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The Nine Point Five Theses

Deriving the existence of souls from an examination of human behavior, plus the fundamental physical reason why souls have to exist in the first place. These proofs rest on a foundation of coldly objective logic and reason. The reader is invited to use his/her own logic and reason to decide for himself/herself if they are correct and rigorous---or not. I guarantee you an interesting read.

Sunday, October 08, 2006


(Actually posted 8/26/07 1:55 PM. I just changed the date to keep the order of the posts the way I like it.)

by Jeffrey A. Corkern

In the early 1500's, the Spanish culture landed in the Americas and encountered the early native American cultures.

And VERY shortly after that, on a historical time scale, the early native American cultures were gone. With hardly any effort at all. Wiped out, crushed, extinct, one with the dodo bird, baby. While the people who had composed those cultures were still there, the cultures themselves had been eradicated.

(Certainly pockets lingered. But as a significant historical force, they were gone.)

Hardy a whisper of what those early American cultures were remains behind today. There is no more than the barest detectable trace in the current American cultures of any of the old Aztec/Maya/Inca and so forth cultures. (With one notable exception. More on this in a bit.) Certainly nothing in our law, religion, or societal customs can be traced back to any early American culture.

Why were these early American cultures wiped out so easily?

Yeah, disease had a lot to do with it. And also the Spanish had vastly superior technology. The early American cultures were what? About Late Stone Age? Not even metal. The Spanish were WELL beyond that. They had steel swords and armor, not to mention matchlock firearms.

Why were the Spanish so superior in technology, though?

This is actually a strange thing, that the Spanish were so superior. The more you think about it, the odder it gets.

Because the early Americans should've been about EQUAL in technology. At the very least.

They really should've. Right? They had the time. They had the time, and the resources. They surely had the time and resources to develop technology equal to--or even SUPERIOR---to the Spanish. Humans had been in the Americas since the time of the glaciers, man! They could've done it. The competitive pressures to innovate---wars, floods, plagues, etc---were EXACTLY the same as the Spanish. They had more than enough physical resources and time to develop and even surpass anything the Spanish had. Time to develop steel, time to develop guns, time even to develop the germ theory of disease that could've done so much to keep their entire culture from being erased.

There's NO physical reason the Spanish couldn't have landed and found the early native Americans driving around in Cadillacs.

And yet---it didn't happen. Their culture wasn't technologically equal to the Spanish, and so it got rubbed out. With the greatest of ease.

(Cultures, it seems, undergo Darwinian selection pressures just as much as physical organisms do.)


Now I don't think it was because the early Americans were less intelligent than the Spanish. Not for any idiotic racial reasons. They had their innovations and clever inventions. They studied and knew the stars, engineered and built massive temples and cities. They had the motions of Venus in the sky all mapped out, a thing that took centuries of precise record-keeping to do.

Without question, they could think. As well as the Spanish.

But they were like, SL-O-O-O-W to do it, man, you know?

It's as if some unknown factor---SEVERELY retarded the rate of growth of the early American cultures. Something that was NOT present in Spanish culture, European culture.

(From here on in, I'm going to refer to Spanish culture as European culture. Certainly from the standpoint of the early American cultures, they were the same.)

What might that factor be? It would have to be something that was all over the early American cultures, but NOT present in European culture, and also capable of SEVERELY slowing the growth of a culture.

Is there one single factor that meets all these criteria?

Um, well, yes, there is ONE such factor. There is one STRIKING difference between early native American culture and European culture.

Emotion drugs.

(A brief pause here to define what I mean by “emotion drug.” The definition is obvious, but must be stated for reasons of rigor.

An “emotion drug” is a chemical substance whose SOLE purpose is to induce a specific emotion in a user's brain.)

Emotion drug use was endemic in the native American cultures---but NOT in the European cultures, not to the extent it was in the Americas. Early Native American religions actively ENCOURAGED the use of emotion drugs, while the religion of the Europeans----Catholicism and all the religions that derived from it---actively DISCOURAGED the use of emotion drugs.

To put it crudely---the Pope DIDN'T smoke dope. But in the early native American cultures, the Pope-equivalents DID smoke dope. And encourage everybody else to do it, too. Plus ingest mescaline. And alcohol. And mushrooms. And marijuana. And peyote. And coca.

Man. Look at that list. That incredibly LONG list of emotion drugs they left behind is very strong evidence getting stoned was a MAJOR part of their culture. With all the emotion drugs they had available, those early native American dudes must've spent a LOT of their time ripped out of their minds, huh.

And damn, tobacco. I nearly missed tobacco because it is so common and everyday. (You could make a strong case tobacco is the early native Americans' revenge for having their culture wiped out, couldn't you.)

Funny. A lot of the emotion drugs existing today---come DIRECTLY from those early native American cultures. In fact, thinking about it, emotion drugs are the one and only significant cultural thing they left behind. Other than that---nothing.

(Sure, chocolate and potatoes, the odd word or two. But these are extremely minor. They have had no effect on the bedrock of our culture.)

Could extensive emotion drug use actually HARM a culture over time?

Well, if somebody's stoned out of his mind on whatever---he, or she, is NOT, like, you know, THINKING. Right? So, if you compared the two cultures in the pre-invasion centuries, what you would see in the early American cultures is a great number of people NOT thinking, as opposed to the Europeans, where you would see a great number of people with their index fingers earnestly pressed against their temples like the Tin Man in the Wizard of Oz, staring off into space, and THINKING.

Thinking about ways to make their lives better, to get what they want. Like, well, how to make steel, and ways to forge that steel into swords, armor, and guns.

