Showing posts with label principles. Show all posts
Showing posts with label principles. Show all posts

What Is The Difference Between A Perception And Knowledge?

Or, "What is the difference between private personal experience and knowledge?". I know this may sound like a stupid question to some, but it seems that it is pivotal in the "Disregarding Established Knowledge..." discussion. In my view, considering inaccessible personal experience to be of the same value as established knowledge is untenable.

Disregarding Established Knowledge Is Bad, UnKay?

Its simple,
If your beliefs are not consitent with established human knowledge, then they probably are not justified. In that case, other people are not justified in believing what you say about them, and furthermore you have no reason to expect anyone to believe you.

Overview of IDQ Deficiencies Which Are Evident In Scripture

The originators of scripture had a remarkable lack of insight when creating scripture considering it was revealed to them by God. Apparently God didn't reveal to them some fundamental principles in ensuring they were creating quality information and data that would stand the test of time and generations.

This article introduces Information and Data Quality design deficiencies which will be elaborated on with scriptural examples in follow on articles and will serve as quick reference for them. It is part four of a series on applying IDQ priniciples to cross-checking the authority and trustworthiness of the Bible. Links to the preceding articles follow.
1. How Accurate is the Bible?
2. Applying Data and Information Quality Principles To The Bible
3. Applying IDQ Principles of Research To The Bible

What are Design Deficiencies?
As the saying goes "Do it right the first time" many industries recognize and practice the principle of ensuring quality early in the production cycle to avoid problems later in the cycle or in the market(27). As a marksman knows when taking aim, a tiny deviation from the target at the source can lead to large deviation at the target. By not ensuring data integrity and quality at the creation of scripture, many problems have manifested themselves and continue to appear as the scripture gets older. Metaphors do not retain their integrity in meaning over thousands of years. Some of the problems have led to persecution for heresy, divisions in the church and division of the Churches into denomintations until there are tens of thousands of variations of Christianity in existence. For example, they may all agree that Jesus died on the Cross, but they don’t all agree on his nature.

With these kinds of problems it is no wonder why after close to 2000 years, Christianity has only a 33% mind share while all other religions together total 66%(28). Its not that people are evil so they don't believe, it is that there are no compelling reasons to believe in Jesus. Comparing all these religions to some other philosophical ideas that were developing in parallel about the same time, Mathematics has become ubiquitous while the various religions are still languishing under the weight of implausibility(26).

The originators of scripture had a remarkable lack of insight when creating scripture considering it was revealed to them by God. Apparently God didn't reveal to them some fundamental principles in ensuring they were creating quality information and data that would stand the test of time and generations. And furthermore God had a choice in who he revealed scripture to. Using the law of large numbers, he would have been able to analyze and consider any number of millions of starting points for his desired outcome to include the one person that would start a path of reliable transmission of the data from person to person(29). He, like no one else, had the ability to choose the one in ten million starting point that would have gotten the scripture to this point uncorrupted.

Overview of Proper Representation and Design Deficiencies
Some fundamental deficiencies in data design and creation have been identified in the field of Information and Data Quality through research and trial and error(3). Each of them will be defined in this overview and then how they relate to scripture will be elaborated on separately in follow on articles.
They are as follows.
- Incomplete representation
- Ambiguous representation
- Meaningless representation
- Garbling by mapping to a meaningless state
- Garbling by mapping to a wrong state

Proper representation
In order for an Information System (IS) to accurately represent real world events, each of the datum in the Information System must "map" to real world states. Each real word state must be accounted for in the information system. Having more than one instance of a Real World state (a record) is appropriate if it represents an aspect of the Real World state that hasn't been previously accounted for. To have more than one instance of a record of the same Real World state doesn't add any significant value, but a record of the same Real World state that has related data, in another context for example, adds value if it doesn't lead to a meaningless Real World state such as a contradiction. For example, having two instances of the same story do not add any value unless one of the stories has different information in it which does not contradict the other. Figure 1 illustrates this point by showing three instances of data represented by spheres in the column labeled RW (Real World) and four instances of Data in the D column. Each Real World state is represented by a datum in the information system with one instance of a Real World state being represented by two instances of data in the Information System.

Figure 1.

Incomplete representation
If the Information System is missing some information about the real world, then the information system cannot accurately represent the state of the real world for which it was intended. This is termed as "incompleteness". Figure 2 illustrates this point by showing three instances of data represented by spheres in the column labeled RW (Real World) and two instances of Data in the D column. One instance of a Real World state is not represented by the Data in column D.

Figure 2

Ambiguous representation
While it is permissible to use to a multiple datum to represent one real world state, it is not permissible to use one datum to represent two real world states. If multiple Real World states are represented by one datum there is not enough information with which to accurately represent either Real World state. This situation is called "Ambiguity". It is similar to incomplete representation because it can be considered an instance of missing information, even though one datum could incompletely represent two instances of a Real World state because it is not specific enough. It is analogous to using the term "she" in a conversation when discussing an event concerning multiple women. By not specifying which "she" is being referenced, the details of the event become unclear because the "she" being referred to is ambiguous.

Figure 3 illustrates this point by showing three instances of data represented by spheres in the column labeled RW (Real World) and two instances of Data in the D column. One instance of a Real World state is not represented by the Data in column D but instead, two instances of Real World states are represented by one instance of an information state.

Figure 3

Meaningless representation
When the information system contains superfluous information then it can lead to a situation where the Information System does not accurately represent (map back to) a real world state. For example this can occur by the use of too many descriptive terms, undefined terms or some minor addition to the story intended as an elaboration. To say that in a battle some person or group chose a brilliant strategy and exhibited exceptional strength or bravery may mean that an unintended desperate situation has been incorrectly represented and will be incorrectly interpreted. This situation happens often in television, movies and songs about historical events such as the Spartan battle with the Persians at Thermopylae depicted in the movie "300" or Egyptian Hieroglyphs documenting events in the lives of pharoahs.

Figure 4 illustrates this point by showing two instances of data represented by spheres in the column labeled RW (Real World) and three instances of Data in the D column. One instance of an information state is not represented by or does not map back to a real world state .

Figure 4

Operation Deficiencies - Garbling:
Meaningless State
In human terms, garbling occurs at the point of "consumption" or reading and interpretation. In Information Systems, it occurs at operation time or when the database is being accessed. Garbling occurs when a Real World state is incorrectly mapped to a wrong state in the Information System. There are two cases in which this occurs. If a meaningless state exists, then Real World mapping will be to a meaningless state, or the mapping might be to a meaningful but incorrect information state. This can occur as a result of inaccurate data entry or omissions of real world states at the creation or origin of the data. Analogous examples of this type of garbling are legends, folktales and the "Artistic License" of the author or originator.

