10 October 2009

The peace of the grave

 from Doctor Zero at HotAir:

The cultural and political elite of Europe is delighted to give Obama an award for his bold work in turning America into the same kind of dilettante basket case they are. The people who sat helplessly and watched the slaughter in Bosnia may come to regret sacrificing their last shred of credibility to shore up a weak President, so he can finish the task of hobbling the only nation on Earth that can do a damned thing to prevent a slaughter. Europe thinks it can do business with the Islamic fascism creeping through its streets, but it will find any deals it makes with them have expiration dates, as surely as all of Barack Obama’s promises do. When they once again turn to America to save them, they had better hope we’ve had the wisdom to replace the confused and helpless man clutching his shiny Nobel Peace Prize with someone who can saddle up and ride to the rescue. Negotiation without principle is submission, and the only peace brought by submission is the peace of the grave.

Galileo was tortured and other myths about science and religion

Some few HancAquam Followers have suggested that I begin a book review column, maybe once a week or so.  Though this is a good idea, I doubt very seriously that most of my readers would want to read reviews of Subjectivity, Objectivity, and Intersubjectivity, or Philosophical Dialectics:  an essay on metaphilosophy, etc.  Anyway, I read one fascinating book this summer that I think a number of you might enjoy.  Below is an excellent review from Mark Kalthoff posted at First Things:

Galileo Goes to Jail and Other Myths about Science and Religion
edited by Ronald L. Numbers
Harvard , 302 pages, $27.95

We all know the aphorism—“It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble, but what you think you know that just ain’t so.”

Now, thanks to the historical sleuthing of eminent science historian Ronald Numbers and his cadre of two-dozen “myth-busters,” we have ample evidence that much received wisdom concerning the historical relations between science and religion has caused real intellectual trouble because it just ain’t so. The book’s title names one of the iconic myths from a canon of false claims in the history of Western science. The volume contains twenty-five such guffaws in all, each with its own brief chapter devoted to defusing the myth. One by one they fall, beginning with the “greatest myth,” the notion that the history of encounters between science and religion is a tale of “constant conflict.”

The volume’s careful organization and execution reveal the kind of planning and teamwork absent from too many edited collections, but which have come to be expected from Numbers. Each chapter of Galileo Goes to Jail begins with two or three epigraphs that clearly convict scholarly and popular literature of perpetuating the myth in question. Most authors then explore the nuances of the myth, its origin, complexity, and longevity, before telling the “rest of the story.”

Was Galileo imprisoned and tortured for advocating Copernicanism? Of course not, despite the fact that the clueless and ignorant persist in recycling all those long-ago discredited accounts.

Nor did medieval Christians teach that the earth was flat, nor did Copernicanism demote humans from the middle of the cosmos. Further, Darwin neither destroyed natural theology nor inspired Nazi biology nor converted back to Christianity on his deathbed. And depending upon the company one keeps, some think they know that Christianity gave birth to modern science while others are sure that the scientific revolution liberated science from religion. Neither happened.

From the Church Fathers’ encounter with ancient science to the recent attempts of new-age mystics to coopt quantum physics, this volume has something to intrigue and instruct both popular and academic readers, whatever their theological tradition.

While a couple chapters do little more than tear down mythical straw men and another is overly derivative from previous publications, these are minor weaknesses. Numbers and his colleagues have successfully called propaganda by its real name and demonstrated, in the words of one contributor, that “history fails to be reliable whenever it neglects to show us the world as it looked to the historical actors themselves.”

—Mark A. Kalthoff

09 October 2009

Nobel Cmte: 3 Left Liberals, 2 Liberals

Ah, now it makes sense. . . the whole Barry as Nobel Prize winner thing. . .the selection cmte was dominated by Euro-lefties who love his Hate America First diplomacy:

". . .a peek at the backgrounds of the five people who made the selection gives a clue why the prize panel would be so favorably disposed to Obama – three of them would be considered hard-left liberals in American politics. One of those belongs to Norway’s Socialist Left party.

And all five people on the committee are politicians selected by the Norwegian parliament, and generally hew to a Norwegian view of foreign affairs — internationalist in outlook and with a broad affinity for Obama’s posture on the world stage."

And don't let the red herring that two cmte members belonged to Norway's version of the GOP fool you. . .conservatives in Europe are simply slightly less emphatic about their socialism than their opponents.

Nobel Prize for Barry the Neophyte: what say you?

