Amazing. No mention of Boeing products, volcanoes, or weird aliens. Someone was showing most un-Rrg-like restraint.
Right to repair advocates have made significant gains across the US of late, but the latest challenge to the movement faces a challenge from a surprising place: the Church of Scientology. In a letter filed earlier this month with the US Copyright Office regarding its triennial review of Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) …
> Excuse me, the DC-8 was a product of the McDonnell-Douglas Corporation.
You are in violation of scripture. The DC-8 is a copy of the spaceships that Xenu used to transport billions of aliens to Teegeeack (Earth) 75 million years ago and stacked them round volcanoes, and killed them with hydrogen bombs. The disembodied remnants of these re-occurring as space cooties .. er .. body thetans.
"> Excuse me, the DC-8 was a product of the McDonnell-Douglas Corporation.
You are in violation of scripture. The DC-8 is a copy of the spaceships that Xenu used to transport billions of aliens to Teegeeack (Earth) 75 million years ago and stacked them round volcanoes, and killed them with hydrogen bombs. The disembodied remnants of these re-occurring as space cooties .. er .. body thetans."
What really floors me is that you aren't making this nonsense up but quoting chapter and verse.
Dum(b), dum(b), dum(b), dum(b), dum(b)!
(Different episode, I know, but it still applies)
Bootnote: I remember seeing that episode and the text at the bottom "This is what Scientologists actually believe" and still figured they were just making a joke. Then a friend of mine told me it's true. At a previous job they were so bored one day they started reading the Scientology bible or whatever you call it, and that the South Park depiction was actually accurate.
Second Bootnote: Is it too soon to make comments about a certain A-lister Hollywood star being a fudge packer?
It was a reference to a scene in a South Park episode. Like the time a number of Hollywood A-listers literally won't come out of the closet in one of the kid's room. If you've ever seen an episode of South Park at all, let alone any of the ones where they make fun of Scientology, you would have gotten the reference.
"Is it too soon to make comments about a certain A-lister Hollywood star being a fudge packer?"
The sexual preferences of other people, however famous they are, are their own business. OTOH, as far as I am concerned, feel free to make fun of anyone and everyone's religious beliefs.
I know that both are considered 'protected' characteristics by law, but there is a big difference.... a person's race, gender and sexual orientation is what they are born with, and cannot change. A person's religion is a belief, and however deeply it may have been indocrinated, it is still, ultimately, a choice.
Found the actual scene, and the bit where he storms off saying he's going to sue the "entire intolerant town" just makes it all the funnier given the comments from people who didn't get the reference.
On behalf of my clients, Venkman, Stantz and Spengler, I have sent a similar letter regarding Proton Packs. These should not be reverse engineered by amateurs, civilians or casuals. There are real and present dangers of a dimensional gate being opened.
the organisation as snake oil salesmen?
At this point I thought we all knew it was a way of extracting large sums of money from people under the guise of 'religion'
Hint: The bible is free
The Koran is free
The Torah is free
The hindu sacred texts are free
Scientology charges 100's for their texts....
Every Gideon Bible in hotel rooms I've stayed in has a handwritten note inside the front cover offering up the telephone numbers and websites of various organisations including Samaritans because plenty of people book hotel rooms and read bibles to make their peace with God before they end their lives. I figure if it helps one person then I've not wasted my time or ink.
That was probably a nice-looking copy, not the text as a whole, which he probably already had access to. In addition, that was in the 1800s when printing was a bit more expensive. Nowadays, there are copies of most religious texts nearly everywhere you look. No matter what language you speak, if you have internet access you can get a copy in probably under a minute, and there are people who make it their lives work to print up paper copies of their favorite one and give them away, just as there are translators who will learn a language, or in the past make up a system of orthography, just to translate one into that language.
