Posts Tagged ‘AronRa’

Creationist Dirty Tricks: Censorship on YouTube

20 June 2009

For the past year or so, various YouTube channels have been the target of a campaign of censorship by Creationists. THis campaign has consisted of the following:

  • filing false DMCA claims. Filing a false DMCA -wherein an person oo organization claims ownership of a video that they do not really own – is considered perjury and is illegal and the filer can face civil and criminal charges in a court of law;
  • False flagging. YouTube has a flagging feature which allows users to mark a video as potentially unsuitable for minors to watch or could be a violation of YouTube’s Terms of Service. In theory, a YT moderator is supposed to actually look at the video to confirm this, but due to the large number of videos on the site, it appears that YT simply takes the flaggers’ word for it and marks the video without confirming its content. This has become common knowledge and is an often-used tactic;
  • Down-rating comments. ThHis involves marking a videos comments with a “thumbs-down”. This used to involve marking only the comments that supported the video, but it is far easier to simply mark them all, so the person doing this doesn’t have to read the hundreds or thousands of comments that are posted;
  • Marking comments as Spam. If comment rating is disabled, in order to protect them from the previous tactic, then a user can mark a comment as Spam. With enough marks, the comment is hidden from view, unless some one clicks on Reply. Due to the amount of time it takes to do this, many people might not take that step;
  • Votebotting. This involves using a computer program to rate a video with One Star ratings, in order to prevent the video from appearing in search engines on YouTube. You simply run the program and it goes to each video several times, each time giving it a One Star rating. Supposedly, only registered users can rate a video, but there seems to be a glitch in YT’s system that does allow such programs to function without hinderance. As a result, even though a video may have only a few hundred views, it could still have thousands of One Star ratings. This has become the favored tactic of creationists in their fight against the pro-science (i.e. the side that explains the Theory of Evolution and debunks creationists’ claims) due to the total lack of legal consequences and YouTube’s lack of self-policing, as well as YouTube’s apparent lack of concern that this is even happening.

When YT users, such as Thunderf00t, posted videos calling for viewers to directyl contact YT to complain about the above tactics being used against their channels, YouTube would either ignore the complaints or would retaliate against the channel by suspending them or even closing their account permanently.

As such, the pro-science and atheist channels on YouTube have been censored and harassed with little or nothing they could do in response.

Few Christians have publicly condemned the above tactics being used, as it seeems to make their propagandizing on YT easier by eliminating the opposing side.

As pointed-out by YouTube user cdk007, this camapign of censorship only proves that creationists have no argument against evolution that can stand-up to scientific scrutiny and they must resort to dirty tricks in order to try to win the argument.

However, instead of “winning”, the usage of the above tactics and the failure of the general Christian community on YouTube to condemn them only shows that they have lost the debate and have nothing to bring to the table.

Here is a list of some of the hardest-hit channels on YouTube. feel free to watch their videos and subscribe, if you like:

Thunderf00t
AronRa
Potholer54

DonExodus2
ExtantDodo
AndromedasWake

dprjones
FFreeThinker
djarm67
ThetaOmega
JaguarJ0nes
ZOMGitsCriss
C0ct0pusPrime

These are just a few of the many channels hit by the censorship campaign. You will find links to other channels through them. You can also find a more complete list at the League of Reason webforum.

It seems that creationists have realized that they have no argument against science. So, they have decided to try to silence the opposing side through a cowardly censorship campaign.

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My Thoughts on YouTube User VenomFangX

27 May 2009

If you ever wanted to make a list of the most contoversial YouTube users, you would have to include a young man from Canada who called himself VenomFangX,

Shawn (his real first name, which he openly admitted) is a devout Christian and Creationist. He made numerous videos expounding Creationism, borrowing much of his source material from convicted criminal and former minister Kent Hovind. While Hovind and Shawn may convince those without a scientific backbround, people with scientific educations find such “information” laughable and several YouTube users, posted videos of their own debunking the claims of Shawn, as well as ridiculing him. The most famous groups of video series posted in response to Shawn and other Creationists on YouTube include:

There are, of course, other videos posted by these and other users, but these are the most well-known. Shawn’s initial response to these videos was to attempt to get into “debates” with these posters. However, Shawn’s near-total lack of a scientific education made any sort of debate with him to be a waste of time for the people he challenged and VenomFangX even admitted in one of his videos to Thunderf00t that he simply wanted to try to get Thunderf00t to “get out of his scientific bubble” and get him to try to see the world and universe from Shawn’s perspective. In other words, he wanted to preach Christianity to Thunderf00t in some sort of attempt to convert him. He even asked his subscribers to send messages to Thunderf00t to pressure him into agreeing to watch Shawn’s videos and debate him. However, Thunderf00t rejected the offer.  Shawn’s attempts to contact Thunderf00t and earn his respect seemed to border on the level of an obsessed fanboy, which Thunderf00t found to be rather disturbing and insulting.

While Thunderf00t and the other YouTube users allowed comments and ratings on their videos by anyone, Shawn did not. VenomFangX closed his comments to “approval only”, which meant that only the comments he allowed would be posted and it gave the appearance that everyone who commented on his videos agreed with him. When this point was brought-up, he did not change his practise and he also disabled ratings, so that no one could rate his videos either and neither could anyone post video responses. As such, Thunderf00t nicknamed Shawn “Posterboy from Creationist Stupidity” (PCS) and Shanw has been called PCS by numerous non-Creationists on YouTube ever since.

In an obvious attempt to eliminate the counter-arguments of Thunderf00t and others, Shawn began to file DMCA complaints against over 150 individual videos posted on YouTube. For a time, these videos were removed and a shitstorm of controversy was the result. Shawn tried to claim that “a friend” had filed the DMCAs on his behalf, but this was soon proven to be untrue and Shawn was revealed as the filer of those complaints. This resulted in Thunderf00t calling for Shawn to either shutdown his account for six months or face criminal and/or civil prosecution for his abuse of the DMCA system. At first, Shawn tried to bluff his way out of it, along with encouragement from other Creationists, but eventually was forced to admit his guilt for filing the false DMCAs and lying in an attempt to cover it up.

After receiving this smackdown, Shawn was a bit quieter than he had been before. However, he soon began to find new ways to offend people.

For a few days, Shawn closed his account after claiming that people had obtained his personal information and had threatened his family. Shawn posted a video announcing this, saying goodbye to everyone. However, he did log-into his account over the next few days and eventually returned with a video consisting of clips from his supporters’ videos asking for his return. This bit of drama was derided by his opponents as nothing more than appealing for sympathy.

In one of Shawn’s earliest videos, he appealed for a video camera and soon received one from a supporter. However, in clips of many of his videos, Shawn revealed that he lives in a palacial home with expensive decor, which made such appeals to seem selfish. He was obviously not from a poor family, so was seen as having no business asking for donations of any kind. In my view, even if some one knew that Shawn is from a wealthy family, but still wanted to give him a donation, that was certainly the donor’s choice.

Later, after Shawn claimed to have lost his job at a video store – after having used the store’s equpiment to copy DVDs from Kent Hovind’s organization and playing the DVD “Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed” on the store’s television and giving-away copies of Hovind DVDs to store customers as a way of prostelytizing to store customers – Shawn posted a video asking for people to financially support him so that he could Preach the Gospel as a full-time preacher. Specifically, he asked for at least 500 people to donated $1 each. He said that he would keep $500 for his own use and give anything over the $500 to Sick Kids Hospital. Shawn began to receive donations of more that $5 from several people, including donations of $500 from a couple of individuals, which was far in excess of the $500 he had initially asked for. A YouTube user, ImSoCritical, posted a comment that Shawn should simply put the excess into a savings account to carryover into the next month, rather than giveaway the excess. This account is seen by some, including myself, to be a sockpuppet account that Shawn used to post supportive cooments to himself. Whatever the case may be, Shawn soon abandoned the idea of giving away the money he received in excess of the $500 and began to spend it on other things, whether related to his ministry or not. These expenses included paying for parking at the college he preached at, car expenses and video recording equipment.