B.O. wins the Nobel Peace Prize! Your reaction?

'Bout time...it's been what...like nine months?

Perhaps premature but nonetheless deserved

An indication of great things to come...soon...I hope.

Diminishes the Prize with obvious political manipulation

How do amateurs rates international prizes?

It's not like he writes his own speeches...or even makes actual decisions or anything

Norwegian a$$ kissers...give me the prize in chemisty for peeing on a tree


pollcode.com free polls

Mockery, disgrace, farce--all come to mind. . .

Nobel Peace Prize and $1.50 will get you a small coffee at McDonald's.

Well, it's not like it means much after they gave to it carbon-hog, Pope Gore I of the Church of Global Warming.

Someone, please. . .tell me, how does one rate a Nobel Peace Prize when one has only been eligible for said prize for two weeks?

I do believe that someone is worried about not getting enough Obamass-kissing in before the holidays!

Now, a humble man, one who truly understands his accomplishments and acknowledges the limits of his influence, would turn this prize down. . .and wait until it is truly deserved.  Will B.O. turn it down?  Of course not!  He thinks he was born deserving this prize.  (FYI:  if he turns it down--despite my pessimistic predictions--I will apologize right here on this blog.  AND I will apologize sincerely. . .I'm used to having to be reminded that humility is the best road.)  But in my long experience working with borderline personality disordered patients, all of whom were clinical narcissists, I'm willing to bet this month's stipend that B.O. can't resist this wholly undeserved prize.  He will accept and use "I" and "me" in more than 50% of the acceptance speech.

I just sent an email to the Nobel Prize Cmte expressing my dismay at this absurd degradation of the Peace Prize.  I would encourage all of you to do the same:  postmaster@nobel.no


In a comment posted below, MightyMom (who isn't my mom, btw) asks, "WHAT is all this "co-creator with God" crap? I've heard or read it about 15 times in the last 2 weeks and it gives me morning sickness!!"

After Mom finishes washing her mouth out with soap. . .  :-)

Good ideas in theology quickly become bad ideas when a few basic distinctions aren't made.  Lots of Goofy Catholics have latched on to the "co-creator" idea and turned it into something it was never meant to be.

Are we "co-creators" with God?  Yes, properly understood.  The improper way to understand this is to say that since we are co-creators with God we are also the final cause of all creative acts and therefore any and everything we want to create is of God and Good.  You can see where this line of thinking is going.   This misunderstanding is essentially a way to sneak neo-pagan piffling about us being gods into Christian theology.  We are not gods.  With Christ, we can become God--share in His Divine Nature.  But this sharing is a grace, a gift not something we possess or use as a matter of our given natures. 

So, how are we to understand ourselves as "co-creators" with God?  Two things first:  1) we are not God's equal in any shape, form, or fashion.  "Co" here means "with" not "equal to" or "same as;" 2). we create nothing--all we can do is reshape what has already been created by God.  Given those two points, we are co-creators with God in so far as we freely cooperate with the gifts He has given us in order to serve others so that His love is perfected in us.  In the same way that we are co-creators, we are also co-redeemers; that is, when we cooperate with God's grace we participate in our own redemption.  In all cases of our cooperation with God, the initiative always belong to God.  He acts; we react.  God never imposes His will on us.  Gifts must be received and used.  This is the "with" part of the co-creator--we do all things with God.

The key to sniffing out the B.S. in co-creator rhetoric is pretty simple:  is the emphasis on God's freely given gifts to us and our cooperation with those gifts?  The B.S. usually smells like "I Am a Co-Creator and I Can Do Whatever I Want."  Almost immediately after this announcement, some fav sin (usually sexually-oriented) will be declared Good and Holy.  Or some other infallible Church teaching will be declared null and void.

08 October 2009

Coffee Bowl Browsing (Catholic Edition)

Great article on Catholic higher education. . .after having spent eight to ten years studying all the goofy ways of dismantling the western literary tradition as sexist, homophobic, classist, etc., now more than ever I am convinced that there is no education better than a classical liberal arts education.

Cardinal George spanks the left and right in the Church (Warning:  links to odious NCR).  In general, I think the Good Cardinal is correct.  He does more here than the usual tedious balancing act we have come to expect from our politically savvy bishops.  Cardinal George is no dummy. . .he gets it.

I will be so glad when this mess is straightened out.  The Devil has used the confusion and rancor around these appearances to divide the Church.  Time for some clarity.  AND some obedience!

