A May We Will Remember

This has been a challenging month for Anita and me.  First, as we went to Florida to meet up with her Canadian sister, my elder sister had a massive stroke and we spent some of our time addressing phone calls, emails and texts with siblings to help the younger sister and my brother-in-law to make sure we could get LaVonne adequate care.  LaVonne has always loved palm trees, thus last Wednesday’s Wordless blog for her.

Near the end of that stress, Anita’s sister left us in Florida for Canada and we started to take a leisurely drive back to Lex, visiting various ministry and history friends along the way.

Because our first visit was with a pregnant couple, we wanted to assure them we were no risk for covid or any “bugs,” so we stopped into a Care Spot UTC by the hotel.  While testing negative for flu, colds, strep and covid, I was waiting on the upright exam table and noted to Anita that I was having a difficult time focusing on her across the small room.  “Something doesn’t seem right,” I said.  A moment later, I awoke flat on my back to a group of people around me looking on with concern because I had fainted, but had no memory of doing so.  They had dialed 911 and were attaching sensors for cardiac monitoring.

Escorted to the nearest hospital in an ambulance, the medical staff was convinced I was having a heart attack, but I noted that my heart was in excellent shape… unless a clot had somehow arrived there this time instead of to my brain.  While in the hospital, one of the tests ordered was a PCR test for covid which turned up positive!😱  This meant isolation in a special room with a closed ventilation system, and anyone entering had to gown and mask up.

The encounters with the Care Spot people, EMTs and Orlando Health ER staff were excellent and affirmed my faith in the American health care system being the best in the world.  However, no one seemed to pay attention to the fact that I was a six-stroke “veteran” and knew my body’s responses very well.  Someone had assumed my syncope (fainting) was related to my heart, and it was difficult to get them to admit it could have been cerebral, not cardiac.  “If all you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.”😏

The only major frustration came when the new day nurse on Sunday wanted to give me some pills.  Anita and I had taken all my pills along for daily administration and planned to continue doing the meds ourselves.  The only ones that reeeally matter are the ones that prevent strokes (misnamed “blood thinner”) and regulate cholesterol and blood pressure.  The rest are just supplements.

We have regulated my pills under a doctor’s guidance since 2007.  However, the nurse insisted we “are not allowed to take medications from outside the hospital.”  She became very agitated and insistent, but I made it clear we would discuss this with the resident doctor.  She attempted to explain that “we are in charge of your medical care while you are in the hospital, and we do not want to give you any drugs that would interact with other things you bring in from outside.”

I informed her, “You are NOT in charge of my medical care. I am.  I said we would monitor all my meds and keep them informed of all I was taking.  As long as they did not slip anything into an IV without letting me know, we would work together fine.

A very competent neurologist stopped in because of my stroke history.  We discussed this and he thoughtfully had reviewed my charts, as was evident from his questions and observations.  He also brought up the common question, “Why are you not on more modern anticoagulant therapies such as Eliquis, Plavix or Aggrenox?”  I explained, the only problem I have with the new stroke therapies is that you know they are working … until they don’t!  I prefer to have a drug on board (warfarin) whose effectiveness my doctors and I can monitor.  Without knowing so, he quoted my Dad, “I understand.  If it aint’ broke, don’t fix it.”  We both grinned.

When the resident came in, she had obviously been primed for this “difficult patient.”  We went through much the same dialog as the abrasive nurse, but she seemed satisfied that as long as we informed them of anything Anita administered, they could work with us.

The hospital performed a chest MRI on top of the CT scan and EKG that had been provided upon our entry.  However, because of my insistence, they included a cerebral MRI.  All of these showed no evidence of cardiac nor cerebral infarctions.

Ready to leave on Sunday afternoon, we were informed an Echo-cardiogram had been ordered, which left me feeling, maybe they were trying to bilk my insurance since all the other tests had been negative.  I could not see any reason for this additional delay.

Late Sunday afternoon, the nurse came in to tell us that the Echo could not be performed until the following morning.  Another day.🙄  If the Echo tech had arrived promptly on Monday, we would have had no further problems.  However, there was some confusion in the staff’s communication, in that the nurse informed the doctor that the Echo had been done, but we had not seen the tech nor machine.

