Into the Weird Part 5
Ladies and gentlemen it is that time again. Time to venture bravely and boldly into the world of pseudoscience and strange beliefs in what will hopefully serve as an education for those not so familiar with some of humanity's more bizarre past-times.
We will be looking at two new topics this week but for those interested here are links to past installments of the series, choose a subject that interests you and prepare to journey into the weird.
Chi Kung (qigong)
Most people should at least somewhat be familiar with the idea of chi. Chi is a sort of spiritual energy that can supposedly be manipulated through physical and mental discipline. It has also caught on as a concept in New Age beliefs since New Age will co-opt or steal any concept that is conducive to getting more believers. The process of Chi Kung, or Energy Cultivation, is what we will be dealing with in this hub.
Practitioners of Chi Kung claim some rather impressive physical and spiritual feats. Most demonstrations involve causing someone to fall down without touching them. As someone who was raised in a Pentecostal church at first glance the practice looks similar to the idea of being "Slain in the Spirit". It's also slightly similar to a trick that illusionist Derren Brown preformed.(see below the Comments section for the video if you want to watch it).
Those who fall over are highly suggestible and in the situation will do what is expected of them much the same way that someone who believes they are possessed will begin gnashing their teeth when they go in for an exorcism. The power of suggestion, peer pressure and self-suggestion are all obviously present here though whether or not there is anything supernatural going on at all has yet to be determined.
One of the more impressive displays of this power is in the feat of heating things using chi. Some Chi Kung masters have been said to light things on fire by heating them with their Chi. While these may well be hoaxes or tricks they are, at the very least, interesting and far more compelling than most of the topics we've discussed in the past.
I do have to wonder if this phenomenon IS real why none of them have collected the one million dollars from the James Randi foundation or demonstrated their powers in actual scientific lab conditions? A Ripley's Believe it or Not shoot is hardly a controlled scientifically viable environment. It would be nice to take these at face value but as is my motto the more I want to believe it the more skeptical of it I must be and there is no conclusive evidence that chi actually exists.
As many of you probably know there are groups that deny the Moon landing happened. There are still others who firmly believe that we did go to the moon BUT that the footage that was broadcast around the world is all faked. This is despite the fact that every claim made by hoax proponents has been shot down dozens of times. Still there are those that cling to bizarre beliefs about our moon that the footage simply doesn't support.
One belief I've run into on the interwebs is the belief that the moon is actually Hollow. Much like Hollow Earth (see: Into the Weird Part 1) there are those who believe the moon is hollow as well. Some of them think the moon itself is an artificial satellite set there by aliens. One has to wonder what these people smoked while watching 2001 to come up with such a bizarre idea. A hollow planet would be physically impossible and given the gargantuan mass even the lunar crust must possess I doubt a support structure could be built that could hold it all together.
So what is the purpose of this hollow spherical space station? Well it depends on who you ask. Something it is a soul catcher that is collecting human souls and, according to some, then zapping them back into another body. This idea is espoused by conspiracy theorist John Lear for instance. Other ideas seem to revolve around it being some sinister machine built by aliens or perhaps the remnants of Tiamat/Marduk (stolen shamelessly from Babylonian myth) a planet that used to be between us and Mars that was destroyed the last time Nibiru passed by (see: 2012 Doomdaze).
The idea that the moon is artificial, hollow, or both is tied into the web of pseudoscience that helps keep the narrative flowing. I've discussed this web previously and how it keeps even some more skeptical people from really questioning by keeping a continuum of ideas tied to the web. While the core ideas themselves are rotten the strands manage to hold them up, the tenuous connections make the leaps seem not as absurd and make the narrative somehow more compelling. A prime example of this can be found in the following article:
See how the writer, Noel Huntley PhD (I did a Google Search and could not find any info on who this person really is or what they have a PhD in), begins with an open assertion that the moon is beyond question NOT just an ordinary moon. Some of his "evidence" for this does sound intriguing, for instance the idea that the moon vibrates when hit by an asteroid like a bell. However amidst the intriguing elements he descends into madness with absurd assertions about government anti-gravity spaceships which we've apparently possessed for FORTY years.
For the believer the web creates enough points of contact to keep the ideas safe in your head behind a wall of connected details. For the skeptic however these unsupported strands cause the story to fall apart and cause all the more mundane information to be more than suspect - to be utterly unbelievable.
Alongside the idea that the moon is hollow is the idea that is has an atmosphere. This goes back to the footage of the Apollo missions. The flag flapping, dust being kicked up, these are ideas brought up by hoax proponents as evidence of a hoax and they are also brought up by those who want the moon to have air on it. They complain that the dust kicked up on the moon would aggregate into clumps immediately in the vacuum of space. I think, however, that they are forgetting physics 101 - namely how gravity works. The dust wouldn’t have the force needed to break the pull of the moon completely and it wouldn’t have the mass needed to be attracted to other dust BEFORE being attracted to the MOON.
I do understand the desire to believe our moon is something more. Who wouldn't like for their to be ETs so interested in us that they give us something nice to look at and keep our souls from hurdling into the void of space? However this seems to be more hubris and wishful thinking than anything. Just like religious believers wishing we were the product of an omnibenevolent omnipotent God this is an ego thing, we want to believe we have purpose beyond this Earth, that we are special to more than just ourselves. We want the Universe to validate us as a species, to at least acknowledge we exist if it can be bothered to acknowledge our achievements.
Perhaps Obi-Wan Kenobi said it best.
- Home Page of Dr. Noel Huntley--article The Ultimate Swindle
Still not sure what the hell he is a "Doctor" of.
- IS THIS A SOUL CATCHER?
- IN SEARCH OF A SOUL CATCHER
I hope you enjoyed this latest overview of two of the more out there pseudoscientific subjects available. I definitely hope I have sparked some curiosity and that you will research these ideas and beliefs further. They may seem silly or bizarre but knowing about the vast array of beliefs people hold is important to understanding each other and understanding our motivations for belief as well. Join me next time when we will once again boldly go where lot’s of people on the internet have already gone, into the weird.