TakeOnIt
Compare opinions of world leading experts and influencers.

MTC's TakeOnIt

About Me

My name is Matthew Cutler and I am from the UK. I am not sure what else to put here.

MTC's Web Site

Contribution Stats

7 up votes minus down votes on comments.
28 questions, experts, and expert opinions added.
11 expert opinion suggestions made.

Contents

MTC's Opinions

Is it ethical to eat meat?      Agree      23 Feb 2013      0 Points
I have no problem with the killing and eating of an animal which is not sentient and will not become sentient.

Should flag burning be legal?      Agree      23 Feb 2013      0 Points
Yes, burning a piece of cloth should be legal, regardless of what image is on it.

Is science ultimately just a matter of faith?      Disagree      23 Feb 2013      0 Points
Faith is defined as belief without evidence. Science is based on evidence.

Was the moon landing a hoax?      Disagree      23 Feb 2013      1 Point
I think the best argument against the conspiracy theory is the sheer number of people that would have to be keeping quiet about it if it were a hoax.

Is Barack Obama a Muslim?      Disagree      23 Feb 2013      0 Points
The only way to answer this is to ask what he self‐describes as, and he self‐describes as a christian, so he is not a muslim.

Are computer games a significant cause of violence?      Disagree      23 Feb 2013      0 Points
No, video games cannot cause someone to become violent.

Is the unconscious philosophical zombie possible?      Disagree      23 Feb 2013      0 Points
No, there is no difference between a philosophical zombie and a normal person.

Does Protocell work?      Disagree      23 Feb 2013      1 Point
I have every reason to believe that this is pseudoscientific nonsense.

Do the benefits of vaccination outweigh the risks?      Agree      23 Feb 2013      2 Points
I believe the science on this issue.

The fact that I never missed a vaccination when I was young, and I have an autistic spectrum condition does not factor into it. Correlation alone does not imply causation. Anecdotal evidence is possibly the weakest evidence there is.

Is the world explainable without God?      Agree      23 Feb 2013      0 Points
Of course. Science is getting along fine so far without invoking a god for anything, and there is no good reason to believe this won’t continue.

Is substantially reducing CO2 emissions worthwhile?      Agree      23 Feb 2013      0 Points
Whether or not it is possible to reverse global warming by reducing CO₂ emissions, there is good reason to believe we should be trying regardless. At the very least, I haven’t seen any good arguments for not reducing CO₂ emissions.

Do miracles happen?      Disagree      23 Feb 2013      0 Points
There is no good reason to believe that any miracles have happened, or will happen.

Must God exist to explain how the universe began?      Disagree      23 Feb 2013      0 Points
There is no reason to believe that a god needs to be invoked to explain the universe.

Is there a Law of Karma?      Disagree      23 Feb 2013      0 Points
Scientifically, there is no reason to believe in anything like this.

Should Intelligent Design be taught in science class?      Disagree      23 Feb 2013      1 Point
No, because it isn’t science.

If you want to teach in RE class (for Americans reading this: Religious Education (RE) is a mandatory class in some British schools intended to teach about various types of religion [whether RE should exist is a separate question]) that some people believe it, then fine, but it has no place whatsoever in a science classroom.

Should religious institutions be separated from government?      Agree      23 Feb 2013      0 Points
Absolutely. On a related note, national anthems and mottos (and pledges of alliegance) should not mention anything religious.

Is the theory of evolution falsified by fossil evidence?      Disagree      23 Feb 2013      0 Points
Can’t really say it any better than the Richard Dawkins quote above.

Is hypocrisy acceptable?      Disagree      23 Feb 2013      0 Points
Hypocrisy is inherently a bad thing.

Should the United States have Universal health care?      Agree      23 Feb 2013      0 Points
Yes. Everyone should have access to healthcare, not just those who can afford it.

Is Islam fundamentally a peaceful religion?      Disagree      23 Feb 2013      1 Point
Obviously not, just look at the people who believe in Islam the most.

