Rapture Wrap Up |:| You May Not Have Gotten Raptured, But Throwing Stones in Glass Houses is Still a Bad Idea

This weekend I heard a lot of this “those people are idiots” type talk with regards to Raptureists, and I must admit, it’s kinda bumming me out.

It seems ever since Harold Camping amped up his May 21st bid for Rapture-gate 2011 everyone’s become this expresive über-above-it-all-cynic who just can’t believe how people could be “stupid enough” to believe that they’d be flung up into the sky in a rapturous display of God’s mercy.

I mean, take a look at this picture:

People...including the Phenomenauts, gather in front of the closed Family Radio station offices of radio evangelist Harold Camping, to celebrate irreverently, the non-destruction of the world predicted by Camping, Saturday, May 21, 2011 in Oakland, Calif.. (AP Photo/Dino Vournas)

There’s something about this picture of insignificant white kids demonstrating outside Family Radio‘s offices that just makes my blood boil!!! Is it seeing the super-average band the Phenomenauts wishing they were the Nation of Devo-Ulysses caught in the action, or the haircut in the front who loves science. For my money I guess it’s gotta be the science guy, ’cause obviously science is without a doubt the most awesome thing to ever grace the planet.

Beginning “Get Over Yrself, 101”:

Science: convinces women to—contrary to the law of gravity—lay on their backs to give birth.

Science: determined homosexuality to be a disorder until the 80s when the DSM III finally got it’s whacked out shite together.

Science: filled your mouth with mercury when you had a cavity, (ignoring?) forgetting that it also taught you that mercury f’s you up when you ingest it.

Science: the happy home of eugenics.

Yeah. Best put all your eggs in that basket (unless of course, you’d like to donate them to science).

Personally, I feel kinda sad for the Rapturists. To believe so much in something and then have it shat on in your face…that’s gotta be hard. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t rely on some form of ultimate belief that on the daily gets them out of bed every morning. Whether it’s a belief in God, or Love (though usually that’s the emotional lower-case “l” kind), or that your girlfriend isn’t planning on bonking your best friend right now as we speak, there’s not a single sad soul out there not relying on something to get her/him through the day.

I mean, yes, it seems insane to me to think someone would spend their entire life savings on billboards and fliers promoting something as hateful and diabolical as the Rapture. But, ya gotta feel for the guy when it doesn’t happen, right? That’s gotta be an intense let down. It’s not like he was waiting for the bus to arrive. He was waiting to be—literally—lifted off the ground and taken to heaven!

Gawker caught up with Robert Fitzpatrick, the MTA guy famous for hoping just that, and when he wasn’t swooped up he simply said,

“I do not understand why …,” as his speech broke off and he looked at his watch.

“I do not understand why nothing has happened.”

Damn! I’m sorry, I just can’t help it. Maybe I’m too sentimental, but I was rooting for the underdog on this one. Even in this case when the underdog is stoked on leaving me behind in a fiery pit of hell fire, I can’t help but still feel for him when it doesn’t happen.

I don’t know…like…may next year you’ll get to abandon my sorry arse on a planet God forgot.

Ah well. Best of luck sorting that one out in the ole brain.

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22 replies

  1. Let’s not forget that god is supposed to be infallible. Where science never claims to be. So why point out all the mistakes scientists have made? When you compare it to all the good science has done it looks completely insignificant in relation. Yeah I feel sorry for the idiots, but it was their choice, they weren’t forced to do it, so you can’t feel that sorry for someone so stupid.
    And y2k was an actual threat because people building computers didn’t forsee a potential disaster when we reached the millennium. It wasn’t to be as disastrous as people made it out to be, but it was a real threat.
    And calling the band Devo wannabes and a haircut stupid makes you look like a complete child. I would’ve taken your post more seriously had you not resorted to the tactics of a 5 year old.

    • Thanks for the reply, Caoimheuberalles. Just some clarification:

      “Let’s not forget that god is supposed to be infallible. Where science never claims to be. So why point out all the mistakes scientists have made?”

      Yes. God is supposed to be infallible, however, this post was not intended to discuss that, but rather the very fallible (if we believe in the dualism of right/wrong, etc.) “weak science” of date-setting as employed by Harold Camping and how challenging that with a very vague concept of “hard science” will present innumerable problems. I certainly wasn’t attempting to point out “all the mistakes” done in the name of science, (there are far too many to list) but was rather showing how supplanting one rigid belief system with another is a precarious move at best and absolutely ridiculous, ignorant, and potentially dangerous at it’s worst.

