From: glen mccready To: 0xdeadbeef@substance.abuse.blackdown.org Date: Sat, 07 Oct 1995 17:07:32 -0400


Forwarded-by: bostic@bsdi.com (Keith Bostic)
From: Peter Langston <psl@wolfe.net>

[A tiny bit of background: The Amazing Randi (aka J.R.) is a professional  
magician whose mission in life seems to be debunking fakes and charlatans
of all sorts, be they Uri Geller or the Pope.  As the song says:

	I've met Capone and Hoover and lots of other fakes.
	I even met a genius who swallowed rattle snakes!
				-- Newspaper Men

Oops!  I've said too much already...  -psl]

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From: James Randi --- Wizard <randi-hotline@ssr.com>

	Any zealots out there who will enforce the law?

It's about time that I made a move that I've been contemplating for
some time now.  This posting is a gauntlet that I throw down, and I
encourage others who read this to do the same.

This is 1995, a fact that seems to have failed to register with at
least seven of the United States of America.  These communities have
laws against "blasphemy," meaning that any person who "reviles God or
religion" is subject to fine and/or imprisonment.  Mind you, these
states have made one great advance, in that they have no laws against
heresy.  Small comfort for those who, like me, look upon gods, devils,
ghosts, angels, etc. as childish fictions.  Oops!

By typing out the above, I have made myself culpable in: Colorado,
Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Oklahoma, and Rhode
Island.  Since I visit those locations regularly, I will henceforth
post here a notice of each time I have plans to be in any of those
states, and I invite concerned authorities there to charge me with
this dreadful crime.  And I agree in advance that I will admit my
transgression.

I'm in good company.  Thomas Jefferson compared the Christian
mythology to the equally incredible story of Minerva springing from
the forehead of Jupiter.  For that act, Mr. Jefferson could today be
imprisoned "in jail for not more than one year or by a fine of not
more than three hundred dollars, and may also be bound to good
behavior" in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.  The mind boggles.

To make sure that my blasphemy is thoroughly expressed, I hereby state
my opinion that the notion of a god is a basic superstition, that
there is no evidence for the existence of any god(s), that devils,
demons, angels and saints are myths, that there is no life after
death, heaven nor hell, that the Pope is a dangerous, bigoted,
medieval dinosaur, and that the Holy Ghost is a comic-book character
worthy of laughter and derision.  I accuse the Christian god of murder
by allowing the Holocaust to take place -- not to mention the "ethnic
cleansing" presently being performed by Christians in our world -- and
I condemn and vilify this mythical deity for encouraging racial
prejudice and commanding the degradation of women.  (This
comprehensive statement was arrived at by examining the statutes of
those seven states that have remained in the Dark Ages, so that I
might satisfy their definitions of blasphemy.)

My present travel plans call for me to be in Holland in October and
also in Japan.  I don't know the situation in those countries, but
would ask for any update on the state of enlightenment in those areas.

Stay tuned!

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From: James Randi --- Wizard <randi-hotline@ssr.com>

Okay, I've had it with the plaster/marble/alabaster/ceramic/metal
milk-drinking idols of humans with elephant heads.  A reader has
reminded me that elephants don't drink with their trunks, and many
of these thirsty figures are said to have sipped the offerings that
way.  My response is that if a man can have the head of an
elephant and be a god, he sure as hell can also snort his milk.
So there.

Journalist Andrew Brown of the Independent newspaper in the U.K.
has looked into these bizarre claims there and found nothing but
(my evaluation, not his) rather stupid wishful thinking on the part of
devotees of elephant gods, starry-eyed worshipers who exaggerate
the events, ignore the real, obvious evidence, and fawn over media
lackeys who bring back to their editors the kind of juvenile accounts
that sell newspapers and keep people tuned through endless
commercial messages until the Silly Session airs at the close of
the evening's newscast.

Brown found that milk offered to Nandi (that's Lord Shiva's personal
cow, in case you're not up on this mythology) was just running
down the chin of the 18-inch-high marble bovine, and mixing with
the water of the running fountain below the figure.  At another
location, an apparently ceramic figure of the Elephant Man was
being fed by adoring attendants who poured the milk into his trunk
from teaspoons.  Says Brown:

	Yet at the same time, I couldn't help notice that
	Ganesh stood on a shining metal tray in a
	puddle of milk, and as the teaspoon emptied,
	the milk puddle inexorably grew.

Reporter Brown displeased a worshiper with his close attention to
this detail.  She said to him,

	There is probably an explanation, but there is
	probably also a divine force coming in.

That woman should be on O.J. Simpson's team.

>From Belfast (yes, even there!) comes a newspaper account that
quotes a worshiper as saying that it is evident, from this event, that

	The gods have come down to earth to solve
	our problems.

How wasting vast quantities of milk on statues solves any of the
world's problems, is quite beyond me.  But one restaurant in the
vicnity of one of these feeding frenzies has taken advantage of
the elephant god Ganesh (credited with bringing prosperity) by
selling those wee containers of milk that some renegade tea-
sippers use to adultrate their beverage -- an offense to proper Brits.

The Belfast paper ended with a comment that

	Priests at the temples would not allow anyone
	to inspect the statues for any devices that
	could consume the milk.

Why am I not surprised?

In closing off this ridiculous subject, I will quote my friend Jim
Gardner, who borrowed from a popular advertising slogan used
by the milk industry in the U.S.A.  Said Jim:

	Milk!  It's good for the Buddha*!

And he suggested that the next Indian god to evolve may well be
the Great God Loofa.  With the head of a sponge, you see.....?

Well, we'll see.

					James Randi.

* Yes, I know I'm mixing my religions here.  Please don't scold
me for it.

(For my non-American readers, I must explain that the milk folks
 here declare "Milk!  It's good for the body!)