Theocratic Sect Prays for Real Armageddon

Todd Bentley has a long night ahead of him, resurrecting the dead, healing the blind, and exploding cancerous tumors. Since April 3, the 32-year-old, heavily tattooed, body-pierced, shaved-head Canadian preacher has been leading a continuous “supernatural healing revival” in central Florida. To contain the 10,000-plus crowds flocking from around the globe, Bentley has rented baseball stadiums, arenas and airport hangars at a cost of up to $15,000 a day. Many in attendance are church pastors themselves who believe Bentley to be a prophet and don’t bat an eye when he tells them he’s seen King David and spoken with the Apostle Paul in heaven. “He was looking very Jewish,” Bentley notes.

Tattooed across his sternum are military dog tags that read “Joel’s Army.” They’re evidence of Bentley’s generalship in a rapidly growing apocalyptic movement that’s gone largely unnoticed by watchdogs of the theocratic right. According to Bentley and a handful of other “hyper-charismatic” preachers advancing the same agenda, Joel’s Army is prophesied to become an Armageddon-ready military force of young people with a divine mandate to physically impose Christian “dominion” on non-believers. […]

Joel’s Army believers are hard-core Christian dominionists, meaning they believe that America, along with the rest of the world, should be governed by conservative Christians and a conservative Christian interpretation of biblical law. There is no room in their doctrine for democracy or pluralism.

Dominionism’s original branch is Christian Reconstructionism, a grim, Calvinist call to theocracy that, as Reconstructionist writer Gary North describes, wants to “get busy in constructing a Bible-based social, political and religious order which finally denies the religious liberty of the enemies of God.”

Full Story: Alternet

(thanks Bill!)

Berkeley Scientists: World In ‘Mass Extinction Spasm’

Devastating declines of amphibian species around the world are a sign of a biodiversity disaster larger than just the deaths of frogs and salamanders, University of California, Berkeley scientists said Tuesday.

Researchers said substantial die-offs of amphibians and other plant and animal species add up to a new mass extinction facing the planet, the scientists said in an online article this week in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

“There’s no question that we are in a mass extinction spasm right now,” said David Wake, professor of integrative biology at UC Berkeley. “Amphibians have been around for about 250 million years. They made it through when the dinosaurs didn’t. The fact that they’re cutting out now should be a lesson for us.”

New species arise and old species die off all the time, but sometimes the extinction numbers far outweigh the emergence of new species, scientists said.

Extreme cases of this are called mass extinction events. There have been only five in our planet’s history, until now, scientists said.

Full Story: NBC

(via Cryptogon)

Superstruct: a futurist ARG for building the future

This fall, The Institute for the Future invites you to play Superstruct, the world’s first massively multiplayer forecasting game. It’s not just about envisioning the future-it’s about inventing the future. Everyone is welcome to join the game. Watch for the opening volley of threats and survival stories, September 2008.


This is a game of survival, and we need you to survive.

Super-threats are massively disrupting global society as we know it. There’s an entire generation of homeless people worldwide, as the number of climate refugees tops 250 million. Entrepreneurial chaos and ‘the axis of biofuel’ wreak havoc in the alternative fuel industry. Carbon quotas plummet as food shortages mount. The existing structures of human civilization-from families and language to corporate society and technological infrastructures-just aren’t enough. We need a new set of superstructures to rise above, to take humans to the next stage.

You can help. Tell us your story. Strategize out loud. Superstruct now.

It’s your legacy to the human race.

Full Story: Institute for the Future

(via Grinding)

Earth ‘not at risk’ from collider

Our planet is not at risk from the world’s most powerful particle physics experiment, a report has concluded.

The document addresses fears that the Large Hadron Collider is so energetic, it could have unforeseen consequences.

Critics are worried that mini-black holes made at the soon-to-open facility on the French-Swiss border might threaten the Earth’s very existence.

But the report, issued the European Organization for Nuclear Research, says there is “no conceivable danger”.

Full Story: BBC

The Fat Lady’s Aria? Humanity’s Last Stand? Or Just Another Apocalypse Soon?

The Fat Lady's Aria? Humanity's Last Stand? Or Just Another Apocalypse Soon?

“For the third time in less than 15 years, the End of the World draws near. It’s discussed in coffee shops and saloons, and texted from couches by punks of the New Age while UFO Hunters flickers unwatched on TV. Theories inundate the Internet and books are already in print. Although apocalyptic theorizing might seem a hard sell in these grim times, conferences are being staged, at least two major motion pictures are planned, and the collective consciousness wonders if the date 2012 is already copyrighted. We can be certain we are going to hear a mess of both ominous and grandly metaphysical predictions for 2012 before the crucial date arrives.

We have, of course, seen all this before. In July of 1999, after much consternation and endless documentaries on the History Channel, we survived the quatrains of Nostradamus predicting terror descending from the sky. Then, on New Year’s Day 2000, we made it unscathed through Y2K and the near-hysterical scenarios that every computer across the planet would crash due to a basic time-keeping glitch. Airplanes were supposed to fall from the sky that time, and the Midwest find itself without power in mid-winter. A third major End Time in less than a decade is hard to embrace. Too many hints of that cracker-barrel ‘fool me once’ proverb that George Bush can never quite remember. On the other hand, stress levels are currently running high, and that is frequently when an Armageddon panic pops.”