To be fair, most major organized religions (used broadly as the British government had the right idea in denying Scientology official church status) find ways to bilk their followers, Scientology is just more up front and transactional about it. At least on this side of the Atlantic, most Christian churches say that worshipers should give 10% of their income to the church, and pretty much anywhere you go the Catholic Church has made guilting people into giving them money an art form. And it's not like all those Mosques and Temples build themselves, and the Imams and Rabbis work for free. Scientology is very up front about fleecing its flock, doing it right out in the open with a literal menu, while others try to guilt worshipers into giving "donations".
If people just gave the money they donate to various religious organizations to a single person in their community who is in need, it would have a much larger impact overall.
At least on this side of the Atlantic, most Christian churches say that worshipers should give 10% of their income to the church
Which side of the Atlantic is that ?
If you mean the other side from me, then I can believe it. But on this side I've never heard of it.
OK, I'm in the UK - that should clarify things.
I think that many of these small churches you talk about are from elsewhere as people have immigrated (urgh, that seems such a clumsy word, but is correct) to the UK, and brought their churches (or at least the operating model of their churches) with them.
The concept of Tithes to the Church goes back to the middle ages. I'm pretty sure that they mostly fell out of being required around the time of Henry VIII, who much preferred receiving the money himself as taxes.
I've been in involved in several churches in the UK (I'm not religious, but other members of my family are), and although church members are encouraged to give gifts to the church, there is no compulsion.
Long-term established churches in the UK seem to mostly get their income from the investments made when they did get large gifts (I've known people who have left their entire estate to their church in their will). You'd probably be surprised by how much property (and I'm not talking churches themselves) is owned by churches in the UK.
At one point the churches in the UK were often the largest property owners in an area, owning around 1/4 of the country, sometimes through investment and purchases but often through being gifted land. After all, how much holier than your neighbour are you if you give more land to the church than they do? Henry VIII had a significant difference of opinion regarding churches and property ownership and accidentally came to own the land, sell it off and then have the monasteries destroyed. He didn't start this whole process, but he proved to be very effective at it. Those that disagreed with this process tended to disagree for the rest of their life, which wasn't always very long, however those who voluntarily took part in it were reported to have received quite reasonable compensation.
A good many of the shopping malls were built on land owned by the Church of England, meaning they would have to abide by covenants on the land, such as not opening on Easter Sunday. Not sure if that's still the case.
Some of the other big landowners in England were the colleges of Oxford and Cambridge universities - there is the story that you could walk between the two universities entirely on land owned by their colleges. Again, probably not the case any more.
The Church of England is still one of the country's biggest landowners. Gateshead Metro Centre was one shopping centre project they were heavily involved in (think they still have a significant minority shareholding).
Not opening on Easter Sunday is nothing to do with this - that's due to the anachronous Sunday trading law (the one which makes the supermarkets and other large shops open no more than 6 hours on Sundays, among other things), which ought to be repealed.
But when talking about "Church of England", don't fall into the trap of thinking it's one big organisation.
The central church may well be (well I think is) quite well off thanks to owning some prime land/properties.
The the various dioceses are independent of the central church as far as finances go. Ours is definitely not as well off as the central church.
And then the individual parishes* are independent again. And we have "not a lot" of money. So "not a lot" that we don't have the money needed for essential repairs, and not even proper maintenance. And like a lot, we have an ageing congregation with members that inconveniently die off in old age - I'm counting down to retirement and am the youngest regular member by a good few years ! Our only hope of staying open is the somehow convert the rather impractical building (full of pews, a Victorian form of punishment) into something that can be rented out for corporate functions etc. (it's a good shape and size for that, IF we get rid of the pews and add mod cons.
I know how it works - used to have a lot of involvement with the CofE. Disgusting organsation, which manages to be both one and many bodies - one when it suits it (Bishops in the House of Lords, representing 'The Church') and many when that suits (financial, generally avoiding accountability for things).
So yes, there is the somewhat paradoxical situation that the central body / Church Commissioners are vastly rich, as are some individual dioceses and individual churches (e.g. in some cities a cathedral or churches can own considerable amounts of prime retail property). At the other end of the spectrum, some churches have no money and are kept going through the efforts of a dwindling group of little old ladies - struggling to raise money to repair the leaky roof, while the bishops live in splendour. I have a lot of respect for people like the little old ladies, but none at all for those at the top and the whole hierarchical structure.
