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A BIG INSULT To Bloggers!

April 13, 2010

It is an anomaly– a shame– on the part of an organization that claims to be an advocate or defender of reason to praise, promote, and keep a plagiarized piece of crap. It simply shows that this neo-mystic group is never an advocate of reason, science, logic and knowledge, but of materialistic mysticism, ignorance and statism.

A blog reader alerted me to what the most popular Filipino Freethinker blogger has to say about my very recent discovery that his cause célèbre blog article published on the Freethinkers’ website is not a product of his vivid or wild imagination, but of plagiarism. Following this discovery I published a blog post entitled The Highly Appalling Plagiarism of the Filipino Free-Farters, which is about how one of the neo-mystic group member copied portions of the works of some online writers.

What is so pathetic about the actuation of some Free-farters is their attempt at trying to fool themselves and other people that their most favored blogger is not guilty of plagiarism. May I remind you that this is a group, whose mantra is reason, science, logic, and freedom. The very act of copying other people’s works without the necessary citation or acknowledgment is an affront to honesty, decency, and professionalism. To pretend that no crime or wrong is committed is a mockery of reason and justice. To evade any responsibility is an insult to logic and science.

Plagiarism, an act of stealing other people’s work without proper citation or attribution, is widely regarded as a crime. It is a form of intellectual dishonesty or theft. There’s a popular misconception that this illegal, unprofessional, and un-academic conduct is only observed in the academia, as well as in the journalism profession. But since this form of dishonesty can be committed by anyone, it follows that it can be imposed on anyone and implemented anywhere and anytime, especially now that intellectual property right law is universally applied. Thus plagiarism charges can also be imposed upon careless, incompetent, lazy, and dishonest bloggers.

The plagiarism issue I discovered and then publicized involved a certain fellow named Karlo Espiritu. Mr. Espiritu is one of the many members of the Filipino Freethinkers, an atheistic collective that claims to be an advocate of reason, science, logic, freedom, etc. This Freethinker member wrote a blog article entitled What’s So Wrong With Objectivism, which was published on the FF website on March 27, a day after I posted my own blog—Filipino Free-Farter: The New Mystics—that exposes the ignorance and anti-reason stance and principles of the Filipino Freethinkers.

Mr. Espiritu’s blog is about the so-called myth of Ayn Rand, the most controversial philosopher of the 20th century, and that it was designed to somehow expose what’s so wrong with Objectivism. Perhaps to legitimize himself as someone who is aware of the works of Ayn Rand and of her philosophy of Objectivism, Mr. Espiritu claimed that he read at least three of her books—Atlas Shrugged, which I finished reading in one year, The Fountainhead, in more than ten months, and The Virtue of Selfishness, which I have not fully read yet.

His blog was readily and enthusiastically greeted by members of the Freethinkers who perhaps were hoping that finally, someone was born to forge the unfinished anti-Ayn Rand trail where her enemies failed to tread. As expected, Mr. Espiritu’s blog became the most commented entry on the FF website. It gained the attention of only a handful Ayn Rand defenders, while the same was flooded by members of this atheistic group. It doesn’t take a genius to conclude that the avid readers of the FF blogs are the group’s bloggers and members themselves.

A few days after it was published, I read a few lines of the blog. The ignorance and pretense of the blogger is utterly disgusting. A friend of mine who is somehow connected with some members of the group dismissed it as something that is “devoid of rational thought.” I noticed that the blog is full of lies, fallacies and myths. I thought that those were the things I read from various anti-Ayn Rand articles when I was still starting to understand Objectivism. I started as an Ayn Rand critic so I know whether a piece of bash-Rand article is a crap. It appears that Mr. Espiritu’s take on Ayn Rand is not just full of crap; it came from crappy articles!

If Mr. Espiritu was able to fool his fellow Freethinkers, not this guy! Despite the fact that his hands were caught in the cookie jar, Mr. Espiritu still had the guts to claim that he really read Ayn Rand.

To Mr. Espiritu: Whom are you trying to fool? I’m a struggling law student (meaning, not really good academically), but one doesn’t need to be an expert in law in order to determine whether someone is simply spouting a bucket of lies.

A few hours after posting my “plagiarism article” Mr. Espiritu posted his statement on the Facebook wall of the Filipino Freethinkers. Now here’s what Mr. Espiritu has to say about his plagiarism (to bloggers out there, read carefully):

Just saw this post. Okay guys, first of all, I did NOT expect the blog post to be very sensational. Since it was my FIRST post, it didn’t occur to me that it will be extremely popular. Most of the posts I see in FF just average about 10 comments and then it becomes buried by newer posts.

After reading a lot of discussions about Objectivism in the FF forum, I became curious and started to read about Objectivism and Ayn Rand; and eventually decided to write a blog post about the philosophy.

