Posts Tagged ‘YouTube’

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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The Healthcare Public Option: Truth vs Lies

17 June 2009

TheYoungTurks is a liberal-leaning news channel on YouTube. They report on a lot of stories that are relevent to political discourse in the USA and around the world. They also report on Hollywood and celebrity news, along with a few stories that feature “who’s more attractive”-type stories. Altogether, it is a very enetertaining channel to subscribe to, although I think that conservative may not like them too much.

Their main website can be found here

http://www.theyoungturks.com/

Here are two of their most recent reports on a national healthvare system being proposed for the USA

The Truth

The Lies

Overall, I think the Young Turks channel is one of the most fun and informative channels that I subscribe to on YouTube.

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Desertphile Debunking HHO Scammers

14 June 2009

YouTube user Desertphile has devoted considerable time to debunking the claims of people who claim that they can use HHO/water-power to run their cars.

If you do a search of “HHO” in his videos, you’ll find more than 40 videos of him debunking the claims of people who claim to be able to run their cars on water, HHO or who use some sort of phony “gasoline-saving” device, which really don’t work. He has even put out a challenge for anyone who claims to be able to get increased miles per gallon with their homemade device. Few such people have accepted his challenge and those who do usually include additional requirements that he fulfill. However, since it was Desertphile who issued the challenge, anyone who accepts has to adhere to the rules he has setdown. Additionally, he has challnged any of these inventors to have their devices tested by a US government-run facility or even by the James Randi Educational Foundation. So far, none have taken him up on it.

In these hard economic times, it isn’t surprising that some unscrupulous people will come out of the woodwork with inventions thay claim to have designed and built, offering people the chance to save precious dollars on gasoline. What people who fall for this scam often fail to realize is that  even if the device works, which they don’t – they will have to drive for weeks or months, expending hundreds of gallons of gasoline, before they device pays for itself and they can finally begin saving money.

I’m no engineer, so I have a hard time understanding much of what Desertphile explains in his videos debunking these scammers. However, he does his best to explain it to such an extent that I can see the points he is bringing-up and understand, basically, what he is talking about.

Essentially, his points boildown to this: if these devices really worked, then trucking firms and local governments would be buying them up in order to save what little money they have. This is especially true of truckers, who have to save as much money as possible in shipping goods across the states and across the country. This is one reason why truckers drive for extended periods of time, often at the risk of their own lives. If truckers could save money by using these devices, then truckers could get more sleep and the safety of the job would be increased.

All these inventors would have to do is take their devices to a government testing facility, get the results and show them to anyone and everyone who is looking into saving money on gasoline. SInce they refuse to have their devices tested, they usually settle for selling their junk on late-night infomercials or via a YouTube video.

Desertphile is one of my favorite YouTubers. He pulls no punches in his condemnation of frauds and scams. This includes his comments regarding Scientology, creationism, HHO, censorship issues and other things.

Four of my favorite videos are of him cooking various things with chilli peppers.

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“9/11 Truth” Conspiracies Debunked, Part Four

12 June 2009

I received several replies to previous entries from “Terry Conspiracy” -who I suspect of being Alex Jones or some one who knows him, since he keeps trying to plug Jones’ website in his replies, even though I delete that part – and his replies consist of a mixture of personal insults directed at me, as well as repeats of previous 9/11 Truther misinformation.

Rather than allow him to dominate the reply section of my blog, much the same way as Colloidal Silver proponents tried to do when I wrote about that, I’m going to reply to some of his points here.

It is obvious to me that Terry has never taken the time to watch any of the videos I have linked to in previous entries. It is apparent that he is fully convinced of a conspiracy and will not entertain even the possibility that he is wrong.

 

    Thermite and Thermate 

 

Nano Thermite: the “scientific paper” which is mentioned by 9/11 conspiracists is actually a Open Access website, which bills itself as a scientific journal. The very fact that this “scientific paper” has not been quoted in any other science journal doesn’t bode well for its accuracy. The OA journal, mentioned in a previous blog, is never quoted by other science journals. In the scientific community, if your paper doesn’t get read, it has no value. If it doesn’t get quoted by other researchers, it is pointless to publish there in the first place. The big hue and cry over this paper is that it tells conspiracists what they want to hear. Never mind all the scientists and engineers who present findings to the contrary, this one paper is all they want to hear about. Thermite was used by the cleanup crews to remove the large metal pieces of the structures that could not be removed as a whole pice. The claim that thermite brought the towers down is not backed-up by survivors, who would have seen thermite burning, as well as the large amount of smoke.

