Thursday, April 30, 2015

Does atheism function as a religion?

Shawn Herles (8,463 comments) says: 

“The whole “atheists just believe in one fewer gods than you do” thing isn’t very helpful.”
It’s also not really true. If we define atheism in an abstract dictionary way, then technically yes, it is supposed to be a lack of belief in God or gods.
But atheism does not actually function that way in real human beings. It functions as a belief, a religion, complete with it’s own set of myths.
Almost all religions have a very basic threefold narrative structure at their heart.
Chapter One: What went wrong with the world/human beings. Chapter Two: what sets things right. Chapter Three: The final act or consummation.
In Christianity these three chapters are called The Fall, The Incarnation, and The Second Coming.
In Buddhism they are Illusion/Maya, the coming of the Bhudda and personal enlightenment, and the final liberation of all sentient beings.
In atheism it goes like this. Chapter One, the world was in darkness and ignorance due to superstition and religion. Chapter Two, the Enlightenment dawns and the liberation of humanity begins. Chapter Three, the world will finally be saved when all people are atheists.
This narrative pattern is universal. It can be found everywhere. It is found in “religion” in the usual sense of that term, and it is found in many secular philosophies and ideologies, including atheism.
It is impossible to avoid, because it is hardwired into human nature. Whether by God, or evolution, or God working through evolution, does not really matter at this point.
So, in terms of how atheism functions in real people, it functions as a religion.
Now, just to be clear, as I am often misunderstood on this point, I am NOT saying this proves God exists. It simply proves, to me at least, that religion is universal and innate in all human beings. As to why that is, well that is a matter of opinion and the personal experiences that have defined us.

Griff (9,439 comments) says: 

But atheism does not actually function that way in real human beings. It functions as a belief, a religion, complete with it’s own set of myths.
No Shawn atheism is the lack of belief in gods
that is all.
nothing else is mandatory.
a good flow of commentary continues

Monday, April 20, 2015

gay marriage ,,, What value is "Marriage" or Principles?

The Deconstruction of Marriage
The only question worth asking about gay marriage is whether anyone on the left would care about this crusade if it didn't come with the privilege of bulldozing another civilizational institution.

Gay marriage is not about men marrying men or women marrying women, it is about the
deconstruction of marriage between men and women. That is a thing that many men and women of one generation understand but have trouble conveying to another generation for whom marriage has already largely been deconstructed.

The statistics about the falling marriage rate tell the tale well enough. Marriage is a fading institution. Family is a flickering light in the evening of the West.

The deconstruction is destruction. Entire countries are fading away, their populations being replaced by emigrants from more traditional lands whose understanding of the male-female relationship is positively reactionary. These emigrants may lack technology or the virtues of civilization, and their idea of marriage resembles slavery more than any modern ideal, but it fulfills the minimum purpose of any group, tribe or country-- it produces its next generation.

The deconstruction of marriage is not a mere matter of front page photos of men kissing. It began with the deconstruction of the family. Gay marriage is only one small stop on a tour that includes rising divorce rates, falling childbirth rates and the abandonment of responsibility by twenty and even thirty-somethings.

Each step on the tour takes apart the definition and structure of marriage until there is nothing left. Gay marriage is not inclusive, it is yet another attempt at eliminating marriage as a social institution by deconstructing it until it no longer exists.

There are two ways to destroy a thing. You can either run it at while swinging a hammer with both hands or you can attack its structure until it no longer means anything.

The left hasn't gone all out by outlawing marriage, instead it has deconstructed it, taking apart each of its assumptions, from the economic to the cooperative to the emotional to the social, until it no longer means anything at all. Until there is no way to distinguish marriage from a temporary liaison between members of uncertain sexes for reasons that due to their vagueness cannot be held to have any solemn and meaningful purpose.

You can abolish democracy by banning the vote or you can do it by letting people vote as many times as they want, by letting small children and foreigners vote, until no one sees the point in counting the votes or taking the process seriously. The same goes for marriage or any other institution. You can destroy it by outlawing it or by eliminating its meaningfulness until it becomes so open that it is absurd.

