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Column: Deprogram | Salvo 46

AI Apprehension

Is Artificial Intelligence Taking Over? Or Is a Fashionable Panic Afoot? by Denyse O'Leary

. . . AI will make a big difference, Marks reckons, but not by producing brains with metal shells. Rather, he laments, Google knows where he is every second of the day, and where we are, too. No authoritarian regime in history, not even 1984 in fiction, had such potential power. . . . ►►►

Feature: Headquarters | Salvo 44

Grounded Faith

Sinking Roots for Youth Ministry in an Age of Advanced Skepticism by Terrell Clemmons

. . . Millennials are the first generation of Americans to grow up in a culture where skepticism is the default setting. Their parents may have accepted "because my church says so," but they're not buying that. And really, why should they? Instead of aiming for "sticky faith" then, what parents and leaders need to work toward is a grounded faith. And in an environment of default skepticism, this will require beginning at the beginning: Does God exist? . . . ►►►

Feature: Headquarters | Salvo 45

The Lights by Which We See

Science Is Knowledge by Reasonable Faith by Regis Nicoll

. . . The materialist operates on the belief that "nature is all there is," that no supernatural or noumenal world exists. The word "belief" signifies something that is not scientifically proven. In fact, this foundational assumption is neither scientifically proven nor provable because, given that only natural explanations are allowed, materialistic science depends on the very premise it is trying to demonstrate. Thus, like all worldviews, scientific materialism is founded on a faith statement. But faith is not limited to materialism's foundation; it forms part of the ideology's superstructure as well. . . . ►►►

Column: Undercover | Salvo 32

Cornering Your Market

Why Premium Sex Is Your Best Bet for Relational Success by Terrell Clemmons

. . . Isn't it strange that something as intimate and private as sex has become, at least in the eyes of some, the fulcrum around which all relational life seems to turn? Or not turn. Take reactions to Lolo Jones for example, the rags-to-riches track and field star whose intention to save sex for marriage drew more coverage than her athletic success. "Lolo Jones should've had sex before that race," was one of the tamer digs fired her way, "because #SexisforWinners." Sex may well be for winners, but before making a definitive statement out of that, the smart single would do well to figure out which game she (or he) is trying to win. . . . ►►►

Feature | Salvo 37

You Gotta Believe

Atheist or Not, You Already Have More Faith Than You Realize by James S. Spiegel

. . . You might say that your belief in the reliability of your senses is an article of faith. After all, it is something that you hold to be true without conclusive proof. Moreover, it is a conviction that has practical consequences for every moment of your waking life. Wherever you go and whatever you do, you conduct yourself according to this conviction that your senses are reliable. In short, you devoutly trust your senses. This is just one of the ways that all of us live by faith, regardless of what our particular worldviews happen to be. There are many other unprovable beliefs that we all share. Faith, it seems, is not really an option but is fundamental to the human condition. . . . ►►►

Department: Basic Training | Salvo 40

The Good Life

It's to Know, Serve & Love the Truth by James Altena

. . . What is a life well lived? What is an exemplary life—a life that I would wish to strive for, to emulate, to have others remember as worthy of admiration? What principles ought to guide me in living such a life? At the Christian university where I teach, every freshman must take an introductory liberal arts course that reflects upon this question. Typically, the initial essays I get in response are self-centered: life is all about "finding happiness," "living your dreams," "pursuing your passions." Why does no one ever mention being virtuous, or faithful, or living to serve others? Since I ask all my students to answer this question, I thought it right that I, too, should answer it. I hope my response will give my readers occasion to pause, to pose this question to themselves, and to answer it worthily. . . . ►►►

Column: Operation ID | Salvo 42

Mutant Destruction

Does Cancer Really Innovate? by Jonathan Wells

. . . A rough analogy would be to compare the rusting of steel with the smelting of iron ore. We see the same chemical pattern, namely, the inter-conversion of iron and iron oxide. Rusting converts iron to iron oxide, and smelting converts iron oxide to iron. The two are polar opposites. The first is explained by unguided natural processes, but the second requires intelligent design. The Iron Age would not have happened without human intelligence. . . . ►►►