Thinking, fundamentally, about ways to make their lives HAPPIER.

Would a significant fraction of a culture's populace always being stoned at any one time, NOT THINKING, have a severely retarding effect on a culture's progress over centuries?



There is another somewhat more subtle retarding effect.

People do what they do to be happy. You can describe all human action as an effort to achieve happiness.

Emotion drugs---MAKE you feel happy.

And you don't have to do ANY work for it. Or, more accurately, not as much work as you would have to do otherwise.

And this airy-fairy stuff means what, in practical terms?

In an emotion-drug culture, happiness is only a snort, a swallow, or a toke away.

And so it is very, very easy to get away from reality in an emotion-drug culture, from anything that makes you unhappy. Like being tired from carrying rocks on your back to build temples with all day. Or your entire family dying from some weird disease. Or having a permanent headache from the boss bopping you on the head all the time as you carry him around in his palanquin. Things like that.

Instead of sitting down and dreaming up inventions like the wheel to make your life easier (which the Maya NEVER did), or creating an antibiotic to cure that weird disease, or planning a revolution to kick that head-bopping boss out, you could just sit down and get stoned to make all the pain and bad feelings go away.

Emotion-drug cultures have a definite built-in tendency to remain STATIC, don't they? Nothing's going to change very fast in an emotion-drug culture.

This is NOT true in a culture where emotion drugs are illegal. You can't easily escape from something that makes you unhappy.

You can only---deal with it directly. By changing something about yourself or your environment. You just CAN'T get away.

In an non-emotion-drug culture---you are FORCED to deal with the real world, FORCED to think. If you want to be happy.

You think this would have an accelerating effect on a culture's progress?

There are effects on moral progress, too. So much moral advancement has taken place because of empathy, the ability to feel what the victim is feeling. Emotion drugs severely hamper the feeling of empathy. The more intense the emotion drug, the more diminished your ability to feel empathy. The more emotionally cut off you are from other human beings.

If you're on emotion drugs, you feel happy---NO MATTER WHAT YOU'RE DOING. You can do anything you want to people, and it's not going to affect your own emotions the least little bit.

Like bending people backward over onto stone altars and cutting their beating hearts out of their chests, for example. Not just every once in a while, but ALL the damn time.

Think that's evidence of retarded moral progress? The Spanish were certainly no moral paragons, but at least they didn't routinely bend people backward over stone altars and rip their hearts out!

(The possibility of having your heart ripped out one day isn't going to generate a whole lot of like, you know, LOYALTY to a culture, either. You can only imagine the conversation.

"Wait a second. You evil invading imperialistic capitalist Spanish DON'T rip peoples' hearts out?"

"No. We don't do that."

"Never ever?"

"No, never ever."

"Oh, I have seen the light! Bless me, Father, for I have sinned!")

One more subtle effect. The most subtle effect of all, but perhaps the most significant, powerful, dangerous, lethal effect of them all.

How many geniuses are there in a culture, at any given time? Not many, right?

What if even ONE of those geniuses spent all of his time STONED? Would that have a retarding effect on a culture's progress?

So much progress is not due to mass action, but rather to the solitary effort of a single individual. What if that single individual decided he liked emotion drugs better than thinking?

What if Newton had spent all of his time stoned? Maxwell? Pasteur? Galileo? Einstein? Gibbs? Curie? Fleming? Salk? The list goes on and on.

Except, whoops, they couldn't do that, because emotion drugs were FROWNED ON in the cultures they lived in. There weren't even that many emotion drugs to use in the first place. Certainly not compared to what the early native American cultures had.

What about the early native American scientific geniuses?

Oops. Pardon me. There aren't ANY known early native American scientific geniuses, are there? NOT ONE. No Aztec Newtons, no Maya Maxwells, no Inca Pasteurs. NOBODY, MAN!

(Oh, they had their potential scientific geniuses, right enough. But they were either stoned, or trapped in a retarded culture that had developed no place for their genius to flower.

"Hey, Jaguar Paw! Let's go invent the germ theory and keep thousands and thousands of our people from dying when the Spanish arrive!"

"Naah. I'm gonna kick back here at the temple and do some spirit-travelin'." (D-e-e-p drag on joint) "Oh, man, this is some really GOOD spirit-travelin'!")

So when you add all these effects up, what does it mean?

It means one day Spanish sailing ships arrive at your beaches, instead of YOUR sailing ships arriving at THEIRS. It means the Spanish come rowing ashore carrying steel swords, armor, and guns, and you, well, you AIN'T driving Cadillacs. You're still stuck in the Stone Age. With rocks, clubs, throwing sticks, and spears.

It means when the Europeans arrive, your culture gets STOMPED, and it's not even close.

Are there any historical lessons we should take from this? Something that applies to societal conflicts the world's societies are currently having?

Given all the preceding----would you, the gentle reader, make emotion drugs LEGAL in YOUR society TODAY?

The world's stable societies are currently engaged in an epic battle to stop people from using emotion drugs.

And they're LOSING. Big-time. Emotion drugs are far more common than they were fifty years ago. When you look at this struggle on a historical time scale, it is quite clear they are losing this battle.

It is also quite clear WHY they are losing this battle.

They don't understand the enemy. Don't have the slightest clue. You can tell that by what they're calling this war.

The “War On Drugs.”

What? We're fighting penicillin, sulfonamides, aspirin, quinine? That doesn't make any sense, man!

And it doesn't, either.

It's not the “War on Drugs.”

It's the “War on EMOTION Drugs.”

