Archive for December, 2008
I wanted to share some thoughts on the most recent Partridge article I posted. Basically, I want to make sure you all caught some of his more important ideas, and to share some thoughts of my own with respect to those ideas.
First, Partridge lays out his thesis very clearly on the first page of the PDF:
“…[B]ecause UFO religions have their roots in the Theosophical tradition, the religious understanding of the extraterrestrial tended to be fundamentally indebted to the concept of the wise and benevolent ascended master. The aim of this article is to examine the technological angel’s foil. The central thesis is that, in their construction of the malevolent alien, UFO religionists and abductees turn not to Theosophy and Eastern religious traditions but to the myths and symbols of Christian demonology.”
I hope you caught his drift. In some early posts on this blog (those detailing “Balducci’s Conundrum”), I pointed out Partridge’s work on identifying clear parallels between the beliefs of those who embrace presumed ETs as “ascended masters” with theosophical/ Eastern occult/religious traditions. Partridge echoes that same conclusion here: those whose view of ET as some sort of transcendent enlightened being tend to be intellectually rooted in theosophical thinking. But here’s the follow-up: that means these same people do NOT have the teachings of Christianity as their guiding intellectual framework. By putting forth the thesis that those who view ETs as malevolent are intellectually rooted in Christian theological conceptions of demons, he is arguing that theology is at the heart of the disagreement over what or who ET is. The transcendent ET vs. the malevolent ET is an intellectual parallel to Theosophy/Eastern religious ideas vs. Christianity. Partridge aims to prove this by arguing that there is no “malevolent being” tradition in Theosophy / Eastern religion that provides an explanation for how that view arose-and so the only viable explanation is the Christian notion of the demonic. This raises two questions: (1) Has anyone else out there, aside from those whose worldview framework is based on Christianity, been calling the ETs of pop culture and “fringe” experience demons? Does anyone else besides Christians think this way about ETs? Partridge would seem to be saying “No.” (2) ”Without Christianity, would anyone have viewed ET as evil?” If there had been no Christian framework in operation to comment on the experiences of those who say they have been abducted, for example, would anyone have viewed ET as malevolent?
Bottom line: is the “malevolent ET” view uniquely Christian? What think ye? How would you rebut Partridge’s thesis (or affirm it)?
This is pretty cool. The famous Antikythera Mechanism has been rebuilt to scale, and it works perfectly. So what did this ancient machine do?
“In short, Antikythera’s user interface is deceptively simple, operated by a simple knob on the side. This conceals the intricacy within, amounting to a complex mathematical model, tracking the movements of planetary bodies and incorporating a series of submechanisms to account for the eccentricities of their rotation.”
And for all those out there that will want to attribute this early computing machine to extraterrestrials, take note that the machine only accounts for five planets — since only five were known in antiquity. If ET knew only five planets, he’s a pretty incompetent astronomer for being so “advanced.”
I can’t help thinking that this sort of weird — but completely natural — phenomenon is behind at least some of those “UFO sightings” in Greco-Roman or medieval texts. Most of the language used in those sources invokes astronomical terms, but then there are sightings that, to the ancient writer, were just too different for “normal” astronomical activity. The ancient and medieval writers wouldn’t have a word for “supernova effect.”