George, difficult to see, the future is.

January 20, 2011
George Lucas
Image via Wikipedia

Okay, I debated whether or not to talk about the George Lucas rumor going around because right now its just unsubstantiated gossip, I’m only hearing the story second-hand, and because I respect George Lucas a lot. The man was involved in some major capacity in at least 5 movies in my list of top 30 films of all time, including my the top 2 films on that list. And no other filmmaker has been a bigger influence on me. But it occurred to me that had this been a celebrity I didn’t care about, I would write about it, so I can’t play favorites.

If you don’t know what I’m talking about, here’s the story. Seth Rogen claims that he met with both George Lucas and Steven Spielberg and that during that meeting, Lucas revealed that he was a big believer in the alleged Mayan prophecy that the world would end in 2012.

According to Rogen:

“George Lucas sits down and seriously proceeds to talk for around 25 minutes about how he thinks the world is gonna end in the year 2012, like, for real. He thinks it.“He’s going on about the tectonic plates and all the time Spielberg is, like, rolling his eyes, like, ’My nerdy friend won’t shut up, I’m sorry…’

“I first thought he (Lucas) was joking… and then I totally realized he was serious and then I started thinking, ’If you’re George Lucas and you actually think the world is gonna end in a year, there’s no way you haven’t built a spaceship for yourself… So I asked him… ’Can I have a seat on it?’

“He claimed he didn’t have a spaceship, but there’s no doubt there’s a Millennium Falcon in a garage somewhere with a pilot just waiting to go… It’s gonna be him and Steven Spielberg and I’ll be blown up like the rest of us.”

And now everyone’s talking about it…which I guess is a good thing because the overwhelming public sentiment seems to be that no intelligent person should really take this 2012 doomsday thing seriously and perhaps a little mockery will change Lucas’ mind on the thing if this story is legitimate in the first place.

Now it’s not that I seriously think Rogen would make up a story like this out of thin air to get media attention now that he’s got a movie out in theaters. I think he comes off as a really genuine guy and seems like he’s almost certainly a big fan of Lucas’.

So I don’t think it’s made up. But it’s possible that Lucas and maybe Spielberg were having fun with him and Rogen didn’t pick up on it. Of course it’s also possible George Lucas really, truly believes the world will end in 2012. Though his actions over the past few years don’t seem to suggest that is the case. Then again, I find most believers in these sorts of impending doomsday ideas tend to live lives inconsistent with that belief just like religious people who believe death will bring them to paradise seem to go as out of their way to avoid death as any atheist. So it’s possible there’s a compartmentalization aspect to this where he’s kind of obsessed with reading books on the subject and is buying into some of it without really acting in a way that’s congruent with that belief.

I don’t want to get into absurdity of these beliefs now. That’s been done to death. Contrary to what we hear from the delusional, in most ways the world is actually getting better. To quote Nerdfighter Hank Green:

In the last 100 years the human lifespan has increased by over 35 years. 100 years ago the average lifespan was only 45 years. Now it’s almost 80. And that number is increasing every year. If it keeps increasing at that same rate, the average lifespan of a child born in 2008 will be 98 years old.
Teen pregnancy, smoke, and drug use have all decreased significantly since the 1990s.
Rates of cancer have decreased steadily in the U.S. for 20 years and it’s not just because people aren’t smoking as much, though that’s certainly part of it. It’s also because new screening techniques that can detect pre-cancerous lesions in the colon and also because of the HPV vaccine which prevents the virus that causes cervical cancer.
Small Pox once killed millions of people per year; now it has been completely eradicated. It literally does not exist anymore.
Since 1990, global poverty rates have decreased by more than 30%. And they’re on-track to have decreas 40% by 2015.
Divorce rates are much lower than people assume, and have consistently dropped since the 1970’s in America. Only 20% of people who got married in the 1980s got divorced.
Violent crime rates dropped 5% between 2007 and 2008. And violent crime rates have been dropping consistently every year since 1993
The Red Cross collects 15 million blood donations per year. No one is compensated for those donations, except with cookies and juice. People just like helping other people.
In 1970 there were only 400 breeding pairs of Bald Eagles left in America, but the Endangered Species t effectively saved the species. There are now more than 10,000 breeding pairs. During the same time Whooping Cranes returned from a much more serious 50 birds total in the entire world. There are now over 500.

