War on spam

I’ve been fighting a war against spammers on this blog the last couple weeks, and I’ve been losing big time. Unfortunately, that means it’s time to turn on word verification. I have traditionally kept it easy to post here on EMP, even letting anonymous users comment, but now the spammers have left me with no choice but to mandate word verification (CAPTCHAs) and that users be logged in. This sucks and I wish I didn’t have to do it, but I’ve been getting hundreds of spam comments every day and that cannot be good for your experience, my sanity or this blog’s page rank.

Let me know if you think this new policy really sucks. Unfortunately, you’ll have to log in to Blogger/Google and pass a little visual test to do it.

12/18 Update: Okay, the spammers just made me look like a fool by spamming this very post. The word verification thing seems not to have affected them at all. It looks like I will have to crank up things even further. For the time being, comments are subject to moderation before they get posted. I will post your comment — no matter how stupid and offensive — as long as it’s not fucking spam.

I guess I should take it as a compliment that they feel this blog is worth targeting so intensely, but it’s really messing up the comment sections. I’m so tired of ugg boots and ed hardy spamming my blog! Talk about the wrong blog to peddle your douchey wares… Fuck off and die in a fire, spammers!!

The rest of you: Can you still post comments? Feel free to leave a test post and let me know if the hoops you have to jump through (log in, CAPTCHAS, moderation) are too onerous. I know it’s a pain and I’m sorry, but it seems to be necessary at this point. I will try to stay on top of things and approve legit comments quickly.

I see a lot of common ground between liberals (i.e. leftist Democrats and independents) and libertarians (big L and small L). It’s unfortunate that a few fundamental issues divide them because there’s so much room for collaboration, especially when it comes to the calamitous policies of the Federal Reserve.

A Solution: First Steps
First, people need to chill out on both sides of this debate. Second, realize that what I’m proposing is not new, just misunderstood. I’ve jokingly called myself a libertarian socialist before, but today I found that there really is such a thing.

Now, what I’m about to do will piss off both liberals and libertarians, but I need to criticize both approaches before we can find a happy medium. This might be painful for you if you fall on one side or the other, but please bear with me; each side will get its fair share of abuse. And praise.

Neither Side is Perfect
The libertarians, especially social conservatives, need to realize that they do try to protect rich too much even though it’s the rich who created the Fed and many of our current economic problems. It’s the rich, after all, who can afford to thrive during times of moderate to high inflation because they can hire a team of accountants, investment bankers and so on to ride the rough waters of fiat capitalism.

Some well-meaning libertarians, being perpetually out of power, are gradually seduced into supporting right-wing bombthrowers like Glenn Beck, which only makes them look stupid, racist, backwards and irrational to a liberal. The tea parties have not succeeded because they are partisan and co-opted by mainstream Republican politicians like Minnesota’s own Michele Bachmann, tapping into anger and doing nothing to really change things. If they were non-partisan End the Fed rallies that might be a step in the right direction. But many libertarians hate liberals because the Democrats who get elected tend to be corrupt establishment figures — just like Republican politicians.

Conversely, the leftist populists need to realize that Obama is not the savior they want him to be. He’s a politican like any other and he’s just playing the game. Note how little has changed since he took office. He’s made lots of noise about change, but our Empire is still killing peasants in Afghanistan, our privacy is still nonextistent as warrantless wiretapping continues, and our economy is still in the thrall of the rich as Bernanke gets re-upped for another term and the idiots who supported deregulation (like Summers) get cushy jobs in the administration. Meanwhile, Obama’s tackling (and losing) the health care fight when he should be focused on the economy first and foremost. I support universal healthcare, but the conservatives are right to question how we’re gonna pay for it. Shouldn’t we get our economic house in order before we make massive commitments to future spending?

The Health Care Riddle
The health care conundrum is a medium-sized part of our economic problems. The bigger problem is exactly what the Libertarians are talking about (and what progressive left-wing publications like the HuffPo are finally starting to realize): The secretive Fed’s embrace of fiat currency and fractional reserve banking will make peasants of us all.

This government, and everything in it (including Obama) is controlled by the banking apparatus. Look at how quickly the bailout and stimulus packages were passed in comparison to health care reform. And yet we could’ve easily paid for health care for every single American with the money we threw at the bankers so they could erase the red ink from their bottom lines and then refuse to give loans to regular people. Bonuses to executives are already back to pre-crash levels.

