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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? . . . ►►►

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." . . . ►►►

Department: Camouflage | Salvo 42

The Darwin Tales

It's Time to Remit Darwinian Storytelling to the Annals of History by Terrell Clemmons

. . . . . . For if there truly is no way of determining what is "fit" other than by seeing what survives, then Darwin was arguing in a self-confirming circle: the survival of the survivors. In rhetorical terms, this is what's called a tautology—a statement that is true by definition, due to the construction of the language by which it is expressed. In effect, Darwin's proposed mechanism—natural selection—rested on the observation that "Survivors survive." To which any clear-thinking middle-school student might say, "Well, duh." . . . . . . ►►►

Department: Opening Salvo | Salvo 43

Wreckers in the Dark

Social Ills & Opposition to Safe Harbor Lights by James M. Kushiner

. . . Wreckers sometimes refused to aid a floundering ship and even went so far as to place false lights to guide ships into danger. Sometimes they killed wreck survivors. Moderns will shake their heads at the wreckers' violence and opposition to the increased safety brought by lighthouses. Yet many people today oppose measures to make life's seas safer for children because they benefit from child endangerment. Consider how many occupations are tied to the shipwreck of the modern family . . . ►►►

Department: Collateral Damage | Salvo 44

Silicon Debauchery

More Evidence the Hookup Culture Is Human Malware by Nancy R. Pearcey

. . . A society's view of sex reflects its deeper commitments—its prevailing ethos or worldview. The sexual liberation ethic stems from an underlying idea that the world is a product of blind, material forces. As a recent New Yorker article put it, "the loyalty oath of modernity" is that "nature is without conscious design . . . the emergence of Homo sapiens was without meaning or telos" (purpose). And if the human body is said to have no meaning or purpose, neither does sex. On one hand, that means we are free to make up our own rules. On the other hand, it means that under all the hype about being bold and experimental is a fundamental despair—the belief that sex is insignificant in a literal sense: signifying nothing. . . . ►►►

Department: Camouflage | Salvo 41

Whirled Views

A Framework for Mapping Reality & Engaging Ideological Confusion by Terrell Clemmons

. . . Salvo readers should be familiar with the concept of agenda—driven science, and to those who listen with an ear to discern it, it's clear that Sagan, Rose, and Tyson are using science as they understand it to advance an agenda—to influence the way people think, with the aim of changing their behavior. This is the stuff of propaganda, and like most propaganda, Cosmos served up a slickly produced package of truths, half-truths, and subtle lies, skillfully laced with running undercurrents of moralistic appeals to emotion. How does one respond to wholesale agendas like this without coming off as an abject contrarian? Try the worldview reset. . . . ►►►

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: 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 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. . . . ►►►

Feature: Headquarters | Salvo 43

Quo Vadis, U?

When Christian Universities Lose Faith by Daniel Adler

. . . Just what is a Christian university? The question is as complex as it is pressing, in no small part because of the increased sec-ularization of higher education. As historians James Turner and Jon Roberts argue in The Sacred and the Secular University (Princeton University Press, 2000), Protestant universities founded on religious principles in the early days of America had, by the late twentieth century, largely abandoned these convictions. This change occurred in the span of about 200 years, a relatively short window of time. Institutions once dedicated to the faith now serve as contemporary temples of secularism. . . . ►►►

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. . . . ►►►

Salvo 46

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