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September 13, 2009


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Encapsulated in your post is a lot of good sense. Surprisingly many people are fooled by appearances because they do not look at the content. Phishing is so prevalent because it works. The credentials look OK, the surface looks credible, but it takes only a few moments of common sense analysis to determine if credible or not. A look at the headers, a look at the links provided, and, the most basic, do not respond to the e-mail, call the bank or whatever directly. Consider the e-mail, at best, as informational. Simple common sense steps would render Phishing dead..
So what about trolls, a complaint I see you refer. Common sense would dictate that if a comment is posted that inflames, then ignore it or delete it. You are able to delete any individual response, I am sure. But in a blog that is intended to debate a topic, then surely it is the quality of the comment that counts, the value of the message being presented.
Mechanics should present their credentials BEFORE they start work on your Toyota, this is wise, but commenters to a blog are also presenting their credentials to you, their credentials lies in the value of their comment, either the comment has value to the debate, or it does not, and that power of decision lies with you. I fail to see why you need to ask personal identities. Claims that are justified by reference to the uncheckable can be treated as just that, subjective evidence has little scientific value. But the point that was being made in the previous thread was that even scientific value can be biassed and misleading, due to political and economic pressures.
Obscrene made reference to a Vic Pope, I have done some Googling and found his web site and his published books. Have you, or did you simply rule out any value in this comment because you did not like the poster?
If you select what you choose to believe in simply on whether you know or like the writer of the information, you will end up with a very distorted view of the world.
Great people may not be likeable, but it does not change the value of what they may say. I happen to know one person who is exceedingly difficult to talk to, highly arrogant to the extent of being obnoxious, but he has valued opinions that make tremendous sense.
Your thread about common and private ground was excellent, but you then went on to demonstrate how you dont use it, by launching a private attack against an individual, and ignoring the valued content that individual had provided

Barry, you're wrong. I simply stated some facts. The person in question, JAP/Obscrene, has used various identities and made various claims about expertise in various areas -- none of which there is any evidence for.

Recently he made another claim: that he is an academic at a respected university, so his statements about scientific research should be viewed as credible. JAP/Obscrene made that claim; I didn't bring it up.

That claim is about an objective fact, a matter of "common ground." He either teaches at a respected university and has spoken with Stephen Hawkins/Hawking, or he hasn't. It was up to JAP/Obscrene whether he wanted to simply make a statement, or back up that statement with claims about his qualifications to make the statement.

He chose to make the claims. And I chose to be skeptical about them. So far, my skepticism is justified, because no evidence has been presented to support them.

When someone shows a pattern, a history, of dissembling and making doubtful statements, and resorts to taking on a fresh Internet identity when the truthfulness of one identity is falsified, this casts serious doubt on his or her credibility.

Yes, that person's substantive statements still should be considered on their face value. Even habitual liars can speak the truth. The point I've been making concerns "common ground" statements about someone's background.

If a guy says "I'm a college teacher," a reasonable response is "prove it." If he can't, or isn't willing to, then the original skepticism was shown to be justified. Not proven completely. But justified. Hope this clarifies my position for you.

Hi Brian
Thanks for taking the time to explain your position. I live in a slightly different world to you. If someone makes an intelligent and thought provoking comment to me in my world, and he also goes on to claim to be a doctor, or a professor or some other respected title, in my world I do not respond with a request to prove it, as you seem to require.
For me, I examine the statement and irrespective of whether the author has or has not some credible profession, I consider the value of what he has to say. I have found even postmen can have real value contributions, and I for one like to hear what people have to say, and not judge by the hat they may be wearing or appearing to wear.
But then, I am not American, so different cultures have different behaviour patterns.
Your position is now very clear to me, and I shall value all your comments in this light, with some suspicion

I live in Barry's world too.

Its not about the supposed preeminence or credentials of the poster, which are impossible to verify in any case, its about the content of the post itself.

Albert einstein was nobody until he became somebody, his intelligence did not change overnight.

This doffing of the cap seems to be an american thing, i don't really get it. In fact, in my experience its often those who play down their credentials the most, who are best at what they do.

Brian likes to refer to skepticism as personal prejudice, you can't use personal prejudice as your meting stick for being skeptic. In fact I would hasten to avoid to call it sketicism at all, I'd say its pure subjective ego centered prejudice, nothing more than that, and it borders on paranoid cowardice and a desire to be 'right' at all costs, an exercise in one upmanship and nothing further than that. Smacks of outright egoism to the extreme.

Furthermore Barry is absolutely correct. If this blog site is supposed to encourage open minded and meaningful debate then Brian should be open minded and brave enough to accept critique as easy as he likes to dish it out, and allow free flow of opinion or contention in equal measure from either side of the stance or viewpoint.

Seems to me to be an extremely one sided little clique of back slapping compatriots on here that like to close ranks and 'agree' with each other in their frantic attempt at self preservation and cult like protectionism in this churlish little church of churchlessness.

Almost the epitome of culticism is when you get so insular and exclusive that any outside opinion or idea does not get approved or ratified by the head honcho himself, who proposes to be an icon of so called 'free thinking' yet censores and bans people based on his likes and dislikes or some petty affront to his egoist or else self protectionist arrogance.

All it shows to any with any unbiased open minded views is that this so called 'champion' of non denominational free debate and free association is the biggest fundamentally closed minded protagonist of personal prejudice and 'churchless' dogma. In fact all they are achieving here is the exact opposite of what they supposedly have set out to do. There is practically zero open minded free flow of debate here, it is a very small enclave or clique of a very few like minded dissillusioned ex RSSB satsangi's on some vindictive crusade or vendetta to attempt to prove their egocentric spiritual failures as some kind of delusionary enlightenment, and that about sums this place up in an absolute nutshell.

And yes Barry it does seem to me too that these Americans seem to be the absolute 'masters' of egocentric deception, to the absolute extreme, only problem is they deluding no one else but their poor pithy and actually relatively insignificant over aggrandized selves.

The questioning of Barry's character, life history etc is absolutely stunning.

Something that has never been applied to the *most*deceptive poster on this site. ANd the one who makes the most claims, too.


And a clear indicator that cultic/fundamentalist mindset lives on, with or without Beas.

Barry, did you even read my response before you repeated what you said before?

I'm not skeptical about what someone says if I have no reason to believe they're not telling the truth. But when someone has a history of dissembling, naturally I get suspicious.