John Allen (of the the aforementioned odious NCR) has a nice summary of the Bishops' Synod on Africa.  The issue covered here is the use and abuse of ecclesial power in Africa.  Unlike the US and Western Europe, becoming a priest in Africa is a HUGE move up the socio-economic and political ladder.  One of the big problems for men's religious communities in Africa is making sure vocation candidates are called to priesthood and religious and not just the prestige and power that the office brings.

[Off to Lauds. . .more later. . .]

His Cranky-Professorialness is gettin' crunk on Dante

Speaking of Dante. . .here's a few choice quotes from the Divine Comedy about the BVM

And speaking of the BVM, here's a site with tons of info on her titles, ornaments, appearances.

Fr. Hardon gives us a nice history of Eucharistic Adoration.

HancAquam Poll: Coffee Bowl Browsing

What do you think of Coffee Bowl Browsing?

Great Stuff! Keep it up

Good read, nice distraction

So-so, no big woo

Not really interested

Waste of my time and yours


pollcode.com free polls

07 October 2009

Coffee Bowl Browsing (Tabloid Edition)

. . .because life is just not strange enough all by itself. . .

Real lede in a UK tabloid:  "A gay man tried to poison his lesbian neighbours by putting slug pellets into their curry after he was accused of kidnapping their three-legged cat."

Brainwashed Kiddie Troupe Mouths Obamaganda

Local Nudist Apiarists Clean Hive

Angry Women's Group Funds Research into Husband-Telepathy

"She's a bloke!" Toughs Whooped by Muscled Drag Queens

Future U.S. President's Almost Son-in-Law to go Commando in Nudie Mag

Dominican vs. Franciscan Cage Match at Notre Dame!

Big Mouth Expert Says Nuns Won't Change; suspects Zombie infiltration

French Clerics Gettin' Down at Disco Mass; multiple cases of nausea reported by faithful

HR Director called 'Racist' for 'Herding Cats' Comment

Community Organizers Save America from Itself by Tossing GOP Voter Registrations

Giant Pokemon Stomps on Tokoyo; eats own weight in sushi

Alien Supreme Leader's Urgent Request to Earthlings, "Please, change my diaper"

Zombie Clowns Attack Funeral; they only ate the noses

Bothersome Film Maker says Eco-p0rn Not Evil Just Wrong; celebrities wail, gnash teeth

06 October 2009

Questions. . .

Questions. . .

1).  Lots of Catholic bloggers are posting on the Conservative Bible Project What say you?

At a glance, I think this is something of a parody, or maybe someone is tweaking fundamentalist translations/interpretations of the Bible.  Since the Bible is neither conservative nor liberal, I don't know that it makes any sense to edit scripture along conservative political lines.  If a Bible edition is obviously ideologically biased (feminist slant, or fundie evangelical slant), then it would be possible to un-slant the slant by returning to the text.   However, the central difficulty of translating any text is the problem American philosopher, W.V.O. Quine identified as the "indeterminacy of translation thesis."  Simply put:  all translations are necessarily interpretations.  Language by its very nature is culturally bound, so a translator cannot simply transpose words/phrases from one language into another without a remainder.  IOW, something of the original meaning is always lost in the translation.  Catholics have understood this from Day One, thus the absolute necessity of a living body to provide authoritative interpretations rooted in tradition.  We call this body the Church.

[N.B.  Regarding Quine's thesis--Quine argues that since no one translation can be right, all translations are wrong.  This seems a bit fatalistic to me.  I often tell my poetry students that though there is no one right interpretation of a poem, there are billions of wrong ones.]

2).  What do you think of Karen Armstrong's work?

An edited version of my combox response:  I've not read an entire book of hers. What little I've read strikes me the same-old, same-old "I used to Catholic but now I'm educated so I don't believe all that stuff anymore; now I believe all this other religously, vaguely Christian stuff that really highly educated people won't be embarrassed to read about" kind of ex-Catholic. Not impressed.  What I mean here is the Armstrong seems to be one of those ex-Catholic writers who depends quite heavily on her former status as a "devout Catholilc" in order to lend credibility to her attacks on the Church.  As far as these writers go, Armstrong seems to be less bigoted than most.  Armstrong makes all the standard moves:  1). since Catholicism is all about being catholic, i.e., universal, then anything goes for a Catholic; 2) attempts to define/limit what counts as legit Catholicism is really just sexist old men trying to hold on to power; 3). real religious freedom is all about not putting God in a box; 4). the best way to Christian is to put God in a left-liberal, revisionist box. . .ad nau.

