Singing the Bite Me Song

« August 2003 | Main | October 2003 »

September 24, 2003

A Christian Calculus to fight humanism and the devil the quantitative way

This article is part of an Christian process which�calcuates that if things continue, the youth of American will not only lose their faith in God but be fully converted to socialism by 2014-2016.

It reinforces my belief that quantitative methods can be employed for nearly any incredibly stupid thing people can think up. Nothing like quantifying future religious belief. Would these folks not be better off finding a quantitative measure for blind acceptance of authoritarianism vs personally considered ethical decision-making, what the article below conflates with "humanism" as a "religion" that will lead to the death of Christianity?

Or, rather than dispairing at the declining numbers through test results (perhaps manipulation of the poll voting rolls or hoping for a rainy day for poll-taking can give them religious hope in the same way the Republican Party rejoices at subversions of democratic processes), perhaps they could use the same quantitative intellectual tools (of humanism, of course) to assess WHY young people are rejecting blind authoritarianism in such numbers. What is it about such world views do young people find unsatisfying spiritually as well as intellectually? Perhaps that is a better goal than thinking up gimmicks to "get the numbers up."


"One Generation to go, Then the End"
Nehemiah Institute
By: Dan Smithwick

For the past fifteen years our ministry has been conducting a Christian worldview testing service used by Christian schools, churches, home schoolers and various other Christian ministries. The primary use of the test has been with high school students.

The test, known as the PEERS Test, measures understanding in Politics, Economics, Education, Religion, and Social Issues (PEERS). Results from each category are classified into one of four major worldview philosophies: Christian Theism, Moderate Christian, Secular Humanism, or Socialism.

In the mid nineteen eighties it was common to find Christian youth both in Christian schools and public schools scoring in the Moderate Christian worldview classification. Home school students generally scored 15-20% higher than average from day schools.

However, with nearly each subsequent year of testing, we found the understanding of the Christian worldview by students to be lower than the year before. This trend has continued through year 2000. The only exceptions to the decline were Christian schools that had adopted specific worldview materials in their curriculum. These are primarily schools known as Principle Approach or Classical Christian, and homeschools. I believe students from these schools represent the true remnant and hope for the future, but they represent less than 2% of total students tested.

From 1988 to 2000, average scores of Christian school students dropped by 30.3%. Results of evangelical family students in public schools dropped 36.8% in the same period. Christian students attending public schools now regularly score in the lower half of Secular Humanism and students in typical Christian schools score just below the minimum score to be rated in the Moderate Christian worldview. This is not a pretty picture and raises grave concerns for the future of the Christian church in America.

Many Christians are acutely aware that something is amiss with this generation of youth. Principled values of morality seem non-existent. Now PEERS Testing quantifies this loss of morality and lack of belief in biblical truth. Few are surprised that this is happening in government schools, but it is shocking to most Christians that the trend is the same in Christian schools. It appears that Christian education is little more than baptized public secular education in the majority of typical Christian schools.

The foundations ARE being destroyed; what will the Christians do?

We have established -20.0 as a "Danger Zone" benchmark for PEERS Testing. This is based on test results of individuals responding to ads in the Humanist Magazine and the New Age Magazine for our worldview test. As a group, they scored in the range of -20.0 to -80.0 in all PEERS categories, expressing strong anti-biblical views of life. It is my opinion that a generation of youth from "Christian homes," scoring this low, will surely lead America into a dark age in the subsequent generation.

"All government originates in families, and if neglected there, it will hardly exist in society...The foundation of all free government and of all social order must be laid in families and in the discipline of youth....The education of youth, [is] an employment of more consequence than making laws and preaching the gospel, because it lays the foundation on which both the law and gospel rest for success." Noah Webster

Based on projections using the decline rate for Christian students, the church will have lost her posterity to hard-core Humanism between 2014 and 2018. This is approximately one school generation of youth, 12-16 years. If these projections hold true, it won't be the end of the world, but it will be the end of America as we have known it for over 200 years. One could argue with projections of worldview scores, but the historical data is indisputable. The real question is, What will the church do to reverse this downward trend in Biblical worldview understanding?

Unless we are dealing with the problem of loosing our youth to Humanism and Socialism, does it really matter what else we are fighting?

