Saturday, December 27, 2014

Kant Gives Me His Blessings

"Human Reason, in one sphere of its cognition, is called upon to consider questions, which it cannot decline, as they are presented by its own nature, but which it cannot answer, as they transcend every faculty of mind."  - Immanuel Kant

The Moon Landings, Science, and Early Video Technology

The moon landings were practical science at its best. Computer technology, rocket technology, and mathematics were used and/or developed to accomplish a goal. Our understandings of conditions outside of our planet were tested and we learned that the moon was not made of cheese and was very much like what we already knew about our own planet.

Magical thinking can be used to convince people of many strange things whether it be modern faith healing, wild conspiracy theories about things like faking the moon landing, or the strong belief in modern physics and its theoretical guesswork about how the universe was created. I believe intuitively that the moon landings occurred because I followed them and lived in that time period. Admittedly, I did not go to the moon and have no physical proof. But proof of the moon landings is a whole lot easier to understand than hypothetical guesswork about how our universe was formed. Sometimes there is a point where preponderance of supporting evidence or the lack of legitimate conflicting evidence makes certain assertions correct as historical fact. This is easier to do in time periods that are recent rather than billions of years ago. And it helps to actually be there to see or do it.

How could one believe a person were not born as a result of the mating of two humans (most likely to be the people professed to be our parents) rather than resulting from a magical occurrence? Perhaps an alternative scientific hypothesis might be that we were individually placed on the earth by aliens. Then there is the supernatural explanation likened to be a possible by many of, say, a virgin birth. Finally we could very possibly be the result of an alternate scientific process whether it be a more likely scientific possibility like cloning or a fairly unlikely scientific explanation that we could have been sent back in time by future scientists.

There is really no way to prove even the most basic of events beyond all doubt.

That said, I take it on logic and faith that the moon landings did indeed occur and I like this video:

Monday, December 15, 2014


At first, I thought I had no comment upon this, but I do. While looking at the lack of thought and common sense in the above video makes me highly uncomfortable, the intellectual attack upon the common man in the next video gives me the same feeling. There are several points to make. In this second video a man takes a premise way beyond the logic he touts making a broadside personal attack on anyone he thinks disagrees with his opinions about "logic." While the argument is seemingly thoughtful and his command of the language is quite remarkable, he actually uses several logic flaws in a continuous manner (logic being fairly important to his argument.). When he brings up television advertising (one of my pet subjects for scorn) it makes me wish I were watching the first video instead. Here is a man I agree with in principle who is making a mockery of it with his venomous words and manner. It is as if the man is similarly possessed as the man above. The audiences both entranced by the psychology of crowds, though it is more obvious in the first where everyone is allowed to... well speak. In neither video does someone speak up and say "enough, you have made your point." The heart of the second video begins at 3:10. Notice how he begins by putting down the first speaker as being too professionally minded:

I think I find video two more repulsive. Oddly, I found both these videos in the same evening. I think, together, they illustrate the central theme of this blog.

"Science is capable of undertaking it's own reformation and critique and has been engaged in that fairly vigorously for some time." Thou shalt have no other God before science, though through reformation it may negate its earlier beliefs and there are clear postulates one must have faith in to make it correct. Place your emerald glasses on before entering the Emerald City.

Our main goal above all others is to "build a world based on clarity" and I say that in language that is intentionally verbose.

The "abduction phenomenon" of which he spoke takes a bit of thought because it dates his opinion (which is perfectly acceptable to science which can turn on a dime with no logical flaw). His intent is to make fools of those who believe nonsense (with a very nice use of wordplay which is funny only in the sense that it is cleverly pejorative) and equate this with all peoples who do not think as he does, or the "idiots." At first this phrase seemed odd because we have basically fictionalized the alien abduction concept for good plot development, whether it be in the "X-files" or on a "science channel" like the ironically fictional Discovery Channel.

Of course, the Discovery Channel is an example of the commercialization of science which I think he would equally loathe at this point in his life. I actually believe he is correct in much of what he says but somehow his personal bitterness did not gain popular traction and stop the "idiots" that are part of the establishment he so strongly believed in.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Thank a Surgeon

When my son survived a serious accident, I didn’t thank God. I thanked Honda.

Lynn Beisner
 December 12 
Under a pen name, Lynn Beisner writes about family and social justice issues. Her work has appeared in The Guardian, Altnernet, The Good Men Project and Role Reboot.
Last Friday night, a semi-trailer pushed the car my son was driving into a Jersey barrier. The trailer’s back wheel landed on the hood of the car, less than six inches from my son’s head. Every window shattered, throwing glass inches from his face.
But my son has not a scratch on him.
I was so overwhelmed with gratitude that I wrote a letter to Honda praising the expertly engineered safety features that saved his life. I explained that I had been in an equally serious accident 18 years earlier and had suffered a serious brain injury and broken bones all over the right side of my body, requiring countless surgeries.
I posted the letter on Facebook, and closed it with this:
I want to extend my thanks to the engineers who used their intelligence and skill to create a car that safe, to the crash test dummies who have died a thousand horrible deaths and to your executives who did not scrimp on safety.
Thank you, Honda.
That last line rubbed some people the wrong way. While many who left comments on my post were just glad that my son was alive and well, others wanted to know why I had thanked Honda for that outcome. The entity that deserved my thanks, they said, was God. One commenter wrote: “I am thankful that God held your son in His embrace and I am curious why you thanked Honda rather than Him.”
Before I go any further, let me be clear: I am deeply grateful that I still have a son to make fun of my tastes in music, drink milk out of the carton and turn my mother-heart to mush when he tells me that he loves me. In moments of private devotion, I find myself at a loss to express how thankful I felt when I saw the remains of his car and how perfectly it had formed a cocoon for his body.
However, over many years of thinking about religion and faith, I have noticed that something sad and somewhat strange happens when we thank God: We tend to stop there. We simply overlook the decisions, the science, the policies and the people who contributed to the “miracle.” To put it another way: When we focus on supernatural deliverance from harm, we often ignore all of the human ways we can improve our own safety. I am concerned that we may associate survival of serious accidents with the unpredictable hand of Providence, not with airbags, safety testing and the regulations that have put them in place.
For the first 29 years of my life, the only cars that I could afford were dodgy and dangerous. One of them had a tricky power-steering pump. One day, when the power steering went out, the wheel whipped back when I tapped a curb, hitting my hand on the inside of the wheel and snapping one of the bones. My 4-year-old daughter had to shift gears as I drove myself to the emergency room. Another car required that I park on a hill because, no matter what part we repaired or replaced, it often wouldn’t drive unless I gave it a rolling start and popped the clutch.
When my husband introduced me to Honda, I fell deeply in love. I named that first Honda Mr. Belvedere, after the 1980s television housekeeper because, like its namesake, the car was reliable, boring, safe and served our family well. Every other car that we have owned has been a Honda. The company has not violated our trust in more than 16 years.
But here is the other reason that I thanked Honda: Automobile safety is a cause that is very important to me. I understand from painful personal experience just how fragile the human body can be and how savage a car can become during an accident. I did not want to waste an opportunity to credit a company that saved a life by doing the right thing. More importantly, I do not want to contribute to the mistaken idea that surviving a motor vehicle accident is more a stroke of luck or divine providence than the result of human actions and decisions.
Thankfully, Honda is not the only car company that is producing safer vehicles. The number of traffic fatalities dropped 26 percent between 2005 and 2012, to about 1 in 10,000 people. Such a significant improvement in safety does not happen by accident. And it’s also not a product solely of the free market. The airbag was patented in 1951 and offered in luxury vehicles in the 1970s. But airbags did not become standard in American vehicles until federal regulations began requiring them in the mid-1990s.
Fatal car accidents are not inevitable. We have the ability to prevent them and the amount of injury they cause. Accidents also are not an act of God. No matter what you believe about a divine creator, I think most would agree that an all-poweful and all-loving being would not need encouragement to do the right thing. Unlike people, God does not require regulations and oversight – or even thanks – to be sure that human beings are never sacrificed for profit. The truth is, we cannot make our roads and our cars safer if we ignore what makes them that way: science, regulations and corporations that prioritize safety.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Oh Myyyy

