Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Flaming - Internet

Flaming is a hostile and insulting interaction between Internet users. Flaming usually occurs in the social context of a discussion board, Internet Relay Chat (IRC), by e-mail or on Video-sharing websites.

An Internet user typically generates a flame response to other posts or users posting on a site, and such a response is usually not constructive, does not clarify a discussion, and does not persuade others. Sometimes, flamers attempt to assert their authority, or establish a position of superiority over other users. Other times, a flamer is simply an individual who believes he or she carries the only valid opinion. This leads him or her to personally attack those who disagree. In some cases, flamers wish to upset and offend other members of the forum, in which case they can be called "trolls". Most often however, flamers are angry or insulting messages transmitted by people who have strong feelings about a subject.

Jay Forrester, in discussing participants' internal modeling of a discussion, says:

Mental models are fuzzy, incomplete, and imprecisely stated. Furthermore, within a single individual, mental models change with time, even during the flow of a single conversation. The human mind assembles a few relationships to fit the context of a discussion. As debate shifts, so do the mental models. Even when only a single topic is being discussed, each participant in a conversation employs a different mental model to interpret the subject. Fundamental assumptions differ but are never brought into the open. Goals are different but left unstated. It is little wonder that compromise takes so long. And even when consensus is reached, the underlying assumptions may be fallacies that lead to laws and programs that fail. The human mind is not adapted to understanding correctly the consequences implied by a mental model. A mental model may be correct in structure and assumptions but, even so, the human mind--either individually or as a group consensus--is apt to draw the wrong implications for the future.

Some equate flaming with simply letting off steam, though the receiving party may be less than pleased. Similarly, a normal, non-flame message may have elements of a flame—it may be hostile, for example—but it is not a flame if its author seriously intends to advance the discussion. The word "flaming" is also sometimes used for long, intensive and heated discussions, even though insults do not occur.

Although the trading of insults is as old as human speech, flaming on the Internet, like many other online 'actions,' started in the Usenet hierarchies (although it was known to occur in the WWIVnet and FidoNet computer networks as well). Recently, several online forums have actively encouraged flaming amongst fellow posters.


Eristic, from the ancient Greek word Eris meaning wrangle or strife, often refers to a type of dialogue or argument where the participants do not have any reasonable goal. The aim is to win the argument, not to potentially discover a true or probable answer to any specific question or topic. Eristic dialogue is arguing for the sake of conflict, fighting, and seeing who can yell the loudest.

Philosophical Eristic

Plato often contrasted this type of dialogue with the dialectical method and other more reasonable and logical methods (e.g., at Republic 454a). In the dialogue Euthydemus, Plato satirizes eristic.

Different from Plato, Schopenhauer considers that only logic pursues truth. For him, dialectic, sophistry and eristic have no objective truth in view, but only the appearance of it, and pay no regard to truth itself because it aims at victory. He names these three last methods as "eristic dialectic"

According to Schopenhauer, Eristic Dialectic is mainly concerned to tabulate and analyze dishonest stratagems, in order that in a real debate they may be at once recognized and defeated. It is for this very reason that Eristic Dialectic must admittedly take victory, and not objective truth, for its aim and purpose.

Argumentation Theory

Argumentation theory is a field of study that asks critical questions about eristic arguments and the other types of dialogue.

The Art of Being Right

The Art of Being Right, is a short treatise of the German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer. In it, Schopenhauer examines a total of thirty-eight methods of showing up one's opponent in a debate. He introduces his essay with the idea that philosophers have concentrated in ample measure on the rules of logic, but especially since the time of Immanuel Kant not engaged with the darker art of the dialectic, of controversy. Whereas the purpose of logic is classically said to be a method of arriving at the truth, dialectic, says Schopenhauer,

Troll (Internet)

In Internet slang, a troll is someone who posts controversial, inflammatory, irrelevant or off-topic messages in an online community, such as an online discussion forum, chat room or blog, with the primary intent of provoking other users into an emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion.

