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Free Speech Prohibited In ADD Forums

March 30, 2009

For a few weeks now (as a person presently being diagnosed for ADD) I have been visiting and posting at ADD Forums. Just a word of warning if you happen to be visiting there to post anything. Free speech is not allowed at ADD Forums. Being a willing critic of any human rights abuses, Scientology is just about as deserving as any. I am also a skeptic of all bogus pseudoscience and an atheist activist. On top of all this is my pet hate for anything coercive and scamish. So when I saw a thread posted in the site suggestions & feedback section, titled “Yo Admins”, which read “Why are you allowing ads for scientology to be put on this website? Seriously wtf?” I was naturally very interested. Well It’s an issue of it own to examine the appalling caliber of Google’s advertising clientèle. Every cheap assed two bit scam merchant around is given pride of place in their ‘ad sense’ and ‘ad words’ boxes screaming slogans that are only fit for gullible suckers.

The admin Andrew, responded to this alert with the following message:

The Google Ads banner that you see before you log in is NOT controlled by the ADD Forums. However, if you would please reply in this thread with any URLs listed in those ads, we will do our best to block them from appearing anymore.

Thanks in advance for your help!

Well, no surprises there, I knew myself what the problem was, and even then some, as I have heard that Google is also allowing it’s advertising customers to pay extra for keywords that give them dominant access to websites using them. Scientology is interested in competing with conventional psychiatry and diverting people who need help towards their cure all bogus science fiction pseudoscience of dianetics, wherein ‘all that ails ya’ is a result of disembodied souls (called thetans), who belonged to people that were blown up by an evil overlord Xenu 75,000 years ago and which now clinging to you creating all your ailments. Scientology also has a whole conspiracy theory, that all psychiatrists and most mental health professionals are part of an evil conspiracy to take over the world.

I wouldn’t be a bit surprised to find Google accepting large wads of cash for privileged placement of scientology ads in high traffic sites that use the words: psychiatry, neurological, mental health, etc.. Scientology is doing a hard line cultivation of interests with Google right now and it easy to see why. Google is the life blood of the internet. As the search engine of choice it has dangerous power to influence and modify what information people get to see and what they don’t.

Google have been for some time, caving in to litigious pressures and swooning to the financial rewards of the rich cult. They have contrived to beat down any websites critical of scientology in their search results, and also to refuse any advertising clients and advertising hosts critical of scientology. I wouldn’t even be surprised if the company were being infected from within by converts to scientology. Scientology would surely be targeting it in that way also.

Back to ADD Forums now and The original poster of that thread posts the IP address that was requested, then I read this thread and I decide that I have something to contribute to this discussion. Apart from the evils of scientology in and of itself, I have grave concerns about the cult getting into bed with a powerful corporation like Google, having the power they do to influence the flow of information around the internet, so I post a message which is quoted below, that post was deleted and by way of clarification from one of the moderators (Lady Lark) I received the following:

Your recent post (quoted below) was trashed, due to it’s political and religious content. The guidelines have those listed as a restricted topic, because it’s always been a flame war if it’s in open forums.

I’m letting you know, so you know what happened to your post, and to ask you to please be aware of the guidelines when you post here. Thank you.

[Note: This is the original post in question:]

FWIW, I have personally deigned to boycott Google and encourage others to do likewise. Here’s one good reason and helpful info on replacing all of Google’s services. For a search engine I use Wikia Search It’s fantastic and allows collaborative editing, ranking etc. Another reason to boycott is here: GOOGLE, Censorship and Scientology? I have even been toying with the idea of making an ethical advertising service to provide an alternative to Google adds. I was looking for a patron organization, to start it of as an NPO and raise funds for other worthy causes.

Meanwhile why not let Google know what you think about it muzzling of free speech, getting into bed with charlatans and using your website to publicize a thieving death cult? Here’s the contact info:

Suggestions: suggestions@google.com
Praise and complaints: comments@google.com
Not satisfied with search results? search-quality@google.com
Report errors, bugs and broken links: webmaster@google.com

Cheers Skepticus

I didn’t explicitly mention it in that post, but I don’t criticize Scientology because of crazy woo woo beliefs, but because it is rife with human rights abuse, because it resorts to it’s Fair Game Policy with anyone who it deems to be a threat. It has a mafioso style PR machine and a litigious cabal of legal thugs. It openly condones an approach of threats and attacks to undermine any criticism, however legitimate it does not pander to criticism by facing the music and providing an honest response ever. It would help to bare this in mind as you read on.

