Thursday, December 30, 2010

A study on the failures of text debate.

So recently I brought to some of your attention a sham of a Facebook group that is trying to say it is for debate of the Zeitgeist movement. I suggested to some people that they should block people from this group as several of them spend their time getting into your facebook and taking your pictures and videos to make fun of you. After this exposure and my points about how little intellectual value was being contributed there, one of them made a statement to try and defend his points.

Now, I am not bringing this up to go over the points in question so much as to demonstrate a tactic commonly used in debate on the internet to watch for. First, let me post what he said:
UPDATE, this group was recently deleted.

"David Indubitable Szemerda
I must say, it is terribly amusing that once again TVP in general think that our opposition is such a problem that they must advise their members to block us and attempt to discredit us using 'ad hominiem' attacks.

Is that not what religious cults attempt to do? Ban people, burn books, tell their members not to listen to certain things. Oh wait, they aren't a cult. So what are they? I have NEVER suggested people block or ban ANYONE... I ENCOURAGE people to spend some time in TVP and see what they are really like. Seriously, what kind of people recommend LIMITING available knowledge? Are they telling their membership that they are too stupid to make their choices? Perhaps that they aren't smart enough to make their own choices?

Anyhow for those who are interested in the facts.;id=305663#305663

VTV Really has no concept of what he is talking about...

"Now it's important to note that we shouldn't add people to this list who simply disagree with us. It's actually good to be able to have constructive dialog. "

See, each and every one of us, has tried, and tried, and tried to have a debate with TVP members. However, it is not possible. They disregard facts that are inconvenient, they never actually address valid points, they have a double standard in almost every aspect. They continually do things like 'demand you provide evidence' yet they do not 'demand evidence' that any of Jacques theories have any validity. The list of contradictions is far too numerous to list, and I am quite sure most have experienced such contradictions.

The end result is, you CAN'T debate a TVP member. I have attempted it for almost 2 years. Eventually even the most calm well balanced person shall resort to swearing to them. That is WHAT THEY WANT. They wish to use childish tactics to avoid addressing issues until they finally drive you to the point that start swearing and calling them morons. THEN they can 'justifiably' say, "Oh they are just ignorant bullies, they don't DESERVE our recognition." Or some other trivial excuse. Then they NEVER have to actually accept that there is NO debate.

For example VTV continually brings up the concept that:

"When one of them insisted that the "Promethean Workers" were working on the RBE before Jacque Fresco, they also said that TZM members never provide any proof of any of their claims, etc. So when I asked for them to prove that Promethean Workers was older, they told me it was founded in 2006. I found this ironic, considering in another post they were talking about Socio-Cyberneering, which if they actually knew anything about the fact that it was founded way back in the 70's would of been obvious to them. I proved by linking them to the corporation information on Socio-Cyberneering which was the company Jacque had back then (now inactive) that they were obviously wrong. By a lot. "

That would be me. I did not bother to address the issue because it is a stupid claim. There is no evidence that Jacques had even understood the concepts of an RBE when he first formed The Venus Project. There is no writing, there are no documents, it is all hearsay, FROM BOTH SIDES. I acknowledge my evidence is hearsay, however I am not basing my argument on it. My argument is that Jacques has provided no evidence therefore his claims are JUST as inadmissible in a debate. Without valid evidence to prove his claims, his claims are simply that, CLAIMS.

Using this example, which is THE ONLY example thus far that VTV has been able to provide, is to attempt to highlight that he was unable to respond to our numerous lists of problematic issues with the TVP concept. The latest being VTV incapability to directly answer the question if he understood the concept behind self-emergence of intelligence through complexity. THREE TIMES I DIRECTLY asked him that question without any other issues... Just the facts... And THREE TIMES VTV AVOIDED answering a simple yes or no question.

I ask you, if you ask someone a DIRECT QUESTION with a yes or no answer THREE TIMES, and they avoid each time, yet still open their mouths and spew crap... aren't you going to feel like punching them in the face?!?!? It is only human that if you are given such incredible amounts of claims, and ZERO ability actually answer a simple question, you are going to look at the person as a moron.

Thus it goes back to presentation that VTV encourages discussion.... How the hell can you discuss anything with a person who continually acts like a complete idiot, and then gets all defensive when you call him one?

If you are someone who actually does look at facts, it shall not take long to understand that all claims made by VTV are simply 100% false. Of course if you are someone who looks at facts, you shall already be out of the TVP groups. If you are not, no amount of fact shall sway you from your cultish belief system."

So, brace yourself, because here comes my reply: IMPORTANT NOTE: I was far more harsh in my reply then I would generally be, and certainly more harsh when we allow on this forum. I permitted myself a bit of indulgence because this particular group of trolls have been rather crass to multiple members of the movement.

So let us take a little while to break down the outright lies in your post. When I first came here, was around December 3rd. The first posts I noticed were you attacking Doug Mallette for having the same birthday as you.:

"David Indubitable Szemerda: Good God... Doug Mallet has the same birthday as I!?!? So much for any validity to Astrology."

Along with a picture of Doug. This is just an attempt to troll Doug based on nothing. Fairly common troll tactic.

Then we move on to the next post I participated in. It has a link to someone else's facebook you were spying on and you felt the need to troll them:

"David Indubitable Szemerda:
God sometimes it really opens your eyes to see what ZMer and TVPers do in private. I guess it not so much a cult, as a bunch of pathetic teenage groupies. Read the comments like :"Monica Mona peter is yummy and Jacque is ...daddy ♥ " Talk about 'Idol worship'... I think I shall go vomit now."

This I might add, is more childish bullshit. Anyway, the exchange that takes place afterward is someone from TZM pointing out how childish you are being. And you going on to say that they behave like they are in a cult. Etc. etc. Saying any group of people is cult-like is a pretty easy thing to do. By the definition alone you could say the Republican Party is a cult. Just because they happen to like Peter and Jacque doesn't make them cult members. I know people who admire Wayne Gretsky or Muhammad Ali. They are not cult members.

As the exchanges go back and forth I watch as you become more and more belligerent as most trolls do. Right now in this post your trying to pretend that you were nice to me initially and then only retaliated. This is a blatant lie.

You are also suggesting that I have suggested that people should block you from their facebooks because I am scared they will "see through our evil cult". It really has nothing to do with that. If I was a cult member worried about that I would not of bothered telling anyone you existed.

That being said, lets go over the reasons I suggested to people that talking to you is a waste of time, and why they should probably block you from their Facebook accounts.

You post a photo of Doug Mallette. Someone you do not know. For the purposes of mocking him. You obviously got the photo from one of Doug's Facebook photos.

Then you posted a link to this:
(Prabhu Duraiswamy's photos)

Solely for the purpose of trying to twist someone's nice post about Jacque and Peter into some sort of proof that they were cultists because they happened to admire the two men in the picture. It's pretty clear you are not friends with this person or you wouldn't be talking about them that way. This is just trolling. There is no reason for you to be looking at this person's FB account other then for as you put it to entertain yourself at their expense by "mocking" them. Anyone who thinks that mocking others is a past time worthy of the amount of time and energy I see you put in here calling people names has already proven intellectually inferior.

So lets move on.

You went on to say that you have been in TZM longer then me. As if this was in any way relevant. I pointed out this was an appeal to authority fallacy. You failed to grasp what that meant. I had to explain it to you about three times. How long you have been in TZM was not a relevant point to what we were discussing at all. That's why it was a fallacy.

In the debate about that you say:

"Seriously man... you are fucked in the head. You ARE fat as well. Go on a diet and learn something about reality."

Because clearly, my weight is SOOO relevant to the topic of whether or not the length of time you have been allegedly involved with or aware of TZM. Clearly because I am fat, you are therefore more knowledgeable on the topic of appeal to authority fallacies. This would be ad hominem in it's most base form. Lets distract the audience from the fact that you just made an idiot out of yourself by calling attention to the weight of the person your debating with. This is clearly sound logic.

So I point out the absurdity of this and you say:

"It IS a valid tactic if that person cannot deal with reality and accept they are fat. That means the person in question has no real perception of reality.

You are fat... Obese if you prefer... that is a fact... you co not accept it. Point made... you cannot accept reality."

At no point in any conversation I have ever had on Facebook let alone here in your little "debate" group have I ever denied that I am in fact overweight. I brought this up several times. You always seemed to ignore it. So now, according to you we have proof that I cannot accept reality, because I will not accept that I am fat. Even though I have never once at this point denied that I am in fact overweight. Not a single time. But hey, if you repeat that a few dozen times it might gain some traction with people who are not actually paying attention. "SEE? That VTV guy is full of shit! He denies that he is fat!" the other person might say "Really?" and the first guy would say "Oh yeah, I read that a bunch of times on the internet. Obviously it must be true."

So, aside from the fact that my weight is a complete Non Sequitur to the issue of the RBE, energy consumption, etc you and your troll friends spend a great deal of time reminding everyone reading that I am fat. This might work with people who have not matured out of grade school. And it certainly works a lot better from the safety of your keyboard. But it doesn't prove any validity to your statements at all. Or your credibility. In fact, it demonstrates the opposite.

So here in my favorite obvious proof that most of the time you talk out of your ass in debate:

I point out that the people who were contesting TVP's attempt to trademark the RBE concept were people who wanted to corrupt the idea, you say:

"Fuck you, you stupid moron... the Promethean Workers were working on a Resource Based Economy Theory long before Jacques showed up with his stupid vision. Don't fucking try to manipulate reality."