My point is that unless we fix the underlying issue we’ll be back at square one again. Unless a new amendment is added to the Bill of Rights guaranteeing free health care for all (not bloody likely) the bankers will find a way to put us back in the poor house again. Congress will bankrupt whatever public option we create unless it is rock-fucking-solid. Because of the inflationary and demographic bubbles we face, Social Security and Medicare will likely go bankrupt within a few decades. How will adding more financial obligations to the pile help us solve this mess?

Sometimes Society is to Blame
The typical libertarian response is to say “Get government off my back!” I think libertarians are susceptible to Republican messaging because the Republican politicians pretend to be in favor of limited government. And both libertarians and Republicans see poor people as failed and lazy.

Here’s something libertarians can learn from liberals: Sometimes the main forces that cause poverty really are society’s fault. More specifically to blame: government and corporate interests from banking to health care who are in favor of fiscally incapacitated citizens who thus become dependent on the state and the state’s favored corporations. Fiat currency and fractional reserve lending have created the underlying conditions that make this economic incapacitation possible.

Spending Our Way to Prosperity
Liberals have traditionally tried to solve this problem with even more government intervention. They see government as a tool they can use to elevate the playing field and give those people a shot at crawling out of poverty and back to fiscal independence. Libertarians have largely cried foul but haven’t proposed a practical solution and have in fact fallen for Republican Party propaganda (especially on taxes) when they should have stood with the poor. It is the poor who suffer most from the Fed’s policies.

Yet liberals who think we can continue to spend our way out of this mess are sadly mistaken. In fact, we’ve already spent far too much. It is perhaps the best response to the problem within the context of an inflationary world, but the Keynesian approach will ultimately collapse because the inflation is too destabilizing and it’s also incredibly iniquitous. Who here gets a check for inflation each month? Not me, but because of fractional reserve lending practices, banks benefit disproportionately from inflation. Liberals, just like right-leaning libertarians, are inadvertantly supporting the rich elites who create the problems they decry.

The Tree of Liberty
This crisis threatens to rend our nation apart but also presents an opportunity; a chance to end the Fed and the economic inequity it has wrought. And the only way that can happen is by unifying liberals and libertarians once again. Their names come from the same root word, after all — Liberty. Both sides need to make bold changes to come together, but the only way to achieve true economic liberty is by a combination of tight regulation of banks and specie-backed currency.

As FDR said:

We have come to a clear realization of the fact that true individual freedom cannot exist without economic security and independence. “Necessitous men are not free men.” People who are hungry and out of a job are the stuff of which dictatorships are made.

Political liberty cannot come without economic liberty.

FDR Did Better Against the Nazis Than The Bankers
A lot of Libertarians hate Franklin Delano Roosevelt, but what they don’t seem to realize is that he was fighting an all-out war against the corrupt banking and corporate interests who were colluding against the common man, and the levers of government were the only powers the president had available to him. The banker-controlled Fed, after all, caused the first Great Depression and FDR was forced to act quickly to stem the bleeding. Read this link for more insight into FDR and why he abandoned the gold standard — Europeans had already ditched gold and were buying up ours with their fiat currency, but FDR wanted to work out an international gold standard once the crisis subsided. And indeed, Bretton Woods was an attempt to do just that.

Roosevelt has been slandered as anti-business by many on the right. He was not; he was anti-Big Business. He stood up for all of America, not just the plutocrats. FDR’s Keynesian solution was imperfect but it bought time and saved the Union. If he had not acted quickly the Business Plot of 1934 may have succeeded and America may have spiraled into despotic fascism, never to return.

Corporate Power
Some libertarians have not been sufficiently suspicious of the motives of Big Business. They think that corporate rights are the same as personal liberty. They are not.

Corporations are amoral machines that must be controlled. Men should be free to do what they will, but who among us will argue that a man is free to run over people in his car because, by golly, he paid for that car and he controls it and he uses it to make money for his family, so anybody who tries to stop him is abridging his rights? Well, we shouldn’t let corporations driven by men to run amok any more than we should allow that of motor vehicle operators. It is imperative that libertarians understand that economic freedom is more fundamental and more important than corporate power.

