Have a gander at Josh McDowell’s latest rant. It’s quite amusing and shows him to be as clueless as you expect evangelical apologists to be. Let’s ignore his (intellectually and morally) dubious assertion that anal and oral sex are a gateway drug to homosexuality, and that then leads to bestiality and child molestation and check out this hilarious morsel about the Internet.
The respected apologist also says the Internet’s “exploding information” plays a major factor in challenging the way young people view culture, the church and their moral views. According to his research, millions of youths take in about 34GB of Internet data each day, which is equivalent to the amount of lyrics found in 8,160 songs.
(If McDowell is a “respected apologist”, I’d like to see a shit one.)
Anyway, 34GB. Let’s put that number into perspective. I changed my mobile data contract last week. I use it a lot and have an unlimited data contract: in five days, I’ve used about 1GB of data. I work in technology and deal with a lot of data for work. I work on databases that weigh in the terabytes and have had days where I’ve processed 100GB of data on my laptop. But between my mobile and home use of the Internet, I probably use in a month what Josh McDowell reckons that young people use in a day. A compressed text download of all of English Wikipedia (without images) is about 10GB.
Josh McDowell thinks that young people are consuming 3.4 Wikipedias worth of data every day.
Now, of course, gigabytes are not necessarily a useful measure because plain text is dramatically smaller than, say, audio or video. 34GB of plain text is a bit of a stretch, but 34GB of video might be reasonable. 1080p video is about 2-3GB an hour, so McDowell’s hypothetical young downloaders might be watching 12–19 hours of video a day. How they find time to fit all that in amongst all the anal sex, twerking, bestiality and other moral depravity (or indeed sleeping, eating, sitting on the lavatory, work or school) is quite mysterious
McDowell also says that the 34GB is equivalent to the lyrics in 8,160 songs. Not so. I did a quick back-of-the-envelope calculation. I pinched the lyrics to Lady Gaga’s “LoveGame” off one of the lyrics sites and ran them through wc which says they are 1,146 bytes long. 1,146 bytes times 8,160 songs gets you 9,351,360, which is 8.91 megabytes (remember, 1024 bytes in a kilobyte and so on).
Using the numbers above, 34GB is enough space for 31,856,214 song lyrics.
Josh McDowell is wrong by a factor of 3,903. Which is amusing if not exactly surprising.
If such a “respected apologist” is unable to do simple arithmetic, perhaps one should be somewhat more sceptical when he tells you that you need to believe what he says about what you are allowed to do with your genitalia and/or your destination in the afterlife.