Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Are you Experienced?

Rev. James Martin has a Huffpo article on faith called Want to Experience God? You Already Have: Vulnerability.

Its one of those articles that claims belief in the irrational is actually a good thing. As I read it and thought about my own life I realized that you could replace "God" with "drugs" or other vices and it would pretty much still make sense. So I posted the following comment:

Want to Experience Drugs? You already have: Vulnerability.
Try the following experiment: replace “God” with “Drugs” in this article. It still pretty much makes sense. Not that I’m advocating drugs, not at all. Just pointing out that just because we turn to something at times of vulnerability doesn’t mean that thing is true or worthy.

I think this is another perfect example of what is wrong with the moderation policy. You may disagree with my comment but I can't see how you would think its in any way obscene, a personal attack, or anything that should be reasonably censored.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Crazy Moderation Failures

Here's an example of outright hate-speech that made it through the moderation. Even if it's satire, it's over the top. These comments demonstrate the futility of the expert system bot that is supposed to screen out hateful comments. The system lets comments like this through yet it blocks other comments that are completely appropriate.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Template for a Huffpo Lanza Article

Well Dr. Lanza has another paper. This one asks if machines will take over the world.

I posted the following comment. Originally it went through and it was up for about an hour and then it was deleted.

Template for a Huffington Post Article by Dr. Lanza
Ask an interesting question.
Say some vague and unproven things about the interesting question.
Mention some tangential reference to the interesting question as a way to site some previous work by Dr. Lanza.
Describe a personal emotional experience that relates to the interesting question.
Make some unfounded mystical conclusions that reinforce traditional beliefs of western religion.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Comments on last post

I had a chance to look at some of the links that were in the last post and wanted to comment on them. The policy for this blog is to publish examples and thoughts from users on The Huffington Post about the censorship policy. I’ll publish any relevant article that someone wants to post doing as little or as much editing as each poster desires.

I don’t want us to get side tracked to specific issues or left/right ideologies. An earlier post talked about gun control and took a very pro gun control point of view. However, I also welcome people who are strong supporters of the second amendment.  So I will post any comments or examples regardless of the politics or opinions expressed. However, after looking at the links in the previous post I just wanted to make a few things clear.

If I were the Huffpo editor I would have rejected the Jesse Ventura article on 9/11. It didn't contain a single link or footnote even though there are plenty of sites and articles for the various truth movement theories that are put forward.

Also, there is a reference to the Cristopher Bolyn web site. After looking at it I believe this guy is a clear anti-semite. I'm not one of those people who think that any criticism of Israel or Zionism is automatically anti-semitic. But the Cristopher Bolyn site wasn't the kind of principled criticism of Israel put forward by people such as Norman Finkelstein or Noam Chomsky.  His site was just anti-semitism.

So I view that post as a good example of how open I would like this site to be. Even though I don’t agree with most of it I’m going to leave it posted just as is since that is what Abbybwood and I agreed to.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

9/11 Censorship

Here is a comment from Huffpo user Abbybwood about 9/11 censorship at The Huffington Post and other sites.

I have been actively involved in politics for over 30 years. Since 9/11 I have been very interested in the investigation that, I feel, did not take place.  As a result I have read many books, watched scores of videos and read tons online.

Naturally, from time to time I have attempted to share information regarding 9/11 by posting links and comments at The Huffington Post. Anything I have ever posted regarding 9/11 has been deleted, so eventually I gave up trying.  Huffington has a clear rule:  "No mention of any conspiracy theories".  They even took down an article about 9/11 by former Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura.

Huffington Post is not the only site that censors comments on 9/11 particularly comments that doubt the "official" story and that suggest problems/questions regarding the 9/11 commission report. CommonDreams has zero tolerance for mentioning 9/11 as does CrooksandLiars.  InformationClearingHouse is very tolerant.  Salon seems to allow anything as well.  About two days ago, ICH had a thread featuring a recent speech by Dr. David Ray Griffin in Chicago regarding 9/11 and the war in Afghanistan.  I watched about 7 YouTube links on it, then proceeded to read the comments.

Someone made a comment about Mossad having an involvement with 9/11,  then another person asked for links.  So I put a series of links and a few comments and went off to another site.
My post is still there and people seemed to appreciate the links.  Had I put that post up at Huffington, C&L or at CommonDreams it would have been deleted for sure.

I actually made a comment about Christopher Bollyn's site at The Washington Post online today and I don't think it was removed.  (His website is frequently shut down).

Anyhow, I just wanted to tell you of my frustration with not being able to dialogue with my fellow Americans about the worst tragedy in modern American history.  There is lots of new information that should be shared about 9/11.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

More Deleted Comments from Dr. Lanza

Dr. Lanza (or whoever does his moderating) is one of the most egregious of the personal censors. He often deletes comments that are not personal or vulgar but are overly critical of his point of view. Here is another exchange between Huffpo users Holyheretic and 1Canadian that were deleted from Dr. Lanza's article Who Are We? Experiments Suggest You're Not Who You Think

Robert Lanza turns to a children’s story about Alice and her bizarre characters and situations to tell us that “Science has failed to recognize those properties of life that make it fundamental to our existence.” 

Such language “SCIENCE HAS FAILED” is the all too familiar and all too obnoxious language of the Full-of-Faith. They always argue that science “failed to discover”. They always strive to lecture us on “faults and failures” of science.

They do it to inoculate themselves against the criticism of the glaring, growing faults and failures of their ancient dogmas. But why would the distinguished MD use the language of the denigrators of science? 