There are commandments and then there are things God "recommends" like executing the "homos."

There are many broad logical reasons not to be a fundamentalist. One is illustrated here clearly. The implementation of the "final solution" is just not going to win many converts to your cause or even be very easy. Further...why are we just condoning the killing of homos? Imagine the endless resources we could share among the remaining people after we kill the adulterers like God recommends as well.

Wikipedia: The Torah and Hebrew Bible made clear distinctions between the shedding of innocent blood and killing as the due consequence of a crime. A number of sins were considered to be worthy of the death penalty including murder,[21] incest,[22] bearing false witness on a capital charge,[23] adultery,[24] idolatry,[25] having sexual relations with a member of the same sex, etc.[16]

And Wikipedia appears to diplomatically use "etc." for a number of other punishable by death crimes like working on the Sabbath, cursing your parents, and not being a virgin on your wedding night. I know, I know- I was a bit skeptical until I read the verses. But behold:

14 You shall keep the Sabbath, because it is holy for you. Everyone who profanes it shall be put to death.Whoever does any work on it, that soul shall be cut off from among his people. 15 Six days shall work be done, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of solemn rest, holy to the Lord.Whoever does any work on the Sabbath day shall be put to death. - Exodus 31:14-15 English Standard Version (ESV)

I'm fairly certain that creating the necessary mass extermination camps all before Christmas is a bit of a stretch in a logistical way for even the narrow focus on just one group your God recommends to be killed  [ridding ourselves of aids, or "90 some percent" of it because, well, 78% of new HIV infections among males are homos... and when we add female homos well, um.. that's science.] 

I'm sorry dude of God but Christmas would be a tough timetable even if you started in January, because well,  that's history. I hate to be picky in a literal way but you started it. The Jewish peoples composed a similarly small percent of the German population during WWII, and look how hard that attempt at extermination was. 

Christmas might be a bothersome day to announce your accomplishment as well. 

Fundamentalism and literal interpretation of the Bible are not for the faint of heart and you, sir, have a little pansy paper cup on your podium.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

The Case of Eric Garner Will Matter Regardless of Jon Stewart

The case of Eric Garner does not mean cameras won't work. To say that taking measures to try to stop the carnage will always fail or are useless is to give in to hopelessness and to ignore the power of popular opinion Jon Stewart uses to generate his paycheck. Without the camera footage we have of Eric Garner we would not have Jon Stewart's segment. Even though Jon Stewart rightfully bashes the television media news, he too is tone deaf to any event that does not have visual footage or pictures. To ignore that is hypocrisy that he is intelligent enough to be aware of. As cameras became official records, cops WOULD act better because they WOULD be held accountable, maybe not on a case by case basis at first but eventually in the power of opinion which again, Jon Stewart is actively appealing to in this segment albeit feigning his personal suffering as the main focus. There is no solution to racism or violence, there are only steps forward. And the step Barack Obama is attempting would be a gigantic step forward even if it is now seemingly popular for Stewart to bash the president. The action of placing cameras at the heart of the problem is such a good idea that I find it hard to believe Stewart is not playing for ratings by acting serious because there are no jokes to be made.

Dying in complete anonymity at the hands of brutes...that IS worse... so, let's get those cameras out there.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Building with Tinkertoys

On a scale of 1 to 10, 1 being absolutely completely not plausable, 10 being very realistic....
Neil deGrasse Tyson gives "Interstellar" an 8 or 9... because they had a "real" science advisor.

Hell, I give science documentaries a 4 when they are good. :) "First get your facts straight, then distort them at your leisure," says Tyson. Oh myyyy. Researchers, of course, have no observational factual evidence for wormholes so getting the "facts" straight would be a fail here even before their distortion. I like a good science fiction story, but alas, fiction is fiction. The marketing gimmick here seems to be that the film is scientifically accurate. Sigh.

The worst part about this interview is where Tyson takes "facts" and distorts them at his leisure. where he is describing wormholes as if there is no question they exist but we do not have the technology to create them. Theory is used as fact to then describe the ancient science fiction idea of a warp drive. "Paper folded" .... was that Einstein or actually Asimov, or Clarke or one of their contemporaries? No scientist has ever seen a wormhole nor is there any conclusive physical evidence wormholes are anything but a mathematical possibility or perhaps improbability.

The best that can be said: "Researchers have no observational evidence for wormholes, but the equations of the theory of general relativity have valid solutions that contain wormholes. Because of its robust theoretical strength, a wormhole is one of the great physics metaphors for teaching general relativity." Where is the "fact" ? Even general relativity is a theory in all likelyhood to be proven wrong later like a great percentage of previous scientific theories. SMH.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Blessed Anarchy, or, God's Will Be Done, or, Roads and Bridges: Why Bother?

