Article

Comment Moderation–On YouTube

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Once again, I’ve been hit by a CUT troll. This time over on my YouTube interviews. It started out with three comments, which I responded to. It then grew to a total of 8, and the troll showed no sign of stopping, even after I agreed to let him/her have the last word. He took the last word and then added two more defamatory and personal attacks. I’ve since deleted the entire exchange and blocked the user. Here is a sampling:

Sean has contempt for anything to do with religion, not just the one where he was among the biggest abusers of power when in control, and now one of its biggest detractors now that he is irrelevant. Having been there for some of the best years of my life, having experienced tremendous growth from following the Teachings, and having left of my own free will, I can say that his views are quite selective and exaggurated to make a point. Pompous, condescending, full of ingratitude then and now.

[...]

No worry, you do not need to speak out, the mistakes you made are unique to your life. Attacking faith is your personal crusade … more bullying of others to have them conform to your ideas. Why not just live your own atheism and not attack faith of others? Prophecy is a warning about what MAY occur if people do follow the present course w/o change. If every prophecy were to come true, it would mean there is no such thing as free will. Growing in faith, love, and joy is purpose, not waste.

[...]

"Religion does not add to the human experience", says Sean. The arrogance in that statement is mind-blowing!

[...]

All of what you cite is not the exclusive provenance of religion. In fact, you could substitute the word "liberalism", or "communism" and it would read the same. Still, that does not address the incredible statement you made which ignores every positive accomplishment of religion, including in music, architecture, and art, and discounts every life raised from darkness to light by faith. Your hatred and prejudice of religion and dismal of people of faith is way more divise than religion itself.

[...]

An atheist offers judgement on the level of other people’s spirituality. Not much change there from when you were running the "junk food spirituality" show yourself. Speaking of introspection, have you considered why you feel the need to attack the faith of others through a contrived media personality cult? Do you miss being the center of attention at CUT? If you were really just "trying to do the right thing", a few words about "insights" would suffice. Your crusade is about YOU.

[...]

Yes, you run BSJ and censor opposing views. Using a this forum to attack lovers of God and a spiritual path of their choice is another matter. I stand against your lies and 1/2 truths. Those who have not experienced the Teachings may mistakenly think you are a credible spokesman rather than a hurt spoiled child creating obstacles to sincere seekers of truth. I affirm the Ascended Master Teachings are a great blessing in my life and of many others, despite the human imperfections of its leaders.

These are blatant personal attacks. "Spoiled child?" "Crusade about YOU?" "Contrived media personality cult?" "Arrogant, pompous, condescending?"

How about an argument, sir? How about a shred of an argument about the message? OK, there’s a shred. But saying "religion has done some good things" is not an argument. I never said it hasn’t. I said it did not add to the human experience. My point (a little subtle there, sorry) is that all of the human endeavors done in the name of religion could have been done just as well without engaging in supernatural fantasies and all the baggage they entail. By all means, build temples and libraries and create works of art. The Greeks and Romans did it just fine. Their gods were archetypal and anthropomorphic and therefore far less destructive to human self-esteem than the Western "perfected" gods–or ascended masters for that matter. I also make a firm distinction between a society with a healthy mythology (as discussed by Joseph Campbell) and and one that engages in unhealthy supernatural obsessions. But I’m digressing–engaging the troll’s feeble argument.

The point here is decorum. Contrary to what people might think, this is not a free-speech issue. Free speech means you have the right to publish or say what you want. But you are responsible for providing your own forum and your own publicity. It does not mean that you can go into someone else’s newspaper, forum, blog or home and expect free and unfettered access. But here, to prove a point, I have republished the comments. Clearly, the comments were not removed because I’m afraid of the information, or that I’m trying to suppress relevant discussion. It’s just inappropriate, and wildly so. The troll comes in and tries to seize power, irrespective of the rules of argument. Deletion is the only appropriate response.

The YouTube interview stands on its own. If anyone had or has real conflicting information, or can show that I made factual errors, I’m all ears. I want to hear why I’m wrong–please tell me if you know something I could learn from. But in accordance with the comment policy, I won’t accept personal attacks. It’s clear that the attacks are motivated by a certain desperation caused by my direct challenge to believers–who are accustomed to being surrounded by other believers–none of whom have ever had to back up their claims with anything stronger than "I felt it, so it must be true."

So my crime is that I’ve gone and rudely pointed out fabrications and lack of evidence. And I have it on good authority that the message is getting through to CUT members. From a private email:

…everyone seems to be talking about you and what you posted about your mother telling you…That’s probably because of the recent coverage of the 50th anniversary of TSL and your comments on the Billings station. But people in the church and out of it were talking about it to me…

The more popular or well-known the forum, and the more damaging the information, the more likely it is to attract such trolls. Since I’m a well-known CUT critic, and I’ve spent 7 years building the Black Sun Journal "brand," and I’ve just appeared on their local TV station and in their local paper, CUT supporters understandably want to take their fight directly to the source. But it’s never new information. I’d honestly be open to that, but I have yet to see it. I’d love some truly concrete evidence for the existence of "El Morya" or any other "master" that didn’t involve hearsay or the smell of rose petals. Bring it on!!! But they can’t. Instead, what’s left is to attack my character–both while I was in the church and today. Then, with their ad hominems all exhausted, they invariably switch to red-herring mode:

Mr.Scientist says we should not perpetuate things that are made up, we should stick to what we know and can prove. Yet his website loudly endorses the myth of human-caused global warming, saying the debate is over on this. Yet many of the world’s leading climatologists, those not moved by grant money and ostracization, attribute climate change to natural cycles and causes far removed from man’s activities. It seems like a great hoax created to manipulate people thru a carbon tax and credit scam.

