Adventist Media Response and Conversation

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Lessons in the art of survey manipulation

I am going to try a new tack on this blog I often read comments and articles that I would like to comment on but really practically no one reads the comments sections so I thought I would use them as short blog articles.

So here is the first one from Spectrum a comment writer says:
"conservative Christians are the only ones who read the bible seriously"
That's funny because the only data based study I've ever seen on the subject suggests that liberals are far more likely to read their bible. The thing is many regressive Christians are very good at memorizing a verse here and a verse their to support their pre-established suppositions, where as most progressives actually read and understand."
Here is a section from the likely source of the above thinking. An article from Christianity Today, Survey: Frequent Bible Reading Can Turn You LiberalWhat a surprising survey says about how reading the Bible frequently can turn you liberal (in some ways):  
 Frequent Bible reading has some predictable effects on the reader. It increases opposition to abortion     as    well as homosexual marriage and unions. It boosts a belief that science helps reveal God's glory. It diminishes hopes that science will eventually solve humanity's problems. But unlike some other religious practices, reading the Bible more often has some liberalizing effects—or at least makes the reader more prone to agree with liberals on certain issues. This is true even when accounting for factors such as political beliefs, education level, income level, gender, race, and religious measures (like which religious tradition one affiliates with, and one's views of biblical literalism).
In 2007, the Baylor Religion Survey asked Americans how often they read the Bible on their own. (It was a five-point scale in this study, ranging from "never" to "several times a week.") It also asked whether the federal government should expand its authority to fight terrorism—a reference to the Patriot Act. For each increased level of Bible-reading frequency, support for the Patriot Act decreased by about 13 percent.

Frequent Bible reading also influences views on criminal justice. As might be expected, respondents who were more politically liberal were prone to disagree with the statement, "The government should punish criminals more harshly." Unexpectedly (at least given the conservative stereotype), the more frequently people read the Bible, the more they too are prone to disagree with the statement. This is not an anomalous finding: Support for abolishing the death penalty increased by about 45 percent for each increase on the five-point scale measuring Bible-reading frequency.

Reading the Bible affects attitudes toward science as well. If you just ask people about biblical literalism, you don't find statistically significant differences in views of whether science and religion are compatible. But the more someone reads the Bible, the more likely he or she is to believe science and religion are compatible. (For each increase on the five-point scale, the odds that they see religion and science as incompatible decrease by 22 percent.)
Some of the most interesting findings relate to moral attitudes. "How important is it," the survey asked, "to actively seek social and economic justice in order to be a good person?" Again, as would be expected, those with more liberal political leanings were more likely to say it's very or somewhat important. And those who read the Bible more often were more likely to agree. Indeed, they were almost 35 percent more likely to agree at each point on Baylor's five-point scale. That may be bad news for Glenn Beck, who last year told believers to leave their churches if they hear "social justice" language being used. Likewise, contrary to liberal media stereotypes, those who are most engaged in their faith (by directly and frequently reading its source material) are those who are most supportive of social and economic justice. A reading, politically conservative literalist is only slightly less supportive than a non-reading, politically liberal non-literalist.

Now just so you don't get the idea that there is not a liberal agenda in Christianity Today consider the last part about Glenn Beck. Beck was specific about what "Social Justice" he was referring too. See: Glenn Beck: What is Social Justice?

"What is that? It seems like such an innocuous phrase. It paints a picture of fairness — many churches use the term as a substitute for "outreach to the poor." Who could possibly be against that? Well, if you’ve read the news lately: I am. In fact, I even learned from TIME magazine recently that I hate Jesus.

I’m just full of hate and I want to stop justice!

I’m glad to see Time suddenly cares about God… or am I? The other "news" from The New York Times was that I recommended leaving church if those churches help the poor. And I would have gotten away with it too, if it wasn’t for those pesky, meddling "journalists"!

I’m not sure why I would expect the media to start searching for the truth now, when they’ve never let it get in the way before. The truth is this: The term "social justice" has been completely perverted and hijacked by progressives. It doesn’t mean simply "help the poor" to them. It does to some people, but not to radical progressives.

And now, just for The New York Times and everyone else who thinks I hate poor people — I know your attention span is about 20 or 30 seconds, but try and pay attention — we’ll set the record straight for you here on social justice. The kind I am talking about vs. the kind that they are talking about.


Here’s my definition of social justice: Forced redistribution of wealth with a hostility toward individual property rights, under the guise of charity and/or justice.

On my radio program, I said if your church is promoting Jeremiah Wright-type "social or economic justice," you should run from it or at least get educated on what progressives mean by this.

