User:Shan/Sandbox

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Original review author: Shan (Rolling updates and revisions (until acceptable draft completion for forum discussion) over next 2 days from now until no longer in present incomplete draft form)
Webcomic name: Adam4d.com
Author: Adam Ford (Adam 4d how clever is that?)
Start Date: 25th of June 2012 ("Adam4d dot com was born on 6/25/2012" and originally on Tumblr.)
End Date: Ongoing (maybe ends at the Rapture but only if author gets to go. It may not be as slam dunk as to think after we're finished with his webcomic)
Genre: Christian intolerance/money-making scheme
Defining Flaw: This is an ugly, unfunny, unoriginal paycheck masquerading as a comic. (Trademark to oddguy who wrote this word for word about The Oatmeal, which everyone says this was stolen from. At least I'm giving full credit to the author of this sentence). Made even worse by adding religious justification for intolerance against the usual suspects (I don't really have to spell out who the targets are do I?).

Rating Summary
Art: [No stars]

For being a knockoff of The Oatmeal, all categories penalised one star. Tells you how well The Oatmeal did in its review overall, doesn't it?

Characters: [No stars]

No characters as such. Just presumably proxies for the writer's frequently odious point of view . Even the straw men are poorly conceived.

Miscellaneous Details: [No stars]

Quit his job to do this full time. Unlike all those other people who actually create stuff which wouldn't qualify here, is somehow actually getting away with it, presumably much to many people's frustration. Posts aren't dated and there's no archive list. You have to keep hitting "Previous" to go through past posts. I'm not impressed. Short cut use http://adam4d.com/page/46/ to get to the start at present, as time goes on the number for the first page is going to increase (everything is in reverse numerical order). Either just keep hitting previous until you reach the first page or just change the number in the link until you hit the first page.

Overall: [No stars]

The only reason this comic exists is to make its creator money. In a better world, its author would be paid more if he promised to stop (paraphrased from oddguy's review on The Oatmeal. Still seems apt. This guy doesn't deserve to get paid to stop though.) Even the Negative Zone doesn't deserve this so we'll have to settle for zero in all categories.



Introduction

This review is first and foremost about how successfully the content is executed in terms of the art, the writing and the integration of the two in relation to being a webcomic. As is every review in the Wiki endeavouring to do. However, as this particular webcomic directly attempts to directly present real world situations and institutions on a frequent basis, we're have no choice but to supply some background of some of these issues in this webcomic.

I cannot stress enough that when this is done in the review, the objective is for the purposes of demonstrating what the flaws are in this webcomic in terms of its content and writing. It will try to be as apolitical and deal as much with verifiable referenced facts as opposed to opinion as possible.

Background

Multiple independent sources in the Bad Webcomics Wiki forums have effectively said this is a Christian themed knock off of the format of The Oatmeal. I will take their word for it (I suffered enough reading this one). Look at this webcomic strip from Least I Could Do sending it up. Thank you to forum member Pink Rabbit for finding this. It's also an introduction to the art, compare and contrast the spot on replication of the art of Adam4d.com and the rest of the strip around it. As is already quite evident even before we get to the specific section discussion about the art it's not very good. So we don't even have that to fall back on.

File:WRONG1.jpg

Now Ryan Sohmer is a well known antagonist of this Wiki for a multitude of social faux pas and if even he's calling you out for your behaviour, well then you've got some serious issues indeed.

Basically a recurring theme of this webcomic can be summed up as "You are intolerant for not tolerating my intolerance." I'd say nice straw man you've built there except for the fact as straw men go, it's actually a very poorly constructed one. We're going to come back to this particular point because it permeates the entire run of this webcomic.

Downfall

To be fair, the current first page seems inoffensive enough. Even if I don't get the specifics, I do get what it's trying to do which is present some stereotypes of what you can say about a person depending on their preferred version of the bible. I can't say how successful it is though. Maybe it's actually offensively terrible. I don't actually know enough to tell so I'm going to give the benefit of the doubt and assume it's some light ribbing among bible aficionados in different factions. I may be wrong though.

The second page seems to be a joke about what makes perfect coffee and is some sort of parody about putting too much in your cup and then filling it to overflowing. The first panel about not putting your coffee in the freezer and in the cupboard instead I believe is actually correct though. So far, nothing too bad in terms of raising the hackles though for both of these, your mileage may vary.