Why not acknowledge the fact that our knowledge keeps growing, that science is amazing, and that it keeps evolving? Why not say “science has not YET recognized”?

posted May 3, 2010 at 03:10:34     Reply     Link
Might I suggest that instead of being defensive in this way, you consider that science's failure is related for the most part to its refusal to consider "consciousness" as even being relevant in both the grand and small scale of things, period. Science concerns itself almost exclusively with externalized phenomenology, and that which it cannot observe relegated to file 13. Science also has its own built in agenda, to which it is blind or refuses to observe.

What is it exactly that science is 'learning'? Technology has made great strides for sure, but classic science still holds onto most of the views it was born with, and those views it holds onto has dearly as the 'superstitions' science claims feed to religious groups, in spite of the fact science cannot see that its owns views can at times be as blindly followed.

What has science 'created' really? Even the common cold has science stumped, what to say of mot other things.

Knowledge of what exactly keeps growing? The props and things of the universe? these come and go, but what f the source of the props? Until science recognizes 'consciousness' it will still be groping in the dark. And in spite of sciences apparent accumulation or wealth of knowledge, it has yet to cultivate wisdom.. 


holyheretic Commented May 03, 2010 at 04:54:37 in Living
Dear 1canadian

Thanks a lot for your comment and for making your point: “What has science 'created' really? Even the common cold has science stumped, what to say of mot other things”.

Are you one of those Full-of-Faith people I was complaining about who finds comfort in his or her perfect-pie-in-the-sky and virgins in the clouds?

If you are one of these Full-of-Faith people then obviously your God does not need the metaphor of heroine of a Walt Disney story from 1951 to make His point or to make himself known to the rest of us. 

He can also cure the common cold in no time at all. 


Interesting Deleted Comment on the Times Square Bombing Attempt

Here is a deleted comment on the Times Square bombing recorded by ScienceFTW. Trying a new approach here of inserting an actual screen shot that a member of the anti-censorship on Huffpo cell captured:

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Dr. Lanza reinvents B.F. Skinner

Dr. Lanza has published another article on Huffpo, this time on the nature of consciousness or something like that. I’ve become so tired of his rambling that I have to admit I don’t bother reading his articles very carefully. However, as I scanned the article one part jumped out at me:

“Years ago I published an experiment (Science, 212, 695, 1981) with Harvard psychologist B.F. Skinner (the "father" of modern behaviorism) showing that like us, animals are capable of 'self-awareness.' We taught pigeons to use a mirror to locate a spot on their body which they couldn't see directly. Although similar behavior in primates is attributed to a self-concept, it's clear there are different degrees of self-awareness.“

Back in the 70’s I studied psychology. At that time Skinner was still somewhat in vogue and I learned a fair amount about his point of view, enough to know that the idea of Skinner publishing a paper that claimed “that like us, animals are capable of 'self-awareness” makes about as much sense as Richard Dawkins publishing a paper that claimed the fossil record proves that God created the Universe in seven days 6,000 years ago. So I posted the following comment:

Commented May 02, 2010 at 14:32:08 in Living
“IMO Dr. Lanza is misrepresenting his work with Skinner. B.F. Skinner is the founder of behaviorism. A mostly discredited view of experimental psychology that postulated that any discussion of internal states such as self awareness were not legitimate topics for scientific study. He would NEVER conduct a study "showing that like us, animals are capable of 'self-awareness.' " He thought the concept of self awareness wasn't scientifically valid for humans let alone animals. Although I couldn't find the paper Dr. Lanza mentioned I did find a summary. It included the sentence:
"Although similar behavior in primates has been attributed to a self-concept or other cognitive process, the present example suggests an account in terms of environmental events."

I.e., Skinner was not at all postulating that animals are self aware, rather he was trying to demonstrate that behavior that might be attributed to self awareness could in fact be explained by "environmental factors". Essentially the opposite of what Dr. Lanza claims.”
And Rationalist replied with the following very relevant comment:

Rationalist replied on May 02, 2010 at 15:29:44
“Dr. Lanza, is also making false, scientifically refuted claims about the nature of material reality.
Folks are so eager to hear a non-physicist medical doctor pontificate about particle physics - yet they would never consider having a particle physicist operate on their body.
Particles are not created by observation at all. That is a misunderstanding of what has been known in physics for a hundred years, and continually verified by experimentation.
There is no evidence of the universe consisting of anything but material matter, and all matter is comprised of material particles. The unfortunate use of the term "wave function" to model behavior at the subatomic, or "quantum" level, in order to account for differences from the macro, or Newtonian physical level, has led to this New Agey pseudo-scientific misinterpretation of the "dual nature of matter". People with the resume Dr. Lanza touts should, and likely do, know better, yet perpetuate this mystical mumbo-jumbo.”

My comment and Rationalist’s reply both got posted. They made it through the censor bot. Rationalist posted other very relevant comments and I replied to them. In fact, and this reinforces my feeling that although I don’t believe in God if I’m wrong and she does exist she has a sick sense of humor, after i replied to one of Rationalist’s comments saying something like (unfortunately didn’t save this comment)

“At least we should give Lanza or whoever is moderating his comments credit, usually critical comments don’t make it through”

After that comment, several of my and Rationalist’s comments disappeared. This is an example of what I think is the worst about the censorship on the Huffington Post. There was nothing in any of my comments or the comments of Rationalist that could be considered remotely obscene, off topic, or personal attacks. My comment was about as relevant as you can get. I was making an argument that the author had fundamentally misrepresented his research. You can’t get much more relevant than that. Even if I was wrong (I don’t think i was but for the sake of argument) the proper way to reply to my comment was for the author or his representative to show me I was wrong. If they couldn’t or didn’t want to bother basic rules of intellectual honesty required them to leave my comments in place.