JAP/Obscrene has a long history of troll'ish behavior on this blog. A while back he made a claim that he was the director of a science research center. I challenged that and asked for proof. He never provided any.

Now he's back, making more difficult to believe claims in an effort to bolster his oft-stated position that science can't be trusted, because it's all about politics, blah, blah, blah.

It's entirely reasonable to not trust someone who has a history like this. You guys can trust him. That's up to you. But I'll continue to exercise my right to be skeptical of statements about an objective fact (such as "I teach in a respected university") that aren't backed up by evidence, if, and only if, the person making the statement appears to be untrustworthy.

Manjitd, when did I question Barry's character and life history? I merely pointed out that with the anonymity of commenting, I have no way of knowing who he is, that he could be JAP/Obscrene posing as "Barry." This is true. Your name-calling doesn't change truth.

shamanut/Ashy, hi -- it's been a while since this blog got one of your South African RSSB rants. Welcome back. I'll leave your rant up as an example of non-sensical'ness. But don't expect that further comments of this crazy nature will be allowed.

I honor and respect substantive criticism, but not mindless personal attacks on me, this blog, or on other commenters. There already is too much of this on the Internet and elsewhere in life. But thanks for visiting the Church of the Churchless. Without you and others who keep on reading what you hate to read, my page view statistics would drop.

Despite all this defensive talk you keep posting about the character and credibility of Obscrene, you have yet to explain why you could not respond to his perfectly reasonable comment made on this thread right at the start. Surely if someone has behaved badly in the past, you have not passed a life sentence on him such that whatever he writes, no matter how much sense or relevance it may carry, it is rejected because he once irritated you?
What is your stand on forgiveness?

"And yes Barry it does seem to me too that these Americans seem to be the absolute 'masters' of egocentric deception, to the absolute extreme, only problem is they deluding no one else but their poor pithy and actually relatively insignificant over aggrandized selves."

---Interesting how the "Anti-America" theme inters the conversation, from time to time. Seems like a rather crude cheap shot.

Barry, I did respond to Obscrene's comment. I said that it was a gross exaggeration to claim that science isn't about truth-seeking, but rather politics.

Regarding "forgiveness," I view this not as a static virtue, but in a dynamic Taoist sense, stimulated by my Tai Chi experience.

"Forgiving" is a basic Tai Chi/Taoist attitude. Meaning, bend with an attack or incoming energy. You sense someone's yang (assertive) intention and move with it, redirecting it.

But then comes the response. You can't keep on forgiving forever. It's a dance between two people, not a one-sided stance.

I respond naturally to what people say in comments. Usually I sense an open-minded willingness to participate with others in this blog, and to support the purpose of this blog: respectful discussion of churchless subjects.

Other times, though, I sense an attacking, negative, disparaging energy. I'll "forgive" this at first, because maybe someone is just having a bad day and is irritated at the world. But if it continues, I'll respond appropriately.

Sure, I'm always willing to engage in discussion of substantive issues. But this has to be a give and take, not me continually giving. That's what I mean by forgiveness being interactive.

And the forgiving situation isn't entirely symmetrical. Some commenters forget that. They get offended when their hateful, negative, disparaging comments about me, this blog, or other commenters get deleted, and even demand that I publish whatever they want to say, uncensored.

Well, as I've noted before, this blog is private property, as is almost every blog or web site. It's like a hone that you've been invited into, to listen to what's being said by the home owner and participate with other people in discussing those subjects.

If there's a sign at the door, "please take off your shoes," you need to either take off your shoes or not enter the home. If you forget, and the home owner reminds you of the rules, you're the one who should say "I'm sorry," not the home owner. He or she makes the rules.

Yet I'm amazed at how many people feel that they should have the right to post whatever crap they want to in a comment. This is like someone joining a discussion group and then yelling, "This group is full of shit! You guys should go do something else!"

No, that person is the one who should go do something else. If you decide to join a group, or comment on a blog, you play by the group's or blog's rules. That's common courtesy. Sadly, on the Internet often it isn't common.

Would you please explain the gross exaggeration? Are you involved in academic field in some way? I am sure you have some basis for this statement?
Perhaps some links or references?

As for being a private blog, the legal situation is not so clear, ownership of comments may well not be yours Brian, it may be joint ownership or even the commenters

One thing is clear, and that stands out a mile, and that is your attitude Brian. You appear to be one of the most arrogant persons I have come across!

Barry, thanks for the compliment! I love to stand out from the crowd. Wow, to be considered one of the most arrogant persons you've ever come across -- that makes my day.

I must be doing something right to have made such a vivid impression on you, considering you've only been commenting on this blog for a few days and, I assume, haven't had time to read all of my arrogant posts.

I'd also like to note that you've been criticizing me for focusing on a person, rather than on what that person is saying. Do you see any hypocrisy or self-contradiction in focusing on my supposedly arrogant attitude, rather than on what I say about subjects on this blog?

Regarding the contention that science is basically political, I'd suggest that you study the scientific method. Per usual, Wikipedia is a good place to start:

Are you aware that the scientific method is designed to deal with the normal human frailties that scientists have, along with the rest of us? As I said in this post, skepticism is warranted in many areas of life, because people have a strong tendency to believe what they want to, rather than believing in what is true.

Here's an excerpt from the Wikipedia article:

"Among other facets shared by the various fields of inquiry is the conviction that the process be objective to reduce biased interpretations of the results. Another basic expectation is to document, archive and share all data and methodology so they are available for careful scrutiny by other scientists, thereby allowing other researchers the opportunity to verify results by attempting to reproduce them. This practice, called full disclosure, also allows statistical measures of the reliability of these data to be established."

Politics plays a very minimal role in the scientific method. Sure, politics helps determine what research is funded by government agencies. But in most fields there are plenty of private researchers who study things that a particular government or institution may decide aren't worthy of monetary support.

As I've noted before, those who criticize science and the scientific method need to suggest a better means of coming up with truths about objective reality -- the "public ground" that I've been speaking of. It sure isn't religion. Or blind faith.

Science and the scientific method have their flaws. But what would you suggest as an alternative for advancing human knowledge?

I've never worked as a "real" scientist. But I completed the course requirements for a Ph.D. in Systems Science -- a science of sciences, so to speak. I also worked for about fifteen years doing health services research and policy analysis, which involved quite a bit of hypothesis testing and statistics. So I've had hands-on experience in what I guess could be called practical applications of the scientific method.

