“Redzone 2084”, is a novel that depicts the government’s involvement in our lives enabled by the new technologies. These shall be the special interest groups (SIG) that target the lives of private citizens. Their power has risen from the “Big Brother” of Orwell’s “1984” to be our parents; our lil gods.
A form of government called hyper communism has come into being; whereas, the minds of the people are owned and sold by special interest groups. They are surrogates to the Oligarchies of the superpower nations including the States.
God has given us a remedy to avoid the coerciveness of the most powerful government that ever existed; it is the Gold Rule. But, all must obey.
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So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.
We all must preserve our individual privacy which is necessary for a high-quality democracy and free society with civil liberties and freedoms.
This current blog series on Reflections is intended to encourage Christians to read more vigorously by providing a beginner’s guide to some of the Christian classics in such fields as theology, philosophy, and apologetics. Hopefully a very brief introduction to these important Christian texts will motivate today’s believers, as St. Augustine was called to in his dramatic conversion to Christianity, to “take up and read” (Latin: Tolle lege) these classic books.
This week’s book, Handbook of Basic Bible Texts, is by Christian theologian John Jefferson Davis and is the most helpful work I’ve used in my research and study of Scripture and theology. When I write and speak on biblical and theological topics I always utilize this very helpful volume. I’m very thankful to Dr. Davis for writing and organizing this tool for biblical and theological studies.
Why Is This Author Notable?
John Jefferson Davis is a veteran evangelical Protestant theologian and pastor. He is a professor of systematic theology and Christian ethics at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, where he has taught for more than 40 years. He has written several books in the areas of Christian theology, doctrine, ethics, and science.
What Is This Book About?
In this book, Davis takes every critical Scripture passage for the study of Christian doctrine and theology, then divides and lists them according to the categories of systematic theology. This book contains all of the key passages written out that address Christian theological topics. Davis uses the 1984 New International Version (NIV) of the Bible as his translation.
Each of the book’s 12 chapters represents a major area of systematic theology with passages conveniently subdivided and cited: (1) Scripture, (2) God, (3) creation, (4) providence, (5) man, (6) person of Christ, (7) work of Christ, (8) salvation and the Christian life, (9) the church, (10) sacraments, (11) individual eschatology, and (12) general eschatology.
This work makes it possible to conveniently read and study all key biblical passages on a given area of doctrine without going through the tedious process of looking each of them up individually in one’s Bible. One can also uniquely and selectively read the Bible according to doctrinal categories. Furthermore, Davis provides many helpful explanatory notes concerning the various verses and doctrines along with suggestions for further study in given areas of theology.
Below, Davis reveals his motivation for organizing this work the way he did:
“By listing important Scripture references in the order in which they are usually presented in standard systematic theologies, I hope to both save the reader time in this connection and keep the study of theology grounded in the actual text of Scripture.”1
Why Is This Book Worth Reading?
Davis’s Handbook of Basic Bible Texts is an amazingly helpful tool. This little work has saved me much time in my Scripture studies and has allowed me to think about Scripture according to the categories of systematic theology. It has also allowed me to conveniently read, study, and memorize the key doctrinal verses in the Bible. Imagine what Augustine, Luther, and Calvin would have given to have this convenient tool available to them in their studies. Lastly, the book is very inexpensive, so I highly encourage you to buy it and use it in your studies of Scripture.
In the early days of science fiction television, aliens on shows like Star Trek and Doctor Whotypically looked like humans with slight feature changes. Some had green skin, some were given antennae, others had enlarged heads, and so forth—nothing too complex thanks to small production budgets. These days, digitally created aliens in Hollywood blockbusters can take on any shape or form, yet many are still presented as anatomically similar to humans, having two arms, two legs, and a head with two eyes, a mouth, and a nose. (Think of Guardians of the Galaxy or Avatar.)
It is difficult for writers to imagine life that is truly different from terrestrial life. The book that gets our award for having the most distinctly original alien life-form is The Visitors. It features benign aliens that look like floating black rectangular boxes that are several hundred feet long. Now that is weird life!
Life as we know it on Earth utilizes molecules built primarily out of carbon. Scientists, however, have contemplated the possibility of “weird life”—that is, alien life based on silicon, rather than carbon. Do the universal laws of chemistry support such a possibility? Before we can answer that, we need to consider why known life is carbon based. (The information presented here is summarized from our longer paper on this subject.)
Requirements for Life Chemistry
One of the hallmarks of life is its extreme chemical complexity. All life must be able to absorb nutrients and food, convert food to energy, remove waste, repair or replace body parts, reproduce, and so forth. Such tasks necessitate the existence of a large and diverse collection of complex molecular machines. We infer, then, that any element serving as a basis for life chemistry must be able to support a vast array of chemical structures.