Figure 5 illustrates this point by showing two instances of data represented by spheres in the column labeled RW (Real World) and three instances of Data in the D column. One instance of an information state is not represented by or does not map back to a real world state and a Real World state in incorrectly interpreted as being represented by the superfluous datum.

Figure 5

Map to a wrong state
Figure 6 illustrates this phenomena by showing two instances of data represented by spheres in the column labeled RW (Real World) and three instances of Data in the D column. One instance of an information state is not represented by or does not map back to a real world state and a Real World state in incorrectly interpreted as being represented by a valid however incorrect or unintended information state.

Figure 6

In successive articles I will explore each IDQ design deficiency and give a biblical example.

1. Wikipedia, "Data Management"
2. Information Quality at MIT
3. Anchoring Data Quality Dimensions in Ontological Foundations
4. DMReview, Data Management Review
5. IQ-1 Certificate Program
6. Wikipedia, 2003 Invasion of Iraq
7. How Accurate Is The Bible?
9. Wikipedia, Tanakh
10. Null Hypothesis
11. Beyond Accuracy: What Data Quality Means To Consumers
12. IQ Benchmarks
13. Reasonable Doubt About Adaption Theory
14. IQ Trainwrecks
15. Robert Harris' VirtualSalt
16. Data Quality Assessment
17. Cornell University Library
18. Guidelines for Ensuring and Maximizing the Quality, Objectivity, Utility and Integrity of Information Disseminated by Federal Agnecies
19. East Tennesee State University Researchers Toolbox
20. George Mason Univeristy
21. McGraw-Hill Higher Education, Evaluating Internet Resources
22. The Virtual Chase, Criteria for Quality in Information--Checklist
23. Know Your Bible
24. Wikipedia, Authors of The Bible
25. Ancient HistoriansPart 1, Part 2
26. Wikipedia, History of Mathematics
27. Data Quality Requirements Analysis and Modeling
28. Major Religions of the World Ranked by Number of Adherents
29. Making Sense of Probability

Applying IDQ Principles of Research To The Bible

By applying principles of Information and Data Quality (IDQ) in research to the Bible, it can be shown that a high level of confidence in the accuracy and reliability of the information in the Bible is irrational, therefore arguments or claims using the bible as a premise are inherently weak.

Cross-check, Cross-check, Cross-check!
Accuracy and verifiability are part of the foundation of IDQ.

Researchers of Information and Data Quality (IDQ) have created classifications for Data Collectors, Data Custodians and Data Consumers. Those that collect the data provide it to those that store it and maintain it, and to those that use it. There are different values associated with IDQ dimensions depending on which categorical context it falls into(16). For example, the data custodian considers accuracy as the number one value while the consumer (depending on the context) may not consider accuracy the most important dimension. In all cases the most important criteria for the user is whether or not it is useful.

The fact that the consumer does not necessarily regard accuracy as the highest value creates a market for less accurate information which enterprising data producers are willing to satisfy. One example is the "tabloid" and "gossip magazine" industry. However, the desire for useful though inaccurate information extends across categories into business, marketing, politics and religion. Unfortunately, to ensure accurate data when needed, some extra work is necessary in the form of cross-checking.

Who is the author?
Like everything in life, cross-checking should be able to be used to verify a piece of information to see if it makes sense from another perspective. One way to do that is by being able to identify the author. When the author can be identified their credentials can be reviewed. Whether or not the author is an expert can be assessed, what their peers thought of them and what environment they lived in. These properties can be used to cross-check to see if the information has external consistency and makes sense from other perspectives. These properties allow the use of inference to assess the credibility, plausibility, believability and most importantly the accuracy of the information. There is no precise definition of accuracy, and in fact many of the dimensions of IDQ are self-referential, but it is the case that what accuracy is NOT is apparent and using that as a criteria, a working definition can be derived.

Accuracy implies that the datum represents a real world state.
It implies that when the data are reviewed, and compared to the real world event or object it describes the real world event sufficiently for more than one person to have as close to the same understanding of it as possible. An accurate representation of a real world event will not be ambiguous, will not lack precision and will not be incomplete because this will lead to inferences about the real world that do not or never existed or that represent an incorrect element in the real world(3).

Accurate and verifiable data are crucial to having enough understanding about the subject to be able to make reliable decisions, inferences and predictions in order to increase the likelihood of successful outcomes. Verifiability increases the credibility of information.

Your spouse, parents and reputable organizations endorse accurate reporting.
Almost everyone that has an interest in making some kind of an investment whether its monetary from a giant corporation or emotional from a trusting spouse desires, requires and demands IDQ. Human understanding and knowledge depend on it. Technology is successful because it builds on the accurate reporting and successful reproduction of work that came before it. Relationships are successful because Information Quality (also known as truth) fosters trust. Since Information Quality is so fundamental, it is easy to find reputable organizations that endorse it and not just your mother, father, spouse or friend.

Reputable organizations such as Cornell University(17), East Tennesee State University(19) and George Mason University(20) and McGraw Hill(21) and the U.S. Government(18) have websites set up which are devoted to promoting criteria for assesing the quality of information from sources. They place a high value on it and stress the importance of it. Two other websites related to education are "The Virtual Chase"(22) which is devoted to "teaching legal professionals how to do research", and Robert Harris's VirtualSalt(15) which is heavily referenced throughout the Internet. VirtalSalt has a checklist called "CARS" which was derived from the first letter of its major criteria, Credibility, Accuracy, Reasonableness and Support. The CARS Checklist encapsulates the research criteria that are endorsed by reputable organizations in an easy to remember mnemonic and can be found here

Criteria for Data and Information Quality in research
Listed below are the components of the CARS checklist. The initials of some of the other organizations listed above are used to show where their criteria fit into it. Their initials are beside the data quality dimension they endorse - vs is VirtualSalt, c is Cornell, vc is VirtualChase,

* Credibility (Credentials)
vs Author, c Author, vc Authority, c Publisher, c Title of Journal
Two relevant indicators of a lack of credibility are Anonymity and lack of quality control.

Critical Questions to ask are:
- Why should I trust this source?
- What is it that makes this source believable?
- How does this author know this information?
- Why is this source believable over any other?
- What are the authors credentials?
- What type of quality control did it undergo?
- Was it peer reviewed?

