It’s been a long time since I posted about the interesting, at times disturbing, insights that appear in Google’s autocomplete suggestions. Autocomplete displays potential searches based on the first couple words entered in the search box. The suggestions are based on the search activity of all web users and the context of the web pages indexed by Google.
With the holidays approaching, I wondered what people think various religions “should” do. Most Christian denominations don’t even prompt an autocomplete, although “Catholics should not work in emergency rooms.” For other religions, though, the autocomplete suggests indicate a significant, but sadly not too surprising, amount of religious intolerance.
Let’s start with the people the various religions might all agree they dislike — atheists. Seems they “shouldn’t have rights” or they “should be deported.” While that doesn’t say much for understanding that freedom of religion includes the choice not to believe, this is mild.
Hindus, Muslims and pagans “should be killed.” It should be noted, though, that autocomplete first suggests Muslims “should be banned” with killing them taking second place. “Scientologists should be shot,” although left unstated is whether there should be fatal intent. And while the most common autocomplete for Mormons is that they “should not grow barley,” that is followed by the autosuggestion they “should be killed.” (Evidently barley is a concern because it is used to make beer.)
Perhaps the mildest autocomplete is for Buddhists as all but a very small minority themselves probably agree that they “should not worship Buddha.” History apparently plays a role when it comes to the Jews, who “should apologize for killing Jesus.”
Aren’t religious differences thought-provoking? Actually, perhaps the problem is a lack of thought.
[Fundamentalism is] the Chinese food-binding of the human mind.
PZ Myers, The Happy Atheist