Interesting that I supposedly cannot accept reality because I never denied that I am overweight. But you try to manipulate reality by claiming that the Promethean Workers were supposedly working on the idea long before Jacque showed up. Now, that being said, lets quote some of your above diatribe:

"That would be me. I did not bother to address the issue because it is a stupid claim. There is no evidence that Jacques had even understood the concepts of an RBE when he first formed The Venus Project. There is no writing, there are no documents, it is all hearsay, FROM BOTH SIDES. I acknowledge my evidence is hearsay, however I am not basing my argument on it. My argument is that Jacques has provided no evidence therefore his claims are JUST as inadmissible in a debate. Without valid evidence to prove his claims, his claims are simply that, CLAIMS. "

So it is a stupid claim? Which was the stupid claim? (It was a stupid claim. made by you.) I am leaning towards the stupid claim being that the Promethean Workers were working on the idea before Jacque. But hey, lets go with you as the source to when the Promethean Workers were founded:

This is DIRECTLY from you:
"We had one of the organizers there, I think they started their organization in 2006,"

So you said there is no proof? Lets go over the proof then.

Jacque Fresco's first Co-authored book was "Looking Forward" written in 1969.
ISBN 0498067521. OCLC 21606

If you look at this PDF, the picture on the very first page is obviously a TVP city design.

(Oh, and FYI, there is an acknowledgments section, since you also stated that Jacque never gives credit I figured it might be prudent for you to check that out.)

Socio-Cyberneering was founded in 1971.

"Incorporated by Fresco, Jacque, Gillette, Don A., Meadows, Roxanne, Sociocyberneering, Inc. is located at 21 Valley Ln Venus, FL 33960. Sociocyberneering, Inc. was incorporated on Monday, February 22, 1971 in the State of FL and is currently not active."

Socio-Cyberneering was a proposal for an RBE community. As this video interview with Larry King dated in 1974

He wrote a book about it called "An introduction to Socio-Cyberneering" in 1977

First film in 1994: "The Venus Project: The Redesign of a Culture"

Another in 2001: "Welcome to the future"

Then his book "The best that money can't buy" in 2002

"Cities in the Sea" and "Self Erecting Structures were both in 2002 as well.

Then "Future By Design" in 2006. Which also contained videos of Jacque's early work on the trend home. Among other things.

So all of this before the "Promethean Workers" came onto the scene. And there is plenty of documented proof.

This proved that you made "CLAIMS" that were unfounded. As trolls often do. Your purpose is not to prove anything, but to rely on the hope that people will be persuaded by your personal attacks and ridicule.

I would link you to the Promethean Workers website, but they don't have one. They are down to just a MySpace now:

The reason they broke off is because they wanted to add spiritual mumbo jumbo to their beliefs. Among other things. I would link you to that stuff but it was on their website that is now gone.

So, sometime before this you linked this nutjob, Peter Whitlock:

And this is what you had to say about him:

"I like this guy... It gives a good history of how Jacques Fresco formed SocioCyberneering and shafted everyone out of there investment in the creation of The Venus Project. All that stuff is verifiable, PDR and I tracked down and verified most of independently."

So when it was in your favor to quote him, you were all about him. I pointed out that he makes a lot of silly claims so I wouldn't call him credible. One of which being that supposedly Jacque and Roxanne are criminals and that the police are after them. I never at any point state that he said this in the video you linked. I just said that the as a source made a lot of crazy claims.

In that video at 2:30 after you and Paco repeatedly insisting that I was wrong, lying, or stupid, or fat, or whatever other excuse I proved that the nutcase you are using as a credible source on Jacque Fresco insists that he is a criminal and that the police are after him. Even going so far as to say that he is going to call the police on him. (That video was made August 25th. You would think the police would of apprehended a 94 year old man who has lived at the same address for decades by now.

Now, as I stated in the previous debate about the validity of the claims about Socio-Cyberneering the Wikipedia entry which I had to dig to find erroneously links to a known Anti-ZM troll's blog as a "source". The "source" even quoted by Paul Jones A.K.A "Anticultist" (Who is really into UFO stuff by the way) is from a random anonymous person who called himself "Euripide Sneed". That's not proof. As I pointed out in my debate with you. I could just as easily make a Wikipedia entry about you claiming that you have sexual relations with sheep, and link it to a blog where some anonymous person claims to of witnessed you doing it and then say SEE!??? I PROVED IT!

This is not the sort of proof that would hold up in a court of law. Because it is what is known as "hearsay".

The funny thing is, even in Sneed's testimony he says:

"He doesn’t solicit money from people to buy fancy cars (as do some religious leaders), almost ALL the money he receives goes back into his art work, and toy models."

Which is obviously contradictory to Mr. Whitlock's accusations. But hey, as I pointed out when trolling you "cherry pick" whatever you want and discount whatever doesn't suit your agenda.

Any anonymous individual hiding behind a fake name can make any accusation they want. There is a reason this is not admissible in court.

You claimed that you were able to find documented proof of all of these allegations but dubiously and I must say predictably you refused to give such evidence. Proof of the claims of Euripide Sneed would come in the form of actual documents confirming his story. Not a link to a blog where a known troll cut and pastes stuff from an anonymous source.

(Note: It's interesting that earlier in a different conversation you were totally OK with demanding to know where Jacque's military records are. Because for some reason you think the burden of proof is on the accused not the accuser.)

Oh yeah, here is the quote I think:

""lied bout his military career" it does not change anything, he claims to have worked in development... I guarantee you he was a toilet cleaner... and a poor one at that."

This is an example of the sort of unsubstantiated claims you make all the time. Since obviously you have no documentation to prove this or else you would not be asking me to dig up Jacque's military records, you just throw this out there hoping the readers will be naive enough to just accept your ASSumption.

That same guy with the video you liked so much also has his own "plan for the future" that he built with what looks like children's blocks. He claims there is this mystical force called the "seals" that will save mankind. This kind of further proves my point that you really don't investigate past what looks appealing to your agenda.

Anyway, moving on.

To further give examples of why I suggested that people block the people here:

"Ilira Walker: from the tzm fb wall, 12/11/10.Niccolo Grant: According to Zeitgeist, on the winter solstice Orion's belt lines up with
Sirius and this is symbolic of the Epiphany. Everything about that claim is wrong. Don't believe me? Go outside on the 21st and see if Orion's belt lines up with Sirius then. You will find you've bee..."

Ilra is obviously not interested in TZM beyond the need to quote things out of context to make fun of people.

And from Mario Brotha:
More cult worship. As a doctor, this bothers me.

He is trolling the TZM forums again, only to look for things to poke fun at or use to humiliate or insult people.

He does so again in what I think is the single most damning thread here that proves beyond a shadow of a doubt the lengths that the trolls will go:

"This is how VTV raises his children and this is horrible and scary. I should know, because I'm a doctor."

Then he links this video of me playing with my son on a web cam, and you along with the other "intellectuals" go on to twist the video into an example of what a terrible father I am supposed to be. And how my son is stupid.

In response:

Paco said:
"Paco Hernandez: I'm just as interested regarding how the father is more mesmerized by the screen and keeps staring at it like a zombie, than the child playing in the screen."

That is because I was checking to see how the picture was coming out. What I was staring at was in fact my son. Genius.

"What is he teaching his kid? How to be indoctrinted by images on a screen."

So you surmised in a less then two minute video that I am teaching my child to be indoctrinated by pictures on a screen? My kids barely get to watch TV at all. But clearly, all the intimate knowledge you gained and the insight you got here proves this theory of yours. This is further proof that the people here are full of shit. This is like a FOX news spin.

"The father looks like he's on some sort of drug-sitting there stoned "zoning out." Even at my most tired, I'm more animated than this guy when it comes to his interactions with his kid."

I was again watching the screen to see how the picture was turning out. You have no idea how I interact with my son outside of this brief video. None. But to the uneducated who might read this and assume you must be right or you wouldn't be saying it...

Then you David basically claim my son is stupid:

"Wow... that is scary. My kids understood that videos, cams, and mirrors were actually them about the same time they learned to walk."

My son asks sometimes to interact with himself on the screen. It's a game we play. But hey, you watched a two minute video, and you don't like me so therefore you must be an authority on my son's mental faculties.

You later try to excuse this despicable behavior by saying that because I mentioned to you that I was not going to answer your question right away because I was going to spend time with my son that it was proof that I was a bad father. The reason I explained why I was leaving and was not answering right away is because in several of your conversations you would try to "declare victory" if I didn't answer you right that very second. It was another stupid contrived accusation on your part. And further proof that you are a total intellectual failure.

So taking a video of me and my son playing together and then using it to attack me is in your opinion acceptable. Again, a good reason for people to block you and the people who participate in that sort of thing here on Facebook. The same thing is true of the picture taken from my personal photos. Nothing about my hobbies is in any way relevant to the RBE, or energy, or anything actually relevant. Yet you guys acted like because I have this hobby it fully discredited the idea. This is also further ad hominem. It really has no basis in fact. But smear campaigns are common to liars with an agenda.

I could quote pages and pages and pages of useless comments from you. But I will settle with just a few:

"I would say I was just kidding when I said you were fucking stupid.... but I wasn't kidding. I am just like that."

"Fuck you VTV, there is no ad hominem... you are a 'tard, it is YOUR job to prove otherwise... Thus far you are quite obviously deficient."

"No... you have not... yes I am sure with your little spock ears on you THINK you have proved something.. but to us who are not fucking 'tards... you have not. "

"Address anything you fat fuck."