Half of Americans Think Climate Change Is a Sign of the Apocalypse

What a new report on theology and global warming means for public policy
Snowmageddon, snowpocalypse, snowzilla, just snow. Superstorm Sandy, receding shorelines, and more. Hurricanes Isaac, Ivan, and Irene, with cousins Rammasun, Bopha, and Haiyan.

The parade of geological changes and extreme weather events around the world since 2011 has been stunning. Perhaps that's part of why, as the Public Religion Research Institute reported on Friday, "The number of Americans who believe that natural disasters are evidence of the apocalypse has increased somewhat over the past couple years."

As of 2014, it's estimated that nearly half of Americans—49 percent—say natural disasters are a sign of "the end times," as described in the Bible. That's up from an estimated 44 percent in 2011.

This belief is more prevalent in some religious communities than others. White evangelical Protestants, for example, are more likely than any other group to believe that natural disasters are a sign of the end times, and they're least likely to assign some of the blame to climate change (participants were allowed to select both options if they wanted). Black Protestants were close behind white evangelicals in terms of apprehending the apocalypse, but they were also the group most likely to believe in climate change, too. Predictably, the religiously unaffiliated were the least likely to believe superstorms are apocalyptic—but even so, a third of that group said they see signs of the end times in the weather.

Americans' Explanations for Recent Natural Disasters, by Religious Affiliation

The Public Religion Research Institute

This is an interesting study in how religious beliefs affect thinking on science and current events, but it also may have implications for how people view public policy and their responsibility for the natural world. If God will intercede to stop humans from destroying the earth—which 39 percent of respondents believed to be true—why legislate limits on carbon emissions? Or, for that matter, why drive less, or eat fewer steaks, or change any behavior that affects the environment?

Plus, a large portion of Americans don't think humans are responsible for changes in the earth's temperature or weather, whether or not they think God's involved. A majority of respondents said they either don't believe the earth's temperature is rising, or they believe it but think it's happening for a reason other than human activity. Less than a third of respondents said they are "very concerned" about climate change, and half said they're "somewhat unconcerned" or "unconcerned." A 2014 survey by Pew Research Center yielded slightly different results: In it, 61 percent of Americans agreed that the earth's temperature is rising, and of that group, 40 percent attributed the warming to human activity.

But in general, this just isn't an topic Americans seem to prioritize. In the new PRRI survey, participants rated climate change as less important than many other issues, including unemployment, income inequality, healthcare, the deficit, immigration, and education reform.

To be fair, people's views on the existence and importance of climate change aren't the same as their views on environmentalism, and this is reflected across the religious communities that were included in the survey. Significant majorities of Jews, mainline Protestants, white and Hispanic Catholics, and the religiously unaffiliated agreed that God expects people to care for animals, plants, and the planet. But 43 percent of black Protestants and 46 percent of white evangelicals said the opposite: The earth, they say, was made for the use of humankind.

Stewardship of the earth is a complex topic, theologically. The Bible has many beautiful passages on the wonders of creation, from the Psalms to the Book of Job. But even at the very beginning of Genesis, other passages stand in tension with the idea that humans should shape their civilizations with a concern for the environment. “Be fruitful and multiply," it reads. "Fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” This could be interpreted to mean that humans should be able to use the earth's resources limitlessly—or that "dominion" comes with the responsibility of stewardship. Either reading might theoretically shape the way someone things about climate change.

If someone sees humans as the natural rulers of the earth, it makes sense that he or she wouldn't prioritize renewable energy production or environmentally friendly oil drilling. But maybe some evangelicals and others who see signs of the end times just believe that today's events have already been written:

The nations were angry; and your wrath has come. The time has come for judging the dead, and for rewarding your servants the prophets and your saints and those who reverence your name, both small and great—and for destroying those who destroy the earth.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014


I was watching this show about Ancient Aliens which reached into the not so ancient history of Leonardo da Vinci, (whose omnipotence always bugged me a bit, to be honest, but that is not relevant.) Apparently da Vinci disappears in history for about 2 years and comes back with incredible knowledge. Obviously, aliens.

"Nonfiction" television is filled with this type of nonsensical logic. Ok, it IS possible there are aliens that instructed Leonardo in the finer points of such things as helicopters that would not really work but look like something that might work if we squint. Luckily Leon was just mysterious enough to use mirror writing to record his journals. Therefore... aliens. Apparently he didn't need very high levels of encryption to hide his work from the average prying eye. That makes logical sense in a world where writing itself was not common.

Everything is all pretty logical when you look into it. There did not have to be some gigantic event or personage to explain things.  For instance, hints and codes are part of the game of writing on the Internet because of worry of what may be attributed to oneself later when sitting at a job interview. Therefore the manner of da Vinci's writings should guard from the more obvious dangers of the Inquisition (oh, which was, by the way featured in another episode highlighting the cover-ups of alien activity, such as, like. such as, the Inquisition. such as.)

My personal idea of what happened to Leonardo during his lost two years is that he did find a lot of knowledge elsewhere. Again, I believe him to be no deity and a bit overrated. There are a lot of similar ideas in his time period. Some of da Vinci's appear to be the ideas of others. I personally have notebooks to take notes of others. We are all amalgamators of ideas. Any well-researched book has, well, research. It's not that I believe there is nothing newly discovered, it is just that I believe we all work from a general pool of knowledge that our ancestors and contemporaries have carefully dug in our backyard. Leonardo da Vinci, while a great genius in fields like anatomy and painting, is just not as much of a deity as some give him credit for. He is hyped a bit to conclude that science battled religion and the laws won. Oh, yes he was a genius but... I remain bothered by the rhetoric.

I think looking at history through organizational lens of emphasizing only "accomplished" people is generally unsatisfactory as we find one individual over-lauded as others go equally unrecognized. Daily life becomes unrecognized. I do not understand genius but it seems to me that everyone is a product of their time and influences.

