BRIEF REPORTS from INVESTIGATOR MAGAZINE 122 TO 125
INVESTIGATOR 122 (2008 September)
ALIEN COVER UP?
Edgar Mitchell, a former NASA astronaut, claims aliens have contacted
humans, and flying saucers have visited Earth many times, but
governments have covered this up for 60 years.
The Apollo 14 astronaut, now 77, said America's space agency has had
contact with small, human-shaped, aliens with large eyes and large head
— similar to Hollywood versions.
He made the claim in a radio interview that coincided with the launch
of the second X-Files movie: "I've been in military and intelligence
circles who know that…we have been visited… I think we're headed for
real disclosure…" (The Australian 2008, July 25, p9)
A NASA spokesman responded, "NASA is not involved in any sort of
cover-up about alien life on this planet or anywhere in the universe."
CATHOLICS IN CHINA
The Australian reported that Australia's Prime Minister "complained
to Beijing…about the persecution of Catholics in China."
The China/Catholic dispute is that: "Beijing insists the Holy See drop
its diplomatic ties with Taiwan and concede to the Chinese Government
the power to control the Catholic Church in China, including the
appointment of bishops." (2008, July 25, p2)
The article estimated China has 13,000,000 Catholics of whom 5,000,000
are in the government-endorsed church and 8,000,000 in the
"underground" Catholic Church.
Do you drink bottled water because it's healthier than tap water?
Bottlemania: How Water Went on Sale and Why We Bought It
(Elizabeth Boyte, 2008) is a history of bottle water.
Boyte says that many bottled water brands are filtered tap water.
In most Western countries tap water meets stringent safety standards
and is safe. However the processes of filling bottles, transporting and
storing can lead to contamination. Bottled water is also
energy-intensive because of transport and in using millions of tons of
plastic. The main difference between tap and bottled water is that the
latter is several thousand times as expensive.
The bottled water "mania" began in 1990 and global sales are now $60
INVESTIGATOR 123 (2008 November)
The National Convention of the Australian Skeptics for 2008 took place
at the Norwood Concert Hall in Adelaide on October 12-13. Of twelve
main speakers four were women.
Educational researcher Kylie Sturgess, for example, spoke on women's
contribution to skepticism and the stereotype that males are more
skeptical than females.
A DVD titled Flock of Dodos shown on Day 1 went into intelligent
design, evolution, and the recent American court case.
A magic act by Nicholas Tweedy accompanied dinner on Saturday evening.
Cards picked by two volunteers, signed, and firmly held on to,
mysteriously changed places! A telephone number picked by a volunteer
from a phone book turned out identical to a number in an envelope
earlier positioned on a ledge and left in plain sight. The magician
also mentally bent a fork and twisted the prongs as well.
Ian Plimer spoke on Climate Change, stressed huge natural variability
over geological time, and used this to criticize creation science.
The cost was $110 and the meal $60. About 80 people attended including
some readers of Investigator Magazine.
INVESTIGATOR 124 (2009 January)
FEMALE SAINT — INDIA
India's first female saint, Roman Catholic nun Alphonsa Muttathupadathu
who disfigured herself to avoid marriage, was canonised in October 2008
at the Vatican.
She died aged 36 in 1946 and is the second Indian to be sainted.
The first Indian saint was 16th-century martyr Gonsalo Garcia who was
canonised in 1862. He had Portuguese parentage and worked in Japan in
addition to India.
Mother Theresa (1910-1997) has had the first step to sainthood; she was
beatified in 2003 after one miracle was attributed to her. To be
declared a saint a second miracle attributed to her has to be confirmed.
Sister Alphonsa's canonisation coincided with major violence against
Christianity in India. In the eastern state of Orissa numerous churches
were burned from August to October, about 40 Christians killed, and
converts forced to choose between fleeing the state or converting back
About 2.3% (c. 23 million) of India's population are Christian.
Alphonsa wanted to enter a convent and therefore deliberately stepped
into a fire to disfigure her feet to stop her aunt from pressuring her
Her tomb in the town of Bharananganam (Kerala state) became a
pilgrimage site and many miracles are attributed her. The main miracle,
approved by the Vatican in 1999, was a one-year-old boy, born with
defective legs — The Telegraph of Calcutta says "club foot" —
whose legs straightened during a visit to Alphonsa's tomb.
