Tag Archives: Coercion

Report: Pinterest demotes and/or censors pro-life, conservative, and Christian content

Pinterest censors Christians, conservatives, and pro-lifers
Report: Pinterest censors Christians, conservatives, and pro-lifers

Well, Project Veritas has done it again! This time, they made contact with a whistleblower inside Pinterest, who produced documentation showing how Pinterest censors content that is opposed to the Democrat party. It’s not just fringe content: they’re censoring Ben Shapiro, Live Action, Bible verses, and undercover videos of Planned Parenthood organ harvesting operations.

Here’s the press release from Project Veritas:

Project Veritas has received and published documents from an insider at Pinterest. The documents, which include product code, Slack messages, and internal policies, reveal terms and websites that Pinterest apparently censors.

In an interview, the Pinterest insider who leaked the documents explains how the company censors pro-life and Christian content on the website.

Live Action, PJ Media, TeaParty.org all blocked:

“I was pretty surprised,” said the Pinterest insider in an interview, when s/he discovered that pro-life group LiveAction.org was added to a “porn domain block list.” The insider explained that the “block list” was intended to be  a collection of pornographic websites that Pinterest uses in order ensure that pornography cannot be posted. LiveAction.org is not a pornographic website, instead it is the web domain of a prominent pro-life advocacy group.

The insider explained that websites on a “domain block list” cannot be linked in posts made by users. While investigating, Project Veritas tried to post the LiveAction.org link on Pinterest and failed to do so, receiving an error message that read, “Sorry! Your request could not be completed.” Project Veritas reviewed the list of websites from the “porn domain block list” and was able to confirm that along with LiveAction.org, websites like zerohedge.com, pjmedia.com, teaparty.org and other various conservative websites were also listed. The majority of the document lists pornographic websites.

They actually suspended Live Action’s account after the report of bias came out. Project Veritas revealed that the blocking of Live Action was requested by employee Megan McClellan. Her name was on the block request.

Notice that these sites that were blocked are all critical of the Democrat party.

Let’s see some more evidence from the report.

Bible verses, Easter are marked “Brand Unsafe”:

Project Veritas also received a large text file titled “Sensitive Terms List.” The insider said the file contains search terms that Pinterest considers “sensitive,” and that the terms are modified in search results according to different value assignments. According to the insider and supporting documents, terms are assigned an “abusive,” “sensitive,” and “brand unsafe” value.

Some of the actions that can be taken on search terms include: blocking auto-complete results in the search bar, providing an advisory message when a term is searched for, removing the term from recommended or trending feeds, and blocking email or push notifications. Search results are also modified based on the values that are applied to terms.

Project Veritas reviewed the “Sensitive Terms List” and discovered that Christianity-related terms like “christian easter” and “bible verses” were marked as “brand unsafe.” The insider explained to Project Veritas in an interview that such terms are removed from auto-complete search results.

For me, the most interesting part was the censoring of the Planned Parenthood undercover videos. These videos were investigated and found to be undoctored. So there is nothing unreliable about them. But they are harmful to the Democrat party, so maybe Pinterest thought that they could help Democrats by altering their products and services to censor anti-Democrat content.

The censoring of Harvard-Law graduate Ben Shapiro was also interesting, as you can see him on all sorts of television shows on any given night, from far-left CNN to centrist Fox News, and everything in between. Why would Pinterest classify a well-educated, popular and respected conservative pundit as worthy of censorship? One of the documents released by Project Veritas cited a 26-year-old Pinterest employee calling this famous Orthodox Jew a “white supremacist”, despite the fact that he was the number one target of white supremacist threats in a prior year.

Newsbusters notes:

Jewish conservative Ben Shapiro has been labelled by Pinterest Public Policy/Social Impact employee Ifeoma Ozuma as a “white supremacist.” According to the anonymous whistleblower, this took place during an internal war room discussion where “policymakers were making decisions about content.” Any mention of Shapiro discussing Islam was added to the sensitive terms watchlist.