You must have had a career in government, its the only place where people believe they are experts in fields they know nothing about. its also a place where people believe they are God, have power over others, and believe their own crap. I had thought Shamanut was over the top in his comment, but boy, is he ever spot on!
I kick myself for wasting precious time exchanging comment with you. I leave you to your little world.

Hey, Barry: have you ever worked in government? I don't know what government is like where you live, but here in Oregon it is filled with lots of highly qualified people who bust their butts to provide valuable public services.

Like police and fire protection. Like teaching. Like road construction. Like delivering the mail. And, yes, health planning and policy research (which I did) -- a subject that is much in the news in the United States. I helped form the foundation for the Oregon Health Plan, which has provided medical care to hundreds of thousands of Oregonians who lacked it.

So I stand in defense of government employees. Including me.

Barry seems so intent on attacking Blogger Brian without provocation that I can't help but suspect that he is one of the recent trolls like JAP/Obscrene operating under still another name and from a new ISP.

You sure know how to offend people Brian
No wonder RSSB kicked you out

Carmen, nice to hear from a new insulter. So...how did I offend people? By telling the truth? OK, I plead guilty. I'm a habitual truth-teller. That's what writers and bloggers do.

As I recognize the truth, of course. That's all any of us can do. Be open to learning and fresh ideas, and speak the truth honestly as we know it.

RSSB didn't kick me out, by the way. I was asked to stop being a speaker at satsangs (meetings) after I started this blog.

"Science and the scientific method have their flaws. But what would you suggest as an alternative for advancing human knowledge?"

---True Science and the Method are apart of the subject/object realm, however I don't see the flaws that may be present. I do see the flawed persons and groups of persons, labeled scientist, that can corrupt Science thru their published findings. Don't see a flaw in the Scientific Method, which is available to prevent corrupted data from entering the mainstream of Science. Those corrupted persons, simply ignore the spirit of the Scientific Method, and violate the true nature of Science.

lol, what is 'negative energy'?

Is a person who disagrees with someone else bringing such negative energy or is it more the person who calls someone else a pigdog bringing negative energy or is it someone who starts posts with 'fuck god' that is getting the negative energy rolling?

George, you only quoted part of my sentence. I said, "Other times, though, I sense an attacking, negative, disparaging energy."

What I was referring to, which was obvious in the context of my comment (which needs to be read in its entirety, not just two words) is "troll" behavior by some visitors to this blog -- where the intent in commenting is to disrupt discussions, not enhance them.

You also misquoted the title of my blog post. It was called "God will fuck you up...or maybe not." I never said "fuck god." You did.

My blog post title came from the title of a song that I wanted to share as a good example of humor that pokes appropriate fun at fundamentalist Christian religion. If you disagree with that sentiment, you really should argue your case with the songwriter.

Are you really suggesting that people who choose to visit a blog called Church of the Churchless should be protected from seeing the words "fuck" and "God" used together? If they want to have their faith affirmed, they should visit another site on the Internet.

You seem to want to excuse troll behavior because people get upset by what they read on this blog. That doesn't make sense. If people don't like an Internet site, they shouldn't visit it.

I felt warmly positive when I wrote the "God will fuck you up...or maybe not" post. If other people react with negative energy, that's something they need to deal with.

On that note, I've been wondering if people from other countries who visit this blog experience a sort of FIrst Amendment culture shock. Meaning, the United States' Constitution allows a lot of free speech, seemingly more than what is permitted in many other countries.

Here in the United States, we're used to free-wheeling discussion and debate. My impression is that European countries, for example, have more rules in this regard. This could help to explain why most outrage over content on this blog seems to come from overseas visitors. American citizens perhaps are most used to the expression of strong opinions.

Just a theory. I could be wrong about this.

To all:

While I know nothing of the "Barry" who was communicating above, I do find value in the observation made above by "manjitd" on September 14, 2009, at 5:06 AM.

The one who hides behind the phony name "tAo" has abused and attacked me for several years on this blogsite - with essentially no discouragement coming from Brian.

I am glad Brian has proposed his "evolved" changes in attitude, and I hope he will apply them as he has not so done in the past - when I was the object of abuse coming from the one Brian has called a "philosopher."

We shall see.

By the way, "the United States Surgeon General" from April 6, 1948, to August 2, 1956 (and therefore "during the early 1950s") was Leonard A. Scheele.

Cf.: http://lhncbc.nlm.nih.gov/apdb/phsHistory/resources/glry_surgeonsgen.html

and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leonard_A._Scheele .

I do not know if the following doctor is related or not:
http://www.drscore.com/Washington/Psychiatry/search/Leonard-Scheele_10675478.html - although aside from possibly being a paternal progenitor, he might be an uncle.

Likewise, (former) Surgeon General Scheele might have had married daughters who changed their last names before producing children. Some genealogical researchers might like to follow up on this.

Robert Paul Howard

Or is it someone who makes a comment like your last one(9:54am), George, that gets the negative energy rolling?

I mean Blogger Brian didn't start a recent post with "fuck god". It said, "God will fuck you up, or maybe not."

Isn't that what many religious people think? That god will fuck them up if they don't toe the line? This is the prevailing mainstream religious belief... that god fucks people up, or maybe he won't fuck you up if you attone for your sins or get baptized, etc. etc.

So, I don't see the negative energy in that statement at all unless you were frightened by the idea that god might fuck you up, or were reminded that he probably will fuck you up because you fucked up somewhere along the line.

Brian said "Usually, two minutes of Googling turns up solid evidence that "that" isn't true. "
Do you mean to imply that because its findable using Google, therefore it is true? If not, then what is it about that displayed on your computer screen that makes something obviously true, and other display of data obviously false? You appear to imply that Google is somehow the credibility measure?

Brian said "But if the author can't be identified, how can his or her authority?"
What does authority have to do with truth or fact? Authority is valued by those lacking the intellectual ability or mental capability to work it out for themselves, in other words, authority provides a credibly source that can be accepted without question.

Obscrene, have you ever used Google? If you had, you'd realize that Google isn't a provider of content. It is a search engine that leads people to sites concerning the subject they're interested in. Then the searcher needs to assess the validity of sites he or she is led to.