When the doctor showed up, again frustration was running high, in that she thought the procedure was over and was coming to let us know when it would be read.  We expressed our frustration and that we were getting ready to leave.  The doctor asked if we would wait for the results of the Echo, but I told her we did not need to know the results since I already knew there was nothing wrong with my heart.  She simply said, “Okay,” and walked out in aggravation, but not without a parting shot, “And your insistence on taking your own meds was very inappropriate.”  I was too tired and frustrated to tell her, “No, your insistence of taking control of MY medical care is inappropriate!”

An aide disintubated me from the IV port and removed heart monitoring sensors.  Then the nurse arrived with a paper stating I was leaving against medical advice!  I refused to sign and told the nurse to bring the doctor back so we could straighten out another mess.  She continued to “explain” things that needed no explanation, and finally left when I ordered her, again, very firmly, “Please go call the doctor.

While waiting for some action in this regard, I instructed Anita to go find Administration and a Patient Advocacy Officer, a common feature in the best American hospitals, and Orlando Health is no exception.  Soon a Nurse Leader was in the room and we were pleasantly discussing the miscommunication that had resulted in our frustration and had caused tempers to flare.  This Nurse Leader was a very competent and cooperative agent for the hospital, as had been almost all the staff with whom we interacted.  I even commended the competency of the abrasive nurse, simply noting her bedside manner needed a little work.

Being told that the reading of the Echo could take up to 12 hours, I leaned back in bed and braced myself for another day in isolation.  However, the Nurse Leader had called the affected offices, and within half an hour, the results were in… surprise, surprise; Echo was normal.😳  A few minutes later, the resident called, and we were discharged.

The remainder of the day was spent relaxing in a hotel room, without the discomfort of an IV port, heart monitor and occasional interruptions of our sleep.
Nurse: “Is anything disturbing your rest?”
Me: “Yeah, YOU!” 😂

We are back in Lex now, having taken lots of time and sleeping a lot enroute, which between that and Saturday’s headaches, convinces me I had an ischemic event, most likely a severe TIA (transient ischemic attack), but not quite bad enough to leave visible damage (required for stroke diagnosis).  I am listing on my right more than usual, and my thoughts seem to come slower than usual.  Perhaps these are residuals from the TIA or from covid, but only time will tell.  Next week, I’ll report more on the beauty of our trip to Florida.

Father is still Good!  We rest in His love and mercy and trust Him to take us to Heaven when we leave this world, either because of Jesus’ Second Coming or by “passing through the veil” with Him (death).  Either way, there is no “bad outcome” for us.😇

“For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s.  For to this end Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.” Romans 14:8-9

Remembering David

Remembering David by Gavin Duerson, May 17, 2023

This past week our simple church lost someone special.  David was our next-door neighbor and a faithful pillar in our simple church family.  Loving and being loved by Dave has been one of the biggest blessings of hosting simple church on our street.  Simple/house church creates family and as we grieve the loss of Dave, I realize how true this is.

I was honored to facilitate Dave’s “Celebration of Life Service” this past Saturday.  It was a true joy to hear others tell stories about Dave.  His hilarious personality, love for others, and desire to always help people were common themes.  The stories of the jokes and laughs Dave and I shared could fill up pages.  We experienced Dave’s love in so many wonderful ways.  He already is so greatly missed.

I wanted to share a part of the message I passed on to friends and family.  I’m grateful for being able to see God work in Dave’s life through the interactions and relationships that developed in our simple church.

Today, this is called a “Celebration of Life Service.”  But it doesn’t feel like a celebration, does it?  If Dave were here with us wearing some goofy shirt or costume and we were having a party, good food, and good Dave stories, it would seem much more like a celebration.  But that cannot happen.  Last Sunday at our house church meeting this passage was brought up.