Thermate residue: okay, thermite-theorists say that residue from thermite was found on-site, ergo thermite was used. It goes like this: if A, B, C, and D are all components of X, then X was definitely present. This may be true only if A,B,C and D could come from no other source. Let’s go through what the components of thermite would be and see if there could have been other sources from the WTC site.

Thermate ingrediants and their likely sources from WTC:

  1. iron: found in paint and electronic devices;
  2. sulphur: the third most common construction material in the WTC was gypsum-based drywall, which is 18.62% sulphur.
  3. aluminum: WTC facade, the 767s and vehicles;
  4. potassium: used in concrete;
  5. manganese: used in structural steel, paint, batteries and ceramics;
  6. flourine: used in Freon and 200,000 lbs of Freon cooled the WTC complex, which was the largest air-conditioning system in the USA;
  7. titanium: used in paper and paint, which were very common at the WTC. Both 767s used in the attacks were 2% titanium and WTC7 was clad in polished steel and titanium;

So, all seven items from this list were already common at the WTC site prior to the attacks.

About 2 billion pounds of dust covered Lower Manhatten after 9/11. Steven Jones, one of the authors of the “study” estimated that it would have taken 1000 pounds of thermate to bring down each tower, for a total of 3000 pounds of thermate. Since thermate is 2% sulphur. that means 60 pounds of sulphur would be used. Based on Jones’ estimates, the WTC dust would have consisted of 0.000003% sulphur. But, USGC tests showed that the dust consisted of 5.4% sulphur. Where did all that extra sulphur come from?

Okay, if you assume that thermate was used to bring down the towers, then a good way to make that conclusion would be to find the residue of thermate in the WTC dust. This residue is only caused by the use of thermate and there would be no other way to explain its presence. The two main byproducts of thermate use are:

  1. aluminum oxide (41%)
  2. barium nitrate (29%)

What shootsdown the idea that thermate was used to bring down the towers is that neither of these elements was found either by the USGS or by Steven Jones himself. Finding aluminum is not the same as finding aluminum oxide, which has three oxygen atoms.

So, while we can find all seven component elements of thermate at the WTC site, we can easily explain their presence. However, 9/11 Truthers cannot explain the absence of the residue of thermate use at the site. If they could not find aluminum oxide and barium nitrate at the WTC site, then no thermate use occurred. It would be impossible to use thermate to bringdown the WTC towers without leaving traces of these two elements.

Lack of aluminum oxide + lack of barium nitrate = no thermate used at WTC.

Attack on the Pentagon on 9/11

I know I’m wasting my time expecting Terry to watch a video, since he obviously never has. But, you can see the actual damage caused by the 757 as it made its way to the Pentagon, which included:

  1. knocking down a lamp post, which damaged a taxi cab;
  2. knocked down another lamp pole, which fell near some trees;
  3. a third lamp pole being struck caused the light fixture to enter starboard engine intake;
  4. a fourth lightpole was struck, which caused the engine to billow smoke;
  5. a fifth lampost was struck and knocked-down; and
  6. a generator and ground structure were struck and damaged right before the plane hit the building.

All of these are outlined, along with photographs in the following video

If the Pentagon were hit by a missle, as conspiracists like to claim, then how did a missle knockdown all those lamposts, the generator and the ground structure? A missle would have bypassed all of these and simply hit the building.

Despite what 9/11 Truthers claim, there was a lot of  wreckage found at the site of the attack, including airplane debris and personal items of the passengers. Pieces of the 75 fouund after the attack included portions of the fuselage, landing gear, doors, engine parts, and the cockpit.

As far as the damage to the building, as compared to the actual size of the jet, the body of a 757 measures 12 feet, four inches wide. Measurements of the hole indicate that it is about 18 feet wide. Considering how the plane entered the building at an angle, the proportions match-up pretty well. Damage from the wings impacting the Pentagon can be seen in the video linked above.

Despite claims that the building wall is 9 feet of reinforced concrete, the exterior wall is actually only 18 inches thick at the impact site.

Conclusion

You know, I could go on all day with this. But, I don’t have the inclination or time.

Conspiracy theorists believe what they want anmd will not accept any evidence to the contrary. I would like to respond to this statement from Terry Conspiracy

spyderblog, you should retract & apologize or lose all credibility in my eyes.

