Archives for July 2008
“Atheism is the state of disbelief or non-belief  in the existence of a deity or deities.  It is commonly defined as the positive denial of theism (ie. the assertion that deities do not exist),  or the deliberate rejection of theism (i.e., the refusal to believe in the existence of deities).”
“Theism is the belief in the existence of one or more divinities or deities.”
I believe that an agreement can be reached between theists and atheists that will end their age-old conflict about the creation of everything, and allow them to proceed to another discussion or controversy.
All that is required is sanity. I believe that there can be sane theists and sane atheists; and there can be delusional people who call themselves either theists or atheists. I assume, for purposes of sane discussion, that there are no delusional people, either theists or atheists, here right now.
A workable (not absolute) criterion and procedure for differentiating sanity from insanity can be the distinguishing between reality and illusion.
The sane can accept that everything is. Another way of stating this is that the sane can accept that what is, is.
The sane also recognize that what does not exist is not a part of what does exist. This is a clear arithmetic statement, perhaps as basic as is humanly attainable, on which sane theists and sane atheists can agree.
The delusional will insist that something that does not exist is, or could be part of what exists. The delusional will necessarily have to redefine existence as nonexistence; or reality as illusion. But by definition, and pursuant to the rules sane people live by, these delusional redefinitions cannot be true.
If there does not exist a purple elephant, not even the proverbial one, then a purple elephant is not part of everything. If a purple elephant is brought into existence, then it will be part of everything.
We, quite obviously, do not know what is included in everything. We do not know, and perhaps cannot know, if even herds of purple elephants are included in everything that exists. But we can know that what exists exists, and that it is everything that exists, or simply, everything.
Mathematics is (my dictionary says) a science that deals with the relationship and symbolism of numbers and magnitudes and that includes quantitative operations and the solution of quantitative problems.
Math is and works the same for theists and atheists. These two groups of people can both use the same sets of numbers and magnitudes and both do the same mathematical operations with the same results. Theists and atheists may at times apply math to different problems, but the math can be the same.
What constitutes everything is arrived at by the simplest of mathematical operations, addition. Everything consists of its bits or components added up. It might be that multiplication or quanta, for example, are real, so they can be added in.
It is true that an imaginary everything can be calculated in exactly the same way, by addition of its parts, and, being imaginary, can be of any imaginary magnitude. But it is not necessary to consider imaginary everythings, or imaginary anythings, in order to consider the arithmetical calculation of the real everything.
It is also not necessary in considering the calculation of the total of everything to determine or answer the question of whether the physical world is an illusion, or whether a part or aspect of the world is illusion. Whatever is illusory simply is not part of what is real, and not part of what adds up to everything. This is true without knowing or having to know what if anything is illusory and what if anything is real.
So sane theists and sane atheists can agree that everything exists; or, again, said another way, that what exists constitutes everything [that exists].
Sane theists and sane atheists can also agree that everything that exists came from something or somewhere. Without considering the nature or qualities of what or where everything comes from, that is, the nature or qualities of what caused everything, it is possible to accept and know that it was caused by something. If everything has always been here, then it is causing itself and always caused itself. But again, putting aside any discussion of the cause’s nature, it can be seen that whatever is real has a cause.
The nature of what caused everything that exists could be a big bang, it could be a spark in mud, it could be an error, it could be a non-error, it could be conscious, it could be unconscious, it could be a one-shot deal, it could be a continuing process, it could be everything itself. It is not necessary to know what caused everything to know that everything was caused.
It could be that today’s oak tree is caused by an acorn of two hundred years ago, or by that acorn’s cause, which could have been another tree and another acorn two hundred years earlier; or by the acorn plus all the sun, soil and water over the hundreds or thousands or millions or billions of years. It is not necessary to know what caused the oak tree to know that it was caused; if the oak tree exists.
It is not necessary to know if identical or different factors comprise the cause or causes that brought into effect two different parts of everything to know that the two parts were caused. The oak tree has, for example, its seed, sun, soil and water, if those things comprise its cause; and the clam has its parents, its seed, its sun, its soil and its water too that cause it to be part of everything.