When pressure was brought on by people asking why he didn’t donate to the hospital, Shawn’s reply was that he had asked for 500 people to donate $1 each, but he said that, since he had wanted 500 donors, he still had not reached his goal. This flew in direct contradiction of his initially stating that he wanted only $500 per month and instead counted only the number of donors. So, if he received, say, $1000 from 499 people, he did not feel obligated to give any money to charity until he had gotten money from the 500th donor. While he did end-up making donations to various charitable organizations, he did not donate any money to Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto, but instead to other Christian groups.

In response to apparently fraudulent use of the name of Sick Kids Hospital to raise moeny for himself, YT user UNFFwildcard posted this video.

UNFFwildcard’s video was posted both a response to VenomFangX and as a way to raise money for Malaria No More, whose goal; is to supply bed netting for people in Sub-Saharan Africa in an effort to combat the spead of malaria.

This same YT user published further criticism of Shawn here

as well as a Thank You to all YouTube users who have helped in the fundraising drive

Unlike VenomFangX’s donation drive, UNFFwildcard’s effort was fully transparent and you always knew how much money had been raised and exactly where it was going.

Not to let Shawn off-the-hook for what was apparently an an attempt by Shawn to get money from people without having to work for it, another YouTube user lordhathor began his own campaign to interrupt the flow of money into Shawn’s pockets and you can view his playlist here

When Shawn began his donation drive, he stated that he wanted to be a full-time preacher and the donations were simply to financially support him while he did that. He posted videos on his channel showing him witnessing to several students at a local college. This was obviously an attempt by shawn to justify his money-raising and show that he wasn’t simply freeloading on the goodwill of others. Howvever, lordhathor uncovered evidence through an interview with a Christian minister who lives close to Shawn that

  • Shawn was offered an actual job as a missionary with a local church, but turned it down;
  • Shawn’s response to the church that offered him the job that he wasn’t interested in it because he didn’t want to answer to the church’s authorities;
  • Shawn also was not satisfied with the salary offer from the church, since he was making more money than that through his donation drive on YouTube;
  • the videos that showed Shawn converting people to Christianity were actually faked and the people he was preaching to were already Christians and, in some cases, had been so for years;
  • despite Shawn’s claims that he wanted to be a minister, none of the college courses he was taking were related to that occupation.

You can hear the interview on this video

We’ll never know how much money Shawn raised or what he did with it. Ultimately, it doesn’t really matter.

In the end, Shawn posted another video on his channel to say goodbye. In this video he stated, once again, that people – Muslims, in this case – had obtained his personal information and sent threats against his life and the lives of his family members. As such , he was shutting-down his channel and deleting all his videos.

He did this…for a few days.

Shawn then reopened his channel, sans videos, and stated that he was giving his channel and its 26,000+ plus subscribers to another YouTube user, known as GEERUP. GEERUP is known as a rather off-the-wall character on YouTube and had less than 2500 subscribers. Now, with Shawn’s subscribers, he has a wider audience. GEERUP believes in the New World Order conspiracy and posted rather strange videos on his own channel. To his credit, CEERUp does allow comments to be posted on his video and allows comments on the VenomFangX channel, which is something Shawn did not. Time will tell if Shawn’s subscribers remain with GEERUP or will tire of his rantings and strange behavior.

Did Shawn really receive threats agaisnt his life and the lives of his family from Muslims, as he claimed? Personally, I don’t think so.

What I do think happened is this:

  • people reported Shawn’s use of the name of Sick Kids Hospital for the purposes of his money-raising;
  • it became obvious that Shawn had given none of the money he collected to that same hospital and had no real intentions of doing so;
  • copies of the video were sent to the Hospital’s legal division, as well as Canada’s Revenue Service and the Toronto police and an investigation of possible fraud was launched;
  • since Shawn lives with his parents, they became aware of what was happening under their roof when they were contacted by law enforcement and/or Sick Kids Hospital as part of this investigation;
  • Shawn’s parents, whom he lives with, were unaware of what he was doing until this contact was made. Since Shawn is over 18, they are not responsible for him or his actions previous to contact. However, now that they became aware, they are now responsible to prevent any further misuses of the name of Sick Kids Hospital by their son while he lives in their home;
  • rather than face criminal and/or civil repurcussions for the actions of their son, as well as damage to their reputations in the community, Shawn’s parents forced him to shutdown his YouTube channel and close his website.