Violence against Christians continued in Orissa even on the day of
canonisation. In his speech the Pope stated: "I urge the perpetrators
of violence to renounce these acts and join with their brothers and
sisters to work together in building a civilisation of love."
Former athlete Shiny Wilson went to pray at Alphonsa's ancestral home.
She said: "I prayed to Alphonsa to help me do well at the Asian
championships in 1985. I set a record in 800m and it's because of her.
In gratitude, I donated the gold medal to her memory."
Jinil Joseph, now aged ten, and 5000 other Indians attended the
ceremony in St Peter's Square while thousands more watched on TV in
Jinil said, "I pray to Sister Alphonsa every day for curing me. She
made my life normal and I'm indebted to her for the miracle cure."
Churches can now be dedicated in Alphonsa's honour, her name can now be
invoked during prayers, her image drawn and printed, her relics
publicly honoured, Mass offered in her name, and feast days celebrated
(The Australian 2008, October 10, p10; The Telegraph 2008, October 13)
INVESTIGATOR 125 (2009 March)
EVOLUTION IN GENESIS
The Vatican has announced that Christian faith need not be hostile to
the theory of evolution.
Richard Owen in The Australian quoted Archbishop Gianfranco
Ravasi, head of the Pontifical Council for Culture who argued that
biological evolution and creation are compatible: "In fact, what we
mean by evolution is the world as created by God."
"Intelligent Design" which attributes complex organs to direct creation
by an intelligent "higher power" is also rejected as "poor theology and
poor science". A conference at the Pontifical Gregorian University to
mark the 150th anniversary of the publication of On The Origin of
Species will discuss ID as a fringe issue, as a "cultural
phenomenon", not as an issue in theology or science.
The Church has in the past considered Darwinism and Genesis to be in
theories had never been formally condemned by the Catholic Church,
Monsignor Revasi insisted. His rehabilitation had begun as long ago as
1950, when Pius XII described evolution as a valid scientific approach
to human development." (The Australian 2009, February 9, p11)
CURSE CANCELLED by SEX, MONEY and PRAYER
The Weekend Australian reported: "Two men, who allegedly claimed they
could speak to angels and remove curses, were arrested yesterday in
relation to more than 220 sexual offences against a young woman."
(2008, September 13-14, p9)
The two men allegedly pretended to be lay priests of the Greek Orthodox
and Coptic communities and claimed they could remove curses via prayer
and sexual acts for which they charged $1000.
The victim believed her family had been cursed with black magic and
could suffer illness and death if the curse wasn't removed.
Seth Shostak's career is centred on finding out whether
Extraterrestrial Intelligence or alien life exists. He's a radio
astronomer at the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence Institute in
California. He's actually sure ET does exist but has no conclusive
So what's the problem — hasn't he noticed any of those expensive UFO
magazines featuring sightings, case histories, and photos?
Firstly, why does Shostak think ET exists? In an interview published in
New Scientist he answered, "To believe that they don't exist requires
positing that what's happened on Earth is some sort of miracle. I find
that premise tougher to sell than to think that intelligence is a fairy
frequent development in a 14-billion-year-old cosmos." (2008, September
20, pp 42-43)
Secondly, what about those thousands of sightings of UFOs and aliens?
Shostak says, "Just tell me what you think is the very best case, the
one that will make it into the refereed journals of astrobiology… I'm
still awaiting a satisfying response to that request."
SALVO SEX CRIMINAL
A 75-year-old Salvation Army officer was sentenced to 6½ years
for raping a 7-year-old girl whose parents had approached him for help.
The officer was the public face of the Salvation Army in Mackay
(Queensland) where he ran the men's fellowship group and coordinated
The man had convictions in the 1980s in New South Wales for sexual
offences in the 1960s and 1970s. He was thrown out of the Salvation
Army, but since their policy at the time prevented personal files from
crossing state lines he re-established himself in Queensland. (The
Weekend Australian 2008, October 11-12, p7)