Attention, those who cheat at the intertubes: we’re on to you.

It seems cheating at Youtube isn’t the only sport of those without a leg to stand on ideologically. A group of right-wingers organized using a Yahoo! Group to orchestrate and perpetuate a continual “burial brigade” on Digg, a social bookmarking site I admittedly never use myself, in order to “bury” posts from left-leaning sources, or even just left-leaning news. Thankfully, this cheating isn’t going unnoticed, as the mainstream media has caught on.

Digg is a popular site where users share articles, photos and video links. News outlets have often used Digg for story leads. The expose shows how right-wing individuals are making an effort to stop left-leaning stories from being shared widely. In contrast, Olson discovered that the Digg Patriots favored stories about conservative pundits such as Rush Limbaugh, Glen Beck, and Michelle Malkin.

This is part of Olson’s AlterNet article:

Although this is a fringe group of Teabagging wingnuts, many well established figures in the Digg community are also present, such as BalancingAct, EMFK, Janinco, mikeinto, and spindig. 10 members have been part of Digg since 2005-2006, with 43 having their current account there for over 2 years. 19 are in the top 500 all time users as ranked by Social Blade, including 3 in the top 100. They have submitted over 30,000 articles, and dugg over 1,000,000 submits collectively. They regularly front page material, yet have some paranoid delusion that the Digg admins are part of some conspiracy to censor them, not once recognizing the blatant hypocrisy of their organized censorship doing that very thing.

ABC News wrote a story about the expose and published Kevin Rose’s tweet on the matter saying that his company is “looking into this.” The Atlantic Monthly has also written about the controversy surrounding Digg.

Digg has said they will do away with the “bury” option since it’s being so easily abused to kill articles before they even have a chance at making the front page, since that means a bare few people were controlling the flow of information on the site. This doesn’t address the overarching fact that people are willing to cheat to have their ideologies pushed. It also doesn’t address the fact that the supposed purveyors of all that is right and good have been caught once again exhibiting their dubious moral fibre.

This is why I dislike Maher

Yes, he’s an atheist, so he’s got the right idea about mythology. But he sure didn’t replace that aspect of his worldview with a love of science.

No, when you deny the germ theory of disease, you’re proving that you’ve come by your knowledge of this world by ignoring vast tracts of human progress and ignoring equally vast tracts of evidence derived from objective observation of reality.

Being right about religion doesn’t get you a free pass. You don’t get to urinate on the only worthwhile human endeavour just because you happen to believe that all humans are cynical and profiteering, without earning my ire.

The Youtube video poster, C0nc0rdance, notes in the details for the video that he messed up the bit about osteopaths. Evidently there’s as many quack osteopaths as there are chiropractors outside of North America. But for that, I can give him a pass, since he noted as much.

(And it’s an easy mistake to make, considering I know there are still quack chiropractors in North America who don’t just provide physiotherapy, but rather believe they can fix everything by cracking your joints. Including your neck. Which has directly led to people being paralyzed or dying. But, you know, what’s the harm in chiropracty? Or for that matter, osteopathy?)

Could the elimination of the long-form census be an underhanded plot?

While I can’t help but sense a tinge of hyperbole in Paul Martin’s words regarding Harper’s government’s decision to drop our mandatory long-form census, I also tend to agree with the sentiment behind them.

“This is not the way to run a democracy,” Martin told reporters on Sunday, when he and Duncan appeared at a rally in his hometown of Windsor with Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff.

Martin says he sees the census decision as part of Stephen Harper’s larger attempt to clamp down on information and free discussion among Canadians.

“I think it’s quite conceivable that what we’re dealing with is a government that essentially wants to control the information flow,” he said.

Martin said that in all his years as finance minister, the long-form census data was crucial during his consultations with municipalities and a whole host of medical, hospital and non-governmental organizations.

As well, he said that Canada’s ability to collect and make policy surrounding census data was an object of international admiration.

I am, as I hope you’ve figured out by now, decidedly on the side of collecting as much information as possible for the purposes of finding our way through the world — whether scientific, political or economic. Nothing has ever been gained by humanity (but much has been gained by tin-pot dictators) by intentionally going out of our way to reduce the amount of information available with which to make informed decisions. Eliminating the long-form census is a good way to throw sand in the eyes of people who make decisions about budgets, and the people who put certain political parties into power.

While I feel Martin’s words are hyperbolic, I still wouldn’t put it past Harper’s government to be doing this cynically, as a way of ensuring that people are not provided with the information to know that their budgetary plans are not in everyone’s best interests. I’ve seen that sort of dirty pool one too many times from conservatives south of our border, so I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s exactly the sort of nonsense going on here.

Let love reign supreme

Homosexuality is very likely biological, an emergent property from a confluence of genes that were selected for other reasons. That doesn’t make the people who are homosexual any less fully human, and my heart sings out that a federal judge in San Francisco has struck down California’s infamous Proposition 8 as unconstitutional in that it abridges the rights of those fully human individuals to marry, and to benefit from the same legal protections afforded by the institution as heterosexual couples. Not only did he strike it down, but he wrote several pages explaining all the ways Prop8 is horrid:

Proposition 8 places the force of law behind stigmas against gays and lesbians, including: gays and lesbians do not have intimate relationships similar to heterosexual couples; gays and lesbians are not as good as heterosexuals; and gay and lesbian relationships do not deserve the full recognition of society.

Well-known stereotypes about gay men and lesbians include a belief that gays and lesbians are affluent, self-absorbed and incapable of forming long-term intimate relationships. Other stereotypes imagine gay men and lesbians as disease vectors or as child molesters who recruit young children into homosexuality. No evidence supports these stereotypes.

Proposition 8 perpetuates the stereotype that gays and lesbians are incapable of forming long-term loving relationships and that gays and lesbians are not good parents.

Preach it!

And then, as though to harsh my buzz, along came a certain detestable piece of offal to bloviate about the news.
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Jon LaJoie doesn’t, so why should I?

I didn’t go to work due to a lack of sleep after a very bad stomach night, but never got a chance to catch up on said sleep, what with all the working-from-home I had to do. Plus, my dishwasher stopped draining and I tore it all apart to clean stuff, and my right middle finger’s second knuckle is all swollen and purple like I’d smashed it or something. What do you do on a day like today?

Yup, I need to stop giving a fuck.

Andromeda’s Wake disproves a divine creator using the argument from fine-tuning

Andromeda’s Wake just BLEW MY MIND, MAN. A “fine-tuned universe” is proof that God DOESN’T exist! If a personal creator deity created this universe to be life-sustaining, he could have created an infinite variety of life-sustaining universes with any combination of variables! Why do we have to be on a planet orbiting a sun at all? Why couldn’t we just be floating about in a three-dimensional void with only God’s love to serve to warm us?

So yeah. The take-aways from this video should be these points:

  • Our fine-tuned universe is fine-tuned for our specific type of life only.
  • Those constants that are seemingly fine-tuned are mathematical constructs only, abstractions to help our mathematical representation of the universe as it exists, and they may not represent any actual object or effect outside of those mathematical constructs.
  • We don’t know whether life is impossible in any other constants-setup of the universe, only that OUR life is not possible.
  • All of this fine-tuning nonsense is nonsense because we have a sample set of exactly one.
  • Any omnipotent deity would not be constrained to “fine-tuning” a universe anyway.

So what’s the point of arguing for fine-tuning, other than to disprove your own deity? Hoisted by their own petard.