Terry, in my eyes, you don’t have any credibility of any kind. You refused to watch any of the videos whose links I have provided and I think you were simply looking for a new convert to your cause. You people cherry-pick isolated items and tout them as evidence, when they really aren’t evidence.

I will not retract and I have nothing to apologize for, to you or anyone else.

Believe what you want, but I think the 9/11 “Truth” movement is losing steam and will hopefully soon be relegated along with the conspiracy theories of reptile men and fake moon landings.

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“9/11 Truth” Conspiracies Debunked, Part Three

8 June 2009

One claim to supposedly prove the views of 9/11 Truthers is that remains of nanothermite were found in the soil around Ground Zero. They support this claim by stating that a scientific paper on the subject, “Active Thermitic Material Discovered in Dust from the 9/11 World Trade Center Catastrophe”, was published in the Open Chemical Physics Journal, which is an Open Access online journal published by Bentham Science Publishers. It claims to be a “peer-reviewed journal” whose aim is to “provide the most complete and reliable source of information on current developments in chemical physics”.

It is interesting to note that the chief editor of this publication, Professor Marie-Paule Pileni,  resigned following the publication of the article by Danish chemist Niels Harrit.

Among her reasons was that the paper was published without notifying her and that it deals on a topic unrelated to chemical physics or physical chemistry. Stating,

“I was in fact in doubt about them before, because I had on several occasions asked about information about the journal without having heard from them. It does not appear on the list of international journals, and that is a bad sign. Now I can see that it is because it is a bad journal”, says Marie-Paule Pileni and continues:

“There are no references to the Open Chemical Physics Journal in other articles. I have two colleagues who contributed to publishing an article which was not cited anyplace either. If no one reads it, it is a bad journal, and there is not use for it”, is the harsh verdict.

One thing that lends credibility to any scientific paper is when either it or the journal in which it appears is cited in other scientific journals and Open Chemical Physics Journal is never cited in other scientific journals. A journal’s reputation partly hinges on how often it is cited in other journals of the same venue.

Even on their webpage, listing their Endorsements, only one of the quotes provided even mentions Bentham by name. The rest only give their individual endorsements to Open Access Journals.

Now, what people seem to be misunderstanding about scientific journals is that they appear to believe that is something appears in a scientific journal, then it is an official endorsement by the scientific community that the conclusions of the published article. Actually, it is not.

What an article actually does is it puts the conclusions of the researcher out there for other members of the scientific community to read and attempt to either verify or disprove the conclusions presented in the article. If other researchers can replicate the experiments and come to the same conclusions, then the viewpoint of the original author can be considered accepted by the scientific community. If other researcher cannot replicate the results, then the paper and its conclusions are marginalized and eventually ignored.

That’s it. Just because something appears in a scientific journal does not mean that it it accepted as completely factual by scientists. It simply means that the article got through that particular journals peer-review panel. The fact that Open Chemical Physics Journal is never cited by other publications in the same field, does not appear on any list of scientific journals for chemistry and its own editor resigned after the article was published does not bode well for this journal.

If you want a better explanation of the Scientific Method and the role of peer review journals, watch this video by potholer54.

Okay, a few questions I have about the article, a complete copy of which I cannot find beyond the synopsis and I quote from it, specifically the portion detailing how the tested samples were collected

One sample was collected by a Manhattan resident about ten minutes after the collapse of the second WTC Tower, two the next day, and a fourth about a week later.

I’m no scientist, but this paper was published eight years after the 9/11 Attacks and its sample were collected over a period of a week by three different people. The samples were not collected by the authors of the paper, so there is not accountability for how the samples were collected and how they were stored between the time they were collected and when they were tested, which are topics that would come up in peer review.

There is no archive from the website itself for me to study and I’m not a chemist.

But, I think all the hoopla over this paper in the 9/11 Truth movement shows one reason why some real scientific journals oppose Open Source. People also oppose Wikipedia because it is Open Source where anyone can access it, so they doubt Wikipedia’s credibility.

So, let another group of chemists collect samples and test them. This is the replication phase of peer review. If another group of researchers can collect samples and achieve the same results, then we could have something to talk about.

This is one problem I have with the 9/11 Truth movement: it doesn’t matter if a real scientific journal details how the towers fell, showing documentation as how their conclusions were reached and it doesn’t matter if

    thousands

of engineers disagree with what the 9/11 Truth movement thinks. If just one group, consisting on a total of nine people tells them what they want to hear and those nine people write an article that appears in a self-proclaimed “scientific journal”, then they will go with the minority and discount what thousands of other experts say on the subject.