"Fuck you are stupid... 'tard. Me calling you names stems from the fact you are stupid, NOT because I am incapable of defending my position intelligently. YOU on the other hand, think you can diminish the facts by trying to point out irrelevant facts (and yes they are facts) that I call you a fat fuck and 'tard. THAT has nothing to do with anything regarding a valid defense. It just means you are so pathetic that you can't debate with fact, you must simply find that which you find trivially offensive and pretend it discredits me. "

"Seriously.. you are a fucktard with the brains of a child. Go put on your ears and pretend you are logical."

"Is it possible all your fat has infected your brain? I am not sure if it is possible, but you provide some indication."

"You obviously do not understand what I said, nor do you understand Project Brain Brain. You are far to stupid."

"See how fucking stupid you are?"

"Man are you fucking stupid."

"You don't fucking 'install' self emergence.... it just occurs... that is what self emergence means... fucktard."

Ok so I lied, that's more then a few. And there were plenty more where that came from. This proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that you were utterly incapable of rational debate. Just a hint, rational people don't call people tards, or stupid, or fat every other sentence during any form of intellectual discourse that anyone would actually consider credible.

Then you go on to LIE and say I never answered you about AI. You are suggesting that AI will just do it's own thing. I pointed out more then a few times that when we install such systems in TVP systems we absolutely will put failsafes in to prevent any anomalies.

You basically created a strawman by suggesting that TVP will fail because according to your research AI will always just become self aware on it's own. I pointed out that we would not install any system capable of doing that in anything critical. This was all in response to Paco's silly concept that somehow machines were going to turn into "Terminator" someday. It's science fiction. I didn't avoid you. I for a while said I would get back to you. Then you demanded I answer you right away. By spamming over and over again to try and get me to answer. So, for the sake of again proving you wrong:

My answers:

First answer:

"That's quite a wall of text. You will have to give me some time to look at it. So far you are the only anti-ZM poster here who is not just flinging poo." (Which was given to Paco)"

Second answer, also to Paco:

"Paco, Doug Mallettte is an Engineer who worked for the space shuttle program. If you would actually be wiling to talk about this somewhere absent morons like the one above me here I could persuade him to talk to you about this stuff. I am still going to answer it to the best of my ability but he is better with the tech then I am. I am not avoiding this I just feel it deserves my full attention and dealing with endless stupidity is a distraction we removed from our forums for a reason. (They also became much more productive.)"

Third Answer:

"The reason I haven't taken the time to get to more of a response yet goes back to the first post I made, which was asking if you could debate without ad hominem. I pointed out that I doubted it. Then I proved it. Your answers were basically full of little more then personal attack. Just like you posting pictures of me and making fun of those as well. The fact that you guys spend so much time looking for things to personally attack someone shows beyond a shadow of a doubt that you have no real argument of substance. I will get to the rest of this later, but the replies you have given so far prove exactly what I set out to prove. This is not a place for debate, it's just another haven for cowardly trolls. It's not special. The whole internet is full of them. Full of little cowards pretending to be men. When I typed out the first part only to have Paco reply with nothing of substance it just proved to be a waste of my time. If there is no intellectual value then it is only interesting when I take a mind to humiliating trolls. I have humiliated the trolls I set out to. And didn't even bother with the last one because discrediting him wasn't even nessacary.

If I get bored and don't have anything else to do I will get to the rest."

Fourth Answer:

"I already said I would talk to you about the rest later. That is, when I feel like it. My motivation to interact with ignorant people who behave the way you are is not very high. The short answer is I do not see why we would not place fail safes in computers with AI. It is kind of obvious. Your building the brain of a machine, you have complete control over what goes in it and what is hard wired. That's why that stuff is all science fiction. Machines do what you program to do. No more. No less. And even if you left a program able to develop on it's own there is no reason you could not hardwire fail safes to keep it from doing something you didn't want it to."

Oh and for solidarity's sake, this is what you said in return:

"Seriously.. you are a fucktard with the brains of a child. Go put on your ears and pretend you are logical."

"Is it possible all your fat has infected your brain? I am not sure if it is possible, but you provide some indication."

So I give you a real answer, only to have you spew grammar school nonsense back at me. Then you wondered why I was not very inclined to waste a lot of time on it?

I also notice that your number of times that you supposedly asked me this question and I supposedly dodged it keeps going up and down.

"I have now asked you 4 times to address the AI argument... you STILL have not done so. Are you incapable of understanding that? Or simply incapable of defending that?"

But here in your above essay, it was only three times. Hmm...

So have to copy and paste my previous answer to again prove that you are lying when you say that I have refused to answer you. This would be the fifth time I answered you.

Three posts ago, I posted this:

"The short answer is I do not see why we would not place fail safes in computers with AI. It is kind of obvious. Your building the brain of a machine, you have complete control over what goes in it and what is hard wired. That's why that stuff is all science fiction. Machines do what you program to do. No more. No less. And even if you left a program able to develop on it's own there is no reason you could not hardwire fail safes to keep it from doing something you didn't want it to."

And your answer, which contained no counter points or counter data, and nothing that would indicate that I was somehow wrong about the notion that we can build AIs with fail safes was this little gem of immaturity:

"Seriously.. you are a fucktard with the brains of a child. Go put on your ears and pretend you are logical. "

So, your saying I "STILL" have not answered you. When I have.


Thank you for playing son.

Sixth answer:

"The only reason AI is even relevant to the issue of the RBE is because we plan to use some aspects of AI to help us with certain tasks. We have no intention to just build AI machines and let them run loose when they are in control over resources and conditions that are critical to human life. "

Seventh Answer:

"Why would we install a self emergent intelligence in a system that is critical to be reliable? This is just common sense. "

Eight Answer:

"The point is that none of the research your talking about is even relevant. No we wouldn't destroy existing research. But the concern was supposed to be that TVP was a bad idea due to some danger that the AI's involved could somehow decide to turn on us. I pointed out that this is science fiction. If self-emergent AI's exist obviously we wouldn't be installing them into critical systems. This is where you make assertions or ASSumptions as to our intentions and then try to claim to of discredited us based on your own conjecture and nothing we have said."

Ninth answer:

"When you design a machine, you define the parameters it operates at. If you don't want it to develop attributes that are outside of your scope then you design it that way. It's really not that hard. All you manged to do was call me more names and fail to address anything. "

So after you badgered me a dozen or so times for answers on this. I gave them to you over and over. Which would make this bullshit statement by you bunk:

"I ask you, if you ask someone a DIRECT QUESTION with a yes or no answer THREE TIMES, and they avoid each time, yet still open their mouths and spew crap... aren't you going to feel like punching them in the face?!?!? It is only human that if you are given such incredible amounts of claims, and ZERO ability actually answer a simple question, you are going to look at the person as a moron."

So, now I have utterly crushed this post made by you. I demonstrated that you in fact do little more then troll. That we do in fact use evidence and documentation to make our arguments. That I did not in fact dodge your question about AI. And that despite your attempt to claim that this place is totally credible and that I made everything up about it in my suggestion that people should avoid this place, and you...


So, now to go over his replies to my well researched reply:

Yawn... that has been done VTV... quite boring... aren't you supposed to be blocking us? I thought that was your new edict. Why don't you heed your own words and not bother.

Yes Tim, they generally have no clue about many things, most far more important that the one I chose. However I simply chose something simple VTV was working on in his response to Paco's post. Basically you can randomly pick virtually anything regrading TVP and disprove it.

Instead of the movie "Field of Dreams" envision the TVP version... "Field of Delusions". One of my friends posted a tour of a former TVP concept. Ever hear of Earth Centre, Doncaster? (,_Doncaster) 41.6 Million British pounds scammed for the purpose of a 'theme park' to demonstrate 'sustainability'. It is now a derelict. But the people who conceived it are doing well.

Sound familiar?

This is an attempt to sidestep everything that just totally crushed what he said. He does this several times and then just tries to limp away.

The conversation continued in a different thread wherein he is weighing whether or not he will debate Doug Mallette. I suggested that they should bring the debate to V-RADIO. So he said:

You are not 'fair' here. you continue to claim 'checkmate' despite the fact you have no idea what you are talking about. How would I ever give you even the slightest confidence that you could be 'impartial' as the 'official spokesman' for TVP? I am not the 'official spokesman' for anything aside from David Szemerda.

Interesting... I think I demonstrated I certainly knew what I was talking about...he also demonstrated that he was completely incapable of handling that. But lets move on.

So I reply to him with this:

David. Please tell me how any of the things that I proved with actual documentation in your last attempt to debate me were wrong? This is the problem. Perhaps in the troll world people can pretend that they are still neck and neck in a debate. But in an intellectual world it doesn't work that way. The way I destroyed your point about how there is in fact documented proof of Jacque's work pre-dating the Promethean workers that I did in great detail is a perfect example of that.

The person who is generally not "fair" is the one slinging insults all the time. As the people on my facbook group who have read the debate are now remarking, your failing to address my last point because you were completely trounced. You made several statements that were simply wrong. Or lies. Or both.

As for debates on my show, I will basically shut up the whole time other then to prevent you guys from interrupting each other. And I say that plurally. I have moderated Presidential debates as well. The integrity of the conversation is most important. Honestly I think your probably worried that you won't be able to get away with trying to bury Doug's points like you try to do with mine here. It's a weakness of text debates.

