Almana Ger Yatom

Widows, Strangers, Orphans: Journeying with the Poor

Christians and the internet


one of the reasons for posting in your FB is to help the rest of your friends filter and scrutinize news and facts online.

many people mistakenly think that now with internet it is so much easier to learn than before but soon they realize how wrong they are because there are just tons and tons of information and no way to discern which one is right which one is true.

to make matters worse, the internet algorithms like those used by google or FB or Youtube pushes you more and more towards your biases so that you end up being very narrow minded or close minded. when the algorithm finds out that you like a certain thing, it will select those things you like and exclude those things not related to what you like but without screening whether these things being pushed towards you are true or correct.

the best or worse the algorithm does is to present on the first page of the search results the top or highest ranked sources which are ranked not by their quality but by their popularity (those read by millions are first in the list). this means you are reading to learn what thomas friedman made so famous, the herd mentality.

any news or information that most of the people read becomes your favorite dish. in the end, whatever tickles or scares them will also tickle or scare you. the herd mentality works that way, everyone follows what the majority is doing.

as an angler, i have seen balled bait fish boiling on the surface of the sea. underneath you can see the huge ball of panicking small fish surrounded by predator fish all around them, so they ball themselves running or swimming in a circle, thinking that there is security in numbers, until they are slowly eaten by the big fish and they all perish.

so now you are painted in a corner, you dont know whats right or true but all the alternatives and options you need are also no longer available because they are now at the bottom of the priority of the algorithm search, may be you can find them if you go beyond the first page of the search result, but who does that? everyone just stays within the first page because that is already too much data. the only thing you have are what the billions of people are reading.

(some of the good money in BPO goes to search engine maximizers, which is a way to get your product on the first page, by manipulating the algorithm and its not may the best man win but may the company with the most money to do search engine maximizing win, because the first page on your monitor is small and limited and only a few get into it, that is, only the richest ones get there)

but to learn, you need contrasting and opposing views, to discern you need the opposite, so that you can compare and analyze. and often the majority is wrong. that is why the majority needs criticisms, the minority view.

the best way is to get your own raw data such as getting your news by personally going to syria and observing the war first hand (which is dangerous) or testing the results of smokers by studying your own 1,000 patients and building your own control group of another 1,000 people which is expensive.

but that would be like saying, the internet is bad.

whats the option?

you need people who are above 50 years old, those who grew up reading books hard copies, lots of them just to find one single data, who had to integrate so much data as a result, and who read only vetted sources with good bibliography, good sampling, good methodology. in short you need someone who grew up before the internet became a popular source of learning.

for example, there is a false news going around saying the anti-dutertes are staging a movement to sabotage the government by destabilizing the banking system.

first, it is so so unlikely that anyone can pull that off because everyone’s antennae is focused on banking stability because banks dont survive because they have lots of money but even with trillions they can fall if there is a panic herd mentality reaction. the same with the stock exchange except they encourage the herd mentality.

second, labelling them as anti-dutertes promotes more polarization that discourages debate, good debate that enriches the discussion. everyone who speaks up today is just labeled red or yellow or blue and we only listen to those with the right color and we silence those under the wrong color (those who speak the opposite are precisely what we need to enrich our own perspective).

finally, we dont know who wrote the article, there is no source. and we are encouraged to pass it on. this is a sure way to increase the herd mentality. there is no way to vet the information. the herd mentality can also become a fluke as when people panic not because they are anti duterte but because they are just scared and create a bank run which is the opposite of what the false news wanted to attain.

so what is the purpose for posting a false news, warning people (the pro duterts) to watch and be vigilant because the anti-duterts will try to sabotage the economy? certainly, it is not to make people more educated nor to ensure that there is no bank run. its only goal is to make one more bigoted, more prejudiced and more pro duterts even without any basis, and more anti anti duterts even without basis also.

its also a self fulfilling prophesy. when a bank run happens, whether the sabotage was true or if it was just a fluke, the pro duterts will conclude that indeed the anti duterts are out to get them.

so, again, if you post, post good stuff which you know will help the rest of your friends to learn the right way. if you dont have a clue whats right or true, wait before you post. look around, find someone you trust who is above 50 and who is working hard to analyze the two sides of the picture (not biased). one sign you have no clue is when you cannot read more than one page of this post.

if you are a christian, you cannot be pro duterte or anti duterte, you can only be for the truth, for what is right, for what is just and it can mean that sometimes you are pro duterte and sometimes you are anti duterte.

God is no respecter of people and the prophetic voice of the church needs to resound in all the earth. our silence makes evil grow rampant. and evil has to be addressed whether evil stands besides duterte or against him.

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