2 Timothy 3:1-5
Charles Dicken’s in his famous classic ‘A TALE OF TWO CITIES:
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. It was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair; we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way.”
In 1974, Richard Gardner published an article in FOREIGN AFFAIRS titled “The Hard Road to World Order”
“In short, the ‘house of world order’ will have to be built from the bottom up rather than from the top down. It will look like a great ‘booming, buzzing confusion’, but an end-run around national sovereignty, eroding it piece by piece, will accomplish much more than the old-fashioned frontal assault.”
Francis Schaeffer “THE GOD WHO IS THERE”
“In our modern forms of specialized education there is a tendency to lose the whole in the parts, and in this sense we can say that our generation produces few truly educated people. True education means thinking by associating across the various disciplines, and not just being highly qualified in one field, as a technician might be. I suppose no discipline has tended to think more in fragmented fashion than the orthodox or evangelical theology of today.
Those standing in the stream of historic Christianity have been especially slow to understand the relationships between various areas of thought. When the apostle warned us to ‘keep ourselves unspotted from the world’ he was not talking of some abstraction. If the Christian is to apply this injunction to himself, he must understand what confronts him antagonistically in his own moment of history. Otherwise he simply becomes a useless museum piece and not a living warrior for Jesus Christ.
The orthodox Christian has paid a very heavy price, both in the defense and communication of the gospel, for his failure to think and act as an educated person, understanding and at war with the uniformity of our modern culture.”
“If I profess with the loudest voice and clearest exposition every portion of the truth of God except precisely that little point which the world and the devil are at that moment attacking, I am not confessing Christ, however boldly I may be professing Christ. Where the battle rages, there the loyalty of the solider is proved, and to be steady on all the battlefields besides, is mere flight and disgrace if he flinches at that point.”
Yuval Noah Harari ‘HOMO DEUS’
“The liberal belief in individualism is founded on the three important assumptions:
- I am an in-dividual – that is, I have single essence that cannot be divided into parts or subsystems. True, this inner core is wrapped in many outer layers. But if I make the effort to peel away these external crusts, I will find deep within myself a clear and single inner voice, which is may authentic self.
- My authentic self is completely free.
- It follows from the first two assumptions that I can know things about myself nobody else can discover. For only I have access to my inner space of freedom, and only I can hear the whispers of my authentic self. This is why liberalism grants the individual so much authority. I cannot trust anyone else to make choices for me, because no one else can know who I really am, how I feel and what I want. This is why the voter knows best, why the customer is always right and why beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
However, the life sciences challenge all three assumptions. According to them:
- Organisms are algorithms, and humans are not individuals – they are ‘dividuals’. That is, humans are an assemblage of many different algorithms lacking a single inner voice or a single self.
- The algorithms constituting a human are not free. They are shaped by genes and environmental pressures, and take decisions either deterministically or randomly – but not freely.
- It follows that an external algorithm could theoretically know me much better than I can ever know myself. An algorithm that monitors each of the systems that comprise my body and my brain could know exactly who I am, how I feel and what I want. Once developed, such an algorithm could replace the voter, the customer and the beholder. Then the algorithm will know best, the algorithm will always be right, and beauty will be in the calculations of the algorithm.
Twenty-first-century technology may enable external algorithms to ‘hack humanity’ and know me far better than I KNOW MYSELF. Once this happens, the belief in individualism will collapse and authority will shift from individual humans to NETWORKED ALGORITHMS. People will no longer see themselves as autonomous beings running their lives according to their wishes, but instead will become accustomed to seeing themselves as a collection of biochemical mechanisms that is constantly monitored and guided by a network of electronic algorithms that knows me PERFECTLY and never makes any mistake; it is enough that the algorithm will know me better than I know myself, and will make fewer mistakes than I do. It will then make sense to trust this algorithm with more and more of my decisions and life choices.”