It is not necessary to know if the cause for anything that exists knew what it was doing in causing that thing in order to know that there was a cause. Even if whatever was caused was caused by quote accident it still had a cause.
Just as everything that exists at this moment can be determined by the simple arithmetic operation of addition of its parts, so too can everything that caused everything that exists be determined by adding up that cause’s parts.
Just as it is not necessary to know what all the parts of everything are, and what the nature of all of the parts is, to be able to know that they add up to everything, it is not necessary to know what all the parts are of what caused everything, and what the nature of all the parts that caused everything is, to be able to know that they add up to everything’s cause.
That sum or totality of whatever, in the beginning or at any time, caused that which exists is properly called “God.” The theists have almost owned the word, and the atheists, to my knowledge, have oddly objected to using the word, but have never really had another word for it. Fitting “that sum of whatever, in the beginning or at any time, caused what exists” into all the places a person could say “God” is so cumbersome and goofy that the atheists perhaps avoid even getting near those places at all.
God, as the cause or Creator of all that exists, without considering God’s nature or qualities, is what sane theists and sane atheists can agree upon. They can talk together about oak trees coming from acorns, thoughts being created by minds, or man causing pollution, overpopulation or his own destruction. And now sane theists and atheists can talk about God, those causes added together that resulted in whatever is real.
Whether that cause or Creator created everything in Love, or is a God of Love, or an all-knowing God, or a just God, or is in fact Everything Itself Anyway, does not have to be considered to know that the sum of all causes caused all that is.
God could be a force, an “accident,” a wave, a particle, a static, an evolution or a Big Bang, but these natures or qualities of God do not have to be considered to know that God, the sum of all causes, caused all that is.
It is true that knowing that God caused or created everything might very well cause a search for God’s nature and qualities, and even God’s intention, reason and wisdom. Very possibly, some people will be led to a belief that God is omniscient, omnipresent or all-loving; and some people may be led to a belief that God is capricious, mechanistic or even hateful. Some people may be led to the belief that God caused everything and then left the building. These beliefs might influence people’s lives, but it is not necessary to know if any of these beliefs about God’s nature or actions are right or wrong to know that God caused or created everything.
This proof is sound biblically, conforming to the words and thought contained in John 1:3 (KJV) “All things were made by Him; and without Him was not any thing made that was made.”
A usual response from someone who takes offense at this simple proof is to try to project a straw believer’s qualities for God onto the basic identity of God, which is given here deliberately without qualities. It will be argued that it is improper to use the word “God” without considering God’s nature and qualities beyond God’s being “the sum of all causes for everything.”
Either there is a cause for what exists or there is not. If there is a single cause, the theist says, the name for it is “God.” If causation has component parts over time that added together form the sum of all causes, the theist says that the name for that sum is “God.” No nature or quality of any part of that cause or sum of those causes is considered in calling it “God.”
In order to prove that the cause for everything could not be God; that is, that the cause for everything could not be the cause for everything, a person must start by proving that there could be no cause for anything. Since we are so overwhelmingly surrounded by everything that exists, and form ourselves a part of what exists, such a “proof” can only be “accomplished” by resorting to delusion or insanity, and pronouncing everything to be nothing, reality to be illusion.
There is no need whatsoever to sacrifice our God-given, or God-caused, minds and to opt for delusion. The simplest conclusion happens to be the sane one. Everything exists. God did it.
As part of Runners Against Trash (RAT), Gerry Armstrong runs a route and as he runs he picks up trash along the way. jenna hauck/ progress
Just like a rat, Gerry Armstrong likes trash – likes picking up trash, that is.
For 20 years Armstrong has been picking up haphazardly discarded trash laying about his neighbourhoods. Candy wrappers, cigarette butts, even dirty diapers. And he’s been doing it while running.
It doesn’t matter how far the distance, 5 km, 10 km, 42 km, he always picks up the trash. “Carrying stuff while I’m running gives me great upper body strength, and it keeps me incredibly limber,” he said.
But Armstrong didn’t start all this for the benefit of upper body strength. He started more for punishment than reward.