Anything you can do in your circle of influence to tell the serious need for worldview training, and testing, will be much appreciated. Where would your church youth group score? Where would you score? You may call for a free information packet (1-800-948-3101) or visit our web site to obtain further information on our worldview testing service-

For a fuller treatment of 'worldview in the classroom,' please order our study, Teacher's, Curriculum, Control: A 'World' of Difference. This pamphlet is by far the most popular of our study reports. Get a copy for you pastor! Call 1-800-948-3101 and ask for TCC; $5.50 Visa or MC.

Or send payment to Nehemiah Institute, 1323 No. 3rd St, Aberdeen, SD 57401 with TCC in memo.

"Come, let us build-" (Nehemiah 2:17)

PS- PEERS Testing update: (November 9, 2001)

Results of several dozen Christian schools tested this fall continue to show the downward trend in biblical worldview understanding by Christian youth. Results are approximately 16% lower than last year. But schools that are using PEERS Testing now know where Humanism/Socialism is impacting their students and are taking corrective action. Please encourage your school/church to do the same.�

September 24, 2003 at 12:15 AM in Politics | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 22, 2003

Most trusted journalist meets least trusted journalist

Pretty funny. Also, you gotta wonder what drugs Jayson Blair is still on, to even have the gall to force himself on people like that.


New York Metro: Wesley Clark Storms Hollywood... Model Misbehavior... Hepburn's House on the Block...

Cronkite Greets Blair...

By Deborah Schoeneman

The Way It Is

Walter Cronkite, the Most Trusted Man in America, had his first encounter with Jayson Blair—okay, the least trusted man in America—during a recent breakfast with Texas Monthly editor Evan Smith at the Regency Hotel, where Smith was interviewing Cronkite for a Q&A that will appear in the magazine’s November issue. They were approached by Michael Viner, who identified himself as a publisher, mentioned that he was meeting with Blair, and asked if Blair could “come over and say hello.” Shortly after, Blair ambled up to the table. “Oh, Mr. Cronkite,” he said fawningly, extending his hand, “I’m an amazing admirer of your work.” Cronkite smiled graciously and shook hands. Blair then nodded at Smith and remarked, “It must be awkward to have me here when you’re interviewing Walter Cronkite.” Quite the contrary, Smith told us later. “I felt like I’d won the lottery.” After the pint-size prevaricator left, Cronkite turned to Smith and said, “What am I supposed to say to that guy? ‘Nice job’? ‘Tell me about your journalism career’?”

September 22, 2003 at 05:47 PM in Media & Journalism | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 17, 2003

Freeway Blogging: Can blogs + Burma Shave = "flogging"?

Nobody Died When Clinton Lied

This website is documenting the fleeting phenomenon (akin to flash mobs?) of grassroots highway signage, particularly signs that say "Nobody Died When Clinton Lied."

Posted on Boing Boing but spotted somewhere in Southern California. The Scarlet Pimpernel

Mark Frauenfelder writes at his blog Boing Boing: The Scarlet Pimpernel sends this example of Los Angeles freewayblogging: It's about 10'X10' and reads "Dear America, Thanks for all the money, sorry about your kids. -- Halliburton Oil" on one side and "Nobody Died when Clinton Lied" on the other." He also post the first usage (that I've seen) of the very appropriate term "freewayblogging". Or perhaps we should shorten this to freeblogging or perhaps just flogging?

But as I link this idea in my mind with the Burma Shave phenomenon of the highways of old, it starts seeming more viable to me.

Big billboards aren't really do-able for ordinary folks, to make it as easy to pull off as, say, a flash mob. BUT!

But what if, if this becomes a "movement," little pink flamingo stick-in-the-ground things could be sold cheap and in mass on web sites that might support "flogging," so that, as one's mind wanders while surfing the Interstates, if a brainstorm hits, a little portable car printer whipping out some display type, and just like that, you set up 3 little Burma Shave signs in a row? 1st rain would wipe them out, or other people, or police.

And there is that $200 littering fine you risk. About the same sort of risk as building graffiti activism tho, right?

Temporal. Ephemeral. Political. Guerrilla activism. What do you think?