These are normal arguments against personality based history but then I am faced with a television network like the History Channel giving credence to the idea that not only was Leonardo da Vinci extremely special but he assimilated this special knowledge from 2 years with aliens. And the mirror writing, well, that just backs up the idea. Eventually, it all sort of falls apart into nonsenstjhgfsetj, 

I could almost accept this kind of thing on the Science Channel. Perhaps aliens exist. It would be something I wouldn't want to focus too heavily upon but, there might be a mention Leonardo da Vinci somewhere in the story of aliens. (Ouch.. my poor back.) The History Channel's focus, on the other hand, should no doubt be upon things that actually HAVE happened, or at least we think HAVE happened. To explain something in history with a "supernatural" explanation should push the envelope of any educated viewer's common sense. It is very much like saying that God did something which caused Leonardo to have a vision. 

Yet, I exist in this world where all around me traditional educational venues are going to pot, yet I do not think the History Channel's visions had anything to do with the actual legalization of pot. Although drug use would seem a fair explanation when considering the way in which conjecture is presented as always very possible. It is not just wild conjecture but carefully cultivated conjecture as well. Perhaps Mr. da Vinci stumbled across some mind expanding drug. I mistrust history but I completely mistrust history refined for ratings content.

And there it is, my first notion of pure insolence after a nice vacation.

The thing that brought me back here from a happy world of animated mice was this concept of lower educational standards. I believe sincerely that the United States is likely no longer educated enough to govern itself. Citizen government demands an extremely involved and educated populace. It is a belief I have that is based on an educated guess coming out of my own lower standard education. 

Although, I must be.. an... elitist. My mind runneth over.

Friday, October 3, 2014

More Insolence Coming

I have been away on vacation enjoying myself, and the problem with this is that when I got back I decided to continue enjoying myself. On our cruise I read one headline on a muted TV showing "Sky News" about more war to clean up the problems of the previous unjustified war. A close friend asked me if I had seen the "war" headline. [My wife and my friends were at a "Whiskey Tasting." I tasted a sip or two of each of my wife's glasses but honestly, only the most expensive whiskey (aged, very expensive, scotch) was satisfying enough for me to enjoy straight.]

After this friend asked if I had seen some kind of war headline, I started to explain and he stopped me. Forget it. War was thereafter left out of our conversations. And honestly, I needed a rest from thinking so damned much about unreasonable things like war.

My insolence has been buried a bit since getting back. I only say this in explanation of the almost month long gap here.

I plan to begin again soon and the first topics will be other aspects of evolution for a few entries, namely eugenics in addition to the application of evolution to economics and our moral values.

I'm not sure when exactly to come back from the enjoyment of not thinking insolently but... soon.

[October 7 update: Ok. I'm ready. That certainly took less time than I imagined. Welcome back to crapworld Michael :)]

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Evolutionary Theory

Evolutionary theory is kind of obviously logically correct on the whole. While parts of it are disputed or a bit hazy sounding, it is often presented as ironclad when we know it will probably change a bit by future discoveries. I think of how many times the ideas about early primitive humans have changed in my lifetime. Or I think of how I was taught and believed the brontosaurus existed even though they were known since 1903 to have been a mistaken assemblage of bones. I think it was laziness that kept that myth going. Dinosaurs only recently have been studied in an extremely taxonomic way. There is also the theory that birds come from dinosaurs, a late blooming hypothesis. I actually feel I must provide this link to be believed about brontosaurs if you react like I did when I was told:

So, we can guess that any delivery of possible information as fact may be just a bit hopeful. Evolutionary theory, which I honestly believe in completely "on the whole," is often presented in a fact telling way. That is, specific parts of the theory that are weak in  evidence but fill holes are presented with a confident factual ambiance, when they actually matter very little as the preponderance of evidence is overwhelming in favor of the general theory. The theory is one of the greatest far reaching yet purely logical ideas ever imagined.

I have guessed that the reason theory is presented with a factual aura  has to do with evolution's competition with weirdly awful and completely unbelievable Biblical creationist theory.  While more scientific theories may turn out to have slight flaws over time, there is little doubt some of the "facts" assembled to support "creationism" are really reverse engineered to prove an assemblage of texts, from an ancient time written before science was an idea, to be excruciatingly literally correct scientifically and factual rather than metaphorical. And then really strange things happen-- like people living to be hundreds of years old and every animal on the planet, including dinosaurs, must be fit on a boat... well, perhaps, it is time to believe in a touch of factual nonsense.

Religion is hurt when believers must throw their scientific brains out the window. Further, adding a scientific underpinning (from some kind of "scientist" that seems suitable to be hired by a tobacco company to explain how smoking is good for everyone) really is searching only for a niche audience in the overall Christian or religious community. In gaining that niche it fights a battle that loses the war for recruitment of people from a more general pool.

So while we have an evolutionary theory which will most likely have a wrong bone here and there in it's assembled skeleton (as evidenced by other changing evolving theories in science), the tendency is to present the theory in a way that competes with trash logic. It is a lowest common denominator approach in the attempt to sound as confident as possible. Just like the creationists, many believe that the complete truth in every respect is knowable and, worse, already known.

This is not scientific.

This video presents the evolutionary theory accurate to the pieces we know and the pieces we intelligently guess at to fill in holes. It correctly omits pieces we need not include (the origin of life.) But I feel that slight twinge of regret that we cannot present the parts in which we have less confidence as more theoretical in nature. We do not need to compete with trash science so we should not feel the need to extinguish all doubt of every detail. Doubt is an important part of science.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Arguments against an historical Jesus

[ "Trust those who seek the truth, but doubt those who say they have found it." Faith is always a double-edged sword. I have decided those two statements may as well be mottoes for this blog. ]

MONDAY, SEP 1, 2014
 5 reasons to suspect that Jesus never existed

Most antiquities scholars think that the New Testament gospels are “mythologized history.” In other words, they think that around the start of the first century a controversial Jewish rabbi named Yeshua ben Yosef gathered a following and his life and teachings provided the seed that grew into Christianity. At the same time, these scholars acknowledge that many Bible stories like the virgin birth, miracles, resurrection, and women at the tomb borrow and rework mythic themes that were common in the Ancient Near East, much the way that screenwriters base new movies on old familiar tropes or plot elements. In this view, a “historical Jesus” became mythologized.

For over 200 years, a wide ranging array of theologians and historians—most of them Christian—analyzed ancient texts, both those that made it into the Bible and those that didn’t, in attempts to excavate the man behind the myth. Several current or recent bestsellers take this approach, distilling the scholarship for a popular audience. Familiar titles include Zealotby Reza Aslan and How Jesus Became Godby Bart Ehrman. But other scholars believe that the gospel stories are actually “historicized mythology.”

