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Peter Says Stuff | Come for the Banter; Stay for the Bullshit

Friday, December 31, 2010

In regards to Shawn's New Video

Today VenomFangx posted a video entitled “Separation of Church and State from Secular Propaganda”. The main premise of this video is that if you have science without religion you have no morals (what he says is the new secularism) and that if you have religion without science the religion is not factual(he says he dares not mention the name of this religion but he’s talking about Islam). He then says Christianity is the one true middle ground and makes lots of claims as to why having just science is bad. But before we begin let me say that I am sorry if this rambles some, he made so many claims and I wanted to respond to them all. But let us begin:

Shawn does make a correct statement here, the term separation of Church and State was coined in a letter by Thomas Jefferson but he endorsed it saying this: “I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should "make no law regarding an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof," thus building a wall of separation between Church and State.”

Venom then claims that George Washington and Abraham Lincoln were both devout Christians and they were hugely important in American history (this is never brought up again but for arguments sake I shall respond). George Washington was a Christian but on his death bed he specially said he didn’t want a Christian funeral and Abraham Lincoln said many things regarding Christianity with one of the most famous being: “The Bible is not my book nor Christianity my profession”, he also said the following: “My earlier views of the unsoundness of the Christian scheme of salvation and the human origin of the scriptures, have become clearer and stronger with advancing years and I see no reason for thinking I shall ever change them”
So as we can see George Washington may well have been a Christian but Abraham Lincoln was most certainly not.

VenomFangx then claims that secularism was started by Augustine but this is utterly not true. Secularism was started by Epicurus, Aurelius and other ancient thinkers. It was then expanded upon greatly by famous Enlightenment thinkers such as Diderot, Voltaire and Locke. So yes Shawn, secularism WAS mostly born during the Enlightenment.

The next claim he makes is that we shouldn’t let the state take over the making of policies. Well…..state is defined as: a politically organized body of people under a single government. So with that being said why should the state not take over the making of policies? Policies govern the people and a state consists of the people being governed. But who do you propose should make the policies instead. (Never mind I already know his answer.)
He then says that secularism is the deeming of religion and religious people as dangerous when that is not true at all. Secularism is merely the rejection of religion not the hatred of it, there is a very big difference there Shawn.

The next point Shawn makes is that we are deciding what is right and wrong for ourselves. What is defined as right or wrong evolves with our society. I would like to take an excerpt from a previous post I wrote where I talk about this same issue:

            Shawn claims that objective morality should be good but people with “standards” as he calls them, are seen as bigoted and closed minded. Well let’s entertain the hypothetical, say there was a person named X who was timeless and lived forever. His moral standard consisted primarily of the slogan “I hate black people”. If he lived in the 1920’s that would be a fine position to hold. America was racist then. Then fast forward to the 1950’s. The position is still ok, not many people will argue him, but if we jump to present day we would have people harassing him, calling him names ect and all because he kept the same moral standard that said “I hate black people”. Societies evolve and values change. People change and along with them their sense of right and wrong. Moral standards must change as well or the society will falter, so if anything the changing of morals speaks to their strength not weakness.

Now the claim is made that science is using us as experiments and having a moral code is just getting in the way and that the Bible is the true moral code. What of all the other holy books that claim they have the true moral code? What of the Book of Mormon or the Koran? If we are going to base our morals off of a religious text why not take all of them and have them work together? Taking one book and using it for all of humanities morals is the control of the many by the few. The church leaders interpret the Bible and say “God means this” and the masses will follow it. We’ve seen it before such as the time of the Crusades. Basically the only people who could read were the Church leaders and they said “Spread Christianity!” and thus the Crusades ensued (of course this is a major over simplification but it is the basic premise). That was control of the many by the few just like Shawn said science would do.

This next claim is brought up again so many times throughout this video and we must clear it up here and now! Shawn says that science is man attempting to conquer nature when that is so far from the truth. Science strives to understand the natural world and to learn how things work. It is not to make it bow to us as he says later in the video.
The claim is also made that we were designed and that if we can know our purpose we can find our optimal condition. The way the purpose is known is because it’s written in the Bible but again, to even begin that argument you must assume the Bible is true and since he makes no claim to prove it is we must disregard this argument.

Now we come to the part that pisses me off. He says that ever since the invention of science the world has gotten worse. So first off let me state this: Shawn, the systems that filter the water you drink came about by scientific advancement. The food you eat was farmed more efficiently because of scientific advancements. The microphone you are using to record this video entails technology that science gave rise to. You owe every part of your life to science, hell you even owe the Bible to science! It was science and the expansion of knowledge that allowed people to write down things and the advent of the printing press was brought about through scientific development. You literally owe everything to science so saying the world has gotten worse since the invention of science is utter nonsense! Before the enlightenment era there was a time called the Dark Ages which was brought about by the collapse of European civilization. It was one of the worst times in history and rightfully so. There was literally no science in Europe, only religion. And did religion help Europe get out of the Dark Ages? No. Europe got out of the Dark Ages because the knowledge of the Greeks and the Romans was preserved by the Muslims and that was the source of the Enlightenment. So Shawn, everything you have you owe to science. You live in luxury tucked away from all the wars and famine and violence whereas if you lived in the time before science you would most likely be dead.