They're fighting it entirely the wrong way, too. The world's stable societies are trying to fight this battle by citing what are, essentially, unimportant side-effects. Tobacco is loaded with carcinogens and give you cancer. Marijuana is also loaded with carcinogens and can give you cancer. Alcohol can cause cirrhosis of the liver and a host of other problems that will kill you also. Psychedelics can cause permanent brain damage. Just a pinch too much of other emotion drugs will kill you in a heartbeat.

But that's not the most lethal effect of these things, is it? Not by a country mile. The most lethal effect of these things is what they fundamentally do, make people feel happy.

You cut these things loose in your culture----AND ONE FINE DAY, YOUR CULTURE JUST WON'T BE THERE ANYMORE. It will have been out-competed and rolled over by some non-emotion-drug culture. Just like what happened to the early native American cultures.


Y'all have a good one.


Friday, October 06, 2006


(First posted 3/12/08 6:34 PM)


by Jeffrey A. Corkern

Y'all wanna know something strange?

People have been arguing back and forth over the existence of souls for centuries. Writing tons of books and pamphlets, slaughtering thousands of trees, spending endless hours wrangling back and forth.

But one little thing NOBODY has ever done.

NOBODY has really, seriously tried to prove the truth of whatever side they're on in a science lab. Nobody has EVER gotten off his lazy rear end, gone into the lab, and actually done some nasty, filthy WORK to prove his point.

Nobody. Pro or con.

Oh, there was that worthless MacDougall experiment, (Duncan MacDougall (doctor) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia) but that was a lost cause from the word “Go.” Detecting souls by weight loss upon death? Even if MacDougall HAD picked up a weight loss, how does that PROVE the existence of souls?

It's like trying to prove the existence of electrons by putting a metal block on a balance, pulling out an electron, and trying to pick up the weight loss.

Even if you COULD pick up the difference (which you couldn't do, not even with the balances of today), how does that PROVE the existence of electrons?


Perhaps I should say nobody COMPETENT has ever tried to build a soul-detector.

Not even the simplest experiments have been done. Nobody has tried to do even the EASY experiments.

Ergo this post.

This post is a list of random ideas for either designing a soul-detector, or finding a way to design a soul-detector. I list them in case any scientist who is capable of building a soul-detector reads The Nine Point Five Theses and starts wondering how this could actually be accomplished. Some of these experiments are easy. Some are not.

If anybody has any ideas of his own for doing this, PLEASE post them in a comment. (PLEASE, man! I’m getting S-O-O-O tired of having to do ALL the thinking here!) Or post them in your own blog, and put the link in your comment. I’ll put up anything I judge to be credible.

To strictly define the experimental problem: The objective is to kill an experimental animal and detect its soul leaving its body. The problem is how to build an instrument that will do this. NOTHING ELSE. Anything not STRICTLY focused on this will be deleted and ignored.

I’m not saying other things aren’t legitimate. I’m only saying they are NOT the problem I’m trying to solve here.

Update added 2/25/09

There is experimental evidence indicating the presence of a soul in the brain. These scientists have monitored brain behavior and observed behavior that indicates there is a field permeating the brain. Here is the Wikipedia link:

"This theory accounts for several otherwise puzzling facts, such as the finding that attention and awareness tend to be correlated with the synchronous firing of multiple neurons rather than the firing of individual neurons"

Man, ain't that a HELL of a statement!

On to the list.
Added 12/02/09
The ghost-hunters tell me they have often have this one particular odd problem when they ghost-hunt. Their batteries, in areas of reported paranormal activity, sometimes stop working and then start working again. To be precise, suddenly the voltage on their batteries drops in whatever electronic equipment they're using, then a short time later starts working again as if nothing had happened.
The ghost-hunters have been reporting this as "battery-drain" because when the voltage drops close to zero in the normal operation of a battery it's because it's almost empty. However, the facts on the ground as reported only support the idea the voltage is being lessened. To prove the battery has been drained, it would be necessary to drain the rest of the battery and measure how much energy is left. To my knowledge, no ghost-hunter has ever done this.
This could be the solution to the problem. It would be easy enough to surround a dying animal with batteries and see if an interruption is observed.
The observed phenomena prompts me to speculate as to the detection principle. Batteries are a real-world approximation of the classic one-dimensional barrier problem in quantum mechanics.
The observed phenomena can be explained if ghosts have the power to change the value of h, Planck's constant, to a certain extent. A visit to the Wikipedia page on Planck's constant shows Planck's "constant" is perhaps not quite as constant as it could be.


There must be some way the soul has of interacting with nervous tissue. Somehow, information has to be transmitted back and forth between the soul and the brain.

So somewhere in nervous tissue there is the equivalent of an antenna. It's GOT to be in there somewhere, man.

So that might be how a soul-detector could be built. Out of nerves. Wire up a network of nerves in the shape of a hollow globe, kill an experimental animal in the middle of it, and see if you get a signal. A coherent field leaving the body.

This is a neat idea because you don't have to know what the actual mechanism of the soul-brain interaction is, which could be something very exotic and weird and therefore hard to find, like the ability to vary the value of h over short distances.

I am told a practical problem with this is it is currently NOT possible to wire up human nerves in this fashion. I am also told it is not currently possible to keep human nerves alive long enough to be functional.

It should be possible to use other kinds of nerves. Some of the earliest research on nerves was on giant-squid nerves. (Squid giant axon - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia) In an odd fact of nature, giant squids have VERY large nerves that can be wired up.