A New Respect
Liberals, meanwhile, have long regarded libertarians a bunch of kooks; militia-joining types who are all paranoid gold-bugs who believe in anarchic and anachronistic principles. But libertarians have learned the hard way that governments can resort to tyranny whether they’re controlled by the Democrats or the Republicans. Democratic attempts to solve our basic economic problems have either been limp-wristed or misguided. Liberals need to take a look at the constitutional principles libertarians stand by and realize how closely they align with progressivism. Most importantly, liberals need to get past the false “left vs. right” dichotomy that the elites use to divide and conquer us. The marginalized, but proud Libertarian voters have defiantly supported their minor party despite no chance of winning.

Perhaps liberals will have more respect for libertarians and their journey through the political wilderness after the last 8 years of suffering their own indignity. Soured on big, invasive government (wiretapping, No Child Left Behind, literal invasions) during the Bush years, this is the ideal time for liberals to wake up and realize that they can only secure the freedom and prosperity by looking beyond the political and focusing on the very most fundamental monetary elements of our economy upon which the government and society are built. Libertarians are not greedy to focus on money; they are prudent. Unless we have a secure gold-backed money supply we will continue to have these crises, and at some point we can’t continue to solve them through social programs and endless spending. Inflation creates the poverty that we all fear. It’s time to end it.

This is my plea for liberals and libertarians to work together and remove the Federal Reserve’s charter. It’s time to take back our economic liberty. We don’t have much time to waste.

Happy Dragonfly is happy!

Happy Dragonfly is Happy!

I took this photo the other day and noticed what a huge grin this little dragonfly seems to have. I’m glad she’s happy; it was a beautiful day and she’s the only creature in my backyard my cat didn’t manage to kill or maim.

Booo!! Hissssss!!!!

He said “socialism”! Socialism is evil! Socialism is kinda, vaguely, sorta like communism, and therefore bad!

Seriously, people. Grow the fuck up.

I’m just as much against government waste and intrusion as anybody on this planet. Read this blog; you will find pages upon pages of my ranting, most of it aimed at government stupidity and evil. But enough with the “socialism is evil” crap.

You hate socialism? Fine. But now that you’ve talked the talk you’d better walk the walk.

That means you anti-socialists will support the following minor changes to our way of life — because that’s what it takes to build a Socialism-free America:

  • Kill the Social Security program — Let grandma starve in the woods. Fuck her, she’s a leech on society. Get a job, grandma!!
  • Get rid of Medicaid/Medicare — Let’s say grandma manages to drag herself out of the woods and to the hospital. Laws require her to be treated, but guess what — you, her offspring, are stuck with the bill. Grandma needs an expensive operation and you can’t pay for it? Oh well, dig a hole.
  • Fire Department is now privately run — Just like in Roman times, if you can’t pay for the Fireman to put your fire out — up front — he just lets it burn. (Ayn Rand’s paradise exists Obion County, Tennessee.) Yay for capitalism!
  • Police Departments are disbanded — only private security firms exist, and only if you can afford to pay for them. Because the warlord system of Somalia worked so well, we decided to copy it! (I’m going to join the mafia!)
  • No Libraries – real Americans buy books, you commies!
  • Toll Roads everywhere — including right in front of your house. Wanna get to work in the morning? That’ll cost you 5 bucks. Highways are for the rich; the poor could take the bus, but since transit companies are government-subsidized they won’t exist in our socialism-free uptopia! No more subways either! Yay!
  • No public education system — are your kids going to public schools? Well not anymore, since there aren’t any! Public schools = socialism, kids! Now only the rich will be able to afford private education, while the poor youths will form gangs and wander the streets all day when they should be inside learning! And since there’s no cops there’s no one to stop them! Yay, the best of feudalism and gang-culture! You conservatives really know how to make a first-class utopia!

And thanks to our brave men and women in Congress, there’s already no public healthcare system clogging things up! Our present system works great, so long as you’re wealthy and healthy!

Isn’t this socialism-free utopia great, you guys?! No welfare, no healthcare, no roads, no cops, no firemen, no schools! Wow! It’s like heaven, but with gangs, death and disease in abundance instead of love and harmony! Yay! This is great! The taxes are so low, if I had a job I’d be making lots of money!

Thanks, conservatives! You’ve shown us the error of our ways. Now I know that the only true way to live is like the animals — kill or be killed! Might makes right! The Laws of the Jungle are more important than the Laws of God! Jesus said, “love your neighbor”, but what he meant was “only if your neighbor can reimburse you in cold, hard cash!” Hell, why not murder him and steal his property — he’d do the same to you. That’s what living in this anti-socialist nirvana is all about.