Now, of course, the Nazis are mentioned. Shawn claims that they were very scientific but they had no morals and that is why the killing of 6 million Jews occurred. Well first let’s start with Hitler’s religion and then move on to the Nazis in general. Hitler was raised a Roman Catholic and stayed so. In a proclamation to the German Nation on February 1, 1933 Hitler said, “The National Government will regard it as it’s first and foremost duty to revive the nation in the spirit of unity and co-operation. It will preserve and defend those basic principles on which our nation has been built. It regards Christianity as the foundation of our national morality, and the family as the basis of national life.”
He said Christianity is the foundation of Nazi Germany’s morals? The same morals that led them to the killing of 6 million Jews were derived from Christianity? Hmmmmmmm
At the Burgerbraukeller on April 12, 1922 Hitler said “I would like here to appeal to a greater than I, Count Lerchenfeld. He said in the last session of the Landtag that his feeling as a man and a Christian prevented him from being an anti-Semite. I say: My feelings as a Christian points me to my Lord and Savior as a fighter. It points me to the man who once in loneliness, surrounded only by a few followers, recognized these Jews for what they were and summoned men to fight against them and who, God’s truth was greatest not as a sufferer but as a fighter…How terrific was His fight for the world against the Jewish poison.
……………………………………………………………………………………………
It’s hard to know what to say to that except it is quite easy to tell that Hitler was no atheist.
And as I said I would, I shall touch on the Nazis briefly. Let it be known that on Nazi soldiers’ belt buckles were inscribed the words “Gott Mit Uns”, God with us.


Now back to Shawn’s arguments. He claims that the Nazi’s were un-hindered by morals because they were a scientific group but that is not true. They didn’t go around killing everyone. They didn’t kill the Aryan men women and children. They didn’t kill German Christians. That was their moral guide line. It may not have been very good but it was there none the less and to deny that is the most intellectually dishonest thing you can do.

Again I must state that science’s goal is not to make nature “bend to our wills” merely to understand it but I digress. Let’s continue, we’re almost done just bear with me.

Shawn then claims that science without religion is immoral and religion must be used to determine the ethics of science. But which religion? There are so many different religions each making their own moral code and saying it’s from God how do we know which is correct. How do we know which interpretation of “do not kill” is the correct one especially since there have been religious wars over which is right and yet they all claim to be peaceful why trust any of them? There is no reason to and considering the fact that when there was just religion in civilizations major atrocities have been committed, it really discredits the notion that science needs religion to remain moral.

Towards the end of the video Shawn claims that America is becoming increasingly hostile and intolerant of Christians yet the fact remains that 78.5% of America is a part of some Christian denomination. That is greater than 3/4ths of the entire country. That leaves only ¼ who are “intolerant” of Christians.
Now the last point I would like to address is the claim that Atheism is a religion.
Shawn says Atheists are getting their agenda pushed through the schools and by teaching the kids evolution we are indoctrinating them with the religion of atheism yet the fact remains that 78.5% of America is affiliated with some form of Christianity and only a messily 16.1% of America is without a religion. But I really want to confront the claim that Atheism is a religion. Atheism by definition is: the doctrine or belief that there is no God
where as the definition of religion is: a strong belief in a supernatural power or powers that control human destiny.
 God is supernatural and atheists reject him thus rejecting the supernatural and they do NOT fit in the category of a religion.
A good comparison is that Atheism is a religion just like not collecting stamps is a hobby… (Thank you ThinkingAtheist) that argument is utterly pointless and even IF Atheism were a religion, what we teach kids in schools is what has passed the scrutiny of the scientific forum (If you are unaware of what that is I mention it here or you can Google it)

So Shawn, I hope you read this and everyone have a lovely New Year!




~~Peter «▼»

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Refuting VenomFangx's video '"Traditional Morality (Objective) versus Modern Morality (Subjective)"

So seeing as Shawn (VenomFangx) has uploaded quite a few videos already and I intend to refute most if not all of them, it is time for another installment of “Refuting VenomFangx”. In this his entitled “Traditional Morality (Objective) versus Modern Morality (Subjective)” Shawn makes the claim that Bible has the only objective morality and that is has been changed over years so that we still use the words “good” and “bad” but they do not have the same meaning as they once did.

He starts out with a story from a book he read which entails humans revolting against science and killing scientists ect. But then a Renaissance occurred and people attempted to recover the scientific knowledge of the previous generations. The claim is made that they would still use the same vocabulary such as supernova but it might not refer to a star exploding but to, and I quote, “on page 300 of that broken book there is a diagram". Now I don’t want to dwell on this for to long seeing as the video is rather lengthy and I want to write about everything but I must touch on this quickly. Diagrams explain an event. If there is a diagram of a supernova it is explaining the event that is occurring. So if I were to say supernova they wouldn’t think “Oh that diagram is a supernova” they would think “Remember that diagram that showed a supernova?” That is the point of a diagram, to explain something, not take its place.

