Here Comes Cosmos Again

first_imgCarl Sagan’s TV series Cosmos is coming back in version 2.0 with a new cast of atheists to spread the gospel of scientism.Two generations have passed since Cosmos became a hit TV series in 1980 with the atheist popularizer of science, Carl Sagan.  Now, Neil deGrasse Tyson, the PhD astrophysicist and director of New York’s Hayden Planetarium, is reviving it with the help of PBS and Sagan’s widow, Ann Druyan.  Tyson, no less enthusiastic and articulate than his predecessor (if not more so), is also, like Sagan, an atheist, a staunch believer in cosmic evolution, and a passionate defender of science as the fountainhead of all certifiable knowledge.The new 13-episode Cosmos series will begin airing in March on Fox and the National Geographic channel.  Space.com tells about the “rebooting” of the series and how, 34 years later, it is being recast for a new generation that expects cutting-edge video and audio.  A video clip promoting the new series begins with Sagan’s memorable opening manifesto of materialism from the old series, “The cosmos is all that is, or ever was, or ever will be” – an assertion beyond science that launched a thousand commentaries and criticisms, such as the book Cosmos: Carl Sagan’s Religion for the Scientific Mind by Christian apologist Norman Geisler.Producer of Cosmos 2.0 Brannon Braga (Star Trek) describes the series as, if not opposed to religion, at least one-up to it:“Science doesn’t have to be the opposite of religion in terms of its emotional value,” he said. “Science can move you like any other story. Science can be a visceral, emotional experience. Religion doesn’t own awe and mystery. Science does it better.“The producers expect the new series to continue on past its initial release in reruns, disks and other media platforms for many years.  Undoubtedly there will be a book and website.  While clips of Sagan will be interspersed in the shows, Tyson will have many advantages not available to Sagan in 1980: the internet, social media, and 34 years of planetary and astronomical discoveries.The original Cosmos was criticized for its promulgation of a largely debunked “warfare hypothesis” of science vs religion.  Judging from the trailer, that theme will still be prominent.  Sagan portrayed religion as anti-intellectual, responsible for all the wars and regresses of nations.  Science was always the savior and liberator of mankind.  Central to the plot was Darwinian evolution – not just biological, but cosmic.  The trailer includes flashbacks that will probably make it into the “reimagining” of Cosmos: religion burning Giordano Bruno at the stake for suggesting the possibility of life on other worlds, for instance (a largely distorted, though inexcusable incident – he was killed for other sins, historians say).As Cosmos 2.0 makes “the case for science,” it will undoubtedly equate science with cosmic evolution.Critics of scientism had better prepare themselves, because this miniseries is bound to be very appealing to a lot of people, including Christians, Jews and other theists.  It will also provide a shot in the arm to the new atheists who are becoming increasingly assertive.  Cosmos 1.0 took on a life of its own that has lasted for over 3 decades, reaching around the world as one of the most successful and widely-watched science documentaries in TV history.  Now, with 34 years of progress in animation, production quality and scientific advances, it would be surprising if Cosmos 2.0 does not surpass its famous predecessor.One reason is Neil deGrasse Tyson himself.  He is a dynamo: energetic, tall, muscular, handsome, articulate, smart, funny, possessing an engaging aura that exudes positive vibes.  For some, he will gain extra points simply for being black.  He’s likeable, very intelligent, and already has a big following.  I’ve seen how effective he is as a communicator; once he gave a special video greeting to the Cassini team and had them all on the edge of their seats.  In my opinion, he will be more effective than Carl Sagan in communicating the case for scientism, especially when it’s clear from the trailer he will be presented to viewers as almost a demigod or superhero.  What is unknown is whether viewers who can download Lord of the Rings on a smartphone will be so jaded by high-tech wizardry as to find another miniseries just another miniseries.  Sagan didn’t have to compete with a thousand cable channels, Netflix and YouTube.Much of the appeal of Cosmos 2.0 will be all the stuff that’s right about it.  There will be plenty of good science, like a depiction of the Cassini-Huygens mission to Saturn and the Titan landing.  Christians will say “amen” as Tyson debunks astrology and other superstitions.  This will desensitize them to the poison in the pill, when the “warfare of science and religion” theme (largely discredited by philosophers and historians) builds bit by bit, anecdote by anecdote.  