Who is SCG?

For every question there is an answer that is simple, easy to understand, and completely inaccurate.

I dislike small talk, I dislike small talk about personalities even more, and I despise small talk about myself. I prefer to discuss ideas, patterns, and principles.

When people ask you who you are, they usually don't really want the truth. They are just trying to form an ultra-simplified mental image of a personality. Is this personality someone I like? Is this personality someone I trust? Is this personality someone I should obey? Or on the flip side people look for some detail or quirk that will give them an excuse to dismiss the information they have just heard. In its most primitive form this can be as simple as a low grade ad hominem attack such as "You look like Jabba the Hut!" (therefore your argument is invalid).

Whether they are conscious of it or not, what most people are actually looking for when they ask for a summarized bio, are labels. Labels are useful tools which enable us to quickly assess the world around us without thinking too much. They are useful because these snap generalizations are often quite accurate. If you see man in dirty, ragged clothing asleep on a park bench in the middle of the day, nine times out of ten you would be correct to assume that the man was homeless. However in the realm of ideas, particularly in the realm of highly controversial ideas, there is an additional factor at play which turns our categorization system against us: cognitive dissonance.

Cognitive dissonance is a state of psychological discomfort which arises when the human mind is exposed to information that challenges a belief to which they have attached to their personal identity. You see, these labels work both ways. People assign labels to the others, but they also assign labels to themselves, and these labels often come with packages of beliefs. For example if someone tells you that they are a Christian, or an atheist, or a Hindu what they are actually saying is that they hold a very specific set of beliefs, and that those beliefs have become merged with their identity (and yes atheists, this does apply to you). If you challenge one of those beliefs effectively, thereby causing them to question it, they will feel as if you are attacking them personally.

Studies have shown that when people are faced with ideas which threaten their beliefs, the brain enters into a state which is indistinguishable from the fight or flight response it would have to a physical threat. Unfortunately in fight or flight mode the brain is far less capable of processing information accurately. In such a state, the information that challenged the belief in question is interpreted as a weapon, and the messenger is interpreted as an attacker, an ideological enemy.

How do humans deal with ideological enemies? They look for a way to discredit them. This is greatly facilitated if the messenger can be easily labeled and categorized. For example a conservative or a liberal will generally only have to listen to a few seconds of a political speech before determining if the speaker is from the opposite side of the political spectrum. Once that is out of the way, dismissing the messenger and everything that they have to say is easy. No need to listen to them, they're just a darn libtard, a truther, or a tea bagger. If you need proof of this phenomenon then I'm afraid you haven't spent enough time on the internet.

But where are you coming from ideologically?

I just love it when people ask questions like that as if the answer could be condensed down to one liner. I have an opinion on just about every topic I've ever encountered, and I am very vocal about my opinions. Heck, I've even got my own take on the relationship between quantum physics and general relativity. Want to know how I view the world? Then follow my work. That's what the websites and social media accounts are for.

On the flip side the of the ad hominem, when people like what the messenger is saying, they have the tendency to turn that person into a mythical hero of sorts. This is the cult of personality, turning an ordinary human being into a celebrity. Celebrity status has just as much potential to distort reality as ideological enmity.

When a celebrity says something, it carries more weight in the mind of the public than a non-celebrity, even if their assertions are completely baseless and illogical. Once a figure has been raised to a certain social status, or authority, their word becomes a point of reference, even to the point of being considered evidence in and of itself. This is extremely dangerous.

It can also be rather unpleasant for the person who has been placed on that pedestal. The public has the tendency to assume that their mythical heroes should measure up certain mythical standards, and that they deserve to be attacked viciously when they don't (even if the person being placed on that pedestal never agreed to this arrangement).

Somewhere along the line I discovered that I am considered a "celebrity" in some circles. I still find that amusing, and more than a little ironic. At any rate, I didn't fill out an application for that role, and I refuse to conform to expectations imposed upon me by perfect strangers.

But how can we know if we can trust you?

Well, to be perfectly honest I'm not trying to get you to trust me. It is my responsibility to backup my assertions with logic and evidence every single time. Relying on an appeal to authority is nonsense, and reputation is no replacement for accuracy. You should never put your trust in a personality, period. That applies to me as well.

How do we know whether to trust the information you put out?

Well, we use only credible, mainstream sources, we list those sources for you to verify yourself, and we use solid logic to connect the information at hand. It's very simple actually. Ideas either stand on their own or they don't stand at all. Do the research, think for yourself, stop looking for a shortcut.

Since you managed to get this far down the page I will tell you what my motives are (consider this a concession for having dragged you into a philosophical thesis when all you wanted was an about section).

Though I have always been an opinionated, outspoken, pain in the ass, and although I had run a website attempting to raise awareness about a number of issues since mid 2007, what really gave me a kick in the pants, and motivated me to search for an effective way to reach the hearts and minds of the people, was the birth of my first daughter in 2010. I couldn't live with myself if I brought her into this world knowing what I know without at least trying to change things. I'm sure anyone who has kids can relate to this feeling.

So I'm trying. I'm not basing my actions on the chances of success. I'm just doing what I can. If you don't think it's good enough, then maybe that's a sign that you have a mission of your own.

In the end I don't matter. Three hundred years from now I will be dust on somebody's window sill and so will you.

Death puts us all on equal terms. It wipes away every edifice of ego and social status. Death erases everything but the ripples left by our actions. Did we make the world a better place? Did we really, sincerely do everything that we could? If this question, rather than the cult of personality, was burning in enough people's minds, we wouldn't be in this mess.

Not sure what to think? Good. Stick around and I'll give you plenty to chew on.