3).  Alpha males among the Traditionalists?  Comment?

Yea.  I've met a few.  I could go on all day psychoanalyzing this phenomenon, but let it suffice to say that some in the Traddie movement have adopted the same tactic as our more progressive brethren in their fight to define the faith.  Pick a decade in Church history.  Argue that this decade is the only decade among all the decades of history when the Church Got It All Right.  Demand we all accept this premise.  Excommunicate anyone who disagrees.  This sort also comes with two other quirks:  1). an obsession with oddball devotions and 2). an obsession with apocalyptic scenarios described by obscure eastern European seers.  I've often described these folks as those who accost their pastors with type-written tracts demanding that he consecrate the parish with a monthly recitation of the Novena of the Big Toe of St Joseph, or the whole country will be scourged with a blight of athlete's foot.  I am NOT deriding real traditionalism here.  Far from it.  My aim is to goof on those alpha males in the movement who seem to be--like our feminist brethren--perpetually angry and demanding action from Church authorities to calm their imaginary fears of an impending doomsday.  Common to both camps is a lack of faith in Christ's assurance to his disciples:  "The gates of hell will never prevail against the Church."  All will be well, all manner of things will be well.

4).  Harry Potter, Halloween, and the dangers of paganism?

I've written on this theme many times and I am forthrightly unambiguous in my opposition to anything that smacks of neo-paganism being practiced by Catholics.  Having said that, I see no problem with Harry Potter or Halloween so long as parents take charge of both and ensure that impressionable children understand the difference between fantasy and reality.  My experience working with kids is that the quickest way to get them to do something dangerous is to forbid it.  If your child wants to read the Harry Potter book, let them.  But read along with them and discuss the material.  I don't buy the meme that the books are Christian simply because they pit good against evil.  The only Good Catholics need to call on is Christ and his Church.  But it seems to me easy enough to point this out to a child precocious enough to want to read Rowling's heavy tomes.   Same goes for Halloween.  Explain what the holiday is all about and give it a Christian spin.  This is a time-honored Catholic practice for evangelization.   I often wonder if calls for banning books or holidays among Catholics is really a sublimated desire to forgo responsible parenting.  Children are to learn the faith first from their parents.  The government, the schools, the library cannot take on this responsibility without the child's faith being seriously damaged.

Coffee Bowl Browsing (Zombie Apocalypse Edition)

Coffee Bowl Browsing, wherein we learn that all things may be interpreted through the hermeneutic of the Zombie Apocalypse. . .

The weapon of choice for the Church Militant for fighting the upcoming Zombie Apocalypse (ZA)

Visual guide for appropriate facial expressions at the beginning of the Z.A.

Cuisine for the non-Zombie during the Z.A.

Zombie Theologians of the Z.A. . .they are among us already!

Zombie Bats attack U.S. space program during the Z.A.

Hippos are the natural predator of the Zombie

Tip #4,783 for surviving the Z.A.:  Zombies can't drive on the snow.

Another tip for surviving the Z.A.:  Zombies are easily confused--defend your home by redecorating (#329).

Using nature's weapons to fight the Z.A. . .remember:  Zombies are clumsy.

Mutant Zombie Midgets do not make good babysitters

Don't be fooled!  Even our toys and candy will be infected during the Z.A.

If you think piranhas are dangerous. . .wait 'til you meet Zombie Fish!

An idea for recycling all those Zombie bodies

Books still on the No-Show List

Earlier in the summer I noted which books from the WISH LIST had arrived recently. I noted that the books shown below had not arrived in the U.S. They weren't here in Rome either. So, either they got lost in the mail, or maybe someone just used the list to buy these books for themselves...which is perfectly fine, btw! I just don't want anyone thinking I failed to send a Thank You note. (I'm still behind on one or two notes...so don't think me a clod just yet...).

Product Image
Elementary Christian Metaphysics: Philosophy (Irish in America) by Joseph Owens (Author)
$24.00$20.72 28 Used & New from $5.00
5.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
In Stock. Offered by Amazon.com.

Added 3 months ago.
“keepin me grounded in Aquinas...USED is OK with me...”
Quantity Received: 2
Priority: high

Product Image
The Shaky Game (Science and Its Conceptual Foundations series) by Arthur Fine (Author)
$25.00 17 Used & New from $13.50
3.5 out of 5 stars See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
In Stock. Offered by Amazon.com.