* Accuracy
vc Accuracy, vs Timeliness, vc Timliness, vs Comprehensiveness, c Coverage, vc Scope of Coverage, vs Audience and Purpose, c Intended Audience, c Edition or Revision, c Date of Publication,
Three relevant indicators of a lack of accuracy are no date for the document, vague or sweeping generalizations and biased to one point of view.

Critical Questions to ask are:
- Is it accurate? Is it correct?
- Is it up to date? Is it relevant?
- Is it Comprehensive? Does it leave anything out?
- What was the intended audience and purpose?

* Reasonableness
vs Fairness, vs Objectivity, vc Objectivity, c Objective Reasoning, vs Moderateness, vs Consistency, World View, - c Writing Style, vs consistency, vs world view
Some relevant indicators of a lack of reasonableness are intemperate tone or language, incredible claims, sweeping statements of excessive significance and inconsistency (written on the VirtualSalt as "conflict of interest")

Critical Questions to ask are:
- Does it offer a balanced, reasoned argument that is not selective or slanted?
- Is it biased?
- Is a reality check in order? Are the claims hard to believe? Are they likely, possible or probable?
- Does this conflict with what I know from my experience?
- Does it contradict itself?

* Support
vs [source documentation or bibliography], vs corroboration, vs External Consistency, c Evaluative Reviews
Some relevant indicators of a lack of support are numbers and statistics without a source, absence of source documentation and/or there are no other corroborative sources to be found.

Critical Questions to ask are:
- Where did this information come from? What sources did the author use?
- What support is given?
- Can this be cross-checked with at least two other independent sources?
- Is the information in the other independent sources consistent with this information?

What are some real world examples of poor Data and Information Quality research?
Conclusions about History are necessarily defeasible. One of the problems is that methodology and techniques improve a little every century. Conclusions made about a certain topic are revised as new information turns up. New information is used to compare to the old information for coherency and consitency. Some of these problems stem from poor data creation by the originator. Data are not accurate or complete. Users still struggle with these problems today. "A Website Dedicated to Information/Data Quality Disasters from Around the World" has been set up by the International Association for Information and Data Quality (IAIDQ) and its called IQ Trainwrecks(14 ). "Poor data quality can have a severe impact on the overall effectiveness of an organization"(3) and "Poor data quality can have substantial social and economic impacts"(11) that span the spectrum from news to marketing to text books to health care. Fortunately we can examine the methods of the ancient historians and scientists to see what led to poor results so that we can avoid those methods, improve what can be improved and derive new ones to replace the old.

Applying Data and Information Quality for research to the Bible.
As accurate as they tried to be, the authors of scripture still suffered from the same sorts of problems common with ancient historians and scientists. They were biased, inaccurate, had no way to verify information, depended on second or third hand information from relatively uneducated people, were influenced by political affiliations and commissions from aristocrats and state leaders and had poor tools to work with.

The Authors of the bible do not do any better job than their historian and scientific peers in documenting the world. In fact, of the three categories, scientists fared somewhat better because of their quality of documentation. The Library in Alexandria was destroyed by fire over time, so much of ancient scholarship and science was lost but some of the works that do remain leave little doubt about how to reproduce their experiments or their authorship.

It used to be believed that every author of every book in the bible could be identified but over time, it has come to be recognized that tradition is a poor way to record who authored what. External verification of the data revealed how unlikely it was that the person traditionally believed to be the author actually was or even existed.

According to several sources "The Bible comprises 24 books for Jews, 66 for Protestants, 73 for Catholics, and 78 for most Orthodox Christians." (24) From others: "The Protetant Bible contains 66 books (39 OT, 27 NT); the Catholic Bible contains 73 books (46 OT, 27 NT); the Eastern Orthodox Bible contains 78 books (51 OT, 27 NT). The Hebrew Bible (the name of the OT by Jews) contains only 24 books.(23)

Most of the authors of the original information about the Abrahamic God are unknown
There are different books in the bible depending on if you use the Hebrew, the protestant, the catholic or the orthodox (for example) If we use the greatest number of books in any bible as our total, then there are only about 21% of them where the author can be identified. 79% percent of them are unknown(24). 79% percent of the original information that exists about the abrahamic god comes from unknown sources. One of the indicators for lack of credibility in a work is anonymity(15). A small percentage of scripture are not considered worthy of inclusion between denominations. What makes one worthy to one group and not worthy to another? Lack of credibility is one criteria that comes to mind.

The bible is an amalgum of scriptures that span years. Some of the scriptures seem to be derived from other scriptures most of which were also included in the Bible. Trying to use the criteria for varied sources for cross-checking with the Bible is difficult because they were derived from each other, a large portion of the authors are unknown and the quality of production was poor. The criteria used to put them together is not clear but a presumption at a minimum of a need for coherency and consistency is warranted.

The word "trust" is used liberally to describe IDQ criteria. While the bible is generally considered to be trustworthy, is it really? What is it about something that make it "trustworthy"? Accuracy? Coherency and consistency with what we know from our experience?

What follows is a summary of principled research criteria standards which the Bible does not meet with some generic examples.
For the sake of brevity I did not include many solid examples but I do welcome audience participation by documenting them in the comments.

* Authorship - Traditional authorship have been overturned by later scholarship
* Not up to date - Leviticus and Deuteronomy in the OT, Pauls bias against women in the NT
* Inaccurate, incorrect - The rivers of Eden in the OT, Inconsistencies between the gospels
* Irrelevant - Leviticus and Deuteronomy in the OT, ambiguous NT fallacy apparently contradictory anyway "Whoever is not against us is for us — Mark 9:40" vs "He who is not with me is against me — Matthew 12:30a"
* Bias - Old testament treatment of worshipers of other gods, NT treatment of Jewish leadership and scholars.
* Unlikely - Most of the OT and in NT Jesus sternly rebuked his disciples for sleeping in the garden of gesthemane so who witnessed it?
* Conflicts with knowledge obtained from our experiences - Magicians do water to wine tricks.
* Contradicts itself - Who discovered the empty tomb?
* Cross-checking with external sources is extremely difficult and does not support to a large degree. There is no verifiable eyewitness account of the existence of Jesus, however that does not mean he did not exist.

Robert Harris's VirtualSalt has a checklist with a mnemonic for how to deal with information.

Living with Information: The CAFÉ Advice from VirtualSalt(15)
Challenge information the information with critical questions and expect accountability.

