back to article Wikipedia bans Church of Scientology

In an unprecedented effort to crack down on self-serving edits, the Wikipedia supreme court has banned contributions from all IP addresses owned or operated by the Church of Scientology and its associates. Closing out the longest-running court case in Wikiland history, the site’s Arbitration Committee voted 10 to 0 (with one …

COMMENTS

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Heart

    Subtitle

    Priceless. I owe whoever wrote that one a beer if I'm ever on your side of the pond.

  2. Jeff
    Thumb Down

    Censorship = bad

    As much as I dislike religious cultists, I think they should have a chance to show the world just how much of a complete and utter nutjob the bunch of them are.

    In this case, maybe set up 2 pages, 1 for CoS, 1 against, and let them debate each others points in an open fashion. And of course, once you post in one side of the argument, you will be barred from adding to the other side.

    THe only way to defeat organisations like these is to expose them for what they are, not to stifle debate and sweep the mess under the carpet.

  3. Jodo Kast
    Stop

    @jeff debate is for blogs

    debate on blogs. wikipedia is facts.

    post your facts and move on. if you're constantly updating things, something fishy is going on.

  4. Dan Davis
    Black Helicopters

    Freudian slip

    "The site sees itself as an encyclopedia with a 'neutral point of view' - whatever that is."

    Right, "neutral" is hardly in the vocabulary of this wikiobsessed web rag.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    Religious prejudice

    The vast majority of what I read on Wikipedia is rumor and slander. The whole purpose of Scientology knowledge application and procedure is to increase an individual’s understanding and awareness of himself as a spiritual being and to rehabilitate his native abilities and potential.

    Anyone desiring information about the Scientology religion should visit the Church web site at www.Scientology.org to form their own opinions

  6. jake Silver badge

    "In an unprecedented effort to crack down on self-serving idiots"

    There. I fixed that for you. You are quite welcome, no charge.

  7. Havin_it
    Alert

    @AC 02:00

    Then why did persons operating from CoS IP addresses waste so much time trying to turn around this "rumour and slander", eh? Why not just denounce the whole operation from a respectable distance from the word Go, like what you're doing now?

    I just can't think what could have changed...

  8. Moss Icely Spaceport
    Thumb Down

    Firstly, a few facts:

    1. wikipedia (aka: Wikiwhacky) is NOT a trustworthy 'encyclopaedia'.

    2. The Co$ is NOT a religion, it is a cult (aka: C.U.L.T, aka: Utter Bullshite).

    I couldn't give a Xenu's uncle what tripe is posted on wikipedia. It's so far from a reliable source is useless to me.

    If I had my way, I'd round up all the Thetanistas and shoot them agin' a wall. However that's probably a bit harsh. Some of them might be salvageable as regular people, with professional treatment*.

    * Not Co$ pseudo science

  9. Steve Evans

    So...

    They'll be off down to starbucks wifi zone tomorrow...

  10. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  11. jake Silver badge

    @AC 02:00

    "Anyone desiring information about the Scientology religion should visit the Church web site at www.Scientology.org to form their own opinions"

    Been there, done that, giggled, & moved on.

    HTH, HAND

  12. Goat Jam
    Pirate

    @AC

    "The whole purpose of Scientology knowledge application and procedure is to con the lonely and desperate into handing over their hard earned in exchange for a load of kooky twaddle and dubious self help pamphlets"

    There, fixed that for you.

  13. Charles Manning

    @AC

    "The vast majority of what I read on Scientology.org is rumor and slander. The whole purpose of Wikipedia knowledge application and procedure is to increase an individual’s understanding.

    Anyone desiring information about the Scientology religion should visit the Wikipedia web site at www.wikipedia.org to form their own opinions"

    Yawn... anyone with a barrow to push is full of BS.

  14. raving angry loony

    jail them all, let Bubba sort them out.

    It's a start. The sooner this dangerous and damaging cult is outlawed and its leaders and promoters jailed, the better. Just because Hubbard won the "create a religion" bet (urban legends notwithstanding) doesn't mean his bastard child gets to continue preying on people.

  15. Camilla Smythe

    Re: Religious Prejudice

    'Religious'

    Wrong.....

    'Prejudice'

    "An adverse judgement or opinion formed beforehand or without knowledge or examination of the facts."

    Wrong.....

    'Religious Prejudice'

    Wrong + Wrong = Wrong

    So...... that will be wrong then.

    Please don't feel the need to try harder.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Boffin

    At what price liberty

    If free speech was absolute and inviolate, surely its value would summarily erode through those who seek to abuse it?

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Cheap publicity stunt

    Unworkable, unrealistic and a can of worms to open, but who checks if they do what they say in 2 days from now?

    If they do that I can imagine there there being a lot of other guff that they have to touch, because once you start censorship (even against such an easy target) you accept responsibility for content - and the consequences thereof.

    Smells like cranking up for funding to me..

  18. Matthew
    Coat

    Camilla Smythe FTW

    You got it in one.

    Pity they the Red won't ban AC's IP address.

    ITS A CULT

  19. Pete
    Paris Hilton

    HAHAHAHA Great Fail!

    Score: 10/10 Next they should ban america for trying to claim the first manned flight.

    NZ Geniuses beat them to it so US try to change 'history'..

    No wait - ban the whole world so that they can only wikifiddle themselves.

    Paris - she likes to edit.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    Cult Wars

    So one Cult does not want to have itself sullied by another cult then?

  21. Flugal
    Paris Hilton

    @ Camilla

    Aren't all religions are cults? Scientology makes me piss myself laughing at the absurdity of it...as do christianity, islam etc. I quite like the elephants etc. in hinduism though.

    Paris...cos she's a girl I CAN believe in.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    @Matthew

    "Pity they the Red won't ban AC's IP address." Presumably you mean the Reg?

    Using "Matthew" is just as anonymous. I could call myself "David Jones", it would be just as anonymous, as it's not my real name. "Camilla Smythe" is probably just a pseudonym to preserve anonymity.

    You're just as guilty, unless of course you now give us your full name and promise that it really is yours, so stop being a dick.

  23. TeeCee Gold badge
    Thumb Down

    @Jodo Kast

    "wikipedia is facts."

    You need to put the "joke" icon on posts containing statements like that.

    Accidently reading something that funny without prior warning could prove fatal to those of a particularly humour-sensitive disposition.

  24. Dave Ross
    Happy

    Hmmm...

    Wikipedia Vs Scientology.

    Gets popcorn and settles back to watch the inevitable bloodbath :)

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Scientology should be completely banned.

    (Well, any cult (aka 'religion') should, but especially the Co$)

    Wonder if the Co$ will try to fairgame them now, would be fairly funny to watch.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Alien

    L Ron Cupboard says:

    Come on kiddies, stop this bickering.

    You do realise this Co$ stuff was all just a bit of a laugh don't you?

    What's wrong with a 2-bit SciFi writer wanting to make his way through life?

  27. Colin MacLean

    Attack!

    Could lead to the biggest DoS attack since the one of the BNP.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ Religious prejudice AC 02:00

    Go away Co$ twit.

    In the UK you are not a church, in Germany you are branded with what you are a sick twisted cult. The germans recognise this from their unfortunate history.

    You are all about money, money, money money.

  29. Moss Icely Spaceport
    Stop

    Religious prejudice

    Anyone desiring information about the Scientology religion should visit the Church web site at www.Scientology.org to form their own opinions, please have your credit card ready...

  30. Ken Hagan Gold badge
    Boffin

    Is this possible?

    I mean, can you really exclude a point of view by blocking a range of IP addresses? Is that some sort of IPv6 feature? (I wondered what they were going to do with all those addresses. Can I reserve the range for "genius" or is it already taken?) Or is this a case of WP deciding to follow in the illustrious footsteps of Stephen Conroy and Wacky Jacky?

  31. Steve

    @ Religious prejudice

    And after they've been to Scientology.org maybe they should check out Operation Clambake at www.xenu.net

  32. heystoopid
    Flame

    Oh no

    Oh no duck and cover flame war coming and it won't be pretty .

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    @Moss Icely Spaceport

    "2. The Co$ is NOT a religion, it is a cult (aka: C.U.L.T, aka: Utter Bullshite)."

    Religion = cult with lots of followers.

    Someone will be telling me next some bloke was born without his mother having sex and later came back from the dead! Sheesh, the BS stories some people come up with!