So I have made it clear that I don’t like Google hopping into bed with Scientology, the first link is a criticism of Google for an entirely different actions of playing fast and loose with its search results to muzzle popular bloggers. That blows because it quells the voice of ordinary people. Google is beyond respectable ethics for that alone. Now what is wrong with criticizing a big, greedy, corporate curmudgeon, that is controlling the information flow on the internet and who has the unprecedented power to put huge dents in the human race’s collective ability to foster free speech. It really is that serious.

The internet is by far the most important and pervasive information sharing and free speech facilitating resource we have. Whereas conventional media ‘broadcasting’ allows for ‘few to many’ dissemination of information, the internet provides so many opportunities for each person to participate in the gathering and reporting of information, as well as expressing of ideas, opinions and criticisms. It is crucial that we are allowed access to the information that other small interests (minorities) and individuals are producing, as well as equitable exposure that has been taken for granted for the earliest years of the internet. That equity in freedom to criticize and freedom to be found, seen and herd, keeps the freedom in free speech. I responded to the above mentioned removal of my post and subsequent notification with the following.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lady Lark
Your recent post (quoted below) was trashed, due to it’s political and religious content.

I am very disappointed to hear this Lady Lark. I stand against Scientology not because of it’s its beliefs (absurd as they are), but because it is a ruthless, dangerous, litigious mind control cult, that is wrecking lives even as we speak.

Google’s approach has been a knee jerk reaction to avoid litigation and to greedily side with a wealthy patron of their advertising services. The ‘Church’ of Scientology is using the Digital Millennium Copyright Act to control what search results Google produces and to threaten repercussion to sites who are critical of Scientology. Despite valid potential fair use defenses Google has not been supporting it’s users and has declined ads for websites which criticize Scientology’s practices and has revoked accounts to serve Adsense and Adwords. effectively depriving their client a revenue stream.

Google is in a unique position of massive power to control the information flow of the internet. That makes it a prime target of Scientology’s insidious campaign. Scientology isn’t a religion and doesn’t deserve the protected mantle of religious freedom that it seeks to hide behind. Religion is a convenient word for Scientology which in some parts of the world, affords it tax free status and almost everywhere invokes our politically correct responses, which in this case are incorrect. It is a moot point to ask if any religion is more benevolent than malevolent, and the promotion of a fraudulent fantasy maybe common to many religions and bizarre cults but how does Scientology differ from a religion? There are a couple of important distinctions.

Scientology does not settle for the voluntary participation of it’s victims. Once enrolled the participant is scrutinized and made to divulge their innermost secrets (which can be used against them). This is played of against willingness to ‘buy into’ the effectiveness of the bogus Scientology therapies. Results are nothing more than willingness to testify to the benefits of the ‘tech’ and submit to greater levels of enthusiasm. The cost of this process is gradual alienation from the real world and diminishing communications or quality of contact with loved ones, but the financial cost is the smoking gun.

No traditional religion, attempts to con it’s followers out of every possible cent they can afford and then some, in return for the teachings of the church. The teachings (of most religions) are supposed to be free and the tithing a voluntary option, proportional to the followers income.

Scientology scriptures called ‘techs’ by comparison are jelously guarded secrets which must be dished out in a piecemeal manner, for huge profits. The techs are sold as ‘training courses’ just as would be done by a commercial business. The fact that the followers are being sold on a science fiction fantasy, that insists these ‘techs’ lead them inexorably towards the attainment of super human powers, is hard to accept from a commercial stand point, given that it is plain and simple fraud.

Any particular religious belief is also normally sponsored by a number of different non-for-profit organizations usually called churches. One single organization is not usually the single repository of all doctrine and revenue. The Anglican church for instance, may represent one doctrinal strain of Christian belief, but the legal and financial nature of each individual church is autonomous. The tithing’s of all Christians do not go to a central repository. Scientology was never intended to be a belief system adopted by autonomous organizations, free to ‘worship’ or believe as they choose.