When Armstrong first started running in his 40s, he often had to slow down to a walk part way through his runs, due to exhaustion. To penalize himself for slowing down, he forced himself to pick up trash and carry it until he came across a suitable receptacle. Sometimes, he carried that trash through his entire run.
But soon, it became almost like a game: sprint to the next piece of trash game.
“It was insurmountable at first, but I just kept plugging away and away,” said Armstrong. “The cleaner an area got, the easier it was to spot things, and when I did, it was really exciting to be able to run and pick up the next wrapper, or butt, or whatever else was lying there.”
While living in California, Armstrong formed a society, Runners Against Trash (RAT), and organized a group of runners to assist him in his trash-cleaning adventures. They cleaned their own running routes, popular routes, and Armstrong even went as far as cleaning the first 5 km of the Boston Marathon, before participating the next day.
What first started out as a penalization, quickly evolved into a dream, a dream of cleaning up North America.
“It’s doable,” said Armstrong. “An organized bunch of runners could easily clean an area very fast, and also raise societal consciousness about picking up trash.”
But since moving back to Chilliwack, his hometown, it’s just been Armstrong picking up the trash – he wants to change that. He wants to get RATs out again.
And the benefit of doing such a thing, he said, is everlasting.
“It is such a wonderful feeling being in an area where the inhabitants take such obvious care,” he said, listing “clean” cities in Europe as examples. “The amount of good that can come from this is monumental.
“It’s Gerry’s dream.”
For more information, or to get involved, contact Gerry Armstrong by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I, Gerry Armstrong declare:
1. On July 12, 2008, I participated in a protest outside the Scientology operation at 401 West Hastings Street in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. The protest, which was one of many protests that occurred on the same date at Scientology sites in several countries, had been scheduled and organized by the loose collective of people known as anonymous. I have attended similar protests outside the Vancouver Scientology operation on March 15, April 12, May 10 and June 14, 2008, which were also scheduled and organized by anonymous. All these protests were peaceful, and all participants I observed conducted themselves courteously and in compliance with Canadian and local laws.
2. At approximately noon on July 12, I was standing on the public sidewalk in front of the Scientology building along with one other man, and a woman known to me as Susan Kerr came out of the building and accosted us. Ms. Kerr stated that we were on Scientology property and ordered us to get off the property. The other man and I were not on Scientology property, but were both more than a foot off the property, and we told Ms. Kerr that we were not on the property. She stated that the Scientology property line ran between the green parts of the building, which are the parts that project the farthest toward Hastings Street and abut the public sidewalk, and she asserted repeatedly that the other man and I were over that line. I pointed out to her that she was wrong, that we were very aware where the property line is, and that we were well on the public side of the property line that ran between the green building parts.
3. Ms. Kerr also stated repeatedly that the other man and I were blocking the Scientology building entrance and preventing people from entering, and she ordered us to move and stop blocking the entrance. We were not blocking the entrance and not in any way preventing anyone from entering or leaving the building, and we both told her so. Her charge was ludicrous because the entrance between the green parts is approximately twenty feet wide, and several people at once could have walked by us and entered without being prevented, delayed or hindered by us in any way. In fact, during the time that the other man and I were together on the sidewalk in front of the Scientology building not one person entered or attempted to enter.
4. Ms. Kerr threatened that if the other man and I didn’t get off the Scientology property and didn’t stop blocking the entrance she was going to call the police. Both the man with me and I again stated that we were not on Scientology property and not blocking the entrance, and we did not move. The man standing with me actually encouraged Ms. Kerr to call the police, and suggested that the media would be interested in such an incident. She then accused us of threatening her, and I pointed out that her accusation was false, and that by lying about our being on the property, lying about our blocking the entrance, and asserting that she was going to call the police, she was threatening us.
5. Ms. Kerr also accused us of harassing her and her church, and I said that we were doing nothing of the kind, and that we were peacefully protesting her organization on a public sidewalk, which is our right as citizens to do. I told her that in fact by falsely accusing us of being on Scientology property and blocking the entrance and by threatening to call the police, to whom she would also necessarily lie, she was harassing us.