Do we work unnecessarily long hours?      Agree      23 Feb 2013      0 Points
Yes. We need less full‐time work, more part‐time work, more jobshares, resulting in more places available for new employees, and less unemployment.

Would the world be better off without the Catholic Church?      Agree      23 Feb 2013      0 Points
Yes, of course. Without religion, the world would be a much less hateful place

Is there a consensus on global warming amongst scientists?      Agree      23 Feb 2013      0 Points
Quite simply: yes, there is.

Is global warming caused primarily by humans?      Agree      23 Feb 2013      0 Points
The scientific consensus is clear: global warming is happening and is primarily human‐caused.

Did the US Government play a part in the 9/11 attacks?      Disagree      23 Feb 2013      0 Points
All evidence points to the fact that the 9/11 attacks were carried out by Islamist terrorists.

Should robots always be used instead of humans for space exploration?      Disagree      23 Feb 2013      0 Points
We’ll have to expand the human race beyond just this planet eventually. Due to the “always” in the wording of the question, that alone is enough for me to disagree.

Is censorship acceptable?      Disagree      23 Feb 2013      0 Points
There is no need for censorship.

Should women have the right to vote?      Agree      23 Feb 2013      0 Points
Why not? Women are people just as much as men are. This is so obvious it barely needs to be stated.

Are gun control laws a serious breach of civil liberties?      Disagree      23 Feb 2013      0 Points
No, controlling guns is not inherently a breach of civil liberties.

In an ideal world the only people who would have guns would be the military, police, and people who participate in shooting sports (and the latter only during competition). A large part of the world, including the US, seems to be way past that ideal being remotely possible though.

Is the many worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics correct?      Agree      23 Feb 2013      0 Points
To the best of my knowledge of quantum mechanics, which is admittedly nowhere near what I’d like it to be, many worlds is the best interpretation we have.

Could a computer ever be conscious?      Agree      23 Feb 2013      0 Points
It is theoretically possible, given powerful enough computers (among other requirements), to create a computer replica of the human brain in enough detail to emulate the consciousness of a human being. If that was done, the computer would be, in every way that matters, conscious.

Is cryonics worthwhile?      Agree      23 Feb 2013      0 Points
The advocates of cryonics seem to have better arguments on their side than the detractors, and no alternative method so far exists for surviving legal death, therefore cryonics is worthwhile.

Do ghosts exist?      Disagree      23 Feb 2013      0 Points
No good supporting evidence.

Are psychic powers real?      Disagree      23 Feb 2013      0 Points
No, there is no reason to believe in psychic powers.

Is genetically modified food safe to eat?      Agree      23 Feb 2013      0 Points
Not much to say beyond just agreeing with mainstream science on what is clearly a scientific issue.

Do we have an immaterial soul?      Disagree      23 Feb 2013      0 Points
There is no evidence to suggest that a soul exists, so I disbelieve it for the same reason I disbelieve that there is an invisible dragon in my garage.

Does evolution violate the second law of thermodynamics?      Disagree      23 Feb 2013      0 Points
This idea is based entirely on a misunderstanding.

Obviously not. The whole idea is nonsense.

Does homeopathy work?      Disagree      23 Feb 2013      0 Points
Of course not. Physics, chemistry, and direct evidence all shows that it is merely a placebo.

Are America's rich taxed enough?      Disagree      23 Feb 2013      0 Points
For me to say yes to this, either a point must be reached where everyone can afford a decent living, or everyone must be equally wealthy (I think the former would be reached a long time before the latter), but it seems clear that this won’t happen any time soon, so I disagree.

Does life have a meaning?      Disagree      23 Feb 2013      0 Points
To believe life has a meaning is an inherently religious belief. Once you understand that the universe itself has no purpose; life, as a part of the universe, also has no inherent purpose.

Did complex life evolve through the process of natural selection?      Agree      23 Feb 2013      0 Points
All the evidence says that evolution is true.

Should atheists directly challenge religious beliefs?      Agree      23 Feb 2013      1 Point
Challenging religious beliefs is just as important as challenging any other crazy beliefs (homeopathy, flying saucers, bigfoot, etc.). In fact, in some ways it is more important, because religious belief is a lot more widespread than any other pseudoscientific belief.