He then proceeds to say that traditional morality as he calls it was rebelled against during the enlightenment (let it be known that to him traditional morality come from the Bible which endorsed the stoning of disobedient children and the killing of a women if she was not a virgin at the time of marriage to name a few AND the fact that the enlightenment gave rise to some of the best virtues in western society such as freedom of speech, which he obviously uses, freedom of religion ect.) But now we get to move on to the fun stuff. These next points will be organized in the manner in which they are brought up in the video so watching it first might help.

Shawn claims that objective morality should be good but people with “standards” as he calls them are seen as bigoted and closed minded. Well let’s entertain the hypothetical, say there was a person named X who was timeless and lived forever. His moral standard consisted primarily of the slogan “I hate black people”. If he lived in the 1920’s that would be a fine position to hold. America was racist then. Then fast forward to the 1950’s. The position is still ok, not many people will argue him but if we jump to present day we would have people harassing him, calling him names ect and all because he kept the same moral standard that said “I hate black people”. Societies evolve and values change. People change and along with them their sense of right and wrong. Moral standards must change as well or the society will falter so if anything the changing of morals speaks to their strength not weakness.


The next claim that is made is that there is a Tao or Law of God which exists and must be followed yet anything can be said to exist but that doesn’t make it so (here he claims science can’t prove it but I shall come to that later). I could claim that the Magical Green Genie of JP’s Basement (‘twas and inside joke involving my friends Church) handed down a moral guide line and if it is broken the person shall be eternally dammed to unicorn hell. It’s absurd yet it has the same validity as the claim that there is a Tao or Law of God.
Now we come across some circular logic that goes a little something like this: The Tao says that man will reject what the Tao wants us to become and in turn we reject it and then it is said “that’s what the Tao said would happen therefore it’s true!” So broken down it goes like this. X said humans would deny it and when they do it means X is true because it foresaw that. This is a pointless argument so let’s move on shall we?
Here is where Shawn claims that science cannot detect the Tao or Law of God but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. Well to start off almost everything that “exists” can be detected in some way or another (some cannot such as the concept of the number 1, things that are in our mind). The proponent would then claim that the Tao is one of those that cannot be detected but that is somewhat true. We cannot detect whether or not it is here but it had to have been written down somewhere (Shawn would say the Bible) and if we can test the validity of the book in which it is written down in, we can decide whether or not it is a reliable source. So the Bible for example claims that a flood covered the Earth and that Noah took 2 of every species. We can test that claim considering a) if there were only 2 of every species there would be massive in breading and thus massive birth defects would could easily be seen in the genome of animals b) the fresh water from the rain would dilute the saltwater and thus change the concentration of ocean salt which could kill all sea life AND the salt levels would drop and we could easily see that by looking at salt shoals. That is one example of something that is in the Bible that can be scientifically tested and if multiple stories or prophecies/things of that nature are shown to be reliably true than the Bibles validity is raised greatly and thus although we cannot detect the Tao directly we can test the source in which it is found and see if that source is reliable at all.

Well of course he went on to say that he doesn’t have enough time to prove the Bible is true and that might be true as well but it’s irrelevant. Until the Bible can be shown to be true than what is the point in saying it has the right moral guide lines (even though it endorses slavery among other nasty things). So to even go with his argument that our morals are just misinterpretations of Gods Law requires the assumption that the Bible is true and for this last paragraph I shall grant him that assumption.

He then said we should think about what we deem to be ok because we might be inadvertently damning people to a life of eternal torment because we didn’t follow God’s Law. He mainly referenced gay marriage and that we should be careful because it might be against God’s plan. Anything could be against his plan. Me writing this could damn me to hell for all I know but making something illegal because it “might” be against the plan of an unproven Cosmic Sky Daddy, with very questionable morals might I add, is utterly insane! And even if we were to go by the Bibles moral standards and go by Shawn’s logic that if something might damn someone to hell it mustn’t be allowed to occur, than the eating of shellfish must be banned (Leviticus 11:10-12), the wearing of fabrics made of more than one kind of fiber should be banned (Leviticus 19:19) and stoning disobedient children should become common place (Deuteronomy 21:18-21)

So Shawn’s claim that we have drifted from any form of objective morality only works if the holy book it is written down in is known to be true, not just claimed to be so. Also, science can test the validity of said holy book to determine if it’s reliable and thus the true Word of God.

I hope you enjoyed this post and if you have any questions or comments or you just feel like leaving me hate messages the comments are wide open and I do try to respond to all of them. Have a wonderful New Year and I shall see you in 2011!

VenomFangx's video

~~Peter «▼»


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Thursday, December 30, 2010

Refuting VenomFangx's video "The Limitations of Science and 'Scientism'"

There was once a Youtuber who used to make outlandish videos promoting creationism and the idea that evolution was false. His name was VenomFangx. He eventually got banned from Youtube for filing phony DMCA’s and in turn, his delightful arguments were lost. But he is back and is making videos about God and philosophy and I, in turn, shall attempt to refute his claims. So without further ado here is the first part in my new series entitled:
“Refuting VenomFangx”.

