Saturday, February 06, 2016

Google Books and the Democratization of Knowledge

When I was a kid, I would have questions about certain things without access to an answer. The closest thing to a storehouse of knowledge was Encyclopedia Britannica, a 32 volume home encyclopedia that became the go-to source of information.

In 2004 at the Frankfurt Book Fair, the American company Google launched what they first called Google Print, now known as Google Books.

The Google Books Library Project is an effort by Google to scan and make searchable the world's 130 million books. As of October 2015, Google has scanned and uploaded digitally 25 million books. They hope to complete their ambitious project by the end of this century.

I for one am a user.

It is through Google Books that I became fascinated and a quasi-expert on world chronology through reading Isaac Newton's The Chronology of Ancient Kingdoms Amended. It is through Google Books that I discovered a simple and stunning interpretation of Daniel's 70 Weeks Prophecy, written by a "layman" in 1826 called Daniel's Prophecy of the Seventy Weeks Interpreted by a Layman.  If you read it, you will realize like I that a layman 200 years ago tended to be more intellectual than the average layman today. It is through Google Books that I've read for free countless biographies that just over a dozen years ago I would had to have spent a fortune finding a print copy through Alibris or other book search companies,. One of my favorite Google Book biographies is an work on William Shakespeare which you can download for free.

When the infamous Library of Alexandria was burned in AD 642, it was an intentional act by marauders designed to limit the world's access to knowledge. For nearly a millennium previously, ships docked at the northern port of Alexandria, Egypt and presented originals of their home ports favorite scrolls (books) as a "docking fee." Scholars at the Alexandria Library would make a handwritten copy of the scroll, keep the original scroll, and send the copy home with the sailors the next time they docked in Alexandria. It was at the Alexandria Library during the 3rd century B.C. that 70 Greek scholars took some Hebrew scrolls of the Scriptures and made a Greek translation of them that we call the Septuagint (Greek for "70"). When the Alexandria Library burned in AD 642, hundreds of thousands priceless scrolls went to ash, turning the ancient world's vast storehouse of amazing knowledge into smoke. It's my opinion the prevalent notion we evolved from monkeys is a direct result of lacking access to the ancient scrolls that would have shown that the "monkeys" of millenniums past were dang smarter than the evolved monkeys of today.

The Internet is the new Alexandria Library. Google Books is the forerunner of the democratization of knowledge. It is impossible to burn a digital library, but watch out for those governments that restrict access to the Internet. Any government that limits the peoples' access to Google Books is a government of tyranny.

If I were a parent of a young child (or maybe a grandparent?), I would take advantage of Google Books by teaching my children how to use this technology to download and read for free books from around the world and from centuries past. In the next few years there will be a massive, concerted effort by governments to limit access to this knowledge, and the only people who will will fight such attempts at censorship and tyranny are those who understand the benefit of the democratization of knowledge

I'm ready to do my part to help people understand.


Christiane said...

with access to so much 'information', not all of it accurate, there is an increased need for the education benefit of training in critical thinking skills

Unknown said...

Wade, I think you know I am a lover of our early American history. Having become quite a study of the times and the people and especially those influential founders whose experiment we still enjoy today. They were very learned men and women. I would go as far to say as they were far more learned than the greater majority of even those with Master’s degree or PhD's. The baseline of a classical education for them was found in an enormous amount of reading. Heavy intellectual stuff, by the way, not the simple easy reads so many of us may have gone through. They were also mentored as society placed a strong emphasis on such mentoring. Most importantly, they were taught to critically think. Christine has already mentioned that and I have always said it is something so lacking in today’s education process. Children are not taught to think they are taught tests…they are taught to regurgitate. Many of them get to university level classes and are instilled with the idea that critical thinking is tearing down traditional everything and replacing it with selfish everything. This pseudo-intellectualism is nothing more than adult children who are the equivalent to the brat who has to sit in his mother’s lap just to slap her face for not getting him what he wanted in the checkout line at the grocery store.

