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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. . . . ►►►

Department: Parting Shot | Salvo 45

Mommy Nearest

The Priority of Motherhood by Marcia Segelstein

. . . Our culture needs to encourage and support women who put their children's needs ahead of their own, at least for a time. "The truth is," Komisar writes, "we can do everything in life, but not at the same time. We cannot raise healthy children if we are not there for them emotionally and physically." Society used to value motherhood instinctively. How could motherhood not be important? As C. S. Lewis said, "Children are not a distraction from more important work. They are the most important work." . . . ►►►

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: Person of Interest | Salvo 33

Unesteemed Colleague

An interview with Mark Regnerus by Marcia Segelstein

. . . Despite the fact that Regnerus's paper was peer-reviewed, the backlash was swift and harsh. A month after its publication, some of his UT colleagues wrote a scathing op-ed accusing him of an "irresponsible and reckless misrepresentation of social science research." According to The Weekly Standard, two hundred "researchers and scholars" wrote a letter to the editor of Social Science Research insisting that he "hire scholars more sensitive to 'LGBT parenting issues' to write a critique for the journal's next edition." A formal complaint of "scientific misconduct" was lodged against Regnerus, though the University of Texas later determined that no formal investigation was warranted. Dr. Regnerus spoke with us about the fallout from the publication of that research paper, why he thinks American life is becoming sexually bipolar, and what current sociological trends he sees as significant. . . . ►►►

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: Collateral Damage | Salvo 32

Sexual Insanity

From Wilhelm Reich to the Vagina Lobby in Two Easy Steps by Terrell Clemmons

. . . Eight years after the Pill received FDA approval in 1960, Pope Paul VI published the encyclical Humanae Vitae. It predicted four ramifications of widespread contraceptive use: an overall decline in moral standards, a rise in infidelity, a decline in male respect for women, and the coercive exertion of reproductive control by governments. Reactions to the encyclical ranged from polite disregard to outright contempt. But time has proved Paul VI dead right on all counts. "Forty-plus years after Humanae Vitae," writes Mary Eberstadt, "there are more than enough ironies, both secular and religious, to make one swear there's a humorist in heaven"—at least, she noted soberly, for those who take their humor dark. . . . ►►►

Column: Headquarters | Salvo 31

School Deform

How Common Core Promotes Cultural Engineering by Killing the Imagination by Robin Phillips

. . . America's founders understood that a healthy democracy requires that citizens learn to think critically, to ask questions, and to develop well-ordered faculties of reason and imagination. Citizens who were inculcated in the ways of sound thinking would be able to preserve the riches of our cultural heritage. This was the same vision articulated by Plato, who argued in The Republic that the highest goal of all education is knowledge of the Good. By contrast, when the architects of Common Core tried to describe the goal of education, they were unable to articulate anything higher than "college and career readiness" and "21st century literacy" for a "global economy." . . . ►►►

Column: Deprogram | Salvo 43

Up for Grabs

In Science, When 'Anything Goes,' Everything Goes by Denyse O'Leary

. . . Ruse reflects on the role played by popular science celebrities in spreading the postmodern approach: "Science is an inflated medium of exchange these days . . . but its value has been eroded by the charlatans making obviously partisan and sometimes wild and contradictory 'scientific' claims." Pop science celebrities have been around for as long as any of us can remember. But Ruse chronicles a subtle shift. Both Stephen Hawking and Neil deGrasse Tyson have made clear that philosophy is either "dead" or "a useless enterprise," something one certainly did not hear from past icons like Albert Einstein. . . . ►►►

Department: Archives | Salvo 32

Capital Losses

Nietzsche on Losing English Morality by Cameron Wybrow

. . . Nietzsche perceives that such a situation cannot last. He says "morality is not yet a problem," implying that when the English finally reach the level of self-consciousness that the Germans have achieved (or at least that Nietzsche has achieved), morality will be a problem; they will realize the groundlessness of their habits. Nietzsche was prophetic here; for eventually, certainly after 1945, the English-speaking world did begin to abandon, bit by bit, its secularized Christian morality. It had been living on old moral capital, but now that capital was spent and the religious tradition was no longer there to replenish it. Thus, the secular humanism of today, compared with earlier secular humanism, is virtually rudderless, because most people not only no longer think like Christians, but also no longer feel like Christians. . . . ►►►

Feature | Salvo 36

ETI In the Sky

What the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligent Life Means for Us by Hugh Ross

. . . Whereas previous generations of astronomers lacked the telescope power needed to detect operating Dyson spheres, today's astronomers possess that capability. Four Swedish astronomers noticed that if Dyson spheres surrounded a large number of stars in a galaxy, both the apparent luminosity and the color of those stars, as seen from Earth, would change, while the galaxy's gravitational potential would remain unchanged.3 The team proceeded to search for records of such changes in the latest galaxy survey databases. But out of a sample of 1,359 spiral galaxies searched (only spiral galaxies are candidates for hosting advanced life4), the team failed to detect the existence of a single Kardashev III-level civilization. I am sorry to disappoint Stars Wars fans (or Star Trek fans), but apparently there is no faraway galaxy hosting a confederation of intelligent civilizations on thousands of planets. . . . ►►►

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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