This shows the basic dishonesty of the 9/11 Truth movement. They only believe what they want to believe and will discount any opposing viewpoints. You could show them all the proof there is and they still won’t be convinced. You could build a time machine and take them back to the event itself and it wouldn’t change their minds.

I understand that there will always be people out there who won’t trust official explanations and sometimes that a healthy thing for a democracy. But, in the case of the 9/11 Truthers, it’s just sad and pathetic.

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“9/11 Truth” Conspiracies Debunked, Part Two

6 June 2009

In the comments section for the first entry on this topic, someid4 wrote this:

All I can say is, you obviously have not done your homework!

Please tell me, If 9/11 was pulled off by guys in caves, like the government wants us to believe….. then which one of the guys in the cave got NORAD to “stand down”?

What about the thermite?

I feel so bad for the people who fall for this “false-flag” government deception….9/11 happened to bring about the “patriot act”….”homeland security”….PERIOD.

I must say you “de-bunked” 9/11 about as good as Glen Beck “de-bunked” FEMA camps……oh thats right, he DIDNT!

Well, if you had taken the time to watch RKOwen4’s videos, you would have seen his evidence debunking these pet theories of the “9/11 Truthers”.

Realizing that not everyone has the time or inclination to look for a debunking of their favorite theory, I have decided to do the work for you.

“NORAD Stand Down Order” Debunked

Dick Cheney Never In Charge of NORAD

Norman Mineta – No Stand Down Order

NORAD “Stand Down” Disproven

Claims About Thermite Debunked

Thermate Chemical Signatures Disproven

Columns Cut not by Thermite

“Molten Metal” Explained

No Pools of Molten Steel

So, it looks like one of us hasn’t done his “homework”, but that person isn’t me.

It was you.

I understand that there are some people out there making their money by selling books, DVDs, tapes, CDs, magazines, etc expounding the 9/11 Truth movement’s diatribe.

If more people realizing that the 9/11 Truth movement is full of crap takes money out of their pockets, then that’s just too bad.

Class dismissed.

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“9/11 Truth” Conspiracies Debunked

6 June 2009

I’ll always be amazed at how some people can take an event, seen by hundreds, even thousands, and tell us that what we saw wasn’t what really happened. There’s always some “hidden truth” behind it that only a select few know about.

The 9/11 Truth Movement is one of these. People are out there, speaking in front of audiences, writing books, appearing on braodcast media, etc. and expounding their conspiracy theories about the “truth” behind the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon on September 11, 2001. Even worse, these people are making money for themselves and furthering dark agendas of their own, using the 9/11 Truth Movement as a money-making venture in order to finance other projects or simply to make themselves wealthy.

There are always other people out there who do their best to debunk these conspiracy theories, but they don’t get nearly the same sized audience and the 9/11 Truthers.

If you are tired of hearing the shrill whines of the 9/11 Truthers and would like to hear the other side of the issue, I suggest that you pay a visit to the YouTube channel of  RKOwens4 and have a look at his debunking of individual conspiracy theories put out there by the 9/11 Truth Movement.

So far, he has only 1,807 subscribers, but he has fifty-six videos for you to watch, weigh the evidence and make your own conclusions.

Of all the parts of the 9/11 Conspiracies, the events surrounding the attack on the Pentago often come up, especially the theory that it was a missle, and not a commercial jet liner, that struck the Pentagon that day. Numerous videos on the channel debunk these claims, citing evidence that is readily availble to anyone who wishes to see it.

One claim that is debunked in a very powerful video is the one where it is said by 9/11 truthers that the WTC Towers both collapsed at free-fall speeds. In other words, they supposedly fell at the exact same speed as an obejct would have fallen after having been dropped from the top of the towers. The speed at which the towers were to have fallen has been claimed to be nine seconds. SO, if an obeject fell from the same height as either tower, it would have taken nine seconds to reach the ground. This is claimed to be the same speed that both towers collapsed. However, as the video clearly shows, using film footage of the collapses, the North Tower took 22.02 seconds and the South Tower 15.28 seconds. You can see the video below. I must warn you that it is a very difficult video to watch, especially the scene showing firefighters in the lobby of the South Tower.