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    re:Religious prejudice

    Sorry, I've made it a personal policy of mine to try and avoid hanging around on the websites of well known cults.

    Oh...and it's only religious prejudice if you're talking about a religion, which we're not.

  35. Patrick

    Recent Scientology exposure

    This book by an Irish escapee from Scientology is rather good if you're interested in reading about the topic. Scientology has scared UK bookstores into not selling it:

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/11/11/amazon_pulls_scientology_expose/

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Complex_%28book%29

    but you can still buy it from Ireland http://www.eason.ie/look/9781903582848 or US Amazon.

  36. Adam Foxton
    Boffin

    @Pete

    Didn't the Yanks manage the first powered and controlled manned heavier than air flight? Others all over the world had managed a few of those attirbutes before before but I'm pretty sure the first powered, controlled, manned flight was the Yanks. If not, linkz plz.

    Also, France dissolving a religious/pseudoreligious group? Remember the last time that happenned? So the question should be how much does Sarkozy owe the Pope?

    Finally, to the WikiBashers I've got to say that it's normally pretty good so long as you stay away from the contentious stuff like Scientology. Most of the technical stuff that I've seen seems okay, even if it is a little basic sometimes.

    So- if you're using it for something sensible, Wikipedia is entirely suitable. However, check again with a reliable (ideally pre-wiki if possible) source.

  37. Nic
    Flame

    Religion on Wiki, Fact?

    Putting any religion including the big three on Wiki is always going to be a problem. None are fact based so they will always be in dispute.

    They're all as crackpot as each other so really there should just be one Wiki article called Religion which states:

    “Antiquated mythological activity practised by persons of limited intelligence. Derived from an early human fear of death and a lack of understanding of basic astronomy, physics, chemistry and biology.”

    /flame on!

  38. Anonymous Coward
    IT Angle

    Religions = bad

    nuff said.

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ Religious prejudice

    there's a post direct from the Scientology Criticism Rebuttal Department if ever I saw one.

    Can't beat a bit of cult on cult action, mind you, and the Wikiphiles are just as bad.

  40. Greg

    @The Scientologist AC

    "The whole purpose of Scientology knowledge application and procedure is to increase an individual’s understanding and awareness of himself as a spiritual being and to rehabilitate his native abilities and potential."

    *Splutter*

    AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

    You, sir, owe me a new keyboard.

    As for the article, I can absolutely see Wiki's point on this. While they are often derided on this site, I've found Wikipedia to often be a useful stop-off for basic or introductory knowledge on a given topic. I don't take it as gospel, but on the other hand it's not 100% bullshit either. If Wiki are to maintain as high a standard as possible, they have to remove bias caused by dedicated interest groups - especially dangerous money-hungry cults masquerading as religions.

  41. Nick Palmer
    Paris Hilton

    So, CoS are banned...

    ...on the basis that they're a deceptive and dangerous cult, with a willingness to practice deception, retcon their own history, indulge in self-serving edits, exploit the unwary and pass off a load of twaddle as facts. And this is WIKIPEDIA banning them for this...??? Oh, the irony...

    PH because she's dedicated to stopping people self-serving....

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    RE: Religious Prejudice

    AC wrote: "The whole purpose of Scientology knowledge application and procedure is to increase an individual’s understanding and awareness of himself as a spiritual being and to rehabilitate his native abilities and potential."

    Nonsense. The first few pages of Dianetics outline the advantages of using philosophy to increase your mental health and therefore standard of life. They don't call it philosophy though, do they? In fact they rubbish philosophy and claim that only they have the answers. (Because obviously only a level 4645 Thetan has the mental clairty to sort out your life!).

    It's a most unhelpful, deceitful and downright dirty ploy. As far as I can see their entire cult is built on unhelpful, deceitful lies. Immortal aliens who live inside volcanoes and have space ships? Having to throw off the negative energies of alien souls that are trying to possess you? Give me a fucking break.

  43. Anonymous Coward
    Alien

    @ AC 02:00

    And once you've done that, go have a look at xenu.net

    Hail Marcabia!

  44. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    heh...

    "debate on blogs. wikipedia is facts."

    Funniest comment ever.

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    whack jobs the lot of them

    as a Jedi I can attest to the fact that anything can be turned into a religion with enough viral marketing.

    The reality is that Co$ is a business and not a religion pure and simple.

    Your all free to believe what you want, just let others believe what they want, and if they believe your belief is mental live with it and move on.

    Paris - a cult and a religion to some

  46. Gerard Krupa
    Thumb Down

    Lafayette Ronald Hubbard

    He created Scientology as a joke, y'know; the original Big Brother experiment to see just how stupid people can be. If you visit the site of his grave you can still hear the faint sound of hysterical laughter.

    Personally, I'm worshiping Klaatu instead (the one portrayed by Michael Rennie in 1951 that is). You don't need Operating Thetans when you have a Gort.

  47. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    @AC Scientology apologist

    The whole purpose of GOOGLE knowledge application and procedure is to increase an individual’s understanding and awareness of himself as a human being and to rehabilitate his native abilities and potential.

    You can read more about the Church of Google at http://www.thechurchofgoogle.org/

    Mine's the one with the Spaghetti Monster hanging out of the back pocket.

  48. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ac 0200

    what, no further response form the Co$ publicity department?

    Oh, no wait, they're on US time

  49. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @AC 08.53

    Don't let your kids walk up the Tottenham Court Road.

  50. Chris Collins

    Frank Black

    This thread needs more 'Cult of Ray'.

  51. Andus McCoatover

    Haven't the Thetans heard of TOR - the onion router?

    OOPS! Bet they have now...

    Or, maybe Tom Cruise is too short^H^H^H^H^H thick to know how to use it.

  52. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge
    Coat

    Wikiland

    Where facts are the opinions of whichever group has the loudest voice and survives the war of attrition longest, or until the Wikigods step in and dictate which opinion is to be believed.

    When you correct simple non-contentious facts only to have them reverted back to some incorrect falsehood you soon learn what a nonsense Wikiland is [ * Citation required * This claim is in dispute and breaches guidelines on neutral viewpoint * Please revert ]

    Mine's the one with the lightsabre and the bucket of midichlorians.

  53. Ke
    IT Angle

    @Adam Foxton

    http://www.google.com/search?q=Richard+pearse

    http://www.ctie.monash.edu.au/hargrave/pearse1.html

  54. Karim Bourouba
    Gates Horns

    lol

    I am surprised more CoS cultists havent already plagued this with their normal drivel.

    I think it is a fine move by Wikipedia to block these edits, unfortunately there are a lot of people out there who think that Wikipedia contains nothing but cold hard facts - which of course it doesnt (well, most of the time). These easily influenced people may start to think that the whole CoS thing is in fact a legitimate religion, instead of the brainwashing money grabbing cult it is. This would be a very bad thing.

    However, with my serious hat on - shouldnt Wikipedia also be making sure that people dont publish false material as well? We are all grown up enough to recognise the CoS as a glorified pyramid selling scheme (with added volcanos and aliens etc), but do we need to have people defacing articles on Wikipedia?

    With my serious hat off, the answer is yes.

  55. Winkypop Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    The answer is clear!

    Let's all start wikifiddling the Co$ pages!!

  56. Anonymous Coward
    Joke

    What is the point

    That won't work, all they will do is use a proxy and/or a bunch a new accounts, although I like the idea of making it a pain for them.

    I would simply ban all their input to a single page, make it neutral, lock it and then restrict them to the discussions pages.

    It works for everyone else.

    They can argue their souls away on the discussions pages as nobody even cares about them never mind their discussions.

  57. Matthew Anderson

    and banning IP's will do what?

    @ Scientology IPs are "to be blocked as if they were open proxies"

    How on earth will this help? Sure, if they are editing direct from their hosting servers then this would be a problem but that is highly unlikely. Most home IP's are dynamic in that they change on a router reboot so what exactly is it they are banning? The server IP? The IP range of the ISP they use at their offices? The dynamic IP's of recorded editors?

    @ "for some reason, the address of each editor is constantly changing"

    For some reason? Lolz.. ? Lolz again... ! Of course they are changing. DOH.

  58. Ed Blackshaw Silver badge

    To those people who say everythin on Wikipedia is rubbish...