I honestly wrote the essay hurriedly and published it without rewriting/revising it very well. (Because honestly, Objectivism is a very broad topic, and it’s a very tedious one; and I feel it is not worth my time to put much effort into it). But now I realized it was a big mistake on my part, because it is remarkably obvious now that FF is very influential and there are people who are intensely affected by it. My sincere apologies for being too careless.

I intended the blog post to be very casual (c’mon peeps, it’s just a blog post), and I never aspired it to be an authoritative material by anyone. The post did not morally condemn or insult anyone personally, but a lot of the feedback were hateful.

But since there is now a craze for this blog post, and just to satisfy (well, some or most of) you, I’ll revise the post properly this time over the weekend. For the meantime, enjoy your life, meet real people, and have a blast while I find time to properly revise that (unimportant) blog post. I’ll update this thread once I’m done. Seriously, anyone needs a lot of time (which I don’t have) to write something thoughtful about a very very broad topic.

Be cool people, it’s just a friggin’ blog post. There’s more to life, it’s too damn short already to deal with unimportant things. And seriously, c’mon, it is not comparable to a graduation speech that people should be inspired or follow.

And to Mr. Karlo Espiritu who wrote the following on the FF online forum: “There seems to be another fuss about this topic”: If you ever try to use your mind, you’d realize that this issue gained public attention not because you wrote a crappy blog, but because of the undeniable, irrefutable fact that you are a PLAGIARIST! C’mon, get back to reality!

A careful analysis of the statement above reveals that Mr. Espiritu is trying to psychologise the situation and make a number of senseless points. His attempt to psychologize and tone down the situation is bereft of any rational thought, and that his “sorry” statement is insincere and loaded with contradictions and equivocations.

Here are the fallacies in his message:

Firstly, he claims he didn’t expect his post to be “very sensational” and “very popular.” But what’s the connection between the popularity of his blog post and the fact that it was unethically, un-academically and unprofessionally inspired by a number of online sources? In my case, most of my blogs are sensational and controversial. In fact one blog I wrote, which was attacked by a certain group of people, attracted more than 6,000 views in just one day and drew a total of 498 comments. What is this guy trying to say?

Secondly, Mr. Espiritu claims that “after reading a lot of discussions about Objectivism in the FF forum, I became curious and started to read about Objectivism and Ayn Rand.” I assume Mr. Espiritu is gainfully employed, and that he’s a family man. For the information of everybody, Atlas Shrugged is about 1,200 pages long, while The Fountainhead is more than 700 pages. I first read Atlas Shrugged two years ago and it took me one year to finish it. Besides, I was a second-year law student that time. I finished reading The Fountainhead after more than 10 months. Never mind the Virtue of Selfishness.

Another point is that the Filipino Freethinkers only started to discuss about Ayn Rand a few months ago, which should not exceed 6 months. I am very sure of this because that was the time I was engaged in an online debate with some of the brainless and fanatic members of the Free-farters in regard to the Reproductive Health bill. Yes, Mr. Espiritu is simply lying through his teeth.

Thirdly, Mr. Espiritu claims that he “honestly wrote the essay hurriedly and published it without rewriting/revising it very well.” The most disgusting word in that statement is the word “honest.” There is no honesty in plagiarism. Now I urge him, as well as every reader of this blog, to go over my expose and check whether Mr. Espiritu is trying to sell another bucket of lies.

As a freelance writer and a blogger, I cannot imagine how is it possible for Mr. Espiritu to produce a blog article whose numerous portions bear resemblance to various online sources. Does he have a natural psychic ability? For example, the entire conclusion of his blog was copied 95 percent verbatim from the works of at least three online authors. And those online articles were copyrighted. Is he trying to say that had he not in a hurry, he would have come up with a nicely paraphrased article?

He also claims that a lot of comments on his work were “hateful.” But I don’t see how this statement is related to his plagiarism. Is this a pathetic attempt at people’s compassion? I checked the blog yet I found out that only one commenter named Lord Atheist could be classified as “hateful.” Lord Atheist wasn’t sold to Mr. Espiritu’s claim that he read the books of Ayn Rand. Part of Lord Atheist comment is as follows:

“It’s really hilarious to observe that this pighead just came out on this forum and declare, “hey! I read Ayn Rand’s silly books and here’s my silly review.” And it’s no surprise the imbecile and ignoramuses are applauding it. Anyone who really read and understood a few of the writings of Ayn Rand wouldn’t come up with this shitty, crappy piece of rambling. If it’s true that this idiot read the books he mentioned, then it’s either he’s a buffoon or a plain moron. And anyone who believes his stupid ramblings is two-times a moron.”

In fact it’s the FF members who were disrespectful and hateful. Those who defended Ayn Rand against a plagiarized blog were honest and respectful.

