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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.

Suicide Bomb News Feed

The Jihad News Feed

Witch News Feed

Ritual Abuse and Killing News Feed

Faith Heal News Feed

Female Genital Mutilation News

Exorcism News Feed

Child Bride or Marriage News Feed

Church Abuse News Feed

Animal Sacrifice News Feed

Religious Exemption News Feed

Monday, February 16, 2009

"Seek And Ye Shall Find: The Atheist Doesn't Do It Right"

This is yet another Christian Heuristic that "blames the victim" in the same way as "if you don't understand it, its your fault". Some qualifiers are missing in that statement, mainly SCOPE and DEFINITION but also the ACTIONS of the AGENTS DOING THE SEARCH and AGENTS BEING SEARCHED FOR. What are the responsibilities of the Agents? What is the definition of "a comprehensive" search? And how will you know when you find it? There must be a description to go by or how will one know when they've found it?

Principles Of Searching.
Searching is a comparison of a description to something else. The more specific the search criteria are, the more likely a successful match will be found. Its Baysian in the sense that one has to make decisions about each clue such as "what is the likelihood that I am having success given such and such indication". But it gets even easier if a human is searching for a person, or a pet. When they are searching for each other they take actions to expedite the search and when they see each other, they make contact in an unambiguous way.

The Critical Question Generators: Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How.
John Searle, a philosopher of mind is quoted as saying that he has a maxim that is summed up as "if you can't say it clearly, you don't understand it yourself". I live by that and it has served me well since I first heard it.
So now, lets get a grip on the scope of the search.

- How do you know?
- How is the search carried out?
- How will we know when we find it?
- How long should we expect to look?
- What do you have to go on?
- What actions should the seeker take? What are the seekers responsibilities?
- What actions should the one being sought take? What are the responsibilities of the one being sought?
- What are we looking for? Does it exist? What does it look like, feel like, taste like, smell like, sound like?
- What are some false indictations that may fool us?
- Who says?
- Who are we searching for? Do they exist?
- Who made it? Who originated it? Who lost it? Who hid it?
- Why do you say that?
- Why isn't it obvious?
- Why are we looking? What is the benefit?
- When did it happen?
- When is it happening?
- When should the search take place? What is the best time? When was it lost? When did it originate?
- Where did it happen?
- Where will it happen?
- Where is it happening?
- Where is the search carried out?

Its always good to check the answers to these critical questions with another pass through the critical question generator to do a "reality check".

Searching For The Most Beautiful Work Of Art
I challenge anyone to go find the most beautiful art work in their nearest museum. I challenge anyone to do an experiment where peple are asked before they go in to find and report back which is the most beautiful art work in the museum. There will not be a consensus. A percentage of people will pick a particular work of art but not all will pick the same work of art. If they are given some criteria to look for and If the searchers report back that they've matched the criteria to a work of art, then its likely what they've identified is not what they think is the most beautiful work of art. Its someone else's idea of the most beautiful work of art.

If they should be told what the criteria are, then where did the criteria come from? Who derived them? Were they qualified to derive them? Do the criteria accurately reflect what the seeker holds as being characteristics of the most beautiful work of art?

Searching For Jesus
So if one must seek Jesus to find Jesus, and one was convinced that they found Jesus but had second thoughts, changed their mind and became an apostate, then what they found must have only matched the description superficially. They must have made a mistake.

Searching is a comparison of a description to something else.
So since its possible to mistake something else for Jesus, the description needs to be more specific as to what it is that should be used as criteria for the search. How will one know it? How long should one look before one can conclude that one is not looking in the right place and have to move on? How long should one have to look for a being that is waiting for another or maybe even looking for that other?

If two people, pets or combination want to find each other, they take some actions to expedite the search.
Why should one have to look for more than a minute for a supernatural being that can do anything to make its presence known to someone? Why would it let someone incorrectly identify something when it knows that the seeker will become discouraged and give up in some cases? Why is it easier for an owner to find their cat than Jesus? I'll bet more cats have been found across all categories of people than Jesus.

The Search for Jesus Violates Sound Principles Of Searching.
How can anyone be blamed for not recognizing what it is they are supposed to be looking for, or not finding something when they don't understand what it is they are looking for?

If the presumption is that God exists, then searching until he's found makes sense, but if he's waiting and looking for us, it doesn't make sense that he would hide or let himself be mistaken for something else. If God doesn't exist, then our poor results are what should be expected.
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