

Even in the modern Scientific Age, wishful thinkers abound.


Post a Comment

<< Home