Life chemistry must also be able to form large polymeric structures. This is important for at least two reasons. First, using just a few different building blocks one can generate an endless array of stable but variable and interchangeable molecular forms. For example in terrestrial organisms, proteins are polymers made from about twenty different amino acids. Proteins have to be enormous in order to carry out their precise catalytic functions while simultaneously being specific enough to not react with other molecules. Second, long polymer chains are critical for encoding genetic information. In Earth life, this role is handled by DNA, which is a polymer constructed from just four nucleobases (plus sugars and phosphates). Organisms require an enormous amount of genetic information for reproduction, so the ability to form strands of nearly unlimited length is absolutely vital. Thus, alien life—even weird life—almost certainly requires the ability to form long polymers even if the specific building blocks are different from those of Earth life.
The Life-Essential Properties of Carbon
Chemists have identified at least five major features of carbon that explain why it is uniquely qualified to serve as a basis for life chemistry. Three of these properties are shown in the context of the periodic table (see figure 1).
Forms up to four single bonds. Carbon (and the other elements in the same column) generally forms four bonds, whereas other nearby elements form three or less. With the exception of hypervalent molecules (which we will discuss below), this represents the effective maximum in bonding, which contributes to carbon’s ability to form an exceptionally wide range of molecules.
Forms stable double and triple bonds. Carbon can form strong multiple bonds, which greatly increases the number of possible molecules that carbon can form. In contrast, elements in the rows below carbon on the periodic table, such as silicon, generally do not form multiple bonds.
Forms aromatic compounds. Aromatic molecules (in chemistry, “aromatic” does not refer to the aroma or odor of a molecule) are a special case of multiple bonds in ring systems that display exceptional chemical stability. Because of their unique chemical properties, aromatic molecules play an important role in many biological molecules—including four of the twenty main amino acids, all five nucleic acids, as well as hemoglobin and chlorophyll.
Forms strong carbon-carbon bonds. The carbon-carbon single bond is the strongest among elements located near it on the periodic table. This has two important consequences for life. First, carbon-based biomolecules are very stable and can persist over long periods of time. Second, stable self-linking (carbon-carbon bonding) allows for rings, long chains, and branched chain structures that can serve as the structural backbone of a dizzying array of compounds.
Can form indefinitely long chains. Carbon is unique among all the elements in its ability to form gigantic polymers needed for genetic information, without which life would be impossible.
Taken together, these properties allow carbon to form a wider array of possible chemical compounds than any other element—without exception. For perspective, carbon is known to form close to 10 million different compounds. In fact, the field of organic chemistry, which focuses exclusively on the chemistry of carbon, is far richer and more diverse than the chemistry of all other elements combined.
Figure 1: Upper-right corner of the periodic table showing some important trends in bonding. Image credit: John Millam
Stability of Carbon-Based Molecules
Carbon is limited to forming no more than four bonds, but its cousin silicon can, under certain conditions, form structures with five or even six bonds. These cases are referred to as beinghypervalent. While this gives silicon a small advantage over carbon, it comes at a big price—silicon compounds are generally much more reactive than analogous carbon compounds. Because carbon cannot form hypervalent structures, its structures are suitably stable to serve as the basis for biochemistry. Chemists Michael Dewar and Eamonn Healy concluded that this is what makes life possible.1
For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
UspaceVspace=Q is God’s design for each of us to experience harmony with His creation and recognize Jesus, Son of God, as His perfect Will. With Uspace defined as God’s perfect righteousness, Vspace being the natural nexuses, and Q is the results (the thing that “IS”).
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The unfolding of your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple
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I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
New International Version
[ Faith in Action ] Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.
The main reason for the existence of each person is to develop a personal relationship with God, our Creator. We walk by faith, not by sight. Special interest groups (SIG) snakes want to be our god and govern our life. This is why the snakes want to push religion out of America. As far as this is concerned, push religion off the planet Earth. If this becomes a reality, then good works shall not follow. Salvation, joy, and happiness, come from the Lord.
I am writing this ongoing blog series on Reflections to encourage Christians to read more vigorously and enrich their lives with Christian classics in such fields as theology, philosophy, and apologetics. Hopefully, a brief introduction to these Christian texts will motivate today’s believers to, as St. Augustine was called in his dramatic conversion to Christianity, “take up and read” (Latin: Tolle lege) these excellent books.
This week’s book is C. S. Lewis’ Case for the Christian Faith by Catholic philosopher Richard Purtill. It is one of the best books for helping people—both those who are new to Lewis and those who know his writings well—to understand Lewis’s basic case for the truth of Christianity. A reliable guide, Purtill explains Lewis’s apologetics thinking with powerful insights.
Why Is This Author Notable?
Richard Purtill (1931–2016) taught philosophy at Western Washington University for many years. A prolific author, Purtill wrote many academic works on philosophy, religion, ethics, and the study of logic. But he was also a popular author of fantasy and science fiction novels. A Roman Catholic by theological conviction and a lover of imaginative literature, Purtill wrote books on the thoughts of both J. R. R. Tolkien and Lewis.