So now here I have asked him to explain how I didn't know what I was talking about. I ask him to defend his statement that my claiming victory over his unfounded claims which I proved were utterly incorrect was somehow wrong. This is the best he could come up with:

"Please tell me how any of the things that I proved with actual documentation in your last attempt to debate me were wrong"

Perhaps your constant whining about 'ad homenium'? And you did not prove anything with documentation. Your normal strategy is to avoid answering questions. Even with your debate with Tim, you respond "I am no agricultural expert". Well, you do not have to be an agricultural expert to see the flaws, nor do you have to be a science expert to see the flaws, nor do you need to be psychology expert to see the flaws.

The only things you appear to be an expert at are saying 'checkmate', declaring victory, avoiding answering questions and whining about people who make fun of you.

"It's a weakness of text debates. "

The only type of person who would think there is a weakness in text debates are people who cannot think properly. Writing, when you make the effort to do it properly, which I admit I do not bother to often, is FAR superior. One has the time to do proper research and documentation, link to references, detail analogies, have the space to provide alternate analogies for different perspectives. There are no time limits, there are no interjections, no heckling. Writing is a far superior medium for actual informational presentation. Unfortunate most people lack the attention span to read and write these days. Although it can lack the emotional appeal and drama. I would think the standard radio debate would be suitable for political topics, or perhaps a 'mock' debate for entertainment purpose in science fields. But far too limited for actual debate.

Hmm...interesting. So apparently all of the data that I provided that crushed his claims was not relevant, because apparently I whined about people making fun of me. Note that he doesn't talk about any of the data I provided that proved that Jacque Fresco was not just making "claims" about working on the RBE concept. Notice that he left out any of the data I presented that proved that I had in fact answered his question about AI multiple times. I reply to this a few times.

Ah I see David. So your debate style here is to say because I complain about Ad hominem, I am therefore wrong in the factual replies I gave to you with documentation to prove them. Dubious. (Actually it's simply bullshit.) I am not whining about it David. The fact is that you were utterly wrong. And I proved it. And now your trying to dodge it.

And no, I think properly. The reason that text debates are a problem is because they allow you to do things like your attempting to do right now. There is no value to any of what you just said so far as defeating my points. I asked you the question "Please tell me how any of the things that I proved with actual documentation in your last attempt to debate me were wrong?"

And your reply was to say I was whining about ad hominem. As if that has anything to do with it. As if that in any way disproves anything I said in my reply. That is weak at best. And in an audio debate you would sound very foolish for attempting to do this.

I also answered all of your questions. And pointed out how I answered one of them no less then nine times.

"One has the time to do proper research and documentation, link to references, detail analogies,"

Yes, I did all of that too. And you are simply trying to dodge the very real truth.

"There are no time limits, there are no interjections, no heckling."

No heckling? Is this you whining about ad hominem now? That's just funny.

So over the course of this sham of a reply you have given you have actually proven everything I said about weakness of text debate. Because in text you can attempt to hide from the mountain of data I just smashed your half assed statements with. And act like you are still somehow on top.

Actually to further point this out, lets actually re-add the context to my statement that you attempted to debunk and truly expose just how incompetent your reply was:

"The integrity of the conversation is most important. Honestly I think your probably worried that you won't be able to get away with trying to bury Doug's points like you try to do with mine here. It's a weakness of text debates."

And your reply to that was to say:

"The only type of person who would think there is a weakness in text debates are people who cannot think properly. Writing, when you make the effort to do it properly, which I admit I do not bother to often, is FAR superior. One has the time to do proper research and documentation, link to references, detail analogies, have the space to provide alternate analogies for different perspectives. There are no time limits, there are no interjections, no heckling. Writing is a far superior medium for actual informational presentation. Unfortunate most people lack the attention span to read and write these days. Although it can lack the emotional appeal and drama. I would think the standard radio debate would be suitable for political topics, or perhaps a 'mock' debate for entertainment purpose in science fields. But far too limited for actual debate."

Note that you fail to address what I pointed out was the weakness? That being an attempt to bury his points under a mountain of irrelevant data? Just like your trying to do here? The best you could come up with was to say I was whining about ad hominem when the subject of ad hominem is barely even mentioned in my reply. You left out all of the links, data, structured replies and everything else that I used to crush your statement.

So apparently according to you, in order for me to be "thinking properly" I should be completely OK with my opponent in a given debate being free to simply ignore the total destruction of their argument?

And you say this place is fair?

That's laughable.

Paco had to come in and try and rescue you. And even he was not able to address even a tenth of what I said that destroyed what you said.

Thank you for helping me prove my point about the weakness of text debate further.

Now, this is already a long post. So lets sum up.

Right now, this person is banking on the fact that within the culture of the "Zeitgeist Debate" Facebook group, a group that has a mission statement of:

There are many flaws in The Venus Project, and the Zeitgeist movement. There are those who would still like to continue the discussion off of different walls and boards of various groups, so I say let's discuss the ins and outs here.

That the fact that he was utterly defeated will just slide by the wayside. And for the most part it has. His allies there of course will not confront him for avoiding all of the data I provided. Another user stepped in just a little bit to talk about the video argument. But that was it. They will continue to treat him like someone who had credibility. And certainly more credibility then me. This is where the debate leaves science, and moves into politics. The fact that I was right on all counts is not relevant. What is relevant is that this person has kissed the right asses and backed them up when they were equally proven wrong in different debates. So therefore they will get together like a good "pack" of trolls often do to continue to gang up on me and post links to pictures of members of the movement and make fun of them.

Now, in contrast. If I fail to answer even a single point they have made all of the "pack" will be sure to remind me in every single exchange. If I were to ever post a picture or video from their personal lives they would be quick to attack me for it. If I ever say anything crass to any of them then they of course will call me on that.

So what we have here is thus:

1. The trolls in question rely on the idea that they can distract the audience with endless witty and sometimes not-so-witty insults to keep them entertained while they give poorly researched arguments. They will engage in endless vicious attacks on their opponents so as to also hopefully unbalance them.

2. When confronted with actual evidence (even when they claim we never give any) they will simply try and pretend it never happened. And cover up for each other when it does. They will give replies that convieniently leave out any points they have no reply for. (And in this case, he simply didn't have a reply for anything I said.)

3. The trolls in question run in a "pack" so they can always seem to be "winning" because after all there are so many more of them then there are of you. They tend to isolate one person at a time. And since rarely does a large group of members of TZM ever go to their forum (and why would we?) they can do this. For a while last night me and one TZM member ganged up on one of their guys who's specialty is taking pictures from your facebook and calling you names based on it. When we collectively were not impressed it put him off balance. With no one around to talk about how great his efforts were it left him exposed to being the troll he was.

4. And finally (And this is the best part) they will continue to dismiss any data you offer as "trite" and offer ad hominem analysis into how you are obviously intellectually inferior. They will do this with rare posts like the one I destroyed above where they try to conduct themselves as civilized debate experts for just a brief moment to assure everyone that they were completely justified in all of their name calling, and that the truth is that their opponent really didn't have any leg to stand on. Etc. etc.

5. It never ends. The cycle repeats.

Something that rarely happens which can put these guys off balance is when you can invade their groups with a larger group of people then they have. And turn things around on them just a bit. (Which is what I did in my post.) While entertaining, there is a reason that Peter says stuff like this is a waste of time.

So that begs the question, why did I waste my time with it?

Multiple members of the movement asked me to go here and debate these people. So I did. And my goal was never to change their minds. I know that will never happen. I proved why it can never happen. They are so wrapped up in hurting their opponents that they have lost any and all interest in actually having real debates. I gave him a real debate, his solution was to bury his head in the sand. So I proved beyond a shadow of a doubt why it is a waste of time to debate with any of these people. I do it as amusement sometimes because it is slightly more constructive then playing video games. But at the end of the day, it is very important to recognize that these people should have no power over you. But to demonstrate how they take that power.

This has the added benefit of proving beyond a shadow of a doubt the reasons we moderate this forum the way we do. Every tactic I just described, the personal attacks, avoiding the points, etc we just don't put up with that here. And as a result we have real communication with no politics.

I hope you enjoyed what should be a book. I am working on making a documentary about this stuff.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Is the Zeitgeist Movement a cult?

Is the Zeitgeist Movement a cult?
By Neil Kiernan a.k.a VTV

Where did the accusations start that the Zeitgeist Movement was a cult? Well as most unfounded statements about the Zeitgeist movement it usually starts with someone who is angry because they were banned from the forums for being jerks. The next phase of this generally leads to them going from being ardent supporters of the RBE and TZM to suddenly needing to find ways to demonize the thing that “rejected” them. It's not uncommon for people to do this. Though it is not exactly rational. Generally people who have to resort to such aggressive conversational tactics have a lot of un-expressed anger. So they lash out at people they are debating with. And when they are called to task for doing so, they scream “authoritarian” at the people telling them to stop. Because after all they don't want to be told what to do. (Never realizing of course that by attacking someone they are trying to dominate them psychologically and therefore are seeking to take authority over them.)

On my show we have been over that topic many times. And am working on a film project to cover it even more in depth. The reason I sought to review it was because we needed to get at the core causes of why this “Oh yeah! Well your a CULT!” nonsense generally starts. They are angry for being in their minds “rejected” because of their aggressive behavior. So now it's time to ad hominem the group that cast them out to protect their pride. The irony that generally what caused them to leave was not that they suddenly saw flaws in the RBE itself. Just that they don't like being asked not to be bullies on the forums. But of course suddenly they hate the RBE too.