6. I have participated in peaceful protests of Scientology fraud, abuses and criminality many times and in many places from 1995 up to the present, and I am very familiar with the organization’s practice of having its personnel falsely accuse protesters of trespassing on its property so as to create an incident to be able to assault such protesters or have them charged with criminal trespass. Appended hereto as Exhibit A is a true and correct copy of a report written March 13, 1999 by Martin Hunt and posted to the Usenet newsgroup alt.religion.scientology (“a.r.s.”) concerning a protest he did with me of the same Vancouver Scientology building on March 12 and 13, 1999. In his report Mr. Hunt stated:
Vancouver org picketed Friday and Saturday March 12 & 13 by Gerry Armstong and myself. Highlights:
* Scientology executive ordered another cult member to “shoot Gerry” should he dare step over their property line.
* Next day, another Scientologist invites us in the org to talk; a group waited inside. I demanded that they put the offer in writing, as it smelled of a set-up of some kind – call us in, then charge us with trespassing.
* Later, a Scientologist told us that we were trespassing, even though we were on a public sidewalk, and scrupulously avoided their property line.
Mr. Hunt’s posting is archived on Google at: http://groups.google.com/group/alt.religion.scientology/msg/59fb273c0a2c3231?dmode=source
7. Appended hereto as Exhibit B is a true and correct copy of a posting I made to a.r.s. March 8, 2005 concerning a protest I did at the Vancouver Public Library in August 2004 and the protest I did in March 1999 with Mr. Hunt. I made this posting to a.r.s. after I had tentatively identified the Scientologist, who had been told during the March 1999 protest to shoot me if I stepped on Scientology property, as Jeff Beaumont. I stated in my March 8, 2005 posting:
As I reported, in August last year I carried out a one-man protest of the Scientology cult’s CCHR anti-mental health hate exhibition at the Vancouver, B.C. Public Library.
During my peaceful protest I was assaulted by a couple of the Scientologists manning their hate exhibit, most violently by a man I’d known to be a CCHR official but whose name I didn’t then know.
This guy struck me twice, tore a strip of skin off my arm, and tried to rip from me a bunch of friendly Xenu flyers I’d brought for the protest.
I recently found a 1991 Vancouver Sun article that identified him as Brian Beaumont.
Beaumont has a cookie-cutter Scientology web site: http://www.oursites.org/brianbeaumont/
It is possible that Jeff Beaumont, who also has a Scientology web site, is his son. http://www.our-home.org/jeffbeaumont/
During a picket of the Vancouver Scientology organization with Martin Hunt in 1999, a woman staff member ordered a young man, who could have been in his teens at the time, to shoot me if I stepped onto cult property. http://groups-beta.google.com/group/alt.religion.scientology/msg/59fb273c0a2c3231?dmode=source
Later during our picket, the same guy made other threatening comments about getting his gun and taking care of me. Also later I saw Brian Beaumont talking to this young guy in a way that led me to conclude that they were probably father and son.
My March 8, 2005 posting is archived on Google at: http://groups.google.com/group/alt.religion.scientology/msg/1c8fe6822cc98b31?dmode=source
8. On October 16, 1999 I participated in a peaceful protest of the Scientology organization outside its Toronto headquarters at 696 Yonge Street. During the protest, A Scientology staff member, who was later identified to me as Paulette Layton, invited me to come onto organization property to talk to her. As soon as I did so, she ordered another Scientologist, known to me as Daniel Bryenton, to assault me. Mr. Bryenton complied with Ms. Layton’s order and punched me with both hands to the chest, knocking me backward.