And finally, he tries to neutralize the situation by simply saying, “c’mon peeps, it’s just a blog post.” This is the worst part of Mr. Espiritu’s yet another funny and pathetic statement, which I hope was not plagiarized as well. Any blogger who has self-respect, self-esteem, dignity and who is honest would never think of plagiarizing the works of others. It is okay to borrow the ideas and opinions of others so long as you cite or acknowledge them. It’s a sign of respect, honesty, and professionalism.

Most bloggers are not like Mr. Espiritu, whose first blog article on the Freethinkers’ website was almost 90 percent inspired by various online articles. In the first place, Mr. Espiritu did not have to copy verbatim the works of others to make a point. That’s logic! What is Mr. Espiritu trying to pass on when he says “it’s just a blog?” That because it’s a blog it’s okay to plagiarize the works of others? Is that it?

No, Mr. Espiritu, you don’t have to revise your ‘inspired’ blog since it’s clear you simply copied portions of various online sources. Your revising it will not change the fact that you’re a plagiarist, and yes, what you did is worse than what Mr. Manny V. Pangilinan did. The only difference is that Mr. Pangilinan is a well-known businessman in the country, while you’re simply one of the members of the Filipino Freethinkers.

Again, plagiarism is a crime. It is a form of intellectual theft or dishonesty. It reveals whether a group of people claiming to be an advocate of reason betrays reason itself. It reveals the personality of the author- whether he is trustworthy or not. It reveals the nature of an organization- whether it is indeed an advocate of reason, science and logic or not.

In the first place, one does not need to steal the ideas of other people in order to make a point. An act of plagiarism is simply an implied admission that the author is incompetent, dependent upon the works of others, and has no “self” and “mind” of his own– that he cannot produce a well-written, logical writing without copying the works of others. It is not a crime or a form of intellectual dishonesty to borrow the idea of others so long as you cite or acknowledge the source of the information. But in this case, the author copied verbatim the works of some online authors.

Now, the Free-farters try to fake reality by pretending that what their colleague did is OK since he was simply attacking an “enemy.” But that’s the problem. Attacking an “enemy” is never an excuse for plagiarism. In any case, forum, or proceeding, anyone who tries to impeach or attack the position, idea, philosophy or argument of an actual or perceived “enemy” must be very ready to produce a well-written, logical, rational and plagiarism-free deposition, written argument, or position paper.

It is an anomaly– a shame– on the part of an organization that claims to be an advocate or defender of reason to praise, promote, and keep a plagiarized piece of crap. It simply shows that this neo-mystic group is never an advocate of reason, science, logic and knowledge, but of materialistic mysticism, ignorance and statism.

Certainly there are lots of honest, professional bloggers in the cyberspace who condemn this dishonest practice. In my case I wouldn’t feel any speck of bliss or satisfaction if I knew I simply borrowed the ideas of other people without acknowledging them. It is very possible that we may have similar ideas, but when one simply copied the works of others word for word, that’s unethical and unprofessional. Take for example the case of the following bloggers who exposed the plagiarism of some dishonest people: Stuart Santiago, Wawam! After Hours, LilyRose Site, Wag Na Lang, Marcus Can Blog, among others.

Now this plagiarism incident that involves the Filipino Freethinkers only reveals the following:

  • That perhaps they are okay with plagiarizing other people’s works so long as the plagiarized article is directed against an enemy, a point that is anti-logic and anti-reason.
  • That a blog cannot be treated as a serious writing work similar to books, newspaper articles, or journalistic reports.
  • That the Filipino Freethinkers is a group that has no standards of its own, whether professional or moral.
  • That the Filipino Freethinkers are not an advocate of reason, science, math, logic, freedom, etc.
7 Comments leave one →
  1. John permalink
    April 13, 2010 3:38

    Bravo! Brilliant Froilan!

  2. April 13, 2010 3:38

    Nice article, here’s a tool which you can use for free to check the duplicate articles. Free Plagiarism Checker

  3. jeff permalink
    April 14, 2010 3:38

    “As expected, Mr. Espiritu’s blog became the most commented entry on the FF website. ”

    — again, Mr. Espiritu’s article is not yet “the most commented entry” in the FF website…

  4. April 16, 2010 3:38

    brilliant read! I especially loved the bit ” The very act of copying other people’s works without the necessary citation or acknowledgment is an affront to honesty, decency, and professionalism. To pretend that no crime or wrong is committed is a mockery of reason and justice. To evade any responsibility is an insult to logic and science.”

    Reading your post reminded me of the recent Manny Pangilinan issue. What do you think?

    • April 16, 2010 3:38

      It is. Well, I’d like to think that it’s an Ateneo problem, but I find the decision of the Ateneo big wigs so disturbing. I just read that some Ateneo professors and staff are criticizing the board’s decision.

Trackbacks

  1. Freethinking, Plagiarism, and Reason « THE VINCENTON POST
  2. The Art of Lying « THE VINCENTON POST

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