You're correct about "authority" not being the only criterion for truth. The scientific method demands that corroborating evidence be supplied for a truth claim. But just as the legal system values "expert testimony" over uninformed testimony, so does it make sense to take into account a person's background, qualifications, and past truth-telling history.

When I spoke of an author not being identified, I was referring to those, like you, who post comments anonymously and other various assumed names. You claimed to have certain qualifications that led credence to your views about science. But without knowing your real name and other information, this can't be confirmed.

I've deleted a couple of your recent comments because they are troll behavior and so are out of line with this blog's commenting policies. Please keep your comments within those rules. Using my amazing powers of perception, I anticipated that you'd want confirmation of my Ph.D. studies in Systems Science.

If this is a big deal to you, you can do your own research. I was enrolled in the Systems Science Ph.D. program at Portland State University from about 1975 to 1977. Harold Linstone was the director of the program at the time. Magoroh Maruyama was another faculty member I took a class (or classes) from. See:

OK, your turn. How about sharing your name, academic affiliation, and the name of the research center that you said you direct? Turnabout is fair play. I gave you some corroborating details involving a fact about my life. You should do the same.

Lastly, and to repeat, you're exhibiting troll behavior. If you don't want to be considered a blog troll by myself and others, you should stop acting like one and participate in normal comment conversations.

lol Tucson, very amusinng.

Brian, i never attributed those words to anyone, i was merely asking what negative energy was so that it when i see it.

Like you, I could write any name of any institution and say I am affiliated, I could provide links to wikipedia or faculty websites, I could even post a copy of my BSc Hons Cantab but you would not know it was the person writing these words here, I could copy or make up documents, anyone can send links to universities, and anyone can claim they are some other person. The point I wish to make that your so called proof is not scientific. It proves nothing. The value is in the message, not in the messenger. You seem to think that your words in your reply above somehow prove something, but Brian, these are just words, just links and do nothing to improve or degrade the quality of the message you wish to convey, the opinions you may wish to uphold, or the theories you may wish to present.
Peer review is responsible for limiting science research, (I am not suggesting that it ONLY limits and does not have positive value) and that your so called proof or evidence as you have presented in some way increases credibility is entirely misleading.

When you present thought provoking ideas, links to and between the works of others, ideas that support or contradict current accepted theories, these can be debated on the merits of their content, and not on the academic achievement of their authors

George, sensing negative energy can't be reduced to a formula. Neuroscience (and other fields of study) recognizes that much of what we know, or experience, lies behind or beyond conscious recognition. The book "Blink" discusses this.

What I find interesting, as a writer, is this:

Words on a blog post or comment are typed by a person. That typing reflects the person's thoughts. Those thoughts come from the person's mind/brain, which encompasses their life history, personality, and such.

So what we read on a computer screen is a reflection of a person's internal, or subjective, psyche -- made objective and external. Those words convey a sense of the person. People can try to hide their "true" self (assuming such exists), but this is quite difficult to do, especially over repeated blog posts or comments.

Thus it is indeed possible to get a pretty good sense of where a person is coming from -- their intentions, motivations, positivity or negativity -- through both intuitive and rational perceptions. Often people will say, "I got a bad feeling about this person."

What they often are referring to is the overall sense that the mind/brain pops up with after processing a whole lot of information: body language, nuances of facial expression, tone of voice, and so on.

On the Internet, we don't have the same variety of clues. But it's still possible to feel the intentions and energy of a person from what they write and how they express themselves. Like I said, if those impressions are broken down and analyzed too much, we lose the intuitive "blink" knowledge that comes from holistic mind/brain processes.

Obscrene, thanks for your non-response. It says a lot about you. I deleted your last troll-rant about the uselessness of this blog, and will continue to do so.

Suggestion: if you can't stand this blog and it's churchless ways, head to another part of the Internet.

"sensing negative energy can't be reduced to a formula"
- I see.

"Thus it is indeed possible to get a pretty good sense of where a person is coming from"
--- hmmm, if only life was so simple hey.

So if someone constantly seeks to antagonise others in the name of public debate that is positive energy and can austomatically extrapolate their whole personality or self from their responses on a spiritual site. You lot are very intuitive indeed.

George, I was mainly speaking about myself, not a "lot." Thanks for the compliment. I do consider myself pretty intuitive. This isn't a mystical or magical sort of ability. We all have it. Often we don't trust our intuitions, when we should.

Of course, intuitions need to be tested. I do that with troll behavior on this blog, using some of the signs of trollishness in the article that I linked to:

Really, it doesn't take much intuition to spot an Internet troll. Just common sense.

no problem, i will take your advice and rather go somewhere else, goodness knows i dont want to be a troll, god help us all.

George, you've given this blog plenty of interesting, positive, and informative comments. You've also engaged in some perplexing negativity and nit-picking -- along with other commenters, of course. Including me, to some extent.

(I say "perplexing," because you seem to have a decided admiration for science, logic, and reasonableness, yet at the same time can be quite emotional and supportive of religiosity.)

I'm trying to bring this blog to a healthier commenting policy. For quite a while the troll behavior and flame wars have bothered me. I'm a free speecher at heart, and have resisted moderating comments or posting commenting rules/policies.

But I've decided that I don't want to contribute to the general decline of respectful discussion and debate that is painfully obvious in the United States -- and I assume in most places elsewhere around the world.

So it's up to you, whether you want to continue commenting on this blog. I hope you will, in a spirit of productive discussion of churchless issues. But if you choose not to, I'll take this opportunity to thank you for your contributions and wish you well in both your "real" and Internet life.

George remarked: "So if someone constantly seeks to antagonise others in the name of public debate" Posted by: George | September 15, 2009 at 09:54 AM

George, could you please specify for the readers, just who are (in your opinion) the 'someones who seek to antagonise others'??

Please confine your assessment to within very recent times, such as the past few months... meaning since the time that Brian initially began to express and implement his policy against making personal attacks, insults, name-calling, and over-all criticism of this blog and its purpose, and its author. This means basically not before the past couple of months, meaning before Brian began to really start to notify commenters that comments that contained or implied various forms of personal "antagonism" were not harmonious and so therefore not welcome.

Prior to that time (ie: a few months ago), commenters had generally not been made as aware of Brian's feelings about this. Prior to that time, many commenters had shown different types and degrees and forms of personal antagonism in some of their comments that were directed towards some other commenters, as well as also towards Brian on occasion.

Most commenters had stopped doing that sort of thing a few months ago when Brian first began to address it, but some other commenters have continued and persisted.