Ah, history for the tourist!
I quote from a document referenced from Wikipedia.
According to English Heritage, "exactly how barns in general were used in the Middle Ages is less well understood than might be expected, and the subject abounds with myths (for example, not one of England's surviving architecturally impressive barns was a tithe barn, although such barns existed)"
Wikipedia attributes this to the page "http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/daysout/properties/harmondsworth-barn/history-and-research/research", but that now points to a more general page nowadays. I could look it up on Archive.org, but I can't be bothered.
> not one of England's surviving architecturally impressive barns was a tithe barn
According to <a href="http://www.horburyhistory.org/Tithe-Barn-Street/>the local history site</a> that tithe barn was part-converted to housing in/after 1850 and the remaining half burnt down in 1904, so looks like everybody wins this round.
> on this side I've never heard of it.
Reactionaries may say "offering". When the government and church are merged, "church tax".
"Tithing is mentioned twice in the stories of the Biblical patriarchs:
"In Genesis 14:18–20, Abraham, after rescuing Lot, met with Melchizedek. After Melchizedek's blessing, Abraham gave him a tenth of everything he has obtained from battle.
"In Genesis 28:16–22, Jacob, after his visionary dream of Jacob's Ladder and receiving a blessing from God, promises God a tenth of his possessions."
Perhaps i have not thought deeply enough about it, but so far I have not come up with good reasons why Scientology or Pastafarianism should not be afforded the same privileges as e.g. the Catholic Church.
All are based on unprovable claims and both the first and the last have histories of making money by dubious means.
To file copious vexatious lawsuits, harass people endlessly*, and even institute a sort of indentured servitude? I think the world would be a much better place without that.
* Some years ago I remember watching a documentary done by the BBC about Scientology in the US. Not only did the Scientology "Church" have the guy followed while he was in town -- amusingly he stopped at a stoplight, got out of his car and went up and knocked on the window of the Scientology tail -- they managed to track down the hotel he was staying at and were waiting for him in the lobby one day.
The pope seems sincere and genuinely believes his message. And this pope seems to have been a reasonably humble bloke before he got elevated to living in palaces. (Disclaimer: I'm not Catholic and I've not conducted a detailed study. I'm just relying on gleamings from news reports and the intro to his Wikipedia bio.) Is the senior leader of Scientology ("the chairman of the board", David Miscavige) as sincere? Or is he fleecing people and laughing at them behind their backs?
Most religions tend to have branches that help poor people. Sikh gurdwaras, for example, offer people food free of cost. And as I understand, the Trussel Trust, which runs a lot of food banks, is basically a Christian organisation. And if you spend any time helping out the poor, you'll run into a bunch of people of faith. Does Scientology do this?
Also, most genuine religious seem to have ascetics: people who give everything up all their possessions for a life of ritual; i.e. monks, nuns, etc... Again can you be a Scientological ascetic, living off what is provided by the church without owning anything for yourself, and still progress in the "religion"?
> can you be a Scientological ascetic, living off what is provided by the church without owning anything for yourself, and still progress in the "religion"?
From what I've read, that is precisely how you are supposed to live in Scientology. Progress up the ladder, join one of the "Orgs" - in particular Sea Org (if it is still afloat) - and you will have no choice.
Most of the major religions, like Christianity, Islam, and Judaism, contain a core of how to live your life as a good person. You know, once you strip out all the supernatural and superstitious bullshit. They have the "10 Commandments" that are seemingly common sense things like don't steal, don't kill people, don't lie... basic shit really. And even if you don't believe Jesus was the son of God, or even a real person, the basic message of love and forgiveness is a good one. There are even still the odd examples of priests living up to the example hidden amongst all the child sexual abuse cases and the wonton greed.
A sad, but true, statement.