September 17, 2003 at 04:30 PM in Democracy, Favorite Links, Media & Journalism, News to Note, Singing the Bite Me Song | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 16, 2003

Trying out some Google Goggles

Google - the only archive we'll ever need?. N5M Only if you're wearing Google-goggles [The Register]

Google - the only archive we'll ever need?

By Andrew Orlowski in Amsterdam Posted: 15/09/2003 at 18:45 GMT

Net Time list moderator Ted Byfield had an almost impossible task summing up a panel discussion on the politics of the archive here on Saturday. The panel, at the Next Five Minutes festival featured Danielle Riou, who curates the Milosevic on Trial video archive and artists Julia Meltzger and David Thome, who create haunting works of art based on reconstructed state documents at Speculative Archive for Historical Clarification. And I'd been invited to talk about Google, or more specifically - as Google itself isn't really the problem - the effects of Googlephilia. Google is remarkable for many reasons, not least among them being its ability to compel its most fervent admirers to lose their minds.

"The implications of Google have real implications for mass social procedure, on how we enquire," said Byfield. "It's so much bigger than terrifying - it's Interesting."

"We've noted how Google markets itself, as something light and fluffy," he added. "But it's worth us asking how it sees itself. For example Google is not interested in the specifity of the material - it's interested in patterns rather than the content itself."

Googlephilia & Google paranoia seem to go hand in hand. This article in The Register seems to address both while taking on the philiacs.

Firstly, it's worth remembering that Google only indexes a third of the web's nine billion pages. That it does so as comprehensively, if not more so, than anyone else, isn't at issue. Information costs money, and this has taken the sheen off the 'Internet' as it was once sold to us. The most valuable collections limit their access, for very good economic reasons: they can't afford not to.

The best collections are Web-accessible, after a fashion. For example, San Francisco Library's public collections are one of the Web's treasures - and accessible to any visitor who takes time to pick up a Library card - but beyond the crawlers. They represent the tip of the iceberg of the Internet that Google can't see - but that the rest of us can enjoy.

However this brain drain, this emptying of the commons simply isn't what we were promised ten years ago, when the Internet was first sold to the public as, amongst other things, an almost infinite source of information. Ten years on, the reality hasn't lived up to the promise, and as Net Time co-founder Geert Lovink pointed out in a panel on Saturday, and as we've noted too, Internet usage in the West is stalling. The public is not stupid, and is now reaching for the off switch.

While it isn't exactly fair to blame Google for this. Google has succeeded in becoming the branding for the Great Internet Project. But obviously, it can't be responsible for the content, which leaves us all somewhat underwhelming. But the corporation continues to highlight the metaphysical properties of its technology with some absurd claims, and at the very least, encourages commentators to describe its collection as something it isn't.

The key point of the article seems to hinge on the parts of the Web and the world's libraries that Google can't index due to firewalls, dumb print paper, or slow monks in scriptoria.

I've written before on this blog on Google's Moment of Truth, I've been thinking about the limitations of Google, and its potential, and I have to say that blaming Google for infromation restricted from it never entered my mind. Such a characterization seems to arise from a clash of cultures, cultures of openness vs cultures of scarcity and hoarding.

Rather than bash or praise Google, I'd say we ought to look at Google's opposite number, the yin to Google's yang: the massively high-end commercial database services such as Dialog or Lexis-Nexis. High priced and available only to the wealthiest corporate and university or government clients, these products exist in the scarcity-based universe, yet offer library-like value for searching, two seemingly opposite types of things: vast records hidden in a vault as opposed to wiki-style socially constructed records lying out in the open. Peculiar, no? The high-end databases were terrific resources, resources to be coveted, before the openness of the Internet, before Google. In the time since, their value has seriously declined, yet few speak of it. Is the stock down in these companies? How is the "pay to play" model evolving for the high rollers? Do subscribers receive value back for the exclusive and exhaustive access equal to or better than the cost of the subscription?

(Encyclopedia Britannica is practically giving away its CD-ROM product, and the OED is far more available electronically than they would ever allow with the print product, which seems to show the value-added in elite and exclusive reference texts is declining.)

My answer? I'd say high-end, exclusive and elite products suck the wad. Oh, I loved them in the early 90s, longed to range about and search and search. I had information-hunger, deep and massive information-hunger.