There is an underground network, called the ‘freezone’ which consists of ex-Scientologists who practice Scientology without the blessing of the Church and they must remain in hiding from it. The only cover the freezoners have, is their autonomy and anonymity. The fact that they do not exist as a legal entity. such as a proper registered organization, means that the Church has nothing to attack. If the freezone registered an legal organization and openly practiced Scientology as an alternative to the original church, it would be litigated out of existence without a fleeting doubt.

Scientology lobbies and pleads for all the legal protection of a honest, legitimate, commercial, profit making enterprise. This tends to work because the legal profession runs on money too. While at the same time it demands religious sanctity and political correctness for it’s beliefs. It’s beliefs and practices are however inseparable due to the manner of indoctrination and that it presents the practice of Scientology as a commercial product and scientifically valid technology. It is neither a religion nor a science nor a legitimate commercial business.

Religions also tend to have a history, in which their doctrines date back to ancient times. The Church Of Scientology, dates back to the lunatic rantings of a third rate Sci-fi writer L. Ron Hubbard in the fifties, who proudly declared his intention to start a religion for profit. His crackpot, fledgling, pseudo science, ‘dianetics’ was expanded as an after thought, to include a mythical fantasy about an evil alien overlord Xenu. Scientology suceeded, despite the fact that it was well known that it’s doctrine was deliberately fabricated. Most people who buy into Scientology, are really more interested in the therapeutic claims of the training and then the chance of becoming superhuman.

Poorly informed people, tend to bow down and grace Scientology with all the provisions of a legitimate and worthy [B]religious[/B] belief system. It is NOT!! If there were ever an organization deserving of the label ‘insidious, sinister, evil cult’ then Scientology is it. The Church Of Scientology are as ruthless and merciless as the mafia (perhaps worse). They will harass (physically and mentally) and litigate against any body who tries to oppose them and their errant ex-members, are prone to suicide and death under mysterious circumstances.

One of the more sinister aspects of the Cult Of Scientology, is it’s abhorrence and disdain for the mental health profession. Worked into their delusional space alien fantasy, is a conspiracy theory, that the mental health profession is trying to destroy humanity and poison the minds of anybody it can get at. Needless to say the coincidence that the mental health establishment also happens to market a range of services, that might be seen as being in competition with Scientology ‘alternative mental health services’ is an ominously smoking gun. What a bizarre little coincidence, that the one conspiracy of allegedly evil saboteurs of society, just happen to be the very same tiny minority of individual professionals, who are entrusted to provide services that are intended to address mental and emotional problems.

In Scientology all of a persons problems are construed as the consequence of these sticky little souls called thetans. Apparently the galaxy was overpopulated 75 millions of years ago, so the evil overlord Xenu had a culling session. He brought billions of people to Earth (known back then as ‘Teegeeak’) in DC-8-like spacecrafts, stacked them around volcanoes and blew them up with hydrogen bombs. Their souls then clustered together and stuck to the bodies of the living, and continue to wreak chaos and havoc today. Sure that makes perfect sense right? So that’s why we need dianetics to teach us the methods of clearing these menacing souls.

Luckily Scientology has just the solution. The therapy sessions then consist of more brainwashing techniques and prying for personal information. The participant literally ‘buys into’ this world of pseudo-psychology, literally, with large wads of their hard earned cash. Initially they are curious and just searching for a way to feel better about themselves. They buy in to the possibility that the Scientology ‘techs’ are an advanced technical methodology and personal improvement program. It is human nature to persevere and give some therapy a chance to work. As soon as any coincidental gain is experienced though, the credulous participant will be eager to give the credit to the Scientology techniques, because they now have an emotional investment in justifying their purchase.

If it were just a case of buyer beware, like; credulous consumers making bad used car purchases, we might care less, but considering many of these victims are actually in need of proper mental health care services, there is a duty of care we all share as citizens to demand justice and protect our more vulnerable members of society.

Once in the clutches of Scientology victims are encouraged to avoid all external mental health services and not take medications for real psychological / psychiatric disorders. That’s right! Scientologists are against Psychiatry, mainstream therapy and medication of all mental illnesses. There have been numerous tragedies leading from this over the years. People who have failed to get help and who have stopped taking prescribed medications because the Cult Of Scientology has denounced the mental health profession. It rarely ever ends well for the Scientologist with mental health issues.

In this particular forum I would expect a little more sympathy for the movement of anonymous individuals who speak out against the abhorrent human rights abuses of Scientology. Who gives a rats bum, if they believe a deluded fairytale of aliens and tormented souls? Their beliefs are not the issue, although those beliefs obviously do play a motivational part in their actions. It is the actions of the Church Of Scientology and it’s evil empire of gluttonous destruction, that is worthy of honest and fair criticism in any public forum where free speech is (or should be) advocated.

In my defense, I would contend that it is an egregious misrepresentation to identify Scientology as a religion. So I am disappointed that my criticism of the cult of Scientology would be construed as relating to a religious topic. Neither could my post be considered political. Scientology is not a political organization in the professional sense and I don’t have a political bone in my body in the general sense ‘of attempting to coerce’. Although to be sure about the point of politics, I find myself looking on wikipedia for a definition, as politics just seems like such an ambiguous word. The definition given reads thus:

Politics is the process by which groups of people make decisions. The term is generally applied to behavior within civil governments, but politics has been observed in all human group interactions, including corporate, academic, and religious institutions. It consists of “social relations involving authority or power” and refers to the regulation of a political unit, and to the methods and tactics used to formulate and apply policy.

I am inclined to think that a specific reference to party politics within civil governments it the intended context as used in the forum guidelines:

Banned Topics:

  • The main focus of ADD Forums is to provide a safe supportive place for people affected by AD/HD, and other co-morbid disorders. To do this, sometimes we must limit the scope of the permitted topics, to foster such a supportive environment.
  • We have had issues arise here that have prevented this from happening – primarily members voicing their opinions about religious and political matters. While everyone is allowed their own opinions, there really is no other way to prevent such issues from “disturbing the peace”, except to keep these things completely out of the ADD Forums in the first place.
  • It is against ADD Forums Guidelines to discuss religious and political matters on the ADD Forums.

If ‘politics’ is to be read as simply “the process by which groups of people make decisions.” Then I think you would be hard pressed indeed, to make a distinction between my post and any other of hundreds which might happen to discuss the process by which groups of people make decisions. Discussing how mental health professionals for instance ‘make decisions’, is a very common theme around here. From that I might conclude that the intended meaning is more in line with “behavior within civil governments”, in other words to translate that into what would be prohibited you might say it is ‘party political rhetoric’. Well obviously that counts my post out.

On the other hand, It doesn’t go without saying that the contents of the forum reflect the guidelines very accurately anyhow. Having given the ‘what not to do’ guidelines a reasonably careful perusal, it seems like rather a lot is not enforced at all and some blatant contraventions are even fully endorsed by the staff here. I don’t want to start pointing the finger to particular examples and making complaints, because I fully endorse and advocate freedom of speech and abhor censorship, but surely you can understand a person feeling aggrieved if a decision to delete their post is a double standard..

If you make rules that are conveniently vague and ambiguous in attempts to ensure you have any situation covered, then pick and choose when to enforce them at whim, that is worse than having no rules at all in my opinion, as it gives license to arbitrary dictates, while making a euphemistic pretense at transparency an fairness in the rule of law. To be effective laws need to be concise and limited to quite particular situations and then they needs to be enforced consistently. That’s not a specific criticism, just a generalization BTW. Although the guidelines here do seem a tad gray around the edges.

It seems from the guidelines that the author is more concerned about avoiding contentious or controversial issues. It does not seem from the generally accepted forum discourse itself, that simply mentioning a religion is prohibited or even frowned upon. Perhaps you could have, rather than prohibiting discussion of religion, simply prohibited saying anything negative about it. Here is where the foolishness of censorship begins descending on the slippery slope. If we can talk about something in only a positive light then we are immunizing it from valid criticism and endorsing it unfairly with a privileged status and import.

What seems to be happening in many places is the understandable avoidance of contentious issues by sweeping them under the rug and pretending they don’t exist. Religion is a contentious issue precisely because religion causes contention. Making everybody tippy toe around the hostile monster and only say nice things about it, is unfair to those who disapprove of the monster and wish it were dead. I didn’t help to make the monster, I don’t like the monster and I don’t want to find the monster everywhere I go, peeking one of it’s ugly heads around a corner and grimacing insidiously. I am only willing to meet the monster on an equal playing field where I can haul back and take some pop shots at it.

