Saturday, September 10, 2016

A sinister mystification

Once in a while, events in the society at large overshadow all other considerations. I will put on hold the series about Bell's theorem for this week because, such an event occurred: Mother Teresa was proclaimed to be a saint. So what? What is the big deal?

Growing up in Romania, all I heard about her was that she was the symbol of selfless devotion to the poor, a truly remarkable person symbolizing all that it is good in mankind. Coming to US, the public perception was on similar lines and her 1979 Nobel piece prize seemed well deserved. Her recent sainthood was only the realization of a natural public expectation. 

However things are not always what they appear and in this case the truth it is complete opposite with the perception. The sainthood outcome is the result of public gullibility masterly exploited by a morally bankrupt Catholic Church in collusion with dirty politicians, media, corrupt businessman, a dictatorship monarchy, and at the center of it all a pure evil person advancing a religious fanatic agenda for the benefit of the Catholic Church and her own perverted pleasure: Mother Teresa. 

The person who blew the whistle on Mother Teresa's con artist mystification was a remarkable person: Christopher Hitchens with his book: The Missionary Position. I never heard of Mr. Hitchens until a year ago when I discovered by accident his anti theistic stance. Coming from a country which suffered under communism for decades, I was turned off by his hints of admiration for Marxist ideas. It took me some time to properly asses his integrity and the value of his arguments. In the end I found him a very sharp clear thinker with a courageous attitude. I was surprised to discover he was a mini celebrity in the left political circles in US who alienated part of that audience due to his hawkish attitude and support for the Iraq war and who was also a personal friend of late Justice Scalia-the most conservative member of the US Supreme Court.

Now I don't think I will change the minds of the devout Catholics about Mother Theresa, so if you are such a person either take the blue pill and stop reading the rest of this post or take the red pill and keep reading to be shaken from your intellectual complacency and maybe stop buying the bridge the church keeps selling you.

To start I encourage you to watch the following videos:

It's too long to explain the whole mystification story but here is the gist:

Mother Teresa was not a friend of the poor but of poverty and suffering. She derived a perverted gratification from witnessing and encouraging suffering because she thought this would bring her closer to her salvation. This is the mark of a psychopath which derives meaning and pleasure from other's suffering. The places she established were not designed to alleviate suffering but decrepit places of abject poverty and suffering were people were simply brought to die. Young people were denied simple medical care which could have easily saved their lives because their suffering was sanctioned by a fanatical religious agenda. 

So maybe Mother Teresa applied the same principles on herself. Not at all. When she was ill no expenses were spared and she took advantage of the latest medical advances. What a cosmic hypocrite. But where did the money come from to establish her places of suffering? Among other sources from the brutal Duvalier dictatorship family in Haiti responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands of people over decades, and from a corrupt business person convicted of stealing the life savings of thousands of people. But perhaps the Catholic Church upon learning about this returned the blood and dirty money to the victims? After all Mother Teresa acted with the full blessing of the church. Think again.

Hitchens has a simple but true position: religion poisons everything. It takes time to evaluate his claims and try to refute it if you can. It is much more convenient to ignore it, but then I assume that if you reached this paragraph you took the red pill. Many religious figures and "religious scholars" tried debating with  Hitchens only to be shamefully debunked. None won the debates. Hitchslap is now an urban dictionary verb.

On Mother Teresa Hitchens put it like this: "It is a certainty that millions of people died because of her work. And millions more were made poorer, or stupider, more sick, more diseased, more fearful, and more ignorant."

Her sainthood is a scandal due to a sinister and cynical mystification perpetuated by many people over decades for their own benefits. The shame list includes the Catholic Church with all its popes who sanctioned Mother Teresa fanatical religious agenda, politicians like Ronald Reagan, public figures like Princess Dianna, the Nobel Peace prize committee, media like CNN, all who exploited public opinions for their own agendas, as well as corrupt businessman and dictators who provided the money in exchange of whitewashing their public image.  


  1. It has been known for decades that Mother Theresa, Ma T or as I call her Ma-T rex, was problematic. It has been known that here mission was little more than a squalid version of the death centers in the grim future-fiction movie "Soylent Green."

    I tend to go further than Hitchens on a lot of this. God really is a supernatural form of George Orwell's "Big Brother;" remember that Big Brother is watching you! God is a social-psychological gadget used to control large complex societies. The monotheist God stemming from shepherds in Canaan some 3500 years ago is a variation of such gods from that area, Ba'al and Moloch etc, where the Hebrew god departed from those gods by being exclusive and with a covenant to "His people." It is also related to the god of Akhneton, the Egyptian pharaoh who tried to get in place a one god, Aten the sun god, installed in Egypt. The 104th Psalm is a version of the great prayer to Aten.