Every aspect of marriage is deconstructed and then eliminated until it no longer means anything. And once marriage is no longer a lifetime commitment between a man and a woman, but a ceremony with no deeper meaning than most modern ceremonies, then the deconstruction and destruction will be complete.

The deconstruction of marriage eroded it as an enduring institution and then as an exclusive institution and finally as a meaningful institution. The trendy folk who claim to be holding off on getting married until gay marriage is enacted are not eager for marriage equality, they are using it as an excuse for an ongoing rejection of marriage.

Gay marriage was never the issue. It was always marriage.

In the world that the deconstructionists are striving to build, there will be marriage, but it will mean nothing. Like a greeting card holiday, it will be an event, but not an institution. An old ritual with no further meaning. An egotistical exercise in attention-seeking and self-celebration with no deeper purpose. It will be a display every bit as hollow as the churches and synagogues it takes place in.

The deconstruction of marriage is only a subset of the deconstruction of gender from a state of being to a state of mind. The decline of marriage was preceded by the deconstruction of gender roles and gay marriage is being succeeded by the destruction of gender as anything other than a voluntary identity, a costume that one puts on and takes off.

Destroying gender roles was a prerequisite to destroying gender. Each deconstruction leads naturally to the next deconstruction with no final destination except total deconstruction.

Gay marriage is not a stopping point, just as men in women's clothing using the ladies room is not a stopping point. There is no stopping point at all.

The left's deconstruction of social institutions is not a quest for equality, but for destruction. As long as the institutions that preceded it exist, it will go on deconstructing them until there is nothing left but a blank canvas, an unthinking anarchy, on which it can impose its perfect and ideal conception of how everyone should live.

Equality is merely a pretext for deconstruction. Change the parameters of a thing and it ceases to function. Redefine it and expand it and it no longer means anything at all. A rose by any other name might smell as sweet, but if you change 'rose' to mean anything that sticks out of the ground, then the entire notion of what is being discussed has gone and cannot be reclaimed without also reclaiming language.

The left's social deconstruction program is a war of ideas and concepts. Claims of equality are used to expand institutions and ways of living until they are so broad as to encompass everything and nothing. And once a thing encompasses everything, once a rose represents everything rising out of the ground, then it also represents nothing at all.

Deconstruction is a war against definitions, borders and parameters. It is a war against defining things by criminalizing the limitation of definitions. With inclusivity as the mandate, exclusivity, in marriage, or any other realm, quickly meets with social disapproval and then becomes a hate crime. If the social good is achieved only through maximum inclusivity and infinite tolerance, then any form of exclusivity, from property to person to ideas, is a selfish act that refuses the collective impulse to make all things into a common property with no lasting meaning or value.

As Orwell understood in 1984, tyranny is essentially about definitions. It is hard to fight for freedom if you lack the word. It is hard to maintain a marriage if the idea no longer exists. Orwell's Oceania made basic human ideas into contradictory things. The left's deconstruction of social values does the same thing to such essential institutions as marriage; which becomes an important impermanent thing of no fixed nature or value.

The left's greatest trick is making things mean the opposite of what they do. Stealing is sharing. Crime is justice. Property is theft. Each deconstruction is accompanied by an inversion so that a thing, once examined, comes to seem the opposite of what it is, and once that is done, it no longer has the old innate value, but a new enlightened one.

To deconstruct man, you deconstruct his beliefs and then his way of living. You deconstruct freedom until it means slavery. You deconstruct peace until it means war. You deconstruct property until it means theft. And you deconstruct marriage until it means a physical relationship between any group of people for any duration. And that is the opposite of what marriage is.

The deconstruction of marriage is part of the deconstruction of gender and family and those are part
of the long program of deconstructing man. Once each basic value has been rendered null and void, inverted and revealed to be random and meaningless, then man is likewise revealed to be a random and meaningless creature whose existence requires shaping by those who know better.

The final deconstruction eliminates nation, religion, family and even gender to reduce the soul of man to a blank slate waiting to be written on.