Call me old fashioned, but I figure you can't really call yourself a Christian -- a follower of the teachings of Jesus Christ -- if you act in a way that is basically the exact opposite of the message in the Bible. It makes you an Antichrist. Maybe not in the sense that it's typically thought of, but at least as far as fitting the literal definition of the term.
Try and tell a - certain type of "Christian" - that they should follow Jesus's example and be prepared for a face full of Matthew 5:17–19 and the claim that means that _every_ nasty little thing in the Old Testament is to be followed just as it says. Preferably interpreted the way _they_ want to - poor, misunderstood Onan.
Well, until you suggest that they let their own virgin daughters be raped by the crowd when, for some reason, they get all in your face.
Ah, but "most editions" needn't equate to "most copies in circulation" or "best version worth copying".
They might get snotty if you run off extra copies of the Geordie Bible but you can duplicate the KJV as fast as you can refill your quill.
 just the original bits, mind; they trick you by adding in useful cross-references and footnotes, which probably are still copyright.
 e.g. "yes, that word is 'unicorn' and we are sticking to it!".
In general I agree, but I actually like "Battlefield Earth"!* There is something I find very playful about it, and the utterly mad change of direction from almost extinct, completely uneducated humanity to galactic superstars leaves me breathless every time!!
*The book, not the film, of course!
For me, Battlefield Earth (the novel; I haven't seen the film, which is said to be execrable) falls into the "so terrible it's actually kind of enjoyable" category. I read it two or three times as a teenager, shaking my head at the inanity of it all – the pseudoscience (the Psychlos are made of viruses! their atmosphere explodes on contact with uranium!), yes, but also the amateurish characterization, plotting, and concepts – but carried along by its pulpy exuberance. I'm glad I read a great deal more of good, and even mediocre, science fiction, though, or it would have given me a terribly distorted view of the genre.
To be fair, the "lie detector" is kind of a misnomer that someone gave to it. All it really does is indicate whether someone is experiencing autonomic responses that indicate stress and thus deception. Of course it can also probably flag things like suddenly needing to pee as an indicator of deception. Of course, while lie detectors are at least based on some scientific principles, the e-meter is about as scientific as a love tester you may see in a bar. Honestly, it wouldn't surprise me if the thing is basically nothing more than a RNG.
Given how the meter needle is deliberately built without any damping mechanism at all, it will react to any old noise strong enough to be picked up - which is one of the classical ways of making an RNG.
 funny how everyone in the Sea Org is suddenly "unclean" whenever the diesel generator kicks in
 now begins the discussion about how biassed such an RNG will be, it isn't _really_ random, not good enough to be included within /dev/rnd...
 unclean, unthetan, unclear, unmutual - who knows.
The efficacy and legitimacy of Scientology's use of the E-meter has been subject to extensive litigation and in accordance with a federal court order, the Church of Scientology publishes disclaimers declaring that the E-meter "by itself does nothing", is incapable of improving health, and is used specifically for spiritual purposes.
Such devices have been used as research tools in many human studies, and as one of several components of the Leonarde Keeler's polygraph (lie detector) system, which has been widely criticized as ineffective and pseudoscientific by legal experts and psychologists.
I'd like to say what I think of Scientology, but that could be disadvantageous.
>Does that mean there was something "wrong" with the old ones?
God changes his(her) mind quite often
When the implementation was in stone tablets it was a real pain to do in-field updates. You had to send a bunch of crusading knights.
With software updates you can just roll out a quick patch to fix that whole "no-bacon+penis-snipping" bug
Surely if the device requires an appropriately qualified person to operate it, there is *less* chance of adverse results due to the device not being within spec, not more?
And if this company wants to ensure that people aren't subjected to inappropriate religious ceremonies as a result of incorrect equiment readings, then they need to do that with their own internal regulations. Laws aren't really going to help them.
“Although Hubbard's name is on the patent application, the E-meter was actually invented by a chiropractor named Volney Mathison, and was originally called the Mathison Model B Electropsychometer.”