Werner Gitt published the book “In the Beginning Was Information: A Scientist Explains the Incredible Design in Nature” (2000)
“INFORMATION IS THE CORNERSTONE OF LIFE, yet it is something people don’t often think about. The very presence of information reveals a Designer: Do we take for granted the presence of information that organizes every part of the human body, from hair color to the way internal organs work? What is the origin of all our complicated data? How is it that information in our ordered universe is organized and processed? The huge amount of information present in just a small amount of DNA alone refutes the possibility of a non-intelligent beginning for life. It all points to a Being who not only organizes biological data, but also cares for the creation.”
Gitt uses more than a hundred pages to systematically develop laws about information and the necessity of codes to pass it on. Let me list a few important points:
- there can be no information without a code
- Any code is the result of a free and deliberate convention
- there can be no information without a sender….a mental source…volition (will)
- information cannot originate in statistical processes
- Any model for the origin of life (and of information) based solely on physical or chemical processes is inherently false. (p. 98)
In the evolutionary view, due to philosophical bias, both information and life itself is regarded as a purely material phenomena. But the code systems used for communication in the animal kingdom have not been ‘invented’ by them but were created fully functioning.
Yuval Noah Harari has that one right:
“We have already crossed the line as far as medicine is concerned. In hospitals we are no longer individuals. It is highly likely that during your lifetime many of the most momentous decisions about your body and health will be taken by computer algorithms such as IBM’s Watson. And this is not necessarily bad news. Diabetics already carry sensors that automatically check their sugar level several times a day, alerting them whenever it crosses a dangerous threshold. In 2014 researchers at Yale University announced the first successful trial on an ‘artificial pancreas’ controlled by an iPhone. Many other people who suffer from no serious illnesses have begun to use wearable sensors and computers to monitor their health and activities. These devices – incorporated into anything from smartphones and wristwatches to armband and underwear – record diverse biometric data such as blood pressure and heart rate. The data is then fed into sophisticated computer programs that advice the wearer on how to alter his or her diet and daily routines in order to enjoy improved health and a longer and more productive life.
In November 2014 Microsoft launched the Microsoft Band – a smart armband that monitors among other things your heartbeat, the quality of your sleep and the number of steps you take each day. An application called Deadline goes a step further, informing you of how many years of life you have left, given your current habits. Some people use these apps without thinking too deeply about it, but for others this is already an ideology, if NOT A RELIGION.
The quantified Self-movement argues that the self is nothing but mathematical patterns. These patterns are so complex that the human mind has no chance of understanding them. So if you wish to obey the old adage and know thyself, you should not waist your time on philosophy, meditation or psychoanalysis, but rather you should systematically collect biometric data and allow algorithms to analyze them for you and tell you who you are and what you should do.”
“Yet companies such as Google want to go much deeper than wearables. The market for DNA testing is currently growing in leaps and bounds. One of its leaders is 23andMe, a private company founded by Anne Wojcicki, former wife of Google co-founder Sergey Brin. The name ‘23and Me’ refers to the twenty-three pairs of chromosomes that encode the human genome, the message being that my chromosomes have a very special relationship with me. Whoever can understand what the chromosomes are saying can tell you things about yourself that you never even suspected.
The first company to build a giant genetic database will provide customers with the best predictions, and will potentially corner the market. US biotech companies are increasingly worried that strict privacy laws in the USA combined with Chinese disregard for individual privacy may hand China the genetic market on a plate. If we connect all the dots, and if we give Google and its competitors free access to our biometric devices, to our DNA scans and to our medical records, we will get an all-knowing medical health service that will not only fight epidemics, but will also shield us from cancer, heart attacks and Alzheimer’s. Yet with such a data-base at its disposal, Google could do far more. Imagine a system that, in the words of the famous Police song, watches every breath you take, every move you make and every bond you break; a system that monitors your bank account and your heartbeat, your sugar levels and your sexual escapades. It will definitely know you much better than you know yourselves.”