Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community


Media Manipulation, Agit-Prop &/or Lawfare

Is Technology a new religion? (And if so, what is happening at Temple Google?)

AFP tells us regarding the current Consumer Electronics Show (CES): >>Tech is the new religion, offering hope of salvation in a troubled world as industry leaders converge in Las Vegas this week. Technology will not just help us communicate better and give us bolder and brighter screens. It is promising to end urban congestion, treat cancer and depression, and help us live fitter and more productive lives. As tech industry players large and small converge for the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show, an overriding theme is that gizmos, artificial intelligence, cloud computing, and super-fast internet connections hold answers to many if not all ills, the new religion.>> Now, let us cross that with some concerns UD President, BA, has just drawn Read More ›

Uncommon Descent ranked well within the top 1% of web sites

A few days ago, frequent commenter Dionisio noted: >>http://www.ranking.com/ Web Rank Biblegateway.com 168 MIT.edu 7,280 HARVARD.edu 7,246 Nature.com 7,449 Desiringgod.org 10,105 Answersingenesis.org 11,865 Gty.org 15,018 Icr.org 19,037 Religionnews.com 22,188 Rzim.org 35,858 Samaritanspurse.org 40,274 Truthforlife.org 49,862 Royalsociety.org 53,686 Evolutionnews.org 58,755 Jamesmacdonald.com 60,164 Reasons.org 65,259 Uncommondescent.com 80,763 Pandasthumb.org 106,377 Kodugamelab.com 668,032>> I took a look, especially at the question of how many web sites are out there. That is a hard question, but the reasonable and somewhat conservative number looks like about the billion, with 75% inactive in one way or another, i.e. the active web overall is 250 million sites or so, maybe up to several times more depending on how you count and when. I then responded: “[T]here are over Read More ›

On subjectivity vs objectivity of moral principles and the importance of self-evidently true moral principles

For quite some days now, a brawling debate has raged across several UD threads on moral principles, truth and self-evidence. It is worth the while to again headline some of the exchange for record. First, an exchange or two on fairness and subjectivity vs objectivity. And yes, this is a second-order clipping — a lot tends to get buried in comment exchanges: >>Let us observe an exchange above: [JS:] My comment presupposes a fair society and claims that they, as a fair society, would base their policies on moral values. [Trib:] What determines a “fair society”? Notice, how we almost automatically assume moral government in our argument? This reflects how persuasion hinges on duties to truth, sound reasoning, fairness etc. Read More ›

The core of Christian ethics (for those inclined to put God in the dock)

There is such a strong tendency to project all sorts of accusations against Christian ethics that I believe it is necessary to put the indisputable core of the Christian ethical tradition on the table, to clear the air. And so, Matt 5 – 7, ESV: >>The Sermon on the Mount 5 Seeing the crowds, he [Jesus] went up on the mountain, and when he sat down, his disciples came to him. The Beatitudes 2 And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying: 3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. 5 “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. 6 “Blessed are those who hunger and Read More ›

HGP responds to “society consensus morality,” i.e. cultural relativism

Over the years, I have noticed a tendency at UD and elsewhere to ignore and bury quite significant and substantial comments when discussion threads reflect interactions with those more concerned to make points rather than to have serious dialogue. Ironically, serious dialogue is what is necessary if a genuine consensus is ever to be built. In one of the current threads, HGP (welcome aboard) has made a substantial comment in reply to Seversky, apparently based on an earlier discussion.  He highlights some of the main challenges of cultural relativism in an outstanding comment. One that is well worth headlining. (And yes, headlining of exceptional comments is a way to recognise and encourage those who make thoughtful contributions to genuine dialogue.) Read More ›

WJM vs Popper and his supporters on error and progress

WJM often provides quite refreshing insights. Here, in the challenge of criticism thread, he responds to CR (and to Origenes), and in so doing, addresses Popper: WJM, 8: >> Popper’s answer is: We can hope to detect and eliminate error if we set up traditions of criticism—substantive criticism, directed at the content of ideas, not their sources, and directed at whether they solve the problems that they purport to solve. Who decides what a problem is? Who decides what constitutes an “error”? Who decides what form criticism should take? Who decides what it means for a criticism to be considered valid? Without self-evident truths to draw from, everything CR says is nothing but word salad that could be interpreted and Read More ›

Origenes vs CR on the challenge of criticism

Sometimes, a blog comment is so cogent that it desrerves headline billing. In the following case, Origenes brilliantly rises to that level in responding to frequent critic, CR. So, from the moral grounding thread: Origenes, 268:>>CR @ CR: My point was and has continues to be: how does a proposition obtain the status of being “already true” before reason has its say? No, that is not your point at all. Your “point” is that every proposition is fallible. According to you, it can never be settled whether a proposition is true or false — “no proposition is immune to criticism.” One problem with this is that certain propositions are obviously immune to criticism. Here you apply a little trick: by Read More ›

Can morals be grounded as objective knowledge (and are some moral principles self-evident)?

