Monday, January 08, 2007


The universe, it has been observed, is a very, very, very big place. Cyberspace, though not a place in the strictest sense, is also fairly large. When you perform a search on Google, for instance, it searches something in the neighborhood of 20 billion web pages. This is a fairly staggering figure if you think about it. Web pages outnumber people on the earth by about three-to-one.

Given that figure, it might seem that any given corner of cyberspace would be fairly insignificant. And yet.... And yet, it appears that random people keep coming across my blog (and I assume everyone with a blog sees this same thing). Mostly, they seem to come here from Google. This never ceases to fascinate me. I've posted on this before, but I came across something today that surprised me enough that I just have to share it.

As of today, if you perform a Google search for What's wrong with the four spiritual laws, the number one result in the list is an entry from my blog. That's not a blog search -- it's a straight search of the entire Internet. Now, strangley, this top result is a post on Lutheranism, with my actual post entitled "What's Wrong with the Four Spiritual Laws?" listed as a sub-result, but there it is.

Google's mission is "to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful." In my experience, their results tend to weight blogs too heavily (probably because of the tendency of bloggers to crosslink to one another, which plays into Google's search algorithm) so we could perhaps equivocate over the definition of "information." Nevertheless, it's an extraordinary result. I, "poor stinking bag of maggots that I am," post my idiosyncratic opinion on a well-established pillar of conservative evangelism, and, thanks to Google, several people a week find it.

It's just weird.


Patrik said...

I agree that there is something wrong with the way Google handles blogs. Because of the World Cup of Systematic theologians I last summer, if you search on two theologians, you're likely to get to my blog, and there is rarely much content on them there.

Chris Sagsveen said...

Don't be so hard on yourself. Maybe Google likes what you have to say!

Andy said...


Perhaps in addition to showing a flaw with Google this is a sign that the academic branches of the Church are sadly lagging in adopting "new" technology. As of today, if you Google "Carl Braaten" my post on his open letter comes in number two -- behind only a post by the Pontificator on the same topic.

Andy said...


Maybe you're right. My post may well be the best critique of the Four Spiritual Laws on the web. :-)

Andy said...

BTW, in case anyone missed it, the "poor stinking bag of maggots" thing is a borrowed from Luther, lamenting the fact that people are calling themselves Lutherans.