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Technical Difficulties With Automated Blog Posts

[20100131] The blog is still refusing mail from gmail. I've stopped the forwarders. When the mail server stops trying to deliver mail (probably by the 5th). I'll try another strategy.
I'm trying to find the equilibrium between Google News Alerts, Gmail and Blogger to permit automated posting of Google News Alerts to the blog so I can have them for reference and work on other things. My goal is not to focus on one news topic, but to have the varied topics in the news feeds automatically posted in the blog daily or weekly because I can capture more unique data that way.

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Monday, February 2, 2009

Heuristics and When Ones Values Are Out Of Sync With Ones Thinking

In response to the my Article "Jesus Appeared To Other People, Why Can't He Appear To Me?" One of our christian guests commented....
"He will come down and visit with you, except you live your life as though you don't want Him to."

I must be committing Spiritual Suicide!
Lets think about that for a minute. Lets unpack it and lay it out for examination. One way to do that is by using the fundamental critical thinking skills that we should all have learned in school. I think of them as the seven dwarves
- Who
- What
- Where
- When
- Why
- How
- How Much or Scope

By applying the Seven Dwarves or Seven Critical Questions using a brainstorming technique, we have a nice easy to remember tool for unpacking and analyzing complicated concepts. Since a rigorous application of them to this comment would take too much time, I've opted to just pick some common sense critical questions to get us started. They are the following. If any of you can think of any more, please contribute them in the comments.

* Who are you? Who originated that information?
* What do you have to go on? What are some precedents?
* Where did you get that information? Where will or did it happen?
* When did you get that information? When was the origin of that information?
* Why do you say that? Why would that be true? Why should I care?
* How do you know? Are you in a position to know? How do you figure? How does that follow?
* How Much, How often, what is the Scope, and to what degree?

and a couple of words that can be thought of as JUICY TIDBITS are
* Would and
* Should.
When you see these words, you should think "Fish in a barrel" or "Low Hanging Fruit" because they require support, and the data-driven debater can easily dismantle or support a "would" or a "should".

The Position To Know And Agnosticism
Now lets decompose the comment.
1. He will come down
2. and visit with you,
3. except you live your life
4. as though you don't want Him to.

1. He will come down
Really? The commenter is in a position to know?
Lets rephrase that into a question.
Here are the seven dwarves applid to this claim but then I just pick some that I feel would do the job for brevity.
- Who will come down?
- What will come down?
- Where will he come down?
- When will he come down?
- Why will he come down? Is there some principle that would warrant it?
- How will he come down?
- How Much will He come down, to what degree, what is the scope or the upper and lower bounds of His Visit? Will he permit me to video tape it at a Football Game or will it be too subtle for me to recognize?

Will He come down? Why would he come down? Why should he come down?

When has he come down in the past that is not recorded in The Bible? Christianitiy is in some serious need of CROSS-CHECKING. How do you know? Do you presume to know the mind of God?

This statement has some hidden dependencies.
1a. It depends on the commenter being in a position to know what God will do and I know that can't be right with as many times as I get told that I can't predict or know or tell God what to do.

1b. It depends on God wanting to come down, and we know that no-one is in a position to know why God would want to come down because no-one knows the mind of God and being God he's free to change his mind anytime he likes.

1c. It depends on there being a principle in place that would warrant God Coming down. This is the foundation for my rebuttal.

2. and visit with you,
2a. It depends on the commenter being in a position to know and we know that he's not.

2b. It depends on presuming that God would come down and that he would visit with me if he did come down and that I would recognize it if he did. We can't say that he would come down, and we can't say that he would visit me if he did come down and we can't say I'd recognize a visit because we are not in a position to know any of that.

3. except you live your life
3a. Again, the commenter is not in position to know. I have a good job, and the respect of my peers. My moral center is a reasonable one, with several facets, which include such things as "Utility", "Logic" and "The well being of others". I know that my moral scheme and the Christians both have problems but over all they are compatible. To say something like this is a Judgement based on lack of information. I would love it if Jesus appeared to me right now so that I could turn this rebuttal into an endorsement for Jesus, but If I finish it, you'll know he didn't.

4. as though you don't want Him to.
4a. the commenter is not thinking this through.
Protesters are protesting for change. They protest for reasons such as they want some outcome that is being prevented by those in a position to bring it about. I am a protester. I want God to change his strategy to be more in line with how I think because as it is now it doesn't make sense to me and I don't get it and I don't think I ever will. Its true that I thought I got it at one time, but I came to realize that considering there is such a concept as Luck or Chance, and there is a concept of God, it seemed to me that God had the same characteristics of Luck or Chance.

Since I think my understanding of God was a misinterpretation of Chance, and since there is nothing yet to refute that viewpoint, then I am on a one way trip to Spiritual Suicide. God and all of you Christians reading this should think I'm committing spiritual suicide therefore so should the commenter.

So what is the principle that warrants a visit from God?
How to Respond to Expressions of Suicidal Intent

In a situation when someone expresses an intention to commit suicide, you should try not to get upset or embarrassed. Keep yourself calm and encourage the person to explain more in detail why and how he/she intends to commit suicide.

The principle is that Suicide is bad, those that want to commit suicide are not well, and the expression of suicidal tendencies warrants intervention appropriate to dispell it.

That is important enough for him to come down and intervene.

So the key point in this article is that I have noticed that in most cases where a Christian CAN use a Heuristic or a "pre-packaged" argument to rebut an atheist they WILL.
And usually when you unpack it you can find where it does not syncoronize with what their values should be according to what the commonly accepted characteristics of a Christian are.

In this case, the commenter has alluded that my spiritual suicidal tendency is not important enough for God to come down and intervene. The commenter might as well have said that ones suicidal tendencies are not important enough to warrant intervention.

I can only say, "non-sense" to that.
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