      I would also say that science not claiming to be infallible is completely off the mark. The scientific method is without a doubt one of the most unchallengable ideologies/methodologies in Western Civilization.

      I would also also say that much of what is deemed brilliant and scientific is A. a product not only of science, but of human impulses outside the scope of science (the once-in-a-while selfless will that might drive a scientist to want to cure cancer, for example), and B. clean-up of other previous scientific blunders (the fact that scientific “innovations” can be directly related to the proliferation of cancer in the first place!).

      “And calling the band Devo wannabes and a haircut stupid makes you look like a complete child.”

      I would never call the band Devo “wannabes.” Devo were arguably one of the most significant punk/pop/art bands of the 20th century. I was referring to the derivativeness of the Phenomenaut shtick.

      • I’m really interested in what you wrote here about “human impulses outside the scope of science (the once-in-a-while selfless will that might drive a scientist to want to cure cancer, for example).” Is this to say that great scientists are divinely inspired?

        I’ve read that scientists are the most likely out of anyone to be atheists. I suppose that even an atheist could have their actions inspired by a god even if they didn’t realize it, but the overwhelming trend I’ve observed from the scientific community is for scientists to describe their discoveries, inspirations, processes and overall motivation in ways that make perfect sense without making reference to anything magical or supernatural (ie: god or god-like figure).

        This is an aspect of religious thought I have a problem with, being the value in faith. Sometimes I’ll strongly believe something that I can’t fully explain with my knowledge and logical reasoning skills, such as strong emotions like love or even a gut feeling, but my not fully understanding the source of these emotions does not mean they arbitrarily have to be the result of anything super-natural, god-like or magical. As science progresses, more and more things we once chalked up as “magic” or “just how it is” have shifted to the realm of things we have a better understanding of (medicine, astronomy, chemistry, etc), and one can only assume that we will continue to achieve this level of understand in more and more once mysterious areas.

        This matters because If decisions are being made about something as important as how one should be living their life or looking out for the needs of their community, I want those decisions made based on rational thought and logic taking the best available information into account. This approach is universally suited for better outcomes than using a dated set of knowledge and reasoning skills, the bible being what is basically a time-capsule of where our science and understanding of the world was 2,000 years ago.

      • And P.S., I find it terrifying that a significant amount of the people I share this planet with are hopeful that the world will end in their lifetime. How could you feel bad for the rapture not happening? This bible-story does not sound pleasant for anyone to live through, and someone being raptured would be psychotic to take pleasure in knowing of the suffering being dealt to their un-saved former neighbors and friends. Important decisions are being made that will impact the future of life on this planet, and I do not trust someone hopeful that life on earth will soon be ending to make the kinds of decisions more likely to keep this planet going.
        While it isn’t universal, the belief that Earth was made just for us (humans) and will therefore always be here to provide for our needs no matter what we do to it is equally scary.

  2. Instead of lambasting a band you don’t like and ridiculing their fans for liking them, why not start your own band or something and be a positive force instead of a negative one?

    • Amen. Insulting them and resorting to such childish tactics just invalidates your opinions. This is a terrible, poorly-written article and does nothing to help anyone’s cause, least of all your own.

    • Not being able to do any better does not mean he doesn’t mean he can’t believe the Phenomenauts are mediocre.

      I can’t do better than Britney Spears. Hell, she can probably lip sync better than I can. I can still call her irrelevant and talentless.

      Dislike when someone, or a band, takes themselves too seriously, can’t poke fun at themselves, or see their limitations.

  3. “insignificant white kids”…how differently would you have viewed their reaction were they “significant”? (and how, may I ask, would you define that?) Or Mexican? Or older? Why does the combination of them being white, kids and “insignificant” suddenly detract from their opinions? Leading your entry with a petty, pejorative whine about the demonstrators kind of shoots the rest of your argument in the metaphorical foot. As balanced as you’re trying to be throughout the rest of your post, kicking it off by calling someone a “haircut” just makes you look like a tool. Thanks for playing, though. Better luck next time.

    • Is it really so painful to be recognized as white?

      I believe “insignificant” has nothing to do with them being white, rather that they are both white and insignificant, NOT(white = insignificant), therefore not-white =/= significant. I don’t think there’s a relation between race or significance, as implied or not by the author.