It reminds me of an angry kid who is told he can't be part of a club some of his friends have formed so they say with anger: "Oh yeah!??? Well I didn't want to be part of your stupid club anyway!!!" Then they might go form their own club in retaliation. -cough RBOSE COUGH!-

So the accusations of “cult” emerge. I have ignored this entire concept for some time because it seriously sounded so silly I didn't even feel it needed to be addressed. In my recent debates I decided to debunk it entirely. It didn't take long. It was then however that it occurred to me that most people didn't even really understand how subjective this concept of “cult” was and therefore it was very easy to cast a dark shadow on anything by using that word. This is largely because of the vague nature of the concept.

One of the books that Jacque Fresco strongly recommends is “They Tyranny of Words” by Stuart Chase. If your interested in the book you can find it on for a decent price.

Anyway, one of the major things that Mr. Chase covers in the book is that words generally have many meanings and psychological effects. And rarely do you have any idea what someone actually means when they use a word to convey a concept. People's idea of what a word means is highly influenced by their culture and environment when they learned the word. There are all sorts of other factors with it.

Take the word “Communism”. Say that word out loud in the United States and people get a negative feeling right away. Say the word “Capitalism” in Soviet Russia and you would of gotten the same reaction. There was a reason for that. It was that people on both of these sides had a vested interest to psychologically condition the people in their perspective countries to dislike the ideology of the other country. Thus, the “cold war”.

I remember for years growing up during the “cold war” being told that Communism was bad. Though for years I never really understood why, or even what Communism was. This was also to the benefit of the people propagandizing Communism. If you say something is bad enough people will feel socially compelled to go along with that. I mean after all, if a lot of people say something is bad it MUST be bad right? Especially if they said it on TV!

There are a lot of other words that have been “charged” by our culture to have negative connotations. Say the word “democrat” and this generally leads you to “liberal” which is considered synonymous with “socialist”. Which is in turn synonymous with “communist”. See how that works? And what is the word “communist” associated with? Well generally with “fascist”. So now by calling someone a democrat in some circles this also means they are a fascist. It conjures up images of gulags, Stalin, an evil oppressive regime that spies on you with the KGB and sends you to prison in Siberia. And that is EXACTLY what their opposition want. There is a similar set of reactions you get with “republican”. Generally means “rich”, “greedy”, etc.

Now how do these associations measure up with reality? Without going into the Socialist/Communist tangent too much further, I would point out that all of the socialists I have ever spoken to, Paddy Shannon and Brian Moore being two of them, one of whom is a well known filmmaker, and the other is a former presidential candidate for the socialist party, neither of them had any support for the idea of fascism. Or totalitarianism. In fact, both of them had a great deal of respect for personal freedom. They just felt that people would have a lot more freedom and quality of life in a world where resources were shared equally rather then being owned by a few people who demand servitude out of anyone who wants to have access to what they need to survive.

So what does all this mean to the concept of “cult”?

The word “cult” has all sorts of negative attitudes associated with it. People immediately are taken to thoughts of the Branch Davidians who burned to death in Waco Texas in an alleged mass suicide. Or the Jones-town cult that drank “the kool-aid” to kill themselves. The bizarre practices of the church of Scientology,(A note: Not all Scientology followers are in the "church") Bohemian Grove, etc. The problem with the word cult is that it's definition is so loose that it is very easy to throw that word at anyone, or rather any group of people who hold a similar idea. We will get into that directly. But the word is not even always used in a negative light. A movie can have a “cult following”. And when someone makes that distinction they generally don't mean that there is some religious sect of people worshiping the film, or it's actors, etc. And sometimes it just refers to any group of people who happen to like a given concept, or thing. “The Kiss Army” affectionately refers to the “cult” that follows the rock band “Kiss”. They love their music and their image so collectively they have this in common.

So, does this mean that all “Kiss” fans would drink Kool-aid and kill themselves with Cyanide if Gene Simmons asked them to? Or even most of them? Or even any?

Does it mean that the “cult following” of the original “Highlander” film would be willing to burn themselves and their children to death if the writer Gregory Widen asked them to?

(Note: I don't doubt that people have done some stupid things and associated it with either of these things. But that is individual crazy people, and is not facilitated by the groups in question. A crazy stalker killing someone to impress their object of obsession is obviously not the fault of the object in question.)

So, lets break down what the word “cult” means.

1. a particular system of religious worship, esp. with reference to its rites and ceremonies.

2. an instance of great veneration of a person, ideal, or thing, esp. as manifested by a body of admirers: the physical fitness cult.

3. the object of such devotion.

4. a group or sect bound together by veneration of the same thing, person, ideal, etc.

5. (From Sociology.) a group having a sacred ideology and a set of rites centering around their sacred symbols.

6. a religion or sect considered to be false, unorthodox, or extremist, with members often living outside of conventional society under the direction of a charismatic leader.

7. the members of such a religion or sect.

8.any system for treating human sickness that originated by a person usually claiming to have sole insight into the nature of disease, and that employs methods regarded as unorthodox or unscientific.

OK, looking at each of these individually, lets examine them and compare them to the Zeitgeist movement.

1. a particular system of religious worship, esp. with reference to its rites and ceremonies.

6. a religion or sect considered to be false, unorthodox, or extremist, with members often living outside of conventional society under the direction of a charismatic leader.

7. the members of such a religion or sect.

5. Sociology. a group having a sacred ideology and a set of rites centering around their sacred symbols.

The Zeitgeist movement does not advocate religion at all. In fact, if anything it is counter religion. Though being non-religious is not a condition of being involved in the Zeitgeist movement it is a predominantly atheist movement solely because we value the scientific method, not religion and not superstition as the arbiter of decision making. People are free to have their own beliefs. And so long as they are not advocating something theocratic, as in the idea that their religion should have a place in making laws for other people to be forced to follow, we don't care.

In the world we propose, people would be free to pursue whatever religion they want. And as I pointed out during the Rudy Davis interview, we would not be making any laws nor would we ever advocate laws being made to force someone to be atheist. Or not to practice any religion.

However, we also would not be willing to stand by and allow them to make laws to force other people to participate in their religious practices. We won't pass laws against women wearing scarves on their heads. But we also won't allow laws to be passed to force women to wear scarves on their heads.

For some people not being willing to help them be fanatic alone means that we therefore want to take their freedom away. That is too bad but it is not logical.

I have had to deal recently with someone who insists that because there are some sources quoted in the first Zeitgeist movie that quote from various pagan religions that we therefore advocate paganism. I had to explain to him (over and over) that the sources in the first film were to compare religions and how they were similar in an attempt to prove that Christianity itself was not anymore “divinely inspired” then any of of the pagan religions it copied.

We have also had to deal with some people who have suggested that because Jiddu Krishnamurti was in the beginning of the second film that therefore we advocated the theosophical society. The theosophical society was yet another religious group that you could call a “cult”. And apparently they worshiped a god they called “Lucifer”. Jiddu Krishnamurti left the group and went on to pursue philosophy on his own. The problem with these never ending distinctions is they of course only quote the ones that are helpful to their quest to prove we are some sort of evil sun worshiping cult.

For example, the first Zeitgeist film starts with a recording of a devout Buddhist named Trungpa Ripoche. Are we therefore a Buddhist movement?

Among the sources of the first Zeitgeist film is also “The King James Version of the Holy Bible” We also frequently quote Martin Luther King Jr. and obviously we are not a Christian movement.

The references to religion in the Zeitgeist movement are for the purpose of showing that all religions are questionable. And false institutions. And that superstition is irrelevant. And generally founded on nonsense. If we were some cult trying to get people to worship Lucifer, or advocate the occult it would be somewhat counter-productive to state that all religions are BS. (And I don't mean bad science). And to encourage people not to worship anything. Much less Lucifer.

I also had to explain (over and over) that the first film is not relevant to the Venus Project or the Zeitgeist Movement. Jacque Fresco himself although atheist does not endorse the first film. If you want proof of that you can find it on my website during my interview with him in Florida that I have uploaded to YouTube.

He kept insisting that since the first Zeitgeist film had occult or allegedly Luciferian authors in it's list of sources that therefore our movement was based on satanic ideas. Finally, I point blanked the individual and asked them where in the Zeitgeist Orientation guide (or any publication talking about the movement or the Venus project) that it suggested that members of the Zeitgeist Movement venerated Lucifer or suggested that people should? He of course could not find that anywhere. This would be because we are not a religious movement and do not suggest anyone be religious. Ever. If our goal was to spread Lucifer worship it would of been pretty easy to state that.

So concluding this part, the Zeitgeist movement is not a religion. Does not advocate a religion. Does not encourage religious practices. Has no rituals. Or ceremonies. We obviously don't have any “sacred ideology” and do not have any “sacred symbols” because we don't believe in the concept of anything being “sacred” because we don't believe in religion. And that basically disqualifies it from all of the negative connotations that are generally brought up when using the world “cult” in the derogatory.

So what about this one?

2. an instance of great veneration of a person, ideal, or thing, esp. as manifested by a body of admirers: the physical fitness cult.

A lot of people in TZM do admire Jacque Fresco for his work. Nobody is building any shrines to him. Nobody believes he is God. Or mystical. I know people who admire Muhammad Ali for his boxing prowess. That doesn't mean they worship him. So, religion again is out of the way here.

But as the definition provides a non-religious example in the “physical fitness cult” we come to the non-negative connotations of the word “cult”. Being devoted to physical fitness is not a bad thing. Being a “Kiss” fan is not a bad thing. This is where the word gets very subjective. Because you could say neo-nazis are basically the cult that venerates Adolph Hitler and his racist ideology. And obviously that is not a good thing. But it's still not religious.