So in guess you were thinking that boy was our last hope, Yoda was right. There is another.

[UPDATE 1/23/11 – reported that Lucasfilm, via email, said Lucas’ comments were a joke].

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Waiting for Armageddon

January 30, 2010

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “Waiting for Armageddon“, posted with vodpod

The apocalypse was delayed again

December 14, 2009

As you can see, The Rapture probably didn’t happen today (third story down). Of course maybe it did happen and just nobody was raptured up into Heaven. In any case, the website that said it was going to happen before today has now pushed its prediction back a week. So now the apocalypse is going to happen before Monday, December 21. So dress accordingly.

News From Around The Blogosphere 12.11.09

December 11, 2009

1. Chiropractic debunked…again – The vast majority of chiropractors believe that most disease is caused by spinal misalignments and that manipulation of the spine to correct a “subluxation” is capable of treating most disease. This is the basis of all of chiropractic, though some have evolved to view chiropractic as just beneficial for back problems. But a new study failed to show any causation associating chiropractic subluxation with disease. None. Chiropractors have onlya few options:  throw out the subluxation model entirely (which again is the basis of their whole practice) or reject the study. My money’s on door number two.

2. The SkepDoc to write for O, the Oprah Magazine? – The chiropractic article linked to above was written by Harriet Hall aka The SkepDoc. She has just been offered a column in Oprah’s magazine. It seems that the new health and environment editor at O reads Skeptic. According to Hall,

I had never actually seen Oprah’s magazine, but I suspected it was not a reliable source of science-based medical information. I asked for a copy and my prejudice was confirmed by finding an article by Dr. Mehmet Oz that included recommendations for homeopathy and aromatherapy. The magazine has a circulation of 2.4 million – only slightly lower than Playboy and TV Guide and over three times that of Scientific American.

My column will begin with the January issue. It won’t amount to much. It is limited to 250 words, under tight editorial control, and restricted to debunking common health myths like the idea that you lose most of your body heat from the head. But at least there will now be a small corner of Oprah-land that will be guaranteed entirely free of woo-woo.

Hopefully this will work out better than when Angel took that job at Wolfram & Hart.

3. It’s the end of the world…again – The same website that so successfully predicted The Rapture on September 21, September 23October 21, Fall 2009, and November 11 has predicted The Rapture again. This time it’s going to happen before Monday, December 14. I know what you’re thinking. Talk about having a case of the Mondays! But at least we get to enjoy the weekend before the apocalypse. So remember, folks. The apocalypse may happen on Monday, so dress accordingly.

4. No more atheist ads in Barcelona – Promedios, the company in charge of the advertising, has now banned all ads causing “social controversy.” The first to suffer from this rule is an ultra-Catholic religious group.

5. But an atheist ad is going up in New Zealand – They raised more than the necessary $10,000 in two days.

6. Clergy ratings on honesty and ethics hit 32-year low – Half of the people polled do not trust the clergy.

Uh oh! I don't like the sound of that.

News From Around The Blogosphere 11.9.09

November 10, 2009

1. Cancer Boy is now cancer-free – As Carl Sagan once wrote, science delivers the goods. Many months ago, I blogged about the continuing saga of Daniel Hauser, the boy with Hodgkin’s lymphoma whose crazy anti-medical mother kidnapped to keep him from being poisoned by his court-ordered chemotherapy, but who later returned home with him. Unfortunately, while the boy was receiving real medical care, he was also being given bogus “alternative” medicine” products, which pretty much guarantees that the medicine denialists won’t give science the credit its due. But what’s most important is that Daniel Hauser is cancer-free and the chemotherapy didn’t poison him to death like the medicine deniers predicted.