I looked up this employee on LinkedIn, and she didn’t seem to be very well informed about anything. Maybe Pinterest just hires unqualified people, solely based on their political allegiance to the Democrat party?

But this employee is just one example of a company-wide bias against Christians and conservatives. I was trying to guess why they have this bias. Maybe it’s because they are allied with the Democrat party, so they just censor content that makes Democrats look bad?

They certainly have no bias against content that supports the Democrat party on their platform.

Newsbusters noted:

When researchers tried to pin images from pro-abortion giant Planned Parenthood, they faced no such censorship. Similarly, while they faced no problem searching for “Muslim” or “Jewish” content, the search bar included no references to “Christian” imagery. In fact users had to use codes to work around the system so they could try to share Christian content.

[…]Curiously, where people had to workaround the programming of the autocomplete bar to find Christian content, searching “atheist” immediately led to jokes and memes at the expense of religious believers, especially Christians. This writer immediately came across an image of a crucifix made entirely out of the word “lies” and one featuring an image of Mary holding the infant Christ captioned “If there has been DNA testing 2000 years ago, we wouldn’t have this fairytale today.”

But Pinterest isn’t the only one accused of censorship.

This blog has suffered from all sorts of censorship since Trump won the 2016 election. Our Google traffic referrals are down over 90%, reducing our daily page visits by about 66%. Our Twitter followers has increased by 100 in the past year, but in previous years, it went up about 2000 per year. Are big tech companies that intent on punishing Christian conservatives? If they are hell-bent on censoring Christians and conservatives, then maybe we should have a federal investigation into their business to see if they’ve broken any laws.

Why doesn’t God make his existence more obvious to people?

Sherlock Holmes and John Watson are going to take a look at the data
Sherlock Holmes and John Watson are going to take a look at the data

Have you ever heard someone say that if God existed, he would give us more evidence? This is called the “hiddenness of God” argument. It’s also known as the argument from “rational non-belief”.

Basically the argument is something like this:

  1. God is all powerful
  2. God is all loving
  3. God wants all people to know about him
  4. Some people don’t know about him
  5. Therefore, there is no God.

In this argument, the atheist is saying that he’s looked for God real hard and that if God were there, he should have found him by now. After all, God can do anything he wants that’s logically possible, and he wants us to know that he exists. To defeat the argument we need to find a possible explanation of why God would want to remain hidden when our eternal destination depends on our knowledge of his existence.

What reason could God have for remaining hidden?

Dr. Michael Murray, a brilliant professor of philosophy at Franklin & Marshall College, has found a reason for God to remain hidden.

His paper on divine hiddenness is here:
Coercion and the Hiddenness of God“, American Philosophical Quarterly, Vol 30, 1993.

He argues that if God reveals himself too much to people, he takes away our freedom to make morally-significant decisions, including responding to his self-revelation to us. Murray argues that God stays somewhat hidden, so that he gives people space to either 1) respond to God, or 2) avoid God so we can keep our autonomy from him. God places a higher value on people having the free will to respond to him, and if he shows too much of himself he takes away their free choice to respond to him, because once he is too overt about his existence, people will just feel obligated to belief in him in order to avoid being punished.

But believing in God just to avoid punishment is NOT what God wants for us. If it is too obvious to us that God exists and that he really will judge us, then people will respond to him and behave morally out of self-preservation. But God wants us to respond to him out of interest in him, just like we might try to get to know someone we admire. God has to dial down the immediacy of the threat of judgment, and the probability that the threat is actual. That leaves it up to us to respond to God’s veiled revelation of himself to us, in nature and in Scripture.

(Note: I think that we don’t seek God on our own, and that he must take the initiative to reach out to us and draw us to him. But I do think that we are free to resist his revelation, at which point God stops himself short of coercing our will. We are therefore responsible for our own fate).

The atheist’s argument is a logical/deductive argument. It aims to show that there is a contradiction between God’s will for us and his hiding from us. In order to derive a contradiction, God MUST NOT have any possible reason to remain hidden. If he has a reason for remaining hidden that is consistent with his goodness, then the argument will not go through.