    A part of why I go further is that I see religion as emerging from a psychological disposition to associate conscious agents to the world or to project human features. For tribal and indigenous people the assignment of spirits and totems to the world was a way of creating narratives about the natural environment that could be communicated down generations. I suspect this may be a factor in the hominid evolution of language. With the development of complex societies about 8000 years ago this psychological behavior was co-opted into ideas of larger spirit figures, such as agricultural and city-state gods and then eventually into a single god, or this curious idea of the Trinity.

    I see the development of large complex societies as accompanied by various social psychological gadgets that subsume the individual into something larger than themselves. I call these statecraft, priestcraft, warcraft and tradecraft. These names more or less are self explanatory, and they are all meant to impress people into a larger superstructure, the state, or a god worship, the army (or police, security etc) or various preposterous ideologies about trade and labor. There have been through history many variations of these, which are all crafted by hustlers and gangsters interested in imposing power of societies. They also for a time at least work remarkably well.

    The Catholic Church had is ascendant period during the middle ages, and today is a remnant of what it was with respect to the rest of the world. The Protestants have a bit more activity, but the most fundamentalist of these are really a cheap plastic forms. Ma-T rex is just another version of what Ambrose Bierce defined as a saint: A dead sinner revised and edited. She is put on a pedestal to give the image of something good coming out of an organization that has some really bad smelling stuff locked away in musty closets.

    Lawrence B. Crowell

    1. "It has been known for decades that Mother Theresa"

      I admit my ignorance. I became aware of it only last year. At first I was a skeptic of Hitchens' claims but upon researching it I was appalled by what I uncovered.

  2. Hi Florin,
    I read your, Lubos’ and some other physicsy blogs to keep up with developments in physics. I generally do not read much or at least do not make comments on blogs dealing with social and political issues. But in this case I will have to say something. I have not visited Kolkata (Calcutta) and do not know very much about Mother Teresa’s institution. Sometime later I might have a look at Hitchens’s book and your linked videos. I am Hindu, although I do have respect for Christian principles of love, kindness, mercy, care for other human beings, fellowship etc. I believe sainthood could not have been bestowed upon a nicer person. For whatever reasons, personal aggrandizement, converting people to Christianity (as some fanatic Hindus say) what she has done is unique, like care of poor, destitute, sick and dying people who did not have anyone to take care of them. Has any of readers of your blog or Mr. Hitchens done this? For this reason Govt. of India gave her an impressive, national funeral service, with prime minister and other Govt. officials attending.
    One another thing: I do not care much whether other people are atheists or theists. It is their personal choice. But I believe something in addition to science, perhaps religion, is necessary if mankind wants to survive. Science by itself will not solve mankind’s problems and probably would make them worse e.g. by inventing weapons of mass destruction. If you allow me a shameless personal promotion (!), I have written a guest blog on our friend Lubos’ (who else?!!) website on such issues:

    1. One has to be careful with respect to the Christian idea of love and kindness. The main purpose a Christian should display these is to convert people into the religion. This is rather cynically seen with the anti-abortion issue. The main theological concern is that an aborted fetus does not get to hear the Gospel or "Good News" of Jesus. Once a baby is born the social concerns over its welfare plummets like a stone. In fact in Christianity there is a sort of cult of suffering, where suffering may bring a person in their last gasp of despair to the feet of Jesus.

      With my religious background of Catholicism and Judaism I chose the latter because it made a lot more sense. Catholicism involves a lot of magical thinking, and so does Protestantism, but in Catholicism that power is presumed to be given by Jesus to the Pope on down to the Priests. At least the Protestants gave up on that con. You have with Mother Theresa a lot of that magical sort of ideation going on.

      Lawrence B. Crowell

  3. Florin,
    I will add something to the above.You and Hitchens seem to be implying that this poor, destitute, sick or dying would have been better off without Mother Teresa's intervention. We are talking about people who have nothing, no one to take of them. India is a great country (especially now) to have medical treatments if you have money.Have you heard of medical tourism? Some american insurance companies recommend this, obviously because it would save them money! But you need a non-zero amount! You might not like her taking money from dictators etc, but how do you raise money? Have you or any of the readers contributed anything to remove poverty and help poor sick people? If you did then congratulations! Otherwise this talk that her work contributed to deaths of millions of people is outright nonsense!

    1. Kashyap,

      I only rarely venture into non-physics topics when the topics are of great significance. In this case it is not the fact that some person became a saint (you can believe in tooth fairies if you want), but the appalling conspiracy over decades.

      "You and Hitchens seem to be implying that this poor, destitute, sick or dying would have been better off without Mother Teresa's intervention."