    On 'contentious' issues like this, of course it is going to be full of twaddle. However, don't dimiss it as a useful source of information. Just remember, it is NOT a primary source, so check everything you read there, or take it with a pinch of salt. For example, a friend of mine sufers from a rare genetic disorder, and the information on wiki on this is quite useful:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carnitine_palmityl_transferase

  59. Anonymous Coward
    Linux

    Sounds like a bad move

    Wouldn't it be better to divide a hotly contested page into panels containing pro/anti viewpoint versions with a locked leader panel to introduce the debate.

    A panel of adjudictors (or experts) representing each side of the debate would be each responsible for moderatoing the pro-/anti revision groupings. The identity of moderators for each side would be available alongside evidence of their claim to being a credible authority and the process for selecting moderators would have to be democratic, fair and open to question.

    To me it seems that Topic -> Viewpoint is a 1..n relationship where the plurality of opinion demands that a single version will frequently be unsatisfactory unless consenus exists.

    Censorship sounds like the wrong solution here, one that will by implication open further cans of worms.

    Pingu because everyone knows that penguins not thetans rule the universe!

  60. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Oh really..

    > So one Cult does not want to have itself sullied by another cult then?

    Wikipedia is a free to use online encyclopedia. It is one of a multitude of online voices which may or may not agree with yours. It doesn't charge you to use its service nor does it use psycholgical coersion in an attempt to extort money from you. Furthermore it doesn't try to pressure you if stop using its service.

  61. Dr. Mouse Silver badge

    @AC

    "Anyone desiring information about the Scientology religion should visit the Church web site at www.Scientology.org to form their own opinions"

    So, then, if you want to learn about a "religion", you should listen only to views from that religion?

    I am agnostic myself. I keep an open mind. But to gain a complete perspective you must listen to BOTH sides of a debate. Religions themselves will always paint themselves in the best possible light, and offer only views which correspond to their own agenda. It is the same with anyone trying to put forth their own argument.

    I will add to this that I do not condone what WP have done. It is censorship, censorship is baaad, m'kay.

    But, I also dislike CoS. I believe them to be a money-grabbing business playing with peoples lives for profit. I do not believe that any religion should charge people for being a member, or to gain knowledge of the religion they are following. All facts should be made available at the start, so the person may peruse them at their leisure, and eventually discover whether they actually believe.

    One last thing @AC: If you want people to take you seriously, do not cower behind anonymity. A comment on here doesn't even show your real details, just your chosen user name, but at least people don't think you are scared to show your face. It is labelled "Anonymous Coward" for a reason...

  62. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    @Religious prejudice

    "Anyone desiring information about the Scientology religion should visit the Church web site at www.Scientology.org to form their own opinions"

    OK, I've done that and here are my initial findings:

    "The word Scientology literally means "the study of truth." It comes from the Latin word "scio" meaning "knowing in the fullest sense of the word" and the Greek word "logos" meaning "study of."" (source http://www.scientology.org/home.html)

    Actually the Latin word is 'scientia' and it means "knowledge, science, or skill" (source: http://archives.nd.edu/sss.htm). Scio means "to know, understand", but this would make the dog-word 'Sciology', not 'Scientology' (same source).

    Which means Scientology means the study of science, or the study of knowledge, or the study of skill(s).

    It doesn't mean study of truth because the Latin word for truth is 'Veritas' (source: http://archives.nd.edu/vvv.htm), and therefore the dog-word for "study of truth" would be Veritology, or something similar.

    Based on these initial findings I have concluded:

    The Church of Scientology doesn't know how to do a basic google search for Latin terms and also doesn't know shit about forming Greek/Latin dog-words;

    The Church of Scientology's 'search for truth' doesn't, apparently, involve getting some basic facts right, such as the meaning of the name of their church;

    Given the above maybe the Church should consider changing its name to either The Church of Epistemology (Epistemology being the study of truth), or - if they're particularly drawn to the idea that the church be 'literally' the study of truth - why not just call themselves the Church of the Study of Truth and then it really would be, literally the Church of the Study of Truth, or perhaps the Church of the People Who Know Shit About Latin?

    Paris also knows shit about Latin. She'd make a great Scientologist.

  63. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @raving angry loony

    "It's a start. The sooner this dangerous and damaging cult is outlawed and its leaders and promoters jailed, the better."

    No. Prohibition doesn't work. It only makes somethign more popular. Alcohol, drugs, Christianity... All have been banned at some point or another and it has only made them more widespread.

    Like it or not, Scientology is a religion now - it has a doctrine that some people genuinely believe. There are even splinter groups of scientology that are opposed to the CoS and who want to make the doctrine of scientology freely accessible to all, for no profit.

    Look at how Christianity spread across the world, and they were making outlandish claims that a mere man was the Son of a God.

    And doesn't one of the world's major faiths believe the Earth is balanced on top of elephants on the back of a giant turtle?

  64. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @David England

    The whole purpose of GOOGLE knowledge application is to gather extensive personal data on you by monitoring your internet usage and poking cameras over your back fence and through your bedroom window. They then sell this data to multinational corporations who use it to try and sell you crap you don't want every time you so much as breathe. They also give this data to governments who data mine it and send round riot police to break your door down because they've been told you own a pedometer (whereas actually they should have been breaking the next door neighbour's door down because his bank manager's dog took a shit on the pavement some time in 1998).

    But they're still better than Phorm.

  65. Colin MacLean

    re: Andus McCoatover

    "As thick as two Tom Cruises"?

  66. Ben Cooper
    Coat

    Wikipedia vs. Scientology

    Cripple Fight!

    Mine's the one with the e-meter in the pocket.

  67. Scott
    Paris Hilton

    Co$ (yes laughing at you not with you)

    "The vast majority of what I read on Wikipedia is rumor and slander. The whole purpose of Scientology knowledge application and procedure is to increase an individual’s understanding and awareness of himself as a spiritual being and to rehabilitate his native abilities and potential."

    HaHaHaHa thats just brilliant but if i give you $$$$$ what is the assurance that i'll find my spiritual awareness, native abilitys and potential. Because as they say photos/linkz or it didn't happen.

    I'll be honest with you i think i'd find more spiritual awareness, native abilitys and potential in the GoGo bars in Thailand than in some cult.

    And PS the Same as Gordon Brown thinking he's the best PM in history doesn't make it fact, same as the good old Co$ thinking its a religion (your a money gradding cult (yes one up from a death cult but not by much)).

    PPS what is Co$ hell? maybe your an evil reli-goon and the Church of Physicology is the good to your evil? or the church of Mathematicology? Church of alternative-remedysology? Church of i'm-stupid-and-have to-much-money-ology?

    PPPS does that make Ron L Hubbard (below par Sci-Fi writer) your equvilant of Jesus?

  68. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "damaging Wikipedia's reputation for neutrality."

    <wipes tear>

    Oh dear, I haven't laughed that hard for ages. Thanks !

  69. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    @SIMON HARPHAM

    Brilliant !

    I have to remember that for future reference.

  70. Anonymous Coward
    Alien

    The proof of $ci-dog word

    Don't you think Tom Cruise is getting taller?

  71. Kwac

    @AC: 11:19

    And doesn't one of the world's major faiths believe the Earth is balanced on top of elephants on the back of a giant turtle?

    No, that's 'Discworld'.

    Of the two, Pratchett is a lot more beleivable than Hubbard.

    A lot more readable too.

  72. david wilson

    @AC 06:36

    >>"Using "Matthew" is just as anonymous. I could call myself "David Jones", it would be just as anonymous, as it's not my real name. "Camilla Smythe" is probably just a pseudonym to preserve anonymity.

    You're just as guilty, unless of course you now give us your full name and promise that it really is yours, so stop being a dick."

    Well, whether or not *my* name actually is as it appears here, at least it's vaguely possible to keep up some kind of conversation with me, and track me across various discussions with a certain degree of continuity.

    A pseudonym, consistently used, is at least an identity of sorts, and does mean that if I don't want to keep changing it, I might at least try and avoid making a fool of myself, whereas the fully anonymous coward doesn't have that little restriction, as some seem only too willing to demonstrate.

  73. Chris Simmons
    Happy

    Obligatory

    L. Ron Hoover:

    Well, you have nothing

    to fear, my son!

    You are a Latent

    Appliance Fetishist,

    It appears to me!

    Joe:

    That all seems very,

    very strange

    I never craved

    a toaster

    Or a color T.V.

  74. Ihre Papiere Bitte!!
    Thumb Up

    Thanks Patrick! 0805 29/05

    "This book by an Irish escapee from Scientology is rather good if you're interested in reading about the topic. Scientology has scared UK bookstores into not selling it:

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/11/11/amazon_pulls_scientology_expose/

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Complex_%28book%29 but you can still buy it from Ireland http://www.eason.ie/look/9781903582848 or US Amazon."