When Murray offers a possible reason for God to remain hidden in order to allow people to freely respond to him, then the argument is defeated. God wants people to respond to him freely so that there is a genuine love relationship – not coercion by overt threat of damnation. To rescue the argument, the atheist has to be able to prove that God could provide more evidence of his existence without interfering with the free choice of his creatures to reject him.

Murray has defended the argument in works published by prestigious academic presses such as Cambridge University Press, (ISBN: 0521006104, 2001) and Routledge (ISBN: 0415380383, 2007).

Positive arguments for Christian theism

Can feminism be defended with reason and evidence? Jordan Peterson vs Cathy Newman

Can radical feminism be defended rationally and evidentially?
Can radical feminism be defended rationally and evidentially?

There was a short discussion recently on UK Channel 4 between Canadian university professor named Jordan Peterson, and a radical feminist with an undergraduate degree in English named Cathy Newman. While you watch, imagine that she is teaching some non-STEM course that you’ve enrolled in. Would you dare to disagree with her?

First, the video, which has over 11 million views:

And here is an article from the UK Spectator: (paywalled)

Whatever else anybody might think of him, Professor Peterson is a man of remarkable learning and experience, and does not appear to have arrived at any of his views by the now common means of ‘I reckon’. Yet Newman, who approaches the interview with the trademark sourness she employs for everyone she expects to disagree with, treats this is just another chance to burnish her own social justice credentials and expose her guest as a bigot. Big mistake.

Storming straight in with the differences between the sexes, in the opening minutes it is clear that Professor Peterson is willing to back up all his views with references, data and calm analysis. 

By 11 minutes in she is saying ‘I think I take issue with (that)’, before demonstrating that she can’t. Soon she is reduced to dropping the bombshell observation that ‘all women are different’. By 16.45 there is a palpable win, as Peterson points out that Newman has exactly the disagreeable and aggressive qualities that allow certain types of people to succeed. By 19.30 she is having to throw out things to him that he hasn’t even said, such as ‘You’re saying women aren’t intelligent enough to run top companies’. A minute later and she is reduced to countering empirical evidence with anecdote. Peterson presents the data about men in general and Newman responds with the ‘I know plenty of men who aren’t (like that)’ card. Shortly after that (at 22.25) Newman is reduced to spluttering and then silence. She tries to pull herself together. But she can think of nothing to say.

To be honest, Cathy Newman is nothing like the women I’m friends with. All of my closest friends are Christian women. All of them are anti-feminist to some degree, with the most successful one professionally (Dina) being the wisest and most anti-feminist of all. When I think of my panel of wise Christian women advisors – each with one or more STEM degrees – I don’t recognize Cathy Newman in them. But Cathy Newman does remind me of the radical feminists I encountered when I was doing my BS and MS degrees in computer science at the university.

In my experience, radical feminists debate using six tactics:

  1. Deny facts or evidence because men were involved in researching them or discovering them
  2. Countering empirical data with anecdotes and personal experiences
  3. Taking arguments and evidence as if they are personal attacks
  4. Becoming hysterical and crying
  5. Claiming that disagreement with feminism will produce violence against women and women committing suicide, etc.
  6. Trying to get you expelled, fired or silenced – often by making false accusations or faking hate crimes against themselves

It’s important for everyone to understand the views of others in order to know how defensible our own views are. In order to get the best scholarly case for radical feminism, I like to read feminist academics like Christina Hoff Sommers, Camille Paglia, Jennifer Roback Morse, etc. who evaluate and critique radical feminist scholarship. That’s how I encounter the ideas of those I disagree with (as well as listening to and watching debates).

Here’s a short Factual Feminist video:

I understand the claims that are made by radical feminists, but I am also aware of what the evidence says. I don’t try to stop feminists from making claims, I just study how to refute their claims.