But when you really look at this closely, cults seem to be everywhere.

The Republican Party. The Democratic Party. The Socialist Party. (In fact, just about every political party could be considered a “cult”. )

Labor Unions. The Feminist movement. The civil rights movement. Any organization that advocates certain principles. Hell, the Salvation Army is a “cult” by that condition. Charitable organizations are cults by that definition. The list goes on and on and on.

The reason we run into trouble, is as demonstrated in “The tyranny of words” there are often multiple meanings and multiple spins on any word or concept.

The Zeitgeist movement like any other group that suggests a certain ideology has people who oppose that ideology and seek to therefore actively oppose it. And propaganda is a powerful tool for defaming an ideology. So very much like the word “communist” being used to attack socialists, the word “cult” is used to attack us. Only it's worse. Because anything can be a “cult” if more then one person is interested in it.

So, by this definition. Allow me to direct your attention to a few “cults” out there.

The anti-conspiracy cult. We can use the Conspiracy Science forum users as an example. A group of people who collectively feel strongly about a certain set of ideals. Are very abusive to people who oppose those ideas. In fact they spend hours and hours of their lives stalking into the personal lives of people who advocate what they oppose in order to defame them.

The Free Market Capitalism cult. Some have called it the “Cult of Ayn Rand”. Again a group of people who collectively feel strongly about a certain set of ideals. Are very abusive to people who oppose those ideas.

Here is the difference. Since I have a habit of being fair where those who call us a “cult” do not. I do not believe that either of these groups has rituals, or a specific religious belief. Though they can both be rather fanatical to the point of being irrational. I don't see either of them passing out Kool-aid with cyanide in it to end their lives in protest of a world where some people believe in conspiracy theories or don't think the Free Market is a good solution either.

But when these people try and make that distinction when it comes to us they take advantage of this association of words to suggest that we are some sort of “Jones-town cult drinking the Kool-aid.”

Even though we as a movement hold no religious beliefs at all.


8. Any system for treating human sickness that originated by a person usually claiming to have sole insight into the nature of disease, and that employs methods regarded as unorthodox or unscientific.

In Zeitgeist Addendum, Peter points out that science took us from believing that demons caused disease, to modern medicine. And obviously we do not advocate methods that are unscientific.

While I have seen some members of the Zeitgeist Movement who are against vaccination. Or are Vegan, or whatever none of those ideas are held by the movement itself. If vaccinations do not work then science will prove that. If being Vegan is the way then science will prove that. But neither of these things are a belief that is currently advocated by the Zeitgeist Movement or the Venus Project.

In conclusion:

It is very easy to call any group of people who hold a similar ideology a “cult”. It is also something that because of it's subjective nature can be difficult to disprove. But as I have demonstrated in this article the world “cult” has many definitions that refer to groups of people for different reasons.

The “religious cult” does not apply.

The concept of a “social cult” or group of people who happen to hold the same ideology or admire certain people for holding that ideology applies to a LOT of organizations. And is not by any means directly related to the idea of the “religious cult”. “Kiss” fans come from all different religions, from cultures all over the world. And members of the Zeitgeist Movement tend not to be religious, and do also come from cultures all over the world.

So if someone wanted to say that there was a “cult following” of Jacque Fresco they could say the same thing of the “cult of Barack Obama”. Or the “cult of Ghandi”. Or the “cult of the civil rights movement” that tended to admire Martin Luther King. These distinctions can be made just as easily as the “cult of Adolph Hitler”.

In essence, the word “cult” is so flexible in what it means that anyone who has really considered it should have a hard time taking anyone seriously who tries to use it as an attack.

As stated in Wikipedia:

“The word originally denoted a system of ritual practices. The narrower, derogatory sense of the word is a product of the 20th century, especially since the 1980s, and is considered subjective.”

Subjective, meaning that it can mean a lot of things to a lot of people and is therefore not in of itself a concept that is solid in it's foundations.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Thoughts on the Rudy Davis interview.

This conversation jumped around a lot on different tangents so I am going to try and organize different things that we talked about here. So what is in this blog is not really going to be in chronological order as to how the conversation actually took place.
Is The Venus Project or the Zeitgeist Movement advocating an “evil” system?
Mr. Davis made a YouTube video wherein he stated that the Venus Project system was an “evil system”. He went on to describe a few different times and in a few different ways during my interview with him how this was the case. In this blog I intend to go over a lot of the logical fallacies in his argument and to help the listeners understand the various ways Mr. Davis was conditioned to have the responses he did.

His reasons for believing this:

1. We were putting “the sovereignty of machines” over the “spirit of man”. He went on to elaborate his beliefs on the human soul.

2. “Machines should bow to man, not man to Machines.”

I went on to compare machines being used in decision making to a thermostat making the decision to turn on either your furnace or your air conditioner.

Now this is a very important point that people when hearing about the Venus Project often misunderstand. But it it is very important that we are very clear about what role machines have in decision making.

In order to understand this, first of all we have to look at what role we want any form of “government” to have in our lives. We want a world where there is no state ruling over people themselves. This is an extremely important point. No machine will be telling you who you can marry, what religion you will be part of, or what news you will see on Television. (Though it is possible obviously that the systems involved could take control over the air waves temporarily if there was an alert of danger in a given area.) Any limitations that a machine would suggest for human behavior would be based on available resources. Any any such limits to human activity based on a shortage of resources would be treated as a problem to be solved. Say there is not enough food in a given area for the population. The computer would alert us to the shortage and suggest that moving into that area or having children in that area would not be prudent until the food scarcity issue could be solved.

So when you take away the state's role in doing this all that is left is the state's power over infrastructure. Obviously we don't want man doing this either.

The analogy I usually give is the example of a “Department of Sewer” to deal with maintenance of the sewer systems within a given community. Directorship of this department would presumably be given to a locally elected official. Who would generally be influenced by companies that aided him financially in his campaign. People who had a problem with their local sewer would have to go to some sort of meeting to bring the problem to the attention of this elected official. A great deal of bureaucracy and red tape would likely be involved. Then the official in charge of this system would eventually be inclined to give a no-bid contract to a big corporation to fix the problem in the sewer. (One that likely donated to his campaign). The company and the people working for them would be inclined to make the job take as long as possible, using resources to fix it that would not necessarily be the best. After all, they want to be back fixing this sewer again in the relatively near future.


Our sewer system can be equipped with sensors that detect a problem when and where it happens. Deploy a robot that does not belong to a union, will not be taking lunch breaks. Or having the job take longer to ensure it's hourly wage for the task is profitable, and will use the best possible materials available with the intention for any such repair to last as long as possible. No one will profit off of the repair of the sewer so there is no incentive to do the job inefficiently. And hopefully no human even needs to be bothered by the entire issue.

In effect, what we are talking about is automating the tasks previously dealt with by conventional governments that people don't need to be bothered with. The system would be transparent so that if there was an issue people could be notified so that the issue could be solved. I stumbled on this definition on Wikipedia. It's called

Cyberocracy describes a form of government or an element of a government that rules by the effective use of information. The exact nature of a cyberocracy is largely speculative as currently there have been no cybercractic governments, however, a growing number prototype cybercratic elements can currently be found in many developed nations.

The fundamental feature of a cyberocracy would be the rapid transmission of relevant information from the source of a problem to the people in a position able to fix said problem, most likely via a system of interconnected computer networks and automated information sorting software, with human decision makers only be called into use in the case of unusual problems, problem trends, or through an appeal process pursued by an individual.

Cyberocracy is thefunctional antithesis oftraditional bureaucracies which sometimes notoriously suffer from fiefdomism, slowness, and a list of other unfortunate qualities. Ultimately a cyberocracy may use administrative AIs if not an AI as head of state forming a Machine Rulegovernment.

Now that last line would scare most people. But again, we are talking about a government wherein the concept of “rule” is extremely limited. And in the end, we the humans still have the power to alter that machine as needed. The benefits of this are many. Including if such a machine was tampered with, that “corruption” would be traceable to it's source. Whereas when a politician is corrupted in some fashion it is rarely possible to determine the exact source. And in our current system politicians being corrupted by monetary donations to their campaigns is accepted as the way it is. And any notion of telling corporations that they should not have the right to bribe politicians is considered a threat to freedom. Meanwhile, the rest of us from childhood on are brainwashed with this notion that this system functions perfectly. With corporations motivated by their own self interest and profit choosing what candidates we get to learn about. And what spin will be applied to make their agendas seem in their best interest.

Lets scale this issue down a bit. Lets say a fellow has a personal Resource Based Economy:
1. His food is produced through an automated farming system.
2. His energy is produced via renewable and clean methods. He has a solar array, and some wind power.
3. His heating and cooling is handled by a Geo-thermal system.
4. Because all of his worldly needs are handled automatically he is free to spend his time pursuing education, art, or whatever he takes an interest in. He could and should also become familiar with whatever technical knowledge he needs to maintain his personal ecology. So that he can fix any problems that his automated system cannot handle.

All of this is maintained and monitored by a central computer system in his home. He gets to determine what sort of crops he wants his system to make, but he is guided by information on what crops will yield the best results. And have the most nutritional value.

The central computer system monitors all of the automated systems within his home environment. It reports any possible shortages or catastrophes that it cannot account for so that the human in this equation can deal with those issues.
Now... does this machine RULE the person in question?
Clearly not.

