Mars is hell!

Mars is hell!

Mars is hell!

Bad Astronomy
The entire universe in blog form
Dec. 20 2006 10:31 PM

Mars is hell!

I hate to get all PZ on a website, but I can't resist this.

What do you get when you cross (haha! you'll get this in a sec) observations of Mars with a profoundly twisted Christian fundamentalist view of life?

Phil Plait Phil Plait

Phil Plait writes Slate’s Bad Astronomy blog and is an astronomer, public speaker, science evangelizer, and author of Death From the Skies!  

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Reading it may cause your brain to explode. For those who fear to tread, it's a bizarre rant which equates features of Mars with biblical allegory (you should at least try to wrap your brain around what he says about the martian moons being symbols of the two thieves crucified along with Jesus). Really, it's just another case of biblical numerology (like the Bible Code, but with fewer numbers) and fitting the facts to match preconceptions. But it's truly and awesomely weird.

And a little scary. I sometimes wonder if the repression of what many religious people would categorize as "sinful" feelings seriously damages the brain, and causes the person to fixate on the very sins they protest.

For an example, check out this passage:

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The tornado angels on the Red Planet regularly create dust vortexes, which are called by scientists, dust devils. Since they are created by the Elect Angels, they should not be called devils. Meteorologists don't classify them as tornadoes since they don't occur in clouds. They are fair-weather tornadoes that are only visible because they pick up dust. The dust vortexes pick up the fine layer of dust from the ground and leave streaks, which represent the whip marks of the cat of nine tails with which the Lord Jesus Christ was scourged (John 19:1). In scourging, after the whip lashes pealed [sic] the skin off the back, salt was rubbed into the raw, quivering flesh.

Read that last clause again. "raw, quivering flesh"? Yikes. There might be some issues the author should talk out with a professional.

It bugs me when the real world is distorted so, no matter what the source. It doesn't matter too much if it's straight pseudoscience, or cloaked in religious trappings-- except that in many cases, saying it's religion gives the author a free pass that, say, an everyday crank might not get. I know this guy is way out of the mainstream of even religion... but then again I wonder sometimes when I read the paper. Or happen to catch some of The 700 Club.

Anyway, dust devils on Mars are seriously cool and worthy of not just study but also simple appreciation. There's so much to learn, so much to know... If only people don't shut off their minds to the Universe.

Tip o' the space helmet to Wouter J. K. De Weerdt for trying to destroy my brain by telling me about this site.