Thinking in Christ http://www.thinkinginchrist.com Get Your Worldview On! Fri, 22 May 2015 12:00:06 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Computer… Computer! http://www.thinkinginchrist.com/computer-computer/ http://www.thinkinginchrist.com/computer-computer/#comments Fri, 22 May 2015 12:00:06 +0000 http://www.thinkinginchrist.com/?p=23618

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Mandatory http://www.thinkinginchrist.com/mandatory/ http://www.thinkinginchrist.com/mandatory/#comments Thu, 21 May 2015 12:00:54 +0000 http://www.thinkinginchrist.com/?p=23615

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Progressively Failing http://www.thinkinginchrist.com/progressively-failing/ http://www.thinkinginchrist.com/progressively-failing/#comments Wed, 20 May 2015 13:30:33 +0000 http://www.thinkinginchrist.com/?p=23624 It’s rather humorous, in a way, to look back through history and consider just how unenlightened we consider so many of the civilizations that have [...]

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It’s rather humorous, in a way, to look back through history and consider just how unenlightened we consider so many of the civilizations that have gone before. The Romans, for instance, are considered barbaric and cruel because they crucified people en masse, and had massive blood sports where people were either killed by wild animals, or pitted against one another to the death for the pleasure of an audience. We just simulate our bloodshed now, so it’s not quite so bad, and destroy people’s reputation rather than their bodies.

We’re so much more civilized, you see.

Perhaps no area of our modern world illustrates this more fully than American foreign policy. Over at the Federalist, for instance —

Prior to the twentieth century in America, no other body politic has ever imagined that they could remake the world in its own image. Perhaps not even the Romans really thought that, because they did not think in terms of making the world into Rome, they simply wanted to subjugate the world to Rome, bring the slaves to Rome, govern everything for the sake of the center.

It makes some sort of sense that American has such a foreign policy, for America was fundamentally transformed from a Christian nation into a progressive one sometime around the Second World War. Looking at American foreign policy, though, you have to wonder if there will ever be a point when the progressive throws up his hands and says, “you know, I just don’t think this is going to work.”

Just catalog the world outside America, thinking through every place where America has intervened in order to “build a nation.” Where has it worked? The entire Middle East, except Israel, is a complete disaster. You might wonder if the reason the American elite hates Israel so much is because those uppity Jews just won’t play the victim card and accept “American help.” After all, you can’t get that paternal feeling if the erstwhile victim won’t play the part the way you want. Did it work in Afghanistan? Perhaps Iraq? Maybe someplace in Africa? South America?

Can you think of one place where the heavy paternal hand of America has actually built a nation that worked? I can, but it’s a long time ago, in what feels like a galaxy far far away — Japan.

What does this progressively failing foreign policy — this inability to build nations, to impose the progressive view of reality onto the world at large — tell us about the progressive worldview? What should it?

And are we paying attention?

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Othering http://www.thinkinginchrist.com/othering/ http://www.thinkinginchrist.com/othering/#comments Wed, 20 May 2015 12:00:20 +0000 http://www.thinkinginchrist.com/?p=23612

Case in point: The objective of the current propaganda war is to make progressives forget that Christians are real people. It seems to be [...]

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Case in point: The objective of the current propaganda war is to make progressives forget that Christians are real people. It seems to be succeeding, given the total social ignorance of Christianity in our culture.

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A Nation of Blue Dories http://www.thinkinginchrist.com/a-nation-of-blue-dories/ http://www.thinkinginchrist.com/a-nation-of-blue-dories/#comments Tue, 19 May 2015 12:00:22 +0000 http://www.thinkinginchrist.com/?p=23609

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Double Standard http://www.thinkinginchrist.com/double-standard/ http://www.thinkinginchrist.com/double-standard/#comments Mon, 18 May 2015 12:00:07 +0000 http://www.thinkinginchrist.com/?p=23605

In case you’re wondering, the government has, in fact, sued trucking and other transportation (taxi, for instance) companies for forcing Muslim drivers to carry [...]

