Category Archives: Religious beliefs of just folk

Christians against Dinosaurs: message to Indiegogo

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The Uncertaintist wrote this morning to the Help Center at Indiegogo, where the “Christians against Dinosaurs” crowdfunding campaign is hosted. I used Indiegogo’s online form. They acknowledged receipt of the message by return email. The message said:

Type of issue: Report a Policy Violation
Your email address: Uncertaintist@gmail.com
Subject: Prohibited Content
Description:

The “Christians against Dinsoaurs” campaign page links to the website,

http://christiansagainstdinosaurs.com/

Near the top of that site is a “slideshow” which contains a photograph which purports to depict several people demonstrating in support of the campaign’s agenda. Superimposed on the photo is the phrase “Fighting Big Paleo for Christ.”

In fact, the photograph is a graphically altered scene cropped from a picture taken on February 5, 2011 at a local-issue protest in St Ives, Cornwall. That protest was covered by journalists at the time, and the source photograph has long been hosted at the Facebook page of the Cornwall protestors.

http://www.westbriton.co.uk/Protesters-voice-anger-rise-parking-charges/story-11473846-detail/story.html

http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-cornwall-12374571

https://www.facebook.com/pages/St-Ives-Resident-Parking/162078417163416

The messages on the placards held by the protestors have been changed. Relevant photos are attached.

This situation may be contrary to that portion of your Terms of Use which provides that “Campaign Owners shall not make any false or misleading statements in connection with their Campaigns.” I recommend that you investigate further.

Thank you for the opportunity to discuss this matter.

Attachments:
Screen capture of the CAD site
Example of unaltered source photo
Wide shot of the 2011 protestors

Link to Campaign: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/1150789

Attachments:

slideshow item

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wide shot

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Update:  Indiegogo issued a customer service message, about a day and a half after receiving our complaint. In pertinent part, the reply said

At this time, the campaign, ‘Christians Against Dinosaurs’, is under review to ensure that it adheres to our Terms of Use.

That’s good. What does that mean?

We will include the information you have provided along with all other information at our disposal in our review of the campaign. In some cases, we will contact the campaign owner for more information or have them edit their campaign and it will remain on our platform. If we find the project or campaign owner doesn’t follow our rules, we may remove the campaign. We may also restrict the campaign owner’s future activities on Indiegogo.

When will we hear about your decision?

To protect our users’ privacy, we’re unable to share the action we take.

Well, OK. I can see that raising money from the public might be a time when you could use  some privacy. If something else turns up, can I share it with you?

Please note that you do not need to contact us again. Doing so would create a new ticket and prolong the process.

Mkay. The hoaxers chose their crowdfunding site well. As a matter of policy, Indiegogo campaign owners (in general, as explained in the reply and quoted above), can lie about their past activities, can be caught lying, and their public fundraising just might proceed anyway, with no disclosure to the public that there ever was any problem.

That’s handy to know about anything you might see on Indiegogo. However, in this case:

CAD page notice

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Update (March 10, 2015): It appears that the CAD fundraising campaign has been removed from Indiegogo.

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Christians against Dinosaurs is a hoax

striped pantsMore on that photo shortly.

In recent days, there has been a viral outbreak of web coverage for a spurious Christian ministry called “Christians against Dinosaurs,” CAD for short. The central focus of the ministry’s activity is Facebook, and they also have their own site,

http://christiansagainstdinosaurs.com

At first impression, that site’s welcome page looks like a typical Christian organization’s, with banner slogans about Truth and bringing souls to the Lord, superimposed on dramatic photos of people whose lives have been transformed. There are click-throughs for joining the Facebook group, following them on Twitter, and previews of their YouTube channel.

But there are red flags. One of the videos is devoted to why so many fans of heavy metal music believe in dinosaurs. Another video demonstrates how easy it is to fake dinosaur bones (a touch of self-reference there). One of the slogans denounces something called “Big Paleo,” which refers to a conspiracy among scientists, educators and Steven Spielberg (coincidentally or not, an executive producer of Jurassic World, a film scheduled for release this June) to promote the idea that dinosaurs roamed the earth.

Most telling on the welcome page is that one of the photos is a Photoshopped reworking of what appears to be dozens of people at a public demonstration (Update: it turns out to be a photo from a parking-fee increase protest held in St Ives Cornwall on February 5, 2011 – see the original photo in the Update block at the end of this article).  Their placards have been rewritten to decry dinosaurs. The full color version of the photo has been tweeted all over the web:

parking-fee protest shopped

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One of the signs, partially obscured by another, demands Ban Barney NOW. Have we gotten the joke yet?