Adapt your requirements for information quality to match the importance of the information and what is being claimed. Extraordinary claims warrant extraordinary evidence.

File new information in your mind rather than immediately reaching a conclusion. Turn your conclusion into a question. Gather more information until there is little room for doubt.

Evaluate and re-evaluate regularly. New information or changing circumstances will affect the accuracy and the evaluation of previous information.

I will sum it up in a word.
Cross-check, Cross-check, Cross-check.

1. Wikipedia, "Data Management"
2. Information Quality at MIT
3. Anchoring Data Quality Dimensions in Ontological Foundations
4. DMReview, Data Management Review
5. IQ-1 Certificate Program
6. Wikipedia, 2003 Invasion of Iraq
7. How Accurate Is The Bible?
9. Wikipedia, Tanakh
10. Null Hypothesis
11. Beyond Accuracy: What Data Quality Means To Consumers
12. IQ Benchmarks
13. Reasonable Doubt About Adaption Theory
14. IQ Trainwrecks
15. Robert Harris' VirtualSalt
16. Data Quality Assessment
17. Cornell University Library
18. Guidelines for Ensuring and Maximizing the Quality, Objectivity, Utility and Integrity of Information Disseminated by Federal Agnecies
19. East Tennesee State University Researchers Toolbox
20. George Mason Univeristy
21. McGraw-Hill Higher Education, Evaluating Internet Resources
22. The Virtual Chase, Criteria for Quality in Information--Checklist
23. Know Your Bible
24. Wikipedia, Authors of The Bible
25. Ancient HistoriansPart 1, Part 2

Applying Data and Information Quality Principles To The Bible

In the coming weeks, I intend to show that if we posit a null hypothesis about the Bible and we evaluate the quality of data and information in the Bible, the hypothesis that humans alone were sufficient to create the Bible is supported very well by the Data which effectively refutes the hypothesis posited in 2 Timothy 3:16.

Brief Introduction to Data and Information Quality
I recommend reading the following link on Wikipedia, Data Quality. Its a good overview of how Data and Information Quality got its start as an aspect of computer science.

Data and Information have an intrinsic value
While historically, the desire for accurate information has always been important, especially to Kings and Generals, the perceived need for principles to manage data quality arose from the realization of businesses that databases which accurately reflected the state of the world, namely customer information and inventories, saved money. Over the years, as computing became less expensive the technology was adopted by individual consumers and the amount of information available online grew from diverse sources such as companies, governments and individuals. It became apparent that some way to evaluate the quality of information was needed(1). It should be obvious that some data is accurate and reliable and some data is not. To ensure data is accurate and reliable, it needs to be profiled, cleaned, parsed, matched, moved, analyzed, reconciled and reported on(8). In the past two decades metrics for determining the relative quality of information from a given source have been derived. Measuring the quality of an information source is an inexact science but using principles of probability, its relative quality can be measured(12).

Data Quality Dimensions
Data Quality is a term used to describe characteristics or dimensions attributed to data or information. Much of the research on Data Quality is carried out at The MIT Total Data Quality Management Program where Richard Y. Wang has led the effort since the 1990's. There are several approaches to data quality research that depend on how the data will be used, and they all have their own values for criteria or "dimensions". The approaches can be categorized as "Intuitive" (based on what the researcher believed is important), "Theoretical" (how data becomes deficient during the production) and "Empirical" (data gathered from consumers to see what is important to them). Most data studies fall into the "Intuitive" category, however they all contain a core set of "dimensions" and one data dimension that has a consistently high value in all lists is "Accuracy". Another highly valued core dimension from the intuitive approach is "reliability". Some highly valued core dimensions from the Theoretical approach are "Accuracy, Relevance, Correctness, Currency, Completeness" and from the Empirical approach are "Accuracy, Relevancy, Believability, Valued-added, Interpretability" and "Ease-of-understanding" (11). The different dimensions will have higher and lower values to different organizations depending on the context in which they are used. I will elaborate more on the data production and the data consumer dimensions as I explore how they apply to the Bible in later articles.

Do you think data and information quality important?
Would you be satisfied with a metaphorical record in the following situations or would you prefer a record that accurately represents real world events?
- Reading or watching the news
- Textbooks that you are required to purchase for your University courses
- Studying the only record of the Abrahamic God that exists.
- Producing or reading a business report
- Grocery shopping
- Reviewing your bank statement
- Reviewing the charges for your utilities, such as electric, phone, water, trash, television etc
- Paying your Taxes
- Purchasing a car
- Taking inventory
- Purchasing insurance
- Reviewing your shipping invoice, what you received versus what your ordered and how much you paid.
- Your check at the restaurant
and so on.

Why is data and information quality important?
So what happens when data and information quality is poor? "Poor data quality can have a severe impact on the overall effectiveness of an organization"(3) and "Poor data quality can have substantial social and economic impacts"(11). Subsequently there is a high value placed on information quality as evidenced by how much people are willing to spend to obtain it. There is an industry built on data quality concepts(4) and professional certifications available(5). The reliability of such things as inventory, medical records, medical research, military and civilian logistics, market research, consumer safety, education, consultant reports, work requests, billing reports, status reports, technical manuals and intelligence reports depend on data from verifiable sources that are produced with the goal of accurately representing elements of the real world. One recent example of what happens when there is poor quality information and data is the decision by the United States to invade Iraq in 2003 on the grounds that Iraq possessed "Weapons of Mass Destruction"(6) which turned out to be false. Because of the demonstrable importance of assessing data quality, the industry of Data Quality Management has developed(4).

Who uses Data Quality and Information Quality Dimensions?
Short list of organizations promoting Information Quality Principles
* US Government,
- Data Quality Act,
- Guidelines for Ensuring and Maximizing the Quality, Objectivity, Utility, and Integrity of Information Disseminated by Federal Agencies
* Data Quality Management Industry, DMReview, an industry magazine.
* Education Professionals,
- The Quality Information Checklist,
- Robert Harris's "VirtualSalt",
- East Tennessee State University
* Legal Industry, Evaluating the Quality of Information on the Internet
* Medical Industry,
- Journal of Medical Internet Research,
- Medical Billing
* US Army Logistics, "Data Quality Problems in Army Logistics", By Lionel A. Galway, Christopher H. Hanks, United States Army, Rand Corporation, Arroyo Center
and many more.