So in a video entitled “The Limitations of Science and ‘Scientism’” he made an argument that through scientific study you can only tell so much about a painting. You can tell the type of paint, the brush, the number of strokes ect. But you cannot tell who the author was, you cannot tell the purpose and you cannot tell whether the representation is accurate. So to begin we deconstruct his first claim.


You cannot tell the author of a painting by looking at it. VenomFangx (Shawn which is how I shall now refer to him) said that if his DNA were not on the painting nor was his signature we would be unable to tell that he painted it. Well, we could examine the style in which it was painted and conclude it could have been Shawn if we had known him or we could examine the paints that were used and look at other paintings that we know Shawn has made and compare them. And simply by looking at it we can, at the very least, conclude a human made it and is, as will be brought up later, the closest description of God you can get is the he is a God. So his first point is somewhat true. If we only have that painting and no prior knowledge of Shawn or the style in which he paints then we cannot tell it is him but we CAN tell that a human made the painting seeing as if we can examine the fineness of the brush strokes we can establish that a thumb was needed and we are the only animal with thumbs that are used to control things. But I digress; with just the painting the closest description we can get of the author is that he is human, much like God.

The author’s intent or purpose cannot be known using the scientific method. Shawn proceeded to tell us his purpose in painting the picture and then concluded that we could never have known that. Well if we examine the painting scientifically and study the use of color and shading we can get I pretty accurate feel as to the emotions that are being displayed. It’s true we cannot know the exact details that were running through Shawn’s mind when he was painting the picture but we CAN get a pretty good feel for the mood. Take the pictures from Picasso’s “blue period”. Just by looking at those it’s easy to tell depression was setting in. You can tell that by the most basic of scientific inquiry:
1: What do I see?
2: What does it remind me of?
3: ?????????
4: Profit
And secondly even if we go with his assumption that the intent can never be known it can only be perceived unless told to us specifically. What is perceived is entirely subjective. Intent as is perceived varies from person to person. I may say Shawn had X in mind whilst Aldon says he had Y. Regardless of what Shawn wanted us to see the mind will see what ever it wants and thus what is perceived as intent is subjective and science cannot deal with it considering that science deals with the objective. The facts. So again Shawn is partly right, science cannot know what was running through his mind while he was painting it but we CAN determine the mood it was set in and what it appears to display.

Science cannot tell whether or not it is an accurate representation of the object it is displaying simply by looking at the painting. Shawn claimed that by just looking at his painting we cannot tell whether the flower in it is actually what a flower looks like. This is true. We cannot tell whether that is actually what a flower looks like assuming we wipe our minds clean of all other memories. If we start with a completely clean mind with no memories of the outside world and we just look at the painting it is true that we cannot tell whether or not the flower is accurate but we can also not tell that it’s a painting or that it was even painted for that matter but seeing as that never happens in the real world, you never have people who have no prior knowledge of what a flower is judging the representation of a piece of art that entails a flower, it really holds no water AND considering this argument is not brought up again there is no point. It is a place holder. But regardless I will respond to it some more. Representations are subjective as well. There is never one exact representation of a flower. There is never one right way and thus science cannot deal with it seeing as it is subjective. If there were one right way, one way a flower must look, then science could test the representation but since there is not Shawn is retreading things that people already know; science doesn’t deal with the subjective.  


So now we come to the fun stuff. God. If you don’t want to read arguments about God I suggest you leave now considering the rest of this post will consist of those.


So Shawn makes the claim that science cannot pursue God’s purpose in designing the universe because, as he thinks he’s proven, science cannot deal with finding purpose. Well before we can ever attempt to find purpose in anything it must first be shown to have in fact been made. Before we can look for the purpose in the universe and in life we must prove it was in fact made by a God or Gods which IS treading in the realm of science. If a God or Gods made the universe than that is objective, it is not up for interpretation (the manner in which they made it is but the fact that they made it none the less, isn’t. Of course I am making a huge assumption that it was made by a God or Gods for arguments sake) and therefore, as I hope we have established, science can deal with it. But considering there is no evidence suggesting that the universe was created by an intelligent being then the argument as to its purpose must be disregarded. (There will be those who say “the physical constants were fine tuned for life and thus we can see God made the universe”. In a previous post I dispelled that notion and I shall not retread it here so if you want to read it, click this pretty link.)
But for arguments sake we will assume a God or Gods did in fact create the universe and their purpose can be known. Again we can never know what was running through their mind unless it was told to us (the bible is usually cited here but until it can be shown to be the actual word of God and not just a bunch of circular logic we shall give it no water). But by studying the vast cosmos we can learn about the mood the creator must have been in, for example if we look at the starving kids in Africa we could say “He was in a pretty shitty mood” or if we look at the Eagle Nebula we could say “God is a being of infinite beauty” but again we also border on the subjective. What we see as beauty and purpose is up to interpretation and that is why it is usually LEFT OUT of scientific discussions. It’s not left out because we cannot study it but it is left out because the majority of the time it is subjective and will only lead to pointless arguments.