That is what is at stake here. This is not a struggle about the right of equality, but the right of definition. It is not about whether men can get married, but whether marriage will mean anything at all. It is about preserving the shapes and structures of basic social concepts that define our identities in order to preserve those very concepts, rather than accepting their deconstruction into nullification.

The question on the table is whether the institutions that give us meaning will be allowed to retain that meaning. And that question is a matter of survival. Societies cannot survive without definitions. Peoples do not go on existing through the act of occupying space. The deconstruction of identity is also the destruction of people.

And that is what we are truly fighting against.
- See more at:
CS Lewis wrote of "The Abolition Of Man"

Friday, April 10, 2015

Microaggression is coming

Sorry, but it’s your fault if you’re offended all the time

I truly believe that we are the most whiney, sensitive, thin-skinned, easily offended society in the history of the world.
Nobody has ever been as prolific at getting offended as we are.
Nobody cries over insignificant nonsense as loudly and consistently as us.
It’s the one thing we seem to do better than everyone else on the planet. We corner the Offended Market, and it’s not even close. Modern Americans love to get offended more than we love eating Cinnabon or talking about our fitness goals. If it was an Olympic sport, we’d grab the gold, silver, and bronze every year. If it was a job, we’d all be millionaires. In fact, we have turned it into a job, and the people who do it professionally are millionaires (Al Sharpton, etc). It is our calling card, our national pastime. It is the battle we fight and the banner we wave.
We get offended faster and more efficiently than anyone. And it’s not just our speed that separates us from the rest — it’s our endurance. We have a limitless capacity for offendedness. Every week there are dozens of new national outrages and boycott campaigns and social media crusades to raise awareness about some offensive thing, or to get someone fired for saying some offensive thing, or to teach people that some previously non-offensive thing has now become offensive.
Most of all, I find myself positively dazzled by the dexterity and athleticism with which we get offended. We can juggle six or seven outrages all at once, and then drop them and pick up new ones in the blink of an eye.
Our creativity and meticulousness are also quite notable here. We can look at any situation and extract hundreds of offensive factors that an untrained eye probably would have overlooked. We conjure up more fabricated outrages and controversies in a month than past civilizations could have mustered in a thousand years.
Do you remember what everyone was super worked up about four weeks ago? Yeah, me neither. That’s the point. We move on to the new outrage so quickly and the old ones are buried and forgotten. Well, whatever it was way back then, I’m sure it was REALLY bad and we were REALLY upset.
It’s always something. We have located the Fountain of Eternal Indignation, and we drink it by the gallon.
So then it is no wonder that this is the climate which has given rise to a concept called microaggressions.
Have you heard about these? I was thinking about them a lot yesterday after I watched this stirring and important PSA on the subject by Andrew Klavan:
Inspired to do my part in exposing the micro-scourge, I sent out these Tweets:

Saturday, April 4, 2015

The Wars: God or not

hawn Herles (7,838 comments) says: 

“The supernatural cannot exist because we can only gain knowledge of real things through our senses.
Unless the atheists can evidence that we can only gain knowledge through our senses, they cannot argue in this manner. This argument is based on a belief in absolute materialism, which has not been evidenced.
People believe in God because their parents raised them to do so.
Unless the atheists can evidence that people believe in God because their parent raised them to do so, they cannot make this argument. This argument is also contradictory since there are atheists who raise their children to be atheists.
God cannot exist because religion breeds violence and intolerance.
Unless the atheists can evidence that it is religion that causes violence and intolerance, they cannot use this argument (this is not even to deny that “religion” does so). This argument ignores that violence and intolerance are caused by religion, politics, territory, atheism, material goods/resources, racism, sexism, wealth and poverty, science, atheism, etc., etc. Since there are various reasons for violence and intolerance religion cannot be excluded as the only, nor the main, cause. Whenever anyone gets in power, regardless of what they believe, or claim to believe, they tend to abuse their position. Since atheists have likewise done this, their argument is hypocritical. The Encyclopedia of Wars (New York: Facts on File, 2005) was compiled by nine history professors who specifically conducted research for the text for a decade in order to chronicle 1,763 wars.
The survey of wars covers a time span from 8000 BC to 2003 AD. From over 10,000 years of war 123 wars, which is 6.98 percent, are considered to have been religious wars.
It is arrogant to push one’s beliefs down someone else’s throat.
Unless the atheists can provide an absolute standard by which it is arrogant to push one’s beliefs down someone else’s throat, they cannot make use this argument. They must also offer absolute guidelines by which to determine when a person really is pushing their beliefs down someone else’s throat. This argument is hypocritical because the atheists hold to a belief that it is wrong to push one’s beliefs down someone else’s throat and they push this belief down everyone else’s throats.”