In this view, those ancient mythic templates are themselves the kernel. They got filled in with names, places and other real world details as early sects of Jesus worship attempted to understand and defend the devotional traditions they had received. The notion that Jesus never existed is a minority position. Of course it is! says David Fitzgerald, author of Nailed: Ten Christian Myths That Show Jesus Never Existed at All.For centuries all serious scholars of Christianity were Christians themselves, and modern secular scholars lean heavily on the groundwork that they laid in collecting, preserving, and analyzing ancient texts.

Even today most secular scholars come out of a religious background, and many operate by default under historical presumptions of their former faith. Fitzgerald is an atheist speaker and writer, popular with secular students and community groups. The internet phenom, Zeitgeist the Movie introduced millions to some of the mythic roots of Christianity. But Zeitgeist and similar works contain known errors and oversimplifications that undermine their credibility. Fitzgerald seeks to correct that by giving young people interesting, accessible information that is grounded in accountable scholarship.

More academic arguments in support of the Jesus Myth theory can be found in the writings of Richard Carrier and Robert Price. Carrier, who has a Ph.D. in ancient history uses the tools of his trade to show, among other things, how Christianity might have gotten off the ground without a miracle. Price, by contrast, writes from the perspective of a theologian whose biblical scholarship ultimately formed the basis for his skepticism. It is interesting to note that some of the harshest debunkers of fringe Jesus myth theories like those from Zeitgeist or Joseph Atwill (who tries to argue that the Romans invented Jesus) are from serious Mythicists like Fitzgerald, Carrier and Price. The arguments on both sides of this question—mythologized history or historicized mythology—fill volumes, and if anything the debate seems to be heating up rather than resolving.

A growing number of scholars are openly questioning or actively arguing against Jesus’ historicity. Since many people, both Christian and not, find it surprising that this debate even exists—that credible scholars might think Jesus never existed—here are some of the key points that keep the doubts alive:

1. No first century secular evidence whatsoever exists to support the actuality of Yeshua ben Yosef. In the words of Bart Ehrman: “What sorts of things do pagan authors from the time of Jesus have to say about him? Nothing. As odd as it may seem, there is no mention of Jesus at all by any of his pagan contemporaries. There are no birth records, no trial transcripts, no death certificates; there are no expressions of interest, no heated slanders, no passing references – nothing. In fact, if we broaden our field of concern to the years after his death – even if we include the entire first century of the Common Era – there is not so much as a solitary reference to Jesus in any non-Christian, non-Jewish source of any kind. I should stress that we do have a large number of documents from the time – the writings of poets, philosophers, historians, scientists, and government officials, for example, not to mention the large collection of surviving inscriptions on stone and private letters and legal documents on papyrus. In none of this vast array of surviving writings is Jesus’ name ever so much as mentioned.” (pp. 56-57)

2. The earliest New Testament writers seem ignorant of the details of Jesus’ life, which become more crystalized in later texts.Paul seems unaware of any virgin birth, for example. No wise men, no star in the east, no miracles. Historians have long puzzled over the “Silence of Paul” on the most basic biographical facts and teachings of Jesus. Paul fails to cite Jesus’ authority precisely when it would make his case. What’s more, he never calls the twelve apostles Jesus’ disciples; in fact, he never says Jesus HAD disciples –or a ministry, or did miracles, or gave teachings. He virtually refuses to disclose any other biographical detail, and the few cryptic hints he offers aren’t just vague, but contradict the gospels. The leaders of the early Christian movement in Jerusalem like Peter and James are supposedly Jesus’ own followers and family; but Paul dismisses them as nobodies and repeatedly opposes them for not being true Christians! Liberal theologian Marcus Borg suggests that people read the books of the New Testament in chronological order to see how early Christianity unfolded. “Placing the Gospels after Paul makes it clear that as written documents they are not the source of early Christianity but its product. The Gospel — the good news — of and about Jesus existed before the Gospels. They are the products of early Christian communities several decades after Jesus’ historical life and tell us how those communities saw his significance in their historical context.”

3. Even the New Testament stories don’t claim to be first-hand accounts. We now know that the four gospels were assigned the names of the apostles Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, not written by them. To make matter sketchier, the name designations happened sometime in second century, around 100 years or more after Christianity supposedly began. For a variety of reasons, the practice of pseudonymous writing was common at the time and many contemporary documents are “signed” by famous figures. The same is true of the New Testament epistles except for a handful of letters from Paul (6 out of 13) which are broadly thought to be genuine. But even the gospel stories don’t actually say, “I was there.” Rather, they claim the existence of other witnesses, a phenomenon familiar to anyone who has heard the phrase, my aunt knew someone who . . . .

4. The gospels, our only accounts of a historical Jesus, contradict each other.If you think you know the Jesus story pretty well, I suggest that you pause at this point to test yourself with the 20 question quiz at The gospel of Mark is thought to be the earliest existing “life of Jesus,” and linguistic analysis suggests that Luke and Matthew both simply reworked Mark and added their own corrections and new material. But they contradict each other and, to an even greater degree contradict the much later gospel of John, because they were written with different objectives for different audiences. The incompatible Easter stories offer one example of how much the stories disagree.

5. Modern scholars who claim to have uncovered the real historical Jesus depict wildly different persons. They include a cynic philosopher, charismatic Hasid, liberal Pharisee, conservative rabbi, Zealot revolutionary, nonviolent pacifist to borrow from a much longer listassembled by Price. In his words (pp. 15-16), “The historical Jesus (if there was one) might well have been a messianic king, or a progressive Pharisee, or a Galilean shaman, or a magus, or a Hellenistic sage. But he cannot very well have been all of them at the same time.” John Dominic Crossan of the Jesus Seminar grumbles that “the stunning diversity is an academic embarrassment.”

For David Fitzgerald, these issues and more lead to a conclusion that he finds inescapable: Jesus appears to be an effect, not a cause, of Christianity. Paul and the rest of the first generation of Christians searched the Septuagint translation of Hebrew scriptures to create a Mystery Faith for the Jews, complete with pagan rituals like a Lord’s Supper, Gnostic terms in his letters, and a personal savior god to rival those in their neighbors’ longstanding Egyptian, Persian, Hellenistic and Roman traditions.

