Acharya S

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Acharya S

#1  Postby Passer » Jul 06, 2010 9:24 am

Acharya S, aka D.M Murdock.

Basically the lady debunbks Christianity by revealing how it's nothing but 'Son' worship, very pagn, and an amalgamation of other faiths. To give you an idea, she's just released a new free e-book.

Direct link to book pdf: Origins of Christ

(Something Tim O'Neil may be intereted in).

Her website: Acharya S

However, I remember reading about how she makes exaggerated claims and how she's just plain wrong about most of the stuff she writes about. Can't remember however if this came from theists or atheists. That may matter, it may not.

I respect this website so I'd like to ask; what's the general consensus on Acharya S' theories, is she correct or is she barking up the wrong tree?

Thanks all
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Re: Acharya S

#2  Postby ixolite » Jul 06, 2010 10:07 am

She is one of the responsible ones for part 1 of Zeitgeist, that alone tells everything. :dopey:

On the JREF fora there are quite a few posts regarding her stuff in the conspiracy forum, iirc.
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Re: Acharya S

#3  Postby Passer » Jul 06, 2010 10:35 am

Thanks for that ixolite, after doing a bit of my own research, I've decided to plumb for the Jesus Puzzle for my 'origins' fix.

Can Tim O' Neil or anyone else comment on 'The Jesus Puzzle' by Earl Doherty?

Thanks all
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Re: Acharya S

#4  Postby stijndeloose » Jul 06, 2010 11:07 am

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Re: Acharya S

#6  Postby TimONeill » Jul 06, 2010 11:34 am

Passer wrote:Thanks for that ixolite, after doing a bit of my own research, I've decided to plumb for the Jesus Puzzle for my 'origins' fix.

Can Tim O' Neil or anyone else comment on 'The Jesus Puzzle' by Earl Doherty?

Thanks all


Ummm, have you thought of actually looking at some genuine scholarship rather than all these New Age freakshows and self-published hacks?
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Re: Acharya S

#7  Postby Passer » Jul 06, 2010 5:15 pm

TimONeill wrote:
Passer wrote:Thanks for that ixolite, after doing a bit of my own research, I've decided to plumb for the Jesus Puzzle for my 'origins' fix.

Can Tim O' Neil or anyone else comment on 'The Jesus Puzzle' by Earl Doherty?

Thanks all


Ummm, have you thought of actually looking at some genuine scholarship rather than all these New Age freakshows and self-published hacks?

Sure, but how do you tell the scholalry from the freak show?
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Re: Acharya S

#8  Postby Lokinian » Jul 06, 2010 9:28 pm

Passer wrote:Acharya S, aka D.M Murdock.

Basically the lady debunbks Christianity by revealing how it's nothing but 'Son' worship, very pagn, and an amalgamation of other faiths. To give you an idea, she's just released a new free e-book.

Direct link to book pdf: Origins of Christ

(Something Tim O'Neil may be intereted in).

Her website: Acharya S

However, I remember reading about how she makes exaggerated claims and how she's just plain wrong about most of the stuff she writes about. Can't remember however if this came from theists or atheists. That may matter, it may not.


A DAMN interesting thread about Acharya S.'s book "Suns of God" and Acharya's 'research' on RDF here:
"Suns of God" by Acharya (46 pages that include Jerome, allegedly Acharya herself, and a bunch of random people which Acharya apparently called there via mass email to ask for help defending her book -> shortcut to the email)...I could have sworn that Tim had posted in that thread too, but now that I look apparently not, though a damn interesting read either way.

Some other relevant RDF threads include:
Zeitgeist Movie & Addendum (86 pages with Tim, Jerome etc)
"Pagan" vs. Jewish origins of Jesus story (Acharya) (26 pages with rationalrevolution, Jerome etc)
Mithras, wow if this is true it's pretty amazing. (15 pages with Jerome and friends)
So, what's the deal with Horus/Mithras/Dionyses? (5 pages with Tim, Jerome etc)
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Re: Acharya S

#9  Postby virphen » Jul 06, 2010 9:48 pm

I've just read the first few pages of that, and it's extremely funny to see how many people trotted up to make their only post or only handful of posts in that thread to testify for her! Astounding! That's the one thing GUARANTEED to make me sus that it's all a pile of bullshit, even if I still had doubts!
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Re: Acharya S

#10  Postby jerome » Jul 06, 2010 11:23 pm

Thanks to Lokinian for the links. I really seem to have been busy back in the old days with that -- I remember it all too well! And well done to Passer for checking the claims and asking, a very refreshing and intelligent attitude. :) If you want to check out the Jesus Myther discussions then I'm always happy to try and provide decent sources -- I had a lot of fun researching it all as I recall.