    Thanks Patrick, I've been after a copy of that for a while now after Waterstones accepted my order then cancelled it and removed the item from their virtual shelves.... Amazon US wouldn't ship to the UK. Just ordered my copy from Eason, and am eagerly awaiting!

  75. Anonymous Coward
    Alien

    Fark

    Did anyone notice this in the Fark comments for the El Reg story:

    "I hope Wikipedia doesn't wind up like the Cult Awareness Network, which was sued by Scientology and is now run by them. Guess which cult isn't covered? Go ahead, guess. It's ok. I'm not here to judge you."

    I don't know how true the statement is completely, but in the C.A.N "about us" section it does mention that the treasurer is a $cientologist. (I would guess that the others listed probably are as well, remember some of those involved with hermeticism and the Golden Dawn were Anglican ministers).

    Sorry amanfrommars - there's no other xenu pic to use.

  76. The Fuzzy Wotnot
    Thumb Down

    Oh just go away please?

    "The whole purpose of Scientology knowledge application and procedure is to con the lonely and desperate into handing over their hard earned in exchange for a load of kooky twaddle and dubious self help pamphlets"

    Sounds like every bl**dy religion I have come across, quit frankly!

    If someone is in need of validation so badly they believe in beings from other worlds or dimensions, then leave 'em to it, just stay the hell away from me, my country's political system and especially my country's Police force, "Old Mother" Hubbard!!!!

    All religions are cults, that's how they start, we use the term religion to describe a large cult, but cult none the less! Everything it seems can absolved by playing the "my religion" card to attempt to get out of paying taxes, banging pros in hotel rooms, kiddie fiddling, bribing authorities, the list goes on. Like Mr Dawkins, if I screw up, I have free will, I made the decision to do XYZ and will have to take the consequences. It's called being responsible for your own actions, a term most religious zealots find alien, no pun intended Hubbard Squad!

  77. Chris Wright
    Alert

    @ AC 07:59 GMT

    I'll think you'll find, that religion was started because one womans lie about having an affair got out of hand !

  78. Steve
    Thumb Up

    Dangerous Cult

    Not a bad start! Now if we can remove them from Europe I'll be truly happy. :D

    Ban them, they are a cult not a religion, religions are open in most of their practices, cults hide what they do from outsiders. Cults are bad for people.

    So let see what I know about Co$, well you have a shop on TCR where you try to trick people into talking to you with a "free personality test" I always thought it was funny, because the people offering it looked like overtired zombies.

    Then there was your attempt to hold a rally in Trafalgar Square, thats right our ex-mayor called you a dangerous cult, and banned your sorry, scamming, arses.

    I was in Amsterdam last year and saw a huge demo against your business/dangerous cult (you call it religion, it aint tho is it), 'what did the cult do to provoke this' I asked, 'oh they want to ban weed' oh my f#ck did I laugh!

  79. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    Who is the realist...

    > at least it's vaguely possible to keep up some kind of conversation with me, and track me across various discussions with a certain degree of continuity.

    You not noticed that El Reg doesn't enforce uniqueness of pseudonyms then? Hence the proliferation of "Steve's" posting here (of whom there are at least two).

    I am of course the true authoritative Steve and the other Steve is a mere imposter trying to impersonate me...

  80. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Socks

    "...it seems that they're funneling a lot of editing traffic through a few IPs, which make socks impossible to track."

    Aha! That explains why they never come out of the washing machine in pairs!

  81. John Curry

    Maybe less of the religion bashing...

    I'm a Christian (Methodist), and I've never had to pay for anything. I tithe, but it's voluntary, and stumbled across it myself - it was never even mentioned to me, let alone forced upon me.

    Plus, my minister actively encourages debate, never pushes an opinion onto anyone, and is thoroughly supportive. Good chap too. Enjoys a nice real ale (we're not ribbon holders, before anyone mentions it).

    It's probably best not to just make sweeping generalisations - more often than not they're entirely wrong. Entirely up to you if you believe what I believe, or if you choose not to. That is indeed your choice, and fair play to you for it. But don't lump us in with the bloody Scientologists. They're clearly only in it for the money.

  82. Mike Richards

    @ Flugal

    'Aren't all religions are cults?'

    Debatably yes. Though Scientology is the only one that charges you to read its holy books and threatens anyone who disseminates their 'teachings' through unofficial channels.

  83. IanPotter
    Thumb Up

    @Steve 12:42

    I got caught by the "Personality Test" crowd once in Switzerland, after he tried French, German and Italian I made the mistake of replying in English which he spoke too (sometimes I wish I was a Gallic speaker)

    Three things stick in my mind from the whole experience: dissolving in helpless laughter because at least half the questions were used as lyrics in Faith No More's Land of Sunshine; trying to explain what a cynic was to a non-native English speaker and having a copy of Dianetics thrust at me which I took then being asked to pay for it to which I responded "My Arse" and threw it back.

  84. Pierre Silver badge
    Joke

    C.A.N?

    "I don't know how true the statement is completely, but in the C.A.N "about us" section it does mention that the treasurer is a $cientologist"

    Well done Sherlock. Also, the proliferation of "do you know the danger of Psychiatry?" banners and links might have been a clue. Or the fact that they list ~10 links to the CoS websites, versus max 3 (sometimes zero) for any "other" religion... not to mention of course that 90% + of the website is about how bad, violent and despisable the anti-CoS people are -the remaining 10% are ads for scientologists's books and other works). No really, you did a great investigation job, finding the treasurer's affiliation. Who would have ever guessed that such a neutral non-biased website was operated by the CoS?

  85. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    @ Norman Andrews

    Yes Google is an omnipresent and vengeful god :)

    But as made-up religions* go my favourite is the Church of the Subgenius which has been around since the days of USENET groups

    http://www.subgenius.com/

    Have a Slack Friday

    *Note to self, aren't all religions made-up?

  86. Mectron
    Flame

    What are they waiting for?

    next Ban: Islam (who is about 1 billion fold more dangerous and have destroy (and kill) more lives then all the other religion combined)

  87. Pierre Silver badge

    Religions

    Religions are not that much about belief. They are sets of (mostly ridiculously archaic) rules of life. The caveman legal system, if you like. They are redundant and even damaging in civilized societies (what if the undiscuted and irrational religious "law" conflicts with the -presumably rational- social ones? Not to mention their use as oppression tools), but the CoS is entirely different. It's a business, not a religion. It's a self-help-books-editing company, only in the form of an alienating life-monitoring club.

    On the other hand, you can't deny that their business strategy is impressively efficient. Jobs, Ballmer and the whole Copyright-Milking Leech Ass. of America must be very jealous.

  88. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The "church"

    FFS Register, will you stop calling it "the Church".

    It's not a church, it's an organisation.

  89. Jesthar
    Alien

    For anyone with any doubts over whether Scientology is Bad...

    ...try reading this - a Readers Digest expose from 1980 (when Hubbard was still alive):

    http://www.lermanet.com/scientologynews/ReadersDigest.htm

    Tis scary stufff, as is the followup:

    http://www.lermanet.com/scientologynews/ReadersDigest2.htm

    Also some a decent article and good comments thread here:

    http://www.p2pnet.net/story/17087

    Oh, and John Curry - thanks, very nice post :) Although Camilla Smythe takes my prize for best post, I haven't stopped laughing yet!

  90. John Deeb
    Linux

    @Matthew Anderson

    @ @ Scientology IPs are "to be blocked as if they were open proxies"

    @How on earth will this help? Sure, if they are editing direct from their hosting servers then this would be a problem but that is highly unlikely.

    They operate from office blocks and local networks like any other corporation. Anyway, it was the whole point that through wiki-scanner CoS owned ranges were detected. It's not about private, scattered around individuals.

    @@ "for some reason, the address of each editor is constantly changing"

    @ For some reason? Lolz.. ? Lolz again... ! Of course they are changing. DOH.

    It's uncommon to force a change of IP's on a LAN so often but it might be how their own proxy/gateway/dhcp is set up. Still it's more likely they do move around in their offices like could be expected from clueless sheep.

    They could switch to member's home PC's but they might lose the corporate oversight, tracking and logging they surely have in place there as 'management tools'. The average member is often not as cult-like as the HQ culture - perhaps still dangerously ignorant but then again: who isn't in one or other fashion these days?