Added 3 months ago.
“essential reading for my thesis/diss...U​SED is OK with me...”
Quantity Received: 1
Priority: high

Product Image
Modern Physics and Ancient Faith by Stephen M Barr (Author)
$20.00$14.40 40 Used & New from $8.94
4.4 out of 5 stars See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
In Stock. Offered by Amazon.com.

Added 4 months ago.
“one of my fav columnists from First Things”
Quantity Received: 1
Priority: high

Product Image
The Two Wings of Catholic Thought: Essays on Fides Et Ratio by David R. Foster (Editor), Joseph W. Koterski (Editor)
$19.95 11 Used & New from $18.56
5.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
In Stock. Offered by Amazon.com.

Added 5 months ago.
Quantity Received: 2

The Adventures of an Itinerant Friar

It was 3am in Houston on a Sunday, and I couldn't sleep.  Up and at 'em!  Packing took all of an hour. 

When I got the downtown airport shuttle in Houston Sunday afternoon, it was raining.  The driver dropped us off at Terminal C.  My flight left from Terminal D.  Unfortunately, the Instantaneous Teleporter Devices were not working so I had do make the trip to D the old-fashioned way:  by train, elevator, escalator, and on foot.  Let the copious sweating begin!

And it did.  Thirty-minutes later I arrived at D.

No problems at the ticket-counter.  Security is always a hassel b/c I travel with a CPAP machine and a laptop.  Both have to be removed from carrying cases for inspection.  I've discovered that if you smile and say lots of friendly things to the TSA folks, the process is painless. 

Got to departure my gate to discover that D at IAH has only one restaurant and one newstand, so spent lots of time reading my novel.  As the time for departure rolled around, I noticed that the waiting area near the gate wasn't all that crowded.  Always a good sign.  Sure enough, the flight was only 2/3 full.  I got a row of seats to myself!

The flight was a bit bumpy over Canada and Ireland.  Nothing to cause a panic though.  We arrived at Heathrow about 40 minutes early. . .so early, in fact, that we couldn't taxi to a gate.  They sent a bus for us.  Since I was in the last row of the plane, I made it on the third bus. . .this process took almost 90 minutes.

Once inside Heathrow, we were herded around like livestock.  I was reminded of the 1970's sci-fi movie, Soylent Green.  During a street riot scene in the movie, police use a troop carrier with a giant scoop on the front to lift rioters into the bed of the truck.  They are unceremoniously hauled off to God Knows Where.  Later we learn that the gov't uses dead human bodies to produce a food substance called "soylent green."  The main character of the movie discovers this secret and starts shouting, "Soylent green is people!"  I suppressed the urge to follow his example.

Heathrow employees are an efficient lot.  But you get the impression that their polite efficiency is deeply rooted in a fascistic desire for control.  The British ladies in uniform issue curt, demanding orders.  You have the sense that disobedience will be met with disapproving glares, if not shots to the gut with cattle-prods.  We are inspected, stampled, digitally photographed, and sorted into even more lines.

Three of these  long lines and several processing stations later, I rush to the gate and check-in five minutes before we are due to leave.  Of course, the flight is full.  By this point in my adventure I have been awake for about 18 hours.  My disposition is not improved by the young woman who decides to carry on a standing two hour conversation with a colleague right next to my seat.  At one point, I doze off and let loose a roaring, snoring snort!  The young woman jumps, gives me a dirty look, and returns to her seat.  Though entirely accidental, I am delighted that my rude exclamation drives her away.

Once we get to Rome, things become far more relaxed.  Viva a Roma!  Few lines.  No officious British ladies herding us with their polite yet irresistible commands.  No urge to denounce secret governmental culinary conspiracies.  There's a taxi waiting for me and a longish ride to home.  Waiting for me here are my room, my bed, a stack of books, my two boxes, and a bunch of friars who seem genuinely happy to see me again.  My exhaustion, dehydration, hunger, and irritation lead me straight to bed where I pass out for six hours. 

I awoke this morning to the two sounds that mean "Rome" to me:  tolling church bells and squawkinig sea-gulls.  Now, the truly odious part of my adventure begins:  unpacking.

BUT I'm in Rome again.  And the coffee is very, very good.

05 October 2009


I made it to Rome. Heathrow has now joined that short list of Airports I Will Never Use Again!