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Re: Acharya S

#11  Postby TimONeill » Jul 06, 2010 11:28 pm

Passer wrote:
TimONeill wrote:
Ummm, have you thought of actually looking at some genuine scholarship rather than all these New Age freakshows and self-published hacks?


Sure, but how do you tell the scholalry from the freak show?


Scholars – Hold teaching or research positions at accredited universities.
Amateurs/kooks – Don’t.

Scholars – Hold post-graduate degrees and honours in relevant fields from accredited universities and detail precisely what they hold, where they got them and when in easily accessible public domain sites and publications (eg their personal page on their university or faculty’s website or simply on Wikipedia)
Amateurs/kooks – Either hold no relevant degrees at all or have undergraduate degrees or simply degrees in areas that aren’t relevant (eg “Dr Matt Kooksville has a Phd in Engineering and is one of the leading scholars on Jesus and his links to the Druids”). Alternatively, they make vague references to having degrees in a range of disciplines but never seem to give any details. Or they say the “attended” such and such an institution, trying to give the impression this meant they got some kind of qualification there (see “Acharya S” under Wiki for an example of this one).

Scholars – Have a track record of publishing articles in esteemed peer-reviewed academic journals, delivering papers at leading conferences and forums and having books put out by rigorous academic presses after a process of careful peer review and informed editorial analysis.
Amateurs/kooks – Have never published anything in a peer-reviewed scholarly journal or publication and never will. Tend to publish their books themselves (eg “Stellar House” which published “Acharya S” is her own imprint run from her home office). Otherwise they are published by small presses, ones that cater to the New Age market or ones that like to cash in on the “amazing mysteries revealed! The biggest conspiracy ever!’ market aimed at ill-educated gullible morons.

Scholars – Weigh evidence carefully, look at alternative views and take account of them, work from up to date information and current research perspectives.
Amateurs/kooks – Ignore alternative views, use evidence selectively, cast around for anything or everything that supports their thesis while ignoring or rejecting anything that doesn’t, reach back to Nineteenth Century amateur nonsense that no-one accepts anymore if it suits them and dismisses academic rejection as “a big conspiracy”. They also tend to hold more than one kooky view – “Acharya S” is also a big believer not only in Atlantis but also in an ancient civilization of primordial pygmies. And no, I am not kidding.

Getting the picture?

The kooks also often have a small online coterie of mindlessly fanatical acolytes who will leap to their guru’s defence at the first sign of criticism. As virphen has already noticed, criticism of “Acharya S” usually results in some of her minions descending on the thread in question like a shrieking flock of winged monkeys.

If you really want to understand the origins of Christianity try using real scholars like Geza Vermes, Paula Fredriksen and Bart Ehrman. None of them are Christians but all of them are leading academics in the relevant fields.
Homo sum: humani nil a me alienum puto
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Re: Acharya S

#12  Postby GakuseiDon » Jul 07, 2010 8:39 am

Passer wrote:I respect this website so I'd like to ask; what's the general consensus on Acharya S' theories, is she correct or is she barking up the wrong tree?

Passer, below is an article I am working on for my new website on Acharya S's theories that you might be interested in.

Acharya S's Advanced ancient Global Pygmy civilization theory

One thing that has intrigued me is Acharya S's "Advanced ancient Global Pygmy civilization theory" that she hints at in her book "The Christ Conspiracy". I've posted details about this on a few sites, and recently Acharya S herself created an article on the subject on her website here.

Dave31 aka Freethinkaluva aka a few other names (who sometimes writes as though he had just come across her books), keeps claiming I am out to "smear" her... just by quoting her! Our latest exchange can be found here: http://freeratio.org/showthread.php?t=283576&page=4

So, what is Acharya's "Advanced ancient Global Pygmy civilization theory"? I've pieced together details from her book "The Christ Conspiracy" and her website.