Of course, that depends on whether or not squids have souls, too. (Sorry, people, but I'm going to have to digress into some real strangeness here for a minute.) If they've got souls, their nerves will have this antenna and might work in this experiment, if they don't have souls, they won't work at all.

Can we answer this question?

Yup. There's something that pops up in the analysis of this subject, over and over and over again.

The source of emotion is the soul---NOT the brain. You get angry, you get happy, you get sad, you get whatever, it started in your soul, man, not your brain.

So this gives us a rock-solid indicator of whether or not a particular species of animal has a soul.

If it displays emotion---IT HAS A SOUL. In particular, if it can love, it has a soul.

(My cat-soul-diving-through-my-chest experience suddenly makes a whole lot more sense. Waddya know, it fits!)

So, if giant squids display emotion, we can try their really HUGE nerves out as a soul-detector.

Worth a shot.


This one is for you theoretical physicists out there.

As I stated above, somewhere in nervous tissue is Nature's soul antenna.

Go find it.

Take a nervous system cell, take it apart and throw the things away that are obviously not soul-antennae. Things like the mitochondrion, the DNA strands, the various enzymes, and so forth.

Now poke through what's left and see what could possibly be a soul-antenna. When you find the structure, examination of how it works will tell PRECISELY how a functioning soul-detector can be built.

I suggest you look VERY closely at the structures involved in cell-to-cell communication. One of those things receives information DIRECTLY from the soul, man.

You might compare the nerve-cell structure of organisms that don't exhibit emotional behavior---like ants----with the structure of those that do. One of the differences between the two will be a soul-antenna.

Good luck, and good hunting.

Note added 5/20/08:

Some digging into this subject (not by me) has revealed there are a number of physicists trying to solve "the problem of consciousness" by examining nerve cells. (In fact, the study of consciousness is a deep undercurrent of theoretical physics at the moment. Their work is far more important than they know.)

And they keep talking about these things nerve cells have called "microtubules." Why they've focused on this structure, I don't know, but they have.

Here is a paper that illustrates my point. (Be warned. Unless you're a cross between a cell biologist and a quantum physicist like these guys are, you're not going to be able to understand this.)


Now, the "problem of consciousness" is a lot simpler than these people think, but that's not my point here. My point here is to find the soul antenna nerve cells MUST have. This is certainly the most likely candidate at the moment.

Note on "GHOST HUNTERS":(added 6/29/08)

There is this reality-TV show here in the States put on by the Sci-Fi Channel, "GHOST HUNTERS." This bunch of Roto-Rooter plumbers have formed this organization, TAPS, "The Atlantic Paranormal Society", that goes around investigating haunted-house claims. The Sci-Fi Channel records what they do and makes a program out of it.

(Yeah, the most important research in history is being done by Roto-Rooter plumbers. It's a sad commentary on the state of science today, it really is.)

The stated purpose of TAPS is to find evidence of life after death. It's not quite clear what is to be done with this evidence. These guys are just, like, you know, collecting "evidence", man. The truth is out there.

The truly strange thing is they succeed. On a ROUTINE basis.

I've known this show existed but discounted it. I figured it would be a bunch of "believers" who would go into a house waving antennas around and claim every little static burst and stray shadow was a ghost.

But they're not like that. They try to take as scientific attitude as they know how. They're definitely not trained scientists, and it shows, but they do the best they know how. They go in with the goal of debunking the reports (which is the scientifically correct thing to do), and they do a pretty good job, although not a perfect one. I've seen them throw away evidence that was actually perfectly good.

I saw this one episode where they totally blew the lid off for about ten minutes.

They were investigating a haunted house located in the middle of Wright-Patterson Air Force base. There was a short stretch where, for unknown reason, they actually appeared to be communicating with a disembodied soul. They would ask a question, and get one tap for "Yes" and two taps for "No." It was an astonishing thing to hear. I could the taps, which came only after a question was asked, quite clearly. One, two and even three taps you could discount as coincidence, but six, seven, eight? You're stretching the laws of probability all out of shape, man.

Then one of the plumbers blew the lid off.

Communication was going so well one of the plumbers decided to try something he had tried before, without success. He pulled a flashlight from his pocket, held it up and explained how to turn it on. He then asked the ghost to turn it on. He put it on the floor and backed away.

The damned light came on.

Now, man, THAT was insane.

The definitive experiment to prove people have souls would be to communicate with a disembodied soul.

This goal may have ALREADY been accomplished!

I say "may" because, while I don't think these guys are committing fraud, they don't have, in my opinion, sufficient safeguards against it. They don't seem to realize their TV's show's success can create a VERY strong temptation to commit fraud.

This experiment they ran needs to be repeated, and it needs to be repeated with VERY tight safeguards against fraud.

There have actually been a number of incidents close to this. They recorded a ghost pushing a sheet back once, for example. No fuzziness when that happened. This EVP thing the paranormal people are pushing is apparently a genuine phenomenon. They play back what they record. Yeah, you can make out real English words, entire sentences.

Some smart technician out there somewhere really needs to figure out a way to pick up a cleaner EVP signal, either through better equipment or better signal-processing or both.

Just thought I'd mention this to any potential researchers who drop by here. I really can't endorse this because of the lack of proper fraud controls, but just thought I'd mention it.


"Cold spots" are often reported in association with ghosts.

Well, okay, test this. Surround a test animal with the most sensitive IR detectors you can find and see if you can pick up a soul by the temperature drop it causes by absorbing heat from the air.

Worth a shot.


Cloud chambers can pick up teeny-tiny elementary particles and cosmic rays. ( Cloud chamber - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

Why not try this for souls?