What Is This Book About?
Using his broad knowledge of Lewis’s writings of fiction and nonfiction, Purtill presents, in 10 chapters, Lewis’s basic apologetics approach for the truth of the Christian faith. Purtill’s book introduces Lewis’s thinking on such critical topics as God’s existence, the nature and attributes of God, the person of Christ, miracles, faith and reason, rivals of Christianity, Christian living and prayer, and death and the hereafter.
Purtill systematically presents Lewis’s theological and apologetics ideas with clarity. He also organizes Lewis’s thoughts and provides a basic philosophical framework for seeing Lewis’s case in terms of a logically based worldview. Purtill’s work helps readers to think through and understand the bigger picture. It also encourages people to reread Lewis’s writings with fresh understanding and with a greater overall perspective on Lewis’s apologetics model.
Here, Purtill offers a brief explanation for Lewis’s enormous success and influence as a Christian thinker and author:
The explanation for Lewis’ success is to be found in all the aspects of Lewis as a man and a writer, in his imaginative and moral qualities as well as his intellectual capacities.1
Why Is This Book Worth Reading?
C. S. Lewis is arguably the most influential Christian apologist of the twentieth century. But his books sell better today than when he was living, more than 50 years ago. Anyone who wants to gain a greater understanding of Lewis’s thinking will benefit significantly from reading Purtill’s fine introduction. Read Purtill and then reread Lewis’s masterful apologetics works.
Christians are uniquely positioned to transform the culture for Christ as they engage it at the highest academic levels, especially in science.
Christians are uniquely positioned to transform the culture for Christ as they engage it at the highest academic levels, especially in science. Reasons To Believe hopes to play a role in raising an army of Christian young people who are committed to developing their minds to the glory of God.
I conducted a series of interviews recently with the RTB science scholars, asking them for advice to help Christian students pursue careers in science. (You can listen to the entire series at the Educator’s Help Desk area of the RTB website.) Here are the top five principles that came from our discussions.
During high school, take as much math as possible.
Math forms a necessary foundation for many disciplines of science. It also provides vital critical thinking and problem-solving skills. All the RTB scholars agreed: when it comes to wanting to be a research scientist there is no such thing as too much math.
Learn computer programming.
Most sciences these days (outside of the medical field) require knowledge of computer programming. Some even require students to know how to program in more than one language. Former visiting scholar Dr. Patricia Fanning recounted how her background in computer programming played a role in her PhD dissertation as she worked in the developing field of bioinformatics. Students who know how to program computers will have more career options.
Consider chemistry or physics as a major.
These disciplines supply the foundation of many other areas of study. For example, Dr. Fuz Rana explained the career options for chemistry majors. They can go on to graduate school and study biological systems (biochemistry), physics (physical chemistry), geological systems (geochemistry), astronomical systems (astrochemistry), or pursue a career as a chemical engineer or become a biotech researcher. Many of these fields are on the frontiers of science and offer healthy employment rates.
Consider a career as an engineer.
Engineering is a good option for a student who enjoys math and science but wants to work in a more practical field of an applied science. Engineers, like those who work with Dr. Dave Rogstad at JPL, get to work on fascinating projects and solve practical problems. They are also highly employable. Emerging fields such as nanotechnology and biomimetics (see, “Using Nature’s Designs to Build a Better Mousetrap” and “New Frontiers of Christian Apologetics”) offer unique opportunities for those interested in studying the intricacies of God’s creation.
Prepare to be a missionary.
Seasoned evangelist Dr. Hugh Ross offers a great perspective: God calls Christians to go out into the world, not wait for the world to come to us. Students need to be adequately prepared in apologetics so they can offer a “reason for the hope” within them––with gentleness and respect––no matter what vocation they choose.
Listen to Krista Bontrager’s interviews with the RTB scholars on the “Educator’s Help Desk” podcast. click here
In 2016, Musk helped found Neuralink, a company with the express goal of building a neural implant that can sync with the human brain, affording us the ability to control computers, electronic devices, and machines using only our thoughts. Neuralink’s neural implants are among the latest developments in brain-computer interface (BCI) technology.
Like many others working with BCIs, Musk and his colleagues at Neuralink have a humanitarian motivation for advancing this technology. They hope that their neural implants will soon make their way into clinical settings, providing the means to treat various debilitating diseases and injuries. They also see neural implants as representing the next generation of technological advances that provide more seamless interface between the human user and all the different electronic devices that are part of our lives. Who knows, if Neuralink is successful, maybe one day we will be able to use their implants to stream music directly into our brains.