Netiquette Guidelines

Darwin’s Dilemma

What Is Darwin’s Dilemma?

“Darwin’s dilemma” refers to Charles Darwin’s bafflement that the fossil record contradicted what his theory evolution predicted. In his classic book On the Origin of Species, Darwin declared that if his theory of evolution were true “it is indisputable that before the lowest Cambrian stratum was deposited… the world swarmed with living creatures.” Yet Darwin admitted that the fossil record below the Cambrian strata seemed to be bereft of such creatures. Instead “species belonging to several of the main divisions of the animal kingdom suddenly appear in the lowest known fossiliferous rocks”—without any evidence of prior ancestral forms. Darwin frankly acknowledged that this lack of ancestral forms was “a valid argument” against his theory. But he hoped that time—and more research—would provide the evidence that was lacking. Some 150 years later, the documentary Darwin’s Dilemma probes how Darwin’s dilemma has been aggravated—not resolved—by the last century of fossil discoveries, starting with the strange and wonderful creatures uncovered a century ago in the Burgess shale in British Columbia, Canada.

Darwin’s Dilemma in Darwin’s own words:

On the sudden Appearance of Groups of allied Species in the lowest known Fossiliferous Strata.

There is another and allied difficulty, which is much more serious. I allude to the manner in which many species in several of the main divisions of the animal kingdom suddenly appear in the lowest known fossiliferous rocks. Most of the arguments which have convinced me that all the existing species of the same group are descended from a single progenitor, apply with nearly equal force to the earliest known species. For instance, it cannot be doubted that all the Silurian trilobites are descended from some one crustacean, which must have lived long before the Silurian age, and which probably differed greatly from any known animal. Some of the most ancient Silurian animals, as the Nautilus, Lingula, &c., do not differ much from living species; and it cannot on our theory be supposed, that these old species were the progenitors of all the species belonging to the same groups which have subsequently appeared, for they are not in any degree intermediate in character.

Consequently, if the theory be true, it is indisputable that, before the lowest Silurian or Cambrian stratum was deposited long periods elapsed, as long as, or probably far longer than, the whole interval from the Cambrian age to the present day; and that during these vast periods the world swarmed with living creatures…

To the question why we do not find rich fossiliferous deposits belonging to these assumed earliest periods, I can give no satisfactory answer… the difficulty of assigning any good reason for the absence beneath the Upper Cambrian formations of vast piles of strata rich in fossils is very great. It does not seem probable that the most ancient beds have been quite worn away by denudation, or that their fossils have been wholly obliterated by metamorphic action, for if this had been the case we should have found only small remnants of the formations next succeeding them in age, and these would always have existed in a partially metamorphosed condition. But the descriptions which we possess of the Silurian deposits over immense territories in Russia and in North America, do not support the view, that the older a formation is, the more it has invariably suffered extreme denudation and metamorphism.

The case at present must remain inexplicable; and may be truly urged as a valid argument against the views here entertained.

—Chapter IX, “On the Imperfection of the Geological Record,” On the Origin of Species, fifth edition (1869), pp. 378-381.

Sir Isaac Newton - Charles Darwin

Sir Isaac Newton - Charles Darwin

Pick One

01. Sir Isaac Newton

Although the laws of motion and universal gravitation became Newton's best-known discoveries, he warned against using them to view the Universe as a mere machine, as if akin to a great clock. He said, "Gravity explains the motions of the planets, but it cannot explain who set the planets in motion. God governs all things and knows all that is or can be done."

His scientific fame notwithstanding, Newton's studies of the Bible and of the early Church Fathers were also noteworthy. Newton wrote works on textual criticism, most notably An Historical Account of Two Notable Corruptions of Scripture. He also placed the crucifixion of Jesus Christ at 3 April, AD 33, which agrees with one traditionally accepted date. He also attempted, unsuccessfully, to find hidden messages within the Bible.

