"The Sleep of Reason Brings Forth Monsters"

History of The Skeptic Tank

These archives are the result of a great deal of effort put forth by a great many individuals during the past 25 years and, if you watch the listing of these archives, you'll notice that the effort to further compile text information on skeptical issues and dangerous religions and religious individuals continues.

The first incarnation of these archives was created by David M. Rice, the founder and Chairman of The Astro Net, a very popular FidoNet BBS in the Southern California area. Much of the information that The Astro Net maintains was collected by Brad Hicks, the one-time operator of another public BBS called Weird Base. Though Weird Base no longer exists _as_ Weird Base, it did spawn collection sites around the world, many of which still survive and are still providing services. (Brad Hicks, by the way, can be located on the Internet by performing an Alta Vista keyword searches for his name.)

The compilation of Weird Base related files continued for 15 years under the direction of David Rice, at which time it was decided to create The Skeptic Tank, directed by its Chairman E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank providing security in multiple distribution sites, the addition of The Skeptic Tank offers more callers access to the growing archives at any one time. Additionally, The Skeptic Tank, as a matter of its charter, provides FAX services of the archive materials upon request, solicits materials from other organizations (right-wing watch groups, media, secular mailing lists, Internet and FidoNet newsgroups, for example) and makes the information available for further distribution. The Skeptic Tank became part of FidoNet, a computer network which Fredric Rice was a long-time member of.

Around six years later, Ryan Shaw offered his extensive archives (well over 14,000 files) to The Skeptic Tank's archives, effectively doubling its size. Most of these archive files are now available and the rest will be added later.

Personal History of Fredric Rice


I've always been an atheist and a skeptic though my good fortune hasn't been the result of a lack of trying by friends and family to turn me into an unthinking, gullible zombie. I learned very early how to discern religious lies from scientific truths and paranormal wishful thinking from critical thinking. I learned very early on the history of religion and the tyrannies religious ideologies and dogma imposes upon humanity.

I recall early childhood at a Catholic school in Baldwin Park, California, and the Authoritarian, ask-no-questions-I-can't-answer attitudes of the nuns at the school. The inability to answer questions honestly without glibly invoking magic has been a constant theme I've recognized through the years and my first exposure to that unthinking mind set was with these nuns who expressed amazed shock that I even had the audacity to ask questions.

Needless to say, I learned nothing of educational value at Catholic school. My parents eventually enrolled me in the Public School system after they grew tired of the Authoritarianistic attributes of the nuns within the school.

I learned the history of the Christian cult in High School. I think it's possible that the history teacher I had was often constrained against reviewing every bloody tyranny least he draw the wrath of parents who want to pretend it all never happened and doesn't still happen, but what he did show us was how to use the references he offered to research the history of the world and, by virtue of the wars and tyrannies inflicted upon the world by Christians, Muslims, Buddhists et al., learn the history of religion. And yes, I was and remain disgusted by what I learned of the truth. There has never been a Christian I talked with who would admit that Christianity has been historically evil by its own standards and the truth was as easy to find as opening honest, scholarly history books. (Few Christians ever learn the history of their cult nor the origins of their mythologies and deity constructs.)

Even though the school's library couldn't have actual history books which showed Christianity in its true light, he gave us book titles which we could find at the public library or at the college library across the street and encouraged us to learn on our own.

The classical Christian mythologies likewise proved to be unscientific, grossly contradictory, and in any event depicted deity constructs which were unworthy of respect, leave alone worship. The Talmud, Toldoth, and Koran were no better. All of them made unevidenced claims and didn't even bother to explain why there's no evidence for their presuppositions and tyranical deity constructs; nor do any provide scientific excuses on who or what created their deity constructs. In any event, I began to learn the origins of the mythologies, the socio-political and economic reasons for their creations, revisions, and impositions upon humanity.

I recognized the differences between the deity constructs Christianity borrowed from (strong, healthy, willful Greek, Roman, Summerian gods and goddesses whom at least stuck to bargains with the mortals once they were agreed upon) and the deity constructs which Christianity created from those roots (weak, dying, fleshless and emaciated, suicidal martyrs, tyrannical, murderous, insane, despotically inhuman, et al.)