So let’s do a recap:
  • His first point is partly correct. If we only have one painting to study we cannot tell who the author is unless clues are left but we can conclude a human painted it so if we apply the same scrutiny to the universe and assume it was created by an intelligence we cannot narrow down which God made it, just that a God did. **
  • His second point is again, only partly correct. We cannot know what was running through the authors mind but we can determine the mood s/he was in. As with God we cannot determine what he as thinking but we can attempt to determine the mood. (And of course all this is assuming that we have the mental ability to comprehend the all knowing all powerful creator of the cosmos)
  • His third point is only correct if the person studying the picture has no previous knowledge of what is being painted. The persons mind must be completely wiped but seeing as that is not the case in the real world it is disregarded and also considering it doesn’t relate to anything else we ignore it.
  • His final claim that science cannot deal with God is again, only partly true. We would first have to assume that God did in fact create the cosmos to even begin his argument and we do not even know if we could comprehend the all knowing all powerful creator AND his purpose as we interpret it is based on what we perceive and thus is subjective and that is why it is usually left our of scientific discussions. But again if a God made the cosmos we cannot figure out what was running through his mind but we can try to grasp the mood of the “artwork”.


I hoped you enjoyed this and I plan on refuting his other arguments as well. I will also be writing other posts along with this “series” but I wanted to write this one first. As always if you have any comments leave them below. ↓↓↓


VenomFangx's video


~~Peter «▼»




            **Let it be known that at this point the Intelligent Design proponent will say “We don’t see paintings occurring naturally, they always have a painter so how can the universe occur naturally? Mustn’t it have a creator?” Well first we shall examine the logic in this. We could make the same claim about any natural phenomena. The formula goes something like this: X never creates itself it always has an X-er so how can (insert natural phenomena here) occur naturally? Mustn’t it have a creator?
(Where X is a human creation)
But if we apply the same scrutiny to any proven natural occurrences the claim is absurd. So take the beach. We know paintings of beaches don’t just happen, the need to be created so how can a beach just happen? Wouldn’t we need some sort of magical God who makes beaches? See it’s absurd. The logic is that we take something that is man made and is shown to be so and then claim that because the man made thing doesn’t create itself than other things in nature (usually the universe) must require a creator. You are comparing apples and oranges. The man made with the natural. It doesn’t work.

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Sunday, December 26, 2010

The media and terrorism

"Police sweep Rome embassies after double bombing"
~~CNN 12/23/10


"Police Officer killed in Afghan suicide attack"
~~CNN 12/23/10


"Al Qaeda contemplated poisoning US food..."
~~CNN 12/22/10


And the headlines keep coming. Everyday we hear about the latest terrorist attack or the next scheme by Al Qaeda but what does that actually do for us? Does that help us in anyway?
Of course I am all for freedom of information and knowledge, as shown by my posts where I defend the actions of Julian Assanage and Wikileaks, but repeatedly force feeding information about "terrorist plots" and things of that nature does nothing but cause panic. It strikes fear into the hearts of the people and thus they become susceptible to total control. The best means of controlling people is through fear as shown by the war in Iraq where we were told that the Iraqi government had Weapons of Mass Destruction and that if we did not invade then another attack on American soil was eminent and alas, we went to war. Fear is a tactic that is used to get people to agree to things they never would in any other state. Take The Patriot Act for example. The government claimed it was to help fight terrorists, the same terrorists that the media is constantly telling us about, and because we were scared of anther attack we agreed. (By we I mean congress and the representatives of the people) We gave up liberties because we were constantly force fed "news" saying that terrorists were everywhere and they were plotting against us. Especially in the wake of 9/11 the system of control grew exponentially. The use of the word "terror" or "terrorism" has it's self turned into a weapon. The media themselves have become that very same terrorist organizations they try to "warn" us about. They are causing panic and fear among the citizens of America and the citizens are then allowing insane acts to pass that normally would be rejected in a heartbeat if they were not in a state of panic. And then the question must be asked, doesn't the government itself have something to gain from the panic induced by the media constantly telling us about these "terrorist plots"?

~~Peter «▼»

Saturday, December 25, 2010

*Insert cheesy Christmasy title here*

Here's to the reason for the season!

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Friday, December 24, 2010

Internet censorship

About two weeks ago I wrote a post entitled "Anonymity" where the importance of being anonymous was discussed and what good can be achieved by a user not being know (of course I did also mention the bad parts as well). At the end of it [the post] I said I would write about the importance of the internet but I never got around to it...until now! So let's dive right in...

In our modern age where most everything we hear on TV is spewed out of the mouths of corporate fiends who don’t care about bringing us the truth, they only care about lining their pockets with money and people thinking for themselves is frowned upon and the masses are largely uneducated, we can be told anything and we will lap it up like a cat laps up warm milk (mmmm cheesy simile). The internet is a place for the open exchange of ideas that are not, cannot and will not be discussed and TV and without a free, uncensored internet, unpopular ideas cannot flourish.