Is there life after death?      Disagree      23 Feb 2013      0 Points
The probability of an afterlife is roughly the same as the probability that gods exist. That is, highly unlikely.

Does religion encourage good behavior?      Disagree      23 Feb 2013      0 Points
There are examples of individuals who call themselves religious encouraging good behavior, but whether that is down to their religion is debatable. Those people have to pick and choose which parts of their religion to believe in, meaning it is not actually their religion that is encouraging the good behavior, but rather their own independent ideas of what is good and what is bad.

Other religious people pick other parts of their religion to believe in, and encourage bad behavior. Others (fundamentalists) try to believe all of their religion, and generally end up encouraging bad behavior.

As a result of all of that, I disagree with this question.

Is truth relative?      Disagree      23 Feb 2013      0 Points
Truth cannot be relative, pretty much by definition.

Is affirmative action fair?      Disagree      23 Feb 2013      0 Points
Affirmative action is discrimination, just applied in the opposite way (that’s worded badly but I hope the meaning is clear), you shouldn’t give an advantage to either majorities or minorities, you shouldn’t take into account anything that doesn’t make a difference. In the vast majority of jobs it doesn’t matter what the employee looks like, so it shouldn’t be taken into account at all. The minority of jobs where this doesn’t apply most obviously includes acting, where the intended appearance of the characters must be taken into account, but still I wouldn’t refer to the way it should work as affirmative action.

I have yet to see a single example of where affirmative action is a good idea.

Is God just?      Disagree      23 Feb 2013      0 Points
The fictional character known as “God”, as it was imagined to be by the writers of the bible, is clearly not just.

Is a technological singularity likely?      Agree      23 Feb 2013      0 Points
The question makes no mention of time. Given enough time, one of the definitions of the singularity will happen, it is inevitable.

Does God exist?      Disagree      23 Feb 2013      0 Points
There is simply no good evidence to suggest that any gods exist.

Is information-theoretic death the most real interpretation of death?      Agree      23 Feb 2013      0 Points
Of course. You are not dead until it becomes completely impossible to revive you, independent of currently available technology.

Is living forever or having a greatly extended lifespan desirable?      Agree      23 Feb 2013      0 Points
The human lifespan as it currently is, is way too short, and that’s all that you really need to know to answer this question.

Can science prove or disprove the existence of God?      Agree      23 Feb 2013      0 Points
On the few occasions that religious people actually do try to provide evidence, it fails to be convincing.

As for the other times, the best way I have heard to put it is this:
“What can be asserted without evidence can also be dismissed without evidence.” —Christopher Hitchens

This may not be universally agreed to be the way science works, but it is how it should work.

Have aliens from outer space visited Earth?      Disagree      23 Feb 2013      0 Points
Extraterrestrials almost certainly exist (you would have to be incredibly arrogant to believe this is the only planet in the universe where life exists), but have almost certainly not visited Earth.

Comparisons with Experts and Influencers

The similarity between MTC and each expert and influencer is calculated by looking at how the same questions were answered. These figures are used to calculate conforming, nonconforming, and projected opinions. The accuracy of the analysis depends on MTC's coverage, which grows with the number of their opinions entered into TakeOnIt.

Agree
Eliezer Yudkowsky
Artificial Intelligence Researcher
98% agreement / 14 opinions

Richard Dawkins
Evolutionary Biologist, Writer, Atheism Activist
97% agreement / 12 opinions