Many viewers won’t know the truth about the Bruno affair, the Galileo affair, and the Christian faith of great scientists, because the stories will be spun to fit the warfare mold.  He will also make the origin and evolution of life look very simple and plausible.  As Tyson announces “The cosmos is all that is, or ever was, or ever will be,” his persona along with the careful scripting and appealing visuals will make it hard to dismiss.  Church-goers may come to their pastors with lots of questions.  The worst possible answer is: “I don’t understand science; just have faith.”Parents, pastors and youth leaders should not shield young people from the series; they’re going to get the same propaganda in college anyway, most likely, or in the general culture.  You don’t build strong faith by ignoring challenges.  You get it by facing them with better weapons and the skills to use them.  And Christians have the better weapons!  Despite its arrogant facade, the scientism theater is a house of cards if you know where the weaknesses are.  For instance, by using logical argumentation, evidence, and reasoning, Tyson and the cast will be cutting their legs out from their own materialistic feet.  Where does logic come from?  From hydrogen?   Perceptive viewers will also notice Tyson turning science into a religion, with superstitious imagery that makes astrology look tame (examples: a big eye embedded in the Ring Nebula; zipping around the universe on a whim faster than the speed of light, space aliens everywhere).  With a few master strokes, you can unmask the Cosmos production set as a den of thieves.  They plagiarize parts of the Christian worldview (belief in truth, logic and morality) to build a materialistic castle of paper on sand.  Pastors and teachers can empower young people and adults with good answers and apologetic training; it will make them stronger after the battle than before.  It can actually make them excited about their faith, more passionate to defend it.Specific unbiblical scientific claims should be faced.  Creation-Evolution Headlines has a search bar for researching many evolutionary claims; if you don’t know something, look it up.  Don’t be overly critical; for instance, both Tyson and Sagan are reputable astronomers deserving respect for their science; Sagan did valuable work for NASA’s Mars and Venus missions, for instance, and became a bit less arrogant in his atheism in later years.  Be circumspect in your criticisms; don’t call them fools or evil; go after the claims, not the men.  But especially, freshen up your critical thinking skills with our Baloney Detector, recognizing card stacking, big lie*, half truth, visualization**, loaded words, glittering generalities***, suggestion, reductionism, red herring, equivocation, straw man, and other tricks of the propaganda trade.  Since the series will be heavy into astronomy, read up on our biographies of Newton, Galileo, Kepler and other Bible-believing astronomers; also, know something about the anti-Darwin biologists and the sordid history of the Darwinian revolution.  A prepared mind can enjoy the good aspects of the series, learning things, appreciating its strengths but remaining alert to its weaknesses.  It’s safe to say this will be one of the strongest and most consistent presentations of scientism one is likely to see on TV.  If you can rock that Goliath to sleep with a logical stone, you’ve got reason for confidence.*Example of a big lie from Cosmos 1.0:  Sagan stated emphatically, “Evolution is a fact, not a theory.  It really happened.”  Then he tried to illustrate it with trivial examples of microevolution and even artificial selection.**Example of visualization: In Cosmos 1.0, Sagan narrated a series of one-dimensional drawings of animals morphing into one another, following evolutionary stages from bacteria to man.  This is not only asinine, but contrary to evolutionary theory itself.  Straight-line “orthogenesis” is a debunked theory.  Animals do not evolve as one individual into another; offspring and whole populations must be considered.  It was pure propaganda – simplistic, at that.***Example of glittering generalities: In the last episode of Cosmos 1.0, Sagan summed up the whole cosmic evolution scenario in sweeping generalities.  At one point, he said, “Eyes evolved, and now the cosmos could see.”  As evolution advanced, leading to sumptuous scenes of civilization, transportation and space exploration, with a final musical crescendo, he capped it all off with this monstrous generality that he admitted sounds like “epic myth”: “These are some of the things that hydrogen atoms do, given fifteen billion years of cosmic evolution.”(Visited 35 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Is a Tech-Based Social Credit Score a Good Idea?