Shawn made one last appeal for people who still wanted to send him money via his Paypal account. It’s anyone’s guess as to how successful this will be for him. For most of us,”Out of sight, out of mind” is how we are and while some of his subscribers will want to help him out, I think that when enough time passes, Shawn will be forgotten by most of his former followers and the money will stop coming in, if it does at all.

Ultimately, here is my assessment of Shawn:

  1. Shawn grew-up in a well-to-do family and his parents indulged him with gifts of expensive items;
  2. Shawn became a Christian recently and became a follower/admirer of Kent Hovind;
  3. Since Shawn was doted-on by his family, he has a strong need for attention and admiration from people around him;
  4. Shawn does not like being criticized by anyone for any reason and reacts badly to it;
  5. Shawn also has a vindictive nature, looking for ways that he can strike back at his detractors with little risk to himself for his actions;
  6. Shawn is a coward and when caught doing illegal or immoral things, will try to bluff or threaten his way out of them;
  7. When Shawn does not receive admiration, he will try to gain sympathy from others. He will settle for people feeling sorry for him, if they cannot admire him;
  8. When Shawn’s parents told him that he had to earn his own money, Shawn attempted to use the job as a platform to garner followers for himself and converts for his religion;
  9. Shawn was always allowed to do whatever he wanted to by his parents and was upset that his employers would not do the same;
  10. Shawn does not like having to work for a living and wanted to find a way to receive money without having worked for it;
  11. Shawn will try to use either people’s admiration or sympathy for him to get money for himself;
  12. He views whatever money he gets as his own money and will be loathe to give it up to anyone for any reason that does not benefit him in some fashion;

Basically, Shawn is just a selfish little punk kid who never had to earn his own money and he discovered that some people would give him money if he asked for it. He’s a lazy piece of shit who doesn’t want to break a sweat on a job and would rather spend his days playing on a computer and living the same carefree life he did when he was a child. Because his parents indulged him, he expects the rest of the world to do the same and he just can’t stand it that we all don’t line-up to kiss his ass.

Finally, it seems that his parents may have realized what a selfish little shit they raised and have taken some belated action to rein him in before he ends-up in prison or the family gets sued. I hope that they sat him down and gave him a good talking-to about how he risked their family’s reputation for his schemes.

Now, I would view this all differently if Shawn lived on his own and appealed for donations from people without mentioning Sick Kids Hospital or any other legitimate charity as a form of leverage to get people to send him money. If he wanted to ask for money on his own and people gave it to him, then I really don’t care. People give money to fake preachers all the time.

But, his use of a legitimate charity’s name to raise money for himself so that he could continue a life of leisure without doing a bit of real work for it just burned me up.

Shawn isn’t even 25 years old yet. I hope the little shit grows-up before his actions land him in criminal or civil court facing real consequences for his nonsense.

He’ll be back, I think. When he’s not getting anymore donations and he feels a need for attention-whoring, he’ll come back to YouTube or some other forum and try to pickup where he left off.

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Creationist Dirty Trick: Masquerading As Some One Else

6 January 2009

If I had a website, using my real name of an intenet alias commonly associated with me, as the URL, people would think that the website was really mine and the views expressed on it were, in fact, my own.

That may be the heart of the reason some dirty mutherfrakker has created a website using the name of well-known (on YouTube, anyway) evolution apologist and pro-science advocate AronRa.

The website http://aronra.com was created on 14 November 2008 and it was done by an individual who chooses to remain anonymous. The domain is registered via GoDaddy.com and the registrant is Domains By Proxy (a subsidiery of GoDaddy), a service that allows you to own a domain with only the company you purchased the domain from to know who you are. Supposedly, this protects the website owner from spammers and other vile scum who try to contact you in some way.

The website is a crationist/Christian website founded as part of the “Atheist vs Christian” conflict and was doubtlessly founded by some creationist butt-muncher that had encountered AronRa on YouTube and didn’t like what he/she/it saw and heard.