In his own lifetime, Newton wrote more on religion than he did on natural science. He believed in a rationally immanent world, but he rejected the hylozoism implicit in Leibniz and Baruch Spinoza. Thus, the ordered and dynamically informed Universe could be understood, and must be understood, by an active reason. In his correspondence, Newton claimed that in writing the Principia "I had an eye upon such Principles as might work with considering men for the belief of a Deity". He saw evidence of design in the system of the world: "Such a wonderful uniformity in the planetary system must be allowed the effect of choice". But Newton insisted that divine intervention would eventually be required to reform the system, due to the slow growth of instabilities. For this Leibniz lampooned him: "God Almighty wants to wind up his watch from time to time: otherwise it would cease to move. He had not, it seems, sufficient foresight to make it a perpetual motion." Newton's position was vigorously defended by his follower Samuel Clarke in a famous correspondence.

02. Charles Darwin

Darwin’s family tradition was nonconformist Unitarianism, while his father and grandfather were freethinkers, and his baptism and boarding school were Church of England. When going to Cambridge to become an Anglican clergyman, he did not doubt the literal truth of the Bible. He learnt John Herschel's science which, like William Paley’s natural theology, sought explanations in laws of nature rather than miracles and saw adaptation of species as evidence of design. On board the Beagle, Darwin was quite orthodox and would quote the Bible as an authority on morality. He looked for "centres of creation" to explain distribution, and related the antlion found near kangaroos to distinct "periods of Creation".

By his return he was critical of the Bible as history, and wondered why all religions should not be equally valid. In the next few years, while intensively speculating on geology and transmutation of species, he gave much thought to religion and openly discussed this with Emma, whose beliefs also came from intensive study and questioning. The theodicy of Paley and Thomas Malthus vindicated evils such as starvation as a result of a benevolent creator's laws which had an overall good effect. To Darwin, natural selection produced the good of adaptation but removed the need for design, and he could not see the work of an omnipotent deity in all the pain and suffering such as the ichneumon wasp paralysing caterpillars as live food for its eggs. He still viewed organisms as perfectly adapted, and On the Origin of Species reflects theological views. Though he thought of religion as a tribal survival strategy, Darwin still believed that God was the ultimate lawgiver.

Darwin continued to play a leading part in the parish work of the local church, but from around 1849 would go for a walk on Sundays while his family attended church. Though reticent about his religious views, in 1879 he responded that he had never been an atheist in the sense of denying the existence of a God, and that generally “an Agnostic would be the more correct description of my state of mind.”

Adolf Hitler

Charles Darwin = Atheism = Adolf Hitler = Nazi Party = Holocaust.

Nazi ideology stressed the failure of both laissez-faire capitalism and communism, the failure of democracy, and "racial purity of the German people", as well as Northwestern Europeans and persecuted those it perceived either as race enemies or Lebensunwertes Leben, that is "life unworthy of living". This included Jews, Slavs, and Roma along with homosexuals, the mentally and physically disabled, Communists and others. To carry out these beliefs, the party and the German state which it controlled organized the systematic murder of approximately six million Jews and six million other people from the aforementioned and other groups, in what has become known as the Holocaust.

In a plebiscite on Hitler's expanded powers, 89.9 percent of voters approve ... Also affirm defiance of Nazi restrictions on the practice of their religion.

Priests and Pastors Died for Their Beliefs

Hitler wanted not only to conquer all of Europe, but Hitler also wanted to create a new religion and to replace Jesus Christ as a person to be worshipped. Hitler expected his followers to worship the Nazi ideology. Since Catholic priests and Christian pastors were often influential leaders in their community, they were sought out by the Nazis very early. Thousands of Catholic priests and Christian pastors were forced into concentration camps. A special barracks was set up at Dachau, the camp near Munich, Germany, for clergymen. A few survived; some were executed, but most were allowed to die slowly of starvation or disease.

Gleichschaltung, meaning "coordination", "making the same", "bringing into line", is a Nazi term for the process by which the Nazi regime successively established a system of totalitarian control over the individual, and tight coordination over all aspects of society and commerce. The historian Richard J. Evans offered the term "forcible-coordination" in his most recent work on Nazi Germany.

