Perhaps it’s too subtle for some. End of Days?

I don’t think most of the Texans agree with the “End of Days” schtick. They’ve been roughed up pretty thoroughly by drought already, enough to get their dander up. A real Texan is one tough hombre. A guy calling himself a preacher, sipping from his coffee mug and shouting into a camera on You Tube isn’t enough to make them give up hope, quit struggling, drop to their knees and pray.

Texas Lake Turns Blood-Red – Texas – Fox Nation

That doesn’t seem to extend to Indiana however.

And now for the not so ‘subtle’ part.

The Deluge - Image via Wikipedia

There once was an old man who had great faith
. He lived in a flood-plain
. One day after a particularly hard rain, a Ranger pulls up in front of the house in a 4×4. The Ranger tells the old man that a great flood is coming, that he needs to evacuate. The old man insists on staying saying, “I have faith! God will save me from the flood!” The Ranger argues, but to no avail, and finally leaves to save more sensible people.


Rescue work, Dayton (LOC)

Image by The Library of Congress via Flickr

The next day, the floodwaters have covered the old man’s yard, and are lapping at his porch. The same Ranger pulls up in a john-boat and begs the old man once more to evacuate. The old man remains firm, saying, “I have faith! God will save me from the flood!” The Ranger argues to no avail, and finally leaves.

Helicopter Rescue

Helicopter Rescue - Image by SixFourG via Flickr

The next day, the floodwaters have covered the 1st and 2nd stories, and a helicopter flies in to hover over the old man perched upon the roof. The Ranger yells to the old man, “Climb up! We need to get you out of here!” Once again, the old man replies, “I have faith! God will save me from the flood!” As they argue, a wave sweeps the old man off the roof and he drowns. The old man arrives at the gates of Heaven, and is greeted by the Angel Gabriel. The old man says, “I want to speak with God.” Gabriel smiles and says that God wants to talk to him, too. The old man is ushered into the presence of God, and says, “Lord, I don’t understand! I had faith that you would save me! What happened?”

God looks at him, sighs, and says, “I sent you a 4×4, a boat, and a helicopter, what more did you want???”

Could it be that the messages for the last 30 years were sent to save us? 

This story is usually paired with something crisp like, “The Lord helps those who help themselves.” Life isn’t about passively standing around, waiting for the big guy in the sky to take care of you. You’ve got to participate.


“I sent you a scientist, a group of scientists, and an international coalition of scientists to tell you how to avoid this, what more did you want???”

Dr. Rajendra Kumar Pachauri Chair, IPCC

Image by UNclimatechange via Flickr

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Weston faces down Westboro’s Hate mongers!

Posted by Lady Liberty on Tuesday, November 9, 2010, 6:53 PM
Disgusting, hateful protesters from Westboro Baptist Church meet with consolidated resistance from patriots from all over the world when they try to protest the funeral of fallen soldier, Sgt.C.J. Sadell.
Via Fox News –

Members of a small Missouri town banded together Saturday to block a controversial pastor and members of his Westboro Baptist Church from protesting the funeral of a fallen U.S. soldier, reports.
Hundreds of residents in Weston, Mo. — as well as people as far away as California and Australia– rallied in support of Sgt. First Class C.J. Sadell, who died from injuries suffered during a surprise attack in Afghanistan.
The residents sought to block Fred Phelps, leader of the Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kan., and his followers from picketing Sadell’s funeral, according to the station.
“We got everybody here early so we could take up all the parking spots,” Rebecca Rooney of Weston, Mo., told “We did that so Mr. Phelps wouldn’t have a contingency that was really close.”
“I’m glad they left, but I’m sad they came,” she said.
Sadell, who leaves behind a wife and two sons, was stationed in the Arif Kala region of Afghanistan when his unit was ambushed on Oct. 5. Five soldiers were killed in the attack and Sadell was badly injured.
The 34-year-old died from his injuries on Oct. 24.