… sigh.

I’m honestly not a big fan of socialism. I lean libertarian, politically, but economic liberty is important too, and it can easily be corrupted by the rich, who then make social mobility more difficult for the poor/middle class. Socialism, regrettably, seems to be necessary for humans living in large, diverse communities. We shouldn’t have to sacrifice our political liberties to make the world a better place for all. But we may have to put a crimp on Goldman Sach’s ability to make shitloads of money off the taxpayers. Corporate welfare, mind you, I am 100% against!

Seriously, can we ascend above the 4th-grade style name-calling and trite platforms designed to generate much heat but no light? If you live in America, you already live in a quasi-socialist system. And I bet you enjoy your highways, libraries and schools, don’t you? Well, then you might as well embrace the socialism moniker, because to do otherwise would be hypocritical, childish and stupid. I’m sure the American conservative movement wouldn’t stoop to that, would they?

We need you, conservatives. We need you to stop playing games and start cutting deals. Your stupid anti-socialist crusades are fucking retarded and don’t stand up to a 5-second analysis. Try being constructive.

Unless we want to be a third-world country we’re going to need universal healthcare. Yes, it’s expensive, but by all measures, it’s less than what we pay now. I don’t understand how paying twice as much for a non-government run system is considered “efficient.” I think when people say that, they really mean “efficient for us rich folk.” That’s what it’s really about — protecting the rich (as if they were an endangered, cuddly baby seal or something). Couldn’t the rich muddle through somehow? Universal healthcare does not preclude a private healthcare system any more than public schools make private school impossible.

It will be okay. The sky won’t fall. We’ll just have less paperwork to fill out since the accounting/insurance snafu will no longer exist. Can’t we all get behind that slogan? Less paperwork, more healthcare. Is that too much to ask?

Probably.

The Fed is starting to feel the heat! Keep the pressure on, Congresscritters. Looks like the House is united in demanding a real, independent audit. Now we’ve got to get the Senate on board.

More here.

Perhaps it’s obvious to say that there are political undercurrents at work in the Iranian Revolution 2009 we’re witnessing, but it goes well beyond the streets of Tehran. This is a global phenomenon and it bodes ill for the Old Ways.

If you’re reading this blog you’re probably a little more savvy than most, but for those who are new to social media this coup attempt is shining a light on something certain elements within our political structure have tried to keep hidden: Iranians are just like us.

That might not seem like such a radical statement, but when you’re in the business of demonizing people it’s an earth-shattering revelation. Here in America, our government and our media have been in the business of demonizing Iran for the last 30 years. If the revolution succeeds and Ahmadinejad is thrown into the dustbin of history then our government will not have a despotic Iran to kick around any more. Early indications are that the people of Iran and Mousavi’s hypothetical government will favor normalizing relations with America, or at least responding favorably to Obama’s overtures.

You might think this would make the neocons very happy, but that is not the case. Blogger Andrew Sullivan has been on top of the revolution from the get-go and he says: “Even I am a little taken aback by the neocons’ desire for an Ahmadinejad victory.”

The sad truth is that a lot of people are scared of change and they don’t like it when their favorite whipping-horse suddenly grabs the reins with his teeth.

Given the incredible impact that social media has had in this election/coup it should not be surprising if hardline forces –not just in Iran — take a dim view of social media in the future.

The first thing the illegitimate Iranian government did when it saw trouble brewing was to block Facebook and Twitter. Cell phone service was taken down in many areas. Mousavi’s website was taken out by government forces.

It’s obvious why: Social media is an inherently democratizing force.

Allowing people to connect outside of traditional, controlled channels is dangerous for any repressive regime. People can share news instantly, they can plan, they can support each other and they can warn each other of danger. This used to be the province of the authorities with their rigid hierarchies, their walkie-talkies and their chains of command.

Now anybody with a cellphone can change the world with a hashtag.

I say again: Iranians are just like us. They love Facebook and have a Mousavi fan page with 50,000 supporters. They have been using Twitter (and Twitpic) extensively. (Check out this page for a list of English language Iranian twitterers). And videos depicting the mostly-peaceful marches today are already showing up on YouTube:

As night falls things are getting more violent. It’s too early to declare victory, but I think the world is starting to see that the divisions our mainstream media has helped our government create are largely an artifice of ignorance and omission. We are all the same on Facebook. We are one on Twitter.