Climate change is a scam. Whatever. Splendid argument bolstering CUT and its false teachings and prophecies! Enough. I won’t be bullied by cries of "censorship" into running a free-for-all–either here or on YouTube–and I won’t apologize for that policy.

 

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Comments (7 comments)

ClintJCL / July 30th, 2008, 6:00 pm / #1

I’ve had to do the same. Remember my “What Would Jesus Smoke?” pictures. Wow. Just… wow. Religious zealots everywhere!

Luis Dias / July 31st, 2008, 2:51 am / #2

Trolls are irritating and a true pest over the internet. I’m sorry that you have to deal with those. I hope that you won’t see my skepticism towards catastrophical global warming as a “red herring” of my “trollyism”.

What I mean is that for a true atheist, the world must be seen with skeptical eyes. Science evolves that way. It is quite strange for me to accept a scientific theory because it is the consensus view, rather than by having good proofs backing it up. Over and over, the models consistently get the climate wrong. Even the IPCC acknowledges this, but because it is a report built by thousands of scientists, it suffers from incoherence and later on discusses how should we prepare (read, create a multi-billion dollar taxation) for the results of those poor models. What really gets me is the equation of scientists who dispute the consensus as “deniers”, but holocaust type of deniers, rather than sensible and healthy skepticist deniers, whose concerns should be dealt with, not dismissed as propaganda by industrialists.

You see, for me science is the method of skeptically question current knowledge, is full of “hereticisms” and critics are usually acknowledged as valuable reviewers that advance science with their hard questions and reservations. Not in CAGW. Here, skeptics are treated as deniers, their works dismissed and any work that puts in question any conclusion by a catastrophian, is immediately attacked. This is not science, it is propaganda at its worst.

I’m diatribing and I’m sorry about that. I mean not to troll your website. Apart from this particular question, I’m all in your support.

BlackSun / August 1st, 2008, 10:16 am / #3

Luis,

As I just pointed out to another commenter, it’s pretty likely that if the scientific consensus was to support your position of no AGW, you would agree with them. The models may not be perfect, but it’s pretty clear there’s enough cause for concern and action. I don’t have the arrogance to think I know better than the bulk of the scientific establishment.

But I’m not going to get drawn into that discussion with you one more time. I wish someone could come up with a way of evaluating evidence that was air-tight and that you would accept. Because even with all our instrumentation and the scientific method, we’re back at square one if people decide to ignore the results.

By all means debate. But let’s set up a criteria: What would it take for you to accept that there was in fact AGW? Would there have to be absolutely no dissent? I put the ball back in your court. Let’s look at details. If you want to refute AGW, pull out the numbers, run an alternate set of computer models, and defend your thesis in front of the appropriate scientific bodies. Then I will pay attention to you.

Anyway, I appreciate your support, but I would respectfully ask you to re-evaluate your stance. When you say:

It is quite strange for me to accept a scientific theory because it is the consensus view, rather than by having good proofs backing it up.

It strikes me as really strange. Do you really think 95% of the scientists (or whatever the figure is) would form a consensus without the very proof you’re talking about? That’s not how science is done, and that insinuation does violence to every dedicated and hard-working scientist.

Well, now you see? I’ve gone and responded to a red-herring once again. I only used the argument to show how the troll was changing the subject and using my stance on AGW as a smear tactic.

Luis Dias / August 5th, 2008, 3:46 am / #4

Blacksun,

Well, now you see? I’ve gone and responded to a red-herring once again. I only used the argument to show how the troll was changing the subject and using my stance on AGW as a smear tactic.

I don’t mean to smear you. I like your site, and your stance against delusions of any kind. I fully agree with you on the Olduvai Craze for example, and don’t get me started on mediums :) (btw, Carl Sagan has an extraordinary interview in youtube where he speaks of just that). I just happen to include in those the old doomsday religions of malthusians and catastrophists, and I happen to think that some science on climatology is being polluted by ideology, by greed and politics.

I also happen to rarely speak if I agree, it’s exactly when one has differences when it gets interesting for me, so of course I spoke about this.

And once again you are jumping into conclusions. I have no vested interest in any conclusion whatsoever, I have probably a much less carbon footprint than you, for I don’t live in a rich country nor do I have the amount of money in order to make such a “sin” (I don’t have any TV network for instance!). Of course, I’d be less concerned at such scientific outcome, but given my share of responsibility on the course of things, I really don’t worry myself over it.