While I am not completely against public education I do say that in our nation it is broken badly from the top down. Many good, qualitative and passionate teachers go to school every day with the hand-cuff’s of the state firmly on their hands…that Is not a way to do these things. I am very satisfied with our home-school efforts on all 5 of our children. Two of them are already in University with scholarship and more and the others well on their way. It is not easy, it does take effort and I will freely admit that some people have no business home-schooling if they’re not going to put the full effort in. The primary tool for success is found in what you speak to here…reading. Lots and lots of reading! Develop the passion and love for it and education happens at an exponential rate. I am blessed in that my children have read far more books by their 8th grade than I ever did in all of my primary education and they have read much deeper and intellectually challenging ones.

The greatest problem with today’s instant information is that so much of it is dead wrong. When anyone can edit a Wikipedia page you have a problem. When the classics are ignored you have a problem. When politically motivated revisionists post fabrications that serve a world view and not an honest review of history we have a problem. When kids at university today cant even tell you an answer to questions like “Who won the US Civil War?” (Texas A&M) or “Who is the Vice President?” then you have a disconnect that I say is by the design of those wishing to change this nation away from its foundations into their world view. That children can’t even be taught cursive writing (that script used to write our founding document, the Declaration of Independence) then we have a problem.
It is one of the reasons I appreciate the work of David Barton. He gets falsely accused of revisionism when he has proven every time to be correct. Most importantly he uses primary and full sources not redacted or edited ones or those presented in hypothesis. That kind of approach is all I ask anyone take.

Wade Burleson said...


Don't necessarily disagree. It's one of the reasons I like Google Books. You are reading the classics unedited.

Wade Burleson said...

I also wrote about Wikipedia here

Unknown said...

MY apologies Wade, I should have included my understanding of that as it is so very important to have access to the unvarnished versions and as such Google should be lauded for it. My consternation resides more with the many sites not so inclined.

Rex Ray said...

Good post! I have looked a long time on Google and other places for the answer to this question:

Who was the man that killed James, the brother of Jesus, with a club after a priest had stopped others from stoning him?

I have heard that the man was a member of James’ church.

I think that could be possible because James accepted the Gentiles as Christians without being circumcised which was against the thinking of the Christian Pharisees in his church.

AUTHORITY in the church began to stick its ugly head up around 50 AD as the first bishop of Antioch, Ignatius wrote, “We ought to receive every one whom the Master of the house sends to be over His household, as we would do Him that sent him. It is manifest, therefore, that we should look upon the bishop even as we would the Lord Himself.” (Wheaton College Christian Classics Ethereal Library)

J.M Carroll’s “Trail of Blood” states “Large churches lorded over small churches and referenced (3 John 1:9) “…does not admit my authority over him.” (Living)

The church split over baptizing babies for salvation in 251 AD. I believe Catholic thinking went one way and Baptist thinking went the other.

Wade Burleson said...

Not sure the murderer is ever named, but here's an article on the death of James the Just.

Louis Vuitton iPhone 6 Case said...

With the access to such accurate information, we know we can find something better and give us a choice to get the new information.

Rex Ray said...


Thanks for the article on the “death of James the Just.” [You know how I like to ‘correct’ those I disagree with. :) ]

The article was written by Paul Pavao. IMHO, his mind is close to or above genius, but his mind was constantly changing. He changed from half atheist to Christian who ‘devoured’ the Bible in his quest to save the World for Christ. He seemed to love people as long as they agreed with him. I believe he’s like me when my father said, “Rex, you’re always right! But when you’re wrong, you’re dead wrong!”


He wrote: “Rumor has it that James was a Nazirite from his mother’s womb…I don’t believe this rumor. I can’t picture a long-haired guy who never bathed as the long term bishop of Jerusalem.”

Hey Pavao! Maybe James stayed downwind from everyone. :)

How can you not believe James was raised a Nazirite when all his life he did the duties of a Nazirite? The people believed they were blessed by God because James fulfilled Numbers 6:27: “Whenever [Nazirite] bless the people of Israel in my name, I will bless them.”
It was the people of Israel that named him “The Just”; not the Apostles, the King, or any authority.

Don’t you think when Joseph realized his wife was the surrogate mother of God’s Son that he wanted Jesus to respect his firstborn?

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this article Wade!
We have no inkling of the works that were lost when the great library of Alexandria was lost, especially the math and science scrolls. In my opinion, the ancients knew far more than they're given credit for.

Rex Ray said...

“…The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you…”

Was Mary a surrogate mother, or was her egg used for the birth of Jesus?

Rex Ray said...