9. On December 12, 2002, I observed a peaceful assembly of Scientology opponents at the organization office in Ekaterinburg, Russia. All of the people were there at the invitation of a Scientologist that I had met earlier at a conference in Ekaterinburg. Appended hereto as Exhibit C is a true and correct copy of a translation of an application by the Ekaterinburg Scientology organization to the Ekaterinburg Prosecutor and to several other Russian city, regional and federal authorities to prosecute me and other named persons. I have also webbed the translation of Scientology’s application at: http://www.gerryarmstrong.org/50grand/cult/osa-app-crim-charges.pdf
Scientology’s application stated:
On 12 of December 2002 a group of persons pre-arranged a collusion to cause a disturbance in the premises of the Regional Public Organization “The Urals Center Dianetics”. The citizens Father Vladimir Zaitsev and Father Nikita and foreign citizens, who did not want to tell their names, took part in this disturbance. Among foreign citizens, who caused the disturbance, was the citizen of the USA Dvorkin A.L., other foreign citizens D. [sic] Armstrong, T. Gandow, Broide P.P. called for actions against our public organization. The illegal activity of the above mentioned group was the following: they penetrated to the premises, which was rented by us, without our agreement.
On 12 of December 2002 approx. at 12 a.m., regardless of repeated prohibitions, these people, exercising physical strength, penetrated into the premises. They began to walk around it and publicly insulted the honor and dignity of staff members and members of our organization, (what comes within the article 130 of the Criminal Code of the RF) and cried: “Here is a totalitarian sect”, violating the principle of equality of all the citizens before the law (art. 136 of the Criminal Code of the RF). Without any response to our demands to go away, they began to grab the things and documents, which were placed on the tables, roughly violating our peace, trying to create the conditions, which impede to a normal work of the public organization (which comes within the article 213 item 2 of the Criminal Code of the RF).
10. Appended hereto as Exhibit D is a true and correct copy of a response to Scientology’s application, which I wrote on March 19, 2003 and transmitted to the Ekaterinburg Prosecutor and to the other Russian authorities to whom Scientology had sent its application. I also webbed my response at: http://www.gerryarmstrong.org/50grand/writings/armstrong-response-scn-app-2003-03-19.html In my response I stated:
Contrary to what Scientology states in its Application, I at no time penetrated the organization’s premises or even set a foot inside its office. At no time did I violate the peace of anyone. At no time did I insult the honor or dignity of anyone in the Scientology organization. At no time did I cause any disturbance. The claims by Scientology that I did these things are false.
Scientology’s claim that the persons who visited the organization’s office on December 12 “pre-arranged a collusion to cause a disturbance” is also false. The fact is that we were invited to visit by a Scientology organization employee. Two days earlier, during a conference in Ekaterinburg on totalitarian cults, at which I presented a paper, I had a conversation with a young woman who said she is a staff member of the Scientology organization and who invited me and other conference participants to visit the office. A photograph of this young woman, who also participated in a short debate with me about Scientology, and who gave her name, I believe, as “Maria,” is shown on my Internet report on the Conference. http://www.gerryarmstrong.org/50grand/media/russia/index.html
I was very happy to be invited to meet with Russian Scientologists, because the leaders of the Scientology organization, which is headquartered in the U.S.A., have been using them to spread black propaganda about me in Russia, and I was hoping for an opportunity to discuss this hurtful black PR and perhaps have it corrected. Thus I was very grateful to “Maria” for the invitation to visit her organization’s office in Ekaterinburg. It is my belief that many of the Russian Scientologists who forward the U.S. Scientology organization’s black PR and other attacks on its human targets and victims are not aware of what evil they are doing, but are just robotically following orders received from their organization leaders in the U.S.
“ Black propaganda” or “black PR” is the term Scientology founder and director L. Ron Hubbard (dec. 1986) gave to his organization’s policy and practice of destroying a target’s reputation, credibility, relationships, livelihood and life with the broad and relentless spreading of lies and defamatory materials about him. On my website is a letter containing black PR on me that Scientology disseminated in 2001 at the time of another conference on totalitarian cults that took place in Nizhny Novgorod.
I will address the falsehoods contained in the 2001 black PR letter later in this response.
Upon my arrival at the Scientology organization office in Ekaterinburg on December 12, 2002, I learned from the Scientologist gentleman in the reception area that some higher-up had countermanded “Maria’s” invitation to visit. Therefore, because this man did not specifically again invite me to enter the office, I did not enter. It is my understanding that, by Russian law, a public organization, which Scientology certainly claims to be in Russia, must permit visitors into its reception area. Nevertheless, at no time did I insist that I be allowed to enter, nor did I make any attempt to enter, even the reception area of the office. I had a few conversations through the open doorway with some of the Scientology employees who were inside the office, and I had conversations with some customers and some media representatives who were outside the office, where I remained during the visit. All of my conversations with the Scientology employees or their customers were civil, and at no time did I cry out, violate the peace, or violate the principle of equality before the law as Scientology asserts in its Application.