One goal of this policy was to eliminate individualism by forcing everybody to adhere to a specific doctrine and way of thinking and to control as many aspects of life as possible using an invasive police force.

The period from 1933 to around 1937 was characterized by the systematic elimination of non-Nazi organizations that could potentially influence people, such as trade unions and political parties. Those critical of Hitler's agenda, especially his close ties with industry, were suppressed, intimidated or permanently silenced. The regime also assailed the influence of the churches, for example by instituting the Ministry of Ecclesiastical Affairs under Hanns Kerrl. Organizations that the administration could not eliminate, such as the education system, came under its direct control.

Hitler focused his propaganda against the Versailles Treaty, the "November criminals," the Marxists and the visible, internal enemy No. 1, the "Jew," who was responsible for all Germany's domestic problems. In the twenty-five-point programme of the NSDAP announced on 24 February 1920, the exclusion of the Jews from the Volk community, the myth of Aryan race supremacy and extreme nationalism were combined with "socialistic" ideas of profit-sharing and nationalization inspired by ideologues like Gottfried Feder. Hitler's first written utterance on political questions dating from this period emphasized that what he called "the anti-Semitism of reason" must lead "to the systematic combating and elimination of Jewish privileges. Its ultimate goal must implacably be the total removal of the Jews."

God is most often conceived of as the supernatural creator and overseer of the universe. Theologians have ascribed a variety of attributes to the many different conceptions of God. The most common among these include omniscience, omnipotence, omnipresence, omnibenevolence (perfect goodness), divine simplicity, and eternal and necessary existence. God has also been conceived as being incorporeal, a personal being, the source of all moral obligation, and the "greatest conceivable existent". These attributes were all supported to varying degrees by the early Jewish, Christian and Muslim theologian philosophers.

Hitler was raised by Roman Catholic parents, but after he left home, he never attended Mass or received the sacraments. However, after he had moved to Germany, where the Catholic and the Protestant church are largely financed through a church tax collected by the state, Hitler (like Goebbels) never "actually left his church or refused to pay church taxes. In a nominal sense therefore," the historian Steigmann-Gall states, Hitler "can be classified as Catholic." But, as Steigmann-Gall has also pointed out in the debate about religion in Nazi Germany: "Nominal church membership is a very unreliable gauge of actual piety in this context."

In public, Hitler often praised Christian heritage, German Christian culture, and professed a belief in an Aryan Jesus Christ, a Jesus who fought against the Jews. In his speeches and publications Hitler spoke of his interpretation of Christianity as a central motivation for his antisemitism, stating that "As a Christian I have no duty to allow myself to be cheated, but I have the duty to be a fighter for truth and justice." His private statements, as reported by his intimates, are more mixed, showing Hitler as a religious man but critical of traditional Christianity. Here Hitler made at least one attack against Catholicism that "resonated Streicher's contention that the Catholic establishment was allying itself with the Jews." In light of these private statements, for John S. Conway and many other historians it is beyond doubt that Hitler held a "fundamental antagonism" towards the Christian churches. The various accounts of Hitler's private statements vary strongly in their reliability; Most importantly, Hermann Rauschning's Hitler speaks is considered by most historians to be an invention. An overview about Hitler's religious beliefs, based on his apparent private statements, can be found in the acclaimed book by Michael RiƟmann or in Richard Steigmann-Gall's controversial book on Nazism and Christianity, pp. 252–259.

In the political relations with the churches in Germany however, Hitler readily adopted a strategy "that suited his immediate political purposes". Hitler had a general plan, even before the rise of the Nazis to power, to destroy Christianity within the Reich. The leader of the Hitler Youth stated "the destruction of Christianity was explicitly recognized as a purpose of the National Socialist movement" from the start, but "considerations of expedience made it impossible" publicly to express this extreme position.

