Friday, May 20, 2011

It's the end...again!

Here we go again. Another person has figured out when the end of the world is. I don't believe him, nor have I believed any of these other folks that sell destruction. Let us take a moment to ponder the reasons they say the world will end on x:

  • The bible tells me so - There have been many to predict the end of the world. For example:
    • Charles Taze RusselCharles Taze Russel predicted it would be in 1874 then successively in 1878, 1914, 1915, 1918 & 1925. In the end he said 1874 did happen, but it was symbolic.
    • Jim Jones predicted November 18, 1978. Unfortunately he committed suicide with 900 of his followers so he never found out he was wrong.
    • Michael Drosnin predicted December 2, 2006 using computers to read the "Bible Code."
    The funny thing about searching the Bible to prove when the world will end or the Second Coming of Christ is it says you can't: "Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away. But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only." MAT 24:36 So the book they are looking to as an authority explicitly says that it can't help them.
  • The [insert ancient culture] Knew - The most popular prediction these days is from the Mayan Calendar. People say the Calendar ends in 2012. They are correct: the Mayans made a Calendar and in the interest of planning ahead made future calendar dates extending to 2012. This wasn't because they said the world would end, they just didn't make more Calendar. Most Calendar companies have not printed 2013 yet, does that mean the world will end? No, someone will print them when we get sufficiently close just like the Mayans would have if their civilization continued long enough.
  • Some Wise Man Said So - See the first entry. These are the same type of crazy folk, they just used other sources to come up with their faulty data:
    • Rabbi Sabbati Zevi predicted 1648AD & 1666AD. He later went crazy and joined Islam.
    • Nostradamus predicted July 1999 stating "The year 1999, seven months, From the sky will come a great King of Terror: To bring back to life the great King of the Mongols, Before and after Mars to reign by good luck."
    • Johannes Stöffler predicted February 1, 1524. He noticed that all the planets were going to line up and thought this would cause mass flooding.

Harold CampingSo, we're still here and Harold Camping says that May 21st, 2011 the rapture will happen. My first question is: What is the Rapture? I know what people say it is. It's been explained to me over and over. The reason I ask is that no one can tell me where they get this little doctrine from. Not ministers, not the internet, not even crazy fundies can tell me. They often refer to 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, but this doesn't give any clear information about a doctrine and requires a lot of wild interpretation to generate the entire doctrine of the rapture.

The Rapture, as I have heard, is when all the believers are taken to heaven right before God/Christ comes to destroy the surface of the Earth. You would think that something this important would have more than a few vague verses. Nope. They're nowhere to be found. According to the Bible there is nothing even resembling a rapture. So not only is Mr. Camping predicting something his source says he cant, he's predicting an event his source doesn't say will happen.

Be thorough.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Chandra Avenged?

Ingmar GuandiqueThe final sentencing for Ingmar Guandique was issued today. He is was convicted of killing Chandra Levy and sentenced to 60 years in prison. Good, evil doers should be dealt with especially when they've done evil.

Which he did, right?

I dunno. The evidence was sketchy at best. He was convicted based on two main criteria:

  1. He told an inmate that he killed her.
  2. He raped two women in the park where Chandra's body was found.

Wait, what?

Chandra Levy 1Actual testimony stated that Ingmar told another inmate that he killed Chandra while trying to rob her. He was also afraid of violence against rapists in the prison. He was in prison for raping two women in the same park where they found Chandra. There is no DNA evidence, the polygraph was inconclusive and that's it. He's in for 60 years.

But the jury...the judge...?

In civil cases plaintiffs prove their point by a "preponderance of the evidence," that is they win if it is more likely than not. This is not a civil case, it's criminal. The standard for criminal cases is "beyond a shadow of doubt" or in other words if you doubt the evidence the criminal doesn't get convicted.


When OJ Simpson was brought to trial the preponderance of the evidence pointed toward him killing his wife which was good enough for civil court (where he lost). In his criminal trial when all the facts were submitted there was enough doubt as to his guilt that he was found not guilty.

So what?

Chandra Levy 2In this case the evidence against Ingmar is so circumstantial there can be nothing but doubt. This isn't a shadow of doubt this is an entire eclipse of doubt. No fingerprints, no DNA, no witnesses, no admission of guilt, no information pointing toward the incident at all except for one inmates testimony of what Ingmar said and that he has a history of violence. How many other people fit this profile? How many of them will be getting 60 years in jail?


Chandra Levy 3Ack is right. This is a major failure in our justice system. I am rather conservative when it comes to jailing folks who have done something wrong, but if you can't prove it, they didn't do it and that's it. I'm sad she's dead. She was two years behind me at Davis High. This is a sad way to remember the girl who wanted to get into government by falsely imprisoning an immigrant.

Be just.