I took no documents and I saw no documents stolen by anyone. I understood that documents concerning some of the conference participants were being given out by Scientology in its reception area. The documents that concerned me, and which were given to me, were the same as documents Scientology disseminated about me in 2001 in Nizhny Novgorod. http://www.gerryarmstrong.org/50grand/cult/scientology-da-docs.html#russiada
These are also the same as documents that Scientology maintains on one of the cult’s U.S. based Internet hate sites that black PR me: http://www.religiousfreedomwatch.org/extremists/armstrong_docs.html
Scientology’s statement that I did not want to tell my name is also false. I willingly gave my name. In fact, I assumed that the Scientologists knew who I am because they had distributed black PR materials about me in Russia with my photograph, I had openly participated in the Ekaterinburg Conference using my own name and wearing a name card, I had appeared on Ekaterinburg television using my own name, and, as I mentioned, one of their personnel, “Maria,” had just two days earlier met me face to face, knew who I was, and invited me to visit the Scientology office. The Scientologist in the reception area of the Scientology office knew who I was, and we discussed my personal history and experiences with the cult, which further confirmed that I was who I said I was. That I had tried to withhold my identity from the Scientologists is blatantly untrue.
Scientology’s assertion that during the visit to the Scientology organization office on December 12 I “called for actions against [the] organization” is similarly false. I called for no actions whatsoever. I attempted to engage the Scientologists in civil, rational communication in an effort to get them to see that the hateful way in which their U.S. leaders require them to view me and people like me is illogical, antisocial and damaging, and hopefully to get these Scientologists to realize that the actions they are taking against me, and people like me, are unjustified, and in fact criminal.
11. Ms. Kerr knows who I am, and she has participated in Scientology operations to suppress my human rights here in Canada and to black PR me to Canadian media representatives and to others for the purpose of harming or destroying my reputation, relationships, opportunities, and livelihood. In November 2007, for example, I did an interview with Randall Mark, the host of the program The Standard on CHNU TV, a Rogers Media company. On December 7, just before the interview was scheduled to air, the producer Jonathan Roth called me and told me that Ms. Kerr had called him and the station manager and threatened that Scientology would sue if the interview aired. Mr. Roth said that consequently the station management had decided to not air the interview. He said that Ms. Kerr, in her capacity as a Scientology representative, had also faxed the station documents about me. He said that additionally Multifaith Action Society (“MAS”), a Vancouver based organization that claims “to promote interfaith dialogue and understanding,” sent a letter to the station urging that my interview not be aired. Ms. Kerr was then, and is still, identified on MAS’s web site as its Vice President, and I later learned that she was the person who instigated the letter MAS sent to suppress my interview, although the letter was signed by MAS’s Executive Director Nancy Chiavario. On March 4, 2008, I wrote and executed a declaration detailing my involvement with the Rogers Media TV station and personnel, and what I knew of Scientology’s, Ms. Kerr’s and MAS’s actions to kill my interview. I also webbed my declaration at: http://www.gerryarmstrong.org/50grand/legal/decl-2008-03-04.html
12. During the confrontation with Ms. Kerr during the July 12, 2008 protest, described in paragraphs 2-5 above, she lied willfully and repeatedly and was aggressive and threatening. It was clear to me that she acted in that manner for the purposes of bullying the other man and me and inciting us to react aggressively to her bullying tactics. The other man and I did not react, however, but maintained our position and continued to behave non-aggressively, and Ms. Kerr backed off and did not further harass us overtly throughout the rest of the protest.
I declare under the penalty of perjury pursuant to the laws of British Columbia, Canada and the United States that the foregoing is true and correct.
Executed this 14th day of July 2008 in Chilliwack, B.C., Canada.