The “Fannin County LEADER” is printed in Bonham, Texas. It is provided free by many stores. (We get ours from a country mailbox.) Email:
On<> I read, “Keep Donnie Foster for Fannin County Sheriff”.

I’ve only met the sheriff once. He woke me years ago at 3 A.M., saying “We’ve arrested a man in your backyard.” (He was a passenger in a car that outran the police but the car was left at a washed out bridge.) Foster asked if my garage door was down. I said no.
“You don’t understand. We want to ‘stick’ him with everything we can. If your door was down, he will be charged with ‘breaking and entering’. Was your door down?”

This week the LEADER printed a full page letter on its back cover from a broken hearted father, Jerry Harris. His daughter, Jennifer, was found nude in Red River May 13, 2002. There was no water in her lungs. The clothes she had on, car keys, laptop, and phone were given to police who lost them with no explanation. No one knows who got her pregnant.

In August 2015, the TV show ‘Cold Justice’ asked Foster if they could investigate her murder at no expense to tax payers. They were denied. Foster’s reason: “Protect the integrity of the evidence”.

The public was so angry that Foster sent an email to Cold Justice allowing them to investigate. Their email reply of August 11, 2015 asked Foster to set a date for them to come. (This email was part of the father’s letter.) Since then, Foster has not met with Cold Justice due to his busy schedule.

The father started his letter with a quote: “The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing.”

I hope I’m not one of them.

Christiane said...

You are one of the good guys. Don't worry.
Hope all is well.

P.S. Your question about Mary ... the sacred Scriptures can help clarify the mystery for you ... look in the OT prophecies and in the Holy Gospels. If you are interested and have the time, the early Councils did work against heresies concerning 'Who Christ was', and these councils developed 'creeds' that were considered orthodox.

Also, the Eastern Orthodox have a very highly developed theology of the mystery of the Incarnation . . . their resources are beautiful and meaningful for all Christian people who happen to come and explore them

Remain at peace in Christ. All shall be well. :)

Rex Ray said...

Hi Christiane
The best thing I improve on is my ‘forgetter’.
I’d forgotten the name of the Sherriff, and a friend asked permission to place his re-election sign in my yard. It’s been there for months. Now it has a red X from corner to corner. Election is next month.

Was it possible for God to furnish the sperm but impossible for Him to furnish the egg?

The angel Gabriel told Mary: “For NOTHING is impossible with God.” (Luke 1:37 NLT)

“…Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father!...” (John 14:9 NLT)

I believe Jesus is the same forever regardless of his location, and there has NEVER been any DNA from Mary.

If a White woman is chosen as a surrogate mother by a Black couple, NONE (DNA) of the baby would be White.

Surely God can do what man can do.

Rex Ray said...

Of course, “Those convinced against their will is of the same opinion still.” :)

Rex Ray said...

Hi Christiane

Yesterday, a Sheriff’s deputy asked me to remove the “X” on the Sheriff’s campaign sign.

We agreed if the Sheriff would promise to let Cold Justice investigate the murder. Sheriff said Cold Justice is being cancelled and is not interested.


says “TNT has yet to cancel or renew Cold Justice for Season 4.”

Rex Ray said...

BTW I was wrong about the Sheriff arresting a man in my backyard years ago because yesterday, the deputy said it was him.

Christiane said...


your stories make my day!

Rex Ray said...

This week, the “Fannin County Leader” posted an ad by Sheriff Donnie Foster which changed my view completely. I talked to him in his office for over an hour.

He showed emails from Cold Justice that they could not meet with him because they were being removed from TV. Jennifer Harris was murdered 14 years ago. Foster has been sheriff 5 years.

I felt very comfortable with him and we parted as friends. He knew my uncles and had been a member of our church. He didn’t know if he had the nerve to go down my slide. I told him I had been down 56 times and showed him a selfie I’d made this year and he laughed when I screamed like a little girl.

He said my father had given him his book, “The Long Look: The Out-of-the-Ordinary Life of David W. Ray” by John R. Erickson and David W. Ray. It has 153 pages but was written without my father’s proof-reading.

Chapter 10 made him angry because it had the title “David Ray, the world’s worse driver”. He complained…”I never killed no body.”

Foster started telling me stories in the book, but was sorry he had lost it. I said I’d give him another one.