So please indicate those individuals that you believe have persisted since that time in seeking "to antagonise others in the name of public debate" (and please don't exclude yourself), and of course provide references to evidence.

In this way, the rest of us can see exactly who you may be referring to, and as to whether or not your opinion and your assessment is actually correct and valid in those cases.

Because, to simply make a broad and general statement like: "someone constantly seeks to antagonise others in the name of public debate", well that does not really indicate who you may be directly referring to, if anyone at all.

Perhaps you weren't actually referring to anyone in specific. And if that is the case, then please indicate that.

Otherwise, could you please be more specific as to who you think and believe "seeks to antagonise others in the name of public debate"?, and show where they have done this.

To George (and all),

"Please confine your assessment to within very recent times, such as the past few months... meaning since the time that Brian initially began to express and implement his policy against making personal attacks, insults, name-calling, and over-all criticism of this blog and its purpose, and its author. This means basically not before the past couple of months, meaning before Brian began to really start to notify commenters that comments that contained or implied various forms of personal "antagonism" were not harmonious and so therefore not welcome."

Yeah. Right.

And everybody, therefore, ignore the history that is preserved in the (remaining) archives of this site.

Robert Paul Howard

Robert, I don't think "ignoring" previous comments was the intent behind the comment you quoted. Rather, the notion was that law-breaking requires laws (as the Tao Te Ching says).

Until now I've been pretty loose about commenting policies. I don't like unnecessary rules, so periodically I'd do a "can't we all get along?" thing in one way or another -- pointing out the most egregious examples of flaming and such.

Now, my tolerance for uncivil and troll'ish commenting has lessened, so it seemed desirable to lay out some blog commenting policies in a recent post that I'll leave "pinned" to the top of the page for a while.

Since the previous comment-related pleas, rules, and so on were scattered around the extensive archives of this blog, they weren't very visible. Now, they are. Which makes it easier to hold people accountable if they knowingly go against the policies after being informed of them.


Yes, that is correct, ignore comments that were generally posted prior to Brian's April 29, 2009 blog-post that was titled: "Commenting quandary":


And then Brian's blog-post on August 09, 2009 titled: "An evolved comment policy":


And then of course his most recent: "Commenting policies":


Why did I say not prior to a few months ago? Because that is about the time our host Brian made it a definite point to notify commenters regarding his wishes and peference that commenters not post personal attacks, ridicule and abuse, or "obnoxious", "hate-filled", "insulting" and "non-sensical garbage" comments.

Prior to that time, many commenters, including myself (and which also definitely includes YOU Robert) posted a variety of various kinds of insults an/or personal attacks or personal ridicule.

So that is why I asked George to clarify his remark: "So if someone constantly seeks to antagonise others in the name of public debate" [ Posted by: George | September 15, 2009 at 09:54 AM ]

And that is why I limited my query to the more recent past few months (meaning, since about April, 2009), and not years prior, when many people (like yourself) were posting unsatisfactory comments. The point being that until, Brian had started to make it pretty clear (April 2009) that abusive and derogatory comments were not welcome, commenters (like yourself) should not necessarily be held accountable.

However, since about April 2009, when Brian started to really notify commenters, that is generally the time when people are more responsible for their comments.

I will add this for your consideration as well:

Brian said on April 29, 2009 : "Most blog visitors understand that leaving a comment on a blog post is a privilege, not a right. They respect the purpose of a blog, [and] are appropriately courteous to other commenters."

-- Do you consider your comments (since April 2009) to be "appropriately courteous" Robert? I certainly don't. How about George's comments since April 2009? I don't consider many of his comments over the past five months to be always "courteous". Is calling other folks a "liar", without justification or any evidence "courteous"? I don't think so.

Moreover your recent statement: "The one who hides behind the phony name "tAo" has abused and attacked me for several years on this blogsite" -- Posted by: Robert Paul Howard | September 15, 2009 at 10:39 AM

...is an accusation against me, but which is actually somehting that YOU yourself have done towards me. YOU, Robert, have in fact "attacked me for several years on this blogsite" numerous times, as well as having sarcastically ridiculed me numerous times. So you are no one to speak or point your finger at me. Point it at yourself, because you are just as guilty as I or anyone.

And so THAT Robert, is precisely why I have limited my question to George, to only comments posted within the past several months (since about April 2009).

Your latest attempt at sarcasm and ridicule towards ME only shows that you still don't respect Brian's wishes, and yet you have the nerve to say:

"I am glad Brian has proposed his "evolved" changes in attitude, and I hope he will apply them as he has not so done in the past" -- Posted by: Robert Paul Howard | September 15, 2009 at 10:39 AM

Not to mention the fact that you showed support for Manjit, who has been known to pop in like a troll now and then and post comments which contain a considerable amount of personal ridicule and personal attacks against various people... and you support Manjit. Interesting.

A few more quotes from Brian should do it for this comment:

Brian also said on April 29, 2009: "If you come across comments you don't like, there's a simple solution: ignore them. Then light a candle of considered discourse rather than cursing the ranting darkness."

-- How about it Robert?? Did you somehow miss that one? Its time you give up your whining and complaining about me, and clean up your own comments.

Brian also said way back on February 25, 2008: "This isn't rocket science. Mostly it's common courtesy. And application of the Golden Rule. Talk unto me as you'd like me to talk unto you."

-- Do you do talk that way to ME Robert?? I don't think so.

And finally, for those of you who don't remember or ignored it, Brian actually first started mentioning this issue way back in February 25, 2008, on his blog-post that was titled: "How to talk with each other":


-- Did you take that to heart Robert?? Again, I hardly think so. Your comments since that time show a very different picture.

So in conclusion Robert, why don't you start contributing something positive here, instead of always making little jabs and skeptical and sarcastic comments towards me. Look at yourself for once. And just make sure YOU are refrain from posting negative comments.

As Brian said: "light a candle of considered discourse rather than cursing the ... darkness."

Trollish is a term of convenience, I understand that Brian uses it for any comment that he does not approve
So far this has been my experience
Contradict Brian and present an argument he cannot answer and its a troll

Barry said:

"Trollish is a term of convenience"

-- Not in your case Barry. If you act like a troll, then you will be treated like a troll: edited, deleted, or banned. Its your choice. Keep your comments withing the limits, and you should have no problems. If you start criticizing and/or attacking the blog or the blog author, you will be dealt with accordingly. You seem to think that you have some sort of right or prividlege that you don't have. This isn't YOUR blog Barry. You are a guest here. If you keep your comments within the commenting guidlines, then they won't get censored, edited, or deleted. Its all up to YOU Barry. But don't keep thinking that you can do or say whatever the hell you like. You can't. Not here.