Many of us feel traumatized by the 9/11 Attacks, which were the worst terrorist attacks to ever occur on US soil. That fact makes it so much more deplorable that people would use such a horrific day to line their own pockets or futher some sort of agenda.

On RKOwens4‘s channel, you will see individual 9/11 conspiracies challenged and exposed one at a time, citing evidence that is readily available to anyone, so you can look at the evidence for yourself, if you care to do so.

Only by exposing the lies of the 9/11 Truth Movement can we take away any kind of credibility that too many people have given them.

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ArmofAllah: the Fake Muslim on YouTube

2 June 2009

YouTube user coughlan666 was recently accused of filing a DMCA against YT user fakesagan, resulting in his channel closure. Coughlan666 denies this and I believe him, since that is not the practise of coughlan666 to attempt to silence his critics through the DMCA. He will simply respond with a video of his own.

He was also accused by YT user ArmofAllah of DMCAing a video of his, which coughlan666 also denies and ArmofAllah appears to have accepted his denial.

This is just the latest bit of drama on YouTube, along with the votebotting, false-flagging and DMCAs flying-around the place as people lash-out against each other and try to get videos deleted or just make their lives difficult.

However, I became interested in YT user ArmofAllah for several reasons. On the surface, he claims to be a Muslim. His video that was DMCAd included his attacking coughlan666 from an apparently Muslim point of view and calling for coughlan666 to become a Muslim. While YouTube does have Muslim users, I don’t think that ArmofAllah is one of them. In fact, I think that ArmofAllah is a troll, more likely a sockpuppet account, of some one with a cursory knowledge of Islam and this account is being used to stir-up drama on YouTube and make Muslims look bad.

This is not an unusual occurance. Former YT user VenomFangX blamed Muslims for shutting-down his account by sending death threats to him and his family at their home. There is no proof, of any kind, that such threats were ever made.

Back to ArmofAllah.

I am going to lay-out my case as to why I think that this YT user is not really a Muslim and the account was only created for the purposes of stirring-up drama and making Muslims look bad on YouTube. Since the original video is gone, you can see clips of it on this video

  • Normally, when a Muslim mentions the Name of Allah, they include the acronym “swt”, which stands for “subhana wa ta’ala”, which means “his Name be praised” or “glory be to Him”;
  • the traditional Arabic rendering of the Prophet’s name is not “Mohammed”. this is an English rendering. the Arabic fashion is closer to the Arabic pronounciation and is “Muhummad”;
  • when the name of the Prophet is written or spoken, the words “peace be upon him” are supposed to immediately follow, or the acronym “pbuh” or the Arabic “salalahu alayhi wa salaam” or the acronym “saws” or (saws);
  • a rather minor point is that nowhere in the video does ArmofAllah quote the Qur’an (aka Quran) or any of the Hadith (oral sayings of Muhummad). I would think a Muslim would, at least, quote either of them once to bolster his point.

Without these terms following the Name of Allah or the Prophet, it seems more lilely that the ArmofAllah is really some one pretending to be a Muslim. Granted this job seems convincing to some one who has little real exposure to Muslims, but to some one who knows a lot of Muslims (like I do), it seems like either ArmofAllah is either a rather careless Muslim or is some one doing their best to pretend to be Muslim.

I will grant that none of this is definitive. But, in my mind casts serious doubt as to the identity of the ArmofAllah and his real religion

After looking at ArmofAllah’s channel, I became absolutely certain that he is not a Muslim. My points:

  • in a reply to a comment on his video “All back of the bus”, he makes quotes from the Qur’an.
  • [19:68] By your Lord, we will certainly summon them, together with the devils, and will gather them around Hell, humiliated.

    [19:69] Then we will pick out from each group the most ardent opponent of the Most Gracious.

    [19:70] We know full well those who are most deserving of burning therein. “

    I thought something was wrong when it appeared that the verses appeared to be copypasta’d from an online version and I found it here
    http://www.submission.org/suras/sura19.htm

    This translation was done by a Dr Rashad Khalifa, who claims to have found a numerical miracle in the Qur’an with the number 19. Rashad Khalifa also claimed to be a Messenger of Allah, a title normally exclusively reserved to those people that Islam says were actually Allah’s chosen Prophets. Furthermore, the translation is called “Authorized English translation of the Quran”. There is no “authorized version” and most Muslims are aware of this. there are good translations -such as Yusuf Ali or Pickthall – and bad ones, but no “authorized version” since there is no body that can “authorize” one. A non-Muslim might be impressed with the title claiming to be authorized, but not a Muslim. A Muslim knows better, or they should know better.