Really nice way to “take a stand for the Lord”, don’t you think? I thought that Christians were supposed to be unafraid of the World, which is supposed to be under the control of Satan, the Father of Lies. But, it seems that concealing one’s identity and attempting to co-opt the identity of another is perfectly okay, as long as you do it in the Name of Jesus.

I am reminded of this verse from Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians,

“Be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.

Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.

And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints”
Ephesians 6:10-18

I put the parts about “truth” and “righteousness” in bold text in order to pose the question to the registrant of the website: what part of truth and righteousness is covered by registering your website under some one else’s username? It’s just a question and it’s one I’m dying to hear the answer for.

This isn’t the first item out of the dirty tricks bag that creationists have pulled – the most famous being the filing of false DMCA claims against videos posted by evolution defenders. But, it is one of the most cowardly. After all, when you file a DMCA claim, the targeted person does discover who the petitioner is and can react accordingly.

As far as damaging AronRa’s reputation as a strong advocate of science and as an atheist, I feel that this website’s total effect upon his reputation will come to a grand total of zero effect and Epic Fail.

AronRa already lists his website on his YouTube homepage and is located at http://LocoLobo.org where you can learn a lot about evolution and the classification of lifeforms.

Unlike the putz-smoker that registered AronRa.com, the real AronRa does let everyone know, not only where he goes to university, but also what he studies and he even provides his email address.

Odd how people who supposedly support the life-changing faith of the Bible and Jesus, are some of the most duplicitous scumbags you’ll ever meet.

Frakk you, you frakking frakkers!

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Laymen’s Guide in Debunking Creationism

5 January 2009

Lack an advanced degree in science, but want to know how you can respond to creationists?

Want to know if what creationists are telling you is true or not?

Or do you just want to know more about Life, the Universe & Everything?

Well, I have decided to collect every video series that I can find on YouTube that debunks creationists claims and post them on this blog entry.

This list will grow as I update it with new listings. However, I will mention the updates in future blog posts.

Watching all of these videos would take days, even weeks. But, after you’ve seen them, you will have a much better knowledge of science and how creationists are full of Bantha poodoo.

Here they are:

Creation Astronomy Propaganda (CrAP) Debunked
by AndromedasWake

Foundational Falsehoods of Creationism
by AronRa

Evidence FOR Evolution and Against Creationism
by cdk007

Origins the Series
by cdk007

Why Young Earth Creationists Must DENY Gravity
by cdk007

Creationist Dishonesty
by DonExodus2

Evolution Proven Beyond Reasonable Doubt
by DonExodus2

God, Darwin, and Design – Ken Miller

by DonExodus2

How Evolution Works
by DonExodus2

Transitional Fossils I and II
by DonExodus2

Way of the Master- Lies and Ignorance Exposed
by DonExodus2

From Big Bang to Us — Made Easy
by potholer54

Debunking Hovind – The Age Of The Earth
by ThetaOmega

Intelligent Design Is Not Science
by ThetaOmega

evolution vs creationism (some videos are not functioning in this playlist)
by Thunderf00t

Why do people laugh at creationists?
by Thunderf00t

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Evolution vs Creationism in Texas BoE

3 January 2009

Final draft on science standards pleases scientists, watch groups

First, I would like to thank YouTube user AronRa for much of the background information that appears in this blog.

Creationists appear to have had limited  success with injecting their agenda into the current curriculum of the public school system in the State of Texas. But, that was only after a long and difficult road to arrive at our final situation.

The chief issue was what creationists refer to as the “weaknesses” and “limitations” of scientific evidence for evolution. Naturally, they are often unable to specifically state what those “weaknesses and limitations” really are, beyond that they disagree with their religious beliefs. When the religious Right attempted to put such wording into the cirriculum, it was removed, then put back in after a public hearing that attracted over 200 speakers and then removed in the final draft. Dan Quinn with the Texas Freedom Network, an Austin-based nonprofit group that opposes religious influence on public education, states that with the references to any supposed weaknesses removed, supernatural explanations will have no place in public school education in Texas.