In her website article linked to above, Acharya S quotes scholar Hallet, whom lived among the Pygmies in central Africa for 20 years, suggesting that the Adam and Eve story originated from the Pygmies, since they "could not possibly have borrowed it from any outside source" (emphasis in original):

    [Hallet writes:] My Pygmy friends have an Adam story of their own. Schebesta has told this tale and emphasized that the Pygmies could not possibly have borrowed it from any outside source. It is the story of a god, a garden paradise, a sacred tree, a noble Pygmy man, who was molded from the dust of the earth, and a wicked Pygmy woman who led him into sin... The legend tells of the ban placed by God upon a single fruit, the woman's urging, the man's reluctance, the original sin, the discovery by God, and the awful punishment he laid upon the Pygmy sinners; the loss of immortality and paradise, the pangs of childbirth, and the curse of hard work.
(As an aside, I've found that what she doesn't mention is that, according to Hallet, the pygmies thought that the Garden of Eden was an actual place, in fact located at the Mountains of the Moon in the centre of Africa. This would conflict with her view that the Garden of Eden had an astrotheological origin.)

Then, quoting Jackson, she refers to the Pygmy Christ, and how the Pygmy Christ stories later on became the story of Osiris, Isis and Horus:

    [Jackson summarizes:] The Pygmies believed in a Father-God who was murdered, and a Virgin Mother, who gave birth to a Saviour-God Son, who in turn avenged the death of his father. These later on became the Osiris, Isis and Horus of Egypt. The Pygmy Christ was born of a virgin, died for the salvation of his people, arose from the dead, and finally ascended to heaven. Certainly this looks Christianity before Christ.
(Now, once again, I have to wonder whether or not this conflicts with her astrotheological views on Osiris, Isis and particularly Horus.)

So, how did the Pygmies spread these stories? She quotes Jackson again:

    Hallet's Pygmy friends told him that in the distant past they developed a highly technical and advanced type of material culture and that they built boats and traveled widely around the world, but that this technical excellence brought them nothing but back luck, so, preferring happiness to misery, they finally gave up this high material civilization. There may be a lot of truth in these traditions, for Pygmy fossils have been found in all parts of the world.
Note that the Pygmies "traveled widely around the world". She later corroborates this when noting the linguistic similarities for certain words in different parts of the globe:

    Moreover, the Mayan creator god was called "Hurakan", and the Caribbean storm god was "Hurukan," both of which are nearly identical to the Tibetan wrathful diety, "Heruka," which in turn is related to Herakcles or Hercules. It is from this stormy god that we get the word "Hurricane." Walker hypothesizes that "Horus" was "Heruka" of the East and notes that the Pygmies revered Heru, an archaic name for Horus.
She also makes a similar claim in "The Christ Conspiracy", where she writes (page 391):

    Evidence of an Ancient Global Civilization

    As has been seen, it is virtually impossible to determine which nation is the progenitor of western culture and, therefore, the Judeo-Christian tradition, and we are left to ponder the idea of another source, such as the Pygmies, who claim to have been a global culture many thousands of years ago.
All this is fairly clear. Acharya S suggests that the Pygmies originated some of the world's myths, and as they had developed a highly technical and advanced global culture, spread these myths around the world. She speculates that the Pygmies were, in fact, the source of western culture and thus the Judeo-Christian tradition.

The "sky people"

It seems to me that Acharya S hints at various points that there is a connection between the "sky people" and Pygmies, though she doesn't state this outright. I agree with Acharya when she writes:

    In a serious scientific search, one needs to be more cautious in jumping to conclusions based on speculation, and to produce a recital of facts, with as little speculation as possible.
So this connection is just my speculation, awaiting clarification by Acharya S or Dave. Even if I'm wrong, the 'facts' she presents give an insight to how she views the world.

In this link here, she does examine whether alien visitation might be the source of some of the myths, but she rules that out as "just a bit absurd":

    ... to suggest that all these solar heroes such as Krishna, Quetzalcoatl, Osiris, Horus and Jesus, with their virtually identical "lives," were aliens, is just a bit absurd, since it supposes that they all were born of virgins, had tyrants trying to kill them at their birth, were presented with the same gifts, did and said the same things and then were all crucified. In shoring up such a premise, we are asked to believe that "superior" aliens kept "coming down" and kindly obliging the barbaric humans, who kept insisting upon crucifying them (between two thieves, no less).
Recently I was rereading "The Christ Conspiracy" and it struck me that the Pygmies would be a good candidate for her "sky people", as she describes them:

    In any serious investigation of this subject, we must be able to discern between the "gods" and the "sky people" mentioned by the ancients. As noted, the enlightened ancients knew the "gods" were the planets, representing astrotheology. The sky people were a different matter apparently. Some of them may have been "aliens" in the off world sense, but other legends hold that at least some of these sky people were the remnants of one of the advanced global civilizations destroyed by cataclysm. The legends further say that such advanced people appeared around the world to reestablish civilization after the various cataclysms.
That sounded like her Pygmies to me. So I started looking deeper. In this link here, she states that "The ancients were not the dark and dumb rabble commonly portrayed. They were, in fact, highly advanced" and "there seem to have been at least two "global" civilizations of high degree thousands of years ago who may have in fact been working mines."

The Pygmies are undoubtedly a candidate for one of the two (or more), and given their role as the originator of at least some of those myths, they might well have been the first. In fact, Acharya doesn't just see them as the progenitors of western culture, but some kind of missing link between the white races and the black races, as these quotes from "The Christ Conspiracy" show:

    Thus, Pygmy remains and culture are found around the globe, including from Egypt to India...

    Although they may be the oldest race, the Pygmies are in fact true human beings and evidently reached an advanced state long before the "giants" existed in large numbers. The Pygmies represent an anthropological enigma, however, as they have been described as both negroid and caucasoid...

    In the Pygmies can be found not only very ancient origins of human culture and religion but evidently a "missing link" between the black and white races as well.


Further evidence for the connection

Some factoids that Acharya S has collected that make me think she has the Pygmies in mind for the "sky people". Quotes from here: http://www.truthbeknown.com/mysteries.htm

    * Cultures around the world claim to be descended from or taught by "sky people," reflecting that ancient man had the capacity to fly.

    * Ancient pre-Columbian carvings in Central America depict black men and bearded, red-haired white men, long before anyone was supposed to have crossed the Atlantic Ocean.

    * Pygmies claim to have reached a high degree of technology and to have sailed around the world in very ancient times. Pygmy remains are purportedly found around the globe, although it is uncertain if they are the same "race" as those from Africa.

    * Tiny, intricate artifacts such as spears and coffins are found that appear to have been made by elves.

    * Mummified remains of little people or "aliens" are reported to be found in caves or in Tibetan monasteries.

    * Giants, elves and alien creatures of all sorts have been reported for millennia to have descended from the skies or appeared out of the ground or from the ocean.

The "sky people", aliens and UFOs

The following quotes by Acharya S are from here: http://www.truthbeknown.com/aliens.htm

    Sightings of UFOs of varying sizes, shapes and other characteristics have been recorded all around the world since this era of history began, some 6,000 years ago. "Sky people" were purportedly recorded as having brought advanced culture to the hominids who live on this planet. According to these legends, supposedly, this "first contact" had occurred previously, following cataclysm. Some stories relate this civilizing event to have happened several times during Earth's history. Geological, paleontological, anthropological and archaeological data reveal that there have indeed been many cataclysms on this earth, several on a global level, with climate change and mass extinction. The tales allegedly recount that after such a catastrophe, many surviving humans were reduced to the Stone Age but that more advanced humanoids descended from spacecraft and reestablished civilization. Were these "sky people" aliens? Have there been "aliens" among us all along?

    In addition, it is obvious from the legends that at least some of the "spacecraft" were of the probable previous earthly civilization, the "vimanas" and "flying machines" of lore... However, there have also allegedly been found the skeletal remains of a number of bizarre humanoid and hominid races now unknown and extinct, indicating unexplained phenomena, if not necessarily "aliens" from another planet...

    Many sightings are explainable by natural or manmade phenomena, but some are not, and millions of people in the past few decades have reported seeing something that is clearly unidentifiable. Abduction by aliens has been ridiculed as hallucination, which, no doubt, it often is. But is it necessarily always?