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In case you’re wondering, the government has, in fact, sued trucking and other transportation (taxi, for instance) companies for forcing Muslim drivers to carry alcohol, dogs, and other things they deplore. The progressive response is that Muslims aren’t objecting to genetic conditions, like race, but rather choices, like owning a dog. In the case of the Christian, homosexuality is genetic, so objecting to it is akin to being a racist.

There are two problems with this reaction.

First, it’s a provable lie. In the case of a Washington florist who has lost not only her business, but is now at risk of losing her home, her savings — essentially being bankrupted at a late stage in life, and living off social security and charity — she specifically served homosexual customers on a regular basis. It’s homosexual marriage, specifically, that she objected to. To claim that someone is hateful because they won’t support a person’s actions — no matter how they actually treat that other person — gives away the lie that this isn’t about discrimination, it’s about forcing your views down someone else’s throat.

Second, in claiming that because homosexuality is genetic we must all support the normalization of homosexuality is to commit the naturalistic fallacy — to claim that because it’s natural, it’s moral and good. Following this logic, alcoholism is good, pedophilia is good, (or at least, not evil) rape is good, and those icky wasps that lay their eggs in spiders, so the spiders are eaten from the inside out once the eggs hatch, are good. Perhaps Daniel Payne says it best

We are told that gender is simply a “social construction,” and that people can be whatever gender they choose to be—and at the same time we are informed that “gender” has a biological basis, and that transgenderism itself is rooted in biology and is thus irrefutable. But you cannot reconcile these two claims. If gender is indeed a “social construction,” then all gender—including transgenderism—is a meaningless and therefore pointless qualifier; if, on the other hand, transgenderism is rooted in biology, then “social construction” has nothing to do with it, and a person’s “own truth” in regards to his or her gender is itself irrelevant and should be disregarded barring medical evidence. Either one has a biological basis for claiming one is transgender (in which case one’s personal feelings are a non-factor), or “gender” is effectively a nonexistent product of one’s culture (in which case you can’t claim you’re a woman, or a man, or transgender, or indeed anything at all). You simply cannot have it both ways.

What we are seeing is not a war for equality, but a war for inequality — a war against Christianity and Christians. It is nothing less than the first step in “othering” Christians, to make Christianity a topic that cannot be discussed in polite company, or practiced in real life.

This isn’t about “marriage equality,” it’s about religious inequality — in their feeling of triumph, the “nones” don’t want to be confronted with hard or honest questions.

Just as slavery proponents wanted the anti-slavery folks to shut up.

Any suggestion that Christians should have any ability to say no to homosexual marriage is said to lead straight to the moral dissolution of society at large (all the while arguing that the slippery slope argument against homosexual marriage is a logical fallacy, of course).

In other words, it’s not about marriage equality. It’s much simpler than that. The double standard of the progressive elite is all about shut up, already.

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Which Sector? http://www.thinkinginchrist.com/which-sector/ http://www.thinkinginchrist.com/which-sector/#comments Fri, 15 May 2015 12:00:34 +0000 http://www.thinkinginchrist.com/?p=23561

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Empire of Lies http://www.thinkinginchrist.com/empire-of-lies/ http://www.thinkinginchrist.com/empire-of-lies/#comments Thu, 14 May 2015 12:30:45 +0000 http://www.thinkinginchrist.com/?p=23570 Bill Whittle nails down the progressive litany of lies yet again. Reality, if you’re rich enough, is optional (you can pay people to make it [...]

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Bill Whittle nails down the progressive litany of lies yet again. Reality, if you’re rich enough, is optional (you can pay people to make it go away).

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Medical Care Solved http://www.thinkinginchrist.com/medical-care-solved/ http://www.thinkinginchrist.com/medical-care-solved/#comments Thu, 14 May 2015 12:00:16 +0000 http://www.thinkinginchrist.com/?p=23558

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Our Final Invention: Artificial Intelligence http://www.thinkinginchrist.com/review-our-final-invention/ http://www.thinkinginchrist.com/review-our-final-invention/#comments Wed, 13 May 2015 12:30:59 +0000 http://www.thinkinginchrist.com/?p=23576 Our Final Invention James Barrat

What if you took a child — a child of far greater than average intelligence, perhaps even superhuman intelligence — [...]