first_imgFrank is a freelance journalist who has worked in various editorial capacities for over 10 years. He covers trends in technology as they relate to business. Frank Landman Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaces Follow the Puck What it Takes to Build a Highly Secure FinTech …center_img Related Posts China is currently developing a kind of social credit system, not dissimilar to a financial credit system, designed to reward people for doing good deeds and demonstrating honesty and integrity while punishing people for committing untrustworthy acts. The details of this system are still fuzzy; it’s not certain whether it will be a compilation of big data from multiple sources or whether it will be one centralized platform. However, it’s certainly going to rely on big data and high-tech analysis to make evaluations.On the surface, this kind of system sounds like something out of Black Mirror­—a nightmarish evaluative hierarchy that would needlessly segment people into classes and exclude them from living a normal life. But are there merits to such a system, and should we consider implementing one?Comparisons to Financial CreditIn a sense, we already have a similar credit-based system in place: financial credit, with the FICO score being the main type of credit score considered. Many of the criticisms of a social credit system could also be applied to our current financial credit system, yet we still rely on it for the majority of our loan decisions and have become comfortable with it.For example, as you’ll see, one of the biggest criticisms for this type of system is the type of limitation it would impose on people with a low credit score. However, there are currently and would always be options for people with low credit; it’s entirely possible to get a credit card if you have bad credit, and it would be entirely possible to build a family and lead a normal life if you have bad social credit.Similarly, both systems allow you to improve your score over time. Rather than being permanently blacklisted based on one action or mistake, your score is fluid, and will automatically adjust if and when your behavior is corrected.InfractionsOne major point of contention is deciding which infractions, behaviors, or habits would be most likely to impact your social credit score. Some obvious infractions would be met with near-universal agreement. For example, when someone commits a premeditated, violent crime, it should be reflected on their social credit score. This isn’t much different than recording and reporting standards for felonies as they exist today. Lesser crimes, like jaywalking or littering, would come with a marginally less serious penalty on your social credit score.The real controversy comes into play when you consider relatively innocent infractions. For example, in China, failing to visit an elderly parent or putting out the wrong items with your recycling could result in damage to your social credit.PunishmentsThe punishments also need to be considered. If the consequences of a low social credit score are minimal, few people would object to the system. But if they’re too lax or are not incentivizing, the system would be practically useless.Currently, the system will impose restrictions on travel if your social credit falls below a certain mark. You may also have trouble getting your children into private schools, which is much more impactful. Your credit score may also influence your social status; for example, some dating apps in China will publish your social credit score, which could influence how you pursue romantic interests. It could even spur bias in hiring decisions, preventing people from getting a job they might otherwise be qualified for.Deciding on a SystemThe biggest issue isn’t with the nature of a social credit system, since most of us act as if there’s an informal one in place already. Instead, it’s with how the system is created and implemented.For starters, will this system be centralized, with one set of standards for determining how a credit score is calculated and how punishments or rewards are doled out? Or will there be multiple sources of information coming together as one? Either way, who will be making this decision, and how will that decision be implemented?There are several problems to work out here:Which infractions count, and how are they reported? The first question most people have is which social infractions or good deeds are going to count, and how are those infractions going to be reported? For crimes, this is straightforward; in addition to creating a writeup or making an arrest, a law enforcement officer could easily submit a report to the central social credit agency or each of several minor social credit agencies. It would take a lot of time, but would be somewhat clear-cut. Lesser infractions would be a bigger issue, since they would often rely on peer reporting. Peers aren’t typically reliable witnesses, so it wouldn’t take long for the system to be entirely compromised.How will discrepancies be resolved? There are multiple discrepancies that could potentially arise. For example, if there’s only one database, what happens if someone sees an infraction reported that they’ve never committed? Or what happens if a single infraction is reported multiple times? More importantly, what happens if you’re using multiple social credit reporting systems, and two of them conflict with one another? A blockchain-like system of verification could help here, but it wouldn’t solve everything.Who can “see” or request social credit? Your credit score can only be accessed by certain individuals and organizations, so would your social credit score be similarly protected? For example, would an employer be able to find your social credit score if they were considering hiring you? What about a vindictive neighbor who’s trying to find a reason to have you evicted?Who’s creating the analytic system? Bias is prevalent in almost any algorithm. No matter how “smart” your AI is, if it’s been created by humans, it’s going to have flaws. There would need to be a series of checks and balances to make sure the system being created is as fair and unbiased as possible.Can social credit be appealed? What can you do to improve or appeal your social credit? Is there a statute of limitations for when and how infractions can be reported? Do infractions expire after a certain amount of time?The Potential BenefitsObviously, a social credit system would be incredibly complicated to develop and roll out, so it would need to have some massive benefits if it’s going to be considered.There are some potential benefits—most notably, the incentive for people to avoid committing crimes and favor doing good deeds. A society where people have a strong reason to engage in honest business practices, or be positive contributors to their environments, is a society that functions harmoniously.There are also side benefits to consider for companies and organizations; companies would hypothetically be able to hire more trustworthy people, resulting in more efficient operations and better economic growth, and even advertisers could get in on the action, targeting ads to people with high or low social credit, or offering services for rebuilding a social credit score that has fallen to dangerously low levels.Are the Benefits Enough?Those benefits aren’t free, however. To get them, we’ll need to consider the right infractions to track, the right methods for processing the data, the right system or combination of systems to record everything, and enough checks and balances to ensure the overall system is as unbiased as possible. Such an undertaking would be ridiculously expensive and require lots of tech talent. It would also likely go through several iterations before we settle on a final setup—iterations which would be problematic for many citizens.Overall, a social credit system is fine in theory. It has a ton of perks and doesn’t necessarily predict a dystopia. The problem is, there are too many variables to consider for something as subjective as a person’s social trustworthiness, and unless we’re confident in our assessments, we shouldn’t be condemning people to any lifestyle or freedom-based punishment. Trends Driving the Loyalty Marketing Industrylast_img read more