We touched on the issue of a system that has no prisons or laws. He used examples such as child molestation and rape to illustrate that not all crimes are related to scarcity and the monetary system. I asked him what he believed the cause of such things were. I asked him if he thought it was Satan. He had previously stated that he believed in the “inherently sinful nature of man”.

“I believe that mankind is a sinful creature.”

He admitted that he believed that a lot of it had to do with the environment and the things we allow in society. But then repeated that if we do not look to a God almighty, something higher then man it was difficult if not impossible to get out of that state of being “inherently sinful”.

This is a common problem when talking to non-atheists about what we suggest. First of all it implies that mankind is evil because there is some boogeyman named Satan who runs around whispering in our ears convincing us to do evil things.

I remember one of the things I said in response to this later in the interview is that mankind does not need a “Satan” to commit evil acts and is perfectly capable of doing so without any supernatural being telling us to. That in fact mankind tends to use Satan as a “cop out” or “excuse” for actions that we as men and women should be taking responsibility for ourselves. Ironically I had originally heard this method of thinking from an article written by a Jewish Rabbi.

Furthermore, attributing behavior to the supernatural kind of puts us in a position like the “War on terror”. Since we will never defeat “Satan” there will forever be this war for your soul going on that will allow people to justify acts of tyranny in the name of “winning”.

Even many Christian friends of mine agree that focusing so much on Satan is not a good approach. Christianity in theory is supposed to be about love, not hatred for Satan. And that if you have chosen to be a good person solely out of fear of hell or Satan you are not exactly acting on “free will” and there is nothing genuine about your good nature. Anyone being coerced can be convinced to behave a certain way. It's when it is a free choice absent of fear that it actually means something.

It is often a concern that religious people have that Atheists cannot have morals without a “God Almighty” or being “God Fearing”. And therefore our system of identifying behaviors at their root cause absent any supernatural notions would be frightening to a religious person. Because then rather then having Satan to blame for their “sins” they might have to actually take responsibility for their environment and it's effects on their own behavior.

Next Mr. Davis was concerned that we would make preaching religion “illegal” or act to prevent him from spreading the word of his religion. I really have no idea where he got the idea that we would do this. But because of the large Atheist population within the Zeitgeist Movement it doesn't surprise me.

The official position of the Venus Project according to Jacque Fresco in his “Living on Purpose” interview, in a TVP society, all religions would have equal time in our communication mediums and equal access to resources the same as anyone else. We do not advocate telling anyone what beliefs they can and cannot hold. So long as their beliefs do not include feeling justified in acting to control the lives of others in pursuit of their religious beliefs. Theocracy, or government based in religion would not be permitted as we advocate a society governed by reason and the scientific method.

So if a women freely chooses to wear a scarf covering her head nobody would stop her in the society we suggest. But on the same token we would not stand by and permit a woman being punished by anyone for freely choosing not to participate in that tradition.

This position of free choice in regards to religion is not just about the morality of allowing free choice. It is because we understand that coercion and force are not an effective means to create social change or understanding anyway. If you ban religion it would just go underground, and even gain a new allure being “taboo” or “forbidden”.

Throughout history the negative impacts of superstition are slowly but steadily eroded through education and science, and far more effectively then actively acting to attack certain beliefs. We have a similar feeling about other lifestyle choices. Including the use of drugs, unhealthy food, etc.

Later on in the conversation I again have to try and point blank Mr. Davis with the question of why TVP is “evil”. He didn't want to outright admit that the only reason he felt that we were “evil” was because we were not Christian. I asked him pointedly more then once:

“Is TZM/TVP evil because there are a lot of Atheists involved?”

“Is TZM/TVP evil because we are not Christian?”

“Is it because we don't believe in God that we are evil?”

He always answered no to either of these questions yet the context of what he would say in response to that question always seemed to sound like he believed both of those things.

One of the things that he stated made him feel we were evil is because in his estimation we did not believe in a “right or wrong” or even the concept of “evil” itself.

I pointed out to him that we would not spend so much time in TZM exposing the “evils” of political corruption, wars, abuses, etc if we did not believe in right and wrong. If we did not believe in right and wrong what exactly would motivate us to change the world in the first place?

He then countered by asking “Who gets to define then what is evil? I will be looking for the answer to that question to a higher creator, and you would only be looking to what society determined was good or evil.”

It is often a pitfall that we see many religious people fall into that morality cannot arise out of anything absent a belief in the supernatural. I would counter this by saying that in fact morality itself in it's most basic sense is actually quite logical. Absent any belief in any deity.

1. It is logical to oppose murder. Because I don't want to be murdered. Nor would I want anyone to murder anyone I cared about.
2. It is logical to oppose rape for the same reason.
3. It is logical to oppose greed, because greed has serious impacts on the people in a community, and I could very well be one of those people negatively affected by it.
I could go on with examples like these for pages and pages, but it really amounts to this, the “Golden Rule” of Christianity is logical.

“Treat others as you would have them treat you.”

If everyone practiced it is completely reasonable that regardless of where mankind heard the idea from even if it was from his “Noodly Goodness” the world would quite rationally be a better place for everyone living here. I don't have to believe that Jesus said that to see the inherent logic in such a statement. And in fact many other religions have a similar rule or one that is so all encompassing that it would create vast tranquility if it were practiced.

This is completely logical. And by no means unique to Christianity. Lets take a look:

Buddhism:  560 BC,  From the Udanavarga 5:18-   "Hurt not others with that which pains yourself."
Judaism:  1300 BC,  from the Old Testament, Leviticus 19:18-  "Thou shalt Love thy neighbor as thyself."
Hinduism:  3200 BC, From the Hitopadesa-  "One should always treat others as they themselves wish to be treated."

Zoroastrianism:  600 BC, From the Shast-na-shayast 13:29-  "Whatever is disagreeable to yourself, do not do unto others."

Confucianism:  557 BC,  From the Analects  15:23-  "What you do not want done to yourself, do not do to others."

Wicca: Do whatever you want so long as you harm none.

Christianity:  30 AD,  From the King James Version ,  7:12-  "Whatsoever ye would that others should do to you,  do ye even so to them."

It's interesting to note that this concept has found it's way to into so many completely unrelated religions from completely unrelated cultures.
Could this be because such a stance on how to conduct one's self is rather logical? And that the more people behave this way the more likely you will yourself will be treated well?

Mr. Davis really emphasized that it was critical that people believe in a human soul in order to be moral. And that it was our lack of belief in the soul that meant we were “evil”.

He again thought we intended to “stomp on the human soul”. So much of our problem came from him fearing that we intended to take things from him. The propaganda machine that was used to make people think Communism is evil causes people frequently to knee-jerk that any system that suggests that we share resources must also be a coercive entity.

We also touched on the concern most people who think that their guns and their ability to use violence protects them. This generally leads to the reaction to be concerned that we are going to take their guns.

I have pointed out in previous radio shows the ownership of the firearms that the average citizen has in the United States would in no way save us from a fascist takeover anyway.

I have also pointed out that it is not that we would make firearms illegal. It's a matter of working on the environment to make the ownership of firearms “obsolete”. Not taking your guns. Working on making it so nobody needs them anymore. And even then, nobody is going to come to your door and take your guns. The point is that violence and force are not just wrong. They are not effective in actually effecting change. If they were the presence of guns in our society would end crime.

I did find it dubious but sadly not surprising that Mr. Davis, a devout Christian would also value the teachings of Ayn Rand. We get into that more as the interview goes on.

Resource Based Economics vs. Free Market Economics:

Like many other Free Market advocates, Mr. Davis suggested that the real problem is not money, but the “FIAT” money system that is the problem. That if we went to an “honest” money system (a money system where the money is based on an actual tangible resource, like “The Gold standard”) that everything would be fine or at least a lot better.

One of the major problems with this kind of reasoning is something I wish I had brought up during the interview because at a later point in the conversation he goes on to say that all of the great technological innovations and infrastructure that has been developed in the United States was thanks to Capitalism. He as many other Free Market Capitalists tends to leave out a very pertinent point.

All of the marvels he is talking about as far as the great achievements of Capitalism were brought about using the fractional reserve “FIAT” money system! It was only through printing money out of thin air that our society within a Capitalist system was able to produce the capital necessary to do things such as the Hoover Dam. In a fixed economy the money to take on immense tasks such as these simply would not exist unless a great many people were willing to make huge sacrifices in their lifestyles. All expansion within a fixed or sound money economy is limited by the amount of money within that economy and the amount that is still in circulation beyond what is needed for everyone to individually sustain themselves.

As I brought up in one of my previous shows and blogs “Questions for Capitalists” one of the important questions I always ask that they never have an answer for is how would they implement their system? Would all of the people who made their immense fortunes in “FIAT” currency have to give up their fake money? Or would they be allowed to transfer all of that into the new “sound” or “honest” currency?

Couple this with total deregulation including getting rid of any regulations that stop monopolies and what would stop the rich from simply owning the world? Imagine a world with only so much money wherein the game starts with 5% of the world's population already being in possession of 40% of all the money in existence? Where any money loaned to a new business would have to come out of the hands of one of those 5%? (Which if they are going to create a competitive business is not exactly in their best interest. Would you loan someone money to start a business that would take business away from your own?) Even with the fractional reserve lending system allowing new businesses to take out loans only 1/3 of new businesses live out the first year. And only 1/3 of that number make it past four! This would create equality how? Can you imagine playing monopoly where two out of the five players owned 40% of the money in the game?