No? Then suppose we are persuaded. How can we make a donation to this worthy ministry? Let’s go to the contact page of the website. Nothing about money, tax-exempt status, or any of the other things that would interest law enforcement. Instead, we have an invitation to send the group a message. The invitation reads:

We love hearing from our fellow Christians as well as the atheiotard masses.

Feel free to use this contact form to reach us for any reasons including setting up interviews for your podcast, booking our band for your child’s birthday party, or with any complaints or compliments.

And still, some express doubt about whether this is a satire.  OK, then let’s review the history (and if you really want to donate, then see the update at the bottom of this article.)

Bachman spoof

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Last October, the established Facebook spoof group “Christians for Michele Bachmann” circulated a fake “quote” from the right-wing politician. It was easily spotted as a fake, because it mentioned a specific media outlet, the right-leaning Fox News, a specific date, and the high-profile Ms Bachmann.

In what was no doubt a surprising development to the spoofers, at least for a while, some web folk took the outrageous quote as genuine, and even plausible in light of some Christian Fundamentalists’ rejection of evolution by natural selection. An idea hatched: what if the same sentiments were placed in the mouths of anonymous Christians, with no pesky dates and places to reveal the hoax prematurely?

The earliest sighting of interactive advocacy which the Uncertaintist can now document began in late December on an entertainment forum,

https://forums.uberent.com/threads/why-do-people-who-like-metal-music-believe-in-dinosaurs.66818/

A poster named Eukanuba, from Wales according to his Uber member profile, made a discussion thread promoting a video (the one about dinosaur-believing heavy metal fans, shot in Welsh night spots and a Welsh museum). Eukanuba presented himself as a member of the CAD organization. In the course of the discussion which followed, Eukanuba posted the “peace demonstration” photo. Also, the question of satire came up, to which Eukanuba replied,

Why must people always assume that something that goes against their worldview is satire? Once we believed that the Sun orbits the Earth, and that fire was caused by an element called phlogiston.

And so it goes for six pages, and is still open. The domain name for the CAD website was registered earlier this month, and Eukanuba proudly details the sudden subsequent growth in coverage worldwide. This case will be studied in business school internet-marketing classes for years to come. (For example, does the timing help sell the upcoming Speilberg film?)

So now, back to the “peace demonstration” photo posted by Eukanuba. It is It was hosted by Photobucket, affording an opportunity for even the mildly curious to see what else is in the public space of this crusader for Christ, Eukanuba of Uberent (Tastemycheese on PB).  [Update: the bucket has been cleansed since this story first appeared.] Well, there is the shopped demonstration picture and the signature banner Eukanuba uses on Uber, as we’d expect when following a link from his post.

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There is some gentle Christian humor, as shown at left. But there are several missing photos, where Photobucket displays not a photo, but a message,

Whoa! This image violates our Terms of Use and has been removed from view.

Hmm. Big Paleo has reached out to quash divinely inspired dissidents? Fortunately for us, the diligent staff at the Bucket missed a few of the photos, and here is one, right up above at the head of this piece. Yes, the Uncertaintist added the censorship. What’s underneath is male genitalia, of respectable girth.

It is unfortunate that the need for the censorship arose, because it prevents our admiring the Photoshop tastes of Tastemycheese. At least we have that “dinosaur demonstration” photo to admire instead.

It’s a joke, for Gawd’s sake.

—-

Update: The basic idea that there was comic potential in Christian discontent with dinosaurs may have first appeared several years ago in the forums of the Landover Baptist Church, a venerable Christian parody site.

http://www.landoverbaptist.net/showthread.php?t=17430

Credit where credit is due.

Speaking of credit, if you have a credit card, you can donate could have donated at

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/christians-against-dinosaurs

 CAD has a one month $ 5,000 campaign going on there.  I wouldn’t assume that donations are tax deductible.

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Finally, here is the original demonstration photo. This protest really happened, and was covered both locally and by the BBC. The protest group has a Facebook page.

http://www.westbriton.co.uk/Protesters-voice-anger-rise-parking-charges/story-11473846-detail/story.html

http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-cornwall-12374571

https://www.facebook.com/pages/St-Ives-Resident-Parking/162078417163416

Paleontologist Trevor Valle spotted and tweeted the photo in February, but apparently did not give a  source for it. The Uncertaintist wrote to the crowd funding site, see the post.