The Threat of AI But for Musk, there is a much greater imperative for developing BCI technologies than easing human suffering or developing futuristic technology. He is concerned that if we don’t, humanity’s existence will be in jeopardy. Musk believes that by 2025, AI (artificial intelligence) will surpass human intellectual capacity. When this happens, Musk fears that we will become like pets to the very AI systems we invented, running the risk of becoming subjects to AI overlords. In short, Musk sees AI as the greatest existential threat to humanity.
For Musk, the only way to stave off the threat from AI is to develop neural implants that augment our brain’s capacity for cognition and the storage and retrieval of information and memories. Interfacing our brains with computer hardware and software will give us superhuman intellectual capacities. It would even allow our brains to use machine-learning algorithms that will meld our minds with AI technology.
Ironically, in contrast to the optimism that fuels the work of SpaceX and Tesla, for Musk it is a pessimism about a potential future shaped by AI technology that ultimately undergirds Neuralink’s mission. Because of his vision for Neuralink’s technology, Musk has become a leading advocate for the transhumanist agenda—the idea that we should use science and technology to augment human beings beyond our natural biological limits.
It almost goes without saying that Neuralink’s pursuit generates a mixture of excitement and angst in all of us. As a Christian, it prompts me to ask a number of questions about advances in BCI technology.
Should we use this remarkable technology for biomedical purposes?
Should we use neural implants to create a more seamless interface between humans and electronic devices?
Should we use BCIs to enhance our cognitive capacity?
Should we embrace the future envisioned by Elon Musk?
Can technology save us from existential threats?
Can technology rescue each of us as individuals from our impending death?
But before I address these concerns, I think it would be helpful to discuss BCI technology in general, and, specifically, the design of Neuralink’s neural implants.
Brain-Computer Interfaces BCIs are electronic devices that provide an interface between the electrical activities of the user’s brain and computer and machine hardware and software. Users learn to control computer software and hardware with BCIs, directing the activity of the devices with their thoughts. Through the use of sophisticated algorithms, BCIs help extract the user’s intent from the electrical activity in their brain, establishing a collaboration between the user and the BCI.
Invasive BCIs are the most advanced form of the technology. To install these devices, biomedical researchers implant BCIs directly into the brain. This approach allows biomedical researchers to stimulate and record the average electrical activity of thousands of neurons in specific regions of the brain. Unfortunately, this capability comes with a cost. The process of inserting electrodes into the brain can damage tissue, leading to scar formation. Electrodes implanted in the brain can also trigger an immune response. And, over time, glial cells in the brain migrate to the electrodes coating them. When this happens, it leads to loss of function.
However, Neuralink’s developing neural implants may overcome many of these problems.1
The Neuralink BCI The key to Neuralink’s technology lies in the microelectrodes they have developed. Their microelectrodes appear to be safer, longer lasting, and more biocompatible than the electrodes currently used in BCIs. The current electrodes tend to be rigid and possess a fixed geometry. Because of their rigidity, when these electrodes are implanted in the brain they often cause damage, triggering an immune reaction and causing scarring in the brain. Their rigidity and fixed geometry also constrain their access to neuronal populations, reducing the resolution of BCIs.
Neuralink’s microelectrodes consist of a flexible gold filament coated with a biocompatible polyimide polymer. Neuralink technologists have used these microelectrodes to construct a multielectrode probe that consists of an array of either 48 or 96 threads, with each thread consisting of 32 individual microelectrodes.
The thin electrodes cause minimal brain tissue displacement when inserted into the brain. Their flexibility makes their insertion into the brain easier and less traumatic to the brain tissue.
To ensure high precision insertion of their microelectrode probes into the brain, Neuralink has also developed a microsurgical robot capable of inserting 6 threads per minute, allowing each thread to be inserted into the brain with exacting microscopic precision. This process permits the BCI to be implanted into specific brain regions, while avoiding vasculature (blood vessels). This precision process minimizes bleeding in the brain from damaged blood vessels.
The design of the Neuralink implant makes it possible to construct a BCI with 3,072 individual channels (for a 96-thread microelectrode array) that can digitize and amplify the electrical activity of neurons in specific brain regions. The full bandwidth of data is streamed using a single USB cable that can wirelessly transmit data to and from the brain using bluetooth technology.
In short, the Neuralink BCI dramatically improves upon existing BCI technology by: (1) causing less damage to the brain during implantation, (2) enhancing the working life of the BCI (from weeks and months to years), (3) increasing the resolution of the BCI, allowing the recording of the electrical activity of smaller neuron populations, and (4) offering the user greater mobility and comfort by eliminating cables that would “stick out” of their head.
Many experts believe that Neuralink’s BCI technology is a significant step forward and will move BCI technology that much closer to wide scale clinical use. As a Christian it is hard not to be excited about Neuralink’s BCI technology. These devices provide reasonable hope that in the near future the pain and suffering associated with neuromuscular disease, brain and spinal cord injuries, loss of limbs, etc. will be greatly alleviated.