      I don’t intend to believe I know what the author means when referring to them as white, except that they are white. When “white” is used in a negative or detractive form, I tend to associate it with a superficial unimportant plight or interest that potentially highlights their privilege.

  4. He could start a band… But he has no talent. Because last I checked, talking shit about people and being sarcastic isn’t a talent. But thanks for sharing your dumb opinion.

  5. Well hello there, California! I was wondering when I’d hear from ya. Certainly took you long enough to come by. Like, almost two weeks!

    Anyway…

    Zoe: I don’t recall lambasting anyone’s fans….

    Technetium: While I admit that children are only sometimes enjoyable to be around—emphasis on “sometimes”—I don’t really see a reason to accuse their very nature of being pejorative. That is to say, it’s weird to call someone a “child” as if that is a bad thing, the same way it’s weird to call a person “gay” as if that’s a bad thing.

    Jody: I don’t know if it makes me look like a “tool,” per se, but I agree…leading the post off in the way I did certainly makes the piece a bit top-heavy. I mean look at all this fury! Wild, huh?

    Alyssa: I think most anything, if done well, can be a talent. Talking shit, being sarcastic, using the word “über.” You know, it doesn’t always have to be tennis.

  6. Actually the author is completely right on all his points. His comments are all valid and full of merit, especially regarding some cheesy band. The dude has played music. It’s f-ing epic. He’s got plenty of talent. He’s moved me. He’s extremely prolific and has shared the stage with some of the most revered bands in the punk community. The aforementioned author has worked with Ian Mackaye. If that doesn’t give him cred and merit I don’t know what does. If that guy will work with you, you are clearly righteous and on the right path. Cause he doesn’t do it for the dough.

  7. I was sent here in an attempt by the Phenomenauts to rally people to leave negative comments on this article. However, after reading the article, I cannot help but agree with the author. It make me sorta wonder who is crazier, crazy old guy whom 99.9999% of the population already knows is crazy, or the people who feel the need to point out that obviously crazy old guy is in fact, crazy. In addition, prior to the band protesting at Family Radio HQ, the band came up with the bright idea to tie balloons to blow up dolls and release them in the middle of SF and post a video of it on YouTube. I guess nothing says “science and honor” quite like needlessly polluting our environment and potentally killing animals when those things fall back to earth.

    PS: “haircut” is an even bigger douchebag in real life than his picture would lead you to believe.

    • Note that the balloons were tied to fishing line and retrieved after it was all over. One broke free and triumphantly escaped to heaven, but the rest were dragged back down to Earth and kept from polluting this lovely planet, something that someone who thinks the end of the world is imminent might not think was very important.
      The Phenomenauts posted a link to this article probably because they found it funny, I don’t recall seeing any suggestions that people troll or leave mean comments.

  8. Peace, Palehorsesailor. Thanks for the kind words!

    Ultra: Thanks for the link. It’s great to finally be recognized as “butt-hurt” (?), a “double doofus,” a “fucking idiot,” “jealous,” a “dork,” and “a guy with a stick up his butt.”

    A Non-brainwashed Phenomenauts fan: Thanks, bro. [insert smiley face emoticon with a martini glass]

    Hallelujah: Seems like you got it….

  9. Never heard of the Phenomenauts, so I can’t get involved in that controversy.

    I’m not a fan of religion, and I’m not a fan of science, at least in the current logic of either. Science is supposedly non-touchable, because it is based on rationality. However, much of science is based on our worldviews, which are of course, fallible. And that’s why women in America have babies in hospitals with doctors, despite the fact that this is not the healthiest setting for babies or mothers (as the author touched on).

    Science can be as misleading as religion, and to rely on anything as the absolute truth is putting a lot of faith onto that crutch. Believing that some guy who accepts your donations knows to the hour when the end of the world is going to happen, despite his reference tool explicitly saying that no one will know the hour and that his Lord will come like a thief in the night, well, that’s all just silly and misleading. It’s just as silly and misleading as believing that technology and science are somehow going to “save” the ecosystem in which our misguided species lives.

    I do find it humorous that science purports to tell us just how much we our consumer culture is degrading our ecosystem, while we find ourselves unable to stop doing so.