Worth a shot.

Thursday, October 05, 2006


by Jeffrey A. Corkern

(Actually posted 9/27/009)

Long, long ago, and far, far away, there lived a number of tiny little tribes in tiny little connected mountain valleys.

These tribes were divided into two groups, the Woo-Woos and the Skeptics. The Woo-Woos were called Woo-Woos because they were a religious people, and “Woo-Woo” was the name of their god. The Skeptics, on the other hand, were the complete opposite of the Woo-Woos. They didn’t believe in religion or a god of any kind whatsoever. They were firm believers in the strict scientific method, and the strict scientific method only. They knew anything religious was automatically wrong. The Skeptics looked down on the Woo-Woos with pitying eyes, because they knew the Woo-Woos were doomed in the long run. They knew Skeptics were fated by evolution to move in and take over all Woo-Woo valleys after the Woo-Woos had choked on their own self-contradictions and disappeared into the mists of history. The Skeptics knew from their study of history that only societies whose practices were rational, in conformity with physical law, survived over the long course of history, and therefore the Woo-Woos didn’t have the slightest chance of surviving as history proceeded and evolution did its cruel thing. History demonstrated beyond all possible doubt that evolution was really, REALLY rough on societies whose practices had no basis in physical law, whose practices were in sad fact COMPLETELY irrational. In the historical contest between cultures, the record showed the culture whose practices were closest to physical law was the one that won, that ate the other cultures for lunch. History showed that cultures whose customs violated physical law vanished FAST, baby, and the poor, benighted Woo-Woos certainly had plenty of those. They had all sorts of weird, nonsensical rules, beliefs, and customs, not one of which the Skeptics knew had even the slightest basis in physical law.

Take the way they worshiped their god, for example. The Woo-Woos had a highly entertaining way of worshiping their god and made a great deal of money from selling tickets to watch their services to Skeptic tourists. Each Sunday Skeptics would go to a Woo-Woo church---a Woo-Woo church was a large flat piece of ground marked off in squares---buy a ticket, find a seat in the stands set up for Skeptic tourists and wait expectantly.

The first sign would be a booming sound coming from far off. Every Skeptic would raise his camera and focus it on the horizon. A mass of hundreds of Woo-Woos would come marching into view, arranged in a huge square and all marching together in synchronization. Each Woo-Woo would be barefoot, wearing a skimpy tight-fitting tunic, and be carrying a tom-tom underneath his right arm, with a bucket and a sack hanging off his left shoulder, and each one would be chanting the same thing over and over in rhythm with his marching.

“GREAT God Woo-Woo! GREAT God Woo-Woo!” they would chant, hitting their tom-tom with a tremendous BOOM at the beginning of every sentence, creating a roll of continuous thunder that washed over the Skeptics like an ocean wave. Chanting and banging their toms-toms, the Woo-Woos would march onto the great flat squares, each Woo-Woo onto his own particular square, and when each Woo-Woo was marching in place in his own square they would bang their tom-toms and do their all-sit-down ritual.


And they would all sit down with a great crash.

This was all performed with such surgical drill-team precision that Skeptics seeing this for the first time would quite often burst into spontaneous applause.

But the service wasn’t over yet. Each Woo-Woo would set his tom-tom down to his right, then unsling his bucket and sack and place them in front of him. Each Woo-Woo would pick up his bucket and hold it up high in front of him until every Woo-Woo had his bucket up. Then with a massive cry of “Great God Woo-Woo is great!” each Woo-Woo would pour the contents of his bucket---The Holy Red Molasses---all over himself and spread it uniformly over his body. When he was finished, each Woo-Woo would set his bucket to his right, pick up his sack, hold it high, and wait.

When the last Woo-Woo held up his sack, they would again cry in unison “Great God Woo-Woo is great!” and empty the contents of the sack---The Holy Green Chicken Feathers---all over himself. All the Skeptic cameras would click at this point. A cloud of Holy Green Chicken Feathers erupting into the Sunday morning air was quite a spectacular sight.

When the cloud settled, every Woo-Woo would be revealed plastered in Holy Green Chicken Feathers from the top of his head to the soles of his feet. From out of nowhere would come the sound of music---Sixties rock-and-roll, to be precise (Great God Woo-Woo alone knew how they had gotten hold of it)---and each Woo-Woo would jump up and explode into The Holy Funky Green Chicken dance, putting his hands in his armpits and flapping them like they were wings, scratching at the ground with his feet, and making pecking motions with his head, dancing The Holy Funky Green Chicken for Great God Woo-Woo as Great God Woo-Woo had commanded they do, as Sixties rock-and-roll lilted upon the air.

“If there’s a smile upon my face, it’s only there to fool the public---“

(“Tears Of A Clown” was a particular favorite.)

Each Woo-Woo was allowed to express himself in the dance as he liked, dancing The Holy Funky Green Chicken for Great God Woo-Woo in his own particular fashion. Most of the Woo-Woos were no more than average at this, as you might imagine, but a few were true artists, dancing The Holy Funky Green Chicken so convincingly more than one Skeptic found himself looking for Holy Green Chicken Eggs.

Each Skeptic tourist made sure he took lots and lots of pictures, because they all knew the Woo-Woos were doomed in the long run, and the time would one day come when clouds of Holy Green Chicken Feathers erupting into the air and Woo-Woos dancing The Holy Funky Green Chicken would exist only in pictures in some Skeptic museum built as a memorial in some former Woo-Woo valley.