Steven Weinberg
Nobel Laureate in Physics
87% agreement / 8 opinions

Wikipedia
World's Largest Encyclopedia
96% agreement / 7 opinions

Paul Z. Myers
Biology Professor
100% agreement / 7 opinions

Ayn Rand
Philosopher, Novelist
92% agreement / 7 opinions

Mostly Agree
Robin Hanson
Economics Professor
60% agreement / 12 opinions

Barack Obama
United States President
70% agreement / 10 opinions

Robert Todd Carroll
Philosophy Professor
62% agreement / 8 opinions

Bill Maher
Political T.V. Host, Comedian
71% agreement / 7 opinions

Steven Pinker
Psychology Professor
70% agreement / 6 opinions

Heartiste
Pickup Artist
75% agreement / 5 opinions

In-Between
John McCain
U.S. Senator, Republican
54% agreement / 6 opinions

Albert Einstein
Physicist, Icon of the 20th Century
58% agreement / 6 opinions

George W. Bush
United States President 2001-2009
50% agreement / 4 opinions

Kenneth Miller
Biology Professor, Christian
50% agreement / 4 opinions

Bryan Caplan
Economics Professor
43% agreement / 4 opinions

Time Magazine
Popular Magazine
50% agreement / 3 opinions

Mostly Disagree
Osama Bin Laden
Former Leader of Al Qaeda
25% agreement / 4 opinions

Napoleon Bonaparte
Emperor of France
33% agreement / 3 opinions

Phillip Johnson
Law Professor
37% agreement / 2 opinions

David Chalmers
Philosophy Professor
37% agreement / 2 opinions

Jeff Hawkins
Neuroscientist, Inventor of Palm Pilot
37% agreement / 2 opinions

Douglas Hofstadter
Professor of Cognitive Science
25% agreement / 2 opinions

Disagree
The Catholic Church
Largest Christian Church
11% agreement / 11 opinions

Conservapedia
Christian Encyclopedia
14% agreement / 7 opinions

Deepak Chopra
Inventor of Quantum Healing
0% agreement / 7 opinions

Ann Coulter
Political Commentator
0% agreement / 4 opinions

Roy Spencer
Meteorologist
12% agreement / 4 opinions

Sarah Palin
Former Governor of Alaska (Republican)
0% agreement / 4 opinions

Conforming Opinions

MTC's conforming opinions are opinions that align with the group of experts and influencers MTC typically agrees with.

Coverage Answer Question
High Disagree Does God exist?
High Agree Is global warming caused primarily by humans?
High Agree Should atheists directly challenge religious beliefs?
High Disagree Does astrology work (is personality correlated with the positions of celestial bodies at birth)?
High Agree Did complex life evolve through the process of natural selection?
High Disagree Do we have an immaterial soul?
High Agree Do the benefits of vaccination outweigh the risks?
High Disagree Is truth relative?
High Disagree Are psychic powers real?
High Disagree Must God exist to explain how the universe began?
High Disagree Does evolution violate the second law of thermodynamics?
High Agree Should women have the right to vote?
High Disagree Does religion encourage good behavior?
High Agree Would the world be better off without the Catholic Church?
High Disagree Are America's rich taxed enough?
High Disagree Does homeopathy work?
Medium Disagree Does Protocell work?
Medium Disagree Is censorship acceptable?
Medium Disagree Is God just?
Medium Disagree Is Islam fundamentally a peaceful religion?
Medium Disagree Have aliens from outer space visited Earth?
Medium Disagree Did the US Government play a part in the 9/11 attacks?
Medium Agree Is information-theoretic death the most real interpretation of death?
Medium Agree Is cryonics worthwhile?
Medium Agree Should religious institutions be separated from government?
Medium Agree Is it ethical to eat meat?
Medium Disagree Should Intelligent Design be taught in science class?
Medium Agree Is genetically modified food safe to eat?
Medium Agree Do we work unnecessarily long hours?
Medium Agree Could a computer ever be conscious?
Medium Agree Is the many worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics correct?
Medium Disagree Do ghosts exist?
Medium Disagree Is the unconscious philosophical zombie possible?
Low Agree Is there a consensus on global warming amongst scientists?
Low Disagree Do miracles happen?
Low Agree Should flag burning be legal?
Low Disagree Was the moon landing a hoax?
Low Disagree Is science ultimately just a matter of faith?
Low Disagree Is the theory of evolution falsified by fossil evidence?
Low Agree Is the world explainable without God?

Nonconforming Opinions

MTC's nonconforming opinions are opinions that contradict the group of experts and influencers MTC typically agrees with.

