Rapid Rebuttal–Why “Natural” Disasters?

Because Zeus is angry. Duh.

PCG has just produced a new booklet titled Why “Natural” Disasters. We have already thoroughly addressed the faulty reasoning, bad science, and plain false statements that characterize all such nature mythology–and PCG’s latest attempt provides no new insights into the subject–but…well, we just can’t help ourselves.

We will only be examining the first chapter, since the others (judging by their chapter titles, which include “Are You Ready for the End of the World?”) are all patent nonsense that depend entirely upon the veracity of the proposition of the first chapter. So, let’s dive right in to this holy mess of sloppy research, faulty logic, and idiotic assertions, and try to make some sense of it all. … Continue reading.

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Science Decrees: God’s Wrath Shall Be Limited to Flood Plains, Low-Pressure Zones and the Ring of Fire

They forgot to include God's finger in this diagram--then again, this is 5th grade science.

Our favorite little CoG splinter has just produced another pretentious expulsion of science envy. It is a book with the ambitious title, Why Natural Disasters? Any fifth-grader can answer that question, but the Armstrongists find it necessary to insult our intelligence yet again.

Unable to process the implications of 5th grade science, but coveting the prestige of fact-based assertions, the proponents of Armstrongism as a rule turn to superstitious explanations for natural events. They would like their readers to believe that such myth-weaving is original with them, but weather mythology is nothing new. Nor is it the exclusive domain of Armstrongism. Most fundamentalist sects proclaim their god/s as the source of weather phenomena. It is not surprising at all that worshipers of Yahweh should do so, since he was originally conceived as a storm god of the Canaanites.

The Armstrongist who professes belief in weather and geological mythology is no different in that regard from the bygone proponents of such nonsensical theories as earthquakes being caused by Poseidon striking the ground with his trident, or by Namazu the giant catfish thrashing about in a bath of subterranean mud. But the opportunistic and hypocritical moralizing that accompanies the Armstrongist theory of natural disaster puts it in a subset of nature mythology that is particularly attractive to modern fundamentalists. From Protestant pulpits to mosques to the ostentatious sets of televangelists, the message is the same: “Our god is responsible for natural disasters, and he causes them because he is angry.” But this common fundamentalist nature mythology has a special problem with the science its subscribers wish could be marshaled in its defense. We will now address this particular problem. … Continue reading.

“God’s Tectonic Mouthpiece”

 

“Look out belowwwwwww!”

Last week a cataclysmic natural disaster struck Japan, carved a path of devastation through the Pacific islands and finally smashed itself against the western coast of the United States. The 8.9 magnitude earthquake was precipitated by a sudden shift in the tectonic plates which geologists call the “Japan subduction zone,” and the concussive shock resulted in a tsunami whose full effect has yet to be assessed. Conservative estimates place the financial toll at well over $200 billion, while over 15,000 people remain either dead or missing. But the danger is far from over. Powerful, unpredictable aftershocks continue to shatter structures weakened by the initial quake, and the Fukushima nuclear reactor remains in a state of emergency as it hemorrhages billowing clouds of radioactive smoke over heavily populated urban areas whose shelters were destroyed by the earthquake. Even after the cleanup effort is completed, an expansive swath of territory around the nuclear plant will remain deadly to all forms of life for 300 years while the cesium-137 isotope degrades.

Most people agree that the destruction in Japan is the result of natural forces which have remained in play since the formation of our planet. But some religious leaders, especially in the Armstrongist cults, would have us believe that the recent tide of death and mayhem in Japan is a warning message from a wrathful, all-powerful God—merely a foretaste of His prophesied vengeance against our evil world. Here we examine that claim.

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Birds, Fish, and Cows, oh My!

Eric Sell

I think I’ll start calling these occasional articles, wherein I directly criticize a single article in the Trumpet, the “Uncertain Sound” series. It’s from 1 Cor.: “For if the trumpet gave an uncertain sound, who would prepare himself for war…”, and I do believe you’ll find the soundness of the Trumpet to be uncertain. I did one on natural disasters, and as it turns out, the second one is on the same topic.

There is a long history of seeing the Hand of God in the natural world and weather patterns. Some natural events seem naturally to beg a divine explanation—such as a particularly large earthquake, or simply an ordinary earthquake in an unusual area (or at least they did before we knew about tectonic plates and fault lines). But there are other times when people see patterns where there simply are none. This is called clustering illusion. But when is nature, or weather, attributable to the Hand of God and when is it just the result of a chaotic world? Continue reading

Natural Disasters are Natural Disasters

Eric Sell

There are many signs of the end listed in the Bible. There is an entire school of “thought” dedicated to deciphering the prophecies and signs of the end—eschatology. The enthusiastic eschatologists point to the increase in earthquakes and natural disasters (Luke 21:11) as a warning that “the end is near.” Of course, Matt 24:7 and Mark 13:8 put the emphasis on wars (nation against nation, kingdom against kingdom) more than the famine and pestilences. There are other places that say it will be a time of trouble such as has never been seen before. Yes, there’s more to the whole of eschatology than this, but these are the main signs of the end.

So, is this the end? … Continue reading