  • in the video title “You almost made a Muslim swear, but Allah forgives you.” points-out a serious breach of Islamic practise. While a Christian might tell some one that God forgives them or God has forgiven them, a Muslim would never say such a thing. Muslims believe that Allah forgives who He will and no person, besides the Prophets, can claim to speak for Him. To tell some one that Allah forgives them is blasphemy, when no person really knows if Allah forgives some one or not,
  • in his channel comments section, ArmofAllah makes this statement in reply to another comment where it removes all doubt from my mind

“Because Allah spoke to me and told me my path is true.

Peace “

    Christians claim that God spoke to them all the time. A Muslim cannot make any such claim and still be a Muslim. To claim that Allah spoke to him, ArmofAllah is claiming to be a Prophet and Muslims believe that Muhummad was the last of all prophets sent to humanity. Therefore, ArmofAllah is claiming to be the equal of Muhummad, Jesus, Moses and all other Prophets that Islam says that Allah sent to humanity.In Islam, ArmofAllah would be considered a heretic, deserving of death for such claims.

So, there it is, my case against YT user ArmofAllah.

I left out the fact that the very name of the channel “Arm of Allah” might be considered presumptuous by Muslims. It might be acceptable for a Muslim to claim to be the “sword of Allah” (sayfullah) or something similar. It might be considered quite blasphemous to actually be considered an actual part or appendage of Allah, such as calling yourself the Eye of Allah. Muslims just don’t do that sort of thing.

As pointed-out by YT user Vogter2100, ArmofAllah also has video channels where he uses the name PalmsofAllah. Which shows how decidedly unIslamic the channel is and how little the channel owner really knows about Islam.

Muslims have a bad reputation, on YouTube and in the media. I think that sockpuppet accounts like ArmofAllah just make the situation worse than it already is and I would hope that real Muslims would stand-up to people like this.

People like VenomFangX and ArmofAllah (who I truely believe is YT user Brett Keane) seem to like using Muslims to take the heat for them when they screw-up or as a way to divert attention away from themselves. Using Muslims as a whipping-boy, rather than standing-up for yourself, is cowardly in the extreme.

Update for 3 June 2009: the YouTube channels of ArmofAllah and PalmsofAllah. have been closed. Since the channels were not suspended, it appears that ArmofAlllah/PalmsofAllah closed the channels himself.

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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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Militant Veganism

4 May 2009

In case people think, due to my last post, that I am somehow opposed to protecting animals from cruel treatment: I am fully in support of laws to protect animals from cruel treatment by humans.

Partly, I support such laws because when people are cruel to animals, they tend to extend that behavior to other people. Some one who beats their dog or cat is probably going to take a swing at me if I get them mad enough and they are more likely to take that swing if they have a history of animal abuse.

Furthermore, I support protecting animals from abuse because it is a mark of civilized behavior for people to be concerned for the welfare of animals over whom they have power. The more humane we are to animals, the better people we are as a whole.

Some people take that a step further and become vegetarians or even vegans, feeling that it is immoral to kill animals for food. That’s fine with me. But, I have a problem with people for whom their vegetarianism or veganism is some kind of fucking religion and that all meat-eaters (actually, omnivores) are immoral, evil scum because we eat animal flesh. I used to hangout at a local store that caters to vegans and I would hear the daily rants against the eating of meat. It seemed that becoming a vegetarian/vegan was like a religion, with its own group of fundamentalists out to spread the word even to those who didn’t wish to hear it. Instead of the “you’re going to Hell” argument, I’d hear the “you’re murdering innocent animals” argument, which did nothing to convince me, though it might have convinced some.

Most people don’t like the idea that we are being cruel to the helpless, especially animals and most Americans have never killed an animal that they would go on to eat later. One of my earliest memories was seeing my uncle slaughter a rabbit for the family dinner to be held later that night. I didn’t eat any rabbit, but I don’t remember if it was because of personal choice or because there simply wasn’t enough to go around.

