November 21, 2015

Fraud on Facebook?

by Cowboy Bob Sorensen

There are many instances of outright fraud on Facebook where people have been tricked into giving important information, making bad purchases, and so on. This is not about those third-party deceptions by sidewinders. No, this is about a different area.

Hopefully, my bad experience using Facebook's "Promote Your Page" can be a caution for others.
Modified from an image on Clker clip art
In mid-November, the option was taken using Facebook's own "Promote Your Page" option to spotlight The Question Evolution Project. There were some good articles that needed exposure, and we've done these promotions before. The targeted areas were the United States, Canada, New Zealand, United Kingdom, Australia, India, and Indonesia (we do get visitors from non-English-speaking countries), and the promotion is toward people who have an interest in the topics we cover. When the Likes started pouring in, I realized that something was wrong.

At this moment, we show about 5,225 Likes from people who use some form of English as their selected language. According to the stats from Facebook, none of the new Likes came from the intended audience! All were from India and the Philippines. Wait, what? Some new Likes popped in from the usual areas, but apparently those were not from the promotion.

I was suspicious. New Likes, and no interaction: no comments, sharing of posts, clicking "Like" on a post, nothing. Also, I had shared my sorta new "Public Figure" Page to The Question Evolution Project, "Cowboy Bob Sorensen". That remained untouched, and the post about it was near the top of TQEP when a whole heap of Likes were commencing.

A message came in from Why?Outreach asking why the surge (we were over 6,000 by then), and I explained my puzzlement. He showed me an enlightening video about fraud on Facebook. We used the legitimate way of obtaining Likes, through Facebook (again, we've done it before). The illegitimate way is to purchase Likes, and "click farms" pay people a pittance to go hog wild with the Like button. Page Admins, take a look at the people who Like you. (I wonder if some of those Pages I've seen that skyrocket in Likes through promotions have a lot of fake Likes that the Admins don't even know about.) As the video below says, nobody can Like that many Pages! I've seen it, almost got a cramp in my finger scrolling down, and the Likes just kept on going!

When I shut off the advertising early, the influx of Likes plummeted.

Now, someone may ask, "What difference, at this point, does it make?" Problem is, fake Likes hurt your Page. I spent parts of two days deleting hundreds of those newcomers. (They're not banned, if I got someone who really does care about the Page, they can come back easily enough.) But study on it for a spell: it's no secret that people get a bit rambunctious and Like Pages they never go back to, so the end result is the same. But I'd rather have someone click Like that way, than have a link farm giving inflated figures; these were way too many, way too quick-like.

Consequences of fake Likes on Facebook
Used with permission

Here's the tricky part. I want to say that Facebook itself is guilty of fraud, but I can't rightly do that. Maybe a third party caught wind of the promotion and notified a click farm, I dunno. Maybe Facebook is guilty, but I can't give a lick of evidence about that, so I don't dare make such an accusation. I reckon they would stay above board, though, because they don't need to do those unethical things, especially since they have such a lousy reputation for double standards, so why make things worse?

But that fact is, fake Likes happened, I can only guess why, and can't do anything about it. But Facebook lost a paying customer — fortunately I'm not out a lot of money this time. Now, I suggest you take a look at the nine-minute video below, the one that Why?Outreach showed me.

November 15, 2015

Atheists Display Galactic-Sized Ignorance in Debate

by Cowboy Bob Sorensen

Professing atheists riding the owlhoot trail are frequently claiming to be purveyors of "science" and "reason", but often displaying an inability to understand either. People with even a rudimentary understanding of logic can see their posturing for what it is. (Even after having their fallacies pointed out, some tinhorns deny that there is anything wrong with their Mighty Atheist Intellects™ by denying having made the fallacies, or even trying to cover up by committing more. Some of us don't cotton to wasting our time on them.) One of their many fallacies atheists use is over-generalization, such as saying that the recent ISIS terrorist attacks on Paris are a reason to outlaw all religion. Oh, please.

There are Christians who get into battles of trying to out-evidence the other side, but those of us who use presuppositional apologetics take a different approach. One reason atheists, agnostics, evolutionists, Deists, people who claim both agnosticism and atheism in the same comment, and others detest presuppositional apologetics is that we show how their epistemologies are fundamentally flawed. Those worldviews are incoherent and self-refuting, lacking the necessary conditions of human experience that are found in the Bible. Advocates of atheism and such hate us for showing their flaws, and also for our uncompromising stance on the Bible. Yes, we do believe in using evidence, but in a presuppositional framework and not accepting the lie of "neutral ground". Unbelievers get a mite riled when we point out that they are hardcore presuppositionalists themselves!

Professing atheists often claim to have superior reasoning skills. In a recent debate, their arguments shattered before their eyes.
Thanks to Why?Outreach for the background image of shattered atheism.

At the 2015 Bahnsen Conference, atheists Andrew Breeding, Sean Taylor, and Bruce Gleason debated Christians Paul Viggiano, Sye Ten Bruggencate, and Jeff Durbin. It was an interesting format, with both sides giving presentations, rebuttals, cross-examinations, and so on. Then there were audience questions.

I almost had a case of Cranial-Keyboard Embedment Syndrome early in Bruce Gleason's presentation at the beginning of the debate. He said to watch for logical fallacies, and that the Christians would be making many of them — then he commenced to committing a passel of them himself, including poisoning the well! (One reason I'm mighty skeptical of doing debates is that I call people out on their fallacies, and don't like to let someone build an argument that is faulty from the get-go.) Although the Christians were presumably knowledgeable in spotting fallacies, there was not a great deal of pointing them out.

Also, some of the professed atheists were condescending toward the Christians, and I consider that an attempt at emotional manipulation. It also has elements of poisoning the well, also. 

Let's ride way down the trail to the question and answer session at the end. One of the questions involved evolution, which is a cornerstone for the religion of atheism. The atheist argued from his presuppositions, and also showed that not only does he lack understanding of natural selection, he was using a fallacious comparison. Dr. James White had some very interesting comments on this. 

Know how you go to some sites and they have so many videos embedded, the whole shootin' match slows way down? I reckon that would happen here if I embedded the two videos that are needed, so I'll link to them instead.

To see the video of Dr. White's analysis of the evolution question, click here and go to the 35 minute 20 second mark (the link is supposed to go there anyway, but I wanted to make certain that you knew). After that, he has some analysis of apostate Bart Ehrman's erroneous debate remarks. Also, you can see the video or download the audio on Dr. White's site at this link

As for the debate itself, it runs three hours all told. To watch the video, click here. For audio (embedded or for the download link), you can get that from Apologia Radio's site.

Despite all the proud strutting, assertions, bad logic, and so forth, there is still time for those professing atheists to humble themselves, repent, and seek forgiveness from Jesus Christ. He is the Creator and Redeemer they deny.

Subscribe in a reader