But what about the radical feminists? Do they do a good job of understanding those who disagree with them? Let’s take a look at an example which I think is representative of feminist tolerance and open-mindedness.

The Toronto Sun reports on a sociology professor who gave her students an assignment – an assignment with some very peculiar constraints.

Excerpt:

A Ryerson University student who wanted to write a paper on the “myth” of the male-female wage gap was told by her prof that not only was she wrong, she should only rely on feminist journals for her assignment instead of business sources which “blame women,” her sister says.

Josephine Mathias, 21, a fourth-year political science student at University of Toronto, took to YouTube Wednesday to criticize the assignment given her twin Jane for a sociology class.

[…]After Jane sent an email describing her intention to write about the wag gap, her instructor replied that her premise was wrong, Josephine said.

Here’s what the professor said:

“Perhaps you want to write your paper on the glass ceiling. You need to look at feminist sources on this issue…Do NOT use business sources. They blame women. The reality is patriarchy,” says the instructor’s email, posted online.

In a copy of the assignment provided to the Toronto Sun by Josephine, the instructor also notes that Ontario and Canada government websites and Statistics Canada will not be considered scholarly sources.

“Government websites state government policy that is devoid of analysis, and usually reproduces mainstream stereotypes, assumptions and misconceptions,” the assignment says.

What is interesting is that the professor makes about $167,000 a year – higher than the average professor’s salary. And she’s not teaching computer science or petroleum engineering. I find it interesting that another Canadian university reprimanded a grad student for showing a debate clip that offered both sides of the transgenderism debate. Leftist tolerance. Leftist open-mindedness.

Once you’ve paid your tuition, and the leftist has the grading pen, you lose every argument. Either you get an F, or you get expelled. If you’re in the workplace, you get fired. False charges are often made. Hate crimes are faked. Anything to play the victim, rather than address the arguments and evidence. This is how people on the left “debate”.

As I wrote previously, the more women embrace radical feminism, the more toxic they become to men. Not just in the classroom or the workplace, but in relationships. Who wants to marry someone whose only response to reason is fury? Men might be OK with temporary arrangements with abusive women. At least while those women have youth and beauty. But men don’t marry abusive women. At least, not if they have any wisdom.

(Image source: Independent Man)

Can feminism be defended with reason and evidence? Jordan Peterson vs Cathy Newman

Can radical feminism be defended rationally and evidentially?
Can radical feminism be defended rationally and evidentially?

There was a short discussion recently on UK Channel 4 between Canadian university professor named Jordan Peterson, and a radical feminist with an undergraduate degree in English named Cathy Newman. While you watch, imagine that she is teaching some non-STEM course that you’ve enrolled in. Would you dare to disagree with her?

First, the video, which has over 3.1 million views on Monday night:

And here is an article from the UK Spectator: (paywalled)

Whatever else anybody might think of him, Professor Peterson is a man of remarkable learning and experience, and does not appear to have arrived at any of his views by the now common means of ‘I reckon’. Yet Newman, who approaches the interview with the trademark sourness she employs for everyone she expects to disagree with, treats this is just another chance to burnish her own social justice credentials and expose her guest as a bigot. Big mistake.

Storming straight in with the differences between the sexes, in the opening minutes it is clear that Professor Peterson is willing to back up all his views with references, data and calm analysis. 

By 11 minutes in she is saying ‘I think I take issue with (that)’, before demonstrating that she can’t. Soon she is reduced to dropping the bombshell observation that ‘all women are different’. By 16.45 there is a palpable win, as Peterson points out that Newman has exactly the disagreeable and aggressive qualities that allow certain types of people to succeed. By 19.30 she is having to throw out things to him that he hasn’t even said, such as ‘You’re saying women aren’t intelligent enough to run top companies’. A minute later and she is reduced to countering empirical evidence with anecdote. Peterson presents the data about men in general and Newman responds with the ‘I know plenty of men who aren’t (like that)’ card. Shortly after that (at 22.25) Newman is reduced to spluttering and then silence. She tries to pull herself together. But she can think of nothing to say.