The Book As A Database: The justification to apply data and information quality metrics to evaluate the Bible
A book can be a data source. It can be treated like a database. It can be profiled, cleaned, parsed, matched, moved, analyzed, reconciled and reported on. Examples are an atlas, a history book, generally speaking a text book and The Bible. In fact, over the years, to facilitate ease of study, the Bible has been formatted and cross-referenced very similarly to a database.

If we have a lot of individual pieces of information sources we can collect them, profile them, sort them, categorize them, spell check them, look for exceptions, reconcile them, clean them, parse them, match them, move them, and create a report about them. Then they can be put together into an anthology. Once they are into an anthology, they can be further organized into volumes, chapters, pages, paragraphs, sentences, and if necessary even further still into parts of sentences (to separate two distinct ideas in one sentence for example) and verses. This is what happened to the Bible.

Over centuries early Jewish religious leaders initiated the transcription of oral tradition, then later accumulated individual pieces of scripture, evaluated them and combined them into the Tanakh. Generation after Generation went to great effort to maintain the integrity and quality of the Bible by attempting to ensure, at least in theory, that it remained unchanged during copying. When Christianity had generated their own scriptures, and translated the Tahakh from Hebrew, a similar process happened. In the 13th century Stephen Langton of Magna Carta fame created the chapter and verse system later adopted by Jews during the harsh persecution of the Spanish Inquisition(9) and widely in use today in modern Bibles. Obviously the Bible was considered and treated as a source of information about real events in the world whose integrity and quality were given a very high priority and importance.

So how accurate should we expect the Word of God to be?
In the Bible 2 Timothy 3:16 says that "All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness". Jesus describes himself as "the way" and goes on to further describe himself as a kind of "Model" to show what God is like. Later, in 325 CE, Church Fathers formally adopted a creed which described him as being "one substance" with God. Jesus confirmed the Old Testament was the word of God by referring to it as such and referred back to it frequently. If Jesus was God incarnate, he verified that Scripture was his word. He mapped Scripture to God and to Himself and verified that Scripture mapped to real world events. Therefore we should expect some measurable difference between scripture and a book not inspired or endorsed by God .

If we use a weighted raking we can get a rough idea of how accurate we can expect the Word of God to be. God is perfect, and man is not. So we can expect that man will be less accurate than God, but if God is helping man, then man should be more accurate than if he were working alone.

1. Man alone is less accurate
2. Man is more accurate with Gods help than without it
3. God is more accurate than man

That should serve as a rough guideline and the first metric in an attempt to quantify the accuracy of the Bible(7).

The following is a list of human endeavors that apparently were not divinely inspired, so when using the weighted ranking scale in evaluating how the Bible compares to human endeavors it should be reasonable to expect the following.
- It should be at least as brilliant as the ancient theories of knowledge, reason, truth, nature, mathematics, logic, knowledge of nature, and the use of mathematics to describe nature which continue to inform the practice of science to the present day resulting in theories such as Germ theory, Relativity, Genetics, Atoms, Quantum Theory all of which have been applied to generally reduce the amount of suffering in the world.
- It should at least be as accurate as a history book where it talks about history
- It should at least be as accurate as a science book where it talks about the world
- It should at least be as accurate as a manual where it gives instructions
- It should at least be as accurate as a scientific theory where it gives predictions
If not, then there is no reason to think that its inspiration is anything different than any other type of inspiration.

A Null hypothesis is any hypothesis that is evaluated for its ability to explain a given set of data. If the hypothesis is not sufficient to explain the data, then there is reason to pursue an alternate hypothesis. While it is not without it criticisms, particularly compared to Bayesian Inference(10), it is a useful heuristic to form an initial opinion about an idea about its probability or plausibility, or to get a "feeling" about something.

In the coming weeks, I intend to show that if we posit a null hypothesis about the Bible and we evaluate the quality of data and information in the Bible, the hypothesis that humans alone were sufficient to create the Bible is supported very well by the Data which effectively refutes the hypothesis posited in 2 Timothy 3:16.

1. Wikipedia, "Data Management"
2. Information Quality at MIT
3. Anchoring Data Quality Dimensions in Ontological Foundations
4. DMReview, Data Management Review
5. IQ-1 Certificate Program
6. Wikipedia, 2003 Invasion of Iraq
7. How Accurate Is The Bible?
9. Wikipedia, Tanakh
10. Wikipedia, Null Hypothesis
11. Beyond Accuracy: What Data Quality Means To Consumers
12. IQ Benchmarks

Just For Fun
Tomorrows History, A snapshot of whats going on in the world today.
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- The global economy players: Which organization does what?
- McCain supporters face uphill climb in blue Jersey
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- Obama Thanks McCain for Urging Supporters to be Respectful

Violating The First Rule Of Critical Discussion

Recurrent claim from Christians in comments:
"you seem to be questioning God. Why didn't God do this? why did God do that? The short answer is, because God does what he pleases and since he is infinite in knowledge, then God knows best, not us."
10:41 PM, August 23, 2008

According to Van Eemeren, Grootendorst and Walton, the first rule of a critical discussion is that

1. Parties must not prevent each other from advancing or casting doubt on each others viewpoints.

[Rules for Critical Discussion by Frans Van Eemeren & Rob Grootendorst, taken from "Fundamentals of Critical Argumentation" by Douglas Walton,Cambridge University Press, 2006.]

But what we see here is that some christians don't have a problem with trying to shut down critical questioning of biblical principles. When Biblical principles don't accurately reflect reality, then one of two things are happening. Biblical principles are flawed or reality is flawed. Pick your poison.

Logic Is Necessary To Understand God


(God Limits Himself) This article is an extension of an article called "God Limits Himself". It is intended to show that principles of Logic are valid and necessary for an inquiry into the characteristics of the Christian Religion. It will be referenced by subsequent articles as a premise for their complex arguments. It intends to show that God (if he exists) has agreed implicitly to use the principles of logic to further our understanding of him.

Our trust in another being, including God, is built on the avoidance of the violation of those principles. Every case in which he violates a principle of Logic is a violation of that commitment. A violation of that commitment results in a violation of the trust. In order to maintain that trust it is necessary to use due care and diligence not not violate principles the trust is built on. In this way God must limit himself to working within the principles of Logic in order to maintain our trust in him.

* The Bible tells us that God exists and that he created all things.
So how were people able create the Bible so that we can look at it and come to know about God and attempt an understanding of Him?

If God wants us to know about him and to understand him he must commit to following rules that will achieve that goal, effectively making the commitment to limit himself.