Then the preaching begins in the third one and is instantly as obnoxious as possible in whatever point it is that it's trying to make (well until I read future pages and found them even more appalling). So I'm going to say things became unbearable from the third page because I sure as hell couldn't bear this page - or most of the next ten - and eventually most of the rest.

It keeps plummeting to new depths very quickly as this webcomic talks about real life people and institutions but not for the purposes of incorporating them into the narrative of a work of fiction. It is actually publicly voicing an opinion and passing judgment on their actions

This is a major problem in this particular webcomic. The content alone leads to a downfall past the point of no return. This is because simply put, there are frequently statements that are made which are patently and provably false.

The reference material used to support what the author is saying is poorly used at best (and that's being charitable) and regularly is being used completely used in a fashion contrary to the intent of the reference. This includes the bible (actually especially the bible).

Basically this webcomic tries to show: real people saying things they never actually said and holding beliefs that even a modicum of research would show they don't hold; representing institutions with statements that are easily provable as false and selective at worst and highly questionable at best slightly less than being the absolute worst.

We'll leave it up to you to decide where on the spectrum of genuinely misguided to deliberately deceptive the author is being.

If went into every objectionable thing done in this webcomic, we'd be here all year and probably the next constructing something as big as the Encyclopedia Britannica, so we're just going to use a few key examples of a prominent nature to illustrate our point. Believe me, it'll be enough

Writing Part I - Actually do the research and use it properly

Here's a recent page at the time of writing on Neil De Grasse Tyson which illustrates what's been wrong with this comic and what continues to be wrong with it and by extension the person who writes it. It's a good place to start as it both demonstrates the flaws that riddle this enter enterprise well beyond saving like a cancer and is free of the more contentious subject matter that could act as a distraction to the fundamental flaw I'm trying to illustrate in many of his pages including the ones with extremely controversial topics.

Firstly, the science. What I'm about to say is so important, I'm even going to put it in a box to highlight it.

"A scientific theory is a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world that is acquired through the scientific method and repeatedly tested and confirmed through observation and experimentation."

So that's what a scientist means when they use the word "theory". As opposed to a layman in this context like noted rocket surgeon and U.S. presidential candidate Dr Ben Carson when he said "My own personal theory is that Joseph built the pyramids to store grain," Carson said. "Now all the archeologists [sic] think that they were made for the pharaohs' graves. But, you know, it would have to be something awfully big if you stop and think about it. And I don't think it'd just disappear over the course of time to store that much grain." In this context, when he uses the word "theory" it means "pulled out of his ass with no supporting evidence" (because there is none) and the archaelogists when they say "theory" would be for them the above quote. This all becomes important again later and as a very important rule in life in general is to know when to differentiate the two by who's saying something and whether it's their area of expertise or not.

So first let's analyse the science in this strip. The statement saying we're made of elements from the death of stars is about what chemically and biologically makes up our bodies among other things (well actually all other things made out of matter more or less). That is the best scientific theory we have for the formation of all the elements. What the science is not is any kind of comment on anything religious about is their a heaven, a hell, life after death or anything like that. It's purely all the things we can demonstrate empirically through science. No I'm not going to do it for you, this is a Wiki about webcomics. Go visit some observatories and astrophysicists. I'm sure there'd be some that are happy to tell you all about it but the key point is if you look hard enough, you'd find it is demonstrable. So already there's a visible disconnect in the writing. The science doesn't prove or disprove any of the religious aspects of the question that random fictitious student presents.

However what's even much more egregious and a problem all through the comic itself is the representation of Neil De Grasse Tyson himself. If the author so much as bothered to look (took me all of about 10 seconds), he would have easily found that Tyson's views on religion are about as opposite as possible to how he's tried to represent Tyson here. The actual man speaking in public as these videos show quite clearly by what he says about religion that he'd never say what is in the last panel "Haha what a ridiculous fairy tale".

Which you can see here, here (especially at the 5 minute mark), here and trolling a troll here.

What Tyson does say however is that even though he has no problem with religion and what people believe, there's no place for it in the teaching of science and by implication, interfering with science as it pertains to policy and governance. We'll be coming back to that later too.