    Over the past few decades, several excellent researchers have followed the lead of the fringe element and produced superb insights into the potential reality behind the tales and the sightings. Despite being ignored by mainstream media, these credentialed and credible experts have managed to evince effectively that UFOs are real, extraterrestrials are here and abductions are occurring, among other "alien" behavior. Some of these "experts," however, may be disinfo agents, and this field is rampant with fraud and hoaxes, so, again, caution must be taken.
Does Acharya S believe that UFOs are real, whether the occupants are alien or "sky people"? The answer is "yes", though Acharya S is open-minded about whether they are extraterrestrial or not:

    The facts are that UFOS - i.e., unidentified flying objects - do exist, and that chances are there is life elsewhere in the universe. The questions are: Are any UFOs "spacecraft" powered by "aliens?" And, has alien life thus found its way here, to this dinky little speck of space dust in the middle of nowhere?
One thing that is clear, though, is that the government is "in on it":

    In addition, it is very wise to keep in mind that, while it appears the various world's governments are covering up the UFO/alien phenomenon, it is also clear that someone in "the government" is using the phenomenon to manipulate the masses in some bizarre and ungainly manner...

    In this case, it is obvious that the same old terrestrial powerbrokers are up to their old tricks. The Order of Melchizedek, in fact, is named in the Bible as the highest priesthood, of which Abraham and Jesus are made priests under Melchizedek. Therefore, "Melchizedek" or "Righteous Molech" is the highest figure in the universe under God. Melchizedek is in reality a mythical character, being the Molech or Moloch of the Old Testament, the god to whom children were sacrificed in burnt offering or holocaust by Phoenicians, Canaanites and Israelites. The Order of Melchizedek, then, represents a very ancient esoteric cult that has as its central practice, one that disguises it in fact as the Order of Melchizedek, the sacrifice by fire, whether human or animal. Melchizedek, of course, also figures quite prominently in the URANTIA cult, whose book is one of the most clever and insidious brainwashing devices ever devised.

Putting it all together

Note the recurring themes throughout Acharya S's work: Pygmies... small hominids... mummified remains of little people... tiny, intricate artifacts made by elves... skeletal remains of a number of bizarre humanoid and hominid races... "sky people"... ancient man had the capacity to fly... UFOs do exist...

What does it all add up to? It does seem to me that Acharya S has in the back of her mind that UFOs are being driven by Pygmies or the descendants of Pygmies, especially since the myth is that UFO occupants are often described as short "hominids". I'd love Dave31 or even Acharya S herself to confirm whether this is one concept sitting behind her theories. Even if it isn't, you have to admit she has a most fantastic and fascinating worldview.
If Acharya S has seen further than others, it is by standing on the shoulders of Pygmies. "The Pygmy Christ was born of a virgin, died for the salvation of his people, arose from the dead, and finally ascended to heaven." -- Acharya S
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Re: Acharya S

#13  Postby Passer » Jul 07, 2010 6:00 pm

TimONeill wrote:
Passer wrote:
TimONeill wrote:
Ummm, have you thought of actually looking at some genuine scholarship rather than all these New Age freakshows and self-published hacks?


Sure, but how do you tell the scholalry from the freak show?


Scholars – Hold teaching or research positions at accredited universities.
Amateurs/kooks – Don’t.

Scholars – Hold post-graduate degrees and honours in relevant fields from accredited universities and detail precisely what they hold, where they got them and when in easily accessible public domain sites and publications (eg their personal page on their university or faculty’s website or simply on Wikipedia)
Amateurs/kooks – Either hold no relevant degrees at all or have undergraduate degrees or simply degrees in areas that aren’t relevant (eg “Dr Matt Kooksville has a Phd in Engineering and is one of the leading scholars on Jesus and his links to the Druids”). Alternatively, they make vague references to having degrees in a range of disciplines but never seem to give any details. Or they say the “attended” such and such an institution, trying to give the impression this meant they got some kind of qualification there (see “Acharya S” under Wiki for an example of this one).

Scholars – Have a track record of publishing articles in esteemed peer-reviewed academic journals, delivering papers at leading conferences and forums and having books put out by rigorous academic presses after a process of careful peer review and informed editorial analysis.
Amateurs/kooks – Have never published anything in a peer-reviewed scholarly journal or publication and never will. Tend to publish their books themselves (eg “Stellar House” which published “Acharya S” is her own imprint run from her home office). Otherwise they are published by small presses, ones that cater to the New Age market or ones that like to cash in on the “amazing mysteries revealed! The biggest conspiracy ever!’ market aimed at ill-educated gullible morons.