Kimbo (1,994 comments) says: 

@ Shawn Herles
A good debunking of many of the standard atheist arguments here:
…I particularly liked this one;
“Atheism is not linked to Communism”
wat dabney argues forcefully in these parts that atheism is a relatively benign and low-key belief, with no inherent ideological baggage or demands such Nazism (actually arguably a form of religious paganism) or Communism. In comparison, if you believe in God/gods, a moral imperative to see his will spread and enforced ensues, and thatinvariably degenerates into violence and intolerance when it encounters opposition.
But it looks awfully like a variation on the “no true Scotsman” fallacy to me. I’m not sure you can have it both ways – arguing that religion does and must inexorably lead to evil…and then argue atheism doesn’t do the same.
Fletch (6,918 comments) says: 
In his book Mere Christianity, C.S Lewis ponders the issue of whether truth is true of its own nature, or whether it is only a custom passed down by parents to children.
Other people wrote to me saying, “Isn’t what you call the Moral Law just a social convention, something that is put into us by education?” I think there is a misunderstanding here. The people who ask that question are usually taking it for granted that if we have learned a thing from parents and teachers, then that thing must be merely a human invention. But, of course, that is not so. We all learned the multiplication table at school. A child who grew up alone on a desert island would not know it. But surely it does not follow that the multiplication table is simply a human convention, something human beings have made up for themselves and might have made different if they had liked?
I fully agree that we learn the Rule of Decent Behaviour from parents and teachers, and friends and books, as we learn everything else. But some of the things we learn are mere conventions which might have been different—we learn to keep to the left of the road, but it might just as well have been the rule to keep to the right—and others of them, like mathematics, are real truths. The question is to which class the Law of Human Nature belongs.
There are two reasons for saying it belongs to the same class as mathematics. The first is, as I said in the first chapter, that though there are differences between the moral ideas of one time or country and those of another, the differences are not really very great—not nearly so great as most people imagine—and you can recognise the same law running through them all: whereas mere conventions, like the rule of the road or the kind of clothes people wear, may differ to any extent. The other reason is this.
When you think about these differences between the morality of one people and another, do you think that the morality of one people is ever better or worse than that of another? Have any of the changes been improvements? If not, then of course there could never be any moral progress. Progress means not just changing, but changing for the better. If no set of moral ideas were truer or better than any other, there would be no sense in preferring civilised morality to savage morality, or Christian morality to Nazi morality. In fact, of course, we all do believe that some moralities are better than others. We do believe that some of the people who tried to change the moral ideas of their own age were what we would call Reformers or Pioneers—people who understood morality better than their neighbours did. Very well then.
The moment you say that one set of moral ideas can be better than another, you are, in fact, measuring them both by a standard, saying that one of them conforms to that standard more nearly than the other. But the standard that measures two things is something different from either. You are, in fact, comparing them both with some Real Morality, admitting that there is such a thing as a real Right, independent of what people think, and that some people’s ideas get nearer to that real Right than others. Or put it this way. If your moral ideas can be truer, and those of the Nazis less true, there must be something—some Real Morality—for them to be true about.
The reason why your idea of New York can be truer or less true than mine is that New York is a real place, existing quite apart from what either of us thinks. If when each of us said “New York” each meant merely “The town I am imagining in my own head,” how could one of us have truer ideas than the other? There would be no question of truth or falsehood at all. In the same way, if the Rule of Decent Behaviour meant simply “whatever each nation happens to approve,” there would be no sense in saying that any one nation had ever been more correct in its approval than any other; no sense in saying that the world could ever grow morally better or morally worse.
I conclude then, that though the differences between people’s ideas of Decent Behaviour often make you suspect that there is no real natural Law of Behaviour at all, yet the things we are bound to think about these differences really prove just the opposite.
C. S. Lewis (2009-06-14T22:00:00+00:00). Mere Christianity (Kindle Locations 219-248). HarperCollins Publishers. Kindle Edition.

