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Saturday, May 21, 2011

Tweet of the day

The Daily Telegraph reports that the expected rapture has not yet hit New Zealand despite the passing of the appointed hour. According to one tweeter this is just as well:

David Speer, on Twitter, said: “Oh well no rapture. Just as well. New Zealand didn’t need that right now. Another delay to the filming of The Hobbit would’ve been terrible.”

I've listened many times to Harold Camping (‘Open Forum’ on Family Radio) on my way home from work (I live on the ‘East Coast’ of the USA). I drive home when it is quite dark (evenings draw in here much faster than in the UK.)

His very confident speaking voice and obvious knowledge of the Bible, particularly the OT was spell-binding. So I listened, but his prediction of Rapture was always foolish... "... no one knows the HOUR (or the DAY) in which the rapture will take place".

But I wouldn't ridicule Harold Camping. He's clearly mistaken on the exact timing of the Rapture, but clearly a man of God. I wouldn't ridicule him. I do hope that those that believed firmly in his prediction are not permanently hurt by this. That would be such a shame. But clearly for them there’s a lesson to be learnt here.

Meanwhile ‘Open Forum’ and the Family Radio website is off the air, I wonder how long it will take to come back.

I hope it does comeback, I would miss listening to ‘Open Forum’.

Harold Camping inevitably ‘got it wrong’ but imho his ‘Open Forum’ and ‘Let’s have the next caller please” is worth a listen. At least Mr. Camping gets people thinking of the coming Judgment even if it sounds very negative and clearly discriminatory.

Christopher Wood, PhD (Chemistry)
I think ridicule is just what these people deserve, and need. Remember, their 'use' of biblical authority (as interpreted by themselves, natch) is used to hurt other people.

Under the circumstances, this sort of religious should be respected less and ridiculed more. They are frauds, nothing more or less.
By way of an epilogue to this affair. I don't want to sound like a smart-ass but something struck me (not literally) when I looked over Harold Camping's 'math' In re his prediction of the date of Rapture.

He focused on the numbers 5, 10 and 17 and performed a simple compound multiplication.

What struck me was that he restricted his calculation to integer values and denary values at that.

I happen to believe in God and believe in Rapture - to my mind its going to happen, but I have no idea if I will be part of it and it worries me a lot that close friends and relatives might not be involved. I could stand not being part of it, but it would break my heart if I left behind my mother who badly needs me and simply would not survive even a few weeks without me. So it's a deeply personal issue for me as it must be for many others who believe in the Bible - particularly the OT.

Anyways/sideways, putting my computational hat on I wondered why Harold Camping did not investigate the use of universal constants (to my mind, 'God created values' - numbers that man has no part in). For example, a metre is an arbitrary measurement of length based on some object held by the French. But the number of particles in a mole amount of, for example, an element or gas is the so called Avogadro number (while man named this universal constant, its not a man generated value). I recall that the number (to 2 decimal places) is 6.23 * 10^23 (6.23 times 10 to the power 23). It's a dimensionless value and it's a universal constant. There are others, but things like the speed of light is defined in man made units of length and time (in SI: m/s) so can't be used unless we had the God defined units of measurement.

So, I can calculate the date and time of Rapture, except that there are an infinite number of outcomes, but if we apply a supercomputer to the task we could calculate most of the candidates but we would not know which one ‘Is the One’.

Turns out that this ‘kind of thing’ is the basis of one of Arthur C. Clark's short stories: "The Nine Billion Names of God".

Christopher Wood
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