      Indeed. No painkillers, salvageable cases represent only the tip of the aisberg. The bulk of the victims are the ones buying into the medieval obscurantist teachings of the Catholic church.

      "But you need a non-zero amount! You might not like her taking money from dictators etc, but how do you raise money?"
      How about from honest decent people? And how about returning the money to the victims from which they were stolen to begin with? I don't think Catholic Church is a poor institution.

      "Otherwise this talk that her work contributed to deaths of millions of people is outright nonsense!"
      I appreciate you debating those issues even though you do not agree with the conclusion. I would encourage you to research Hitchens on the web and understand the points he is making about religion. Then point me one argument of his you disagree with and I will debate it with you.

      I don't know much about India and oriental religions, but I do know a lot about Christianity and Islam. Each major branch of Christianity has big skeletons in their closets:
      -eastern orthodox churches were an extension of communist secret police where you confession would go straight into the secret police files: almost all priests were working for the secret police.
      -Catholic church with its marriage restrictions generated the culture of child rape which continues to be covered up
      -The protestant churches in US are engaged on a war on evolution and science in general.

      But don't get me wrong: not all is bad: Pope John Paul the 2nd was very active in overthrowing communism in Poland and Eastern Europe and that was a good thing.

      Hitchens started his anti-theist crusade after September 11 because ultimately religion is about the suspense of rational reasoning and once critical thought is put on hold the political temptations for abuse of power are irresistible.

    2. Ok Florin!As far as I know she was not living in a palace with the 'millions' she accumulated from dictators and christian charities!! I am also not interested in theists vs atheists controversies. I have better things to do with my time than reading articles or books by Hitchens. Let me just repeat what I said before. Those of us who live for 'themselves' and have not done anything to help poor sick or dying people have no business criticizing someone who has spent lifetime doing such things.Reasons why she did it are of secondary importance for me. Under the circumstances such destitute people would not have been helped any other way. Just look at U.S. the richest country in the world. There are probably thousands if not millions who go without medical treatment or even nutritional food because they do not have money.So let us get back to physics! I am interested in the so called 'non-locality' issue. I understand both you and Lubos agree that you are not talking about non invariance of Lorentz symmetry.

    3. "to help poor sick or dying people"

      Here is the key. Mother Theresa did not help them.

      Helping them would have meant to provide medical care or painkillers for terminally ill. She did neither. The rest follows from here.

      Back to physics. "I understand both you and Lubos agree that you are not talking about non invariance of Lorentz symmetry." I don't know anyone who claims special theory of relativity is wrong. Bell's theorem shows local realism is wrong. But which part is wrong: realism or locality? Bohmian supporters claim:

      1) Bohmian mechanics is a valid nonlocal realistic model of QM
      2) Bell proved locality is at fault

      I challenge both claims:

      1) Bohmian QM cannot be extended in the relativistic case which includes particle creation/annihilation. A remnant nonlocal Bohmian "quantum potential" after particle is annihilated would perturb other particles, while a instantaneously vanishing quantum potential would not be able to account for EPRB correlations in special cases.

      2) Bell proved QM is incompatible with his factorization condition. That factorization is referred to as "nonlocality". However I challenge the assertion that this particular factorization should be applicable to QM because QM is contextual. While I presented a compelling derivation of the factorization in the last text in the case of noncontextual theories, I know no valid derivation of that factorization in the contextual case. I can be proven wrong if such a derivation does exist and I am not aware of it. Basically I am appealing here to the strawman argument.

      Nonlocality and contextuality are cousins but contextuality is weaker than nonlocality. Everyone agrees that QM is contextual. This is the K-S theorem. Bohmian's realistics motto is: "QM without observers".

      If this is the case, then contextuality is dead and nature is nonlocal.

      The nonrealist position is: no nonlocality but the observer does play an essential role during measurement. This is standard "orthodox" QM.

      On my end I have provided a concrete realization of contextuality and the role of the observer in the form of a Cartesian pair:

      (system, observer) which allows us to construct an inverse operation which projects the wavefunction upon measurement. In the math literature this goes under "Grothendieck group construction".

    4. I question whether Bohm's quantum mechanics is consistent with the Born rule. It defines a classical-like observable that is not defined according to quantum states or the Born rule.


  4. Florin,
    QM has been known to be non-realistic since 1925. So let us forget about Bohmian interpretation.Since all of us agree on Lorentz invariance, perhaps the debate is only about semantics. Locality and non-locality are just two words in the english dictionary, with whatever meaning we like to assign them.So why not just call it "non-factorizability" which will emphasize that the system has a non-factorizable wave function and nothing else. Does your word non-locality mean anything more than non-factorizability?