1. All things have various interdependencies and relationships between themselves.
2. We can observe our environment and when we see that an event reliably follows another event then using a rule such as "when this happens, then this follows", we can create a simple rule that describes it. This rule is called a precedent. It is based on experience. It depends on evidence created by the successful performance of this rule. This becomes a principle and we can add it to a "set" of "rules". This set of rules and principles we call logic.
3. Using this set of rules and principles we can develop another set of rules. By applying sets of rules to create other sets of rules we create a complex set of interdependent rules. One of these sets of rules we call "Reasoning".
4. Using the process of reasoning we can make reliable observations and predictions about our environment.
5. Using reasoning from precedent we can look at the accumulation of successful predictions about our environment and we are able to identify more interdependencies and relationships in the world. The idea that results from the application of these rules is called "inference". When our inference is shown be correct by a successful prediction then we call it "understanding".
6. When we see a phenomena or "sign" we are able to think and recall things that are interdependent and have relationships to it, and make predictions or conclusion about the next event, or its state or past events.
7. These successful rules and processes, when appropriate, can be applied elsewhere with varying success and we call this extending the rules or principles.
8. Applying these rules and processes help us to successfully interact, survive and create memories of rules and processes that we use to understand our world and make further predictions. It creates a complex rule set that we can call our "world view"
9. We can extend these principles to other areas such as communication and language. We can create rules for sets of sounds that we can call words, and using principles that regulate how we use these sounds we can create a category of sounds and rules that we call language.
10. We can extend these principles to a set of rules that we use to represent these sounds and call it writing.
11. We can apply these rules to a series of sounds and apply other rules for representing them using lines and record the proper sequence. This recording can be observed and understood by another being using those same rules and principles. In this way we can transfer information between beings and ensure as much integrity as possible.

Therefore, the bible comes to us by a complex set of rules derived from the extension of sets of simpler rules and our understanding of it as information depends on applying these rules to comprehend the content and to make inferences, conclusions and predictions about it. God must follow these rules if he wants us to know about him and understand him. This knowledge and understanding is necessary to have a "relationship" with him.

Christian apologists appear to agree that logic is necessary to understand God since they use logic and reason to provide apologia for their faith. Logic is necessary to understand God, its use spans categories of people (i.e. Christians and Atheists) and categories of subjects ( religion and science) and God (if he exists) has apparently made the commitment to participate.

The simplest rules of logic are even exhibited to be understood by animals. The algorithm for understanding simple principles of logic seem to be hardwired in the brains of many species of animals. Any one with a pet can tell you anecdotes about smart things their pet has done. Additionally researches have observed and measured in the lab the use of rudimentary logic with fish and some predatory animals. One of the simplest rules of logic is one that can be made using precedent. For example, since the sun has risen every day of recorded history, then the sun will rise tomorrow. Another (lame?) example. Since the stop light changes every minute and it just changed to red at 0700, then if I record how much time it stays red in addition to the time it takes the other lights to change, then I can reliably predict that unless something unexpected happens, the light will turn red at 0746 (for example). Using rules (principles) created from experience and evidence we can create rules (principles) of precedent, and we can describe how we derived the rules and principles. Should the light become irregular or random, it would need to be repaired because it would not be trustworthy since there will be a case when it will be green when it should be red.

God Limits Himself


This argument is intended to provide the warrant (underlying principle) for the Atheist argument that the Problem of Evil negates a perfectly Just, Moral, Benevolent, Good, etcetera, God. It intends to show that the principle or Warrant comes from God himself. This is the first in a series of articles that create a complex argument against the existence of the Christian God.

It is believed that the bible is revelation from god. 2 Timothy 3:16 tells us that "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness". In the bible, if he has not authored it himself, he has at least approved of being labeled as Good, Just, Merciful, Reasonable and Trustworthy among other things. Since God has approved of this to be said about himself, he implicitly agrees to behave that way. These are his limitations to his behavior. For example a trustworthy person will act in a way that supports that characteristic and is prohibited from acting in ways that negate the trustworthy characteristic. They are limited by their commitment to be trustworthy.

Goodness, Justice, Morality, Mercy and Reasonableness have a meaning and have characteristics that are more or less consistent between languages such as hebrew, Greek and English, to name a few. So If God has approved of these labels being applied to him, he has implicitly agreed to behave in a way that supports those characteristics. He has in effect limited his own behavior to comply with his self-proclaimed characteristics. If he is trustworthy, he will behave in a way that supports that characteristic. If he is reasonable, he will act in way that supports that characteristic.

Morality has meaning to us, and God has agreed to be Moral, therefore in order to appear Moral to us he must agree to behave in a way that doesn't violate enough moral principles to negate that characteristic.

- God is moral.
- the set of morality as understood by humans contains a set, or subset of moral principles.
- God has properties similar to the set of human moral principles.
- We say god is moral because we compare him to the set of principles comprising the set of morality. Otherwise we have no basis for the comparison.

So now if pick a valid principle out of the set of morality, and see if it can be compared to god, this should be a valid test of Gods similarity to the set of morality that we are comparing him to.

Additionally let’s add these qualifiers.
- We are made in gods image,
- God loved us so much that he have his only son so that none should perish

So how moral is god? How many of our characteristics of morality does god possess? And if we make a list of moral principles, and we compare it to god’s behavior can we come up with a value of "how moral is god when compared to our set of moral values"?

Then if we say that some principles in our set are "universal morals" I'd be willing to bet I could get a consensus that god violates some of those "universal moral" principles. A lot of them have been written about here on DC.

If god Violates a Moral principle he becomes less moral. This affects his trustworthiness in a negative direction.

If we say that it is reasonable to impose this set of morals on a human, and we say that god is moral, then we can say in some respect it should be valid to impose this set of morals on god. If we can't, then saying that god is moral is meaningless, especially, perfectly moral. So if humans cannot possibly be more moral than god, then God must meet or beat any expectations that we can place on a human. For example, If we say that a human is deficient in morality for condoning slavery, then if god does not at least meet that expectation, then he is deficient as well, unless we can say that violating this principle is not an indicator of a violation of this principle or any shortcoming of morality.

On what grounds does god not need to meet this expectation? On what grounds do people need to this expectation? If people need to meet this expectation and god meets or beats our expectations of morality, then he should be expected to do it to. Not just because I say so, but because it is consistent with what he has approved of to be said about himself, of which he says about himself, should be trustworthy.