Social media is the bane of dictators everywhere, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. But we have to be ready for the backlash against social media by those hardline forces stuck in the past. They may start to attack social media out of fear. We can’t let those repressive forces have their say anymore. If Iran can stand up for democracy, we can too.

There’s something thrilling going on in Iran.

You wouldn’t know it from the coverage on many mainstream media news outlets this weekend (Fox, CNN and ABC, I’m looking in your direction), but there’s a revolution going on in Iran!

It’s a good kind of revolution; pro-freedom, pro-democracy and mostly peaceful (though many protestors are being beaten by police and Hezbollah thugs). The people of Iran are standing up for truth and justice and they are not being intimidated by theocratic thugs and government lies.

It makes me wonder why our U.S. media isn’t really standing with the people of Iran. Maybe it’s because I’m getting cynical in my (heh) old age, but I think it has something to do with the loss of their favorite boogey-man. It’s getting harder and harder to portray Iranians as fanatical terrorists bent on the destruction of the West:

Perhaps the most moving scene involved a group of young demonstrators, displaying the green colours of Mir-Hossein Mousavi, the defeated challenger, breaking into English and chanting: “We want freedom.”In an instant, these television pictures from Tehran delivered a stark reminder that Iran is not a backward country of medieval fanatics, but a modern nation with 70 million people, two thirds of whom are under 30 and have the same interests and aspirations as their Western counterparts.

These are my peers. My fellow-Twitterers. My friends. My brothers and sisters.

This is the real Iran:

No more distortions. No more hate. No more fear-mongering, Fox News! No more! We are the same, the Iranian People and those of us in the United States who still value and cherish freedom.

There is no difference between us beyond geography. Many of the Iranians even speak English and they are young and internet-savvy: they have been using Twitter to organize on the fly and there was a collective moan when Facebook was blocked. This is a youth movement that is cracking the edifice of lies that have served the hardliners on both sides for far too long.

Just don’t watch television if you want the real scoop:

Today, as global geopolitics is shaken to its core by events in Iran, I turned on cable news this morning, and saw endless ads for a Larry King Jonas Brothers “interview”, Morning Joe yukking it up discussing Kuwaiti massage therapists, a video of a tomato throwing contest on CNN, talk radio blowhard Bill Bennett…and occasionally a phone call from Christiane Amanpour in Tehran. I can’t even bring myself to turn on the network morning programs, I might vomit.

The mainstream media is rapidly smothering itself into a coma of irrelevance. Do they think we’re too stupid to get the news from somewhere else? Heck, I don’t even need the media at this point; I can get info directly from the participants in the struggle via Twitter.

Bloggers like Andrew Sullivan are covering the protests virtually nonstop. With the Huffington Post on the case, who needs the MSM?

At this point, Big Media is just playing catch-up. They were asleep at the switch for several days, but now seem to be paying attention again… but they are definitely not leading; they are following.

I should note that I’m taking it for granted that the election was stolen. They apparently did not even do a good job of it. From the numbers I’ve seen, Ahmadinejad didn’t even finish second! He finished 3rd, behind another reform candidate! Mousavi, the challenger and probable winner, was actually told by the Interior Ministry that he had won and to prepare his victory speech (which they insisted must be gracious and not boastful) before turning around and declaring Ahmadinejad the winner by a landslide. The numbers belie this laughable claim. The official results have Mousavi losing his home turf (preposterous) and big urban areas where he has polled higher than Ahmadinejad.

Let’s face it: This election was straight-up rigged. The Iranians know it and they’re not standing for it, which is more than I can say for Americans (*cough-2000-cough*). Now is our chance to repent for our laziness and apathy and support the democracy-loving Iranians with all our hearts!

I stand with the Iranian People in solidarity. We stand for Democracy, Freedom and Justice! May the winds of change bring peace and prosperity to Iran. Peace be upon you!

Metaverse promo video

Good news everybody! I’ve got a video to share. It’s not the one I’ve been talking about, it’s just a teaser, but I think you’ll dig it. It’s the promo video for our album, Metaverse!

Support Darkfold and buy our album! Thanks!

Darkfold's web site is live!

Hey everybody: Good news! Darkfold’s web site is live!! Check it out:

http://darkfold.underutopia.com/

Edit: I’ve got the Darkfold.com domain transferring now! It’s bliss.