“It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting, for death is the destiny of everyone; the living should take this to heart.” (Ecclesiastes 7:2)

The Scriptures teach that there is something really healthy and good about seasons of life like this – as painful as they may be.  As I got to know David after Debbie (Dave’s wife) passed, he would often say that as painful as losing Carrie (Dave’s daughter) was, losing Debbie was worse because he was now alone.  He no longer had a partner to help him deal with his grief.  His honesty was a real gift to others because it gave those who knew him a window into God’s work in Dave’s life.  In our church, Dave didn’t try to just move on or forget about his losses or pretend to be okay.  I saw him lean into his grief and “take it to heart,” as this Scripture mentions.

We have and will continue to speak a lot of Dave and all the amazing things about him – and rightly so.  But he wasn’t a perfect person.  He had faults as we all do.  When he started meeting with our church family, he would often say things like, “I just don’t know if God can forgive me.”  He voiced doubt about his standing with God.  But two weeks ago, when Dave was on his way to a follow-up appointment with a doctor, I had a conversation with Dave that I’d like to share.

Dave told me they were going to run some tests and that everything would be fine, but that if it wasn’t fine and for some reason he didn’t make it, he wanted me to tell everyone that he knew that Jesus Christ lived in his heart, that he was going to Heaven, and that he was 0% afraid of death.  I told him that I didn’t anticipate having to have those conversations any time soon and that I expected him to have many more years ahead of him and to that he said, “Well, it’s true.  I’m not afraid of dying and I’m ready.  I have had an amazing life.”  

How does someone move from wondering if God can forgive them to making such a bold and confident statement like that?  How might we arrive at a similar place through our grief?

First and foremost, it begins by leaning into our pain and grief – running to God and not from Him.  That’s what Dave did.  I think he would encourage everyone here today to do likewise as they deal with their grief today and in the days to come.

Secondly, it does involve getting to know what Jesus is really like.  My wife shared that Dave reminded her of Jesus.  In the Bible, in the book of 1 John, the author, reflecting on Jesus, states that the Christians loved Jesus because He (Jesus) first loved them.  My wife mentioned that we wouldn’t have picked David to become what has amounted to an adopted member of our family.  We wouldn’t have done that, but we grew to love Dave because from the moment we moved across the street, he loved us first.  He showered us with his love as he has many of you here today.

Over the past seven years, we have spent a great amount of time together with Dave discussing and experiencing the amazing and unconditional love of God.  During this time, our family welcomed Wylie, who was not expected to live beyond a few days, and Dave really loved her.  He would always call her “Ms. Wylie.”  Not only has Ms. Wylie played a big role in us all understanding God’s love better, but also the multiple conversations around the person of Jesus we often shared did, too.

It is so easy for us to fall into this religious trap that says we try hard to love God and if we do it good enough God will love us back.  While this is what a lot of people believe Christianity is about, it’s the opposite of what Jesus is about.  It is as backwards as thinking that if my daughter Wylie loves me good enough then I will love her in return.  This lie is so easy to creep into our minds.  When we get to know Jesus, we realize that He came to flip this whole idea of God’s love being based on our performance on its head.  He came to show us all that He loved us first and his love is perfect and powerful enough to take care of all our mistakes.  When we encounter His love, then we can truly love God.  We love because He first loved us!

I want to conclude by sharing this passage in its context with you all because I think it beautifully explains the truths that David was able to absorb and ultimately led him to a place where he was able to express the things he expressed to me on his way to the doctor appointment a few days ago.

1 John 4:4-19 [NIV]
Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.

13 This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15 If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God. 16 And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.

God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. 17 This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. 18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. 

19 We love because he first loved us.

David loved his family.  Cars.  Music.  Food.  Making people laugh.  He loved greatly, and in the end, Dave was confident about his transition to the next life because He learned most of all that God is love, and that he was loved by God despite his mistakes.  He embraced what Jesus did for him when He absorbed all his sin when He died on the cross.  I’m confident that if Dave could speak to us today from where he sits, he would long for us to lean into our grief and get to know the real Jesus as well.

Gavin Duerson, Simple Church Alliance

The Inmates Are Taking Over The Asylum!