Yet, the same experts question if Neuralink can achieve its grand vision for neural implants. It is one thing to generate simple movements by decoding brain activity. But it is another thing altogether to extract complex mental states from the electrical activity of neurons firing in different regions of the brain.
Neuralink’s Vision: Hope or Hype? The chief complaint of Neuralink’s critics stems from their observation that Elon Musk and the Neuralink team seem to place an inordinate amount of attention on bioengineering and fail to give enough attention to neuroscience.
These skeptics point out that an engineering approach to neural implants incorrectly views the brain as nothing more than hardware, and our thoughts, emotions, and memories as data. And, while these analogies can be helpful, critics assert, it is important to remember that the brain isn’t hardware and memory isn’t a video playing in our minds. Science journalist Adam Rogers warns that “Neuralink might be headed to a metaphor-based failure.”2
As a case in point: no one knows what the neural substrate (foundation) for thoughts actually is. This understanding is critical for more advanced applications of neural implants. It is quite possible that when people think, the electrical activity of neurons is merely an epiphenomenon. Many neuroscientists think that neuronal activity is only an indication that the person is thinking. It cannot tell us what they are thinking, feeling, or remembering.
Likewise, when it comes to memory—though scientists are beginning to understand the biochemical processes and neurophysiology connected with memory formation, storage, and retrieval—we have no clue how these processes translate into actual memories.
Compounding these concerns is the nagging problem that we don’t know what consciousness is, how it is generated, or even if it is immaterial.
Until neuroscientists solve these problems, critics assert, Neuralink has little hope of success in accomplishing their grand design.
Still, having noted these concerns, it is possible that users could be trained to issue much more complex commands to computer systems with their thoughts, even if scientists and engineers lack basic understanding about the neurological basis for thoughts and memories. As it is now, users have to be trained to use current BCI technology to control computer software and prosthetic limbs. It is also possible that the use of sophisticated machine-learning software and AI algorithms could be coupled with BCI technology to enable neural implants to decode complex mental states. In effect, this tact appears to be the one that Musk and his Neuralink collaborators are taking with their engineering-first approach.
BCIs: A Source of Hope? A Source of Salvation? Whether or not Elon Musk and Neuralink can deliver on their vision for neural implants, the fact remains that they have produced some pretty impressive technology. This accomplishment inspires hope in many people that one day soon we will be able to routinely use BCI technology for human enhancement purposes. Perhaps Neuralink’s brain implants will allow us, one day, to integrate brains with computer systems and, in doing so, enhance our mental capabilities beyond our natural biological limits. Perhaps in the near future we will be able to seamlessly download information to our brains or upload and retrieve information, along with our thoughts and memories, to the cloud or to share information and our ideas and emotions with other BCI users. BCI technology may even make it possible for each of us to control electronic devices in remote locations throughout the world, any place that the internet can reach. Maybe one day we will even be able to link our minds together with the minds of others to work as a collective.
And, the thinking goes, if these types of enhancements can be achieved, then maybe it will soon be possible for us to upload our conscience into a machine framework, attaining a type of digital immortality.
In other words, for a growing number of people, science and technology may become the means of our “salvation”—allowing us to overcome our biological limitations, going one step further by even conquering death. Humans may achieve a type of immortality—even if it is a digital one.
These are the kinds of goals that fuel the transhumanism movement.
Using science and technology to mitigate pain and suffering and to drive human progress is nothing new. (And it is something that Christians can stand behind.) But transhumanists desire more. They maintain that humanity has a moral obligation to use advances in biotechnology and bioengineering to take control of our own evolution with the ultimate objective of creating new and improved versions of human beings and, as a result, ushering in a posthuman future.
In effect, transhumanists desire to create a utopia of our own design through science and technology. Though clothed in the language of science and technology—make no mistake—a strong religious undercurrent buoys transhumanism. In this regard, for those practicing the religion of techno faith, transhumanism serves as the source of hope, purpose, and density for each individual and humanity at large.
Provocatively, while many transhumanists see our inherent biological flaws and limitations as the ultimate existential threat humans face, Musk views the AI technology that we will soon develop as the greatest danger that we face as a species. And yet, in a type of tautological irony, Musk’s proposed solution to this technological threat involves the use of technology to modify humans so that we can compete with the AI systems we will inevitably design. Remarkably, Musk wants us to use AI technology to power the neural implants with the express purpose of enhancing our cognitive abilities so that we remain safe from the threat of AI systems.
But can the transhumanist agenda deliver on its promises?
Can Elon Musk achieve his objective?
I am skeptical for a number of reasons that my coauthor Kenneth Samples and I detail in our book Humans 2.0. One of these reasons is called the salvation paradox.
The Salvation Paradox By pursuing Musk’s version of the transhumanist vision (with the hope that we will save ourselves from extinction by integrating our biology with computer systems fueled by AI technology), we may well usher in our own demise—the very thing that Musk seeks to avoid.