You might wonder if the summary from Christianity Today's writer is applicable. In particular since the summary of the poll does not mention the correlations that the writer does namely: In 2007, the Baylor Religion Survey asked Americans how often they read the Bible on their own. (It was a five-point scale in this study, ranging from "never" to "several times a week.") It also asked whether the federal government should expand its authority to fight terrorism—a reference to the Patriot Act. For each increased level of Bible-reading frequency, support for the Patriot Act decreased by about 13 percent.

The survey codebook is found here.

56) Q16. Outside of attending religious services, about how often do you read the Bible, Koran, Torah, or other sacred book? (SACREDBK)

0) Never44427.3
1) Less than once a year23214.3
2) Once or twice a year18011.1
3) Several times a year16410.1
4) Once a month493
5) 2-3 times a month986
6) About weekly925.7
7) Weekly1157.1
8) Several times a week or more often25415.6

172) Q37h. To what extent do you agree or disagree that the federal government should expand its authority to fight terrorism? (FIGHTTER)

1) Strongly disagree1418.8
2) Disagree38824.3
3) Agree55534.7
4) Strongly agree39524.7
8) Undecided1217.6

If you look at the analyze section of question 172 You actually see that there is no statistics related to Bible reading. It correlates Age, Education, Gender, Religion, Region and Church attendance.

It is interesting to see how one article with really questionable correlations can affect those that want to believe something.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Reza Aslan and the lack of critical media

For the past couple of years I have become fascinated how people are influenced by the media. It is such a powerful force and is so ever present in our society. It is a constant buzzing in our ears yet we seldom swat at the offensive nature of much of what it produces. I am going to relay an example that to me is very telling of the sheep like attitude the media produces in people.

In the Sept. 13 2013 issue of Entertainment Weekly in the winners and losers section we read this:
→ ZEALOT, BY REZA ASLAN When Fox News correspondent Lauren Green and scholar-writer Aslan jousted during a train wreck of an interview, Aslan clearly came out ahead. The televised scuffle pushed Zealot, a biagroaphy of Jesus Christ, to the top of the charts. Page 19
This view is how by a lot of media outlets. Just google Reza Aslan and Lauren Green. You can see the interview and see loads of liberal media sites bashing her and Fox News.

What you do see in this interview which the liberal media sites don't tell you is that Reza Aslan was lying about his credititials. He made a very big thing about his qualifications

In fact, it is Aslan who immediately turns the interview into a cage match by reacting very defensively to Green’s first question. And here is where the misrepresentations begin. For roughly the first half of the interview Aslan dominates the exchange with assertions about himself that seem intended to delay the substance of the discussion:
I am a scholar of religions with four degrees including one in the New Testament . . . I am an expert with a Ph.D. in the history of religions . . . I am a professor of religions, including the New Testament–that’s what I do for a living, actually . . . To be clear, I want to emphasize one more time, I am a historian, I am a Ph.D. in the history of religions.
Later he complains that they are “debating the right of the scholar to write” the book rather than discussing the book. But the conversation took that turn thanks to Aslan, not Green! By the final minute he is saying of himself (and who really talks this way!?) that “I’m actually quite a prominent Muslim thinker in the United States.”
Aslan does have four degrees, as Joe Carter has noted: a 1995 B.A. in religion from Santa Clara University, where he was Phi Beta Kappa and wrote his senior thesis on “The Messianic Secret in the Gospel of Mark”; a 1999 Master of Theological Studies from Harvard; a 2002 Master of Fine Arts in Fiction from the University of Iowa; and a 2009 Ph.D. in sociology from the University of California, Santa Barbara.

None of these degrees is in history, so Aslan’s repeated claims that he has “a Ph.D. in the history of religions” and that he is “a historian” are false.  Nor is “professor of religions” what he does “for a living.” He is an associate professor in the Creative Writing program at the University of California, Riverside, where his terminal MFA in fiction from Iowa is his relevant academic credential. It appears he has taught some courses on Islam in the past, and he may do so now, moonlighting from his creative writing duties at Riverside. Aslan has been a busy popular writer, and he is certainly a tireless self-promoter, but he is nowhere known in the academic world as a scholar of the history of religion. And a scholarly historian of early Christianity? Nope.

Any thinking media person should have become interested enough to question the Aslan's creditionals and after this interview came out and even after people like Glenn Beck (see Glenn Beck's expose here) pointed out Aslans' false creditionals you would think that that should have some relevance or at least mention...but not in the liberal has no relevance.
Aslan has a Wikipedia site as well and notice this example of how the Wikipedia can be gently nudged.