Understand and so take care of the small things in life, and try to keep principles

Odakyu-sen (1,225 comments) says: 

My experience of poor people in a free society such as Japan or New Zealand is that they are usually poor because of the poor life choices they make. (Exceptions being poverty as a result of physical or mental disabilities.)
There are no “evil oppressors” out there who somehow manage to find the time to individually frustrate the lives of poor people. Inventing such bad guys simply teaches the poor to be more helpless and dependent on the State.
I think a couple of traits hold the “poor” back (I use “won’t” instead of “can’t” as “can’t” would imply that it’s not their fault.)
– Won’t defer gratitude (gotta have it now)
– Won’t think of consequences of actions in advance
– Take comfort in the knowledge that the State will coddle them (in NZ)
– Fear change (don’t want to move out of “da hood”)
Many call the poor “lazy” but I think a lot of this is that they don’t think very far into the future. They don’t think “if I do this (don’t do this) then what will probably happen?”
I remember a story from my childhood. I had a friend who lived with his father. One day his dad brought him a brand new bicycle. My friend didn’t look after his bicycle and left it out in the rain. A month later, the chain was rusted and the paint was peeling. Some time later he threw it into the canal.
I had another friend who father ran a printing company. He wanted a bicycle, so his father gave him his own father’s old bike (that my friend’s grandfather could no longer ride). His father taught him how to repair the old bicycle and how to maintain it properly. A year later, my friend sold the bike, added money he had saved from his part-time job, and bought a brand new bicycle.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Media stories origins and drivers

Fletch (6,908 comments) says: 

Just starting to read this. How a marketer uses / used blogs to influence the media to manipulate the news we see to benefit his clients.
Trust Me, I’m Lying: Confessions of a Media Manipulator, Ryan Holiday
You’ve seen it all before. A malicious online rumor costs a company millions. A political sideshow derails the national news cycle and destroys a candidate. Some product or celebrity zooms from total obscurity to viral sensation. What you don’t know is that someone is responsible for all this. Usually, someone like me. I’m a media manipulator. In a world where blogs control and distort the news, my job is to control blogs-as much as any one person can. IN TODAY’S CULTURE… Blogs like Gawker, BuzzFeed, and The Huffington Post drive the media agenda. Bloggers are slaves to money, technology, and deadlines. Manipulators wield these levers to shape everything you read, see, and hear- online and off.Why am I giving away these secrets? Because I’m tired of a world where blogs take indirect bribes, marketers help write the news, reckless journalists spread lies, and no one is accountable for any of it. I’m going to explain exactly how the media really works. What you choose to do with this information is up to you.
I learned about the book from some tweets regarding the Indiana pizza place – (*posted below)
“Y’all see how the lies about the pizzeria were started somewhere small and picked up by MSM right? Read this book”
“Learn how the left manipulates the media. Lies, half-truths bubble up from small, obscure sources. Picked up and run with as fact.”
“I’m begging you. If you ever want to beat the left at their own game, read that book. Study it. Learn how to use it for good and not evil.”

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Why does Green peace embellish with nonsense?