Later in the year, Karen Auclair ran for town councilor in Southbridge, Massachusetts. The issue of her dinosaur denial videos came up during the campaign. Local blogger Ken O’Brien asked her about her stand and reports that “she responded that what people were referring to were merely satirical pieces.” Auclair won a seat.

http://ozonesouthbridge.blogspot.com/2015/08/satire-or-smokescreen-councilor-auclair.html

 

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A suitable memorial

This is the magnificent  cover of the first issue of Charlie Hebdo after the attack.

Charlie Hebdo new cover

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All is forgiven.

I am Charlie.

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The Paris martyrs

Charlie Hebdo MohammedA peculiar feature of libertarian life is to find yourself allied by circumstances with strangers who have endured injustice because they sought to exercise their freedoms. Hamza Kashgari, for example, was held for months in a Saudi prison for tweeting thoughtful reflections about Mohammed’s birthday in 2012.

Not all such allies are as attractive as Kashgari. Paul Weston, a proudly self-described British racist, managed to provoke a chilling denial of his right to speak, something inexcusable even though he wished to speak bollocks.

And now there is Charlie Hebdo, a French humor magazine whose headquarters were attacked leaving a dozen dead. The perpetrators are alleged to be Muslim fundamentalists, who murdered in reprisal for the magazine’s depictions of Mohammed, and for much else of which the terrorists disapproved.

CH wasn’t subtle or nuanced in its humor. How it portrayed Islam (among many other subjects) was tasteless, vulgar, unfair… and well within even a minimally civilized conception of human rights for them to publish unmolested.

It will not do to wait until May 20th for the revival of the moribund and ideologically hijacked “Everybody Draw Mohammed Day.” Like so many other  websites today worldwide, the Uncertaintist runs a Charlie Hebdo cartoon. Which posed an editorial problem, since so few of them are suitable as memorials. But I found a merely flippant one, and so I placed it here. It honors heroes.

Shoot an image maker, and find your world filled with images.

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Did long-ago people think that dogs have souls?

lab portrait

An online article soon to appear in the pages of the Journal of Archeological Science reports that about 8,000 years ago, some Siberian women had tapeworms, probably because of close contact with dogs whom the women cared for. Publicity for the new paper has revived attention to a controversial hypothesis about that closeness. As explained in a 2011 article in the Journal of Anthropological Archaeology from the same team,

We suggest that some animals with unique histories were known as distinct persons with ‘souls’ and because of this at death required mortuary rites similar to those of their human counterparts.

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S027841651100002X

A detailed and highly technical exploration of the physical evidence for this idea, based on human and canid (wolf and dog) burials in the Lake Baikal region of Siberia, near present-day Irkutsk, appeared last year in the well-regarded open-access journal PLOS ONE.

www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0063740

So, is it true that people have been thinking that dogs have souls for that long? How confident can anybody living now really be about that, even knowledgeable experts, writing in well-known peer-reviewed journals with respectable impact factors?

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UK candidate arrested for trying to quote Churchill

The man best known until now for his YouTube video, “My name is Paul Weston, and I am a racist,” was arrested in Winchester, England this past Saturday. Weston, who is running for the European Parliament from the area, had attempted to recite scathing remarks about Islam from Winston Churchill’s 1899 book, The River War (remarks available here). Police arrested Weston for failing to leave when ordered, and a few hours later, charged him with hate speech. Weston was released from custody that day, and is scheduled for a hearing on May 24.

Mr Weston is a self-described racist, and to all appearances, deserves full marks for self-knowledge. However, speech espousing popular views in pleasing ways rarely needs strenuous defending. Fortunately for Mr Weston, his story is gaining exposure. Being arrested in Britain for trying to quote Churchill is a great hook, even if what’s being quoted isn’t Churchill’s best work. I confidently predict that Mr Weston will be much less inconvenienced than Hamza Kashgari was.

Still, doing better than Saudi Arabia in safeguarding personal liberty isn’t much of a boast. Weston was arrested for making an electoral speech that included material that, however unfair and outdated, is part of his country’s history. The Uncertaintist offers Churchill’s words to any visitor who cares to read them. It is remarkable that a candidate for public office in a Western democracy – Churchill’s democracy – isn’t free to say the same thing aloud during an election campaign.

Mr Weston’s signature video is here

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t2kKnzW4d8w

and he tells his side of the arrest story here

www.youtube.com/watch?v=WB7en-eu0X8

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