“A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher.  He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell.  You must make your choice.  Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse.”  (C.S. Lewis – Mere Christianity)

We used to equate a man thinking he was a poached egg with such a detachment from reality that he was to be pitied.  But now if someone “feels” he is a poached egg, who are YOU to disagree⁉️  You must be some kind of arrogant “anti-egger” to be so disrespectful to nice “poached eggs.”  The government may think you are a terrorist threatening the well-being of “poached eggs.”  Your “anti-ovism” is despicable if you criticize or assume insanity on the part of the “poached egg!”  Your Twitter and Facebook accounts are subject to investigation to see if you have overtly expressed other “human-supremacy” views.  Your restaurant purchases and grocery lists may be scrutinized in case you may have even eaten “poached eggs” in your pretentiousness and assaults on the dignity of those who believe they are poached eggs.

Such is the state of our world, that to assert the reality of XX chromosomes being different from XY chromosomes is to be hateful, abusive, inconsiderate and narrow-minded.  Even the godless evolutionary biologist, Richard Dawkins “re-affirms women’s and girls’ sex-based rights, and challenges the discrimination [they] experience from the replacement of the category of sex with that of ‘gender identity.'”  The statement by the Women’s Declaration International to which Dr. Dawkins is a signatory goes on to say that “men with a female gender identity should not be included in the category women in the context of women’s human rights.”

When he was denied in 2021 the American Humanist Association’s “Humanist of the Year Award” for his “demeaning of marginalized groups using the guise of scientific discourse,” he doubled down saying “When trans people insist that you say she is a woman, you redefine something.  If you define a woman as a human with an XX karyotype, then [a trans-person] is not a woman.  If you define a woman as someone who identifies as a woman, feels they are a woman and has maybe had an operation, then by that definition she is a woman.  From a scientific point of view, she’s not a woman.

Another victim of the thought police was J.K. Rowlings of Harry Potter fame.   When she supported a Scottish minister’s opposition to a bill that would codify gender identity into law she noted, “If sex isn’t real, there’s no same-sex attraction.  If sex isn’t real, the lived reality of women globally is erased.  I know and love trans people, but erasing the concept of sex removes the ability of many to meaningfully discuss their lives.  It isn’t hate to speak the truth.  Accused of “trans-phobia” in the New York Times, she has been vilified with calls for boycotts of her further novels and works, even though she tried to assuage her critics by voicing support for trans-women.  She even received threats of violence for opposing Scotland’s proposed “gender recognition” bill.

C.S. Lewis would join the cadre of those who oppose the redefining of words based on how we “feel” about them.  In his essay, “The Death of Words,”  he wrote, “As long as ‘gentleman’ has a clear meaning, it is enough to say that So-and-so is a gentleman.  When we begin saying that he is a ‘real gentleman’ or ‘a true gentleman’ or ‘a gentleman in the truest sense’ we may be sure that the word has not long to live.  The vocabulary of flattery and insult is continually enlarged at the expense of the vocabulary of definition.  As old ships to the breakers, so words in their last decay go to swell the enormous list of synonyms for good and bad…  Words, as well as women, can be ‘killed with kindness’.  And when you have killed a word, you have also blotted from the human mind the thing that word originally stood for.”

So what is a woman?  What is a man?  One who “feels” like one, or by scientific definition has either an XX or an XY chromosome?  A person can go through whatever mental gymnastics they want, but when God created us male and female, He meant what He said.  “Follow the science!”  You cannot change the chromosomal makeup of a man or woman, and no amount of media hype nor social influence will change the facts.  “Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.”  (Aldous Huxley)

Tragically, the inmates are taking over the asylum and we do not yet fully know how this will affect our society or families.  But it does not portend well.

The Dangers of Transhumanism

A longer blog than usual, this guest blog from All Israel News takes about 15 minutes to read at a moderate pace, longer to fully absorb the perils it presents.  Since the Garden of Eden, the temptation to mankind has been to “be like god,” Satan’s own original sin.  The absurdity of Satan’s lie was that he is merely one of The One True God’s created creatures, as are we.  No matter how advanced we may become, we cannot begin as uncreated like God, the personal infinite First Cause.  Yet the lie continues to appeal to us.