    “I don’t know anyone who doesn’t rely on some form of ultimate belief that on the daily gets them out of bed every morning”. Onalistus, you know me. I reserve the right not to believe in anything.

  10. I just wanted to state, for the record, that we attached the blow-up dolls to fishing line, flew them like kites, then reeled them back in, specifically so we WOULDN’T be polluting our environment and potentially killings animals when they inevitably fell back to Earth. One of said blow-up dolls unfortunately broke loose and we couldn’t recover it, but that was unintentional and regrettable. It is all clearly shown in the documentary about OPERATION RAPTURE: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r-XuIc_Lmp8

    That is all.

    Science & Honor,
    Leftenent AR7

    • Thanks for the link, Leftenent AR7. Sometimes we leave a little regrettable mess in our situationist romps. It happens.

  11. Ultra:

    Hey, Ultra. Thanks for the comments.

    Re. “human impulses outside the scope of science.” 

    Personally, I don’t feel there needs to be any sort of one or the other dynamic between some vague idea of what constitutes “science” versus some vague idea as to what constitutes “religion.” So, while I can imagine some scientists feeling “divinely inspired” however they may define that, it doesn’t need to be that heavy or ethereal. It could just be that a scientific action was not predetermined, or came from left field, so to speak, or came from some place that just doesn’t need defining.

    As far as defining discoveries or inspirations as magical or supernatural, I’d say that whether or not a person defines inspiration as a process of neurons connecting in a particularly exciting pattern or as the will of angels really does not matter. It’s how rigidly that person attaches his/her belief system to that definition. To allow no room for outliers is dangerous no matter the culture. We see this in both religious and vehemently non-religious societies.

    “As science progresses, more and more things we once chalked up as “magic” or “just how it is” have shifted to the realm of things we have a better understanding of (medicine, astronomy, chemistry, etc), and one can only assume that we will continue to achieve this level of understand in more and more once mysterious areas.”

    The fact is, and this may be hard to accept, that the accumulation of a particular quantity of knowledge is relevant only insofar as the culture that posits the knowledge can navigate through it with grace and tolerance for others within the culture. What do I mean? A pre-civilized society–one that by many standards exceeds our own in pleasure, joy, equality, etc.–may not need to know what atoms are in the terms we define them, but will still prosper, and arguably proposer very well. 

    That said, one must admit that our appreciation of the atom has brought perhaps quite a bit of fancy knowledge, but also opened the door for incredible violence. Now, an apologist would argue that you cant call someone using science for destruction as scientific, but the fact is, the atom bomb is quite possibly the biggest scientific stain of the previous century. 

    There is a reason pre-civilization, without our science, remained unchanged for millions of years. It worked! Now, I know it’s hard to see humanity as actually an aspect of the greater splendor of nature, but it is. And just like a flower remains more or less unchanged over long long long stretches of time, because it works, so too was humanity unchanged, pre-civilization, pre-science.

    Again, I must state, I’m not at the place where I condemn all of science as others I know might be, but seeing as the pinnacle of humanity, to me, seems pitifully misguided.

    “This matters because If decisions are being made about something as important as how one should be living their life or looking out for the needs of their community, I want those decisions made based on rational thought and logic taking the best available information into account.”

    Let me challenge this a bit. I think what you mean is that you’d like these decisions to be made based on a belief system that offers the greatest room for freedom and equality. While you have decided that rational thought is the sole method of producing such an outcome, I need to remind you that one persons rationality is another’s insanity. Hitler Germany, Communist China, Stalinist Russia, were all societies that attempted to argue the rationale of mass murder. Dare I say, that the arguments given by dictators are almost always rational. Yes, there’s more to it, but the rational aspect is what gets everyone who wasn’t swept up in the fury of it all.

    That said, ocourse, rationality is not only important, it’s inevitable! It’s not really what’s up for question. What is is the idea that it in some way trumps other methods at producing an environment of equality.

    Remember, the pull to pre-Roman Christianity, the early non-State-empowered Christianity was that is was a salvation for the poor. It said, for the first time in the region, that intermediaries between you and God were false. You have a right to heaven no matter your social position. Of course now, that message has been twisted to hell, but such is the effects of mixing power with any belief system.

    Now, does this mean I revile all scientific “discoveries?” Perhaps in mind, but I’m still using a computer. Still hoping my Internet connection remains strong.

    Hope this makes sense. The best I can do on this little glass pad.

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