Unpopular ideas are tremendously important because they give rise to great social and scientific change. For example the ideas of natural rights and human liberties were unpopular among the kings of England (ie the Magna Carta) but if those ideas were not shared, we would not have the “western” virtues we have today keeping in mind that our constitution is based of the ideas of the enlightenment. (Of course there was no internet nor was there TV at the time of the enlightenment but there were equivalents. The kings and their servants were the mainstream media doing what was only in their best interest and not caring about giving people new ways of living, and the philosophers were the internet. They brought new thought provoking ideas to the public whilst being scoffed at and/or despised by the upper classes.)

So if we look at our own culture, our own modern society we see roughly the same things we saw during the time of the enlightenment and the French Revolution. We see the big businesses sponsoring the media and only publishing what they know will help them sell a product or will keep a war going (the repeated us of the word ‘terror’ and ‘terrorist’ which I shall write about at a later date). We see the ignorant masses soaking up the garbage that is fed to them while they sit mindlessly on the family couch. And then we see the internet. In most modern countries there are minimal to no blocks on websites, information is free and unpopular ideas are passed around and expanded upon. They are changed and added to. They evolve. And this perpetual evolution of ideas is the foundation for our free society that without it would be plummeted back into the dark ages.

If the internet is censored then unpopular ideas can be silenced by one lunatic with his panties in a bunch sitting in a coffee room at H&M or Target taping his finger on a mouse. If it ever comes to that we cease to be a free society. We will be plummeted into the ages where the only ideas that were shared were ideas sponsored by the companies or the churches or the defense contractors. They will tell us what we want to hear and what they know will make us buy their product, contribute to the “poor” (I put ‘poor’ in quotation marks seeing as when you donate money to a church most of it goes to making the church bigger and better or it goes straight into the pockets of the preachers) or perpetuate wars that will cost the government billions of dollars to buy the weapons for.

Of course there are other mediums in which knowledge can be spread ie. Books, but the people of America, more specifically the youth, are reading less and watching more TV/going on the internet. So if the internet is censored, every outlet that the people of America use to get their information is clogged by the cancer that is big business and control of information. We must never let it come to that. In the coming days where net neutrality is being compromised remember that when you give a business power over knowledge they will abuse and we will be the victims. They will never limit their own power; we must limit it for them. They must be afraid of us. The internet must remain free.

~~Peter 
«▼»

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Wikileaks

People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people." 
~V


For this post I will follow a format that goes like this:
What is Wikileaks?
Why is it good?
Wikileaks is not a terrorist organization
and the claims that they endanger lives.
So without further ado:
What is Wikileaks?

  • On their website they state this: "WikiLeaks is a not-for-profit media organisation. Our goal is to bring important news and information to the public. We provide an innovative, secure and anonymous way for sources to leak information to our journalists (our electronic drop box)..." 1
Why is Wikileaks good?
  • Wikileaks, and the freedom of information for that matter, is extremely important because, in our modern society, the people with knowledge are the people with power. If the people are not aware of what is going on then you have no power to stop it and the government has nothing to fear. If the people are unaware of the war crimes that were committed in Iraq then there is nothing to back up arguments against the war. If the events that occur behind closed doors are never revealed then the government will think it's fine to hide information from the public and we can never regulate the government which will in turn ultimately lead to totalitarianism and is that the type of government we want? In a totalitarian government the citizens give up all their individual liberties such as freedom of speech and freedom of the press and thus the government is being like the school yard bully, threatening you if you speak out. Knowing what your government is doing is a form of regulation and must be upheld for us to avoid this totalitarian form of government.
  • The government should follow it's own model regard information and the new patriot act laws and the TSA security measures. The new TSA security measures are hated by some and loved by others but the most common claim that is made by supporters of the new regulations says that "If you have nothing to hid then why opt out?" But if that is the logic people use to justify the government adding new "improved" methods of stopping terrorism and regulating us, then why cant we hold the government to the same level of scrutiny? If the government has nothing to hide then why is the release of information so feared? Why was Wikileaks attacked for saying they were going to release information if the government had nothing to hide? If you hold the government up to their own standards it is quite clear that they don't follow them so why should we? 
The claim has been made that Wikileaks is a "terrorist organization" but we can easily dispel this in a few simple steps:
  1. Define terrorist organization: "a political movement that uses terror as a weapon to achieve its goals"
  2. Look at Wikileaks goals: "Our goal is to bring important news and information to the public. "
  3. Compare: So their goal is to bring important news to the public and how do they do this? By publishing documents written by the government. But to understand if they are using terror we must first understand what terror is. Terror is "panic; an overwhelming feeling of fear or anxiety" and so if we apply that to the actions of Wikileaks we can test if they are using terror to achieve their humble goal. The only time somebody would ever go into a panic after reading something they leaked is if they [the reader] never realized all the atrocities our government commits and was scared shitless but that is hardly and act of terror considering, assuming there even are reports of that happening, they are isolated incidents amongst the majority of the readers who aren't in a panic.
  4. Make judgement. Wikileaks is not a terrorist organization as I have just shown.
The last claim that is made is that Wikileaks is endangering the lives of people
  • The only way lives could be endangered by simply releasing information is if the information contained troop positions, nuclear launch codes or other things of that nature. In everything I've read and in the archives of Wikileaks they have never released troop positions, nuclear launch codes or anything of that nature because even if they did get a hold of them, they realize that those will not help stop a war, merely perpetuate it. Wikileaks has never put anyones life in danger, only their reputations by holding them up to the same scrutiny they hold us to. So as we can see Wikileaks has never endangered the lives of people nor will they ever.
So in conclusion, Wikileaks is a way for the people to regulate their government because without knowing what your government is doing you are opening the door to a totalitarian state and considering we are fighting to "preserve our freedom" allowing our country where we have the rights to free speech and free press to fall victim to a totalitarian state, then everything we have fought for will be for naught...