Explanations tomorrow. . .

Thanks for all the prayers!

04 October 2009

Ciao, Houston! Ciao, Roma!

I am off to the airport soon for my flight to London. . .from there it's on to Roma. I'll be arriving in Rome around 7.00am Monday (Central).

Please pray for a safe flight.

My thanks to all 205 FOLLOWERS. . .especially the three who put us over the 200 mark.

Check back Tuesday morning for updates. . .and probably some comments on the trip.

Ciao and God bless, Fr. Philip

The meaning of itineracy (in miles)

For someone who hates to travel, I've done a lot of it between June & October:

Rome to St Louis: 5,078
St Louis to Memphis: 314
Memphis to St Louis: 314
St Louis to Dallas: 630
Dallas to Memphis: 491
Memphis to Dallas: 491
Dallas to Houston: 251
Houston to Rome: 5, 708

Total: 12,647 miles (as the crow flies)

The Last Coffee Cup Browsing!

This is the last "Coffee Cup Browsing." Come Tuesday, we will return to "Coffee Bowl Browsing"!

And, yes. . .I have to pack this morning, so I'm procrastinating.

Dirty car art

Don't judge my hair! I am especially taken with the Tragic Mullet/Waves Crashing on Rocks couple.

Another Very Good Reason not to tailgate.

This Bible probably belonged to a Catholic.

I thought about getting a tattoo once. . .one of those Charles Kuralt "Sunday Morning on CBS" sunbursts.

For Moms of hooligans everywhere: it could be worse!

Redneck solutions
to everyday problems, or Wal-Mart is not always the answer

Ummmmmm, yea. . .I'll be over by the sandbox. . .you go ahead.

Two-headed sorority girl. . .no, really, she/they have two heads! Which raises the theological question: what if one head wants to be baptized a Catholic and the other wants to be a Muslim?

Catholic-kissing circa 1952. . .Leaving room for the Holy Spirit since 1 A.D.!

One true thing spoken through a telephone on a planet far away. . .

More Redneck Solutions: ladder edition

The Zombie Apocalypse and 2012

Got in one last Redneck Movie yesterday--Zombieland. Very funny. The language is what you would expect from an American R-rated film. Lots of blood and gore. But the point of the movie is not the cursing or the zombie killing (does one kill a zombie?). It's about needing and finding family in the aftermath of a crisis--in this case: the Zombie Apocalypse.

The previews reminded me to post something on the cyber-chatter about our global demise predicted to happen on December 21, 2012. Apparently, someone figured out how to read an ancient Mayan calendar-stone. The Mayans believed in a cosmic creation/destruction cycle of 12,000 years (if I remember correctly these are called "kelpic cycles," or is that a Hindu thing?). Anyway, the last day on the stone is Dec. 21, 2012.

Coincidentally, astronomers are telling us that there will be a planetary alignment on that date. All the planets in the solar system will line up with the sun and this will cause unprecedented climate and geological upheaval on earth. There's even a movie coming out about all this called, you guessed it, 2012.

As you might imagine, there are hundreds of websites confirming, denying, debunking, and debunking the debunking. Gotta love the net! Here are some of my thoughts on this prediction:

1). Is it possible that the Mayan calendar-stone has been mistranslated and/or misinterpreted? I mean, are there any ancient Mayans around to confirm the text?

2). If the text has been correctly translated and interpreted, why assume that the last day on the calendar indicates the last day for our world? The calendar on my wall ends on December 31, 2009, but I don't assume that Time ends just because my calendar does.

3). Like most ancient cultures, the Mayans had no conceptual means of distinguishing between their scientific practices and their religious beliefs. Why assume that their scientific calendar (which is quite accurate astronomically) is anything but a spiritual device; that is, the cosmic creation/destruction scenario might be spiritual in nature rather than material.

4). And even if the calendar indicates a cycle of material creation/destruction, there's no good reason to believe that the Mayans' belief in such a cycle is correct. People have believed and still believe in all sorts of demonstrably false theories about just about everything. Did you know that there is a very serious group of folks who belong to the Flat Earth Society?

5). And what if the Mayans were correct about the whole cosmic cycle-thing and the world will end on Dec 21, 2012? Well, you better get right with Jesus.

Christians, remember: Jesus said, "No one knows the day of my coming but the Father." No sense is getting all twitchy about dates. I will, however, go see the movie. Looks very, very Redneck.