God As Accessory To Child Abduction


Many people are gathered this season participating in the Christmas Holiday. They share the story of Jesus born in the manger, being held and cuddled by his mother and adored by all his visitors, angels and animals. Children act out the story in churches. Some say that christmas is for the children. These are the children that we see. But every season, there are children that we don't see. Children that are missing. Children that have disappeared and we can only hope that nothing bad has happened to them. Lets say that Tom saw a child being abducted but has decided not to get involved. Is Tom culpable of being an Accessory to the Crime? Is there any obligation in principle for Tom to report this Crime? Tom is an accessory to the Crime. There is at least a legal principle for him to report the crime. Now lets change one word in our scenario and see what happens.

Lets say that God saw a child being abducted but has decided not to get involved. Is God culpable of being an Accessory to the Crime? Is there any obligation in principle for God to report this Crime? God is an accessory to the Crime. There is at least a legal principle for him to report the crime.

Wikipedia - Accessory

In some jurisdictions, an accessory is distinguished from an accomplice, who normally is present at the crime and participates in some way. An accessory must generally have knowledge that a crime is being, or will be committed. A person with such knowledge may become an accessory by helping or encouraging the criminal in some way, or simply by failing to report the crime to proper authority. The assistance to the criminal may be of any type, including emotional or financial assistance as well as physical assistance or concealment.

Here is a link to Child Find of America

When they went missing, God was there in his omniscience, omnipotence, omni-benevolence and his "perfect" Justice. Christians can lay down piles of Rhetoric about God valuing Freewill so much that the he won't interfere with the criminals act, but since this is the case, then he values the criminals freewill more and the subsequent act of the criminal more than the freewill of the victim or the safety of the victim, whom in the context of this article are children.

God Violates the very sound principle of reporting a crime when one has knowledge of it. God is Guilty as accessory to crimes associated with missing children.

So as you are looking at baby Jesus laying in the manger and basking in the joy that your children bring you as they sing, play and open their christmas presents in wide-eyed wonder, think about those children that have had their freewill violated and are missing today. Pray God brings them back home tonight, then lets see how many come back home tonight.

Fruit Of The Spirit And The Problem Of The Heap


This article discusses the Flawed Principle of identifying Christians by their outward characteristics.
The problem of the heap, sometimes called the problem of the Beard is stated something like this. When you drop one grain of sand on another, when do you have a heap? Or if a man lets his facial hair grow out when do you call it a beard?

The fruits of the spirit are love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance. They are the characteristics that sum up the nine visible attributes of a true Christian life. That's a nice pile of Rhetoric and very appealing to the ego and very convincing if we don't put much thought into it. But each of these in themselves suffer from the problem of the heap as much as they all do together.

Does everyone agree on exactly what love is? When is a person experiencing Joy? What if they drift out of Joy into happiness or just apathy? How much suffering is long-suffering? How much is gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance? If we say that these only apply to Christians, do we really believe that? Aren't there people out there that are not Christians that exhibit these? I think I exhibit them, and some Christian thinkers have admitted their crises in faith. How much faith do they have? Enough to keep their positions that's for sure.

What is the difference between them and me? In some cases they are dishonest to themselves, and sometimes to others, at least I don't profess to be a Christian. I would say that if I went back to church and avoided talking about God, nodded my head and smiled politely in a tolerant politically correct kind of way, no one would know the difference. My fruits would look fine to them.

In any case, if Christians make up a third of the population of the world, and these characteristics can be applied to all categories of people, then the defining characteristic must be Faith because in this context, it would be faith in God. So what we really mean to say is that "you will know them because they profess a belief in Jesus".

So now, back to the heap, how much faith in Jesus is enough? And additionally how much faith in Jesus and how much of any of the rest of the fruits are enough? It seems to me that I could disqualify most of the Christians in any given church I walk into using this criteria. So if those that have enough fruit to be called Christians are few, and you don't know how much is enough, then you don't really know if you are leading a true christian life or not.

All this uncertainty about being a 'true Christian' and not appearing like a Christian to other Christians seems to defy reason. I think we could say that using these criteria is meaningless and I wonder, with all things being equal, why be a Christian? Why participate in the protocol? Most Christians in that 30% probably aren't leading a truly Christian life and as a result are as lost as I am. Its a narrow road, many are called but few are taken, is that how it goes? So of the billions of people on the planet since god allegedly made himself known, less than 30% are chosen. What is the point in that? That's a lot of needless suffering for someone to permit, when he set the conditions ahead of time and knew the outcome before he started. That sounds like predestination to me, and in that case, no matter what you do, you are either saved or not, your name is in the book of life or not. So how much is enough, and are you really saved or do you just think you are? Would another Christian say you are a real Christian? How do they know? By your fruits? But don't your fruits seem fine to you? How do they look to your friends?

Reasonable Doubt That God Is Intentionally Mysterious


[Revised Dec. 11 to provide the "moral of the story" and provide information about "A Code of Conduct for Reasonable Discussants" to enhance clarity.]
Referencing the same article Doctrinal Disagreement to the Glory of God that John did here from the "Parchment and Pen" Blog I want to provide a rejoinder to the theological pile of rhetoric that God is deliberately mysterious and that is why christians can't agree on doctrine.

Heres a little "parable" to illustrate the flaw in the principle that argument depends on. Puzzle lovers, get your pencils out. The solution is embedded in the text of the rest of the article. Give yourself a chance to figure it out before you expand the article.

A steel tower went up in a neighborhood with the following sign on it.
herkiv lmkl zspxeki. hs rsx gsqi amxlmr jmjxc biix.

People debated day and night about what the sign could mean. Then one day people heard a blood curdling scream to find a person dead and badly burned next to the tower. One of the results of the investigation turned up that the sign was encrypted to read "Danger High Voltage. Do not come within fifty feet." The person was at fault because they did not take the time to figure out that each of the letters was offset by five positions. The person died before it could be figured out that the alphabet started at W and ended at V.

Now is it clear why Gods mystery is a silly principle to adhere to?

It was irresponsible and silly not to make the sign easy to understand.
Anything important that should be imparted to another should be clearly stated.

Therefore, it would follow that the supreme intellect in the universe would not do something as irresponsible and silly as making his instruction ambiguous, then it would naturally follow that anything important that needed to be imparted to us attributed to the supreme intellect in the universe that was ambiguous could not really be from the supreme intellect in the universe, and that would mean the bible is man-made and subject to all the problems inherent to man-made texts.