Maybe a preface is in order. I'm no reference librarian. Worse, I'm dsylexic. I didn't just suck at research before the Internet and creative keyword searching, I DIDN'T do it. I was a journalist and sought knowledge that came from the horse's mouth. In that paper-based world of Abstracts Indexes and thick books where one must scan vast columns of listings, my eyeballs scrambled like you wouldn't believe. Research took me much longer than it took other people, and I often abandoned quests in frustration. I was an excellent contextualizer, someone who got very good at figuring things out with just a few clues. But there weren't many contextual clues on an alphabetized list.

So thank you Marshall McLuhan. In that paper world, I am convinced I would not have a PhD to this day. But in this world of electronic research, I do have one. Don't know who I would be in a world lit by candlelight.

I've had some chances to search the high end database services and old mainframes (they are still kept up, of course, but I call them old because they are... well, mainframes) in the 2000s. Godawful. Slow, with less than complete datasets. Endless compartmentalization so you have to know where to search before you even start searching. Forget global searching. This is the old media model. Cubbyholes and gates, gatekeepers.

And soon I go running to Google for relief from the arcana. Does that make me a Googlephile? Or someone who prefers more effective researching? Am I blinded to the research I'm missing as Google seduces me, as unlinked or restricted texts exist basically under erasure, invisible, thus forgotten? I feel like an old school reference librarian is wagging a finger at me, saying "Now why didn't you look at Social Science Abstracts?" or "How could you have overlooked [some massively dense and small-print index]?"

I'd rather live in Borges's "Library of Babel," thankyouverymuch. So perhaps Google is holding the keys to the kingdom of heaven, and whosover Google blesses is blessed and whosoever Google damns is damned, at least for now. That sounds a hell of a lot better than whosoever Dialog and Lexis-Nexis or even Social Science Abstracts blesses or damns.

The mistake of the Google bashers is to assume Google's power is eternal and always lies as the ultimate gatekeeper, the Way, the Truth, and the Light, to overburden the religious metaphor.

Before Google (would that be BG, and After Google AG?), the Alta Vista fans (and I was one, and a Lycos and WebCrawler fan before that) could not have dreamed their favorite search tool could be decimated so easily. Google bashers and Googlephiles both seem to hate or love the tool under the assumption that its ascendancy is eternal and that there are no other ways to information-heaven. Such short-sightedness. It seems some folks aren't paying attention or have short memories.

Sure, power consolidates, and these movements of openness and hoarding seem at cross-purposes, struggling for ascendancy. I won't predict any technologically deterministic ends for this struggle. I do think the hoarders' camp undermines its own high-end products by keeping the monks in the scriptoria. (See also another essay in here: Response to Clay Shirky: 2 Systems for Creating Value) The manuscripts may be safe and valuable hoarded, but they can't multiply. Like latin, when information, more so than wampum or currency, doesn't multiply and spawn new iterations of itself, all the hoarding in the world can't keep it from irrelevancy.

Google will stay The Way so long as it keeps to the principle of openness. Lose that principle and chase something else (like Lexis-Nexis or AltaVista did) and Google will be as easily defeated as those products were.

And information that doesn't want to come out on the playground and play--the lack of its contribution could taint our knowledge, our dataset, keeping us believing in a flat Earth with the Sun revolving around that Earth, perhaps, rather than understanding how Area 51 spaceships can defy physics and change the laws the govern our universe, new and unknown laws of science that currently only live behind the walls of Bell Labs or Los Alamos or god knows where.

Blame Google for people who would hide and try to own knowledge? Isn't that sort of like blaming Sir Francis Bacon and the scientific method for hermetic traditions of secrecy that sheltered and restricted knowledge (such as alchemy) during the Inquisition?


September 16, 2003 at 02:17 AM in Best Essays, Cyberculture, Democracy, Favorite Links, Intellectual Property, Interactivity, Privacy & Free Speech, Singing the Bite Me Song | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Home from Vacation

Was good to get away. I know the blog went quiet, but I'm back and getting caught up.


September 16, 2003 at 01:05 AM in Singing the Bite Me Song | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Cool Flash Animation: Grand Theft America

Goes through a lot of the stuff on the Florida part of the US presidential election that you read in Greg Palast's book, The Best Democracy Money Can Buy.


September 16, 2003 at 12:52 AM in Democracy | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack