Yup. There it is. The big bad scary “Blood Moon”. I walked out and took a look at it this evening (Sunday), and at the lunar eclipse. There were even a few bats flying around — whoooo, scary! (NOT)
Now I can check that off the back page of my bucket list, if my bucket list was as long as War and Peace, which it is not. It was a passing minor novelty, an event of interest so long as I had nothing more pressing or interesting to do. (If you are pressed for time, I would encourage skipping the serious stuff, and head down to the fun videos at the end of the post.)
Too be fair, one of these blood moon eclipses came through in 1982; I also got a good look at Halley’s comet when it came through in 1984, and Hale-Bopp in 1997 as well, out in a rural area relatively clear of light pollution, and that was interesting, but not something to produce an adrenaline rush. Even with exceedingly modest visual enhancement, it was not exciting, although I admit that having had access to a serious telescope for astronomy classes spoils one for some forms of naked-eye celestial observation.
There has been a lot of silly anti-science-based hype about the blood moon, the ‘super’ moon, and the eclipse. It is prevalent in the crazy fringe religious righties who have hijacked the GOP via the Tea Party. It appeals to the “end days is comin’!” anti-science ignorati, those who constitute the base for the likes of Michele Bachmann, Rick Santorum, Rick Perry, Ben Carson or Mike Huckster-bee. They are defined by superstition passing as religion.
They thrive on scaring the crap out of people, mostly by making up things which have no significant or substantive foundation in objective reality. In other words, they thrive on right wing propaganda.
It’s time we stop letting the superstitious and ignorant anywhere near authority above the level of making the potato salad for small gatherings. When fact differs from faith, faith is wrong, and fact and reason should supersede stupid or fantasy based, no matter how often or loudly someone is tossing around the word Jesus. If you read that last sentence as dripping with scorn, you would be correct.
From the Inquisitr:
Astrophysicist Neil DeGrasse Tyson: Super Moon won’t be that super
There’s a lot of excitement about the “super blood moon” on Sunday night — a total lunar eclipse that will give the moon a reddish appearance. The excitement centers on a few different ideas. One is the notion expressed by some religious groups that a blood moon is tied to Biblical prophecy. More widespread is simply the anticipation of seeing a really amazing celestial sight.
Unfortunately, those who are hoping for a spectacular once-in-a-lifetime view may find themselves disappointed.
What’s more special about this moon than the appearance is timing, or rather, the frequency with which the type of lunar eclipses we refer to as a blood moon are currently occurring. Specifically, when four blood moons occur at approximately six-month intervals. According to NASA, while lunar eclipses of one type or another occur about twice a year, a tetrad of blood moons is much rarer. There will be a total of eight this century.
Neil deGrasse Tyson, astrophysicist and science promoter, discussed the blood moon on Twitter today, explaining that while it will appear larger than usual, it won’t be much larger, and that the color won’t be as deep and bloody red as many may expect from the name. [tweet below]
Resist the Hype: The size of today’s “Super” moon is to next month’s full moon as a 16.07 inch pizza is to a 16.00 inch pizza
For some believers, the event is even more special, as they connect it to biblical prophecy. The Red Moon Rapture website lays out some of these prophecies, and how one group of believers feels that they connect to current events. Specifically, all four of the blood moon events in this tetrad fall on or quite near important events in the Jewish calendar, and the group believes it could be a sign that the Rapture is imminent. As with most rapture predictions, though, this largely comes from a few outlying groups, not from any mainstream belief systems.
I would remind our wise and gentle readers of the unfortunate prediction of religious leader Harold Egbert Camping that the world was going to end in spring of 2011, and fall of 2011, a prediction he had also incorrectly made in 1994. I would argue that both the groups of religious leaders and followers, and the politicians they support are nothing more than the worst of scam artists, who make a lot of money off their sincerely smug gullible believers. People like John Hagee, leader of a mega-church empire, has gotten quite wealthy and powerful in the religion con, and people like Bachmann came far too close to power working the same scam.
Harold Egbert Camping (July 19, 1921 – December 15, 2013) was an American Christian radio broadcaster, author and evangelist. Beginning in 1958, he served as president of Family Radio, a California-based radio station group that broadcasts to more than 150 markets in the United States. In October 2011, he retired from active broadcasting following a stroke, but still maintained a role at Family Radio until his death. Camping is notable for issuing multiple failed predictions of dates for the End Times, which temporarily gained him a global following and millions of dollars of donations.
Camping predicted that Jesus Christ would return to Earth on May 21, 2011, whereupon the saved would be taken up to heaven in the rapture, and that there would follow five months of fire, brimstone and plagues on Earth, with millions of people dying each day, culminating on October 21, 2011, with the final destruction of the world. He had previously predicted that Judgment Day would occur on or about September 6, 1994.
His prediction for May 21, 2011, was widely reported, in part because of a large-scale publicity campaign by Family Radio, and it prompted ridicule from atheist organizations and rebuttals from Christian organizations. After May 21 passed without the predicted incidents, Camping said he believed that a “spiritual” judgment had occurred on that date, and that the physical Rapture would occur on October 21, 2011, simultaneously with the final destruction of the universe by God.
This time around, the Mormons had to back off the ‘end of days’ / blood moon / end of the world rubbish as well. I would argue that the official position of the Mormon church is getting pretty mainstream; prominent faithful Mitt Romney was the presidential candidate last presidential cycle.
“For it to filter up to that level and for them to decide to send out a policy letter means that they felt there was something they needed to tamp down,” Patrick Mason, the Howard W. Hunter Chair of Mormon Studies at Claremont Graduate University in California told the Associated Press.
Clearly, we are still here, and no apocalyptic end of the world occurred – nor will it any time soon.
Or, in the immortal words of the iconic Second CityTV talent Joe Flaherty as Count Floyd, host of Monster Chiller Horror Theater, “aah woooooooooooh! Thats scary, Kids!”:
Rather the blood moon hype, the end of days hype, the “God is going to punish us all with destruction, because of abortion, “the gays”, and other crap is more on a par with Count Floyd and the Monster Horror Chiller Theater production about the scary House of Pancakes. You have to admit, the late great actor John Candy DOES have a certain uncanny resemblance to blood moon scam artist (in my opinion) John Hagee, both in appearance and delivery:
Time to close with Count Floyd’s Monster Chiller Horror Theater, and their trailer for the not-scary-at-all-really “Blood Moon”, er, I mean “EVIL House of Pancakes” video:
The scariest thing about the crazy blood moon nonsense is that when embarrassed, as they consistently are by this rubbish they promote, instead of owning they were wrong, they double down and push the propaganda even harder.