Let me know what you think of the site. It’s got two different music players, 4 downloadable MP3 tracks, plus links to a bunch of pages that are hosting the full album, like Bandcamp, AmieStreet and Jamendo. It’s rock and roll overload!!

So now you know why this blog hasn’t seen many updates lately. I’m hoping to get back to regularly scheduled posting soon, but I post on two other blogs as well as this one! ::wipes sweat from brow::

I’m also working on a super-secret video project that I hope to be able to share with you guys soon! I’m pretty stoked; it’s coming along really well. More info soon…

Somebody pinch me. This sounds like a shitty Johnny Depp movie (to be fair, the first one was good).

First, let me say that I don’t condone the taking of hostages (unless it’s an underrated Kevin Spacey and Samuel L. Jackson movie) and some of these pirates are clearly assholes.

But a large portion of them are fishermen who got sick and tired of seeing European vessels dumping toxic waste in Somalian waters. Johann Hari wrote a great short article on the piracy issue entitled You Are Being Lied to About Pirates. Here’s an excerpt:

In 1991, the government of Somalia – in the Horn of Africa – collapsed. Its nine million people have been teetering on starvation ever since – and many of the ugliest forces in the Western world have seen this as a great opportunity to steal the country’s food supply and dump our nuclear waste in their seas.

Yes: nuclear waste. As soon as the government was gone, mysterious European ships started appearing off the coast of Somalia, dumping vast barrels into the ocean. The coastal population began to sicken. At first they suffered strange rashes, nausea and malformed babies. Then, after the 2005 tsunami, hundreds of the dumped and leaking barrels washed up on shore. People began to suffer from radiation sickness, and more than 300 died.

This is an environmental war.

Apparently Europe and America feel they have not raped the African continent enough and are engaging in a propaganda war against the “pirates” in order to justify continued presence in the area and as a convenient distraction from the foundering economy.

Just a reminder: Do not believe the mainstream media, especially when they get whipped into a frenzy like they are now. When the media is all aligned on an issue you can bet they’re wrong or lying. The pirates scare is Class A bullshit and should be treated as such. If we had more journalists like Hari this wouldn’t be a problem, but most will breathlessly recount whatever government officials tell them.

Dig deeper. There’s more to this story than the corporate media will ever report.

Catch my review of a recent All-American Rejects show in Maplewood over at PerfectPorridge.com! Despite what you may think it was a pretty crazy time. Here’s a quick excerpt:

Just when I was about to write the youth of today’s idea of rock’n’roll off as about as rebellious as a church picnic, the crowd started to raise some hell. Crowd surfers erupted in the pit and the girl next to me tried to climb onto the stage. When security dragged her back down she refused to stand up and had to be physically removed from the building; outside there were cop cars with lights flashing and sullen occupants in the back seat. Clearly, a good time was had by all.

Read the rest of it!

Every now and then I come across a bad science article. And I come across badly done science with disturbing regularity — but today I found both in an article at NewScience.com.

It’s a “study” about why people believe “crazy” things like creationism and intelligent design. The authors of both the article and the study have barely bothered to mask their contempt and disdain for those who believe in anything other than cold, hard science.

But the science and written logic they bring to the table can be described as mushy branflakes at best. Check out the article and see if you can taste the bias. Here’s a sampler:

People continued to agree with false teleological statements, particularly those that endorsed an Earth intended for life.

I was not aware the debate over the beginning of our world was settled. Good to know you can administer a simple true/false test and call people who believe the earth was made for life “wrong”.

This is supposed to be science? It seems to be based on more assumptions than religion! [new readers: I don't believe in religion, but I don't believe evolution's reality settles the debate over our origins -v]

Either they’re trying to use trick questions or they don’t understand the nuance of language. This, for instance, is one of their “false” statements:

Mites live on skin to consume dead skin cells

Well… don’t they? The mites are better off living there than anywhere else. Where else would mites rather be?

The supposed scientists may have been grasping for “Mites exist only to remove our dead skin cells” but they utterly failed. And these people are claiming to be able to accurately and fairly judge me, my logical abilities and the validity of my beliefs??!!

Reminds me of this, more accurate, study.

This is also shoddy, biased journalism. I expect more from a mainstream publication like NewScience. Pro-atheism cheerleading is fine and good, but there’s a time and a place, just like we expect reporters to keep their Christian, Hindu or whatever views out of newscasts, we should expect the journalists over at NewScience and other consumer science outlets to do the same.