In a soon-to-be-released follow up to Nailed, entitled Jesus: Mything in Action, Fitzgerald argues that the many competing versions proposed by secular scholars are just as problematic as any “Jesus of Faith:” Even if one accepts that there was a real Jesus of Nazareth, the question has little practical meaning: Regardless of whether or not a first century rabbi called Yeshua ben Yosef lived, the “historical Jesus” figures so patiently excavated and re-assembled by secular scholars are themselves fictions. We may never know for certain what put Christian history in motion. Only time (or perhaps time travel) will tell.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Be Careful Out There

Psychology as a science is a little dicey. Science in medicine is also fairly flawed in its constant flux of what is considered "truth." Mix medicine and psychology together? Well... beware. The problems in diagnosing and treating psychological disorders have "evolved" and "evolved" and "evolved" some more. There are major controversies up until today and I doubt they will ever end. You must have faith to believe...

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Intuition and Science

You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.
– Bob Dylan (Subterranean Homesick Blues)

From my own experience, intuition is the very moment of decision. There are never enough facts to make a decision. We intuitively feel that one direction is better than another. Even with the "facts" on one's side, mistakes can always happen. There is no doubt that studying and preparedness will get you closer the making the right decision. It is just that I see so many who believe what they are told and use that to make decisions, imbuing the "facts" told them with some kind of infallibility.

When I studied Zen I found that intuition was the closest word in the western vocabulary to describe the Zen way of thinking and doing. I embraced that intuition as an understood marvel. I attempted to hone my intution.

The fact that western vocabulary has no real language used to discuss the moment of decision (considering all the facts we have and making a guess) except "intuition" says a lot about the black and white world we have created. Science is always right though if I were to use a Biblical concept and judge science by it's fruits there are many fruits I would say are rotten to the core, threatening the survival of life.

Intuitively scientists have guided themselves down the course where invention of anything labor saving was considered good. Again, we must see the interaction of technologists and scientists. Currently scientists appear to be back-paddling in a sense. No longer are the inventions of coal plants, mining techniques, internal combustion engines, and man's general control of the environment thought of as good things when the study of global warming is concerned. Science could dig us out of this mess, possibly, if we have faith in science. But science does not make capitalism go in the proper direction. And the fruits of capitalism create a distinct wealthy class who have more and more of an influence on the government. Science is not in a vacuum to do the right thing. Perhaps if it had always

Science has provided us with different advancements in weaponry and each time they made a discovery in this field, it changed the face of war. Usually more people could be killed at one time by one person.

The Internet itself should illustrate the amount of change. First we could only loan out vinyl records to others, then we could tape them on cassette tapes, then we could copy cds, and finally copy digital files and share them across the Internet. All of these could just be considered more efficient ways of sharing music. The effect on the music industry was huge. The effect on exports from the USA of music was huge. This is not to say that music is worse off. It is not like we created global warming here. But the illustration serves to show that making things more efficient in copying music has consequences. Also the invention of the atomic bomb has consequences, where a few people can virtually destroy the entire world.

The efficiency of the Internet  has positives and negatives. The positives are in free distribution of information not controlled by a few. The negatives involve free distribution of information not controlled by human beings capable of intuition into the consequences of their actions.

Thus social media can be used by people to help reform a corrupt police department or coordinate the attacks of ISIS. The most recent vomit producing technological use was of drones to target innocent civilians in Gaza.

Some outcomes of science and technology may be more catastrophic than others. Your mileage may vary. You can guess that intuitively. To intuitively believe that somehow science will work out the mess... well that is intuition that incurs an admirable "faith" in the good of science but seems to not be taking into account the dire predictions given by scientists if we do not change our ways.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Rare Earth; or, Jeeees, We Are REALLY Lucky

We are REALLY lucky. The bet is too rich for my blood. I fold.

Check out the fairly insolent looking Rare Earth Hypothesis:
or the "Why are you so damned insistent upon the existence of aliens?" question. It is because of all that Star Trek stuff. You know it and I know it. :)

Honestly, this is my favorite blog to write and post to. My mind has expanded so much by throwing off the chains of perceived authority. I challenge you to join me and question those whose opinions you have come to rely upon. Use your talent to think, to guide yourself down your own path. Whenever the instinctual impulse to accommodate, acquiesce, or conform occurs, just free yourself. Think!  Ponder the possibilities... and you do not even have to make up your mind because some things are unknowable, especially to "authorities" who believe they already know and have closed their own minds.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

John Pavlovitz on Organized Religion

Blog entries of John Pavlovitz:

Part 1

Church, Here’s Why People Are Leaving You.  from
Being on the other side of the Exodus sucks, don’t it?

I see the panic on your face, Church.
I know the internal terror as you see the statistics and hear the stories and scan the exit polls.
I see you desperately scrambling to do damage control for the fence-sitters, and manufacture passion from the shrinking faithful, and I want to help you.

You may think you know why people are leaving you, but I’m not sure you do.
You think it’s because “the culture” is so lost, so perverse, so beyond help that they are all walking away.
You believe that they’ve turned a deaf ear to the voice of God; chasing money, and sex, and material things.
You think that the gays and the Muslims and the Atheists and the pop stars have so screwed-up the morality of the world, that everyone is abandoning faith in droves.

But those aren’t the reasons people are leaving you.
They aren’t the problem, Church.

You are the problem.
Let me elaborate in 5 ways…

1) Your Sunday productions have worn thin.
The stage, and the lights, and the bands, and the video screens, have all just become white noise to those really seeking to encounter God. They’re ear and eye candy for an hour, but they have so little relevance in people’s daily lives, that more and more of them are taking a pass.
Yeah the songs are cool and the show is great, but ultimately Sunday morning isn’t really making a difference on Tuesday afternoon or Thursday evening, when people are wrestling with the awkward, messy, painful stuff in the trenches of life; the places where rock shows don’t help.
We can be entertained anywhere. Until you can give us something more than a Christian-themed performance piece; something that allows us space and breath and conversation and relationship, many of us are going to sleep-in and stay away.

2) You speak in a foreign tongue.
Church, you talk and talk and talk, but you do so using a dead language. You’re holding on to dusty words that have no resonance in people’s ears, not realizing that just saying those words louder isn’t the answer. All the religious buzzwords that used to work 20 years ago, no longer do.
This spiritualized insider-language may give you some comfort in an outside world that is changing, but that stuff’s just lazy religious shorthand, and it keeps regular people at a distance. They need you to speak in a language that they can understand. There’s a message there worth sharing, but it’s hard to hear above your verbal pyrotechnics.
People don’t need to be dazzled with big, churchy words and about eschatological frameworks and theological systems. Talk to them plainly about love, and joy, and forgiveness, and death, and peace, and God, and they’ll be all ears. Keep up the church-speak, and you’ll be talking to an empty room soon.