  91. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    C.A.N.

    "I hope Wikipedia doesn't wind up like the Cult Awareness Network, which was sued by Scientology and is now run by them. Guess which cult isn't covered? Go ahead, guess. It's ok. I'm not here to judge you."

    Indeed. The Cult Awareness Network was sued into bankruptcy and then bought by the 'Church' of Scientology in 1996. CNN ran a piece on it at the time: http://www.cnn.com/US/9612/19/scientology/index.html

  92. Anonymous Coward
    Alien

    amanfromMars ...

    ..surely can give us some insight into this Xenu guy?

    Does he exist and will we be able to understand the answer?

  93. P. Lee
    Go

    Religions and Cults

    The technical difference maybe slim, but the popular difference goes along the lines of:

    Religion: supreme allegiance given to a being considered to be non-human.

    Cult: supreme allegiance given to a human or human organisation.

    Philosophy: no supreme being to give allegiance to.

    Someone has mentioned that religions publish their practises, whereas cults and businesses tend to keep them secret. It rather reflects your priorities and attitudes to others. Rather than focus on the definition of a cult, try looking at organisations' priorities and attitudes.

    I'm not sure about other religions, but Christianity is *not* about rules for living. As St. Paul said, "I resolve to preach nothing but Christ crucified." Its all about what God has done for people in terms of restoring the relationships between people and Himself and amongst people to what He originally planned. The "rules" tend to be either a direct reflection of His own character (don't murder, steal etc) or a way of teaching people something about Himself - animal sacrifices describing both the pain from breaking the moral codes and foreshadowing how He would take the ultimate punishment (demanded by his justice) on our behalf. It was the only way for God to give humanity free-will, while maintaining both justice and love.

    The rules are just God's way of saying, if you love me, you'll love how I act. Here are some guidelines to follow if you want to act like me. If you don't love what God loves, you're free to do your own thing. He'll spare you the discomfort of eternity with people behaving in a way you don't like by making this life the only one you'll get.

    When considering a world-view, look at the supreme authority (Christ, Buddha, Allah, self) and determine which one is the most worthy of your allegiance.

  94. WhatWasThat?
    Alien

    ALAmanfromMars

    With Apologies:

    Perhaps the Spatial Universal Network Knowlege being dribbled about bye the Wiki Co$OAs (SysOp Admins) can do more with a SOA (System Oriented Architecture) approach to Believing whether IT is True(tm).

    Reading through IT all may seem a WasteLand, but is Bound 42 show the True Hive Mendedness of what should/would/could be Thought.

    BBS as that May, I feel They may be on Something.

    NOTE: All Is spellt the Way IT Should Be.

  95. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Well done wiki ...

    ... now all you have to do is ban phorm as well.

    Oh ....

    Paris, coz she gets confused as well.

  96. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Anon because it's scientology

    But I am actually having a go at Wikipedia this time. Church Members probably use the same ISPs as the rest of us, I don't expect they all use the Scientology ISP, if there is such a thing.

    Scientologists are a pushy group but surely their edits are as valid as anyone elses. Unless they are actually breaking some sort of rule. The one about not having an axe to grind? Well who would bother editing Wikipedia if they did not think they had something important to contribute? It's such a chore to get it all proper like, so the admins will think you've done a good job.

  97. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The story

    So if I've understood this right, Wikipedia has decided to ban an office block to stop a persistent and prolific wikivandal.

    Is that the story, or am I missing something?

  98. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So when is Islam and Christianity being blocked?

    Oh and atheism, and agnosticism.

    Wikipedia is a private entity, it is not like it has been asking for a handout or anything, and it is not like they are reporting to be a site about knowledge, it is the private toilet cubicle of the web, and they don't allow search engines to index them so they are not competing in a free market or anything or trying to a ply any message to the masses through a cult like star chamber.

    Leave Wikipedia Alone, people join up freely, and of course there are ranks, and a degree of secrecy, they might even have a yacht, and it is not like people who use Wikipedia get harassed by Wikipedia if they choose to leave, or that Wikipedia uses a secret language or jargon, it is all out in the open, you cannot buy your way in or off wikipedia can you.

  99. Rykan
    Thumb Up

    Orly?

    This please me greatly XD

  100. Pierre Silver badge

    @ P Lee

    "I'm not sure about other religions, but Christianity is *not* about rules for living."

    It very much is. The rules may be given through nice stories and paraboles (as in the Bible, if you exclude some of the most "ancient" parts which feature "hard" laws) or as directive rules (such as what emanates from the Vatican from time to time), but it's all about rules. You may fancy the idea that they reflect some greater being's "personnality", they are rules nonetheless. Carefully crafted along the times to be used as a social policing tool when no independant coherent legal system existed. But now hopelessly out of date.

    A less ruley version would be deism which (unsurprisingly) appeared at the same time as "coherent" social policing.

    Now I'm aware that there are "progressist" christians (or jews, or muslims...) around, and that these tend to actually try to adapt the old rules to the actual world (instead of trying to bend the world to some prehistoric laws). It might be laudable in a way, but it's kind of hopeless. Well, I guess that if you need the moral crutches, "progressist" religion is not much worst than Freud's theories. As long as you don't try to impose your imaginary friend(s) onto "morally valid" innocent bystanders...

    The real shit actually begins with proselytism and the "I can't obey the common rule because of my religion" type of attitude.

  101. Tam Lin

    Religion is a gene

    Either you've got the delusion gene retrovirus or you haven't. Same criteria as being gay, either you have the 'DNA error - don't procreate' gene or you haven't. But you have to admire these "my delusion is better than your delusion" outbreaks as an example of why so many species go extinct.

    Delusional is delusional. Ghosts, gods, thetas and anal probes on flying saucers are just different Village People outfits (technically, different A, C, G, and T sequences). They all look the same, and their annoying barks all sound alike to me.

    The fatal-for-survival-of-the-species bit is that the delusion aka religion gene doesn't trip the 'massive DNA error - don't procreate' like it should have.

    Personally, I'd encourage scientologists to nuke up (they have the money) and drop them on other similarly-armed delusionals. It wouldn't make any difference, of course, but it would be fun to watch.

  102. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    "Whatever that is"

    This article is very much in line with the unethical practices of brainwashing US "free" Press.

    > "neutral point of view", whatever that is

    I find it nearly impossible that the reporter does not know what this phrase means.

    It is clearly defined with scrutiny in http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Neutral_point_of_view

    > "wikipowersthatbe"

    This is also in accord with the same hypocrisy. Those people are defined and bepowered

    by wikirules obviously. I also think that the reporter would object vehemently someone calling

    Obama a "powerthatbe", or the CEO of "The Register" for that matter.

    This article could be rated nearly 50 percent reporting and 50 percent imposing their

    "free press values" (whatever they may be :P)

  103. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    In other news...

    Scientologist discover TOR and anonymous proxies.

  104. Mithvetr

    A few points missed?

    Cade Metz, you clearly have an unhealthy obsession with Wikipedia. Your obvious bias undermines the credibility of your articles on the subject. For example, your repeated statement that the term 'ArbCom' is 'Orwellian' apparently ignores the common use of syllabic abbreviations anywhere else. Or is it only Orwellian if it's Wikipedia doing it? Is FedEx working for Big Brother too?

    Face it: Wikipedia is at its heart a good idea. It offers a huge amount of information which is perfectly adequate if it's treated as what it is: a summary of or an introduction to a subject. As others have pointed out, if you're doing more than a casual browse then you absolutely never ever rely on a single source for information anyway, and if Wikipedia is nothing else, its referencing system serves as a useful catalogue of suggested reading.

    Wikipedia's worst aspect is that it's freely editable by a large community of ignorant people and vandals. Its best aspect is that it's freely editable by a large community of well-informed people and experts.

    As for the issue of censorship: Wikipedia is not a public platform for free speech. It was never intended to be; it's never been advertised as such. It's a privately owned, publicly editable encyclopaedia. That's it. There's nothing in its structure or its stated aims that promises it will be free from censorship. Cade misses the point: Wikipedia is not a public resource being maliciously taken over by a shadowy cabal. That shadowy cabal has every right to exert whatever control over Wikipedia that it sees fit. If the Wikimedia Foundation decided to shut the project down tomorrow they would be entirely within their rights to do so. And if they, or anyone acting on their behalf or with their approval, makes a decision to block or remove content then that's fine too - although doing so would necessarily harm the reputation for balance that Wikipedia seeks to build (I'm not making any judgements about whether it's achieved that reputation or not).

