June 15, 2012

From Wes Mahan:

Re: Gospel of Matthew linked to bloody trail of self-mutilations (June 13): I have first-hand experience. When I was a student at Multnomah Bible College, my next-door neighbor in the men’ dorm was taken to hospital in an ambulance because he cut off his penis, as a direct result of an inability to stop masturbating, and of taking literally Matthew 5:29-30 and Matthew 18:8.

If we had all been honest with each other (which is nearly impossible in a Bible School environment where “victory over sin” is almost an object of worship), we would have realized that 95% of us guys were masturbating, and very very few were able to stop for any length of time. He might then not have tortured himself quite so much. And of course your minister won’t tell you that those males who masturbate or have sex regularly, seem to have a lower incidence of prostate cancer, as indicted by medical research studies (even while the minister himself masturbates!).

I realize that in the early 70’s the evangelical community regarded masturbation as sexual sin, without equivocation. But even now with more “enlightened” or “progressive” evangelical attitudes, there is still a negative connotation attached to masturbation, even without it being the mortal sin that it used to be. And of course, as a recent ex-christian myself, I regard masturbation as a purely biological function, irrelevant to morality.

From Kate Gladstone:

Re: Gospel of Matthew linked to bloody trail of self-mutilations (June 13): “Matthew 19:12 syndrome” (self castration because of a Bible verse) is nothing new — see http://www.transchristians.org/archive/the-practice-of-self-castration-in-early-christianity.

The reason that all the self-castrators quote Matthew (instead of the similar material in Mark) is probably quite simple — Matthew comes before Mark in the New Testament, and these are people who probably set out to read the New Testament in order and do everything it says. Therefore, they apply the knife before they even get to Mark.

From Edward N. Haas:

Re: Gospel of Matthew linked to bloody trail of self-mutilations (June 13): The most famous case by far of self mutilation in response to Scripture goes back to around 185 to 254 AD. Those years mark the approximate life span of one of history’s most famous literary defenders of Christian teaching. His name was Origen Adamantius. He castrated himself in an attempt to avoid sexual sin, but then later denounced his action as morally wrong. Private interpretation of sacred writings is always a risky business.

From Yuri J. Koszarycz:

Re: Gospel of Matthew linked to bloody trail of self-mutilations (June 13): There are other passages within the Christian scriptures that also are linked to self-harm.

Mark 16:18 has that celebrated passage that believers “will be able to handle snakes with safety, and if they drink anything poisonous, it won’t hurt them”. Even last month there was a report of the death of a Pentecostal preacher from West Virginia after he was bitten by a venomous timber rattlesnake.

Unfortunately, many of these fundamentalist sects take such a literal approach in their biblical hermeneutics. They interpret each passage in the Scriptures as literal truth and do not see these scriptural instructions or admonitions in any metaphorical or symbolic sense. Consequently, the aberrations and mutilations your article describes are manifestations of misguided analysis and dangerous interpretations.

Indoctrinated members unquestioningly accept the rigid, inflexible and strict adherence to specific theological teachings and practices of fundamentalist religions who are usually led by strong “charismatic” leadership personalities. Historically, one only has to think of the mass suicides in Jonestown, Guyana, or the tragedy of the Waco siege, to see how mental instability can become contagious and manifest itself in violent destruction. There is a demonstrable continuum between coercive mind control exercised in religious groups, leading to the loss of individual identity, often to the psychological detriment of the persons being manipulated. Self-mutilation in such damaged individuals, particularly of a sexual nature, frequently focuses on religious obsession.

This is not a new phenomenon. Origen of Alexandria, a distinguished theologian of the Early Church, castrated himself based on a literal reading of Matthew 19:12 - “There are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven.”

After the development of monasticism, excessive penances were often self-imposed by those who wished to gain spiritual growth. These were approved by the Church, where “bodily mortification” was seen as a sign of “other-worldliness” and a devotion to one’s salvation goal.

Self-mutilation, starvation, the wearing of heavy irons and chains, and bodily scarring were an expression of personal faith and was practiced by flagellant Christian cults from the eleventh century up to the 1960’s where Passionist novice monks were given a “flagellum” (a whip) as part of their habit and dress. Today, this extremist practice of religious self-harm can still be witnessed in several religious ceremonies in India, the Philippines, and some parts of Spain and South America.

Yuri J. Koszarycz
Retired Senior Lecturer in Theological Ethics
Australian Catholic University

From Fred Gill:

Re: Causes of mammoth extinction resonate in modern realities, scientists say (June 13): “But new re­search sug­gests the last of the shag­gy beasts suc­cumbed to a com­bina­t­ion of cli­mate warm­ing, en­croach­ing hu­mans and hab­i­tat change—the same threats fac­ing many spe­cies to­day.”

Sounds like Mcdonald is a spokesperson for the UN Agenda 21! What a farce! Its the Sun stupid!

From Manny Rodriguez:

Re: Causes of mammoth extinction resonate in modern realities, scientists say (June 13): I do not agree that humans hunting the mammoths could have caused their extinction, if humans relied so heavy on these mammoths for survival why wouldn’t they have domesticated them or farmed them as has been done with elephants? An animal like the Wooly Mammoth would have been to important and valuable an animal for humans just to kill them off. I believe climate or perhaps another natural predator could be the culprit.

From Richard Engel:

Re: Causes of mammoth extinction resonate in modern realities, scientists say (June 13): Your article makes me wonder about the global change fanatics. If the world temperature changed thousands of years ago all by itself, why now is global change so bad and is it necessary that we completely change our way of life? Man has evolved through changing environments for 100’s of thousands of years. Grandma was the one that taught me that you can’t fight mother nature No one speaks about the sun and its changes but out current weather pattern tracks closely with temperatures on the surface of Mars; coincidence we have the same Sun – perhaps this wonderful furnace that sheds light on us and heats us has hot spots and cold spots that cause it to burn at different rates over the millennia???