(via Los Angeles CityBeat. h/t: Doc 40)

Dolphin deaths: Expert suggests ‘mass suicide’

dolphin suicide

Full Story: Guardian

(via Disinfo)

The NerdGod delusion

Warren Ellis writes:

The IEEE Spectrum “special report” on The Singularity makes for interesting reading, but I’d like you to try something as you click through it. When you read these essays and interviews, every time you see the word “Singularity,” I want you to replace it in your head with the term “Flying Spaghetti Monster.”

(My personal favourite right now is “The Flying Spaghetti Monster represents the end of the supremacy of Homo sapiens as the dominant species on planet Earth.”)

The Singularity is the last trench of the religious impulse in the technocratic community. The Singularity has been denigrated as “The Rapture For Nerds,” and not without cause. It’s pretty much indivisible from the religious faith in describing the desire to be saved by something that isn’t there (or even the desire to be destroyed by something that isn’t there) and throws off no evidence of its ever intending to exist. It’s a new faith for people who think they’re otherwise much too evolved to believe in the Flying Spaghetti Monster or any other idiot back-brain cult you care to suggest.

Vernor Vinge, the originator of the term, is a scientist and novelist, and occupies an almost unique space. After all, the only other sf writer I can think of who invented a religion that is also a science-fiction fantasy is L Ron Hubbard.

Does George Lucas count?

Wired’s “environmental heresies” examined

1. Wired’s Inconvenient Truths (did Stewart Brand write this? It sounds a lot like this)

2. Counterpoint: Dangers of Focusing Solely on Climate Change by WorldChanging‘s Alex Steffen

3. EcoGeek point by point response

4. More from Alex Steffen

I mostly agree with EcoGeek’s response. But here are a few additional thoughts:

“Accept Genetic Engineering”

In general, yes. Specific GM projects might be bad, but there’s nothing inherently wrong with biohacking. Every technology must be considered on a case by case basis.

“Carbon Credits Were a Great Idea, But the Benefits Are Illusory”

I’ve generally been more in favor of carbon tax than carbon credits, but EcoGeek makes a valid point about about the sulfur dioxide cap-and-trade market. So I’ll have to give this one some more thought. But offsetting’s not off to a good start.

“Embrace Nuclear Power”

If nuclear waste can be managed effectively (a big if), there’s still the insane cost to be reckoned with. Alex is right to say it’s not just about carbon.

“Used Cars, Not Hybrids”

EcoGeek’s objection here makes little sense. Certainly hybrids are better than other new cars, or used cars with below average gas mileage (or maybe even average gas mileage). But that’s hardly the point. But really, like Alex says, the greenest car is the one that doesn’t exist. (Sadly, I’ve had to take up driving again, due to work requirements.)

Creator of the Gaia hypothesis says “enjoy life while you can”

Lovelock believes global warming is now irreversible, and that nothing can prevent large parts of the planet becoming too hot to inhabit, or sinking underwater, resulting in mass migration, famine and epidemics. Britain is going to become a lifeboat for refugees from mainland Europe, so instead of wasting our time on wind turbines we need to start planning how to survive. To Lovelock, the logic is clear. The sustainability brigade are insane to think we can save ourselves by going back to nature; our only chance of survival will come not from less technology, but more.

Nuclear power, he argues, can solve our energy problem – the bigger challenge will be food. “Maybe they’ll synthesise food. I don’t know. Synthesising food is not some mad visionary idea; you can buy it in Tesco’s, in the form of Quorn. It’s not that good, but people buy it. You can live on it.” But he fears we won’t invent the necessary technologies in time, and expects “about 80%” of the world’s population to be wiped out by 2100. Prophets have been foretelling Armageddon since time began, he says. “But this is the real thing.”


What would Lovelock do now, I ask, if he were me? He smiles and says: “Enjoy life while you can. Because if you’re lucky it’s going to be 20 years before it hits the fan.”

Full Story: Guardian

Contra: A skeptical look at the economics of nuclear energy from the Nation

Anti-population control book reviewed

Connelly criticizes Ms. Gandhi, influential author Paul Ehrlich (“The Population Bomb”), and other thought leaders who agreed that only population control could save the world from poverty and other maladies. The 20th century marked the first time the future of a species – not only its numbers but also its nature – became the object of its own design, he writes. People eradicated diseases, regulated migration, and manipulated fertility rates. Human populations became the subject of scientific experiments and political struggles. The stakes – and the consequences – were huge.

Americans were the first to pursue policies to shape the world population and played a leading role in institutionalizing the science of demography and the political strategy of family planning. But critics on both the left and the right have attacked population control as something perpetrated by white, wealthy, elite people (especially in the United States), upon the rest of the world, particularly poor nations, where populations had been spiraling out of control.


But now that Asians have reduced their reproductive rate to 2.1 children, for example, there are other issues to consider. If they also have air conditioning and automobiles, they will have a much greater impact on the global ecosystem than a billion more subsistence farmers, he writes.

Full Story: Christian Science Monitor

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