I'm no uncritical Tyson supporter either, I'm still annoyed about some of the things he said about the movie Gravity which even I instantly knew was wrong like "Why Bullock, a medical Doctor, is servicing the Hubble Space Telescope." I don't know Neil, did you ever think to ask the medical doctor who actually did service the Hubble telescope why he did it - back in 1993? Or this medical doctor? Or all the other medical doctors who've been into space? There's been a lot and they're all expected to contribute to operations on the missions, not just medical interventions.

The point is, I'm not biased towards for Neil DeGrasse Tyson either. Important point to make which we'll getting back to as well as take you far in life, even experts aren't expert in anywhere near everything. Don't forget to think even with stuff that's their area of expertise but be properly sceptical when it's an area they're not.

So in relation to webcomics, we've just seen one of many examples of this author failing to research a real life person and completely misrepresenting them.

Writing Part II - Planned Parenthood

The same fallacies as above occur in the much more contentious subject (with some people at least) of Planned Parenthood.

I really don't want to this thing but so you can check I've reproduced it correctly, here's Adam's take on Planned Parenthood.

If you 'stand with Planned Parenthood,' there's blood on your hands.

But not only that.

You're standing in it

(picture of woman with scowling demonic face with two raised fists covered in blood and also ankle deep in a lake of blood, wearing a pink T-Shirt saying I stand with Planned Parenthood)

up to your ankles,

in the middle of a mass grave

containing the bodies of MILLIONS of your fellow humans,

(pull back from same woman to reveal she's standing among a multitude of black crosses)

which is on top of a mountain

of lies,

racism,

deception,

propaganda,

exploitation,

misinformation,

false narratives,

and, of course,

MONEY.

Lots and lots of money.

If you stand with Planned Parenthood,

this is where you stand.

And I'm begging you

to open your eyes.

If you stand with Planned Parenthood

Applying scientific theory, I moved from thinking the author of this webcomic was just stupid to actually deliberately dishonest. Though odds are, also still stupid as well. It can be two things. This page is appalling in so many ways. For the purposes of demolishing his appalling writing due to the multitude of complete falsehoods, we're going to have to unavoidably at least touch on this subject by pointing out specific examples where he's claimed one thing but reality begs to differ.

For starters, read this article. Yes, it's Salon and therefore must be full of commie pinko reds but early on the article says "No matter where you fall politically, we can all agree that it’s dangerous to attack—or defend—Planned Parenthood without knowing the facts about the organization." This article is a good place to start because it at least shows that it's a more complex issue than either side is usually portrayed in the media.

To start with, Planned Parenthood is not selling fetal tissue for profit. As evidenced here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here (yes even Fox News), here and from the people who should know the best here. To pre-emptively counter the "Well, Planned Parenthood would say that." about that last link, well of course they would if it's actually true. While we're at it, let's add this one which contains the quote "Officials in states including Georgia, Indiana, Massachusetts, and South Dakota have not been able to turn up any evidence that Planned Parenthood clinics are violating state laws and regulations regarding the collection of fetal tissue donations."

Also yes, those links include Snopes and Wikipedia (obligatory xkcd post here) but as this article discussing Snopes (and Wikipedia as it would have it), they're both among the most reliable sites on the Internet as evidenced here, which links to evidence about Snopes here and Wikipedia here and reliable as encyclopedias and other references if not more so here. Furthermore, Snopes and Wikipedia both reference links to other sources to back up their content so that anyone reading it can follow them and judge them for themselves.

So the point that we've hammered into unconsciousness at this point is that everyone who's looked into this including several state governments and other organisations that would actually want to prove it true for political reasons among other things, even they haven't been able to do so.

Corollary: This webcomic is peddling a bunch of complete crap and by extension, its writing is too.

Before you leave this section, to make up for the dour trek through all of that utter bilge, enjoy the obviously satirical article here about a new state of the art $8 billion Abortionplex here, Yelp reviews of it here and long after the event, a Congressman fooled by the whole thing here. Ladies and gentlemen, your tax dollars at work.

On a more serious note, this guy might be easily ignorable but there's other people out there who either believe the same thing or cynically pretend to do so for political ends with the actual power to make abortion so hard to obtain that things like this can happen and even though you think it couldn't possibly happen, what's to say it couldn't go as far as this fucking bullshit?