To be honest, Cathy Newman is nothing like the women I’m friends with. All of my closest friends are Christian women. All of them are anti-feminist to some degree, with the most successful one professionally (Dina) being the wisest and most anti-feminist of all. When I think of my panel of wise Christian women advisors – each with one or more STEM degrees – I don’t recognize Cathy Newman in them. But Cathy Newman does remind me of the radical feminists I encountered when I was doing my BS and MS degrees in computer science at the university.

In my experience, radical feminists debate using six tactics:

  1. Deny facts or evidence because men were involved in researching them or discovering them
  2. Countering empirical data with anecdotes and personal experiences
  3. Taking arguments and evidence as if they are personal attacks
  4. Becoming hysterical and crying
  5. Claiming that disagreement with feminism will produce violence against women and women committing suicide, etc.
  6. Trying to get you expelled, fired or silenced – often by making false accusations or faking hate crimes against themselves

It’s important for everyone to understand the views of others in order to know how defensible our own views are. In order to get the best scholarly case for radical feminism, I like to read feminist academics like Christina Hoff Sommers, Camille Paglia, Jennifer Roback Morse, etc. who evaluate and critique radical feminist scholarship. That’s how I encounter the ideas of those I disagree with (as well as listening to and watching debates).

Here’s a short Factual Feminist video:

I understand the claims that are made by radical feminists, but I am also aware of what the evidence says. I don’t try to stop feminists from making claims, I just study how to refute their claims.

But what about the radical feminists? Do they do a good job of understanding those who disagree with them? Let’s take a look at an example which I think is representative of feminist tolerance and open-mindedness.

The Toronto Sun reports on a sociology professor who gave her students an assignment – an assignment with some very peculiar constraints.

Excerpt:

A Ryerson University student who wanted to write a paper on the “myth” of the male-female wage gap was told by her prof that not only was she wrong, she should only rely on feminist journals for her assignment instead of business sources which “blame women,” her sister says.

Josephine Mathias, 21, a fourth-year political science student at University of Toronto, took to YouTube Wednesday to criticize the assignment given her twin Jane for a sociology class.

[…]After Jane sent an email describing her intention to write about the wag gap, her instructor replied that her premise was wrong, Josephine said.

Here’s what the professor said:

“Perhaps you want to write your paper on the glass ceiling. You need to look at feminist sources on this issue…Do NOT use business sources. They blame women. The reality is patriarchy,” says the instructor’s email, posted online.

In a copy of the assignment provided to the Toronto Sun by Josephine, the instructor also notes that Ontario and Canada government websites and Statistics Canada will not be considered scholarly sources.

“Government websites state government policy that is devoid of analysis, and usually reproduces mainstream stereotypes, assumptions and misconceptions,” the assignment says.

What is interesting is that the professor makes about $167,000 a year – higher than the average professor’s salary. And she’s not teaching computer science or petroleum engineering. I find it interesting that another Canadian university reprimanded a grad student for showing a debate clip that offered both sides of the transgenderism debate. Leftist tolerance. Leftist open-mindedness.

Once you’ve paid your tuition, and the leftist has the grading pen, you lose every argument. Either you get an F, or you get expelled. If you’re in the workplace, you get fired. False charges are often made. Hate crimes are faked. Anything to play the victim, rather than address the arguments and evidence. This is how people on the left “debate”.

As I wrote previously, the more women embrace radical feminism, the more toxic they become to men. Not just in the classroom or the workplace, but in relationships. Who wants to marry someone whose only response to reason is fury? Men might be OK with temporary arrangements with abusive women. At least while those women have youth and beauty. But men don’t marry abusive women. At least, not if they have any wisdom.