Department: Basic Training | Salvo 41

Improbably So

Fine-Tuning Is Unlikely, but Unlikely Things Happen All the Time by Tim Barnett

. . . This response may have some rhetorical force, but it makes a fundamental mistake. To expose the error, let me give you another illustration. Imagine your best friend has been murdered and the lead suspect is on trial. In fact, DNA evidence puts the suspect at the scene with the murder weapon in hand. As a result, the defense attorney turns to the jury and says, "The DNA evidence makes it highly unlikely that my client is innocent. But unlikely things happen all the time. For example, for you to exist, your mom and dad had to meet, fall in love, and have sex at just the right time. . . . Would any jury accept this response? I think we would have to say no. But why wouldn't they accept it? It is because there is a better explanation; namely, that the suspect really is the killer. . . . ►►►

Feature | Salvo 41

Eye Openers

Eight Common Factors for Atheists Changing Their Minds About God by Matt Nelson

. . . The factors that lead to faith are diverse, and every former atheist has walked a unique path to God. When Cardinal Ratzinger was once asked how many ways there are to God, he replied, "As many ways as there are people. For even within the same faith each man's way is an entirely personal one." Of course, the future pope was not endorsing the view that "all religions are equal" but rather that there seems to be a unique combination of factors, or steps, that moves each convert towards belief in God. . . . ►►►

Department: Camouflage | Salvo 36

Mind Control

Safeguarding Yours from the Modern Cult of Experts by Terrell Clemmons

. . . "Religious upbringing linked to less altruism," announced ScienceDaily. "Children from nonreligious homes are more generous, altruistic than observant ones," trumpeted Newsday. And the UK Guardian's header bordered on the childish: "Religious children are meaner than their secular counterparts." Science Codex at least showed enough restraint to headline its report in the form of a question, "Does religion make kids less generous?" Well, does it? Science said it. Does that settle it? Of course it doesn't. As apologist Frank Turek says, science doesn't say anything. Scientists do. And because scientists, science writers, and mainstream journalists are all fallible human beings, a level-headed response calls for some critical thinking every time a new finding is being heralded in the name of science. . . . ►►►

Column: Person of Interest | Salvo 36

Marriage Matters

An Interview with Patrick Fagan by Marcia Segelstein

. . . Patrick Fagan is the founder and director of MARRI, the Marriage and Religion Research Institute (see Allied Front). MARRI studies the impact of marriage, family, and religion on society. Once a practicing psychologist, Dr. Fagan moved into the field of public policy as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Family and Community Policy at the Department of Health and Human Services under President George H. W. Bush. He recently announced the launch of Marripedia, an online social-science encyclopedia that makes research related to family, marriage, sexuality, and religion accessible to the public. Dr. Fagan spoke with us about what makes for a healthy society, the importance of what he calls "the two great loves," and what he sees as a growing crisis for men. . . . ►►►

Department: Logistics | Salvo 42

God & the Gaps

A Response to Data-Free Models for Origins by Hugh Ross

. . . By resting their case for nonbelief on Christians' inability to refute every imaginable non-empirical (non-evidence-based) hypothesis for our universe and life, some nontheists present us with an impossible challenge. What they demand would require complete knowledge not only of the physical universe but also of everything that could conceivably exist beyond the universe. The problem here is obvious. Given that our powers of investigation are constrained by the space-time dimensions of the cosmos, no human mind nor any device created by human minds can ever assemble a complete database cataloging all the properties of the universe, let alone what lies beyond. Our inability to ever gain absolute proof, however, does not mean that we cannot access adequate practical validation of the need for a Creator. . . . ►►►

Salvo 46

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