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our-final-inventionOur Final Invention
James Barrat

What if you took a child — a child of far greater than average intelligence, perhaps even superhuman intelligence — and place it in the world, unrestricted, ungoverned? Would the result be good — or not? What if the child were not a child, but rather an Artificial Super Intelligence (ASI) created by humans within the confines of a computer? Answering this question is, ultimately, the aim of Our Final Invention. The author begins by asking a far simpler question: once this superhuman ASI has been created, can it even be confined within the computer, or will it learn how to engineer its environment — including its human guardians — so it can escape?

Now, really put yourself in the ASI’s shoes. Imagine awakening in a prison guarded by mice. Not just any mice, but mice you could communicate with. What strategy would you use to gain your freedom? Once freed, how would you feel about your rodent wardens, even if you discovered they had created you? Awe? Adoration? Probably not, and especially not if you were a machine, and hadn’t felt anything before. -page 10

Assuming it can escape, what would such an ASI do?

After beginning with these hard questions — and leaving the reader with unsettling answers — the author moves through a series of chapters examining just how close such an ASI might be. He covers the ground of self writing software, the thinking chess machine Big Blue, and the computer that can beat people at a game show, Watson. He explains the concept of the intelligence explosion — how, once a computer learns to improve itself, it would have no reason to stop improving itself. There would be no limit to this self improvement, and hence no limit to the program’s desire, or ability, to rewrite its own code to make it faster, more efficient, etc. Once the AI reaches the singularlity — becoming smarter than humans, and hence an ASI — there is nothing stopping it from moving through a “hard takeoff,” where it increases its intelligence and ability along a exponential curve. Each increase in ability would allow it rewrite its own code to increase it’s own ability, forming a sort of positive feedback loop.

Or would this be a negative feedback loop, in terms of humanity? The author argues two specific points. First, the singularity is bound to occur at some point in the future. There are too many people working on it, and too many advances being made in the field of artificial intelligence, for the event not to take place. Second, once it does happen, there are two real options. Either the resulting ASI will be “friendly,” and will “take care of the human race,” or the resulting ASI simply won’t care, and will destroy the human race. This isn’t a matter of intent, it’s simply a matter of achieving the greatest good with the available resources. Humans might not be useful in the face of an ASI’s superior ability to predict the future.

Neither the author nor those supporting the drive to “friendly AI” seem to understand that both results are, in fact, the same thing. We rail against a God that allows evil, saying “God cannot be good and powerful and allow evil,” so we’re bound and determined to create one that is good and powerful and doesn’t allow evil. Such a creature would destroy mankind in it’s desire for good — for mankind is, among other things, not essentially good. In order to “make us good,” such a creature would first have to grind our humanness into the dust from whence it came. Of course it doesn’t even take the singularity of ASI to destroy humanity — just imagine an artificially created microvirus that can reprogram itself to avoid all anti-biotics sweeping the world after being released by a laboratory. This virus doesn’t have to be smart in human terms, or even smarter than humans. Just persistent.

The author does muddle categories a bit, assuming human motivations while also pushing forward the idea that we cannot know how such a machine might think (and it certainly wouldn’t think along human lines). The four basic motivations of efficiency, self-protection, resource acquisition, and creativity are actualyl questionable even among humans, much less among any ASI humans might create. The argument that this push for ASI is quasi-religious actually doesn’t go far enough — it is actually religious in all its manifestations, much as our modern worship of “all things science” is. Those who claim they are not religious because they don’t believe in “the supernatural,” seem to forget something simple: human intelligence is, itself, supernatural, as would be any ASI created by a human.

This book has some strong points, and some weak — but overall, it’s well worth reading for anyone who is serious about the singularity, and what it might mean for humans.

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