When a greedy, sinister, insidious, evil, brainwashing cult of self destructive doom and death, is allowed to masquerade as a religion (however insidious and brainwashing religion is in general) it is also allowed to evade criticism by association. In this case the association is with something only better in practice rather than principal, and even then only by a matter of degree. This is the reductio ad absurdum we achieve, by sacrificing freedom of speech for political sanitation.

I hope this will give you some food for thought and perhaps you will consider learning a little more about the vile scourge of Scientology and perhaps you might reconsider the rather whimsical and unfair removal of my post, in light of what you learn.

The following was the only response I received for this long hard look at the facts which I hoped would have been insightful:

I am not here to debate the merits, or lack of about Scientology, but to enforce the guidelines. The mods have the final say. If you have an issues with my decision, you can take it up with the Admins, who are Andi and Andrew.

OK! I think, I will do just that said I:

“The following is in regards to a discussion I have had with Lady Lark:”

[Note: I quoted here, my first reply to Lady Lark explaining my position, then continued:]

The reply I received from Lady Lark reads as follows:

“I am not here to debate the merits, or lack of about Scientology, but to enforce the guidelines. The mods have the final say. If you have an issues with my decision, you can take it up with the Admins, who are Andi and Andrew.”

I’m sorry, but that is rather blunt and not at all comforting.
Are guidelines really something to be rigidly ‘enforced’. If so then I believe there are a number of double standards. Also the word ‘Guidelines’ should be reconsidered. Are we trying to have our cake and eat it too, over how consistently the rules must be obeyed/enforced. Using the weasel word ‘guidelines’ might imply that there are not stringent rules or that they are not strictly policed.

Where accountability to fairness and transparency is being considered, is it possible that the word ‘guidelines’ can be used as an excuse for not being consistent? So Guidelines are strict rules when a moderator/admin says so, but only suggestions to be interpreted if a guideline is contravened but not enforced.

You can of course point out that you (or your mods) are entitled to make the call and enforce the guidelines as you (or they) see fit. That is true, but it is also true that you are entitled to be unfair and upset people unnecessarily by applying guidelines inconsistently or in a biased manner. If pleasing yourselves were the only objective and criterion, then why bother having any guidelines or rules in the first place?

Declaring your rules should rightfully be seen as a two way street. The enforcee agrees not to breach these boundaries of behavior. The enforcer agrees (or should do) not to broach the boundaries of jurisdiction. Calling the rules ‘guidelines’ is the first smoking gun of convenient ambiguity. If you were open to honest constructive criticism, I could go right through your guidelines and point out where I feel they are ambiguous and one sided. Needless to say I do feel your ‘guidelines’ are wanting for conciseness and fairness.

Attempting to prohibit criticism of anything and avoid anything/everything controversial, is just plain wrong in my book. You can’t pretend to create a saccharine society of happy people like The Stepford Wives, without playing fast and loose with freedom of speech and resorting to whimsical, inconsistent application of rules/guidelines or whatever you wish to call them. That means you must make a facade of subjective boundaries, (guidelines) which nevertheless you might imply are objective, and then you pretend that you will also honor this agreement by not over stepping the jurisdiction you have implicitly agreed upon.

Controlling and enforcing this contrived ‘hooray for everything’ pleasantness, is prone to being cumbersome and unwieldy, unless you are turning blind eyes here there and everywhere. Prohibiting any discussion of controversial topics like religion or politics (hmm..then how about sport?), is like having to constantly keep bailing the water out of a leaky boat.

The problem should not be whether or not you disagrees with somebody, but whether or not you are polite and congenial about it. People should be allowed to speak freely and debate on their own terms, until the resort to verbal abuse. Even then, ‘sticks and stones may brake my bones, but names will never hurt me’ is a worthy maxim.

The real problem in this world, is that people have traditionally had difficultly maintaining a peaceful dialog about their beliefs, ostensibly because so many of those beliefs are inherently exclusive and intolerant. The very idea of censorship is exclusive and intolerant. It says ‘we exclude the discussion of…’ or ‘we will not tolerate disagreement with…’

People throughout history who have followed exclusive and intolerant beliefs have tended to become enraged and then violent when it is their beliefs being challenged censored or excluded. When two exclusive intolerant cultures collide, we know from history that the result is often bloody violence.

