Spellchecking God

Among the many errant thoughts The Lion grumbled at this morning was one (or a constellation thereof) about spellcheckers. Not the human kind, the computer kind. There are very few of the human ones left, or at least one would think so given the flood of errors in texts these last few years.

People love their spellcheckers, believing them omniscient and infallible. They must believe so, since it is increasingly obvious more people use them and fail to spellcheck their spellcheckers. The skill of proofreading has pretty much died, more so in blogs and casual writing than in the professional ranks. Yet even in professional work The Lion too often finds errors of reliance on spellcheckers.

But people are determined to accept the authority of a computerized spellchecker, apparently from ignorance or laziness.

People who don’t know how to spell, or who are uncertain of spellings simply accept the machine’s authority. After all, the spellchecker is a computerized machine and thus must be infallible. Machines don’t err, right?

Lazy writers just don’t want to do the work of proofreading. But then lazy writers are careless about their writing in all degrees. They don’t think about what they’re saying, they don’t work at finding the most effective way to say their say, they don’t do grammar very well, and they don’t care much about spelling.

The easiest course for these people is to elevate the spellchecker to the status of a god.

Don’t question it. Just accept its dictates. Don’t even dare consider that it might be wrong. The spellchecker is Authority.

And certainly don’t look at the evidence that the spellchecker is often wrong. If you type ‘soon’ for ‘son’ you could well write ‘the Soon of God’ and your computer will find no error. The only corrective might be the sound of giggles from your readers.

That attitude towards spellcheckers by the uninformed, the ignorant, and the lazy is little different from that of the fundogelicals toward the Bible or the Koran or the Torah and their error-prone human leaders who vest themselves with the authority to correct error. Thus we have God, the Great Spellchecker in the Sky.

Of course the spellchecker on your computer won’t kill people, torture them, imprison them, shun them; it won’t destroy civil societies, it won’t burn books or people; it won’t brainwash children or try to destroy reason and science. No, the worst a spellchecker can do is make you look like an idiot. On the other hand that’s often the least the fundogelical view of the world can do to its adherents.


7 Responses

  1. I had a spell checker (the one in wordpress) try to replace “Christianist” (which, to be fair, may or may not be an actual word) with “accordianist.” Given the choice, I’ll take the accordianist any day.

    For many (I agree with you here) it is the pastor (priest, imam, rabbi, insert godhead of choice) who becomes the spellchecker for the personal and political lives of the congregant. Good post.


  2. Well it would seem most Christians online rely on that great spellchecker in the sky, since it’s evident they never use the one on their computer. Sadly, just like whenever else they expect his help, it never arrives, for Christian comments online are usually pretty bad.

    This could also explain why they get so pissed when you point out their spelling errors (and grammar and punctuation), because you’re pointing out yet again where their god failed to show up.


  3. philly –

    “pointing out yet again where their god failed to show up”

    Either that or god’s a really crappy speller and grammarian…


  4. Of course God’s a lousy speller. Just look at the only supposed case where the Deity wrote something Himself, rather than dictating. It’s the worst misspelling of “Meanie, meanie, to kill a person!” I’ve ever seen.

    Enjoy your waitresses, tip the veal…

    Seriously, this is exactly how authoritarian setups go so badly wrong; there’s no thoughtful error checking. Well put, Ric.


  5. Ms. Rick:

    I putt all my massages threw my spill chucker and grammar to and their fin. If you don’t belief me you con due it your self.

    So I do knot no what your complying abut.

    You just must lick to make fun of heists. You aught to gut a life.


  6. midder Ex –

    Ewe jest gut two mush chime on Ur Hans.


  7. On another note, I do want to point out that Ric once wrote this:

    Spellcheck is the work of the devil. Grammar check is the devil. In any event, for spellcheck to be truly effective you have to know how to spell in the first place. I have a theory that the spate of ignorance about the basics of communication among the fundogelicals is due to home schooling – the willfully ignorant leading the willing to be ignorant. “Let’s brainwash our kids, honey, so they’ll believe the Bible tells them everything they’ll ever need to know to be really stupid people.”

    by Ric 1 May, 2008 at 1:34 pm

    So if spell check is the devil, and God is the spellchecker for fundies, well then . . . .


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