Like Musk, many transhumanists seek to save humanity by creating a posthuman world. But, in effect, if successful what we will wind up saving won’t be us. Philosopher Patrick Hopkins provides sobering analysis:
Suppose technology has changed me so much that I am no longer a member of the human species, no longer limited by any species-defining human cognitive characteristics. I have changed so much that the existence I now experience is incomprehensible to my former, limited, human self. As much as that language may sound wonderful, exciting, and liberating at first, thinking about it more in depth reveals that such a technological process offers far less to me than hoped…The end result will be some kind of successor entity to me, but it will not be me.3
So, for no other reason than the salvation paradox, the transhumanist agenda provides people with a false hope at best. In this sense, Musk’s version of transhumanism is a dangerous idea. In fact, transhumanism may well be one of the most dangerous ideas ever confronting humanity. For, if this agenda is accomplished in the way many transhumanists envision, it will likely accelerate our extinction. As theologian Brent Waters so aptly points out, “It [transhumanism] is counterfeit…because the cost of victory is the elimination of the very creatures that need to be saved. One has to destroy humankind to save human beings.”4
In short, Neuralink’s technology offers exciting biomedical applications that will mitigate much human pain and suffering. It might even open up the prospects of offering us more seamless interfacing with electronic devices. Both are worthwhile undertakings. But make no mistake, technology can never save us. It can never grant us eternal life. It should never be the source of our hope, purpose, and destiny.
Patrick D. Hopkins, “A Salvation Paradox for Transhumanism: Saving You versus Saving You,” in H± Transhumanism and Its Critics, ed. by Gregory R. Hansell and William Grassie (Philadelphia, PA: Metanexus Institute, 2011), 77–78.
Brent Waters, “Whose Salvation? Which Eschatology?” in Transhumanism and Transcendence: Christian Hope in an Age of Technological Enhancement, ed. by Ronald Cole-Turner (Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press, 2011), 173.
What scientific argument for the truth of Christianity do you find the most persuasive? (I would love to hear your answer on either Facebook or Twitter.)
As I contemplated this question, my answer was big bang cosmology. Here’s why.
All big bang models include three essential features: (1) constant laws of physics throughout the universe; (2) a dynamic universe, one either expanding or contracting; and (3) a beginning to the universe. Remarkably, the biblical description matches these essential features.
Constant Laws of Physics
The scientific enterprise depends on a universe governed by constant laws of physics. If measurements today have no bearing on what happened yesterday or will happen tomorrow, no scientific progress can happen. Similarly, if measurements here on Earth are unrelated to what happens in a different galaxy, scientists cannot determine anything about how the universe behaves. The main philosophical motivation for Einstein developing the theory of general relativity was that the laws of physics ought to appear the same everywhere in the universe at all times. Science depends on a universe governed by constant laws of physics, but it provides no basis for this crucial philosophical necessity.
One attribute of God given in the Bible is immutability—God is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. The specific aspect of God’s immutability relevant to big bang cosmology relates to how the universe behaves. I suspect that many people view God’s interaction with the universe similarly to how I used to. In that view, God created the universe and largely sits back and watches it unfold, although he will intervene at times to bring about some specific outcome. However, Scripture paints a different picture. If God were to withdraw his hand from upholding the universe, it would tumble into nonexistence. In other words, God’s immutability results in the universe behaving reliably because God sustains it at every place, all the time. Jeremiah 33:25–26 explicitly compares the reliable behavior of the universe to God’s faithfulness in keeping his promises. In fact, God sustains the universe so consistently that we can describe its behavior using terms like the “laws of physics.”
A Dynamic Universe
Numerous biblical authors (Job 9:8, Psalm 104:2, Isaiah 40:22, Jeremiah 10:12, and Zechariah 12:1) note that God is stretching (or has stretched) out the heavens. I doubt that these authors had the expansion of the universe in mind when penning the words, but the terminology they use is provocative.
In the early 1900s when Einstein developed the theory of relativity, the solutions to its equations described a dynamic universe—one that was either expanding or contracting. However, the prevailing scientific thought of the time argued for a static and unchanging universe. So ingrained was the idea of a static universe that Einstein added a constant to his equations to remove the dynamic character that naturally flowed from the equations. When measurements in the 1920s confirmed the expansion of the universe, Einstein reportedly called the introduction of the constant “the biggest blunder of his life.”
A Beginning to the Universe
The doctrine of creation ex nihilo pervades the Bible, from Genesis through Proverbs, into the Gospels and Epistles, and ending in Revelation. God created the universe out of nothing. As I understand it, a beginningless universe would contradict this important doctrine. That’s how important creation ex nihilo is. Einstein’s theory of relativity and the expansion of the universe convincingly point to a beginning of time—a conclusion that many scientists strongly resist. Today, that resistance finds some support in the pursuit of a quantum theory of gravity. Yet, the past century repeatedly shows that advances in our understanding ultimately support explanations of the universe that contain a beginning.