“Volney Mathison presented L. Ron Hubbard with the first electropsychometer (or E-Meter) in 1951, the Model B. It was used for research throughout 1951”
“Galvanic Skin Response (GSR) is a physiological measure that has been used in psychological research for over a century.”
If this device can measure our soul then we have a problem in the making.
To quote from the Good Book: The argument goes something like this: "I refuse to prove that I exist,'" says God, "for proof denies faith, and without faith I am nothing."
"But," says Man, "The Babel fish is a dead giveaway, isn't it? It could not have evolved by chance. It proves you exist, and so therefore, by your own arguments, you don't. QED."
Substitute for Babel fish and simplify.
We need a machine that measures irony - but the scale would have to go to 11 ;)
If these people had any sense then they'd only ever call their woo stuff like "Biodynamic Sequentials" or "Bio-Syncreticism" or "Brisingamen Stones".
Then whenever anyone says "that is all just BS" they can reply "yes, I'm glad you know so much about our beliefs already, may I interest you in a pamphlet?".
 yes, I know, irony overload
 "bio" is a very useful prefix for this
 nope, bored of "bio" now
We could crowd-fund and sell Deity Detectors. Let's face it, capacitors are awesome. They can do so much. Filtering, tuning, timing, deity detection. A small box containing a deity bridge circuit and we can sell happiness to the less technically-minded multitudes. With our device, they can be 100% sure that they are facing their deity when they pray. Perfect for the true believer. Do this right and we can be posting on here from our own island by next year. I first came up with the idea at Jesuit College, but Spiritual Tech. was tough - too much maths. I switched to the Social Sciences: Witchfinding and Nun Studies.
Harlan Ellison interviewed by (now defunked Wings Magazine)
Ellison: Scientology is bullshit! Man, I was there the night L. Ron Hubbard invented it, for Christ Sakes!
I was sitting in a room with L. Ron Hubbard and a bunch of other science fiction writers. L. Ron Hubbard was famous among science fiction writers because he was the first one to have an electric typewriter.
Wings: He claimed to have written Dianetics in a weekend, and nobody can deny it.
Ellison: That's true. He wrote Dianetics in one weekend, and you know how he used to write? He used to take a roll of white paper, like paper you wrap fish in. He had it on the wall, and he would roll it into the typewriter and he would begin typing. When he was done, he would tear it off and leave it as one whole long novel.
We were sitting around one night... who else was there? Alfred Bester, and Cyril Kornbluth, and Lester Del Rey, and Ron Hubbard, who was making a penny a word, and had been for years. And he said "This bullshit's got to stop!" He says, "I gotta get money." He says, "I want to get rich".
Wings: He is also supposed to have said on that same night: "The question is not how to make a million dollars, but how to keep it."
Ellison: Right. And somebody said, "why don't you invent a new religion? They're always big." We were clowning! You know, "Become Elmer Gantry! You'll make a fortune!" He says, "I'm going to do it." Sat down, stole a little bit from Freud, stole a little bit from Jung, a little bit from Alder, a little bit of encounter therapy, pre-Janov Primal Screaming, took all that bullshit, threw it all together, invented a few new words, because he was a science fiction writer, you know, "engrams" and "regression", all that bullshit. And then he conned John Campbell, who was crazy as a thousand battlefields. I mean, he believed any goddamned thing. He really believed blacks were inferior. I mean he really believed that. He was also very nervous when I was in his office because I was a Jew. You know, he was afraid maybe I would spring horns or something.
Anyhow, the way he conned John was that he had J. A. Winter, who was a doctor, who was a close friend of John's, and he got him to run this article on Dianetics, the new science of mental health.
Wings: Dianometry was the first article, I believe.
Ellison: Right. And science fiction fans will go for any goddamm thing. They'll believe anything, man, they will believe in the abominable snowman and the Bermuda Triangle, in Pyramid Power, in EST, in Scientology, in the Second Coming, they'll believe in any goddamm thing, they don't give a shit. They go to see Star Wars; they think it is for real!