The Raëlians are close to my heart. One of their subsidiaries, the biotech company Clonaid
, announced in 2002
within spitting distance of my hometown that they were growing an army of human clones and were picking out an island off the coast of Brazil to finish their project. Naturally, the clones never materialized, nor did any way to verify that they were not blowing smoke up people’s nether orifices, but this stunt kept genetics at the forefront of people’s minds for another decade and kept my neck of the woods in the news, so I can’t complain too loudly. It certainly doesn’t hurt that the Raëlians are mostly in the news lately for their occasional parades of topless women
(in protest of laws that criminalize female but not male toplessness) and advocacy of comprehensive sex education.
For those who don’t know, the Raëlians are a UFO cult founded by former French car magazine writer and teen pop star Claude Vorilhon
in 1973. He founded the cult after an encounter in a volcanic crater with a flying saucer, which convinced him to rename himself “Raël, messenger of the Elohim.” This encounter totally
did not involve enough LSD to convince a sperm whale it could fly, no really.
Continue reading “Apocalypse of the Week 3: Waiting Room Battle Royale”
Hello again! This week’s apocalypse comes from a bit farther in time and space than the Islamic mythos previously explored. In the mountains of 6th-century-BCE Nepal, the Buddha and his most prominent disciples waxed lyrical about an endworld scenario like no other. As Buddhism would have it, civilization will end as the world suffers a steady increase in “unskillful” behavior.
That’s…remarkably reasonable. Civilization falls apart as a result of an epidemic of incompetence? I’d almost buy it, given the special class of nincompoop that seems to occupy too many government offices, including those armed with the ability to render vast swaths of the world uninhabitable for decades. Apparently the Three Stooges are prophets of slapstick.
Continue reading “Apocalypse of the Week 2: Omnidirectional Zergling Rush”
As part of the lead-up to Centre for Inquiry Ottawa’s Eschaton 2012 conference, Celebrating Reason at the End of the World, I wrote a feature called Apocalypse When, a brief lampooning of some of the many eschatological visions and scenarios that have gained or maintained popularity over the centuries. Eschaton2012.ca is defunct now, so I’m reprising my creation here.
This week’s apocalypse is the one envisioned in the Qur’an and various hadiths and thus central to most interpretations of Islam. Unfortunately, the details of this scenario are dispersed across numerous suras and hadiths, but a few themes and tidbits stand out.
Continue reading “Apocalypse of the Week 1: Taste the Doom of Fire!”