Coverage Group Answer Contributor Answer Question
High Mostly Disagree Disagree Is there life after death?
High Mostly Agree Agree Can science prove or disprove the existence of God?
High Mostly Agree Agree Should the United States have Universal health care?
Medium Mostly Agree Agree Is living forever or having a greatly extended lifespan desirable?
Medium Mostly Disagree Disagree Should robots always be used instead of humans for space exploration?
Medium Mostly Disagree Disagree Are computer games a significant cause of violence?
Medium Mostly Agree Agree Is substantially reducing CO2 emissions worthwhile?
Medium Mostly Agree Agree Is a technological singularity likely?
Low Mostly Disagree Disagree Are gun control laws a serious breach of civil liberties?
Low Mostly Agree Disagree Is affirmative action fair?
Low Mostly Disagree Disagree Is hypocrisy acceptable?
Low Mostly Disagree Disagree Does life have a meaning?

Projected Opinions

MTC's projected opinions are opinions MTC is expected to have if their opinions align with the experts and influencers that they typically agree with.

Coverage Answer Question
High Agree Should abortion be legal?
High Mostly Agree Is free trade generally beneficial for a country?
High Neutral Is free will an illusion?
High Neutral Can we handle the truth?
High Mostly Agree Is the death penalty acceptable?
High Disagree Are the core truths of science and religion complementary?
High Neutral Is "ought" derived from "is"?
Medium Disagree Are our enemies innately evil?
Medium Agree Is self-deception a fault?
Medium Agree Should the US close Guantanamo Bay?
Medium Neutral Does Cap and Trade beat carbon tax for reducing emissions?
Medium Agree Does sun exposure cause skin cancer?
Medium Mostly Agree Is morality objective?
Medium Mostly Agree Will solar be the biggest energy source of the future?
Medium Neutral Is cryonic restoration technically feasible in the future?
Medium Agree Should the world embrace nuclear energy?
Medium Mostly Agree Do Muslims have the right to build a mosque near ground zero?
Medium Mostly Disagree Is Yucca mountain the best place to store nuclear waste?
Medium Disagree Does everything happen for a reason?
Medium Mostly Agree Should marijuana be legal?
Medium Mostly Agree Should the United States invade Iraq?
Medium Agree Can reductionist methods help explain consciousness?
Medium Mostly Disagree Has feminism gone too far?
Low Neutral Should the federal government ban gay marriage?
Low Mostly Agree Should the burka be banned?
Low Mostly Disagree Are recent climatic changes consistent with the AGW hypothesis?
Low Disagree Are we prepared for a pandemic?
Low Mostly Disagree Is intelligent extraterrestrial life common in our galaxy?
Low Neutral Is optimism rational?
Low Disagree Is the health risk of a psychoactive drug a legitimate reason to make it illegal?
Low Mostly Disagree Is hope good?
Low Neutral Is capitalism good?
Low Neutral Is democracy the best form of government?
Low Mostly Agree Is the IPCC objective?
Low Neutral Should gay and straight couples have the same legal benefits?
Low Neutral Is Geoengineering a good strategy to combat global warming?
Low Neutral Should paternity testing be mandatory?
Low Mostly Agree Is truthfulness a characteristic of a politician who is good for the people?
Low Disagree Is trying to "change the world" foolish?
Low Neutral Can the US military presence in Iraq help create democracy?
Low Mostly Disagree Does cryonic preservation with today's best technology cause irreversible brain damage?
Low Agree Would invading Iraq result in a quagmire?
Low Mostly Disagree Does minimum wage help the poor?
Low Disagree Can poor eyesight be improved with eye exercises?
Low Agree Should psychoactive drugs be legal?
Low Neutral Will the WikiLeaks cable leaks do more harm than good?
Low Disagree Is quantum mechanics needed to explain consciousness?
Low Mostly Disagree Should marijuana be decriminalized?
Low Mostly Agree Is the war on drugs good policy?
Low Agree Do condoms effectively prevent HIV?
Low Mostly Agree Is politics a waste of time for ordinary citizens?