(Yes, I can hear the Free Market Capitalists already saying “But cannot have a monopoly in a true Free Market!” Another one of the near religious and completely irrational beliefs held by most Austrian Economists. And one of the major reasons that the Austrian school is not in fact held in very high regard by even main stream economists. It simply does not make sense.)

The only way they could ever implement such a system is if all of the assets of the rich were liquidated and everyone started on the same footing. Owning nothing and having nothing. The rich would obviously never go along with that. And they own all the guns. It would be far easier to convince them to help us build a world where everyone's standard of living is excellent. Which is why we feel our plan is far more realistic. We advocate liquidating assets and then everyone having a great lifestyle. And we can move in that direction whether the rich want to go along with it or not. We can develop communities that are not dependent on money. Trying to play the money game that is already rigged is like trying to ice skate uphill.
He went on to repeat that theory that most of mankind's problems were directly linked to FIAT currency more then once. To the point it was like a mantra. And that it was corruption, not money itself that was the problem. The problem is, that money is the cause of the corruption in the first place. But he is a Christian and believes that if we believe that there is a supernatural entity that will punish us for being immoral or greedy then everything will be fine. This reminded me of something that a Thecorat said to me once that Capitalism works a lot better when we have Christianity to guide people morally. He was right. But the fact that we have to all agree that such an entity, that we cannot prove the exsistence of , to motivate us not to be corrupt in the first place means that the monetary system being hinged on religion to function is doomed to failure.

He also felt that the wealth gap problems of huge pockets of poor compared to the tiny pockets of rich would be greatly reduced in an honest money system. (Despite the fact that even when money was made out of precious metals entirely this reality was present, and in fact has been present in every monetary system ever including the versions of Communism that used money.)

We discussed how the elite own the media. And I asked him a question that stumped him for several seconds of silence:

“In an honest money system what would prevent someone from owning the media?”
After a very long and uncomfortable pause the best he could come up with was that this problem would still exist but to a much lesser extent.

The entire concept that free market economics depends on when it comes to preventing monopolies is the notion that competition will prevent them. But in a closed money economy as we already addressed it would be far more difficult to get loans. And if the elite wanted to be sure that nobody else owned the media all they would have to do is be sure that banking institutions did not loan money to anyone who wanted to create their own media company. And in a “Free society” as they project there could be no regulations that would prevent them from excluding anyone from loans.

We move on in the conversation to where Rudy asks:

“Do you feel that people who work harder deserve to have more in life?”

I answered with:

“Actually, we believe it is better to simply find a way that nobody has to work hard anymore.”

The conversation that comes about from this is interesting.
But one of the things that popped up in my head afterward was that the people who make the most money actually almost inevitably are the ones doing the least actual “work”. The CEO of a company does not do anywhere near as much actual work in a given day as the common factory worker or construction worker. Yet the CEO gets great pay, benefits, vacation time. Generally a lifestyle far beyond anything the average worker will see in their whole lives! How does this happen? Because people can privately own the means of production, factories, infrastructure etc. that make the things that we require to survive. And by simply having a piece of paper called a deed they then have huge power over large groups of people who want the products produced or want to find work producing those products.

Sure a CEO goes to board meetings. Does paperwork. Answers phones. I would trade that for a day on the job site of a major construction company any day. Not to mention the health problems associated with doing such back breaking work everyday.
Ironically, after this point, he states that he cannot imagine an environment where he would not want to work. He goes on to elaborate that people would want to work to better themselves. Which is PRECISELY why we feel that the work that we could not or would not automate would still be done in a Resource Based Economy!
I pointed out that the greatest inventors in our time actually were not motivated by money. I used the example of the man who created the Polio vaccine. When asked who the vaccine belonged to, he answered “The people of the world.”
I also pointed out that your choices of what you would like to work on in this monetary system are also seriously limited by what you can make money doing. He agreed that this was unfortunate but did not really have a solution.

He went on to read a quote from Andrew Jackson, a hero to many members of the freedom movement for his opposition to central banking fiat currency systems. One of the problems I often see with this is the same problem with people who venerate many of the slave owning founding fathers. For all of Andrew Jackson's “freedom fighting” he also signed into law the “Indian Removal Act” which set the United States policy in place for the genocide of the native peoples who had the misfortune of living on land that the rich aristocrats of this country wanted for themselves. (Something I might add that “freedom loving” author Ayn Rand also completely justified, not only against the Native Americans but also the Arabs of the middle east. That any less developed culture did not deserve it's resources.)

We talk a bit more about Ayn Rand. He didn't like the term “the rich people” and suggested the term “the producers and achievers”. I point out that the notion of hoarding wealth when people are starving doesn't sound very Christian. And I quote Jesus saying that it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle then for a rich man to get into heaven.

This is another one of the critical problems wherein Capitalism and Christianity don't seem to be calling from the same playbook. When you watch “The Century of Self” and “Psywar” they touch on the propaganda campaign that was launched to make Capitalism seem to go hand in hand with the principles in the bible. One of the things that come to my mind when I think about this was when Michael Moore in his film “Capitalism: A love story” where he dubs over the scene in a movie with Jesus in it where this mythical figure refuses to cure someone because they have a per-existing condition. And suggests that he will have to pay out of pocket for treatment.

I asked Mr. Davis how much work Jesus asked the people that he fed with a couple of pieces of bread and a couple of fish (magically) to work for that food.
Mr. Davis went on to explain that he did not feel that any such message would be to suggest that people should be lazy. And that nobody should get anything for free. He placed a great deal of emphasis on the need for everyone to be working. He also seemed to project the “lazy” concept onto anyone who might be in a position to seek charity. This is another problem that comes out of the Capitalist mentality. Particularly if your going to follow Ayn Rand's method of thinking. That anyone who is poor or in need obviously deserves their suffering because they are not working hard enough. Otherwise they would not be poor or suffering.

This idea of course does not take into account that in our monetary system many people who are not lazy at all are still not in a position to make money. In order to survive in a monetary system people must find a way to be useful to other people to survive. The problem with this is that it is not in the best interest of someone to be dependent on anyone else. Hence, needing labor or the requirement of someone to have a job working for you is not in your best interest. Particularly when profit is your motive. And with technology advancing as it is the system is finding ways to eliminate jobs, not create more. So in other words, as society progresses there are going to be a lot more people who are not lazy whatsoever yet still cannot find employment. And cannot find capital to start a business of their own that is extremely likely to fail anyway. (Especially if we found ourselves in a sound money system again.)

We got into a conversation about how actual Communism and Socialism would work and how the soviet example was not the correct example of either. I brought up the example of collectively owned businesses wherein the workers themselves all own an equal share and therefore have an equal interest in the profit of a business and the well being of a company and the people who work in it.

His answer to that was to bring up a story from one of Ayn Rand's books wherein such a company existed and failed. In the story people in this business would demand that profits from the company be given to those who were in need rather then those who had worked harder. Examples such as one worker's child needing braces, and another worker's grandmother having a disease were used. And that it eventually destroyed the company.

“Atlas Shrugged” was a work of fiction. And the author in question had a certain agenda for the stories in the book. So of course anything collectively owned that proved that the workers could be the ones in charge of their own destiny as opposed to the “Producers and Achievers” (who actually end up doing the least amount of work should end up with the majority of the profits of a given company) would have to fail in one of her stories. Any notion that people could work together to collectively be better off rather then agreeing to be slaves for a few elites is dangerous to someone like Rand.

Then he went on again saying that hopefully these “Producers and Achievers” would be Christian and would therefore use their reward to benefit everyone else. Once again:

Mark 10:25
“It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle then it is for a rich man to enter the kingdom of god.”

This seems self defeating. Because even the bible itself doesn't seem to indicate that such a thing is likely. But in a serious contradiction, Mr. Davis venerates the “Producers and Achievers” as if they are entitled to have more while other people have less. The problem is according to the bible, there are not going to be too many “Producers and Achievers” in heaven.

These “Producers and Achievers” also get to determine who is President or holds public office. Because they have the money to decide who is heard or seen.
We then talked about how the monetary system seems to hold back certain technologies because they would render certain markets obsolete. He stated that he acknowledged that such things were due to “evil” and corrupt behavior.

So again, for Capitalism to work, people have to believe it is “evil” and that they will be punished by some entity who has not done anything tangible on this earth for centuries if ever, to prevent behavior like keeping electric cars out of the mainstream because you don't want to lose your money gained through the oil trade.
I remember pointing that out to him again, when he suggested that what we propose is “too idealistic”. The notion that his system will only work if Christianity is the glue that holds it together. He didn't really have a reply to that point.

There was a lot of repetition and tangents throughout this conversation. And a lot of my regular listeners were chomping at the bit wanting to call in to debate with Rudy. But in the end one of the major reasons I wanted to have this conversation with Rudy was to prove a few key points. If I had attacked Rudy and his beliefs we would not of exchanged any information. If the conversation was full of personal attacks no real value would of come out of the conversation. This is one of the reasons that Jacque tells stories about how he handled his mother's racism, or the racism of the KKK. This conversation was an important example that we cannot reach each other as people if we cannot freely and honestly exchange our beliefs.

Even in this very positive conversation I doubt that Mr. Davis was highly impacted by what I said. But I can say that I guarantee that seeds were planted by this conversation that he will not forget. Some time ago I had a guest on and one of my listeners suggested that the guest would never “get it”. I pointed out that many people will not “get it”. But at least they can know we are not enemies. And that goal I believe was achieved with this show.