What you simply aren’t understanding is that the consensus concept is a political one, not a scientific one. Only politics deal with “consensus”, which in science is meaningless, we have the memory of 200 nazi scientists reaching a “consensus” and signing a letter “disproving” general relativity. As Einstein said, it only takes one scientist and one paper.

Of course, given that GW has major problems on its own, its quite difficult to produce that “one paper” that disproves a giant incoherent mess that is the subject of “consensus”.

It concerns me that the scientific method is being appallingly treated in the climatologist field. Any criticism, any skepticism is equated as being criminal and holocaust denying, when it should be embraced as part of the scientific method. Data from papers that conclude this is the warmest decade in the millenia are hidden from science audits, while any conclusion that feeds the narrative of GW being catastrophical is immediately propagated and established by a few. There are too many politics in the science of climate, and this worries me. I simply have no respect for a field that considers that science discoveries which don’t abide by the “consensus” should be treated and regarded as “dangerous for mankind”. I also regard with suspicion this giant body of the IPCC which monopolizes the discussion with little regards to rigor, data archiving, who designates which authors will be nominated to which papers.

I don’t deny “AGW”, I am skeptical of catastrophical AGW. When you speak of what “proofs” I need more, well I need evidence for the following things:

1. The feedback effect be well established and proven as multiplying the small CO2 effect. This hasn’t been done, only asserted. I think that the only possible way to do this is by making precise predictions and proving that only CO2 can be the cause for this. Neither has been done. This past decade has a completely trend than that projected by the IPCC. Until the IPCC makes a good prediction, I won’t bite it. Regard that it is a very problematic question if one scientist makes lousy predictions in 10/20 years range (like the Hansen prediction of 88 which was completely wrong) and still wants credibility for what happens in 100 years. Of course, because one cannot wait to 2100 to know for sure, it creeps my imagination of con artistry of “emergency”, albeit the good intentions of scientists.

2. The CO2 emissions projections are good. Concerning peak fossil fuels coming in the first half of 21st century, I find the IPCC projections appalling. You ought to agree with me on this.

There are tons of other things I want to see resolved before accepting CAGW. And while resolving such, I won’t accept the “possibility” that methane will “destroy planet earth”. At least not more than the possibility that we will plunge into another ice age, or being hit by an asteroid. I think that there are many more good things we ought be doing (AIDS? Famine? Poverty?) rather than addressing this question.

Well, again sorry for the diatribe.

Engineer-Poet / August 7th, 2008, 6:57 pm / #5

Any criticism … should be embraced as part of the scientific method.

Excuse me, but any criticism?  Even on the level of “It’s just a plot to get billions of taxes so your data is fabricated and you’re a socialist”?

That’s the sort of thing I see from “skeptics” all the time, and it’s not worth dignifying with either a forum or a response.

Furthermore, if the AGW models are even remotely correct, the effects of precipitation shifts and sea-level rise will exacerbate poverty and famine to a degree that will overwhelm any program you’ve ever even contemplated.

But that’s too much into the specifics.  The general truth is that the heckler’s veto can shut down any position in a completely open forum, regardless of its merit.  If people want either their proposals or their rebuttals to be considered seriously by anyone who doesn’t already believe them, they have the duty of constructing them both carefully and honestly.  Neither Sean’s troll nor most climate “skeptics” care to bother themselves with that part.

Aaron Kinney / August 18th, 2008, 9:03 am / #6

Typical troll/person-in-denial tactic:

“It is obvious that Sean is personally messed up in the head and arrogant and evil and has a bone to pick because its impossible for anyone ever to have any serious and/or legitimate complaints about religion and CUT! Anyone who bad mouths faith must be seriously emotionally damaged because there ARE no legitimate objections that could possibly be aimed at faith itself!

“I will continue to personally attack Sean and all his ilk forever and ever because to do otherwise is for me to admit that my own beliefs are open to critical analysis and might not genuinely meet the criteria that other people have for accepting a proposition as true!

“Of course I will never substantially respond directly to Sean’s criticisms of faith, but instead I will only create ad hominem attacks against him! To me, substance is all about shooting the messenger, and to hell with the message itself! That’s right! And if we destroy the telescope, we need no longer worry about the meteor that we saw hurtling toward us! To close one’s eyes is to vanquish the enemy you see! Let us pray.”

Luis Dias / August 25th, 2008, 7:53 am / #7

Excuse me, but any criticism? Even on the level of “It’s just a plot to get billions of taxes so your data is fabricated and you’re a socialist”?

I am not speaking of such level of criticism. Read Steve McIntyre’s blog to get a clue of what a scientist has to go through by asking the tough hard questions and outlining the statistical mistakes of papers which make catastrophical conclusions.

Such adjectives are only preponderant on public debate, which is completely independent of science, but behind-the-doors maneuvers are all too fashionable nowadays, unfortunately.

Likewise, I could also say that the fact that Al Gore stated that continuing to deny catastrophical global warming ought to be equated to holocaust denying is also unwarranted and provokes a very undeserving social pressure to any skeptical scientist looking for mistakes on the “consensus” line. But, again, I am mainly talking about how some (bad) science is heavily promoted while skepticism and auditing is discredited and ad-hominemed, rather than being disproven.

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