Scholars – Weigh evidence carefully, look at alternative views and take account of them, work from up to date information and current research perspectives.
Amateurs/kooks – Ignore alternative views, use evidence selectively, cast around for anything or everything that supports their thesis while ignoring or rejecting anything that doesn’t, reach back to Nineteenth Century amateur nonsense that no-one accepts anymore if it suits them and dismisses academic rejection as “a big conspiracy”. They also tend to hold more than one kooky view – “Acharya S” is also a big believer not only in Atlantis but also in an ancient civilization of primordial pygmies. And no, I am not kidding.

Getting the picture?

The kooks also often have a small online coterie of mindlessly fanatical acolytes who will leap to their guru’s defence at the first sign of criticism. As virphen has already noticed, criticism of “Acharya S” usually results in some of her minions descending on the thread in question like a shrieking flock of winged monkeys.

If you really want to understand the origins of Christianity try using real scholars like Geza Vermes, Paula Fredriksen and Bart Ehrman. None of them are Christians but all of them are leading academics in the relevant fields.

Yes I got it now, thanks for that reply Tim. It's really helpful. Pretty much what I thought but it's good to have it confirmed.

I actually have a book by Geza Vermes and I've watched and read stuff about Ehrman.

But just to make the point, I think it is entirely possible for a non-credited individual to have an excellent scholarly knowledge, and have an impressive wealth of information. All the person need do is the necessary research.

To give one example, I have a good friend who just spent 30 years researching a particular subject. No academic credentials, but his work, when he showed it to the hierarchy at our nearby University, offered him a PHD after they read it, if he'd let them change a few minor things. He refused telling them this was half a lifetime's work here, and that he was pretty sure none of it needed changing.
I've been diagnosed with O.C.D and G.A.D. I'd better be too - I've spent enough on the therapy!
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Re: Acharya S

#14  Postby natselrox » Jul 07, 2010 6:04 pm

I think I have her as my Facebook Friend! :shifty:
When in perplexity, read on.

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Re: Acharya S

#15  Postby jerome » Jul 07, 2010 6:12 pm

Passer wrote:
But just to make the point, I think it is entirely possible for a non-credited individual to have an excellent scholarly knowledge, and have an impressive wealth of information. All the person need do is the necessary research.



Absolutely. I have a few qualifications - I spent 15 years at university after my undergrad - and held a few academic posts, and have published a few small pieces -- but I am no authority on anything! :) Yet I know some folk who hold no formal accreditation who have radically changed disciplines I know well - it can happen. Usually however, it doesn't.

And as to Acharya and the space aliens - yes absolutely - I must get Beast Rabban to read this. He will have much to say -- but fine work, and look forward to seeing your blog GakuseiDon!

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Re: Acharya S

#16  Postby TimONeill » Jul 07, 2010 11:46 pm

Passer wrote:
But just to make the point, I think it is entirely possible for a non-credited individual to have an excellent scholarly knowledge, and have an impressive wealth of information. All the person need do is the necessary research.


That’s perfectly true. But I didn’t simply say that unless someone has relevant qualifications and holds a Chair of History or Comparative Religion at Harvard or Oxford they should be ignored. Of course non-specialists can write useful material. I’m currently reading Philip Ball’s Universe of Stone: Chartres Cathedral and the Triumph of the Medieval Mind. Ball isn’t a medievalist and he isn’t even a historian or an architect. He’s actually a science writer and editor of Nature. But even a quick look at his bibliography and his footnotes show that he is a generalist writer who really knows how to research and pull the work of actual experts (much of it in obsure journals and specialist monographs) together and make it clear to the general reader. And his book is excellent.

Compare that to “Acharya S”, whose books certainly look like they have lots of scholarly footnotes and bibliographies, but when you look at the works she cites you find a preponderance of stuff from the 1800s, obscure works by esotericists and Theosophy gurus and very little scholarly material at all. If you then bother to look up the sources in her footnotes you regularly find the work she cites doesn’t support the point she has just made anyway.

I realise you might not have the academic background to tell who is a sound generalist writer like Ball, capable of distilling the work of real scholars, and who is a kooky hack like “Acharya S”, cherry picking and misrepresenting work to construct what looks like a a valid thesis. That’s why I gave you some other rules of thumb to give you guidance.

If someone is Emeritus Professor of Jewish Studies at Oxford, you can be fairly sure that their scholarship is solid. If someone calls herself “Acharya S” and self-publishes books from her home office, on the other hand, warning bells should be ringing in the head of any rational sceptic.
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Re: Acharya S

#17  Postby Passer » Jul 08, 2010 11:09 am

TimONeill wrote:
Passer wrote:
But just to make the point, I think it is entirely possible for a non-credited individual to have an excellent scholarly knowledge, and have an impressive wealth of information. All the person need do is the necessary research.