That's why we have to stop people like this as much as the people with actual power as there's always the chance this noxious screed could go on to someday contaminate someone will also go on to try and make this odious agenda happen You'd think it couldn't happen in the U.S. but why risk it? Every bit counts including stopping people who will brazenly present complete falsehoods in the service of an agenda like this even if they themselves are only bothering us with their bad art and worse writing. Oh look, here's another one I found.

Nothing we haven't already covered but it's another chance to reiterate that on top of being able to write in general, present actual facts (since non-fiction seems to be the thing you're going for here albeit failing dismally), you're being a horrible, horrible human being.

Writing Part III - The Bible

Where to start? The Protestant Reformation? The Crusades? Henry the 8th? Pontius Pilate? Vatican II? Suffice to say it's a safe bet to say it was from the first strip by the mere fact that it's a knock off of The Oatmeal. Then not so much by the insertion of religion into it but the particular take on it.

I think this is the earliest page currently on the site (I suspect a lot of earlier pages were moved or removed if archive.org is anything to go by). Can anyone tell me what on earth is going on here?

Here's a good a place as any to start deconstructing things though, a very recent spat with Facebook on or about the 7th of November.

First off, you're not the one who gets to decide what is and isn't homophobia. Using any religious book or writings for the justification of holding of such attitudes is another form of hate. I really don't have to explain that further do I?

Furthermore, the bible says a lot of things. Like how tattoos are forbidden, as are mixed fibres in clothing and shellfish just for starters. For some reason, we don't seem to hear so much about those ones. We haven't even started on towards women, foreigners, black people (never mind this part of the bible never mentioned colour some Jews, Christians and Muslims used it to explain both black skin and justify slavery; it even had an influence right up to the Church of Latter Day Saints using it to keep them out of the priesthood until 1978 - the point being people have used the bible for a very long time to justify all sorts of things regardless of what's actually written there. Kind of an important point quite relevant here going forward.) and a whole heap of other things which nowadays really aren't the done thing anymore.

Simply what I'm saying is that some things can change. After all, if gay people exist God must have made them right? Then what about animals, homosexual activity is rife in the animal kingdom? This is getting into "Could God make a rock so heavy he couldn't lift it?" territory, suffice to say it happens a lot in nature so got an answer for that one?

By the way, my favourite bible verse is Mark 11:12-14 which can be summed up as "God hates Figs". Much better than this train wreck of contorted and convoluted reasoning and justification.

Basically, time and time again does not do the research and yes that includes using the bible as a reference. Generally this comic is a fail on all counts in using its sources and how it represents them, which pushes this from just merely intolerable reading into unforgivable.

Writing - Part IV - The Rest

Well, we could go to town with a full blast sarcasm laden assault but what would be the point? Chances are no-one's minds are going to be changed by this approach as we've all staked out our positions and insults just affirm them. If anything, we'd be giving the other side even more ammunition (OK, I admit I let a few shots off earlier but I had to vent just a bit). I've only seen someone have their minds changed once in an argument on the Internet. It was amazing. It was also like spotting a unicorn. Given that it was about whether Michael Bay's The Island had its script ripped off from Parts: The Clonus Horror, it was hardly an earth shattering event in the big scheme of things either. Mind you, it's a fascinating read from a site after our own heart that broke the story in the first place and set the wheels in motion for a financial settlement between the makers of the two films, read here: Agony Booth - The Island. We should be so fortunate one day.

Maybe by the mere act of being listed on this site is enough, never mind what else we say. So, we're going to try something a bit different here and aim to educate by providing a handful of tools to help aid critical thinking.

If you take nothing else away from this review that this, it's at least an important start: Don't immediately believe anything you see, read, hear or are told by anyone or anything at the very instant you learn it. Spend some time at least trying to verify it. (You can make a singular exception for this). You'll make less mistakes and believe less wrong things if you at least make an effort to try and do this. You could hardly be worse off than if you didn't take this approach as opposed to a complete knee-jerk one, right?

It sounds trite to say if only we change one mind with this approach but it'd be a start. After all, the motto here is "Control the Bad". A boot to the head of this webcomic might make us feel better but they'll probably end up feeding off it and absolutely nothing will change, at least not for the better. We do drive traffic to a lot of our review subjects. So, instead we hope to win at least a few people over by reasoned argument instead before they leave here. That and probably try and sneak at least one or two cheap shots in there somewhere. You win a Marvel No-Prize if you find one.