2. An economic collapse didn’t occur today, so the world won’t end on Wednesday! – Cause I know you were all worried that it would. Ever since September, I’d been blogging about the constantly moving doomsday goalpost of one really delusional website. First, it predicted the world would end on September 21st. Then that turned into October 21st. Then October 23rd. But now whoever’s running it is wising up and adding conditions. Yesterday, the prediction was that if an economic collapse occured on November 9th, The Rapture would come on November 11th. Well, the Dow Jones went up over 200 points today, so I guess we’re all safe. Phew! That was a close one.

danish-cartoon-bomb3. Iran to execute 3 men for being atheists? – 3 Iranians are charged with apostasy, or leaving Islam:

Habibollah Latifi, Ehsan (Esma’il) Fattahian and Sherko Moarefi have all been sentenced to death for “enmity against God” in unconnected cases over the last two years. They are believed to be on death row in a prison in Sanandaj, the provincial capital of Kordestan.

Everything you’ve come to expect from “The Religion of Peace.” Please sign this petition to the Iranian government.

4. Christopher Hitchens and Stephen Fry definitively and demonstrably defeat the Catholic Church in debate – At the start of the debate, 678 people in the audience thought that the Catholic Church was a force for good in the world while 1102 disagreed and 346 were undecided. But by the end, only 268 thought the Catholic Church was a force for good in the world while 1876 disagreed with only 34 left undecided.


Failed apocalypse part 3

October 22, 2009

The world still hasn’t ended. That website that keeps predicting the end of the world has struck out for the third time in a row. First, they said September 21, 2009. Then it was September 23, 2009. Then a few days ago they said the world would end on October 21st, 2009. Still nothing. So what do they say now? Fall 2009 starts the seven-year tribulation, which for some reason ends in 2015. I guess Jesus wasn’t the mathematician in the family. Now I didn’t sit there reading to find out what we should expect the tribulation to look like, but my guess is that it will pretty much look exactly as though there is no tribulation happening until 2015 when they just alter the site again to re-predict the end of the world at a later time.

News From Around The Blogosphere 10.18.09

October 18, 2009

1. Child witch-killings continue in Africa

Nwanaokwo Edet was one of an increasing number of children in Africa accused of witchcraft by pastors and then tortured or killed, often by family members. Pastors were involved in half of 200 cases of “witch children” reviewed by the AP, and 13 churches were named in the case files.

2. New online game for radical right-wingnuts – The game takes place in 2011 after “Obama’s coup fails.” The game invokes the “New World Order” conspiracy and rewrites history, establishing Lou Dobbs as the “one brave newscaster” who first sounded the alarm bells of the evil Obama/NWO conspiracy and defining the Obama administration as engaging in “Marxist experiments.” Really, guys?  On the plus side though, in this hypothetical future history, all the really annoying right-wingnut propagandists like Glenn Beck, Neil Boortz, Rush Limbaugh, Michelle Malkin, Bill O’Reilly, and Sean Hannity have all either been killed or have disappeared. So the future is looking brighter. . .

. . .or is it?!

3. Remember that website I blogged about last month that predicted the end of the world would happen on September 21, 2009 and then immediately afterwards changed the end of the world to September 23, 2009. . .or September 23, 2015?

Well this time they’re totally serious! It turns out I guess that they didn’t carry the one or something because now the world’s going to end on October 21, 2009. And you know this time they’ve got it right because they’ve got such a great track record for predicting these apocalypes.

Like before, I recommend screen capturing this page again, so that you can compare it to what it says on October 22, 2009.

4. My less skeptical cousin chupacabra found and is on display at Creation “Museum”

5. Dad performs son’s circumcision. . .and botches it – Man, and you thought your father embarrassed you? He probably should have known better since he’d already botched his own circumcision.