In a current thread, objector JS writes: >>ALL morals that we have, regardless of the source, regardless of whether they are objective or subjective, are filtered through humans. As such, we can never be absolutely sure that they are free from error. All of your “moral governance”, “reasoning and responsibility“, “self referential”, “IS-OUGHT” talking points are just that. Talking points. They are not arguments against what I have said about the fact that ALL purported moral actions are open to be questioned. Unless, of course, you suggest that we shouldn’t use the reasoning capabilities that we were given. >> This is of course reflective of common views and agendas in our civilisation and so it is appropriate to reply, taking Read More ›

The problem of virtue-signalling social permission to target and bully scapegoated groups

This is where we now are as a civilisation: >>A Salvation Army bell ringer in California had been beaten in front of a Walmart because he wanted to spread joy this holiday season. Rev. Jamie Wolfe Sr., the man ringing the bell, told CBS Sacramento that he says “Merry Christmas” to everyone who passes by his donation bucket, but one Grinch managed to knock the joy out of him. “He haymakered me, hit me, got me down on the ground and we started wrestling, at that point I’m fighting for my life,” Wolfe Sr. said. The suspect allegedly carried out the unprovoked attack not for the money, but for his cheer. “Store says they love him and he’s been the Read More ›

Sci-Tech: Apple walks off the edge of the cliff — who’s next?

One of the underlying themes of UD is that we need to be aware of how big, powerful institutions and organisations can go wrong. A typical rhetorical response to that, is to dismiss such concerns as mere ill-founded, empty conspiracist theorising. So, it is appropriate to point out a striking case that shows how easily institutions and organisations can lock in a group think mentality and march right over the cliff: Before reading the Business Insider clip below, ask yourself, do you think that no-one in Apple ever paused and asked whether this was a sound idea? Then, ponder why the firm marched in lockstep right over a cliff like this: >>Apple confirmed a longtime conspiracy theory — and gave Read More ›

The agit prop, spreading lie/slander well-poisoning game

Just now, I responded to a point JM made in the current James Tour thread. I think the comment chain is worth headlining: KF, 14: >> why debate someone when instead: [a] you can ignore, marginalise and rob of publicity? [b] you can caricature, smear, slander and poison the well? [c] you dominate institutions and are utterly ruthless in imposing a crooked yardstick as the standard for straightness and accuracy? (If you doubt me, see the Wiki article on ID. Resemblance to current trends in discussing political issues, policy alternatives and personalities is NOT coincidence.)>> D, 15: >>you have described very accurately the pathetic situation in this world. Facing the strong arguments of a scientist like Dr Tour, the still Read More ›

Clips illustrating the state of Gender Studies

These clips are taken from a video that was recently pointed to by CY and which I (with help of UD) embedded here. We need to ponder what is happening with our civilisation under the impact of evolutionary materialism and its fellow travellers up to and including cultural marxist agendas (also cf. here), so pardon some painful reading: How have we come to a pass such as this? Schaeffer (suitably modified) has a suggestion or two: Where also the seven mopuntains of influence perspective championed by Wallnau et al (again as adapted) may also help us see how the community is shaped by influences such as this branch of cultural marxism, aka “critical studies”: What should we then do? This Read More ›

BTB & FFT: Is it true that “ID has no . . . recognised scientists, predictive qualities, experiments, peer reviewed publications, evidence, or credibility scientifically”?

H’mm, pretty devastating — if true. But, is it true? I doubt it. Let us start with this response to a certain objector who keeps providing lists of typical objector talking points (and who evidently wishes to be able to do so on UD’s nickel, without effective response). Not on our watch, gentilhombre: >>13 kairosfocus May 30, 2017 at 1:17 am F/N: DI’s opening remarks on the annotated list of ID professional literature updated to March 2017: BIBLIOGRAPHIC AND ANNOTATED LIST OF PEER-REVIEWED PUBLICATIONS SUPPORTING INTELLIGENT DESIGN UPDATED MARCH, 2017 PART I: INTRODUCTION While intelligent design (ID) research is a new scientific field, recent years have been a period of encouraging growth, producing a strong record of peer-reviewed scientific publications. In 2011, Read More ›

Tucker Carlson challenges Planned Parenthood

. . . on just what it is that we are killing in the womb: >>“Why are you giving me robotic responses? I’m asking you a human question, and I hope you’ll favor me with a human answer?” That was Tucker Carlson on his primetime Fox News show “Tucker Carlson Tonight” interviewing Planned Parenthood Executive Vice President Dawn Laguens Monday night. Carlson was looking for the answer to a simple question – the most basic, yet profound, question of the entire abortion debate: What exactly is the little “something” with a beating heart, residing in a mother’s womb, that is destroyed during an abortion? Is it a human being, a clump of tissue or something else? . . . . Read More ›

The problem of agit prop street theatre (U/D: UC Berkeley riot footage)

. . . and similar manipulative spin and mob-ocracy games masquerading as truth, news, knowledge/education, etc now clearly needs to be confronted — if we are to think straight and act soundly in good time to avoid going over the cliff as a civilisation: The Parable of Plato’s Cave (and the linked idea of the Overton Window): vid: [youtube d2afuTvUzBQ] . . . has much to teach us in a media-dominated age where manipulators keep trying to push/pull our window of acceptability through deceit, poison, accusation, polarising and more. Especially if we ask ourselves: how does the shadow show come to be, and how is a community so manipulated that it loses contact with objective reality? Acts 27 gives us Read More ›