One problem with even getting the Texas BoE to come up with a curriculum for science education is that the Board is essentially controlled by the Religious Right.

Two of its members – David Bradley and Cynthia Noland Dunbar, both Republicans – are college drop-outs who homeschool their children, thus their children are not covered by the BoE’s guidelines. You have to wonder why they even ran for a seat on the Board, other than to inject their personal religious beliefs into the school curriculum. Mr Bradley, who is actuallly the vice-chairman, considers critical thinking to be nothing more that “gobbledy-gook”, which is quite revealing as the nature of the inner workings of his own mind.

Another member, Gail Lowe, has openly stated that she will oppose any textbook that attributes global warming to human activity. Not because of any scientific evidence, but because of the fact that she has openly stated that she will oppose any measure that is not supported by social conservatives.

One person who can be credited with achieving conservative Republic control of the BoE is Texas multi-millionare Joseph Leininger. He injected hundreds of thousands of dollars into the campaign with the stated goal of putting conservatives on the Board and succeeded in getting the two top slots occupied with such people, especially the chairman, Don McLeroy, who considers evolution to be vital to understanding the social sciences, but not the biological sciences, which naturally contradicts what evolution is, being that it is all about the biological sciences and that over 800 Texas scientists signed a document stating that teaching evolution is vital to understanding all the biological sciences. Mr McLeroy considers evolution as only an opinion, not as scientific concensus, and that “opinions” (i.e. evolution) should not be taught as fact.

This is what happens when people who are not scientists and have limited knowledge of science try to tell the rest of us what science even is.

Think it couldn’t get any worse? Think again.

Back in October, the conservatives on the BoE nominated three people to sit to the six-member panel of professional scientists that later reviewed the draft Texas science standards that had been written by workgroups of Texas science teachers and scientists. That first group had taken references to “weaknesses” out of the curriculum. Two of the people selected by the conservative-controlled Board were Stephen Meyer and Ralph Seelke, who had previously co-authored a textbook of their own, called “Exploring Evolution“, which itself contained four known scientific falsehoods in its introduction. Neither of these men are from Texas and Meyer is the vice chairman of the creationist Discovery Institute and Seelke os a professor of biology at the University of Wisconsin who travels around the USA testifying in front of government bodies in the attempt to have creationism/intelligent design taught in America’s public school system.

Is there any reason, beyond a blatantly political and religious agenda, why these two non-Texans would be selected to be on a panel discussing the science curriculum for the Texas public school system? Obviously not, especially when Texas has an ample supply of fully-qualified scientists of its own?

Meyer and Seelke are the kind of people Southerners would refer to as “carpet-baggers”, individuals from out-of-state who come there to take control, in whole or in part, of a Southern government to attain some sort of financial or political power for themselves at the expense of the people of that State.

However, the final proposal has been shown to be more science-friendly and references to any sort of scientific “debate” over the validity of the Theory of Evolution have been watered-down or removed.

The current situation in Texas regarding the teaching of evolution isn’t unique. It happened before in Kansas, where religious conservatives took control of a school system, molded it to conform to their own agenda and beliefs, being backed by wealthy conservatives and Christian money-generating machines whose only goal is not to advance the quality of education in America, but to further their own agenda and remove any and all references to scientific findings which their religious opinions do not agree with. The voters in Kansas removed the anti-science Board members, but the voters in Texas don’t seem to mind having a bunch of scientific illiterates deciding what science is and what it is not.

Things may be looking up in the Lone Star State. But, I’m willing to be good money that this won’t be the last controversy to come out of the current school board.

After all, despite this final draft being  put together, there is no guarantee that the Board will even accept it.

Yeah, you read that right. After all meetings, committees, hearings, public input, etc. the Texas Board of Education could simply frakking ignore the final report and put forward an agenda of their own devising.  After all, they did it once before back in May 2008 with a teacher-recommended language arts curriculum that they discarded in favor of one where some of the Board members say that they had an hour to read it before they had to vote on it.