This is not an article so much as an attack on teleological thought, a legitimate philosophy of thought. Here’s what Wikipedia currently says about teleology:

A teleological school of thought is one that holds all things to be designed for or directed toward a final result, that there is an inherent purpose or final cause for all that exists.

As a school of thought it can be contrasted with metaphysical naturalism, which views nature as having no design or purpose. Teleology would say that a person has eyes because he has the need of eyesight (form following function), while naturalism would say that a person has sight because he has eyes (function following form).

A classic debate. Y vs. X and yet these supposed scientists are ready to throw telelogical thought under the bus without even investigating whether it might be right. Instead they’ve decided to do a sort of test to see if you think like a commie–..uh, er… “teleologist” in the hopes of one day “curing” it.

A first round of experiments suggested that adults make more teleological mistakes when pressed for time than when not. Yet Kelemen and Rosset also noticed that no matter how much time they had, test subjects tended to endorse false statements implying that the Earth is designed and maintained for life. [emphasis mine]

This is some of the most biased reporting I’ve ever seen, but it could be Ewen Callaway is just regurgitating what he was told. Then it would piss-poor reporting. But even more offensive to me as a rational person is the implicit goal laid bare in this study, which is clearly to find a way to eradicate teleological thought.

That’s the same kind of thinking that led to the Spanish Inquisition. We don’t need any more of that crap. These “scientists” need to learn how to take on their ideological opponents in an intellectual field of battle and quit trying to find ways to cow the populace into submission. If they have proof that the teleological school of thought is wrong, then they should firstly present it, then defend it.

Instead they use mouthpieces like NewScience, which I thought was a reputable publication, but now seems to be nothing more than a bloodbath battlefield between believers and nonbelievers. Here are some recent articles (among the most popular):

I guess it’s all about the page-views and contentious article bring in visitors galore. But then why not try and keep an editorially even hand and write balanced articles? There’s a good reason spiritually-minded folks often sound defensive in those forums. They know they’re being taunted — or else they wouldn’t be there, trying to explain deeply held beliefs to this generation’s most vicious nihilists.

What’s even more disturbing is that the atheists rarely stand up and say, “Hey, I agree, but let’s keep things respectful and balanced here.” Opinion Editor Amanda Gefter is particularly over-the-top. Here’s a typical passage:

Misguided interpretations of quantum physics are a classic hallmark of pseudoscience, usually of the New Age variety, but some religious groups are now appealing to aspects of quantum weirdness to account for free will. Beware: this is nonsense.

Free will has been debated for many millennia, but dear old Amanda won’t let us even consider the possibility that… what, quantum physics might be involved somehow? How the hell does she know? She clearly doesn’t because she chose ridicule over reason and neglected to back up her claims. If I print out the Wikipedia article on Free Will, it’s over 20 pages, but Ms. Gefter dismisses it with a warning: Beware!! Don’t read any further or you might turn into a commi- er, I mean “creationist!”

This is all about attacking the philosophical underpinnings of the opponents of strong-atheism, whom include religious folks, anti-religion/pro-metaphysics people like me, and many agnostics and weak-atheists.

It’s sad that people can’t find any common ground on this issue. It’s one of the most pressing of our times, especially with the growt
h of atheism in the young and urban. But it’s still a religious discussion and I remain somewhat aghast that a publication like NewScience would stoop to taking sides in the culture wars. Are they about to fold and need every page-view they can get?

I’d be more likely to read them in the future if they displayed a little more objectivity.

As for the “scientists” who are out to “cure” creationists or anybody who entertains metaphysical thoughts, well, I guess we’d better keep our eyes on them before they try to beat Religion’s high score in the killing game. Studying ways to eradicate thought that doesn’t conform with the scientific establishment’s is really beyond the pale.

I don’t think most atheists think this way. Certainly there is some bitterness about Christianity, the dominant religion in my culture, but few would actually seek to destroy it. They just don’t want fundamentalist Christians (like those that infested the Bush administration) enforcing prayer in schools, Intelligent Design in schools (ID should be in schools — the Philosophy Department) and various faith-based activities.

Totally understandable. But let’s make sure that we don’t end up with the mirror image as humanity gives up its superstitious beliefs. We don’t need fundamentalist atheists running amok any more than we need fundamentalist Muslims or Christians in charge. The extremists are the problem, and they hurt whichever side they are arguing for. Please, people, look for common ground in the culture wars!

Go in peace / Science be praised