~~Peter «▼»

Links:
Archives (in a 7zip file and the leaks themselves are in torrent form)
Utorrent (for extracting the leaks)



Update12-11-10

I will be writing another post about Wikileaks later on tonight so stay tuned :)
In the mean time watch this! (Read the description, it has a link to the full video) 

Thursday, December 9, 2010

The Burden of Proof

So probably one of the most annoying things I've heard is the claim: “You can’t prove God doesn’t exist…” That claim is supposed to make you think… Yet there are plenty of other things we cannot prove don’t exist such as genies, fairies, and cosmic teapots orbiting the sun. But the main point that must be made is that in the scientific community the burden of proof lies on the person making the claim. That is the whole point of the peer review forum. Evolution was proposed at the end of 1859 in On the Origin of Species but was not widely accepted until it passed the test of peer review. It was not the job of skeptics to disprove that evolution was occurring, but it was Darwin’s duty, as the person who proposed the theory, to prove that it was. As the great Bertrand Russell once said regarding this very topic:

“If I were to suggest that between the Earth and Mars there is a china teapot revolving about the sun in an elliptical orbit, nobody would be able to disprove my assertion provided I were careful to add that the teapot is too small to be revealed even by our most powerful telescopes. But if I were to go on to say that, since my assertion cannot be disproved, it is an intolerable presumption on the part of human reason to doubt it, I should rightly be thought to be talking nonsense. If, however, the existence of such a teapot were affirmed in ancient books, taught as the sacred truth every Sunday, and instilled into the minds of children at school, hesitation to believe in its existence would become a mark of eccentricity and entitle the doubter to the attentions of the psychiatrist in an enlightened age or of the Inquisitor in an earlier time.”

~~Bertrand Russell, 1952

In case you chose not to read the woefully long paragraph, here is the basic premise: If I said there was a teapot orbiting the Sun between Earth and Mars you would not be able to disprove my claim but does that mean you believe it? Of course you don’t for the simple reason that there is no evidence to support my assertion that there is in fact a teapot orbiting the Sun. It is the same way with God. I have heard quite a few people make the claim that I cannot prove God doesn’t exist and thus I have no reason not to believe. But if we went by that logic you would also have to believe in Odin or Thor, the Cosmic Ice Cow (Adhumla) or that the universe is atop the back of a giant turtle. (Might I add that if you go by that logic then you cease to be a monotheist considering that any other systems of belief can be justified using the same illogical premise)
So as we can clearly see that line of reasoning is a dead end considering that if you apply it you can justify belief in just about anything. So if you set out trying to convert someone, for your own sake don’t use that argument because anyone who has even a minuscule understanding of the burden of proof will call you out faster than you can say “Yahweh is real”.

~~Peter

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Tuesday, December 7, 2010

What's your favorite logical fallacy?

Well, this might offend some people and I'm sorry! So please don't give me shit for offending people. 

My favorite logical fallacy would have to be the belief that "God is good yet he will let kids in Africa starve." 
People have attempted to explain it by saying "It's transgressions of their ancestors" (A Church leader at my friend's Bible Study said that) but that is not a sufficient explanation considering that if God is good then he wouldn't punish innocent children for the transgressions of others. But there are many other logical fallacies I enjoy. For example the fact that Jesus died to make up for every sin that anyone will ever commit. So if somebody murders somebody they may be responsible in this life but in the next God doesn't care. That just isn't a good view to hold in our modern society that is built off of people accepting responsibility for their actions. The third and final logical fallacy that I find interesting is the fact that, according to the belief held by many Christians (if you believe in God and accept Jesus then you go to heaven), Adolph Hitler would be in heaven. There have been many claims that he was an atheist but that is just not true. The link directs to a picture with a quote by Hitler referencing god. (Not a virus I promise, I hate that shit too)

http://a.yfrog.com/img221/1007/75296441011461900586556.jpg

Anonymity

So first off I would like to say, person who said everything I write is pointless because it’s an opinion, this is an opinion so if you don’t want to hear it please leave.