I don’t want to imply that big bang cosmology is a “knockdown” argument for the truth of Christianity. Both Christians and non-Christians offer rebuttals to each of the points raised above. Some rebuttals are scientific (the multiverse, quantum gravity, etc.). Some are theological (stretching does not mean expansion, exegesis in light of ancient Near Eastern culture, etc.). However, in my assessment, big bang cosmology represents one of the cleanest and most persuasive arguments that the biblical and scientific descriptions of the universe match. And that fact validates the truth of Christianity.
In recent years, the interpretation of theologian B. B. Warfield as a theistic evolutionist has gained popularity—but there is good justification for questioning this assertion. In this two-part article series, I will explore the compelling reasons to doubt the validity of this view of Warfield
In the ongoing controversy over special creation and theistic evolution (TE), advocates of TE often cite the great theologian B. B. Warfield, principal of Princeton Theological Seminary (1887–1902), as an example of a thoroughly orthodox biblical scholar who believed God used the evolutionary process to accomplish His creative purpose. This view is notably promoted in B. B. Warfield: Evolution, Science, and Scripture, in which the book’s editors, Mark Noll and David Livingstone, assert:1
One of the best-kept secrets in American intellectual history is that B. B. Warfield, the foremost defender of the theologically conservative doctrine of the inerrancy of the Bible, was also an evolutionist.
Yet there are reasons to believe this characterization of Warfield is inaccurate. In part 1 of this series, I will set the stage for Warfield’s view with a look at the budding naturalism of the nineteenth century that clashed with the young-earth creationist perspective, thus leading to difficulties between the religious and scientific communities.
Birth of the Genesis Creation Dates
Creation date calculations by seventeenth-century scholars Bishop James Ussher and John Lightfoot convince many Christians that God created the universe, Earth, and life less than 6,000 years ago. Ussher and Lightfoot came to this conclusion based on two assumptions: (1) there are no gaps in the biblical genealogies of Genesis, Exodus, 1 and 2 Kings, and 1 and 2 Chronicles, and (2) the six “days” (Hebrew: yôm) of creation were consecutive 24-hour periods. After engaging in some competitive scholarship with Lightfoot over a few years, Ussher deduced that the first day of creation began on October 23, 4004 BC. Such was his influence that beginning in the early 1700s many editions of the King James Bible incorporated Ussher’s chronology into their marginal annotations and cross-references. In 1909, the Scofield Reference Bible—widely popular among fundamentalists and evangelicals throughout much of the twentieth century—also included the Ussher chronology.
Although many biblical scholars concurred with Ussher, others found his calculations to be based on a faulty premise, namely, that an accurate historical chronology could be constructed based on biblical genealogies. Warfield was among those who had serious doubts about Ussher’s work. In a 1911 essay entitled “On the Antiquity and Unity of the Human Race,” Warfield commented that “it is precarious in the highest degree to draw chronological inferences from [the biblical] genealogical tables.”
New Challenges to Genesis
At the beginning of the nineteenth century, naturalists began asserting that new discoveries in astronomy and geology posed serious challenges to the Genesis creation account’s credibility and historicity. Within a generation, traditional Christians found themselves confronted by three challenges. First, in the realm of astronomy, some scientists replaced the instantaneous creation of the solar system with the nebular hypothesis, a view first set forth centuries earlier by Swedish philosopher of science Emanuel Swedenborg and later popularized in the works of Immanuel Kant and Pierre-Simon Laplace.
Second, in the field of geology, Scottish physician and naturalist James Hutton and others began to make the case that Earth was millions of years old rather than a few thousand. In 1862, renowned Scottish physicist William Thomson (later Lord Kelvin) calculated the age of Earth at 20–40 million years; soon many naturalists argued that life on Earth, including human life, had existed far longer than the 6,000 years that the biblical genealogies supposedly indicated. Third—and perhaps most alarming—was the challenge posed by Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution, which holds that all life-forms, including human beings, evolved over eons of time via the aegis of common descent and natural selection.
By the late 1800s, many Christians conceded that the Bible allowed for an ancient universe, an ancient Earth, and even pre-Edenic life—a notable change from the consensus opinion only a generation or two earlier. But conceding Darwinian evolution was quite another thing. So while most naturalists, including many professing Christians, converted from belief in special creation to evolution, others remained unconvinced.