Great story – I enjoyed it and sounds like reasonable hypothesis.

Richard Engel
Grand Blanc, Mi

From E. Kiernan Quinn:

Re: American head shapes have been changing, but why? (May 14): Interesting issue. Does that mean people have more brain power. Swiss scientists attribute black and mulato race ignorance to brain weight. Oddly, all their data links back to weight of head. I was surprised to learn this issue. They actually show in MRI data why this is the case proving that the black and mulato race are inferior. No joke. They are noted for advanced medicine in all fields, so perhaps the issue is worth covering. Since the USnprovides so much free funding to the issue, it may be a need. Then there is the monkey. USAF labs perceive the macau monkey superior to humans and inbreed by artificial insemination them with humans and bring them into society as blacks and mulatos and sponsor them to power. There lab is under LAX in CA. Which harbours the largest brain frequency radar sysytem in the US. Beth Israel runs the radar scope. Its inauguration test was the Waits Riots: Broadcast Test. Only U Texas has a similar Brain Lab and data pool built to study stupidity developing in Oil Ranchers over time.

France documents skull swelling due to Bee invasions of cranium and development of hive in scull.

The Chicago club of Brain Scientists that hunt and kill monkeys for food and study corroborate Air Force findings of superior thought process in Macau Monkeys, but worse predator prey skills. This is the Cajal Club. That club was the first group to identify all nerve to action positions in the brain and place it into computer code for marketing and control of species. The USAF has same code in Fortran for humans. Code is taught to ROTC students. Holy Cross where I went to college used to train people in this. Williams College transfered the code to LISP and trains all grads in it and made a working clone pool for grads with it. MIT uses c and smarttalk via internet and its own equivalent sysytem called T4.

Point being, cranial increase results from vessel swelling or more ussage or malignant conditions. Personally, after many accidents and Olympic athletic and training I discovered cranial increase in size and noticed new vessels develloping to handle heated blood flow. Finally, RF traffic, electric fields, carbon monoxide and changes in atmosphere pressure and chemistry cause swelling. Gore called it Global warming. Its the effect of control on humans. More interesting to study would be puncture wounds to skull and placement and frequency. Cajal club established sequence code with nails through skull. In Spain, same research occured by Delgado 150 years earlier. In Italy both monkey and human studies in this method of control are documented for farm hands: slavery as you know it.

The US refuses to document data since the military utilizes it for data recovery and sales of behavior code to emerging nations. UT National Lab runs the nuclear plant code that runs the national behavior code spun into the atmosphere by the NuKes field. A movie in 1998 showed a NAVY code writer flying into the main reactor between Tenessee and Virginia: opaqued map position.

So, swelling is more then health issue.

From Jason Kenneth Axford:

Re: Scientists: birds are just baby dinosaurs, in a way (May 31): I was surprised that neoteny wasn’t mentioned as this is one theory explaining the evolution of humans from apes.

From Doris Wright:

Re: Scientists: birds are just baby dinosaurs, in a way (May 31): Don’t they use dna to figure this out?

From ale x1j@infoacce ssun limi ted. com:

Re: A human bias against creativity is hindering science, research claims (Dec. 12): This research is an excellent proof that bias exist even among scientists, who are considered by many as the bastions of objectivity.

Seems to prove the anthropologists claim that human behavior remains essentially the same during history.

The frustrating aspect is that post-modernism did not seem reduce the bias aspect either.

From Elizabeth (E AMAG NUSSO NRN@aol.com )

Re: “Robotic cat” illness mystifies vets (April 12): Surely someone’s thought of this by now: ?Feline Spongiform Encephalopathy -- “Mad Cat Disease”, perhaps a variant of Mad Cow Disease?

From Peter Brouwer:

Re: American head shapes have been changing, but why? (May 14): This sounds like a natural evolution to me -- brains are in... brawn is out. related article:


Seems to me democracy, “open markets”, and traditional American family values all prefer honesty and brains -- even if a wided headed person maybe be smarter or more honest -- the science (and probably our own intuition) is against them in every matter not requiring brawn -- including in opportunities to extend the reach of their genetic legacy.

From Andries van den Berg:

Re: Instead of “dark matter,” rogue planets? (May 13): I really hope the idea turns out to be true. Furthermore, I hope that the idea of a big bang will be shown to be misleading. Although most astronomers will probably laugh at the following idea, it needs rethinking: Redshift is a reasonable indicater for distance from earth, however it is not a reliable indicater of speed relative to the earth. Redshift does have a speed component, but the larger component is probably correlated with the number of times that an electro-magnetic wave passed billions of material objects on its path towards earth. Lightwaves of which the path has been bent by gravity many many times, probably also had its frequency reduced (very very sligtly and probably not presently detectable by us) many many times. The idea of an infinite universe with regard to time and space seems to be more parsimonious than a big bang theory.

Andries van den Berg

From Dave Kisor:

Re: “Robotic cat” illness mystifies vets (April 12): I would suspect the cats have been eating wildlife that had eaten vegetation that has been sprayed or even genetically modified. Other than being rural, there must be a common factor. Test the rain water for contaminants.

From Mike Shefler:

Re: “Robotic cat” illness mystifies vets (April 12): Regarding this story - might it be mad cow disease in cats from eating contaminated meat. I doubt cat food manufacturers are as concerned for food safety in cats as in humans.

From Marielle Jansen:

Re: “Robotic cat” illness mystifies vets (April 12): Thank you for the article on the ‘Robotcat’. I wonder if these cats have been chipped, so that perhaps they must ‘answer’ to electromagnetic currents.