What we clearly need to do, is learn to communicate without becoming hostile, intolerant and violent. Verbal hostility is hardly the worst of the problem though. The real problem we need to sanction is violence. We need to learn to accept rational criticism of our ideas and not throw tantrums. So canning discussion of any particular subject is really quite foolish. The lack of communication is the problem in the first place. Censorship of thought ideas and words, was the problem which spawned closed minded dogmatic beliefs. Rational discourse by contrast is the process which reverses this trend, it requires that subject matter remains open, and puts the onus of responsibility upon individuals to be civil and reasonable.

I realize that this is not a forum to discuss and debate religious issues, and I know that but I am not attempting to advocate deliberate debate. It is also not a forum to debate hairstyles or how to cook pasta or anything else. Topics come up in general conversation. I just don’t believe it is a very good policy to ring fence religion and allow it to evade criticism, by applying censures of prohibition, the same approach that caused the controversy and made the topic a bloodbath in the first instance.

In the case of Scientology, there needs to be a very decisive and very determined uprising of public opinion to have the cult bought to it’s knees and have it’s back broken and many outstanding atrocities investigated. This matter has nothing to do with religion. It is an urgent social welfare and human rights issue that is yearning for a resolution. People need to be informed about what is going on both withing the cult, and to what the cult labels OP’s (Oppressive Persons).

Let’s get real here people – PLEASE!. If a person can not criticize Scientology because the evil, devious bastards, at the top of it, manage to con some governments into recognizing this cult as a religion, then censorship has gone way too far. This is precisely what they want (along with tax free status) and plays completely into their hands.

Again I reiterate, that Scientology is vehemently apposed to psychiatry, medication and mental health in general. It causes untold heartache discomfort debilitation and destruction of lives by banning members from communicating with loved ones who disavow the cult. It makes people who need professional help turn away from their mental health professionals and go off of their medications. That makes it extremely relevant in this forum as an organization diametrically apposed to our very support base. The mental health profession, it’s practice and medicine.

When people have been sucked dry financially and emotionally, they often realize they will never attain those super human powers, they may wake up from the delusional dream, only to become morbidly depressed about their loss of life; the time, the money and the relationships they have ruined to please the greedy cult. Sadly, having finally escaped the clutches of the cult, in shame and despair they commit suicide.

If we cant criticize that, then we cant criticize Charles Manson, Jim Jones or even Adolph Hitler.

So hoping that being honest about the whole affair was the best approach, without pulling any punches or pleading a sugar coated coercive case and yet still hoping this would seem fair, I sent this of to the admin Andrew, to receive this response:

Skepticus,

You clearly have an agenda, and there are many forums on the Internet that welcome these types of topics with open arms. The ADD Forums has clearly spelled out guidelines which prohibit certain topics – guidelines which your agenda clearly violates, in Admin’s opinion.

Should you wish to remain a member of these forums, please stay within the letter and spirit of the guidelines. Should you fail to do so, your posting privileges may be suspended, or your account closed.

Well. Now I am feeling quite rubbed up the wrong way. Considering the original post was not offensive and contained only a combination of the expression of my own opinion or facts that can be checked, it constituted valid criticism of an insidious cult which is entirely undeserving of any polite mercy and certainly isn’t worthy of whatever a reasonable person would consider a religion. I was then threatened with suspension or being banned, if I didn’t fall into line. I was also offered no clarification of any points that I raised in my previous post, regarding the ambiguities of what constitutes “religion” and “Politics” nor where Andrew felt accountable to fairness in a two way deal to honor boundaries of jurisdiction. That is an entirely fair point that is implicit in the intention to set out rules (or to use the weasel word “guidelines”). Here is my final response and the final exchange in this debacle:


Re: Regarding Guidelines & Scientology


Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew
Skepticus,

You clearly have an agenda, and there are many forums on the Internet that welcome these types of topics with open arms.

