The Rise Of Artificial Superintelligence: The Need To Defend Humanity

Aug 19th, 2023 | By

In a recent essay in The Atlantic, executive editor Adrienne LaFrance wrote: Imagine an internet infrastructure “with programs that communicate with a veneer of authority on any subject, with the ability to generate sophisticated, original text, audio, and video, and the power to mimic individuals in a manner so convincing that people will not know what is real. These self-teaching AI models are being designed to become better at what they do with every single interaction.”

The National Report Card On Public Education

Aug 12th, 2023 | By

As a reward to the teacher unions of the United States, who strongly supporting his run for the presidency, Jimmy Carter created the Department of Education, a Cabinet level Department with a large bureaucracy, in 1979. Today that Department funnels billions of tax dollars to elementary, secondary and college institutions throughout the United States. Especially for the public elementary and secondary schools, there is a growing body of evidence indicating that this Department and the tax dollars spent have not produced a good return on investment. Arguably, most intellectually honest educators admit that the American system of public education is in need of thoroughgoing reform. But both Democrats and Republicans have blind spots when it comes to educational reform: Those on the left generally ignore bad public schools, pander to unions and protect underperforming teachers. Those on the right tend to stress private schools over public, ignoring the plight of children caught in public schools with no other option.

Who Controls Our Institutions?

Jul 29th, 2023 | By

As I have summarized many times on Issues in Perspective, God has created three primary institutions—the family, the state and the church. Each has stewardship responsibilities before Him and the functioning of each according to His standards provides stability and order. To reject these standards is to foster disorder and dysfunction. American society today is experiencing growing disorder and dysfunction. It is therefore wise to investigate who controls and sets the respective agendas for these institutions.

“Shiny Happy People”: Authority, Control And The Absence Of Grace

Jul 22nd, 2023 | By

I grew up in the late 1950s and was in high school in the early 1960s. I was immersed in the culture of Protestant fundamentalism. My parents loved the Lord but were also immersed in that culture. In my family, Christianity was defined by a series of rigid rules. Behavior, dress and entertainment were all regulated by our church. I heard little about an intimate, personal walk with Jesus Christ. Instead, our youth group leader directed us to destroy any rock and roll records, burn all playing cards in the house and never go to a Hollywood movie, to a dance or to plays in a theater. We were taught not to even hold hands with members of the opposite sex. As I progressed in high school I became more and more uncomfortable with my parent’s faith. In college, I rebelled against it, rejecting their faith and their church.

The Drop In Global Fertility: The Consequences?

Jul 15th, 2023 | By

In 1798 a British clergyman named Thomas Malthus argued that human population growth would exceed the world’s ability to feed this growth in population. Calamity and massive suffering and starvation were inevitable. Robert McNamara in 1968, as president of the World Bank, spoke of “the mushrooming cloud of population explosion.” Paul Ehrlich, about the same time, published a book, The Population Bomb, in which he argued that we must “have population control at home, hopefully through a system of incentives and penalties, but by compulsion if voluntary methods fail.” The Club of Rome issued its famous report in the 1970s on the “Limits of Growth.”

Has The American Male Lost His Way?

Jul 8th, 2023 | By

If anything is well established in American social science, it is that men are falling behind women in higher education, suffer disproportionately from drug overdoses and are far more likely to commit suicide. Furthermore, boys in the United States are less prepared than young girls when they begin school and less likely to graduate from high school or finish college. Young men are falling out of the labor force. So-called deaths of despair—by suicide and drug overdose—are nearly three times as common among men as women. One out of every five fathers does not live with his children. In 1990, 3 percent of men reported having no close friends; now, 15 percent do.

The Challenges Of Parenting In 2023

Jun 24th, 2023 | By

I am writing this piece on Mother’s Day weekend 2023, which has caused me to consider the unique challenges our children face in raising their children (our grandchildren). My wife and I have three grandsons—eight, four and one. The situation today is so different than 40 years ago when we began our family. In this Perspective I want to focus on several of the unique hardships parents face in 2023.

Truth, Error And Pervasive Conspiracy Theories

Jun 17th, 2023 | By

Sheridan Voysey of Our Daily Bread Ministries writes that “A woman once told me about a disagreement that was tearing her church apart. ‘What’s the disagreement about?’ I asked. ‘Whether the earth is flat,’ she said. A few months later, news broke of a Christian man who’d burst into a restaurant, armed, to rescue children supposedly being abused in its back room. There was no back room, and the man was arrested. In both cases, the people involved were acting on conspiracy theories they’d read on the internet.” He concluded that “Since such information can split churches and put lives at risk, checking facts is an act of loving our neighbor. When a sensational story comes our way, we can verify its claims with qualified, accountable experts, being truth seekers—not error spreaders. Such an act brings credibility to the gospel.” On both the progressive left and the paranoid-laden right, conspiracy theories abound.

The Importance Of Children

Jun 10th, 2023 | By

Evangelicals and Catholics Together (ECT) is an ecumenical group founded in 1994 by Richard John Neuhaus and Chuck Colson. This organization periodically publishes papers and hosts conferences dealing with important biblical issues as they relate to culture and the Christian faith. Prominent scholars and church leaders are a part of this movement. Recently, I came across a paper published by ECT in 2009 on children as gifts from God. In addition to the postmodern pursuit of personal autonomy, modern birth control methods and abortion have made it easier for women to avoid having children. The result is the diminishing importance of children in terms of personal fulfillment and the additional consequence of the diminishing importance of the family as a viable and robust institution of Western Civilization.

Is Capitalism As An Economic System Biblical?

Jun 3rd, 2023 | By

Does the Bible help us to think clearly and plainly about economic issues? About socialism? About capitalism? The 8th commandment as an ethical absolute establishes the sanctity of private property (“You shall not steal,” Exodus 20:15). The Old Testament affirms this ethical absolute in the Levitical code (see Lev. 25:10): Neither the government nor society owns property; individuals do. The Mosaic covenant was based on laws that defined punishment for stealing and the restitution for damage to another person’s animals, fields, etc. Deuteronomy 19:14 even affirmed the importance of boundaries for privately owned land. This ethical standard is also affirmed in the New Testament (e.g., Romans 13:9; 1 Corinthians 6:10; Ephesians 4:28, etc.). The New Testament also states that individuals have the right of ownership of money, possessions and are to use them wisely, as a stewardship from God (e.g., Romans 12:8; 1 Corinthians 16:2; 2 Corinthians 9:7; Ephesians 4:28, etc.).