Most historians believe that, in contrast to some Nazi ideologues, Hitler did not adhere to esoteric ideas, occultism, or Ariosophy, and he ridiculed such beliefs in Mein Kampf. Others believe the young Hitler was strongly influenced, particularly in his racial views, by an abundence of occult works on the mystical superiority of the Germans, like the occult and anti-semitic magazine Ostara, and give credence to the claim of its publisher Lanz von Liebenfels that Hitler visited Liebenfels in 1909 and praised his work. The historians are still divided on the question of the reliability of Lanz' claim of a contact with Hitler. Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke considers his account reliable, Brigitte Hamann leaves the question open and Ian Kershaw is extremely sceptical.

Hitler for a time advocated for Germans a form of the Christian faith he called "Positive Christianity", a belief system purged of what he objected to in orthodox Christianity, and featuring added racist elements. By 1940 however, it was public knowledge that Hitler had abandoned advocating for Germans even the syncretist idea of a positive Christianty. Hitler maintained that the "terrorism in religion is, to put it briefly, of a Jewish dogma, which Christianity has universalized and whose effect is to sow trouble and confusion in men's minds."

In addition to not attending Mass or receiving the sacraments, Hitler favored aspects of Protestantism if they were more amenable to his own objectives. At the same time, he adopted some elements of the Catholic Church's hierarchical organization, liturgy and phraseology in his politics.

Hitler expressed admiration for the Muslim military tradition and directed Himmler to initiate Muslim SS Divisions as a matter of policy. According to one confidant, Hitler stated in private, "The Mohammedan religion too would have been much more compatible to us than Christianity. Why did it have to be Christianity with its meekness and flabbiness ..."

Hitler once stated, "We do not want any other god than Germany itself. It is essential to have fanatical faith and hope and love in and for Germany."

Unlocking The Mystery Of Life

In 1859, Charles Darwin published, On the Origin of Species. In it, he argued that all of life on earth was the product of undirected natural processes. Time, chance, and natural selection. Since Darwin, biologists have relied on such processes to account for the origin of living things. Yet today, this approach is being challenged as never before. "Unlocking the Mystery of Life" is the story of top-notch, contemporary scientists who are advancing a powerful idea -- "the theory of intelligent design." Using state-of-the-art computer animation, "Unlocking the Mystery of Life" transports you into the interior of the living cell to explore systems and machines that bear the unmistakable hallmarks of design. Discover the intricacy of a microscopic bacterial rotary motor, which spins at 100,000 rpm. Within the nucleus explore the wonder of DNA, a thread-like molecule that stores instructions to build the essential components of every living organism. It is part of a biological information processing system more complex and more powerful than any computer network. This compelling documentary examines an idea with the power to revolutionize our understanding of life... and to unlock the mystery of its origin.

It's the eternal question: Where did we come from? Noted scientists discuss the possibilities through detailed but easy-to-understand analysis, as striking CGI animation takes you from the depths of the universe to the structure of a single molecule. No matter what side of the creation vs. evolution debate you're on, you'll discover another side to the story in this insightful program.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Intelligent Design

What is Intelligent Design?

The theory of intelligent design holds that certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection acting on random mutations.

Is Intelligent Design science?

Yes. All scientific reasoning is based on uniform and repeated experience, and everything we know from that experience tells us that information always comes from an intelligent source. So when we find information in the cell in the form of the digital code in DNA, the most probable scientific explanation is that DNA also had an intelligent source.

Is Intelligent Design the Same as Creationism?

No. Creationism typically relies on a religious text or religious faith as its basis, and attempts to reconcile science with it. The theory of intelligent design (ID) relies on scientific data to show that design in nature is the product of an intelligent cause or designer

Does Intelligent Design Conflict with Evolution?

It depends on what one means by the word “evolution.” If one simply means “change over time,” or even that living things are related by common ancestry, then there is no inherent conflict between evolutionary theory and the theory of intelligent design. However, the dominant theory of evolution today is Neo-Darwinism, which contends that evolution is driven by natural selection acting on random mutations, a blind and purposeless process that “has no discernable direction or goal, including survival of a species.” (NABT Statement on Teaching Evolution). It is this specific claim made by Neo-Darwinism that intelligent design directly challenges.