As Jennifer at Double Nickel Farm so poignantly points out:

Are you wondering if I have had the pleasure of visiting this charming community? The truth is that I have not, and am not receiving anything for my review of Weston. I am quite simply an American who is grateful for these folks and how they stood up to the Westboro Baptist Church and their vile protest at military funerals.
Imagine that- hundreds of residents…and that is from a population of 1,631! I love this community and those that rallied for Sgt. First Class Sadell’s family during this emotional time. These people are folks I would be proud to be neighbors of, and most certainly would enjoy a visit in their neck of the woods. C.J Sadell leaves behind a wife and two sons and will be missed dearly, I am certain.
Sometimes a tragedy brings to light awareness of a strength and fortitude that one never really knew existed. With the actions of Weston, MO., each and everyone of us can take back our country, and bring back the values that have been rapidly eroding. America is a nation that has required a price, whether one understands this or not, and we must never, never, never dishonor those who have given all for Her colors to boldly wave.
I for one am absolutely hopeful that soon I can travel to this community and personally thank them, we all can show our gratitude by visiting and generating our vacation dollars locally, as they will not be wasted.

I love this story!  It reaffirms my belief in the order of the universe.  It proves that there are far more good and honest people in this world then there are bad.  Never forget that.

Westboro is trying for martyrdom when they try stunts like this. Not sure what would happen if they tried this in my home town, but I don’t think it would have been this friendly…

Commentary: The dumbing down of America | McClatchy

Maybe we, the people, have lost the intellectual capacity to manage a workable democracy. How else do you explain why nearly one in five Americans believes that President Barack Obama is a Muslim?
A recent poll by the nonpartisan Pew Forum found that 18 percent of all those polled — and 31 percent of Republicans — believe the president is a Muslim. That is up from 11 percent of all Americans last year.
Obama’s faith is not a matter of public opinion. He’s a baptized Christian who routinely prays with fellow Christians and invokes his “risen savior” when speaking of his faith.
He does not practice the Islamic faith. He has never been seen performing the ritual prayer, which Muslims do five times a day. He is not observing Ramadan, which requires Muslims to fast each day from Aug. 11 to Sept. 10. Nor has he made the required pilgrimage to Mecca.
It is ironic that many of the same critics who excoriated Obama for his close ties with the Rev. Jeremiah Wright now are accusing him of being a Muslim.
I suspect that a lot of people enjoy calling Obama a Muslim because they think it marks him as an outsider, an imposter, someone who assumed the presidency illegitimately. Many of those who call Obama a Muslim undoubtedly are “birthers,” too, the ones who believe Obama was not born in the United States.
Or perhaps they aren’t aware that Hawaii is a state.
That wouldn’t surprise me. As noted, it seems that a significant number of Americans are losing the capacity to accept facts, sift through valid evidence and come to reasonable conclusions about things.
Of course, we always have had wacky conspiracy theories and always will. Some people still believe that the Apollo moon landing was a hoax, that someone other than Lee Harvey Oswald killed JFK and that the government is covering up evidence of UFOs.
A 2007 New York Times-CBS poll indicated that 22 percent of Americans thought President George W. Bush knew of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in advance. A Newsweek poll that same year found that 41 percent of Americans still believed that Saddam Hussein was personally involved in planning and carrying out the Sept. 11 attacks.
Those are disturbing statistics, but the flood of misinformation has only risen, topping the levees of rationality at every turn. To a large extent, we can blame the Internet and the ease with which all the false rumors, misstatements, nutty conspiracies and outright lies are disseminated.
I am bombarded with this stuff all the time, accompanied with urgent pleas to write my congressmen, alert my friends and neighbors, send money and lock and load. Here is one example: Obama has ordered the Justice Department to immediately bar all public broadcasting of Christian religious services because they violate the separation of church and state.
Did any of the people spreading that rumor stop and think before pressing the “send” button that the president might not have the authority to do that? Religious services have been broadcast on radio and TV for decades with no constitutional challenge. In fact, wouldn’t any attempt by the federal government to interfere with religious broadcasts be a violation of the separation of church and state?
Some of these rumors have a shred of truth that has been distorted to ridiculous extremes. Others are merely fantasy, the equivalent of the urban myth about alligators in the sewers of New York City.
While the Internet has been the source of many of these tall tales, it also can serve as the source of real information to dispute them. One invaluable source is
Go there and learn that President Bill Clinton never tried to fire “half the cattle guards” in Colorado, that Obama hasn’t signed an executive order allowing hundreds of thousands of Palestinians to resettle in the United States, and that the artificial sweetener Aspartame is not responsible for an epidemic of cancer, brain tumors and multiple sclerosis.
But even with Snopes and other legitimate sites, the misinformation continues to flow. And if we can’t resolve the really stupid disputes — like whether Obama is a Muslim or not — then how are we going to resolve the important issues that require some nuanced thinking?
How can we talk sensibly about complex issues such as health care reform, Social Security, Afghanistan, taxes, anything that can’t be summarized on a bumper sticker? How do we get past the anger and the empty-headed slogans?
How do we counteract the cynical willingness to exploit baseless fears for political gain? How do we get back to having a national discussion instead of a national shouting match?
Maybe we could start by acknowledging that Obama isn’t a Muslim.