That’s perfectly true. But I didn’t simply say that unless someone has relevant qualifications and holds a Chair of History or Comparative Religion at Harvard or Oxford they should be ignored. Of course non-specialists can write useful material. I’m currently reading Philip Ball’s Universe of Stone: Chartres Cathedral and the Triumph of the Medieval Mind. Ball isn’t a medievalist and he isn’t even a historian or an architect. He’s actually a science writer and editor of Nature. But even a quick look at his bibliography and his footnotes show that he is a generalist writer who really knows how to research and pull the work of actual experts (much of it in obsure journals and specialist monographs) together and make it clear to the general reader. And his book is excellent.

Compare that to “Acharya S”, whose books certainly look like they have lots of scholarly footnotes and bibliographies, but when you look at the works she cites you find a preponderance of stuff from the 1800s, obscure works by esotericists and Theosophy gurus and very little scholarly material at all. If you then bother to look up the sources in her footnotes you regularly find the work she cites doesn’t support the point she has just made anyway.

I realise you might not have the academic background to tell who is a sound generalist writer like Ball, capable of distilling the work of real scholars, and who is a kooky hack like “Acharya S”, cherry picking and misrepresenting work to construct what looks like a a valid thesis. That’s why I gave you some other rules of thumb to give you guidance.

If someone is Emeritus Professor of Jewish Studies at Oxford, you can be fairly sure that their scholarship is solid. If someone calls herself “Acharya S” and self-publishes books from her home office, on the other hand, warning bells should be ringing in the head of any rational sceptic.

Thanks for that Tim, taken all on board.

Incidentally, for anyone interested, here's a very similar thread on ex-christians.net that's mildly interesting:

Here

The poster Thor seems to be getting really angry at some of the comments (I'm the poster Bro) posted about Acharya S.
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Re: Acharya S

#18  Postby GakuseiDon » Jul 09, 2010 6:43 am

Thor appears to be Dave31 aka Freethinkaluva aka Beastmaster, etc etc. Just ask him about Pygmies, to see the poor guy go into melt-down mode. He can't deny that Acharya writes about them, and he appears too embarrassed to discuss the topic. Apparently even quoting Acharya herself on the topic is smearing her.
If Acharya S has seen further than others, it is by standing on the shoulders of Pygmies. "The Pygmy Christ was born of a virgin, died for the salvation of his people, arose from the dead, and finally ascended to heaven." -- Acharya S
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Re: Acharya S

#19  Postby Passer » Jul 09, 2010 2:38 pm

GakuseiDon wrote:Thor appears to be Dave31 aka Freethinkaluva aka Beastmaster, etc etc. Just ask him about Pygmies, to see the poor guy go into melt-down mode. He can't deny that Acharya writes about them, and he appears too embarrassed to discuss the topic. Apparently even quoting Acharya herself on the topic is smearing her.

Pygmies? Will do

Though i think it may cause the person to have a seizure or something
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Re: Acharya S

#20  Postby TimONeill » Jul 09, 2010 10:22 pm

Passer wrote:
GakuseiDon wrote:Thor appears to be Dave31 aka Freethinkaluva aka Beastmaster, etc etc. Just ask him about Pygmies, to see the poor guy go into melt-down mode. He can't deny that Acharya writes about them, and he appears too embarrassed to discuss the topic. Apparently even quoting Acharya herself on the topic is smearing her.

Pygmies? Will do

Though i think it may cause the person to have a seizure or something


If your "Thor" isn't "Freethinkaluva" et al then he's simply another one of the drone-like hive mind that is http://www.truthbeknown.com - the treehouse club for "Acharya S" acolytes. He's certainly using all the standard Acharya Disciple responses: "you haven't even read her books", "you're just a Christian", "you're a jealous atheist", "Robert Price and two other nobodies said one of her books was good so she's academically respectable" etc etc.

I must say that ex-christians.net forum you linked to isn't exactly a hotbed of informed analysis either though. There's some really crappy stuff there and it seems to be largely a pooling of ignorance where almost anything and everything that's anti-Christian is seized on as "the TRUTH!". The fact that the "Acharya" stuff can't get traction even there is testimony to how totally kooky it is.
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