    In this case what is being banned isn't content but IPs and accounts from which a disproportionate number of disruptive edits were being made, both in favour of and in opposition to Scientology. Wikipedia has few options open to it to protect itself from vandalism or biased edits, since it can't take real-world legal action. Any other site would, I suspect, have taken similar action in similar circumstances. Scientologists and anti-Scientologists have made this action necessary not because they wished to make edits to the articles, but because they did so in a persistently disruptive and self-serving manner.

    Finally, to anyone offering any variant on Nic's comment at 08:14 about religion:

    "Antiquated mythological activity practised by persons of limited intelligence. Derived from an early human fear of death and a lack of understanding of basic astronomy, physics, chemistry and biology."

    You asked for a flame, Nic, so here it is: this is ignorant, lazy, party-line Dawkinsite crap. Despite the best efforts of the oh-so-superior religion-bashing crowd for the best part of two hundred years, no evidence has ever been forthcoming to establish a link between religious belief and intelligence. I imagine intelligence may play a part in determining the preferred *type* of religious model, but even that's speculation. As for the sciences you mentioned, plenty of religious people have at least some understanding of these subjects; and annoying as it might be for blinkered anti-religionists, there are many religious people amongst the scientists working in these areas. Similarly, there are many non-religious people who have little or no clue about such things, and care even less, as long as they get their regular fix of reality TV.

    As for fear of death, this is once again a standard assertion offered without any evidence beyond the force with which the claim is made. Not everyone religion postulates an afterlife, or promises continued existence to all. It's worth bearing in mind, in fact, that not all religion is fundamentalist Abramic monotheism; yet all too many people, in setting out to condemn and mock it, seem unwilling or unable to view it as anything else.

    If anti-religionists really want to achieve anything beyond mutual back-slapping and self-congratulation, then their arguments need to grow up. They need to find an objection to religion that is non-trivial ("I think it's silly" is irrelevant), has some grounding in reality (statistical or experimental evidence), and that cannot similarly be used against the non-religious (so "causes all the wars" and "is used to justify genocide" won't wash). Until then, fanatics on both sides will continue to squeal at each other based on nothing more than blind, fundamentalist faith in the righteousness of their own position.

  105. Camilla Smythe

    Sigh... Religion versus Cult

    Your Religion becomes a Cult when you Game It.

  106. Tory Christman
    Thumb Up

    re Censorship and Scientology

    "You are censoring us" is always Scientology/OSA's come back. If you knew and saw the hours they spend,

    covertly censoring *every single topic* that is some fact they don't want known, you would get

    why people finally say, "enough". They'll NEVER answer *your* questions, and only distract off

    of any "hot" topic, or degrade the person posting. Who's censoring there?

    Way to go, Wikipedia! Sunshine disinfects :) Tory/Magoo

  107. Tory Christman
    Heart

    Great job, Wikipedia and The Reg for posting this!

    I just wanted to say "Congratulations" to Wikipedia for taking the time to learn about this insidious organization and how they DO edited/censor covertly *anything* written about L. Ron Hubbard or Scientology that they do not want known. Great article, The Register, and other media, too.

    Having watched this machine in action, this is a great day for me and many others, too.

    Thank you ALL who have helped expose their abuses, over and over.

    My love, Tory Christman

    Burbank, CA

  108. Pierre Silver badge

    @ Mithvetr

    Wow. You actually made a point. Not necessarily the one(s) you were trying to make, though.

  109. jake Silver badge

    @Mithvetr

    "They need to find an objection to religion that is non-trivial"

    Ok, I'll bite. Prove to me that ANY religion isn't hokum. Pick one. Or three. Or nine.

    Likewise, demonstrate that anyone on the planet's faith is unfakeable.

    It's that simple. Put up or shut up, Mithvetr.

  110. Andus McCoatover

    @P. Lee

    <<I'm not sure about other religions, but Christianity is *not* about rules for living>>

    I love the biblical double-standards!** My Plymouth Brethren minister wouldn't accept that, 'cos my G/F and I loved each other and had a shag, that we then regarded each other as married. But, biblically, we were. Didn't need a bloody (Victorian-created) vicar to proclaim victorian-invented words over us. But, that's what Jesus said. "If you sleep with a woman, then you are married to her". Saved a bleeding fortune! Just "Give her one" and the job's done.

    FFS, who married Adam* and Eve? The snake? (well, possibly involved. But they hadn't invented Trouser Snake's then... ;-)

    * Beats me why when Adam was created, he had 'wedding tackle' before Eve was thought of - one assumes. God said "It is not good that man should be alone" - then He created Eve. Kinda blows (sorry, Moderatrix) the whole deck of cards to the ground.

    ** How many loaves and fishes? 3 fish or 5? If these fuckwitts can't count, how reliable is their account of Jesus' life? Were they working for the Daily Mail??

  111. Mithvetr

    @ Pierre and jake

    Pierre: that doesn't help me at all. Do you want to correct me on something?

    jake:

    "Prove to me that ANY religion isn't hokum. Pick one. Or three. Or nine."

    By definition, if you believe in a religion then to you it isn't hokum. Equally, if you don't, then it is. But this objection falls into the "I think it's silly" bracket that I mentioned: it's an objection based on nothing more than an individual dislike for something seen as irrational. It's based on the flawed presumption that religion is something that must be subject to scientific, experimental evidence. It isn't, any more than ethics or philosophy are. And, like ethics and philosophy, the term 'religion' covers an enormous range of diverse belief systems, which are nevertheless bundled together under a single, easy-to-deride bracket by people who simply can't tolerate the notion that someone else sees the world in a different way from themselves.

    It's all about perception. It's impossible to prove that you see any single part of the world in precisely the same way that anyone else does. For example, when you and I look at the Reg's header banner, do we both see the same colour? Sure, we both see the colour that we've been taught is red - but does it actually look the same to each of us? Can you define 'red', so that I can measure your perceptions against mine, without pointing to something that's red?

    There is a similar perceptual barrier between people in relation to religion. If you aren't a religious person, then I cannot, under any circumstances, offer you any information or reasoning that would cause you to accept the concept of gods, much less my particular view of them. And even if you were religious, it would be almost as difficult to offer you any reason to alter your existing belief system: if you were a monotheist I would have a hard time persuading you to a polytheistic viewpoint through reason and 'evidence'. Quite obviously, if you are actively hostile to the very concept of religion then your conviction that I'm primitive, superstitious and stupid for believing in anything is going to make it absolutely impossible for you to understand my position at all - but on the up side (for you at least), it's also going to mean that you have absolutely no desire to.

    Incidentally, the above all assumes that I would actually *want* you to believe as I do and would therefore wish to try to offer you 'proof'. This in itself is an assumption often made in attacks on religion: that religious people invariably want to convert everyone. Speaking for myself, it's absolutely no concern of mine what, if anything, anyone else believes in terms of religion. For precisely these reasons, I have no interest in converting anyone because I know that my perception of the world may not be the same as theirs - so why would my religious beliefs be relevant to them?

    "Likewise, demonstrate that anyone on the planet's faith is unfakeable."

    I'm not sure I understand what you're demanding here. 'Faith is unfakeable'? Do you mean that I should prove that some miracle couldn't be replicated? That, for example, I couldn't seek to attract a following or start a new religion by doing something that Jesus was alleged to have done? If that's what you meant, then of course I can't - but I'm not sure what relevance that has. 'Faith' - by which I assume you mean religious faith - isn't invariably based on belief in some unlikely event like turning water into wine or rising from the dead. Sometimes it's simply a belief that things are a certain way; that the universe - even the one partially revealed to us through scientific investigation - has a particular character. It isn't necessarily something that can or needs to be tested empirically.

    Or maybe you meant that a person can fake a faith in a certain religion? In which case, I'm sure anyone could if they wanted to. But again, that doesn't have much bearing on anything we've said here.

    Perhaps you meant 'unshakeable'? If so, I can't and wouldn't try to do that either: people do change their religious beliefs from time to time because our perceptions change as we get older. It's vital that people should be allowed to do so, because religious belief can be a significant part of our self-expression. Similarly, people must be free to reject religion if they wish. I condemn many of the things done *in the name of religion* - but that's not the same as the *concept* of religion. So I'd simply prefer people to think a little before embracing and parroting simplistic rhetorical dogma as Nic did above.

    (I'll not post again as I have a habit of putting far too many words on the Reg's comments pages. It's just because I'm interested in the subject.)

  112. Full Tilt Boogie
    Go

    Neither fish nor fowl nor good read meat...

    Two excellent posts here which actually hit the nail on the head wonderfully.

    1) Freudian slip

    By Dan Davis Posted Friday 29th May 2009 01:33 GMT

    "The site sees itself as an encyclopaedia with a 'neutral point of view' - whatever that is."

    Right, "neutral" is hardly in the vocabulary of this wiki-obsessed web rag.

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    2) Firstly, a few facts:

    By Moss Icely Spaceport Posted Friday 29th May 2009 02:53 GMT

    1. wikipedia (aka: Wikiwhacky) is NOT a trustworthy 'encyclopaedia'.

    2. The Co$ is NOT a religion, it is a cult (aka: C.U.L.T, aka: Utter Bullshite).

    I couldn't give a Xenu's uncle what tripe is posted on wikipedia. It's so far from a reliable source is useless to me.

    If I had my way, I'd round up all the Thetanistas and shoot them agin' a wall. However that's probably a bit harsh. Some of them might be salvageable as regular people, with professional treatment*.

    * Not Co$ pseudo science

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    In early January 2006, even Jimmy Wales, Wikipedia's founder, told Business Week that he didn't think anyone should cite Wikipedia as a source - so why would anyone consider it reliable if the man responsible for it gives it such a, ahem, 'ringing endorsement'?

    Now, add to that the fact that Wiki can be edited, on-the-fly, whilst you're reading it, meaning things ("facts") can be changed (by un-named and unvetted persons), and it becomes no better than Twitter or other random blog. The information in Encyclopaedias is submitted, edited and rendered by already published specialists in their respective fields - not by stopping the man in the street and asking his opinion on any given topic - which is, effectively, the method Wiki uses for garnering its articles.

    Indeed, whilst perusing Wiki about 18 months ago, I was amazed to read (and it must be 'fact', right, coz it's in Wiki, innit!) that the gentleman then running Australia's domestic security service (their equivalent of MI5) had, prior to joining the intelligence world, been a ballet dancer and specialist in Macramé. Utter nonsense, of course, as the man had no such background, but hey, it was in Wiki, so joking aside, you cannot take it seriously as an encyclopaedia.

    As a an exercise, or as an example of a collaborative project, it's a runaway success; but as anything resembling a reliable source of information, it's a joke; which is kind of an apposite place to finish, as so is the cult of $cientology.

  113. Camilla Smythe

    One thing that [does not] surprise me...

    Is the Place of Fark has run up to 532(?) posts with the majority arguing about semantics, looking for gain or just generalised preening .

    There appears to be some 'leakage' here.

    Just in case 'new' members of the 'Cult of Reg' have not noticed.... Your posts are moderated so that might be a reason why attempts at voluminous diatribes of shit are not appearing here in voluminous amounts.

    Statement [1]

    Given two 1Kg weights placed at opposite ends of a symmetrically pivoted see-saw the result will be a system in balance.

    Statement [2]

    Your Religion becomes a Cult when you Game It.

    You may notice that Statement [1] is subtle and subject to discussion whilst Statement [2] is an invitation to slip in voluminous amounts of meaningless wordyshit.

    Or maybe it is just so succinct that wordyshit does not work so we shall just ignore it.

    Off course there is the possibility that the Moderators have cancelled your posts trying to argue against Statement [2] but I'd take a basic guess that 'those concerned' are ignoring it in favour of slapping keyboards for wordyshit.

  114. jake Silver badge

    @Mithvetr

    "By definition, if you believe in a religion then to you it isn't hokum."

    Circular reasoning.

    "Can you define 'red'"

    It is a specific frequency of the electromagnetic spectrum, which strikes the retina of the eye, causing one of three varietys of cone cells to send an electrical signal to the visual cortex of the brain. And yes, according to recent fMRI research, we do in fact all perceive red as red.

    I won't bother analyzing the rest of your waffling, because it would be pointless.

    However, I'll summarize: "Hi, my name is Mithvetr. I was brainwashed as a child, and I'll go way out of my way trying to justify myself to total strangers on an obscure Internet message board because I actually have doubts about my faith". How'd I do?

  115. Mithvetr

    All right - just one more...

    ... since I've been asked a direct question. But first:

    "Circular reasoning."

    Easy get-out. Avoids the questions entirely and enables you to dodge the fact that religion is not a matter of scientific empiricism.

    "It is a specific frequency of [blah blah]"

    All very clever, right enough. It sure put the superstitious nutjob straight, eh?

    Yes, I know *what* red is. My challenge to you wasn't to describe how red works. I don't care about wavelengths or photon energies here. I want you to describe - without simply pointing or referring to something red - what red *looks like*.

    "I won't bother analyzing the rest of your waffling, because it would be pointless."

    I said as much myself. It's impossible to explain any religious viewpoint to someone who maintains an attitude of indiscriminate hostility towards religion as a concept. So in that sense, yes, our exchange is pointless.

    ""I was brainwashed as a child, and I'll go way out of my way trying to justify myself to total strangers on an obscure Internet message board because I actually have doubts about my faith". How'd I do?"

    Predictably.

    My religion isn't shared by those who brought me up; and if I sought to justify my beliefs to you, I'd probably have told you what they were. I don't need your approval or affirmation.

    There are a lot of simple-minded 'benchmark' assumptions behind the standard set of anti-religious arguments. 'Childhood brainwashing' is one. 'Religion always indicates low intelligence' is another. 'Science leads inevitably to atheism' is a third. And, of course, the idea that religion is a matter of scientific empiricism.

    As long as people like you can't grasp the fact that religion, like philosophy and ethics as mentioned, is a matter outside the remit of science, you won't understand why, despite all your best efforts, people like me continue to annoy you by believing things you don't approve of.

    That's it for me on this one. Carry on posting your opinions to total strangers on an obscure Internet message board.

  116. Camilla Smythe

    Is a matter outside the remit of science

    CanIhasCheezburger?

    Not yet. Try to 'believe' in Gravity and it will succumb to your plate.

    CanIhasCheezburger Now?

    Is it on your plate?

    Uhm. No, Can I has it now?

    It's called gravity!

    K. So pick me up and....

    Nom Nom Nom Nom

    See, that was not so hard then... Purrrrrrrrrr

  117. jake Silver badge

    @Mithvetr

    "Easy get-out. Avoids the questions entirely and enables you to dodge the fact that religion is not a matter of scientific empiricism."

    I never claimed religion was scientific fact. You claimed your faith was fact because you believe in your faith. Regardless of how you look at it, claiming faith is fact because you have faith in it is circular reasoning.

    "My challenge to you wasn't to describe how red works."

    Red's red. All our brains perceive it the same way, or so fMRI seems to suggest. Just like cold is cold, hot is hot, light and dark are light and dark, and habaneros are quite tasty if you can get past the heat factor. Religion isn't testable because it's not real. It's a figment of your imagination.

    "I said as much myself. It's impossible to explain any religious viewpoint to someone who maintains an attitude of indiscriminate hostility towards religion as a concept. So in that sense, yes, our exchange is pointless."

    I'm not hostile. I'm just pointing out the futility of you (or anyone else) attempting to demonstrate "faith" here, or anywhere else for that matter. Dragging your supposed faith into the conversation is flat out pointless for the simple reason that anyone can claim "faith", and give good lip-service to that faith, while not believing a word they are saying (typing). So why bother? What's the point? Does it make you feel superior? Surely that feeling is an anathema to whatever faith you claim to follow?

    "I don't need your approval or affirmation."

    Then why bring it up in this particular forum? The only people who truly care about whatever faith you claim to follow are yourself, the shaman-varietal you pay your dues to, and the other sheeple who similarly keep a roof overhead and feed said shaman-varietal.

    "As long as people like you can't grasp the fact that religion, like philosophy and ethics as mentioned, is a matter outside the remit of science, you won't understand why, despite all your best efforts, people like me continue to annoy you by believing things you don't approve of."

    Philosophy & ethics are closer to science than religion, in that they pretty much cross all lines of humanity (there are exceptions). However, each religion is unto it's own, and inviolate within it's own construct. Approval isn't an issue; as far as I am concerned adults can do or think whatever they like, however silly, as long as they don't harm anyone else. I'm also not annoyed ... rather, I'm dumfounded. The mind boggles that anyone, in this day and age, could possibly claim "faith" is important.