(Image source: Independent Man)

Supreme Court to decide whether it is legal to be a Christian after same-sex marriage

Masterpiece Cakes

I had a really tough decision Monday night about what to write about for Tuesday’s post. I wanted to say something about the sexting and resume misrepresentation accusations against Ravi Zacharias. I also wanted to say something about the how the Democrats in the DOJ and the FBI protected Hillary Clinton from criminal charges while inventing a fake Russia-Trump connection. I wanted to say something about how the Supreme Court just allowed full enforcement of the Trump security measures against countries that are significantly influenced by radical Islamic terrorism. In the end, I chose the Supreme Court story, because it relates to free speech and freedom of association

There’s a good little video summary of the case here:

Ben Shapiro posted a great summary of what you need to know about the case at the Daily Wire:

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court is slated to hear oral argument in the famed Masterpiece Cakeshop case. The case is a seminal one for religious liberty. It pits the ability of local and state governments to enforce “anti-discrimination law” against religious practice rights for businessowners; it essentially decides whether or not religious people can practice their religion in their business. This goes to the heart of freedom of religion in the United States.

The case revolves around a man named Jack Phillips. Jack is a baker. He makes and decorates cakes. He has a simple rule: he’ll sell anyone a cake. Gay, straight, transgender, green. Anyone. But he won’t make a custom cake for every event. As a religious Christian, this means that he sees it as sinful participation to make a custom cake celebrating a same-sex wedding. So he’ll make a cake for a same-sex wedding, but he won’t decorate it as such (no groom-groom wedding toppers, for example). He also refuses to make cakes that push anti-gay messages, anti-American messages, and adult-themed messages.

That’s his Constitutional right. But the Leftists at the Colorado Civil Rights Commission didn’t think so. They think that Jack must be forced to violate his own religious beliefs and decorate a cake for a same-sex wedding, or stop making any cakes at all. As a result of their ruling, Jack lost 40% of his business and more than half of his employees — all for abiding by his Biblical beliefs in the most tolerant possible way. He was even told that he had to re-educate employees, including his family members, and report to the government what his artistic decisions were, listing all the cakes he’d failed to bake and why.

Now, I know lots of people who claim to be Christians who support redefining marriage to eliminate the requirement of complementary sexes. I wonder how they would explain their support for SSM given this clear case of fascism by a secular government? Before this country redefined marriage, people on the right warned that there would be consequences for religious liberty.

Sometimes, it’s nice to read what is really happening in the world, with the politically correct spin removed.

Try this:

But this isn’t a religious case at all. It’s a freedom of association and freedom of speech case. Religious practice shouldn’t be bound to the home or church — religious life infuses every aspect of living. But by the same token, an atheist should be free to reject a Christ-themed cake, a Leftist speechwriter should be free to reject a right-wing politician, and The New Republic should be free to refuse to deliver to the Trump White House. Does this mean that people we dislike will be able to act in ways we dislike? Absolutely. But freedom lives in the spaces where we acknowledge that we have no right to another’s labor or approval. Tyranny grows when we refuse to acknowledge those spaces.

What’s really going on here is that there is a group of people involved in sinful, self-destructive activities. And their response to their own bad feelings about what they’re freely choosing to do is to try to generate happy feelings by forcing everyone around them to celebrate their decisions. You would never see a chaste person suing unchaste people to demand their approval. That’s because chastity is self-evidently virtuous. No outside celebration or affirmation is wanted or needed. But sinful people become obsessed with shutting out purity. And if they can’t shut it out, then they use the law to stamp it out.

That’s what this Supreme Court case is really about. We shouldn’t make the mistake of thinking that people on the secular left are Americans in any sense of the word. They don’t accept the Constitution, they don’t accept free speech, they don’t accept freedom of association, they don’t accept religious liberty. They accept their sexual desires. And the human rights of everyone else in the world has to give way to their sexual desires.

The loss of liberty for Bible-believing Christians isn’t a problem for fake Christians who think Christianity is about feeling good and being liked. It’s only a problem for people who actually do have a relationship with God in Christ. And that’s a very small minority of people who profess Christianity.

For a more thorough take on the legal aspects of the case, you can check out this editorial by Robbie George in the radical leftist New York Times, of all places.