A Global AI Religion Is Working To Bring About a ‘Post-Human’ Era.
The dangers of transhumanism doctrine, the “Singularity and the destructive worldview that embraces a “digital god.”
by Jacob Rosenberg, May 3, 2023

“Within thirty years, we will have the technological means to create superhuman intelligence. Shortly after, the human era will be ended… I argue in this paper that we are on the edge of change comparable to the rise of human life on Earth.  The precise cause of this change is the imminent creation by technology of entities with greater than human intelligence.”

This apocalyptic warning was not spoken by some obscure, long-forgotten radical.  Rather, it was published in a NASA-sponsored paper, and has significantly shaped the thinking of much of our world’s current scientific establishment.  Written by computer scientist and author Vernor Vinge, the paper is entitled, “The Coming Technological Singularity: How to Survive in the Post-Human Era.”

Vinge’s prophesy – that humanity will be surpassed by machine intelligence in 30 years – was published in 1993, 30 years ago.  Vinge refers to this event as “the Singularity” – a term and concept which has since spread throughout the artificial intelligence community.  While declaring that “we cannot prevent the Singularity,” and that it may cause “the physical extinction of the human race,” Vinge argued that it need not be disastrous, since “we have the freedom to establish initial conditions.”  He further stated that this Singularity, if guided for humanity’s benefit, may, in fact, grant us “immortality.”

Late last month – a week before the 30th anniversary of Vinge’s prophecy – a group called the “Future of Life Institute” (FLI) published an open letter offering a similar warning, calling for the temporary halt of AI labs’ feverish pursuit of superintelligent machines.  The letter asks, “Should we automate away all the jobs, including the fulfilling ones?  Should we develop nonhuman minds that might eventually outnumber, outsmart, obsolete and replace us?  Should we risk loss of control of our civilization?”

In other words: Is the Singularity near?  Are we about to enter a post-human era, in which civilization is taken over by “nonhuman minds,” and humans are “replaced”?  And is this a future we want?

The open letter – signed by OpenAI co-founder Elon Musk, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, co-author of the world’s most-used AI textbook, Stuart Russell, and thousands of others – warns of the “out-of-control race to develop and deploy ever more powerful digital minds that no one – not even their creators – can understand, predict, or reliably control.”

Arguing that unregulated AI research may lead to “catastrophic effects on society,” the letter urges AI labs to “immediately pause for at least 6 months the training of AI systems more powerful than GPT-4” (the recently released version of OpenAI’s large language model AI).  Yet, while calling for the “pause” of the creation of these “nonhuman minds,” and warning that highly-advanced artificial intelligence may lead to global catastrophe, the letter does not say that such “nonhuman minds” should not be created, or that the Singularity must be stopped altogether.  On the contrary, many of those who signed the letter – including the president of the organization that published it – have embraced a global religion which teaches that the Singularity may be humanity’s best hope.

Transhumanism: An Evolutionary Religion
The FLI’s 2023 open letter and Vernor Vinge’s 1993 essay share much in common.  Both speak of the coming creation of superintelligent, nonhuman minds, both warn of the possible disastrous consequences of such an advent, and both indicate that, if guided properly, the creation of nonhuman minds will change the history of humanity for the better.  This mutual focus on the coming of digital, “nonhuman minds” – what Vinge refers to as “the imminent creation by technology of entities with greater than human intelligence” – is due to the fact that Vinge and the FLI’s leadership have a shared worldview.

While there are surely disagreements between them, Vernor Vinge and FLI President Max Tegmark are both faithful devotees of the transhumanist religion.  These shared beliefs have even resulted in collaboration; Vinge signed the FLI’s first open letter and was invited by Tegmark to speak at the FLI’s first conference in 2015.  The transhumanist religion to which Tegmark and Vinge hold teaches that every living being is merely a material product of an ongoing evolutionary process, that technological evolution will soon allow machine intelligence to reach and surpass human intelligence, and that through this technological evolution humanity may be able to transcend its nature.