Aslan holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in religions from Santa Clara University, a Master of Theological Studies degree from Harvard Divinity School, and a Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of Iowa's Writers' Workshop, where he was named the Truman Capote Fellow in Fiction. Aslan also received a Doctor of Philosophy in Sociology, focusing in the history of religion, from the University of California, Santa Barbara.[7][8][9] His dissertation was titled "Global Jihadism as a Transnational Social Movement: A Theoretical Framework".[10]

So it looks like Under the Doctor of Philosophy in Sociology there is a focus in history of religion. However you look at the UC at Santa Barbara Sociology Graduate degree program you see that there is no such focus. What they have are:

The department offers rigorous training in theory and a variety of sociological methodologies. Additionally, sociology graduate students specialize in one of the following research areas: Conversation Analysis; Culture; Global Studies; Feminist Studies; Justice, Law and Inequality; Race, Ethnicity, and Nation; and Social Movements, Revolutions & Social Change. UCSB’s sociology graduate students have gone on to top jobs at other universities as well as into numerous research, policy, and activist professions.

They do have a Department of Religious Studies however, but it is not the Sociology Department. What it does appear is that Aslan is in fact an activist, see the Glenn Beck video for more on that.

When you actually realize just how much of a free pass is given to certain kinds of thought in the media you can begin to see how their goals and their activism are being implemented into society. If you reject their goals and their view of reality there are abundant other forms of media out there to attack and criticize and distort the facts to make their opposition out to be something horrible. Racist, sexist, homophobes, Islamophobe or the ever popular fear monger. The facts seem to take an distant second place to the goals of the activist.

How nice it would be if the journalist asked the hard questions or actually took the time to investigate the credentials of the people they talk to. Lauren Green may not have known that Aslan did not have the credentials he claimed but because she questioned him we have him on record lying about them. And that should carry some weight

Aslan's book gets to the top of the book list even though it has nothing really new As the Christian Post writes:

"Aslan has offered nothing new under the sun when it comes to offering a critique of the historical Jesus," William Lane Craig, a philosopher of religion and a Christian apologist, has said. "In fact, he is attempting to revert scholarship back to the early 1900s by echoing Albert Schweitzer's book, The Quest for the Historical Jesus. Like Schweitzer, Aslan claims that Jesus is historically unknowable and we can never get back to the real Jesus."

American Conservative writer and Baylor University professor Alan Jacobs argues that Aslan's work follows closely along the lines of Biblical scholar John Dominic Cross's 1994 title Jesus: A Revolutionary Biography.

"Aslan makes no new discoveries, and makes no arguments that haven't already been made — in some cases very long ago," writes Jacobs, suggesting that this is partly the case because "Reza Aslan is not a New Testament scholar."

It is interesting to note in regard to lying about credentials just how another member of the media was treated when it was discovered that she lied about her PhD. See the article here,

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Acer Aspire One model ZG5 Bios fix

I am going to post this because after searching and searching the web for information on the problem with the Acer Aspire One not restarting from sleep/hibernation my Acer would not restart even if you held the power button down. There was all kinds of advice on computer forums most of it worthless. Then one guy gave me the right information and sent me to the following Acer page where you can update the bios even though you computer won't even start. Here is there instructions and the link to the page. I hope this helps people.

How do I update the BIOS on my Acer Aspire One AOA110 or AOA150 netbook?
Note: These instructions are only for the Acer Aspire One AOA110 and the AOA150 netbook series and should not be performed on any other model Acer Aspire One.
Updating the BIOS will require a USB flash drive to store the BIOS information on during the update. To perform the update to the BIOS:
  1. From the drivers home page, click Netbook and select your series and product.
  2. Click on the BIOS tab and download and extract the latest BIOS for the netbook.
  3. The files required will be in the Dos_Flash subdirectory.
  4. Rename the BIOS file from 3310.fd to zg5ia32.fd.
  5. Copy zg5ia32.fd and Flashit.exe to the USB flash drive
  6. Ensure that the AC adapter is plugged in.
  7. Insert the USB flash drive into a USB port.
  8. Press and hold down the Fn and the Esc keys together and press the power button.
  9. When the netbook's power light comes on, wait a few seconds and release the Fn and Esc keys.
  10. After the keys have been released the power light will start to blink.
  11. During the BIOS update process the display will be blank.
  12. Let the unit run and after approximately 1 to 7 minutes, the unit should reboot and the BIOS will be updated.
If the unit fails to reboot, or the BIOS was not updated successfully, try the steps again. If the problem persists, contact Acer support.

For the AOA150 here is the download bios web page,%20CHROMEBOOK&Step2=ASPIRE%20ONE&Step3=AOA150&OS=ALL&LC=en&BC=ACER&SC=PA_6