    "That's it for me on this one. Carry on posting your opinions to total strangers on an obscure Internet message board."

    Can't come up with anything of your own? I've noticed that with religious types ... Nearly all of 'em are followers, the few leaders are in it for the money.

  118. Jeffrey Nonken Silver badge
    Stop

    @censorship

    Anybody who claims this is censorship might want to find out what the word really means.

    The Church of Scientology is not being repressed by the government in this case. Their right to free speech has not been abridged. A private organization has merely decided that it is not in their best interests to allow the users of a certain group of IPs publish on their web site. This is the equivalent of a newspaper editor declining to print your letter. There's nothing stopping you from finding another venue for your expression. For that matter, nobody is keeping you from starting your own newspaper.

    The CoS can certainly afford to find other ways to push their agenda, and they do.

    This is not censorship, no matter how loudly you shout otherwise. Sorry.

  119. Winkypop Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    @Mithvetr

    LOL

    Keep drinking the kool-aide son, keep drinking deep.

    Religion (and other cults) are invented by man to explain the deep dark cold night skies and their unfathomable space..... (or the Sun, Moon, Animals, Wind, Rain, Hedgehogs or Baboons arses or a myriad of other objects, colours and abstracts, whether real or imagined).

    It's how our brains have evolved, we're just trying to move on and up the scale.

    We don't need no steenkings Gods!

  120. IanPotter

    @Jake

    "Red's red. All our brains perceive it the same way, or so fMRI seems to suggest."

    Actually this is not quite as clear as you are painting, the Ancient Greeks seem to have perceived colours in a markedly different way: http://serendip.brynmawr.edu/exchange/node/61

    "I'm also not annoyed ... rather, I'm dumfounded. The mind boggles that anyone, in this day and age, could possibly claim "faith" is important."

    Again this could well be due to a difference in perception, to someone else their faith may be their single most important aspect. Who are you to say it isn't?

  121. Anonymous Coward
    Unhappy

    You know who I feel sorry for...

    ..the 1,000s of Gods who have passed into history.

    They were once all powerful and were worshiped, now have just become forgotten like,... like they never even existed!

    Sad.

  122. G Fan

    Is a matter outside the remit of reality

    >>"My challenge to you wasn't to describe how red works."

    >Red's red. All our brains perceive it the same way, or so fMRI seems to suggest.

    We might all be running on essentially the same meatware, and it might be doing all the same processing in all the same meaty brainy chunks, but there's no way to prove that my colour map isn't perfect and yours isn't completely fucked up.

    If you can accept the philosophical assertion that humans are not experiencing reality but living in a simulacrum of reality produced by our brains operating on input from the senses and its chemical environment, then the assertion that the mapping of physical input to mental reality is unique and imperfect becomes plausible.

    If your rendering of reality allows for the existence of fairies at the end of the garden, then they are perfectly real and natural to you, even if they fail the plausibility test in my reality.

    I do love a little bullshit on a Monday...

  123. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    CAN harvests information, helps cut off worried family members

    "I hope Wikipedia doesn't wind up like the Cult Awareness Network, which was sued by Scientology and is now run by them. Guess which cult isn't covered? Go ahead, guess. It's ok. I'm not here to judge you."

    Worse, apparently if someone rings up the C.A.N. because a relative or friend has joined Scientology and they're worried about them, the person answering the phone tries to get names... and then uses this information to pressure the Scientologist in question into cutting off all communication with the caller. (They may also hand info over to other cults.) At least, this is what they used to do... they've probably given up now everyone knows they've been taken over.

  124. Anonymous Coward
    Boffin

    RE: Religions = bad

    Are you including Atheism in that?

  125. Anonymous Coward
    Alert

    @RE: Religions = bad

    If you really think that Atheism is a religion, then you are much deluded.

    Otherwise [wave] Mr Troll...

  126. jake Silver badge

    @IanPotter &@G Fan

    Ian scrive: "Actually this is not quite as clear as you are painting, the Ancient Greeks seem to have perceived colours in a markedly different way"

    That is clearly simple translation error (I read Koine Greek, Classic Latin & Aramaic like a native ... I can't speak any of them well enough to to save my life, but I can read & write 'em).

    "Again this could well be due to a difference in perception, to someone else their faith may be their single most important aspect. Who are you to say it isn't?"

    I never said it wasn't. What I said was that bringing up faith in a forum like this is pointless.

    G Fan contributes: "We might all be running on essentially the same meatware, and it might be doing all the same processing in all the same meaty brainy chunks, but there's no way to prove that my colour map isn't perfect and yours isn't completely fucked up."

    Then why is it that classic & modern paintings & photographs are pretty much universally agreed upon across humanity when it comes to "good" vs. "bad"? We may not all agree upon fine art, but we can all agree that it IS art, as opposed to crap.

    "If your rendering of reality allows for the existence of fairies at the end of the garden, then they are perfectly real and natural to you, even if they fail the plausibility test in my reality."

    Or perhaps ThePowersThatBe[tm] would contemplate putting me into the loony bin in your version of reality. Thankfully, I know there are no fairies at the end of my garden. (There ARE a couple of gay guys living on the property adjacent to the rose garden I built for my wife, and they were joking about being "the fairies at the end of your rose garden" a couple nights ago when we had a neighborhood barbecue ... but that's a different kettle of fish entirely).

    "I do love a little bullshit on a Monday..."

    So do my wife's roses.

  127. G Fan

    @jake

    >>I read Koine Greek, Classic Latin & Aramaic like a native ... <<

    >>Then why is it that classic & modern paintings & photographs are pretty much universally agreed upon across humanity when it comes to "good" vs. "bad"? We may not all agree upon fine art, but we can all agree that it IS art, as opposed to crap.<<

    An appeal to authority and a strawman in the same post! That was clumsy...

    The subject at hand was colour perception, not art. Art of any type, as any fule do no, is as much about subject and composition as about colour. (Otherwise how could black and white photos, or uniformly-grey stone sculptures be considered "art"? Whoopsie, that I suppose would be my own "art straw" man...)

    >>Or perhaps ThePowersThatBe[tm] would contemplate putting me into the loony bin in your version of reality.<<

    Doubt that, since when not poking holes in the careless parts of your arguments, I agree with you. Unfortunately Mithvetr has a point that the standard of discourse among infidels has dropped somewhat in recent years... something for which I think Dawkins is largely responsible. (He's another one getting careless in his old age).

    I have high hopes for your roses this year... should be well fertilised now.

  128. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Halo

    If God doesn't exist

    then how do you explain the little "water to wine" trick? Or the multiplication of bread and fishes? Or the various proven miracles occurring almost on a daily basis around the globe?

    Again, how do you explain that Man has such a great body -not to mention self-conscience and intelligence. Don't tell me it evolved from bacterias, that's just ridiculous.

    How come scientists have to resort to some "big bang" theory that they can't even begin to explain?

    How come the supposedly nonexistent God is talking to me?

    How come Windows is so good?

  129. jake Silver badge

    @G Fan

    "An appeal to authority and a strawman in the same post! That was clumsy..."

    Nah. Not an appeal to authority. Just half awake. I thought you were the one that brought up the web page, but it was IanPotter. I've read the ancients; the student web page pointed at by Potter isn't exactly what most folks who have studied the ancient writings would consider accurate (read a few of the comments to the page; I'm not going to spend time refuting it here). But mea culpa. Or in the modern vernacular, my bad. I should have been paying closer attention.

    Not a strawman, either. If we perceive "colo(u)r" differently, surely art across the ages would often have colo(u)r combinations that would be jarring to the individual? With the exception of hacks like Warhol (who did it on purpose, for effect, which I don't consider "fine art", but rather "performance art"), do we see this? No. We do not. Even things like Picasso's Blue Period aren't considered "strange" by anyone that I know.

    As far as I'm concerned, we all perceive color the same way.

    "I have high hopes for your roses this year... should be well fertilised now."

    Actually, they are my wife's ... and they are blooming their silly heads off! :-)

  130. Mark Meyers

    Unconstitutional

    The Church of Scientology is absolutely going to take Wikipedia to court, and CoS will probably win. The American Constitution secures freedom of speech. Wikipedia is arguably a public forum and therefore must allow everyone to express themselves. In addition there is a discrimination suit, as a public forum Wikipedia barring one class of people. That is legal discrimination.

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