One YouTube user who engaged in the “meat-eaters are evil” tirade is a young man named Onision. For awhile, his videos consisted of the omnivore-bashing that I had heard years ago, so I took little interest in his channel and didn’t watch more than a few of his videos. Other users took exception to his rants and released videos of their own. I understand that Onision even engaged in a bit of DMCA filing against users he felt had illegally copied portions of his videos, despite such actions being covered by Fair Use. I am not aware of the outcome of these filings, having taken little interest in it. Later, Onision admitted that he was an actor and that he had been playing a role. Being a YouTube Partner, he made money as his videos got more views. A good way to generate publicity for himself and make a buck. But, his latest video consists of him whining that he is receiving hate mail from other users, as well as his still  being the subject of videos made by other users.

Oh, and he’s also upset that people are mispronouncing his name. Whatever.

Kind of hard to put the genie back in the bottle, Onision. You wanted all the publicity and now you have it. Deal with it and stop whining.

A bit more radical than simple YouTUbe rants are the animal libertation groups, like Animal Liberation Front (ALF) and Earth Liberation Front (ELF) both of whom have found themselves on lists of extremist organizations compiled by law enforcement agencies, including the FBI here in the United States. Both encourage people to become vegans, I guess because raising cows for milk and chickens for eggs somehow counts as enslavement. I wonder what these cows and chickens would be doing if people didn’t at least need them around for that.

Both ALF and ELF have websites where the latest “Direct Actions” against people and companies that are seen as exploiting animals or harming the environment are featured. ANything from simple vandalism to outright arson get mentioned without the slighest hint of condemnation from the webhosts. Despite the fact that no person is usually harmed by their actions doesn’t remove the fact that property was destroyed and people have, in fact, been threatened with serious bodily harm.

One of the most obvious cases of a radical animal rights group being their own worst enemy is the case of Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty (SHAC) whose primary target is Huntington Life Sciences, which is a contract animal-testing company founded in 1952 in England, now with facilities in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire and Eye, Suffolk in the UK; New Jersey in the U.S.; and in Japan.  HLS is the largest such commercial operation in Europe and conducts tests on around 75,000 animals every year — including rats, rabbits, pigs, dogs, and primates — testing pharmaceutical products, agricultural chemicals, industrial chemicals, and foodstuffs on behalf of private clients worldwide.  SHAC was successful in getting HLS’ bank accounts closed and their listing removed from both the London and New York Stock Exchanges. In fact, they nearly drove HLS out of business.

But, SHAC went too far. Too far by a longshot. They engaged in threats against people who either worked for HLS or did business with them in some fashion, such as HLS’s business partners, their business partners, insurers, caterers, cleaners, children’s nursery schools, and office suppliers. There was even a letter-writing campaign where an employee of a company that did business with HLS was targeted in a campaign where eight hundred letters were sent to his neighbors accusing him of being a pedophile, the police had to assure his neighbors that the accusations were false. Threats, intimidation, vandalism or vehicles and property became their modus operandi and Huntington Life Sciences found itself having to move to the United States and takeout high-interest loans to stay in business. Actions against HLS became even more violent with physical assaults on the persons of HLS staff. Huntington Life Sciences’ marketing director Andrew Gay was attacked on his doorstep with a chemical spray to his eyes which left him temporarily blinded!

Then came Operation Achilles, where much of SHAC’s leadership was arrested, tried, convicted and imprisioned. HLS was able to move back to the UK and the majority of the attacks against them have ceased.

But, even without the threats, vandalism, etc. SHAC almost won! They almost drove HLS out of business, which is what they wanted. It was only because they decided to act like a bunch of badasses that the police cracked down on them and imprisoned their leadership. If they had stuck with legal protests, undercover investigations and whistleblowing, SHAC could have triumphed over HLS anyway. But, as I said, they shot themselves in the foot when they began to think they were all clones of Che Guevara or something and took their campaign in a direction where it had no business going.

Now, Huntington Life Sciences is back in the UK and rebuilding itself. Naturally, they are likely very exhausted from all of this and it will take them time to recover fully, but that will come in time.

Okay, so what would have happened if Huntington had gone out of business? Would animal experimentation have ceased?

Nope. It would have simply moved overseas to a country where animal protection laws are not as strict or which may not even exist.

You see, animal experimentation is a vital part of medical research. It has led to vast improvements of medical care for people, including the polio vaccine, insulin, tuberculosis medicines and so on.

Common medical procedures that we take for granted today were pioneered with animal research before they were tried on people, such as blood transfusions were first tried on dogs and penicillin was tried on mice. These are just a few examples of animal research leading to important medical benefits for humans.