What you have in Texas is a Board of Education who takes their marching orders from a small group of conservative policy-makers, both from within and outside Texas.  The Texas Board of Education is only one battlefield in the USA, where religious conservatives fight for their agenda, both openly and covertly, in their struggle to remold America in their image.

I’m going to post a blog on the topic of the Religious Right’s war on America in the next few days.

This is going to get uglier before it gets prettier. Believe me.

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Creationist Censorship on YouTube

2 January 2009

Over the past year or so, the following creationist/intelligent design supporters have engaged in a campaign of censorship on YouTube through the filing of false DMCA claims against YouTube videos and accounts who published opinions with which they disagreed:

1) Creation Science Evangelism, the organization founded by Pastor Kent Hovind. Hovind is currently serving time in Federal prison for income tax evasion. By the way, when the Internal Revenue Servive raided the Hovind home, they found about $42,000 in cash stashed, in addition to  a half dozen guns. On the day the IRS searched the Hovind home, Kent withdrew $70,000 from the Creation Science Evangelism account. Half in a check, and half in cash.  

2) Illustra Media, which produces creationist videos. They are the producers of the video “Unlocking the Mystery of Life“, which aired on the Public Broadcasting System in 2003. The executive producer of that video is James W. Adams, president of Discovery Media, and it was produced and directed by Lad Allen and Timothy Eaton. The script was written by Stephen C. Meyer of the Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture and W. Peter Allen.
Illustra Media is directly linked with Discovery Media – which in turn is the successor to the Moody Institute of Science – being that Discovery Media Productions is the registrant of Illustra Media’s website.

3) Answers In Genesis, founded by Ken Ham, which also produces videos on creationism, as well as books and serves as one of the leading creationist organizations in the USA. Pastor Ham had a bit of trouble some years ago, when he was excommunicated from his church after making false accusations of withcraft and necrophilia against a fellow member of the ministry. AiG is the owner of the Creation Science Museum, which features animatronic dinosaurs standing alongside humans, which any credible scientist will inform you is impossible, as dinosaurs died-out millions of years before the earliest humans walked on Earth. If you can show me a dinosaur bone which had been engraved with designs or shaped into a tool by human hands, as bones of mammals had been during the Stone Age, then we can discuss the issue further. Unless you can show me such an item, the debate is closed.

As mentioned in the newspaper, The Australian, in May 2007 Creation Ministries International (CMI) filed a lawsuit against Ham and AiG in the Supreme Court of Queensland seeking damages and accusing him of deceptive conduct in his dealings with the Australian organisation. Members of the ministry were “concern[ed] over Mr Ham’s domination of the ministries, the amount of money being spent on his fellow executives and a shift away from delivering the creationist message to raising donations.”.

Seems like fraud and deception isn’t very uncommon in creationist circles.

4) Another creationist fraudster is YouTube user VenomFangX, who filed over 150 DMCA claims. His abuses continued until his campaign of censorship was brought to an ignonimous end by YouTube user Thunderf00t, as mentioned in a previous blog on this site. VenomFangX was forced to make a public apology, make a full admission of his wrongdoing and promise to never abuse the DMCA complaint system again. In exchange, he escaped criminal and civil charges being brought against him by Thunderf00t and was allowed to keep his YouTube account after Thunderf00t agreed not to report him to YouTube for violating their terms of service.

5) Another creationist group linked to DMCA abuse is a company known as Eternal Publications. Aside from creationism, this company offers resources for people who wish to convert Roman Catholics to Protestantism and links the Catholic Church to the Whore of Babylon mentioned in the New Testament Book of Revelations.

The Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA) was created to protect copyrighted material from being illegally copied and distributed without the consent of the original video’s owner. However, creationists have begun using the DMCA complaint reporting system on YouTube in order to silence those people who post videos criticizing and debunking the views of creationists  (a.k.a. intelligent design advocates) and this reign of censorship had been successful, due to the lack of legal knowledge in the general population.

However, as individual account-holders on YouTube began to fight back by filing counter-notices, the tide of videos being taken-down was halted in many cases.

As of January 1st 2009, the creationist individuals and organizations that have abused the DMCA now face an international coalition of YouTube users who have banded together to fight against false DMCA takedowns and, hopefully, reverse the tide.