"I understand that Brian uses it for any comment that he does not approve"

-- That 'approval' applies to comments that stick within the acceptable guidelines. Thats all. Its not at all like you are insinuating.

"So far this has been my experience"

-- Thats only because you have not kept within the commenting guidelines.

"Contradict Brian and present an argument he cannot answer and its a troll"

-- Wrong Barry. You can present any arguement here that you like, just as long as you stay within the commenting guidelines:


Wake-up Barry... troll behavior isnt tolerated here anymore. So go ahead and present any "arguments" you wish, just don't act like a troll. And it ain;t just Brian, other folks (commenters) here don't like trools either. So again, its up to you. Be harmonious and follow the guidelins, and you won't have any problem.

[Barry, from my iPhone I unpublished this comment, and others that were outside this blog's guidelines, until I could correct misstatements you made here.

I don't recall any links you posted about Vic Pope. Your comment where you mention Pope is still up. See here:

You may be mistaken in recalling that you wrote a comment with links. Or perhaps it didn't get published correctly. Regardless, I never delete comments unless they are outside of this blog's commenting policies. And I definitely don't remember the comment you're referring to.

You should repost the links. And stop complaining about me, this blog, and the blog's commenting policies. All three are what they are. You're not going to change them, nor do you have any right to. Currently you're exhibiting troll'ish behavior, which is why your non-substantive complaining comments are being deleted.

As a newcomer to this blog, you will burnish your "good commenter" credentials by engaging in some discussions of substantive subjects. I'm not at all implying that you need to agree with what is said here by me or other commenters. Just that you need to focus on some churchless subjects, not on complaining about me and this blog. -- Blogger Brian]

Brian has deleted again, even though my comment is within his guidelines

I posted several links including to Vic Pope and to a few other thinkers who have past academic credentials and who confirm Obscrenes comments that science at academic level is highly political. I referenced a statement put out by University of London that research into energy saving technology was not supported and therefore funded by UK government, preference being given to CO2 capture technologies, and I have also posted a few other links supporting Obscrenes comments.
Guess what, within minutes someone deletes them, I can only assume it is Brian, perhaps you have the access to delete, certainly someone deletes them
Do you have any idea how annoying it is to post a comment, then be accused of not supporting the comment, then post supporting links and then have the evidence post deleted?

Posted by: barry | September 16, 2009 at 01:37 PM

Oh, and I expect this and the previous comment to be deleted! Or Brian deny he has been deleting my posts!
This is anything but open debate, and the more people who read this and realise how biassed this blog is, the better

Posted by: Barry | September 16, 2009 at 01:39 PM


I don't know why you are having this problem. Perhaps there is another reason.

Are you sure that your comments were posted?

Also, you call yourself "Barry". Let me ask you a question:

Are you "Obscrene"? Have you ever posted as "Obscrene" or "JAP"?

Don't lie because Brian can pretty much tell whether you are or not.

If you are the very same guy as "Obscrene" or "JAP", then that may be why your comments have been deleted.

If you are Obscrene or JAP then you should be honest and admit it. Then maybe Brian will allow you to post, as long as you maintain ONE single name/ID, and not pose or pretned to be different posters, which is false and misleading, and is now considered troll behavior.

Also, you should red the guidelines. You are not allowed to attack the blog or purpose of the blog, ot the blog owner.

Your comments should contribut to discussion, and not attack the blog or its author, or other commenters.

So perhaps if you come clean, and not play games, then Brian will reconsider.

The only one here who can delete comments is Brian, I assure you.

Brian will be fair with you, if you are fair with him.

So then, what's your story?

...test comment...

I think you've got to be a bit confused. Or else you are just messing around.

I'm pretty sure that I saw all of your comments today, even before they got deleted, and/or later edited by Brian. There was nothing there about Vic Pope or any links. All I have seen from you today and lately, is your persistent complaining about Brian and criticising of his blog.

Here is an example, you said:

"Brian has deleted again, even though my comment is within his guidelines" -- but also -- "This is anything but open debate, and the more people who read this and realise how biassed this blog is, the better" Posted by: Barry | September 16, 2009 at 01:41 PM

-- Don't you see here Barry? Right here you are criticising this blog, by saying "This is anything but open debate" --and then-- "the more people who read this and realise how biassed this blog is".

Finally, Brian said this back to you:

"Barry, [...] you need to focus on some churchless subjects, not on complaining about me and this blog. -- Blogger Brian"

Go ahead and post your links and whatever else you wish to say, just stop the complaining about censorship, when there hasn't been any, except when you have been "exhibiting troll'ish behavior", as Brian has indicated.

So Barry, like Brian said:

"You should repost the links. And stop complaining about me, this blog, and the blog's commenting policies. All three are what they are. You're not going to change them, nor do you have any right to. Currently you're exhibiting troll'ish behavior, which is why your non-substantive complaining comments are being deleted."

So post your comments and links Barry, just leave out the critical and complaining stuff. If you have something worthwhile to share, go ahead and share it. If it's within the commenting guidelines, then it won't get deleted.

[Here's some final falsities from Barry, who also admits to the troll'ish behavior that he's been committing. The truth is that I never deleted any substantive comments of his, only comments that were out of compliance with this blog's policies against personal attacks and attempts to disrupt respectful comment conversations.