So to the real point of this post, ‘the banner of anonymity can allow groups to achieve great things’. The internet is a place for the free exchange of opposing viewpoints, much like the secret meetings between the Philosophers during the time of the French Revolution. People can be anonymous or be open about their identities and that promotes the exchange of all ideas, not just the ones society views as “good”. Anonymity is wonderful for a number of reasons but is detrimental for others.

In this day and age where everything you do is cataloged and everything you say can be used against you, anonymity is the best tool that people who desire change have. Let’s take Banksy for example. Banksy set out to change the world of art in a way that was illegal and condemned by the respectable members of the society he lived in. Because his actions were condemned the only way for him to try to make change was to remain anonymous. And even though we do not know who he really is, he has had a profound impact on what we perceive art to be and that is one of the wonders of being anonymous.

Another wonder is that when you are anonymous, you can connect with other anonymous people. You all share one common goal, to keep your identity hidden regardless of the cost. And as they say, power comes in numbers. If you want to achieve social change you must have many people and in a world where there are so many opposing viewpoints, what better way to come together on common ground than the fact that you wish to remain anonymous.

This is best shown by the protests during Project Chanology. Project Chanology was a series of protests against the Church of Scientology that started in January 2008. The group from 4chan called ‘anonymous’ launched a series of real life protests whilst continuing to remain anonymous. People of different ethnic backgrounds came together all under one common flag and against one common enemy, anonymity and the Church of Scientology.

We have examined the best aspects of anonymity but to be fair, we must also look at the worst. The worst aspect of anonymity is that you are not responsible for what you do and what you say. By the very definition if you are anonymous you cannot be found. People do not know who you are and thus you can do what ever you want. You can be racist, sexist or homophobic and if somebody does call you out on it, they will be talking to a little name that says ‘anonymous’.

But as we can see this post is dragging on quite a bit and thus I must desist but I will write about the importance of the internet in a later post. So have a good night all.

~~Peter

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Is Obama a socialist? So what?

So there are members of the crazy people party, I’m sorry, I mean the Tea partiers that claim “Obama’s a socialist!” The claim is humorous by itself but with the crazies chanting it, it takes on a very negative connotation. The assumption is made that socialism is a bad economic system, but we will get to that later. We must first examine the claim that Obama is, indeed, a socialist.
1: Just think about it. America is one of the closet countries to being a full, market (capitalist) economy. If you are running to be the president of a republic that is built off the free market, you are not going to be a socialist. It is illogical. And even if you were, you wouldn’t be able to push your “socialist agenda” through congress. It’s ludicrous to say Obama’s a socialist or, assuming he was, that he would be able to push his agenda through a congress full of capitalists.

2: But let’s assume he is a socialist and that he could, in fact push his agenda through congress and make America a socialist country. Is that inherently bad? Not in the least. Considering we (a country with enormous influence over other countries) are in an economic recession caused by fat cat capitalists, we would assume other countries’ economies are going down the shitter as well. In some regards that is true but there are quite a few that are minimally affected by this economic downturn. Those are either countries that produce massive amounts of goods [China and India] or are socialist/social democracies. Australia, a country that uses a social partnership economy, is the country that is surviving the economic recession the best. Odd isn’t it, a country that is based around socialism is surviving the economic crisis the best.



3: We will now look at the satisfaction with the health care system in America (capitalist) and Canada (a social democracy). In Canada, 57% of people are very satisfied with the affordability and availability of the health care system compared to the 26% of Americans who are either “somewhat satisfied or satisfied”. Inversely, 76% of Americans are dissatisfied with the health care system in America says Rick Blizzard D.B.A.
(Figures may vary)

So as we can see, socialism isn’t a bad system at all considering a) The country least affected by the economic recession is Australia (a social partnership) and b) People in countries that use some form of social health care are noticeably more satisfied with their system than those without it.

So please, even if we go with the insane claim that “Obama’s a socialist”, socialism it isn’t a bad system at all. If America became a social democracy it might even help.

~~Peter


Sources:
 Economic Figures: Here

The Cosmonaut


So there is something very small I would like to talk about. There's a movie that is currently underproduction entitled El Cosmonauta.


It is a crowd-funded, creative commons sci-fi movie about a cosmonaut who comes back to Earth to find it deserted yet he receives radio broadcasts from people on Earth. Here is the plot according to the Wikipedia page:

  "The film follows the misadventures of the soviet cosmonaut Stan Arsenievich (Carlos Martínez-Abarca), chosen to be the first soviet cosmonaut to land on the moon. During the journey, his ship disappears, and his childhood friend Andrei, the director of the mission searches for him for the next seven months. Seven months after the accident, the ship reappears, without a trace of Stan. At the same time, a series of eerie radio transmissions supposedly broadcast by Stan claim that he has actually come back home and that he found the  Earth completely empty."

It sounds great doesn't it?! Here is a link to the website:





Thursday, December 2, 2010

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