3) Your vision can’t see past your building.
The coffee bar, the cushy couches, the high tech lights, the funky Children’s wing and the uber-cool Teen Center are all top-notch… and costly. In fact, most of your time, money, and energy seems to be about luring people to where you are, instead of reaching people where they already are.
Rather than simply stepping out into the neighborhoods around you and partnering with the amazing things already happening, and the beautiful stuff God is already doing, you seem content to franchise out your particular brand of Jesus-stuff, and wait for the sinful world to beat down your door.
Your greatest mission field is just a few miles, (or a few feet) off your campus and you don’t even realize it. You wanna reach the people you’re missing?
Leave the building.

4) You choose lousy battles.
We know you like to fight, Church. That’s obvious.
When you want to, you can go to war with the best of them. The problem is, your battles are too darn small. Fast food protests, hobby store outrage, and duck-calling Reality TV show campaigns may manufacture some urgency and Twitter activity on the inside for the already-convinced, but they’re paper tigers to people out here with bloody boots on the ground.
Every day we see a world suffocated by poverty, and racism, and violence, and bigotry, and hunger; and in the face of that stuff, you get awfully, frighteningly quiet. We wish you were as courageous in those fights, because then we’d feel like coming alongside you; then we’d feel like going to war with you.

Church, we need you to stop being warmongers with the trivial, and pacifists in the face of the terrible.

Your love doesn’t look like love.
Love seems to be a pretty big deal to you, but we’re not getting that when the rubber meets the road. In fact, more and more, your brand of love seems incredibly selective and decidedly narrow; filtering out all the spiritual riff-raff, which sadly includes far too many of us.
It feels like a big bait-and-switch, sucker-deal; advertising a “Come As You Are” party, but letting us know once we’re in the door that we can’t really come as we are. We see a Jesus in the Bible, who hung out with lowlifes and prostitutes and outcasts, and loved them right there, but that doesn’t seem to be your cup of tea.
Church, can you love us if we don’t check all the doctrinal boxes and don’t have our theology all figured out? It doesn’t seem so.
Can you love us if we cuss and drink and get tattoos, and God forbid, vote Democrat? We’re doubtful.
Can you love us if we’re not sure how we define love, and marriage, and Heaven, and Hell? It sure doesn’t feel that way.
From what we know about Jesus, we think he looks like love. The unfortunate thing is, you don’t look much like him.

That’s part of the reason people are leaving you, Church.

These words may get you really, really angry, and you may want to jump in a knee-jerk move to defend yourself or attack these positions line-by-line, but we hope that you won’t.
We hope that you’ll just sit in stillness with these words for a while, because whether you believe they’re right or wrong, they’re real to us, and that’s the whole point.
We’re the ones walking away.
We want to matter to you.
We want you to hear us before you debate us.
Show us that your love and your God are real.
Church, give us a reason to stay.

Part 2

Church, Here’s Why People Are Leaving You.   8/20/14   John Pavlovitz  from
It’s not you, it’s me.
That’s what you seem to be saying, Church.
I tried to share my heart with you; the heart of me and thousands and thousands of people like me who are walking away, to let you know of the damage you’re doing and the painful legacy you’re leaving, and apparently; you’re not the problem.
(Which of course, is still a problem).

I’ve relayed my frustration with your insider, religious rhetoric, and you responded by cut-and-pasting random Scripture soundbytes about the “Bride of Christ” and the “blood of the Lamb”, insisting that the real issue is simply my “Biblical ignorance”, and suggesting that I just need to repent and get a good Concordance (whatever that is).

I let you know how judged and ridiculed I feel when I’m with you, how much like a hopeless, failing outsider I feel on the periphery of your often inward, judgmental communities, and you proceeded to tell me how “lost” I am, how hopelessly “in love with my sin” I must be to leave you, reminding me that I never really belonged with you anyway.

In the face of every complaint and every grievance, you’ve made it clear that the real issue, is that I’m either sinful, heretical, immoral, foolish, unenlightened, selfish, consumerist, or ignorant.

Heck, many days I’m not even sure I disagree with you.
Maybe you’re right, Church.
Maybe I am the problem.
Maybe it is me, but me is all I’m capable of being right now, and that’s where I was really hoping you would meet me.
It’s here, in my flawed, screwed-up, wounded, shell-shocked, doubting, disillusioned me-ness, that I’ve been waiting for you to step-in with this whole supposedly relentless, audacious “love of Jesus” thing I hear so much about, and make it real.
Church, I know how much you despise the word Tolerance, but right now, I really need you to tolerate me; to tolerate those of us, who for all sorts of reasons you may feel aren’t justified, are struggling to stay.

We’re so weary of feeling like nothing more than a religious agenda; an argument to win, a point to make, a cause to defend, a soul to save.
We want to be more than a notch on your Salvation belt; another number to pad your Twitter posts and end-of-year stat sheets.
We need to be more than altar call props, who are applauded and high-fived down the aisle, and then forgotten once the song ends.

We’ve been praying for you to stop evangelizing us, and preaching at us, and fighting us, and judging us, and sin-diagnosing us, long enough to simply hear us…
… even if we are the problem.
Even if we are the woman in adultery, or the doubting follower, or the rebellious prodigal, or the demon-riddled young man, we can’t be anything else right now in this moment; and in this moment, we need a Church big enough, and tough enough, and loving enough; not just for us as we might one day be then, but for us as we are, now.

We still believe that God is big enough, and tough enough, and loving enough, even if you won’t be, and that’s why even if we do walk away, it doesn’t mean we’re walking away from faith; it’s just that faith right now seems more reachable elsewhere.

I know you’ll argue that you’re doing all these things and saying all these things because you love and care for us, but from the shoes we’re standing in, you need to know that it feels less like love and care, and more like space and silence:

If someone is frustrated, telling them that they’re wrong to be frustrated is, well, pretty freakin’ frustrating.
It only breeds distance.

If someone shares that their heart is hurting, they don’t want to hear that they’re not right to be hurt.
It’s a conversation-stopper.