Andrew. As I have gone to great lengths to explain and justify. My agenda (and everybody has agendas) is neither unreasonable nor relevant to your ‘guidelines’. Which considering the way they are enforced should be called rules instead of using weasel words to evade accountability to the many violations which go unchecked.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew
The ADD Forums has clearly spelled out guidelines which prohibit certain topics – guidelines which your agenda clearly violates, in Admin’s opinion.

So your ‘guidelines’ support human rights abuses then? My only agenda is in defense of human rights and equality. You have not responded to my specific points that Scientology is not worthy of being regarded a religious institution in which I clearly indicate why and my other concerns about the general ambiguity and whimsical ‘guideline’ enforcement issues I raised. Simply contradicting me doesn’t suffice for a reasonable refutation.

Your prohibitions are a clear violation of freedom of speech principles. You may be entitled (legally) to adopt such draconian censorship on the net, but that not to say it is very ethical or fair. I certainly wouldn’t call it honorable.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew
Should you wish to remain a member of these forums, please stay within the letter and spirit of the guidelines.

SPIRIT???? Sorry, I don’t believe in spirits. And when you are charging at me like a bull with you blunt club made of guidelines, to bludgeon me into submission by pure authority, where do you get off expecting me to read between the lines and indulge in a liberal interpretation of your beloved, ambiguous guidelines? NOBODY has pointed out to me, where and for what reason my post is supposed to be in violation. You make the banal assertion that my breach it is clear even though I have indicated I don’t understand how or why. You have offered no clarification.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew
Should you fail to do so, your posting privileges may be suspended, or your account closed.

Oh! So a member comes cap in hand pleading to have the decision to delete one of their posts reconsidered, and you respond with megalomaniacal threats to close them out and shut them down. As far as I am aware, I have done nothing to warrant such a warning. I don’t believe my post deserved to be deleted in the first instance, now you add insult to injury by threatening me. As long as you have no obligations to being reasonable and fair, why don’t you just go about wily nilly deciding you don’t like people, delete all their posts, tell them to f**k off and close their account?

Quote:

Originally Posted by Andrew

This issue is not up for debate, and we consider the matter closed. We look forward to your future contributions to the forums.

Well then. Considering you made no effort to address any of my well considered points, and also lacked the maturity to take my various advice as constructive criticism; Considering the petty attitude you present of might is right and ‘I’m the boss so you’d better shut up when your told to’ then I think I will decline your offer to make any future contributions. That’s your loss not mine.

I hope you never have to experience the loss and heartache of a loved one falling prey to a diabolical cult like Scientology, but if you do I hope you will think of Skepticus, and remember how helpful you were to my ‘agenda’ (the public awareness of this scourge and it’s human rights abuses). You are right though, there are many places on the net where people can (for the time being) exercise free speech, it’s a shame that ADD Forums isn’t one of them. You may consider the matter closed, but that’s just your opinion.


Lisa McPherson
The Unfunny Truth About Scientology
Operation Clambake


Here we see an admin pretending that there is no ambiguity in their guidelines, refusing to acknowledge the ambiguity that is pointed out to him point blank, and then using the ambiguity to condone bending the rules to suit the preordained policy that the moderator (and or administrator) can never be in error. There is a rather unstated assumption to be taken for granted, when you join many internet forums, that regardless of whatever the rules may say, the forum administrators have every right to make their own mind up about what is fair and just and the rules (guidelines) are there just to deceive you into believing there is a fair set of limits establishing an agreement between the enforcer and the enforcee. Rules are usually good things, which serve to protect us and limit undesirable behavior. When rules can be used to provide a camouflage for subversive cults and the greedy corporate monopolies at the heart of our information services that is a sure sign that something is wrong.

You should be entitled to not be discriminated against in any public forum. The possible set of rules made up by an admin aught to be subject to a ubiquitous set of rules which prohibit ‘negative discrimination’. Anti-criticism rules preclude any reasonable discussion of a topic, which might be rightfully deserting of criticism. In a forum such as this, where religion and politics is baned from discussion, a person who’s pastime is skepticism and atheist activism is precluded from mentioning their interests. I am tired of being treated like the scourge of society for having the gut’s to challenge the social assumptions that religion (or God) is the moral force of the universe. Being silenced in a forum opened for public access is abhorrent. Incidentally, there is a special section on ADD forums, for discussions of Meditation and Spirituality. It’s another story really, but after my post was first deleted, I vaguely recalled a similar incident from a couple of years ago, where I had a post removed for something absurdly trivial. It turns out that the previous episode was also at ADD Forums, so I will top post that exchange as a prequel, as that will also set it in chronological order.