In day to day life as in the study of Argumentation and Informal Logic the Principle of Clarity is essential and is one of a set of rules in a "Code of Conduct for Reasonable Discussants" developed by Frans H. Van Eemeren and Rob Grootendorst and published in their book A Systematic Theory of Argumentation: The pragma-dialectical approach.

"Discussants may not use any formulations that are
insufficiently clear or confusingly ambiguous, and
they may not deliberately misinterpret the other
party’s formulations."

Stinky Piles of Rhetoric and Flawed Principles


This is a response that spans two articles and three people. I am making an article out of my responses because they are avoiding answering my questions and I'm hoping that I can get some feedback from others. Their comments are bold and italicized. I have referenced the articles at the end so anyone interested can follow the context.

In a nutshell I am challenging the principle of the original sin, the human sacrifice which depends on the principle of original sin and I am challenging the principle of the the problem of evil as a test and I am asserting that Christians have no concept about what properties an all powerful, all knowing, all good god should have. They have no concept of the infinite. Infinity has a lot of problems with paradoxes and if you look, you see that God has inherited those same problems.

For you example, if you were to sacrifice your son so that others may live, I don't think anyone would call you terrible. The fact is, the sacrifice of your son cannot save anyone. The substitution of names in this case flawed.
It might be flawed, but it depends on your answer to this question (and honestly I don't think I would kill my son to save the world, or even a bus load of people).

What would you think of me if I crucified myself because I was punishing myself for a rule I made up? Sounds crazy doesn’t it?

If it sounds crazy then I would be killing son for nothing right? God could have changed the rules, he did it with the new covenant, he could have thought that human sacrifice was justifiably abhorrent and decided to handle it a different way. I would have.

Human sacrifice, killing yourself because of a rule you made, claiming to be a human, a son and a god all in one body, It is insane.

How do you know that jesus was really his son? mary's word? If jesus was an immaculate conception why didn't mark mention it?

God gave you a brain right? use it! why is it that these principles that supposedly came from a god seem so flawed? The principles don't translate into the real world. Why is that? Its what the bible tells us! Where did the bible come from, why does it say this?

Do your home work. Do some serious bible study. Look for the original texts. Study the history of the near east from the last ice age on, they call it the agricultural revolution.

get busy!

In regards to suffering, I would say that there is something that is to be gained in suffering. Once again, I come to my own lack of understanding, Why suffering? I don't know and the more I think about it, the more I realize that isn't the point.
You have not considered what an all powerful, all good, all knowing god should be able to do.
God should be able to do anything. In a breath, he could have spoken all christians into existence with their varying traits exactly as they would have turned out with without all the needless suffering. If he were really a loving god he should have made it so we could avoid the suffering and he could have avoided the 'pain' of having to sit on the sidelines and watch and just instilled the alleged virtues that result from suffering. This would not make us robots because the result is the same, only the process is removed. He could make them like he needs them. And I dispute that suffering makes us better than not suffering. That stands to be shown through something other than anecdotal evidence. In fact, I can show you that stress causes damage in people at the molecular level and causes the onset of depression and other harsher mental disorders. Just keep your eye out, you'll see me posting things about the brain, mind and behavior.

The point is that the world around us is collapsing and falling apart. The world around us bears witness that it is in need of a savior. All of mankind is dying and God has provided himself as our Savior in Jesus Christ. How ridiculous would it be if a drowning man to chose not to accept help from someone because he didn't like the shirt the rescuer was wearing.
This is completely subjective and as prup answered you, completely one sided and it avoids several qualifiers that make that untrue. The most you can say is that there are good things and bad things, and while we are evidenlty suffering from global warming due our screw ups, we can have a better quality of life, relatively disease free, to enjoy it with. (irony, i put that in there because some people have a hard time picking it up)

It's a question of faith and a matter of the heart. After all, it is with the heart that man believes unto salvation not with the mind. The true question is, do you need saving? If you think your fine or that you don't need or want the help of a God you view as cruel then so be it. But that doesn't change reality.
People believe with thier heart and not with their mind? What level of school did you make it through? Your self is a result of molecular electrochemical interactions in that chunk of meat in your skull and a good neurosurgeon could go in there and make you have a religious experience and think that god was in the room behind you as well making you think you had two arms on one side. You need to get a grip on reality. What is it about me that needs saving? I say that most people are good people, its just that minority percentage that ruins it for the rest of us!

What is to be known of God is made manifest in creation. But man chooses to deny that power. It's because of the hardness of men's hearts that they are given over to their own desires. If we want salvation we can have it, the choice is ours.
This is one of those piles of rhetoric that you guys leave behind every now an then. Theres no response to it because it so totally ignores reality. Once again lets all say it together, "it does not follow that because there is a world, there is a god that created it and that God is the christian God."
And there's that heart again, my heart is fine, no attacks yet. My mind is fine too, my morals and attitudes seem to be fine as I have a lot of friends that seem to like me as I'm sure is the case with most non-christians. Look, behaviour is not totally a matter of free-will, there are biological reasons for behaviour, and since that is the case your degree of free-will is limited, whether you want to belive it with your heart or not. I suggest thinking about it in your mind a little more. Thats what its best at.

Questioning what you believe and why is a good thing. Questioning to prove that you too can be like God is foolishness. The question is, who is God? Will we exalt ourselves as gods or will we humble ourselves and submit to the one true and living God even though we don't always understand?
Before you go submitting to something you better make sure it exists, because if everybody did that, that would be a lot of wasted resources with regards to labor that could go to making the world a better place. And no one is saying anything about wanting to be like god or be god, so you can just toss that stinky red herring out of here!

Pain and evil are just part of the fabric, Christian or Atheist. But it is not right to say God is unjust if He Himself suffered.

People overcome great odds all the time. Why should it be easy? Why should we be handed something we didn't work for? Everyone would like it to be easier, even Christ in the gardin asked that the cup pass over him. He knew it couldn't be and he went through with it even though he asked not to, and he left it up to the Fathers will. A little less suffereing would sure be nice, making it easier to do what is right would be nice, but neither are our reality, so we accept it and do our best, that's all were asked.

With this kind of attitude there is never going to be resolution to pain and suffering because you are just giving to god, but you are not thinking that even if you do, it all happens in gods time right? So stop praying cause he already knows what you want and get off your butt and do something about the 'terrible world' you live in. Go volunteer at assisted living facilities, hospitals, homeless shelters, donate money to the organizations that handle disasters, volunteer at schools, go pick up trash on the side of the road. If you are already doing those things BRAVO, I take my hat off to you.

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