When the last Woo-Woo had collapsed onto the ground exhausted, the service was over, and the Skeptics went home to develop their pictures and keep them where they could be preserved for future generations of Skeptics to laugh at.

One day one particular tribe of Skeptics decided they had had enough of this silliness, that while what the Woo-Woos did was entertaining, it was time to civilize the Woo-Woos, to drag them out of the darkness of ignorance and superstition they lived in. So they sat down to try and find the best way to convert the Woo-Woos to the one true way of Skepticism.

This wasn’t the first time Skeptics had tried to do this. Previous Skeptic tribes had tried to do the same thing by sending missionaries to the Woo-Woos to demonstrate with ice-cold logic the irrationality of their beliefs, to no avail. No Skeptic had ever been able to argue any Woo-Woo out of his belief in Great God Woo-Woo.

So this tribe decided to try something new. Instead of trying to argue them out of it, they decided to SHOW them their beliefs made no sense. They decided to randomly pick one of Great God Woo-Woo’s laws and publicly break it. They decided to break one of Great God Woo-Woo’s laws and let the Woo-Woos see that breaking one of Great God Woo-Woo’s laws had NO effect whatsoever. And when the Woo-Woos saw that breaking one of Great God Woo-Woo’s laws had no effect, it was hard to see how any Woo-Woo could avoid the conclusion that Great God Woo-Woo wasn’t actually there, had in fact NEVER been there.

The Woo-Woo’s had a great book, “Great God Woo-Woo’s Laws”, that listed all Great God Woo-Woo’s laws in numerical order. The Skeptics got a copy of Great God Woo-Woo’s Laws, rolled some dice and came up with 78. Great God Woo-Woo’s Law 78 was a law regarding the planting of crops. Great God Woo-Woo stated that certain crops could only be planted when certain stars were above certain mountain peaks. He had a quite precise, rigid, arbitrary schedule for planting crops, which was mostly in the springtime and a few in early summer, which is when the right stars lined up over the right mountain peaks. This tribe of Skeptics decided to break that law and plant their crops at any time other than the Great God Woo-Woo designated time, and they made sure the Woo-Woos knew what they were about to do. Quite a few Woo-Woos begged them not to do it, because Great God Woo-Woo didn’t like it when his laws were broken, and promised great punishment to all those who broke Great God Woo-Woo’s laws. This tribe of Skeptics just laughed and laughed and said “Watch this!” and went ahead and planted their crops whenever they wanted.

All their crops failed, and every single member of that particular tribe of Skeptics starved to death that winter.

Since that valley was empty, the Woo-Woos moved in and took it over.

This result caught the remaining Skeptic tribes by surprise. Laboratory investigation of the catastrophe by Skeptic scientists showed that plants---and seeds, unfortunately---contained biological clocks. Skeptic scientists determined that seeds, alas, would not germinate and grow unless planted at the correct time of the year. Great God Woo-Woo, it seemed, had known what He was doing when He laid down Law 78. That law had been rational, in complete conformity with physical law.

There was a great deal of I-told-you-so from the Woo-Woos. More than one Woo-Woo took enormous delight in rubbing his Skeptic friends’ nose in the fact that an experiment designed to show Great God Woo-Woo didn’t exist had turned out EXACTLY the opposite of what the Skeptics had expected.

This got the remaining tribes of Skeptics mad. So mad one tribe decided to try again. That poor previous tribe had just happened to hit on the one Great God Woo-Woo law that turned out to be rational. So what, Great God Woo-Woo had just happened to get lucky. There was NO way that could happen again!

This time, instead of picking out a law at random without thinking about it, this new tribe sat down, thought about it a little and picked one of Great God Woo-Woo’s truly crazy laws, just about the nuttiest one they could find, Law 32. Law 32 said no Woo-Woo could eat pork. This Skeptic tribe defied that law with a vengeance. The entire tribe went on a pork binge. They lived and breathed pork. They had pork for breakfast, pork for lunch, pork for supper, and pork for dessert, and they made sure the Woo-Woos knew all about it and were watching. Every Skeptic tribal member couldn’t wait to see the expression on the Woo-Woo’s faces when as they watched them break one of Great God Woo-Woo’s laws---and NOTHING happened.

That tribe of Skeptics all got trichinosis and died in agony.

The Woo-Woos were not converted.

The Woo-Woos again moved in and took over the deserted valley.

More after-the-fact laboratory investigation by Skeptic scientists showed Great God Woo-Woo had somehow managed to make a rational law again, a rule that actually was in conformity with physical law. Skeptic scientists discovered pigs carried trichinosis and all pork products had to be VERY carefully checked to make sure they didn’t carry the trichinosis parasite. The Woo-Woos shook their heads sadly and pointed out Great God Woo-Woo had just gone two-for-two. A number of Woo-Woos offered to teach the Skeptics some basic Holy Funky Green Chicken dance steps and sent them some Sixties rock-and-roll records.

Now EVERY Skeptic got boiling mad. Now every single Skeptic was bound and determined to find SOME way of demonstrating to the Woo-Woos the ultimate irrationality of their beliefs. The Skeptic tribes all got together and had a great council of war. The method of breaking a law and letting the Woo-Woos see there were no resulting bad consequences, they decided, was perfectly sound, the error had been in picking the wrong law to break. What the Skeptics had to do was find the most impossible, the most irrational, the most absolutely insane Great God Woo-Woo law there was, and break THAT law. When the Skeptics finally showed that breaking Great God Woo-Woo’s laws had no effect, the Woo-Woos would have no choice except to become Skeptics.

What was the Woo-Woos’ craziest, most irrational belief?