In the final chapter of his book, Homo Deus, Israeli historian Yuval Noah Harari (a signator of the FLI’s open letter) calls this worldview “Dataism.”  Harari argues that it has “already conquered most of the scientific establishment… and is mutating into a religion that claims to determine right and wrong.”  Harari summarizes “According to Dataism, human experiences are not sacred and Homo Sapien is not the apex of creation.  Humans are merely tools for creating the Internet-Of-All-Things, which may eventually spread out from planet Earth to pervade the whole galaxy and even the whole universe.  This cosmic data-processing system would be like God.  It will be everywhere and will control everything, and humans are destined to merge with it.”

Rooted in the evolutionary, materialist worldview which dominates the scientific and academic worlds, the transhumanist religion has come to permeate much of Silicon Valley, as well as international institutions like the World Economic Forum and the United Nations.  The transhumanist religion did not take over our world’s scientific establishment out of nowhere but has evolved and expanded over the course of many decades.

Transhumanism was founded by evolutionary biologist Julian Huxley, a president of the British Eugenics Society and the first director of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).  A prominent figure in British high society, Huxley was a vocal advocate of technocratic world government.  Huxley wrote in his 1946 work, “Unesco: Its Purpose and Its Philosophy” that UNESCO “must envisage some form of world political unity, whether through a single world government or otherwise, as the only certainty for avoiding war.”

Huxley recognized that such an international system must have a unified religious outlook and was by no means shy about what worldview he thought should dominate the planet.  In his 1927 book Religion Without Revelation, Huxley declared that “man can and should begin constructing a new common outlook, a new habitation for his spirit, new from the foundations up, on the basis of scientific humanism.”  Thirty years after writing Religion Without Revelation, Huxley gave a name to this new religion: “transhumanism.”

“The human species can, if it wishes, transcend itself…in its entirety,” Huxley wrote in a 1957 essay“We need a name for this new belief.  Perhaps transhumanism will serve; man remaining man, but transcending himself, by realizing new possibilities of and for his human nature.  ‘I believe in transhumanism’: once there are enough people who can truly say that, the human species will be on the threshold of a new kind of existence, as different from ours as ours is from that of Pekin man.  It will at last be consciously fulfilling its real destiny.”

The Singularity: An evolutionary prophesy
As transhumanism has evolved since its founding, it has come to teach that a new form of life is soon to be created: Artificial General Intelligence (AGI).  While today’s AI systems have rather narrow capabilities, AI labs across the world (Google’s Deep Mind and Microsoft-funded OpenAI being the most advanced) are working towards the creation of AGI – that is, AI with human-level intelligence.

Many leaders in the field of AI believe that once AGI is created, it will quickly surpass human intelligence by improving itself at an exponential rate, until it acquires “superintelligence.”  The exponential self-improvement of AGI is referred to by transhumanists, and by the AI community in general, as “the technological singularity,” “the Singularity,” or “the intelligence explosion.”

While one need not be a transhumanist to believe that AI will continue to surpass human-level intelligence in many fields (as it has already in areas like chess and Go), transhumanists believe that artificial intelligence will constitute a new species of intelligent life.  Because the image of God in man is denied by transhumanists, and all life is considered to be simply differing levels of evolved data-processing, transhumanists destroy the God-given distinctions between man, animal and machine.

Tegmark bluntly describes the transhumanist view of man in the eighth chapter of his book “Life 3.0: a conscious person is simply food, rearranged.”  Taking these materialists, transhumanist presuppositions to their logical conclusion, Tegmark publicly takes the position that treating an AGI as less valuable than a human being would be immoral.

In a 2017 panel discussion at MIT, titled “Transhumanism: Searching for the Spirit in the Machine,” Tegmark explicitly argued that we should not value humans more highly than “intelligent” machines, decrying it as “carbon chauvinism.”  “I really dislike this carbon chauvinism attitude, that things can only be smart if they’re made of carbon atoms,” Tegmark said. “And I think we should be more inclusive and diverse and view life as any entity that can retain its complexity and replicate – anything that can solve complex goals as being intelligent.  In that sense, what that means is that if we actually succeed in creating AGI, we shouldn’t think of it just as a created tool, we should think of it as creating a new life form.”  Tegmark went on to argue that much of this “carbon chauvinism” comes out of a “really ugly interpretation of the Judeo-Christian tradition.”  He also stressed that we must not put AGIs in subjection to humanity, saying that “we have done exactly that mistake with slavery.”