I’m directly quoting the entire text, which violates fair use, but I’m thinking the comments here are important enough to make available without anyone having to do another click. Yes, I’m trying to push everyone who encounters this to actually read it.
I’d be interested to know, and I suspect James Werrell would appreciate it as well,, what do people think is the cause of something like this? Intellectual laziness? Bad genetics? Media hypnosis?
Maybe I’ll find a way to set up a poll…

The Common Link with Climate Change, Peak Oil, Limits To Growth, Etc. – Belief Systems | Energy Bulletin


Leon Festinger, seminal theorist in the area o...

Leon Festinger

Denial is a defense mechanism where a person is faced with a fact that is too painful to accept and rejects it instead, insisting that it is not true despite what may be overwhelming evidence. A related psychological concept is that of cognitive dissonance, originally coined by social psychologist Leon Festinger. Cognitive dissonance describes the negative tension that results from having two conflicting thoughts at the same time, or from engaging in behavior that conflicts with one’s beliefs.

From Wikipedia,

A diagram of cognitive dissonance theory

Image via Wikipedia

The theory of cognitive dissonance states that contradicting cognitions serve as a driving force that compels the mind to acquire or invent new thoughts or beliefs, or to modify existing beliefs, so as to reduce the amount of dissonance (conflict) between cognitions. Experiments have attempted to quantify this hypothetical drive. Some of these have examined how beliefs often change to match behavior when beliefs and behavior are in conflict.”

Jared Diamond, in “Collapse” quotes the behaviour of people living below a dam that may break:

“Consider a narrow river valley below a high dam, such that if the dam burst, the resulting flood of water would drown people for a considerable distance downstream. When attitude pollsters ask people downstream of the dam how concerned they are about the dam’s bursting, it’s not surprising that fear of a dam burst is lowest far downstream, and increases among residents increasingly close to the dam. Surprisingly, though, after you get to just a few miles below the dam, where fear of the dam’s breaking is found to be the highest, the concern then falls off to zero as you approach closer to the dam! That is, the people living immediately under the dam, the ones most certain to be drowned in a dam burst, profess unconcern. That’s because of psychological denial: the only way of preserving one’s sanity while looking up every day at the dam is to deny the possibility that it could burst. If something that you perceive arouses in you a painful emotion, you may subconsciously suppress or deny your perception in order to avoid the unbearable pain, even though the practical results of ignoring your perception may prove ultimately disastrous. The emotions most often responsible are terror, anxiety, and grief.”

Reaching social limits to growth is potentially a world-sized dam break. It’s no wonder initial reactions to hearing how the world we know might change are met with skepticism. (Note: interestingly, and something I intend to explore on a subsequent post, is the concept of denial is related to the study of addiction.)


“Chocolate Cake?” “or Fruit Salad?”

Cognitive load theory suggests humans have a maximum capacity of working memory. At around 7 ‘chunks’ of information, our working memory maxes out and we can’t accept anything else without losing some of the previous ‘chunks’. Try remembering the following numbers 1-9-1-4-7-6-7-5-9-5-9. Its quite hard to do. But if they are rearranged in chunks 1-914-767-5959, it becomes much more manageable. Numerous studies have measured this phenomenon – a notable study by Shiv and Fedhorkhin asked a group of people to memorize a two digit number, walk down a corridor and at the end choose a dessert – either chocolate cake or fruit salad. A different sample of people were then asked to memorize a 7 digit number and walk down the corridor (while internally reciting this 7 digit number) and also choose a dessert. When required to memorize the 7 digit number, almost twice as many people chose the chocolate cake as in the sample only memorizing the 2 digit number – the implication being – ‘my short term memory is full – I cant access my rational, long term decision-making hardware – just give me the damn cake’.

Of course, in a society with cell phones, taxi-cabs, internet, coffee, soccer practice, Grays Anatomy, corporate ladders and a plethora of other chocolate cake-like stimuli, meaningful contemplation and education about energy depletion and our planet’s environment usually represents the fruit salad. Many people are just too cognitively taxed to take on much more.

Particularly useful way to sort things out… whether all aspects of the theory are correct, this works well when modeling the American People.