So instead, we're going to focus on a handful of posts from the total archive of this site, particularly some of the recent big topics that have made the media cycle recently at the time of writing this.

On Facebook and Twitter

Let's just get this out of the way right up front. Facebook offers a free service (the collecting and monetizing of our data is a story for another time). As a private company, they have a lot of control over their own service. They're not obliged to keep you on it if they don't want to, hence terms of service. Even though the First Amendment wasn't specifically mentioned, it doesn't apply here because that's to do with the government suppressing your right to free speech. No-one's stopping you saying it, it's a private company telling you to they aren't obliged to provide you a platform to say it.

As succintly put here

"Most spaces on the internet are privately owned, and have no obligation to allow you to speak freely in their space. Whether it's Facebook removing content that violates its own terms of service, a blog owner deleting a comment they find offensive, or a big company deleting user posts from its Facebook page, your speech may be censored, but you have no first amendment right to free speech in those places."

OK, this one about something remaining on Twitter even though it has been removed from Facebook is even easier. This is where we explain that presently, Twitter and Facebook are separate companies. For example, Pornhub and Redtube would definitely let you host material that Youtube wouldn't and for obvious reasons at that. So, you're not proving anything, except maybe your lack of knowledge about how even the basics of corporate America works. For all we know, bringing this to Twitter's attention might get it booted off Twitter too. Maybe we should test that theory.

This final set of panels are really ridiculous.

"Hmm It appears your comic showed a few examples of homophobia but clearly implied that they're bad, then made the point that for a Christian to merely hold a biblical view of sexuality is not really homophobiaat all." followed by "Well that's not hate speech. That's just you being a Christian and articulating a biblical worldview."

Firstly, Mark Zuckerberg's (I assume it's the founder of Facebook, more on this in the Art section) religion is none of our business and he was never under any obligation to tell us but according to public sources he's put out there, he was raised Jewish for starters and the most recent public statement was that he is an atheist. So I very much doubt he'd be saying anything like what's being portrayed here. However, if he was a Biblical scholar, he might know just a bit about Christian persecution of Jews both under the aegis of the Roman Empire and after it, so maybe it's best not to go down that path if you're trying to make that (spurious) argument. So we're going to stop that train of thought right there.

Even if, as unlikely as it is, he did hold these views (which I really doubt) he certainly wouldn't say it out loud. These companies are in the business of making money. So they're going to avoid making any needless public statements which they think could antagonise the customer base. If anything they do a costs benefits analysis about whether keeping your post is likely to antagonise more people than axing it. At the end of the day, that's why more than anything else as to why your post got removed. So, if anything, the "We don't allow that (if it affects the bottom line)." is by far the most accurate statement out of all of that.

The fact this was added under those series of panels: "Update: To be clear, this is not an actual conversation I had. It’s just a response to them pulling this one." makes this all even more hilarious. This one, referring to his Twitter post here

Anyway, even though the United States Supreme Court has now enacted marriage equality across the entire country and overriden state laws preventing it; most people don't actually know that it's still quite possible to be fired and be denied a lease in up to 31 states just for being gay. In at least some of those cases, not even in a 'find some other reason and pretend that's why' way either, they can be quite blatant about it either. It's not much good being able to get married if you still have to hide absolutely everything about yourself to keep your home and job anyway. So, there's a long way to go yet. I'll leave it to someone much better than this to explain how this is so, over to you John Oliver.

So money where your mouth is time. My open question to the author. Going by your comic pages above, you should at least be against this, right? So what will you be doing to protect people's very livelihoods and rights to housing then? You know where to find us with your answer.

On Patreon and Paypal

File:WRONG6.png
Yes, we are most definitely being trolled.

His main page has a panel which is literally a troll asking for money. The main page is someone who just looks like those people you see seated on the sidewalk holding signs begging for money. We are ... well ... literally being trolled here.

File:WRONG7.jpg
At 410 donors and $4325/month at the time of writing, even after taking into account fees this is utterly shameless.