Cetacean Strandings – a plea for honesty

Although I have previously written an article entitled “Do seismic surveys cause whales to strand?”, the recent passionate and vitriolic claims by eNGOs that strandings have been caused by seismic surveys, makes this topic worth re-visiting.  I make no apology for drawing the inspiration for my title from the publication by Bradshaw et al (2006) entitled “Mass Cetacean Strandings – a Plea for Empiricism”.  In that publication, Bradshaw et al stated “More specifically, the stranding-prone regions of the world such as southern Australia cannot be used to support the noise-pollution hypothesis because military and other sources of sonar noise pollution are relatively uncommon there”. Clearly, this statement would also apply to New Zealand, given the frequency of strandings there.
This statement was based on an empirical study by Evans et al (2005) entitled “Periodic variability in cetacean strandings: links to large-scale climate events” utilising data spanning 1920-2002 and 639 stranding events many of which occurred BEFORE marine seismic surveys were even invented and off coasts where few, if any, seismic surveys were carried out.
Why therefore do organisations such as OIL free SEAS_Kangaroo Island (OFSKI), Huffington Post writer Dr Reese Halter and Greenpeace NZ in conjunction with Oil Free Otago, continue to ignore scientists and the available observational data, such as that shown in the following photograph?
Humpback whale and seismic array
Humpback whale and operational seismic array
I would not presume to guess what their agenda is but here are a few examples of the way these organisations are misleading a caring and giving community with misinformation, which is plainly at odds with the available scientific and observational data.
1. On their Facebook page, along with lots of other very inaccurate propaganda, OFSKI claims that the sperm whale strandings on the East Coast of the Yorke Peninsula at Ardrossan were caused by seismic surveys approximately 700km away  with two peninsulas in the way. This is inconceivable given:
1a. Sperm whales vocalise at similar sound levels to seismic pulses – 236dB at 1m. Thus, what they hear themselves, or in their pod, from their own vocalisations, would be far louder than they would hear at even 100m from a seismic source. Note that if large whales were any closer that about 100m there would be a greater risk of collision than deafness, even though smaller more mobile whales (eg pilot whales) and dolphins are often seen riding the bow wave during seismic operations. It is inconceivable that any reasonable person could claim they are harmed by received sounds that are lower than those they emit themselves. Why does OFKSI and others insist on claiming such impacts?
1b. As a result of their loud vocalisations, it is not surprising to see many instances of sperm whales continuing to behave normally (dive, feed and rest) in fairly close proximity to operating seismic vessels in Australian waters and other areas around the world. For example, in a 2003 JNCC report entitled “The effects of seismic activity on marine mammals in UK waters, 1998-2000”, Stone concluded “Sperm whales showed no observable effects from these data (although this does not mean that there was no disturbance, as there may have been effects that were not able to be examined using these data).” If there were effects that could have led to strandings, as claimed by OFSKI, surely they would have been observable!
1c. Finally, sperm whale strandings in the presence of NO seismic surveys are not at all unusual (as mentioned in the above introduction). Why does OFSKI ignore such events? One of the most famous historical sperm whale stranding cases occurred on the Dutch coast in 1601 (yes, 1601 – long before seismic surveys were invented) and a very long way from sperm whale preferred habitat (a bit like Ardrossan?). This stranding is immortalised in an etching by Dutch artist Jan Saenredam. Thus, for OFSKI to claim that seismic surveys caused the Ardrossan mass stranding is a clear case of the observable data being ignored.
2. In an article in The Huffington Post entitled “Big Oil destroys the Great Australian Bight, Dr Reese Halter appears to come to the support of OFSKI but is clearly incorrect with the following assertions:
2a. Firstly, he claims “Big Oil Destroys the Great Australian Bight”. How come over 150,000km of seismic traverse have been acquired and 12 wells have been drilled in the area since the 1970’s and there have been negligible impacts from this activity? This does not sound like “destroying” to any reasonable person;
2b. Secondly, Dr Halter makes much of majestic blue whales being in danger from seismic surveys but, despite very close monitoring over more than a decade during seismic surveys conducted along the southern margins of Australia, it is obvious that they are not in the dire danger that he and others claim.  If Dr Halter were correct the impacts would have been obvious.  In addition, some of these monitoring reports are on the public record, so Dr Halter is clearly ignoring and distorting the facts.