I'm glad that he finally apologized to me and other readers of this blog. Hopefully he's learned something from his unacceptable behavior. It's amazing that the guy complains that I question his "real identity," and then admits to using different screen names and IP addresses to disguise his troll activities. Following is a textbook example of rationalization. -- Blogger Brian]

You present an interesting argument, one that is highly relevant to the Churchless stand on science.
You say you have not seen any topical post I have presented and which has then been deleted. Therefore you conclude that I have not posted such links. You acknowledge that Brian deletes some or many of my posts, but assume that if you, tAo, have not read them, then they do not exist. This is rather like the approach to science, unless either you have not witnessed or some acceptable credible approved authority has not seen, then whatever it may be either does not exist or is not worthy of consideration.

tAo, let me ask you something?
Do I present myself, along with my various other user names, as an angry or frustrated contributer to this blog?
Have you ever wondered why?
Well, let me tell you
Its not just the last 24 hours to which I refer when I say my posts are deleted, it is the last few months, ever since I first came to this blog, every time I post a comment that offers some strong evidence against Brians comments, it is deleted, and on many occasions, deleted within seconds of it appearing.
Perhaps I am wrong to then change my on screen identity, but I wanted to participate in the debate, I have intelligent comments to make, but then, Brian blocks my IP, BEFORE i resort to more irritating tactics, but when Brian claims this is open debate, and then deletes my comments, questions my true identity and casts doubts upon me personally, I react.
tAo, this is not an opinion, it is not a statement to which you can write one of your traditional 'you are wrong' replies, this is my experience and it is WHY i have been angry and acted in an aggressive and irritating manner on here. It is why I have used different names and IP addresses, and it is why I maintain that this is a strongly biassed and anything but open debate.
You must accept that you are able to leave quite strong comments and not have them deleted, so just put yourself in the shoes of someone who initially did not make such strong comments, but carefully looked up links and references to provide a counter argument to Brians comment, only to have the post removed within minutes.
I put it to you that almost any person would find this frustrating. I have acted wrongly in my frustration, I have acted in troll like manner, and this is not my normal life behaviour, far from it. Perhaps the ability to change IP and ID led me to such actions, but here I come clean, I have value to bring, but often against Brians views.

So tAo, I put it to you that you may not have read every one of my comments, especially those that were deleted to which I referred in my previous comments, and which caused my bitter frustration with this blog.
For a few weeks I took to saving my comments in e-mail form, sent to myself, some record of what I had posted and had been deleted. I am more than happy to send some of those to you if you do not believe me.

I hope you can understand the cause of my bad behaviour on here, the very notion of an open debate to one whose carefully presented and researched comments are deleted is enough to have sent me off on the wrong path.

With this apology to all readers on here, I hereby state that I have no intention to continue to post any troll type comment, from any IP or using any ID. My frustration has passed, and by making this apology to all, including Brian (for I feel he is only trying to protect his beliefs) I exit from troll mode but will remain a watcher and perhaps an occasional contributor should the blog climate become more receptive
Barry and various other names!


This is not my blog. I don't have any authority here. Although I hear what you say, I am not the one who decides.

I don't know what to tell you except a few things, and then also respond to a couple of your statements.

I can tell you this much:

It has been appearant that you have been posting under different names. That is pretty deceiptful at the worst, and tricky at best. It didn't, and it doesn't help you at all. So you have that going against you.

Also, I have read some of your comments about science issues, but when you mix antagonsim into it, then some of all of it may get deleted, and rightfully so. You can't expect to post a (supposedly) valid argument, but mix 'crap' into it. By 'crap' I mean insults or criticism towrds Brian and his blog. If you have a postion to make, then stick to that, don't mix crap into it. I used to insult and ridicule other commenters, but I stopped. I stopped because it's not a good vibe, and it's not constuctive or conducive to reasonable discussion.

I don't really know what your motive is here, or what you are trying to say over-all, but it appears that you have gone about it the wrong way for a long while. If you want to talk science, the do that. If you want to talk mysticism, then do that. If you want to talk philosophy, then do that. But don't play games. There are several others that come here from time to time, and they play little games. They try to ridicule and undermine and discredit other sincere people in various ways. You may have seen who they are. They pretend to be spiritually wise, or scientific and academic, or devotional and religious and godly, but... their behavior betrays them. They are here because either they just enjoy disrupting and making trouble, or because they can't stand that other folks don't share and/or agree with their beliefs. If thats not what you are really up to, then don't do that sort of thing. Just be sincere and share whatever you find interseting or meaningful. Brian will not fault you for that. Its alll this other 'crap' that sts off the alarms. Do you understand?

You see, many of these people (like yourself perhaps) come her and think that they can get away with this crap, That other like Brian and I and Tucson and a few others are stupid and we don't see thier game. But we do. So thats the thing, if you are up to no good, then sooner or later you are going to get found out. And ususally its sooner rather than later. So instead of making your self unwelome here, its better to be sincere and particpate in a harmonius way, and then all will benefit. The so-called "trolls" that have been coming here, are gradually being weeded out. So you just have to decide where you wish to hang. Either Brian's internet cafe/living room... or the trash can. And if this place is not your 'cup of tea', then no one is forcing you to stay here, and there's a big WWW out there just a click away.

Thats about all I can tell you. I don't know about your deleted comments. If you have a point to make, then go for it. As long as it doesn't contain 'crap', then it's unlikely to get deleted.

Here's a suggestion for you... why don't make a list of all the names/ids that you have posted as, and post the list. Then selsct one name, or a new name, and tell us, and then stick to that name/id. That will do alot for your credibility. Honesty is the best policy, so come clean and then move on to better things. I am sure Brian would be willing to reconsider if you stop playing this tricky game you have been playing. Its real simple: Just be real, thats all. And don't post 'crap'. Simple. The rest will follow.

You said: "I hope you can understand the cause of my bad behaviour on here"

-- There is no excuse for "bad behavior". You just have to quit it, and be real and sincere. Then you won't have any more problems. Stop looking back. Don't whine. Just go forward. The answer is simple. As it says in the I Ching: "Make (further) progress in the good".

So choose a name, let us know what it is, and then stick to it.



Thanks for your constructive comments
In a previous comment, I had listed some of the names I have used, including walker, JAP, Barry and to tell the truth, I now forget, Oh, Carmen I think. But these are, as you say, past.

I really wish to make a point though, one that you have partially understood, and that is when I originally came to this blog (a year ago), I used my real name (I continue to exercise my right to withhold my real name) and posted a series of comments that were well accepted. The inspired discussion and debate. It could not have been further from my mind to act in a troll like manner. The debate following my initial comments was lively and constructive, but in the course of that debate, a slight shift in opinion started to appear, and at one point, Brian, or someone, removed my comments. Now please understand that up to that point, I had participated with professionalism. The moment my comments were deleted, for reasons I can only assume are because Brian did not like the comments or found them threatening, and not for any breach of rules, I felt disgusted that the blog that proclaimed open debate could be so biassed.

I remain unconvinced even now that this blog is truly open, but am hoping to be pleasantly surprised.