Wangs leans on big 3rd quarter to wallop Zark’s

first_imgCayetano to unmask people behind ‘smear campaign’ vs him, SEA Games The Fil-Am swingman also added six rebounds and five assists to improve Wangs’ standing to 4-3.Michael Juico topped the Couriers with 30 markers, 12 boards, and six dimes, while John Ambulodto got 16 points and six rebounds.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSWin or don’t eat: the Philippines’ poverty-driven, world-beating pool starsGoing back on the winning track, Wangs coach Pablo Lucas noted that the biggest adjustment his team took in the halftime break was its dedication to defense.“We wanted for them to have no easy shots. Our offense just came after that,” he said. Ethel Booba on hotel’s clarification that ‘kikiam’ is ‘chicken sausage’: ‘Kung di pa pansinin, baka isipin nila ok lang’ LOOK: Jane De Leon meets fellow ‘Darna’ Marian Rivera The loss spoiled Robby Celiz’ 37-point effort for the Jawbreakers, while also collecting three rebounds, three assists, and three steals.RR de Leon got 18 markers and six boards, and Clark Bautista got 15, as Zark’s Burgers stumbled to its third straight defeat and drop to 1-6.The scores:WANGS BASKETBALL 133 – Juico 30, Herndon 26, Ambulodto 16, Habelito 12, Sorela 11, Arambulo 10, Montemayor 8, Bitoon 8, De Chavez 6, Tayongtong 6, Riley 0, King 0.ZARK’S BURGER 92 – Celiz 37, De Leon 18, Bautista 15, Mangahas 11, Cudal 4, De Ocampo 4, Sheriff 2, Nalos 1, Cariaga 0, Cayabyab 0, Argamino 0, Ferrer 0, Juruena 0.ADVERTISEMENT Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss PLAY LIST 02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games Another vape smoker nabbed in Lucena Lacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’ China furious as Trump signs bills in support of Hong Kong LATEST STORIEScenter_img Quarters: 30-30, 56-50, 102-62, 133-92.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next MOST READ Pagasa: Kammuri now a typhoon, may enter PAR by weekend What ‘missteps’? Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. PBA IMAGESWangs Basketball had a superb third quarter and clobbered Zark’s Burgers, 133-92, for its fourth victory in the 2017 PBA D-League Foundation Cup Monday at Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig.Robbie Herndon anchored the Couriers’ 46-point third quarter explosion as he dropped 11 of his 26 points in the period, turning a close 56-52 lead to a whopping 40-point advantage, 102-62, entering the final frame where the lead swelled to as high as 47, 133-86, late.ADVERTISEMENT View comments Beermen stay motivated, aim for Grand Slamlast_img read more

Alphaliner Vessel Demand Rises with New Alliances

first_imgzoom With the launch of the new carrier alliances on the east-west trades on April 1, 2017, the demand for vessels and the final tally of containership tonnage is set to increase by 5% in TEU capacity and by 4% in vessel count compared to March, according to Alphaliner.Compared against the peak season deployment of summer 2016, total vessel capacity planned for this summer on the revamped Asia-Europe, Transpacific and Transatlantic routes will be 2% higher.At the same time, the number of deployed ships is set to fall as carriers continue upgrading services to larger vessel sizes.“The tonnage removed as a result of Hanjin Shipping’s withdrawal from the east-west trades in September 2016 will be fully restored with the new services launched on April 1 by the 2M+HMM, OCEAN Alliance and THE Alliance, as well as various independent carriers including newcomer SM Line who kicked off its new Transpacific service last week,” Alphaliner said.Of the 913 ships to be deployed on the east-west services, carriers have secured most of the required tonnage, with some seven ships still to be named, according to Alphaliner’s data.An analysis of the vessel deployment by size range showed increases in the 14,000-20,000 TEU segment as well as the 5,500-10,000 TEU size segment, while the 10,000-13,300 TEU sector shrunk together with the smaller 3,000-5,100 TEU sector.last_img read more