Nevertheless, as much as I despise religious bigotry, I shouldn’t have to worry
about religious prejudiced in this particular case. My first line of defense, is that Scientology is not a religion (assuming that was the basis of the complaint in the first place) so however critical I was of scientology it is not relevant to censor me on those grounds. By alluding to the “spirit” of the rules I can only suppose that Andrew meant to imply that we should all read between the lines and just appreciate that the intention is to prohibit the discussion of anything controversial. well I have a couple of problems with that. Firstly I didn’t agree to no post on any topic that is controversial. Secondly, I have no commitment to remain silent on topics that I consider worthy of criticism and politely circumvent opportunities to voice that criticism. Should we have to accept that ADD Forums disallows criticism of anything? NO. There are multitudes of posts on the forum that are critical of things which are permitted as worthy of criticism, from practitioners who deny ADD, to people who abuse the medication. Those are some of the more prolific examples, but along the way there are many examples which present criticism of more general topics.

If it is not criticism itself that is being prohibited, then what may we assume bout the intentions of the censorship? You must either accept that Scientology was being honored as a religion, or that the intention to enforce the ‘spirit’ of the guidelines, is being played upon as a euphemism for the prohibition of anything controversial. Ummm… Isn’t that a tad gray around the edges and asking people to censor themselves effectively based on what they in their own opinion consider to be controversial? Clearly the words religion and politics are not clear cut and are open to mis interpretation and semantic abuse. That is precisely what L Ron Hubbard was committing in his original ploy to invent a religion and incorporate into it, his bogus pseudoscience of dianetics.

The irony of this draconian enforcement of so called ‘guidelines’ is that the effort to avoid controversy within the group, serves to cause disharmony between the users and the mods/admins. Nobody that I know of had complained about my post or taken offense. There was no attempt to warn or ask me to edit the message first. The wholesale result was to give offense by taking offense, and that is how a good many hostile engagements are started. I am a proponent of letting ideas stand on their own merit and permitting even encouraging vigorous criticm of ideas. It is up to individuals to guard against ad hominem criticism and learn to take criticism of their own ideas graciously. Preventing controversy is really the same as preventing criticism. What is needed is more debate and criticism of ideas and less censorship.

As I pointed out to Andrew censorship over what one must think, know, say or write, is the heart of bigotry and dogma. Religions are made to censor and prohibit. There is nothing in a verbal or written discussion to harm anybody. Sticks and stones shall brake my bones but names shall never harm me. We need to encourage verbal / written critical discourse, it is time we learned to understand and accept critical discourse and learn to draw a line at physical violence Considering the power of religious exclusion and Censorship to fuel hatred and intolerance, because religions teach that you must censor your own thoughts and also those of anybody you meet that this book is the truth and light and the moral code that one must live by. The motive to censor thoughts becomes a violent impulse in the mind of the extremist.

I am also tired of being considered an extremist, because I would so openly and harshly criticize a set of ideas or actions. My willingness to be open to discourse and return criticism is my greatest virtue if I had to choose. The willingness to debate and be willing to face the critical frontiers and put my own ideas to the test should be considered a hallmark of honesty. Meanwhile the naked hostility of censorship is the driving motive of untold bloodshed, hatred, vilification, ethnic cleansing and human rights abuses the world over. I am rapidly achieving awareness that It is censorship and restriction upon free speech which therefore places a stranglehold free thought that is the real enemy in this world. ‘The truth’ will set you free, but who will set ‘the truth’ free?

Regards Skepticus

2 Comments leave one →
  1. April 7, 2009 3:09 pm

    Great site this skepticus.wordpress.com and I am really pleased to see you have what I am actually looking for here and this this post is exactly what I am interested in. I shall be pleased to become a regular visitor 🙂

  2. Mikeharvey permalink
    May 14, 2010 4:52 am

    New here, from Toronto, Canada

    Just a quick hello from as I’m new to the board. I’ve seen some interesting posts so far.

    To be honest I’m new to forums and computers in general 🙂

    Mike

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