2c. Thirdly, on the topic of distorting the facts, his claim that the melon-headed whale stranding in Madagascar in 2008 was caused by a seismic survey is totally false. In an IWC report on the incident, the Independent Scientific Review Panel (ISRP) concluded that they “systematically excluded or deemed highly unlikely nearly all potential reasons for the animals leaving their typical pelagic habitat and entering the Loza Lagoon (an extremely atypical area for this species). This included the use of seismic airguns in an offshore seismic survey several days after the whales were already in the lagoon system, which was originally speculated to have played some role but in the view of the ISRP clearly did not.”  Dr Halter has ignored at least two very important pieces of information – the seismic survey commenced several days AFTER the whales were already in the lagoon system AND the panel concluded that the seismic survey CLEARLY DID NOT cause the stranding.
3. Finally, we have Greenpeace NZ and its supporters such as Rosemary Penwarden of Oil free Otago.  The constant “noise” from this group is typified by an extremely misleading opinion piece in the Otago Daily Times on Friday 23 January entitled “Oil search puts dolphins at risk”.  There is very little, if any, valid evidence in the emotive but inaccurate claims by Ms Penwarden (and Greenpeace). For example:
3a. Ms Penwarden “links seismic testing for oil and gas with serious harm to whales and dolphins”. How can this be so if no documented cases of harm to cetaceans exist in over 40 years of seismic surveying (note the correct term “surveying”) using compressed air as the seismic source?
3b. Her description of seismic acquisition is so unrepresentative, using terms such as “detonators” and “blasting,” that it is surely meant to mislead a caring and giving community. “Velcro” has done a good job of presenting a factual description of seismic surveying in an online comment rebutting her article so I will not repeat what he/she says.  In addition, I’d like to counter Ms Penwarden’s statement that seismic arrays “reach about 260 decibels (dB) on a logarithmic scale on which it is known that anything above 170 dB disturbs marine organisms.” as being clearly incorrect.  Firstly, she has used a theoretical value (of 260dB) for the loudness of a seismic array. This would only be achieved if all the 20-30 elements (compressed air cylinders, commonly called “airguns”) in the array occupied the same location. This is clearly impossible!  The actual decibel level within 1m of any part of the array would be between 220 and 240dB, depending on the type of array.  Secondly, given sperm whales and bottlenose dolphins vocalise at 236dB and 225dB respectively (a lot more than 170dB), how can Ms Penwarden claim they would be disturbed, letalone “seriously harmed” as mentioned elsewhere in her opinion piece? After all, these cetaceans (or others in their pod) would receive vocalised sounds at close to their emitted levels whereas any received levels from the seismic array would be significantly lower than their own vocalisations.
3c. She perpetuates the inaccurate claim that the mass stranding of the melon headed whales in Madagascar was caused by a seismic survey. As mentioned above, the ISRP concluded the seismic survey “CLEARLY DID NOT” cause the stranding.
3d. Finally, she and Greenpeace claim that the unfortunate stranding of 3 Gray’s beaked whales on Whatipu Beach near Auckland last week was caused by a seismic survey, which I understand was 200km away. Given that strandings in NZ are very common and there is NO correlation between stranding events and seismic surveys, why are they ignoring the readily observable facts? How do they explain strandings that occurred in the absence of seismic surveys, either before seismic surveys were invented or in seasons when seismic surveys did not occur?  Given the frequency of strandings there will be coincidences but it is disingenuous to exploit these unfortunate incidents for their own ulterior motives.
In summary, these organisations surely have a responsibility to ensure that their claims are factually based and verifiable? “Truth in campaigning” should apply to lobby groups in the same way “truth in advertising/reporting” applies to businesses. Unfortunately, at best, these lobby groups are either displaying a high level of ignorance or, at worse, they have deliberately chosen not to display the same high level of honesty that they themselves demand from others.
The public deserves an open, transparent and honest debate on the unfortunate issue of cetacean strandings, but are misinformed by the likes of Greenpeace, Oil free Otago, OFSKI and Huffington Post (Dr Reese Halter).

Why do myths and misinformation drown information, facts and science?