If someone tells you they are starving for compassion, and relationship, and authenticity, the last thing they need is to be corrected for that hunger.
It’s a kick in the rear on the way out the door.

So yes, Church, even if you’re right, even if we’re totally wrong; even if we’re all petty, and self-centered, and hypocritical, and critical, and (I’ll say it), “sinful”, we’re still the ones searching for a place where we can be known and belong; a place where it feels like God lives, and you’re the ones who can show it to us.

Even if the problem is me, it’s me who you’re supposed to be reaching, Church.
So, for the love of God; reach already.

Friday, August 15, 2014

"Particle Fever"

This is a great documentary on all levels, (even though I discuss it narrowly. )

In particular, this film does a great job of documenting the contemporary PR effort necessary to garner the vast amounts of money needed to experiment and test the current theories about how our universe works. The very telling moment about this PR is when scientists actually consider doing their experiments in secret in the middle of the night, in order to make sure the experiment, portrayed as the actual experiment for the press, will go well the next day. I think this actually occurred though I did not find that part clear in the documentary. Even in simply considering this, portraying essentially falsehood as truth, is mind boggling. One scientist suggests that the press will want to know the real moment something is actually discovered... well, yes, I suppose. :)  They might want that truth, history might want that truth. Give the film credit for documenting this incredibly bizarre moment.

Also, I learned that "experimentalists" (as opposed to the "theorists")  must think Thomas Edison invented the light bulb. There is an apt comparison be made that the press was not called in until something actually worked. Imagine them reporting on each of hundreds of failures. Invention is tedious.

However this Edison idea is a confusion of technology (the experimentalists' bailiwick of sorts) with science that the CERN project is supposed to be.

Wikipedia: " Edison did not invent the first electric light bulb, but instead invented the first commercially practical incandescent light. Many earlier inventors had previously devised incandescent lamps, including Alessandro Volta's demonstration of a glowing wire in 1800 and inventions by Henry Woodward and Mathew Evans. Others who developed early and commercially impractical incandescent electric lamps included Humphry Davy, James Bowman Lindsay, Moses G. Farmer, William E. Sawyer, Joseph Swan and Heinrich Göbel. Some of these early bulbs had such flaws as an extremely short life, high expense to produce, and high electric current drawn, making them difficult to apply on a large scale commercially."

One of the flaws of an earlier inventor was the high expense to produce an apparently otherwise working light bulb by the wording. It is not as if the expense of going to the moon is considered in that accomplishment. Whoever makes it cheap will not get the full credit (yet sometimes I wonder just how much Steve Jobs did to be more idolized than the earlier pioneers of the technology he utilized.)  I sometimes find insight in the smallest of things. Or perhaps I am just sarcastically picking apart things. However, when the light bulb was mentioned as invented by Thomas Edison, I talked back to our TV. 
"Thomas Edison did not invent the light bulb!!!" I brusquely said as my wife wished once again that I was watching "Prime Suspect" or something else. Edison developed technology from science and experiments that others had done. He perfected things for the marketplace. He was the epitome of what Monsanto, cigarette companies, some trial lawyers in court, and CNN pundit quests rely upon: scientists interested in profit over ideals.
The Edison analogy is adept in more than one way.
For instance, do the political and commercial (public monies) aspects of this giant project (compared to the Great Pyramids by the scientists involved) make it more susceptible to discovering something that pleases rather than the tells the truth?
The "supersymmetric theory" is preferred over the "multiverse theory" by the theorists interviewed. Multiverse theory is basically the idea that there are multiple universes in pure chaos except for our one universe which seems distinctly suited for human life. We are the one in a billion billion billion universe that has the right characteristics. The variances are just so in our universe. The chances of human life rest on odds the size of, say, 10 people winning the lottery in the same room who all have red hair, a limp, and a cat named "Bo." Multiverse theory handles this nicely and says that there are a lot of possible existing universes and we happen to be in the one where life was created. If we were not we would not be here.

But why do they cheer lead for "supersymmetry?"  Well, as I understand it, this theory gives them more things to do in the future with the CERN supercollider in the future, whereas the multiverse theory makes the odds of finding more things higher in other universes we may never know. To me, this is precisely the point. Unless there is some careful plan, one would think we are absolutely fighting the odds if we think things will necessarily be discoverable by a random limited species in a random world.
One scientist seemed to link his career into discovering things with correct timing, no less. If not, he would be retired and not be part of it. Another scientist is correct in responding that even if retired, the knowing was more important thing.
In one way this group scientific effort is refreshing. I think the scientists lost out over the technologists at NASA for quite some time. Here in CERN, the theorists are an essential part of the mix.
My understanding of the multiverse and supersymmetric theories was certainly elevated by watching this. There was even a fairly good but concise representation of intelligent design (which is not your local tea party Texas schoolbook concept) but a construct that is fairly difficult to get away from given the unlikely nature of our universe being the way it is by chance. I was stunned to see this discussion. Stunned and very happy. Regardless of politics, this is an actual theory that can be pointed to as the most likely unless it is almost properly ruled out at the beginning as not being science. Again we are not talking about Christianity or any other religion but the simple idea that everything is so incredibly precise.. too precise for random existence.
And honestly, I wondered why the scientists were pushing for the supersymmetric theory over the multiverse theory at all. This was their stated preference in the documentary. Obviously, truth is truth, but in my younger years studying psychology we understood the massive effect that the scientist's preference can have on experimental outcomes. When you also mix in the vast expenditure of public monies and the career trajectories of all the team involved, it is definitely something to consider. It is not as if I feel that they fudged the results but the whole thing seemed a bit orchestrated... and the presentation... completely orchestrated, complete with Dr. Higgs, as touching as that was.
The multiverse theory, or complete chaos, seemed to me to be the more likely answer. Why should humanity's thoughts and wishes come into it? Even art, a most human endeavor, has expressed itself with chaos at times.
I really don't doubt I am the only person who might review this movie in this way. I am just hopeless.
Here is an interesting sentence from Wikipedia about the project as it played out following the discovery of the Higgs particle documented in this film (the "God Particle" for the press, admirers, and out of pocket citizens.)
"After the discovery of the Higgs particle in 2012, it was expected that supersymmetric particles would be found at CERN, but there has been still no evidence of them."

(By the way, this is available on Netflix... and probably Apple I-tunes and Amazon.)