Charles Hodge’s Skepticism
Charles Hodge, a distinguished theologian and the principal of Princeton Theological Seminary (PTS) from 1851–1878, was skeptical of evolution for several reasons. For one, he was concerned that a new elite class of “scientific men” was unfairly stigmatizing Bible-believing Christians as “narrow-minded, bigots, old women, Bible worshippers, etc.”2 He resented the new status and influence these scientists held in society at the expense of Bible scholars, theologians, and ministers. In that context, he predicted that Christianity was in a “fight for its life” against these high priests of naturalism who “not only speculate, but dogmatize, on the highest questions of philosophy, morality, and religion” while “assiduously poisoning the fountains of religion, morality, and social order.”3 But Hodge’s objections to Darwinism extended well beyond the bounds of professional turf-guarding. As a rigorous logician, he was adamant that we distinguish between facts that are absolutely true and theories based on conjecture, a principle that the scientific elite of Hodge’s day violated with impunity.
In his Systematic Theology, Hodge took exception to Darwinism on several counts, both theological and philosophical, not the least being that it is an improvable hypothesis. He objected to the theory’s stance against teleology (the philosophical view that final causes exist in nature) and to what he regarded as the impossibility of matter doing the work of a mind and of design being accomplished “without any designer.”4 Because Darwin claimed that God had not intervened in the universe since the creation of “living germ(s),” Hodge viewed his system as “tantamount to atheism” and, therefore, absurd.5
Hodge’s subsequent book What Is Darwinism? included an incisive and well-reasoned critique of evolutionary theory, particularly the antisupernaturalism inherent in the system. Hodge leveled four charges:
Darwinism is simply unbelievable;
“There is no pretence [sic] that the theory can be proved”;6
Darwinism is antiteleological, which Hodge regarded as his “grand and fatal objection to Darwinism”;7 and
There is no evidence for trans-species evolution.
In summary, Hodge wrote, “The conclusion of the whole matter is, that the denial of design in nature is virtually the denial of God….We have thus arrived at the answer to our question, What is Darwinism? It is Atheism.”8
His critique of Darwinism aside, Hodge was no young-earth creationist; that is, he did not accept Ussher’s calculations for the date of creation. He readily accepted the antiquity of the planet, believed in the day-age view of creation (sometimes called old-earth creationism), and taught that there were gaps in the Genesis genealogical tables. Furthermore, he conceded that, at least in theory, theistic evolution might be conceived in a way that was compatible with divine design.
Hodge also held that the biblical writers wrote under supernatural inspiration when addressing issues related to faith and practice, but they “stood on the same level with their contemporaries” when it came to science, history, and philosophy.9 Subsequent inerrantists, such as Warfield, disagreed with this assessment of Scripture.
I had decided to stop harping on the orchestrations of special interest groups (SIG) who collect info on each private citizen, analyze the intimate info, and secretly distribute the info, targeting a private citizen(s) to their detriment even unto destroying their livelihood and raising the risk of losing their life from being targeted by SIG. I prematurely stopped harping on the fact that SIG is causing the phenomenon of mass killings; all except drug turf wars. It should be obvious that most of the mass killers are making a statement to the people that persons, strangers, friends, and alike, are invading his life and diminishing their self-worth, and causing humiliation and embarrassment. The snake organization (SIG) steals one’s joy and destroys the assessment by the targeted person’s first choice and even second choices that make them happy. All that the person likes or enjoys is tampered with and even destroyed.
Why in the hell does any society tolerate such activity. SIG should not exist in a free society. The person(s) that feel targeted should be encouraged to meet with concerned persons and organize to back-track to the source of the collection and distribution of their sensitive info and decapitate the snakes in order to stop the mental anguish perpetrated upon targeted persons and to stop the ultimate destruction of our free society afforded by our U.S. Constitution. This should stop the mass killings. The snake organization (SIG) is the operative for hyper-communism whereas the government owns the virtual minds of the citizens that are mapped on computers. The right to be let alone becomes non-existent. The SIG snake organization is invading the inner sanctuary of each private citizen for big business and the government. SIG has gone from the psychological profiles of a group of people to anticipating the thoughts and movements of a targeted person.
An authoritarian force that is taking a small step-by-step process and slowly taking control of our free democracy which is disappearing slowly. The disappearance of privacy and any reference to individual rights. The term individual is being erased. The SIG snakes have crawled back to exist at a monster size. Our democracy is seriously being threatened. As a matter of fact, our democracy is nearing being displayed by autocracy.
In America, Don Trump would have not dreamed of attempting a coup 40 years ago. He tried to overturn the 2020 election because the soil is conducive to an autocratic leader made by SIG snakes. Further, the political system is not aggressively prosecuting the offenders as if it was okay to attempt a coup. The 2022 election is going to be subject to another coup, and the 2024 elections are going to determine whether we have an autocratic leader or an elected official of our democracy.
I am an "Intelligent Design" writer who has the Christian faith. Part of my background is that I have a degree in physics, and have been inducted into the National Physics Honor Society. Sigma Pi Sigma, for life. My interest has lead me into metaphysics, farther into Christianity. Optimum metaphysics becomes religion.