Bengal in sight as part of our move to boost bilateral ties

first_imgKolkata: Vietnam is looking at Bengal as a major gateway in its stride for developing trade relations with the Eastern states of the country, Ambassador, Embassy of Vietnam in India, Ton Sinh Thanh said on Wednesday.”Vietnam has received investment of 320 billion US dollars from across the world for 25,000 projects. But investment from India has been only 1 billion US dollars for 130 projects. This is a small amount and we want things to move. We want to attract more tourists to Vietnam from India as well as Bengal,” Thanh said at an interactive session on “Bila-teral Trade between India and Vietnam: Prospects and Way Ahead” at MCCI. Also Read – Heavy rain hits traffic, flightsSadhan Pande , state minister for Consumer Affairs, Self Help Group and Self Employment, who was the special guest at the event, urged the Ambassador to consider making Bengal a hub for the country. “Bengal is at the crossroad of South East Asia and you can move to any Eastern state from here. So, you may consider making Bengal a hub as part of your efforts to develop relationship between the two countries,” Pande said.He added that Vietnam needs to play a more positive role in attracting tourists from the country. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Merc, 2 B’deshi bystanders killed”People from the country as well as Bengal travel a lot to Bangkok and Bali. Vietnam should also come in the picture of wooing tourists from here,” he added.According to the Ambassador, only 1,10,000 Indians visited Vietnam, while a little over 1 million Indians went to Thailand. Pointing out connectivity as a constraint, he said, “We are working on improving connectivity between the two countries. A direct flight from Delhi to Vietnam is going to commence in September 2018. Bengal is also very much on our radar. The Indian government is promoting a Look East policy and developing closer business ties with South East Asia and Bengal is the gateway to the Eastern states,” Thanh said.last_img read more

Two arrested in Bagdogra murder case

first_imgSiliguri: Two persons have been arrested in connection with the murder of a couple at Bagdogra near here, a senior police officer said. The two persons were identified as Sanjay Tamang and Bhumika Sheva and the latter was an employee of the victim, Ajay Kushwah, who used to supply staff for catering service. Both of them were arrested from the couple’s house at Sukantanagar locality yesterday, DCP Tarun Haldar said. Old enmity and greed for money had led to the killing of the couple — Ajay Kushwah and Meena Kushwah, DCP Tarun Haldar said. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal life Ajay Kushwah had received payment from a customer on that day and Bhumika Sheva, who used to stay in the third floor of his house, had seen him keeping the money, the DCP said. She had told Sanjay Tamang, with whom she was in a relationship, about it and Tamang decamped with the money. Bhumika’s room was found locked from outside on that day while the rooms of other tenants were not locked from outside, the DCP said. During inquiry, the police came to know that Bhumika Sheva was present in the third floor of the house and she was awake when the incident had occurred. Money kept in the house was also found to have been stolen. This made the police suspicious and they started questioning her following which the duo were arrested. When the employees had come to the couple’s house after completing their work on Saturday, they had found the bodies lying in a pool of blood.last_img read more

Tesla Nabs Apple Hardware Exec to Lead Vehicle Development

first_img Free Webinar | Sept 5: Tips and Tools for Making Progress Toward Important Goals October 25, 2013 Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. 1 min read Just a week after eBay lured Apple e-commerce executive RJ Pittman to join its ranks, Apple has lost another member of its executive team.Tesla Motors announced Thursday that it has hired Doug Field, who led Mac hardware development at Apple, to lead the company’s development of new vehicles.In his five years at Apple, Field led development of many new products including the latest MacBook Air, MacBook Pro and iMac. He launched his career as an engineer at Ford and was also chief technology officer at Segway.Field said his background in the automotive industry and his “dream of creating the best cars in the world” led him away from the consumer-electronics giant. “Until Tesla came along, I had never seriously considered leaving Apple,” he said in a statement.The electric car company is at the forefront of technology. Tesla’s latest car, the Model S, received the highest safety rating of any car ever tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).Related: Elon Musk’s Tesla Continues Awards Tear for Model S Electric Car Attend this free webinar and learn how you can maximize efficiency while getting the most critical things done right. Register Now »last_img read more