The reasons for those differences in attributes associated with the gods and goddesses of the past and those of Christianity and Islam of contemporary times tell us all a little about the people who created them; only Christians and Islamics are unwilling to listen to what those differences speak of.

I soon discovered that, contrary to what I had been led to believe, no one knows who actually wrote the Christian mythologies and that scholars label fragments of the mythologies according to letters of the English alphabet, knowing full well that the names associated with the books in the mythologies are not the individuals who wrote them. It quickly became apparent that the classical Christian mythologies were anonymous forgeries which believers tout as having been written by "witnesses" to the "Jesus" mythos' existence. Contrary to having been written by or inspired by deity constructs, it easily was demonstrated how frail men contrived the myths and set them to stone and paper with little attention paid toward addressing contradictions and obvious scientific blunders.

Robert Schafer's book "The Making of the Messiah" offered a great deal of information on the history of the myths and why they were revised and voted on over the centuries. As a cult of resentment, I understand that the reasons why Christians are always so resentful of the truth about their cult is because Christianity is founded upon resentment and fear, gullibility, wishful thinking, indoctrination, and greed.

In the past men walking through kingdoms paid homage to the deity constructs of that kingdom as a sign of respect; every kingdom had deities which were theirs and none were held above the others.

Christianity changed all of that; their bastardizations of the deity constructs they borrowed held the man-mandated dictate that they be held above all the rest; that those kingdoms man passed though were not to be respected nor their deeply-held beliefs honored. This placed the pretend followers of the new cult Paul/Saul, the Terrorist of Tarsus, created in a position of mock-authority over other nations -- an element of the dastardly cultist construct which continues around the world today.

When I first learned about Creationism, I became fascinated that there were people so willfully ignorant and so willingly gullible that they set aside all thinking facilities in favor of ignorance and superstition, contriving elaborate justifications to deny what their own senses tell them.

Creationists believe mutualy conflictive things and are willing to lie any lie if they convince themselves it's for the good of their gods.

Casting aside all reason in the face of obviously demonstrated and undeniable fact is itself an exhibition of piety; a way of showing others their commitment to their cult. The manifestation of "faith" is another weaker depiction of mock-piety wherein everyone knows and understands fully the absurdity of the beliefs yet the consensus of agreement among fellow cult members negates public admissions of that hidden knowledge. Only atheists don't feel the need to play at pretending to believe that which is demonstrably false or absurd.

By itself all this isn't any of my concern... people believe in a great many silly and absurd things and it's not anyone else's concern what they believe. 'Except that a mere day or two after I encountered my first Creationist, I learned that they actively seek to impose their ignorance upon the populace forcefully in terms of subverting both State governments and the Public School system. This attitude is but another manifestation of the shoddy ethics and immoral nature of Christianity as evidenced by its bloody history, of course, yet none the less my first review of Creationist activities was an eye-opener.

This fact of others imposing their occultism upon the innocent and the gullible was why I started to get involved in organized skepticism. So many people are confused by Creationists and their claims of being "scientific" that many people who are unaware of what science actually is often consider Creationist claims to actually _be_ science. As a result the quality of education declining in the United States becomes an even greater problem to solve. When Creationists push their pseudoscience and willful ignorance upon the populace as though it were science, claiming that deity constructs have their blessings in doing so, honest Christians add to the problem just out of ignorance of the facts.

The Bay Area Skeptics had a newsletter called the Bay Area Skeptics Information Sheet -- BASIS and from their newsletter I was introduced to systematic debunking of paranormal claims. CSICOP also publishes a magazine and from those publications I learned why debunking paranormal claims is important to the health and safety of the populace.

The Dark Ages are dark because of scientific ignorance and religious tyrannies -- willful ignorance, to be specific. Without a sane voice countering the growing tide of irresponsible media depiction's of pro-paranormal claptrap, the threat of a profound Dark Age visiting humanity within my life time seems assured.

Hell, it's already here.


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