Actually, when they got down and dirty with it and looked as hard as they could, the Skeptics realized they had overlooked what was easily two of the stupidest beliefs in the world, Great God Woo-Woo Law 1 and Law 2.

Great God Woo-Woo’s Law 2 stated that every human being was an eternal being and, since their bodies were certainly not eternal, everybody therefore had a soul and survived the death of his physical body. This was the most central belief of the Woo-Woos. All of Great God Woo-Woo’s power over his subjects was based on the idea that Great God Woo-Woo judged everybody’s soul, Woo-Woo and Skeptic alike, AFTER they died, and would reward or punish each according to whether or not they had broken Great God Woo-Woo’s most fundamental law, Law 1, which was “Great God Woo-Woo loves everybody forever.”

Both those notions---that everybody was an eternally existing being who had a soul, and Great God Woo-Woo loved everybody forever---was enough to make every Skeptic at the council just fall down and roll around on the ground laughing until the tears rolled down his face. Of all the stupid, irrational, idiotic notions that had no chance whatsoever of being real, this one was the most stupid, irrational, and idiotic of them all. Somebody surviving his physical body’s death, what a supremely absurd notion! It was obvious at a glance death was the total destruction of the personality. No Skeptic had ever seen a soul. (Although there were Skeptics and Woo-Woos alike that reported very strange experiences from time to time, these stories were dismissed as the product of a hysterical fear of death, wishful thinking, and overactive imaginations.)

And Great God Woo-Woo loving everybody forever? This was such a ridiculous notion it wasn’t even discussed. The Universe had so many ways of hurting people it was flatly impossible for anything even close to that to be true. The Skeptic council decided to concentrate on the souls law, Law 2.

How to break this law? It wasn’t at all obvious what the Skeptics had to do to break this law, and there was a deal of loud arguing, until one brilliant Skeptic genius pointed out that the most important thing the Woo-Woos did with that law was TEACH it to their children. They taught their Woo-Woo children Great God Woo-Woo said EVERYBODY had souls.

So the way for Skeptics to break this law was to TEACH their Skeptic children that NOBODY had souls.

This was the perfect solution, absolutely perfect! Although every Skeptic already believed nobody had a soul, there was no formal program of teaching this in their schools. The Skeptic council immediately decided to institute a program of pounding into their children’s heads over and over again that nobody survived his physical body’s death, that NOBODY HAD SOULS. And they would toss in the statement that the Universe didn’t care about anybody.

There were a few radical, wild, and crazy Skeptics at the meeting. They suggested, given previous bad results, it MIGHT be a good idea to test for souls in the lab first this time. Before something bad nobody could anticipate happened, like before. That maybe Woo-Woos might know something Skeptics didn’t.

The sheer impossibility of this idea caused every other Skeptic at the meeting to fall down and roll around laughing again. Skeptics were so vastly superior in knowledge and intellect, and Woo-Woos were such fuzzy-headed morons. Their was certainly no need to test this idea in the lab as it was a religious idea, and Skeptics knew anything religious was automatically wrong. The proposal was rejected without another second’s thought. They voted to implement their education program starting with the next school year.

The Woo-Woos heard what the Skeptics were about to do. They sent a delegation to the Skeptic council.

“We beg you not do this,” they said. “You are deliberately breaking Great God Woo-Woo’s most fundamental laws. Twice you have broken Great God Woo-Woo’s laws, and twice it has led to disaster. Have you not learned? We warn you. Doing this will start a fire that will consume you all.”

The Skeptic council sneered a mighty sneer and did it anyway.

The school program went on for years and years and years. Ten, fifteen, TWENTY years.

Nothing happened.

The Skeptics began to grin from ear to ear as each year went by. They took great joy in pointing out to the Woo-Woos that they had broken Great God Woo-Woo’s most basic laws, and there hadn’t been even the first bad consequence.

The response from the Woo-Woos was always---silence. There wasn’t the first Woo-Woo convert.

One fine day a couple of Skeptic teen-agers took two assault rifles to school and massacred twenty-three students and a teacher. When the cops closed in, the kids put the muzzles of their assault rifles in their mouths and blew their brains out. The cops found a note the teen-agers left behind.

“The Universe doesn’t care about me---I don’t care about the Universe. Screw you all.”

The Woo-Woos finally broke their silence. They asked “Is this not perfect Skeptic logic?”

Now it was the Skeptics turn to be silent, because there was no question that it was. But they decided it was best to just forget the incident, because there was no way such a horrible thing would ever happen again.

It happened again a week later, eleven children dead in a murder-suicide committed by another child. With another note, longer this time. “The Universe doesn’t care about me---I don’t care about the Universe. No human life has any real meaning. Human life means nothing, not even mine. It’s all going to Hell. It’s all going straight to Hell. Screw you all."

And again, a few months later, ten children dead. Then a year later, six children dead, then eighteen months later, with a new record of thirty students dead, over and over, until the Skeptics got used to hearing about the occasional school massacre, with the record for the number of children murdered being constantly broken, until it seemed strange to them that there was ever a time when school massacres were not routine.

Some Skeptic scientists were more than a little discomfited by this, and they investigated, trying to discover why their children were doing such terrible things they had never done before. They discovered the social environment their children were living in was a horror.

The first thing they discovered was their children were rude to each other. Their children had evolved a society where the insult was considered to be high art and the resulting anger a way of life. The way their children were screaming at each other had to be seen to be believed.