As stated in my previous blog on this topic, it is the creationist side of this argument that has a history of abusing the DMCA by filing false claims. The pro-evolution/pro-science side has not engaged in any such behavior that I have seen or even heard of as of today. Creationists have accused their detractors of filing false claims, but have yet to show any proof whatsoever that said events actually occured. In other words: creationists lie by filing false DMCA claims and then lie again when they say that they have been victimized by false DMCA claims themselves.

This is just the latest in creationist antics on YouTube in their efforts to silence the opposition. In the past, bots were used to put “thumbs down” ratings on anti-creationist comments on creationist-debunking videos, in addition to attempts to alter the ratings of each video by giving each of them a One Star rating. Such efforts in the past were relatively harmless and seem not to have met with great success, as those efforts appear to have been discontinued and YouTube responded to complaints by users who had been the targets of these attacks. Furthermore, creationists have blocked comments to their own videos from their detractors, thereby having only supportive comments shown for their videos. They also disable the ratings system to prevent opponents from doing unto them as they have done unto others.

However, the filing of false DMCA claims had a much better rate of success, due to the fact that most people don’t know enough about the law to fight a false claim and may not have the financial resources to hire or consult an attorney. Corporations like Creation Science Evangelism, Eternal Publications, Answers in Genesis and Illustra Media doubtlessly all have attorneys on retainer and can utilize their expertise. VenomFangX, I feel, was simply following their lead, as I doubt he has a lawyer on-staff or the money to hire one. He probably saw the success of the companies misusing the DMCA and simply piled-on.

As of today, that has changed and the collective knowledge and activism of YouTube users, joined as one to fight for Free Speech, will turn the tide of censorship and work to restore Freedom of Speech on YouTube. The YouTube users who have joined together to fight the creationist censorship onslaught are:

  1. AndromedasWake
  2. AronRa
  3. cdk007
  4. djarm67
  5. DonExodus2
  6. dprjones
  7. ExtantDodo whose YouTube account has repeatedly been suspended by individuals and groups filing false DMCA claims.
  8. potholer54
  9. ThetaOmega
  10. Thunderf00t whose success in fighting a false claim was the most publicized of all, resulting in the exposure of the individual who filed the false claim.

Unlike their creationist opponents, each of these ten people have education in advanced sciences at accredited universities. Many creationist lecturers have little or no scientific background, with the exception of Ken Ham, who He has a bachelor’s degree in applied science, with an emphasis on environmental biology. from the Queensland Institute of Technology. The vast majority of creationist lecturers either have no scientific background of any kind or have degrees from non-accredited universities, which is basically the same things as having no science education anyway.

What makes this whole thing so frakking intolerable is that creationists, most of whom are Christian but there are some who are Jewish or Muslim, presume to lecture the rest of us about how we need to convert to their religion in order to live a moral and upright life. However, they will use fraud and deceit to accomplish their goals. Rather than live in a world where opposing viewpoints can coexist and each opinion can be freely heard and judged on its own merits by an informed audience, creationists want only  their opinions in the public eye and will work feverishly to silence those who disagree with them. What makes their abuse of the DMCA so appealing is that if they have an entire account removed, there is no one to expose exactly who filed the DMCA claim in the first place, as few YouTube users possess the email address of their favorite channel-holders. Until this morning, there was no united front to oppose the creationist censorshop machine. Now, that the tide is beginning to turn, creationists could find themselves fighting perjury charges in civil and/or criminal courts around the USA and in other countries.

While preaching the values of morality, decency and virtue, creationist organizations and individuals have conducted a campaign of harassment, intimidation, perjury and libel against those with whom they disagree. They have attempted to create a climate of fear where people would be afraid to speak-out against them, for fear of having the YouTube account closed – wasting all the time and energy they put into creating their videos – as well as the real possibility of becoming a target of harassment in the event that their personal information could be discovered and disseminate among creationism supporters.

Given that such behavior patterns were followed by Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union and other totalitarian regimes both past and present, it doesn’t put the Creationist movement in very good company. But, it seems to be the most appropriate company they could be in.

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