We all see the films put out by animal rights activists that show dogs and cats being used as lab animals. But, the fact is that dogs, cats and primates amount for 1% of all lab animals, with the rest consisting of rats, mice, rabbits and guinea pigs which are not endangered species by any means and their species will certainly survive a small percentage being used for animal research.

In the USA, we eat more ducks every year than the total number of animals used in research. As we also consume more chickens, cattle and pigs than even the highest estimate of the number of total animals of all species used for research purposes. The United States has the most stringent requirements for animal research than nay country in the world. You just can’t go and start injecting animals with pharmaceuticals because you feel like experimenting. You have to get approval and there are also strict requirements for the quality of life for the animal while it is being used for these experiments. An animal that is uder a great deal of stress due to pain will not provide good data for a medicine’s effectiveness, so researchers must not subject the animal to more discomfort than is absolutely neccessary for the experiments. Violations of the law can result in research grant money being withdrawn and there can be civil and criminal liability involved for the persons responsible. This is why I am not opposed to groups like People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) engaging in undercover investigations to expose violations of the law to the public and the media.  Adherance to the law results in better research, which leads to more accurate data, which leads to improved benefits for people.

While there are other ways to do research on pharmaceuticals (e.g. in vitro testing, MRI scanning, computer modeling and micro-dosing) these are supplementary to animal research and they do have their limitations. They cannot completely replace animal testing, no matter how much we wish they could. If people think that animal testing is less expensive financially than the alternatives I mentioned, then you’re wrong. Animal testing is far more expensive, time-consuming and heavily-regulated than the supplementary methods, so there is no way for medical researchers to save money by experimenting on animals. It would be cheaper if the other methods were as effective as animal testing, but they are not.

There are between 25 to 26 million animals of all species being used for animal research in the USA, which is a drop in the ocean compared to the sheer number of animals killed for food. If animal rights people wanted to save the most amount of animals, they’d be trying to get the rest of us to become vegetarians or vegans. But, there’s not much chance of that, so they go for what is a far easier target, one that they can easily pull the heartstrings of otherwise intelligent people to support them.

Here’s a video that you can have a look at to get a better understanding of the issue. The speaker is Tom Holder, spokesman of Speaking of Research, who was a key member of the UK movement “Pro-Test”, which helped win the British public over on the issue of animal testing. In this video, Mr Holder challenges some of the misinformation that is spread around by animal rights groups on the subject of vivisection. The presentation was filmed at a Speaking of Research talk at Oregon Health & Sciences University.

I am all in favor of private groups and individuals whistleblowing on researchers that abuse the animals under their care, as was done to HLS by SHAC in the early part of their campaign. Groups like PETA have done much good in this country by exposing animal abusers, who can then be prosecuted under the law. Naming and Shaming animal abusers with accurate information does the most good for animals and for the people the research will benefit.

Of course, PETA wouldn’t go for the idea of animal testing continueing, having “Until All the Cages are Empty” as a slogan. But, you’d think that they’d be more understanding, since former PETA Vice President, Mary-Beth Sweetland, is a diabetic who injects herself daily with insulin—a treatment tested and perfected in animals. She admitted her treatment still contains some animal products, but it’s okay – for her – because using these animal products helps her stay alive to help more animals. Naturally, she doesn’t see herself as a hypocrite, which is what I think she is. I mean, if it’s not okay to experiment on animals or use animals for medical purposes to benefit humans, then it should mean any humans, especially people who are trying to stop animal research.

Is it just me or is there a bit of “Do as I say, not as I do” going-on here?

Still, Ms Sweetland does claim that she uses less insulin today since she adopted a vegan diet. So, she has to have fewer dead animals on her conscience.

I do have to give my support to PETA for their campaign against animal abuse in circuses. Their investigative work did unearth horrific treatment of circus animals. But, I think that abusers should be punished, without the need or goal to close-down circuses around the country. If a circus cannot train their animals without torturing them, then the circus owners should quit the business.

Let me boil it down for you: with laws in-place to protect animals from abuse, those laws should be enforced and transgressors punished. If an animal at a research lab, at a circus, on a farm or in some one’s home is the victim of abuse, then the abuser should be Named & Shamed,  brought to justice and punished under the law.

It is not the place or the right of groups like PETA, ALF, ELF, Sea Shepherd, SHAC or any other organization to take the law into their own hands and act as judge, jury and executioner. A civilized society cannot function any other way. It is groups like these that give vegans a bad name.

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