This is my personal response to a recent video that was posted online as an official TZM presentation:
Anyone that hangs out on social networking has probably seen all the noise that got stirred up from a recent video that was posted to the Official TZM Youtube channel entitled "How to Know What's True: Assessing Scientific Research", by Matt Berkowitz.
For anybody that was confused, upset, or otherwise had a less-than-positive reaction to his statements I want to clear the air.
1. I met Matt, he's not a bad guy. I doubt he had any malicious intent in his appeal to the viewer to look at scientific consensus on controversial topics, and to research such information instead of forming opinions based on blogs and random wallposts. And there my defense will rest.
2. Now, just for a moment put aside the specific issues he focuses on and look at the method in his communication style. The "side vs side" view on all the topics he mentions (mostly health & nutrition based topics) antagonizes the feelings of "Us vs Them". Unfortunately such communication falls within a similar framework as traditional politics with two sides: a right side, a wrong side. It polarizes and divides the audience and alienates people that do not hold the "right" view. And the labels clearly do not help. Who wants to associate with the label of "science denialist"? I'm sure anyone offended by the labels will never look into an NL/RBE from this point on, and that sucks. And I apologize on behalf of the movement if you felt this way. At the end of the day this communication style fails to help what TZM is trying to advocate and actually hurts our efforts.
3. Publishing personal views as TZM material is an action you'll never see me (CA Coordinator) endorse as an official chapter action. Because that's not what the chapters are for and it's clearly stated so in our materials. That said, everyone is free to think/support/believe whatever they want (and they do), but it's arbitrary to our efforts & goals as the Zeitgeist Movement since your personal views are most likely non-representative of everyone else. (For Example: Yes, you can absolutely advocate an NL/RBE whether you're vegetarian or not because it's not what we're trying to directly address even though it would be affected by the very structure of an NL/RBE model.)
4. We are all here for a common goal based on a common train-of-thought, for a common need, which stems from the fact that we all see the problems of the current monetary paradigm as a root causal mechanism to persistent social problems, and it must be transitioned away from towards a sustainable resource-based model for the health & well-being of everyone. And TZM chapters are a vehicle for global cooperation in advocating this direction as a needed one. Which is very different from what we do with our personal life choices.
5. Let's move forward with the wisdom gained from our communication successes and struggles, and keep making the difference we do in getting this train of thought into the social landscape.