In the first hour, skeptic Michael Shermer spoke about Harold Camping's failed May 21st Rapture prediction, and why people believe the things they do, especially as it relates to the apocalypse. Shermer expects Camping and his followers probably will not admit they were wrong, and likely will issue some kind of rationalization for the error, such as the date was slightly miscalculated or the group's faith spared the world. "We don't have a good bologna detection module in our brain, so we tend to believe almost all patterns we encounter, even the false ones," he explained.
Most people, the superstitious and scientific alike, look for evidence to support what they already believe and ignore any disconfirming evidence, Shermer continued. By believing in an end times scenario the faithful become significant, as they are now part of the narrative story of the world, he added. The problem with such religious thinking is that it has no built-in mechanism to help it progress, he said, noting that science, while imperfect, is the best tool humanity has for the pursuit of truth.
Appearing in the first half of hour two, Judaica professor Ken Hanson discussed how President Obama's historical policy shift toward Israel, calling for the nation to base peace negotiations with the Palestinians on the 1967 borders, could trigger Armageddon in the Middle East. Hanson said the current situation reminded him of a passage from the book of Zechariah, in which Jerusalem is described as "a cup of poison to all the peoples." Cutting Jerusalem in two and shifting Israel’s borders to create a "Palestinian terrorist state" is a recipe for regional and international war, he declared.
Next, intuitive psychiatrist Dr. Judith Orloff spent the next 90 minutes fielding calls, addressing why people believe in 'end times' prophecy, and how they can deal with the disappointment of Saturday's non-event apocalypse. Orloff compared Camping to an emotional vampire whose doomsday message preyed on the vulnerabilities of his followers. They were expecting to be released from their suffering and find paradise, she said. Orloff counseled a caller named Leah who admitted that she had been waiting for the entire day to be taken away by God. Orloff encouraged her to remain hopeful, live her life according to principles taught by Jesus, and to help others in their suffering. The power of the heart is to transform, to create heaven here on Earth, she added.
Open Lines followed in the final hour.
Iceland's most active volcano, Grimsvotn, began erupting on Saturday, only a year after a towering ash cloud from another of the island's volcanoes wreaked havoc with European air traffic. A geologist with the Icelandic Meteorological Office said Grimsvotn blasted a plume of white smoke 9 miles into the air, but is unlikely to be as severe as last year's eruption. More at BBC News.
Bumper music from Saturday May 21, 2011
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