I sign off with a user name with no past associations

Naresh-D, you pesist with the untruths. I never -- repeat, never, repeat, never -- delete comments just because I don't like them or don't agree with them.

If a comment of yours was deleted, it was because you'd started to act like the troll that you soon were -- making personal attacks, taking on other people's identities, lying, and so on.

I don't really believe in the A.A. philosophy.

But I do in this sense: take responsibility for your actions. Don't blame me and this blog for your weaknesses. And stop saying things that aren't true, or your conversion from troll'ish behavior won't be taken seriously.

You remain unconvinced that this blog is open. I remain unconvinced that you've changed your trolling ways.

And I too remain unconvinced that Naresh/Barry has changed. Why the need for all these differnet names? I mean, there was Walker, and then JAP, and Carmen, and Obscrene, and few others, and then finally Barry. Now its Naresh. Whats wrong with Barry? Thats wahat I meant when I said pick a name. Barry/Obscrene acts as if now switching to Naresh-D is going to have "no past associations". Wrong. You can't drop your past with a new name. Its not the name that matters, but rather consistency, and also the content of your comments. So thats why I say why not just stack with "Barry"? Why the need to now change AGAIN to ANOTHER name?

The same goes for that troll Ashy/shamanut/
kukuri-ki-dayal/etc and all the other names he has used and keeps changing every few days. No consistency whatsoever. That's evasive and fake and trollish. But Ashy Heller of South Africa isn't fooling anyone.

That all being said, if Naresh-D is what Barry/Obscrene/JAP/Walker/etc now fancies, then so be it.... but then please do stick with it. BE CONSISTENT. I don't give a damn what name anybody uses. Its all about what they say that matters to me, and about sticking with ONE name. Switching and changing names all the time is a bullshit game.

[Deleted because of continued troll behavior. Naresh-D (plus Obscrene, Walker, etc.), like I said, you need to start making substantive comments to prove that you really have reformed from your troll ways.

You're continuing to single-mindedly complain about this blog, me, my comment policies, and other commenters. This is classic troll behavior. Please shape up, or move on. You're welcome to participate in comment discussions here. But not to disrupt them.]

[From Blogger Brian: Naresh-D, did you read my comment that replaced your earlier comment, explaining why I deleted your comment? Please read it. That explains why I'm also deleting this complaining comment. You need to start participating in substantive discussions to show that you've reformed your troll ways.

Continuing on with your incessant griping about me and this blog shows that you're still out to disrupt discussions here through troll'ish behavior.

This is the last time I'm going to explain why I'm deleting your comments. From now on your troll complaints will simply be unpublished. Please read this blog's comment policies (at top of home page) and start acting in accord with them.

If you keep on posting strings of repetitive comments like you did a few days ago under one of your many other false identities, I'll go back to comment moderation. This is somewhat of an inconvenience for all the other responsible visitors to this blog, which isn't going to endear you to them.

So if you want to maintain any credibility on this blog -- and believe me, you have very little at this moment -- start acting maturely and follow the comment guidelines. If you think that your behavior is endearing people to your brand of anti-scientific, pro-religious belief system, it isn't. Trust me on that. You aren't doing a great sales job for Radha Soami Satsang Beas by being an initiate who is acting like such a jerk.]

[Note from Blogger Brian: Naresh-D is the reason for comments being moderated at the moment, since he persists in trying to leave repetitive troll'ish comments insulting me and this blog. He's an initiate of Radha Soami Satsang Beas, as are others who persist in trying to disrupt this blog. It's sad when religion helps turn people into closed-minded fundamentalists who can't stand open discussion of spirituality, mysticism, and philosophy.]

The following statements were...
Posted by: Naresh-D | September 17, 2009 at 10:00 PM

"Brian continues to delete my comments on the grounds that he considers them troll like in nature."

-- Well, in as much as you keep complaining and making false insinuations anout Brian, I would expect him to delete your comments. When are you going to stop complaining and bitching about Brian, and post something of substance?

So in view of ALL of your past behavior here, I think Brian has been more than tolerant and patient with you.

When are you going to cut the crap? What is the matter with you? Are you a mature adult? You act like an immature adolescent. Seriously. When are you going to stop playing these childish games?

Look... you say you are frustrated, because your comments get deleted. Your comments would not get deleted if you just would stop complaining, and say something meaningful. Its as simple as that. This has been explained to you numerous times. Yet you still keep doing the same old thing. So I don't blame Brian for giving you his last and final warning. If it were my blog, your comments would have been all removed long ago.

So don't keep giving this bullshit sob story. Simply say something without complaining and bitching about Brian. Then you comments won't get deleted.

Right now, you have a very bad reputation here. Don"t you undertand that? Brian isn't stupid. Neither are other people here. You have consumed far too much time and energy here for nothing. That makes you a TROLL. Thats what trolls do. If you don't want to be regarded as a troll, then STOP acting like a troll. Period.

"the initial reason for my bad behaviour on here was my frustration at having my comments deleted, even though well within rules"

-- They were not "within the rules". You don't make the rules, Brian does. This is not a 'do as you please' situation here.

"Brian did not want to investigate why posters comments are being deleted (tAo also had this problem it appears)"

-- No, that was not what I said at all. My comment was NOT deleted. It simply did not get published. That might be TypePad, or it might have been my fault somehow. I don;t know. But it wasn't "deleted". It just never got published. That is very different that deletion. Sometimes this happens, but not very often. Don't try to use that in your case. Your case is about the nature of your comments, not a glitch in TypePad. Also, it may actually be YOUR FAULT. It could also be that YOU are not posting some of your comments correctly in all cases.

"I have now read back over some 12 deleted comments going back to earlier this year, absolutely nothing troll like, yet links to reputable work"

-- You cannot post lots of links because TypePad automatically screens it out as being spam. So that may be why your comments are not getting published. Its not that they are being deleted, its that they are being diverted as spam. TypePad allows like only one link, and anything more that that gets rejected.

"they did not make it to public viewing for any more than 2 - 4 minutes before they disappeared."

-- You THOUGHT they had been published and up, but thats just how it looks form your end, your computer. Actually the comment did not ever go up online, it just appeared that way to you. Just don't post multiple links... and also don't bitch and complain anymore. Brian is fed up with it, and so are others.

"I let you, fellow bloggers, be the jury"

-- There is no "jury". Simply stay within the commenting guidelines.

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