Now here's a really good example of private corporate power. It's not just companies take writing you've posted off their pages. Paypal can and does frequently decide what kinds of services can use it. Anything deemed too adult imagery by them can lose the right to use Paypal for transactions. Due to their market dominance, Patreon has to basically follow suit. Anything deemed NSFW or Adult can't use Paypal for Patreon payments, only credit cards. As you can imagine, that can put a serious crimp into the income of something like a webcomic. People generally aren't keen to have regular payments directly on their credit card for that. For all intents it's effectively censorship as you have to choose to comply or potentially lose a substantial chunk of your income.

Related to this, a lot of people also depend on Google Adsense for additional income and the same thing can apply. Money can be withheld by them for conditions breaches and the reasoning and timing can be quite arbitrary. It can be quite difficult if not impossible to reverse. The webcomic Exiern (yes I know I bring it up a lot but go with what you know, you know?) after having several pages quietly minding their own business in the archive for four years, suddenly got a notice that they had to be modified to add utterly ridiculous underwear even though you couldn't see anything more than Demi Moore's Striptease movie cover which suggests a lot but actually shows nothing. Furthermore, new pages also had to be changed due to 'implied nudity'. Meaning, even though the subject in the panel was under am opaque sheet; because they were possibly naked under it. So they had to be revealed more to show they were wearing (hastily added) undergarments. This is the sort of power the market dominant corporations can exert. It's not about morality either, it's about money. They've determined this kind of action is supposedly more profitable.

By the same token, Patreon can under their Terms of Service remove you from Patreon entirely if they think you're breaching theirs. Now that's something you should worry about more than if Facebook takes off one of your posts. I'm not saying that I've found anything to suggest this on this site so far but this is a thing that could happen anytime to anyone dependent on these services. The onus is on you to prove they're mistaken or that you can change the problem but history has shown it's an uphill climb quite often. So really, this is what the author should worry about more than anything else since his livelihood depends on it. So should everyone else who also depends on it for a living with hopefully less objectionable and damaging material. Like legal porn or something like that.

On the fair use law

Because of the terrible level of knowledge of civics that seems to be so pervasive and demonstrated up to now, we can't be too careful. Basically, we're allowed to use selected samples of a work up to a certain fraction of the total for the purposes of criticism. Just in case you didn't know that.

Art review

Well, I'm not much of an art expert but if general consensus from many different sources is that this is a knock off of The Oatmeal and I think The Oatmeal has better art than this. As oddguy gave The Oatmeal one star out of five and we're already penalising this for being a knockoff, no stars it is. Minimal elements on the page and minimal detail in each element. Basically one character on one side often lecturing one on the other side. Or all of us in general. No real point going into much more detail than that is there? The artist sure doesn't.

Author biography

<To be completed>

http://adam4d.com/annoying/

Then talks a lot about money himself.

Maybe let the Patreon do the talking. Beats giving his website any traffic.

https://www.patreon.com/Adam4d?ty=h

Already gone into how much he makes. However there's this.

"My wife and I decided that this is what God wants us to do."

I suspect this is about as likely as God having particular sport teams he wants to win.

There's been a lot of "And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?" going on all through my experience of going through all this. The Mote in God's Eye and its sequel are great books by the way. I seriously recommend looking them up.

2016

[This section to be completed soon]

ITB.jpg

Brmse Crsn Vte Sendrs 2billplural

Conclusion

There's currently 44 pages of posts. No I did not read anywhere near all of them. Anyone saying that you can't review something without looking at all or most of it, I direct you to this. You don't have to drink a whole carton of milk to know it's spoiled.

Since the genesis of this review and its multiple aborted and abandoned drafts, serial frustration and comprehensive forum discussion and repeat discussion, I went back and read every single one of the current pages in this webcomic in order to try and do the most comprehensive job for you the reader and to mitigate any accusations of unfairness in this review because I said I hadn't read it all.

I don't even manage to read the webcomics I sponsor on Patreon these days let alone the ones I like in general but I put myself through the wringer with this one (which was so fundamental in its wrongness and at a more base level, just plain awful) because no matter how little impact my efforts have in itself, I have to do everything I can when it's possible to at least contribute to stopping things like this because it's just awful. The kind of awful that also goes on to make other people exposed to it awful if it's not stopped in its tracks.

Links