The second more shocking thing they discovered was their children were heavy drug users, as an escape from all their pain and anger. They couldn’t achieve happiness with all the rudeness and anger in their daily lives, so they achieved it with drugs designed to force their brains into feeling happiness, emotion drugs. Alcohol, tobacco, marijuana, meth, mescaline, LSD, peyote, barbiturates, mushrooms, cocaine, crack, uppers, downers, the Skeptic scientists found a new emotion drug their children were using every day.

The Skeptic children had invented a dead-on-target term to describe somebody under the influence of emotion drugs. They observed that when somebody was under the influence of emotion drugs, he just faded away and stopped interacting with the rest of the Universe. He interacted with the Universe exactly as much as a rock did, and so the Skeptic kids called using emotion drugs “getting stoned.”

The Skeptics launched a “Just-Say-No” program to get their kids to stop using emotion drugs. They pointed out all the bad things that emotion drugs did to people and society. Some emotion drugs could even lead to the user’s death.

It didn’t have the slightest effect.

“Screw you all, dudes,” the kids said with their ingrained rudeness. “One day I will die and disappear completely from the Universe. I want to be happy while I’m here. Emotion drugs MAKE me happy. They are the easiest and cheapest way. Why should I care what happens to society? Why should I care what you freaking idiots think? I’m all alone in the Universe. The Universe doesn’t care about me. My life has no real meaning. I’m not really connected to anything. There’s no real reason why I should care. Why should I care if it kills me? I’m gonna die and disappear anyway. At least this way I’ll be guaranteed to die happy. Screw you all, dudes. I’m tired of all this talk. I’m gonna go get stoned.”

The Woo-Woos commented “You have trained your children well. Is this not also perfect Skeptic logic?”

The Skeptics had to acknowledge it was. In fact their kids had struck right to the heart of an issue, as children do, and from that moment on the “Just-Say-No” program stopped and the use of emotion drugs began spreading through the rest of Skeptic society. Particularly the smart Skeptics. From that moment on, intellectual and scientific progress slowed down in Skeptic society. The smarter and smarter a Skeptic was, the more and more likely he was to spend his time stoned rather than doing scientific research, or writing books, or composing music, or painting pictures, or whatever it was creative he did.

Emotion drug use became so common and pervasive in Skeptic society the Skeptics were eventually forced to make emotion drugs legal. The Skeptics didn’t really like this, but there was nothing they could do about it, so in the end they shrugged their shoulders and decided if the occasional school massacre, lots and lots of their smartest people getting stoned and staying that way, and a general slowing down of Skeptic society was the worst bad consequence, they could live with it.

But it didn’t stop there.

The killing got worse and spread out of the schools. Massacres began happening at totally unexpected times and places, and the child killers got better at it with practice, building massive bombs that killed hundreds, then thousands.

The Skeptics felt a cold wind on their backs. They tried to stop it. The child killers were few, never more than one in a thousand. The vast majority of their kids were content with getting stoned. They asked their kids why some of them kept turning killer.

“You absolute, complete, utter fools,” their kids replied. “Nothing could be simpler. Because they feel like it. Because it makes them feel happy.”

The Skeptics were nonplused.

“You really don’t see it, do you?” their kids asked. “You’re all going to die screaming, and you all deserve to die screaming for being stupid. Life has no physically real meaning, you freaking idiots. My life, yours, everybody’s. Everything’s meaningless. The Universe doesn’t care about anything. You can do anything you want. You can kill if you want. If there are no souls, the only rational thing to be is a sociopath.”

The Woo-Woos commented “Perfect Skeptic logic. Your children are geniuses. We now understand Great God Woo-Woo’s purpose in making us eternal beings.”

Again the Skeptic kids had struck to the heart of an issue, and again this perfect reasoning spread through the rest of Skeptic society. The smarter and smarter a Skeptic was, the more and more likely he was to turn killer, until murder was as common as rain in Skeptic valleys, until no Skeptic dared leave his house at night. Murder became another high art among Skeptics. Skeptic geniuses found thousands and thousands of ways of killing people, in whatever number you wanted.

Some of the smarter Skeptics sensed the end was near. They began quietly trying to leave their respective valleys and emigrate to the Woo-Woo valleys.

The Woo-Woos barred their way.

“No,” they said. “A Skeptic now stands a good chance of being an angry, homicidal, emotion-drug-using sociopath capable of murdering millions. We are NOT going to take that kind of chance with our decent, civilized, stable society. YOU MAY NOT PASS. You created this disaster, and you will suffer the consequences.”

The end came quickly and explosively, and again it came from a child. A child Skeptic genius realized the only way he would ever be safe from other Skeptics killing him was if he killed all the other Skeptics first. He created and released a virus that killed only Skeptics. He left the Woo-Woos alone because they had always been kind to him and once had even tried to convince him he mattered.

The virus made Skeptics feel like they were being burned at the stake. It spread through all the Skeptics like fire through dry grass. As they got sick and began dying, a number of Skeptic scientists saw that breaking Great God Woo-Woo Law 1 and Law 2 had once again led to total disaster, as if those loony-tune laws might somehow have been rational too, and wondered to themselves if perhaps they really should’ve tested those laws in the lab first before breaking them, but it was way the hell too late now, and they died screaming just like all the other Skeptics.

And so in this fashion the Skeptics all annihilated themselves and died out. And, natural as gravity, the Woo-Woos moved in, cleaned up all the bodies, colonized all that empty land, built some museums to remember the dead Skeptic culture and the fundamental mistake they made, and the sound of The Holy Funky Green Chicken now echoes through their peaceful mountain valleys forever and ever, amen.

“If there’s a smile upon my face, it’s only there to fool the public---“