Superstition and Other Silliness: December 2009 Archives

December 18, 2009

New York nuke date changed (again)

The Lord's Witnesses have been using Bible codes to predict a terrorist nuke on New York for some time now, the most recent missed date having been December 15th or 16th. Sometime overnight, their site was changed and the prophecy now reads:

We now predict a terrorist attack using a form of fire from the heaven that we cannot conclusively determine, but we think may be nuclear. The US will be hit with a with a weapon producing a mushroom cloud rising from the sea (1Kings18), hitting midtown Westide Manhattan, near the Hudson river on 2009Chislev28 (December19/20).

We are warning you about this, so that when it happens you know that God has spoken of this event beforehand and in fact will save us from nuclear annihilation in the near future...

Still not convinced I can avoid going there in February.

Marilyn Agee has still not updated her site after her most recent failed prediction.

December 17, 2009

Paging New York

Are you still there? I promised to update the readers today, but there's nothing on the BBC News website about the terrorist nuke that was predicted. It couldn't be that the merchants of doom were wrong (again), could it? And like Marilyn Agee, the Lord's Witnesses have yet to update their site.

December 15, 2009

Rapture/Armageddon update

There have been a number of forecasts that the Rapture would occur sometime about now. Perhaps Marilyn Agee was finally right, as as of now, her web site still reads Surely, the First-Trump Rapture must take place this year, HOPEFULLY DEC. 13, 2009.

A few days ago, PZ notice a rapture prediction we'd missed, suggesting the world would end on 14th December - i.e. yesterday. Well, today I checked the site to which he linked, and what do you think it says?


Obviously not as Elect as Marilyn, or simply quicker to cover up his cock-ups.

We will update on the Lord's Witnesses' prediction that New York will be nuked today or tomorrow on the day after tomorrow!

December 8, 2009

End of the World 2009 checklist

Around this time of year, I start to put together the "Annual End of World" post, but I figured it would be a good idea to check out how the predictions for 2009 are doing.

December 31st 2008 - January 1st 2009: There will be a dual terrorist attack on the US and the UK taking the form of fire from the heavens and a rising mushroom cloud... The US arm of the attack will hit Westside Midtown Manhattan producing a man made mushroom cloud rising from the Hudson river (Lord's Witnesses). Well, as we know, the only thing to hit the Hudson at any time close to that was an A320, successfully ditched by Captain Chesley Sullenberger after a bird strike on January 16th. So that's a miss then? Not so fast - the Lord's Witnesses are now predicting something very similar for December 15th or 16th this year: We now predict a terrorist attack using a form of fire from the heaven that we cannot conclusively determine, but we think may be nuclear. The US will be hit with a with a weapon producing a mushroom cloud rising from the sea (1Kings18), hitting midtown Westide Manhattan, near the Hudson river on 2009Chislev24 (December15/16). I somehow suspect that there is no hope that my planned trip to New York in February will be called off, alas, and they provide no news on their predicted attack on the UK.

20th January 2009: terrorist attack on Washington DC during the presidential inauguration after Bush launches attack on Iran (Satan's Rapture). I watched the inauguration in the telly, and there was no sign of any bombs or similar.

January 2009: Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Luxembourg, Belgium, and all of the Netherlands will be completely inundated (Nostradamus and the New Prophecy Almanacs). Oslo, Copenhagen and Amsterdam seemed no wetter than usual during my visits this year, and did not appear to be recovering from any flooding.

March 2009: Queen Elizabeth II will pass away peacefully in her sleep and the royal succession shall pass to Prince Charles (Nostradamus and the New Prophecy Almanacs). Predicting that an elderly woman will die would seem to be an easy option, but so far she is continuing to prove that she is her mother's daughter. The same source also predicted a Russian invasion of Germany in August, of which there was no sign.

29th May 2009: I'M HOPING FOR THE RAPTURE BETWEEN NOW AND PENTECOST; HOW COULD IT BE LATER THAN THAT? (Marilyn Agee). Easily, it seems, but she is still optimistic on her new site. In a note posted on the 6th December this year, she says Surely, the First-Trump Rapture must take place this year, HOPEFULLY DEC. 13, 2009, because there is no other harvest until the end of the last five years of the Tribulation. We'll know within the week, anyway.

December 1, 2009

World AIDS Day roundup

In the UK, there is still some stigma attached to HIV/AIDS, but it's nothing like the scale we see in other parts of the world. HelpAge International, noting an increase in HIV infection amongst older heterosexual couples in sub-Saharan Africa, draws our attention to what that stigma can mean:

In Tanzania, older women are accused of witchcraft if a member of their family has HIV. These women are ostracised from their communities and subjected to violence and even death.

Superstition still plays a part in shaping people's attitudes to the condition, and has provided some novel preventatives and "cures". In her entry to the The Guardian International Development Journalism Competition, Kirsty Taylor looked at the situation in Kenya:

I went to very many herbalists to try and find a cure, but they didn't know what was wrong with me, [Damaris Cagina] explains. They told me my mother-in-law had bewitched me. They told me to buy special fabric - a white cloth with red stripes - and to put soil in a basket to stop the spell. I tried it all but nothing helped. It was only after very many visits to herbalists that I decided to come to hospital.

Cagina is one of the estimated 1.4 million people living with HIV/Aids in Kenya today. But like many of them, she first refused tests to discover her status, viewing a positive result as an immediate death sentence and spiritual curse.

The role of religion in promoting superstition, stigmatising people with HIV/AIDS and getting in the way of preventative efforts is well-known, and doesn't just affect Africa. Even in the relatively godless UK, it's regarded as a problem.

Religions are often credited as the means by which moral values, such as care for others, are reinforced and passed on.

But some charities and anti-HIV groups claim religion is helping to breed the very stigma that the UN says has helped give the UK twice as many new cases of infection each year as any other country in western Europe....

In denouncing the behaviour that allows the virus to spread, religious leaders sometimes drive HIV-positive people underground.

That same story contains an interesting profile of an HIV-positive imam, originally from the Ivory Coast, but now resident in the UK, and afraid to let his family know of his condition because he would be ostracised. Another African Muslim explained the problem from his point of view:

Along with a conservative African culture, religion has played a significant role in creating this taboo. Ismael is 40 and originally from Sudan.

The imams don't talk too much about it, but they start off by saying 'this is a taboo, this is a sin, a punishment from Allah'.

"When you disclose it, straight away they think you are gay, or maybe you got it from a prostitute or you did something bad and Allah is punishing you. That is why it has to be kept secret.

Over in Indonesia, we see a fine example of exactly that problem:

The image of a giant condom draped in Indonesia's national red and white colors towered over the opening ceremonies of National Condom Week in Jakarta. To coincide with World AIDS Day, the National AIDS Commission crafted the message, Use Condoms, Celebrate Life. But some hardline religious groups don't believe condom use should be promoted, let alone celebrated.

The Islamic group Hizbut Tahrir held banners during a demonstration on Sunday aimed at urging the government to end programs that provide free condoms to male and female sex workers, based on the argument that condoms encourage sex outside of marriage.

Because humans always need to be encouraged to have sex, right?

Rise in HIV and AIDS cases among older AfricansHelpAge International, 1st December 2009; Truth is the first casualtyThe Guardian, 25th November 2009; Imam aims to break Aids tabooBBC News, 1st December 2009; Condom friction in pious IndonesiaAsia Times, 1st December 2009.

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries in the Superstition and Other Silliness category from December 2009.

Superstition and Other Silliness: November 2009 is the previous archive.

Superstition and Other Silliness: January 2010 is the next archive.

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