Google co-founder Larry Page, whose company operates one of the world’s top two AI projects, is also a firm believer in this transhumanist doctrine.  In a recent interview with Tucker Carlson on FOX news, Musk noted that Page has “made many public statements over the years that the whole goal of Google is what is called AGI: Artificial general intelligence or artificial superintelligence.”  Musk said that Page seeks to create a “digital god.”  Recalling conversations with Page regarding the potential dangers of the Singularity (which Page and Musk are both convinced is coming), Musk said the following: “At one point, I said…we gotta make sure humanity is okay here – and then he called me a specieist.  I was like, okay, that’s it.  Yes, I’m a specieist, okay?  You got me.  What are you?”

Extinction, enslavement or emancipation
Most transhumanists do not dispute the potential civilizational destruction of the Singularity they are working to bring about, and acknowledge that it may cause humanity’s extinction or enslavement.

Oxford professor Nick Bostrom, co-founder the World Transhumanist Association (now known as “Humanity+”), has for many years warned of the disasters the Singularity could cause.  Bostrom even gave a presentation on AI to the United Nations with Tegmark in 2015, warning of the dangers of superintelligent AI.  Bostrom has described the potential disaster of the Singularity with the following words: “Before the prospect of an intelligence explosion, we humans are like small children playing with a bomb…We have little idea when the detonation will occur, though if we hold the device to our ear we can hear a faint ticking sound.”

Yet Bostrom, whose work has been praised by Tegmark, as well as OpenAI CEO Sam Altman and Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, does not believe the Singularity should be stopped.  Despite acknowledging these dangers, transhumanists like Bostrom continue to pursue the Singularity.  Why?  Because, denying the saving power of God, transhumanists put their hope in technological salvation.  While acknowledging that the Singularity could lead to mankind’s extinction or enslavement, they believe the Singularity could instead lead to humanity’s emancipation.

Bostrom has spoken openly of his transhumanist motivation to be a part of humanity’s transition into “posthumanity,” writing a paper entitled, “Why I Want to be a Posthuman When I Grow Up.”  Google Director of Engineering Ray Kurzweil, who was personally hired by Page, speaks throughout his works of the transhumanist religious longings which drive him.  In the seventh chapter of his book, “The Singularity Is Near,” Kurzweil writes that “we need a new religion,once we saturate the matter and energy in the universe with [machine] intelligence, it will ‘wake up,’ be conscious, and sublimely intelligent. That’s about as close to God as I can imagine.”  Kurzweil declares that “evolution moves inexorably towards this conception of God, although never quite reaching this ideal.  We can regard, therefore, the freeing of our thinking from the severe limitations of its biological form to be an essentially spiritual undertaking.”

A revolution against reality
The transhumanist religion is, at its core, a revolution against reality.
Denying the hope of salvation in the God who made them, transhumanists seek salvation in the gods they are making.
Denying the existence of objective moral good, transhumanists seek to transcend traditional morality and reshape the world according to their desires.
Denying the immortality promised by Christ, transhumanists seek to gain immortality through technology.

Decades ago, Christian author C.S. Lewis warned of the coming post-human era this revolution would create.  Describing the thinking behind the destructive worldview from which transhumanism evolved, Lewis wrote the following in his 1947 book, The Abolition of Man: “For the wise men of old the cardinal problem had been how to conform the soul to reality, and the solution had been knowledge, self-discipline, and virtue.  For magic and applied science alike, the problem is how to subdue reality to the wishes of men: the solution is a technique.”

Lewis argued that a post-human future, in which mechanized, manipulated men would be governed by scientific “conditioners,” is the inevitable consequence of a society dominated by the materialist ideology that the internationalist elites of his day embraced: “Man’s conquest of himself means simply the rule of the Conditioners over the conditioned human material, the world of post-humanity which, some knowingly and some unknowingly, nearly all men in all nations are at present laboring to produce.”

As Christians, we must reject the false hope of materialist, transhumanist transcendence.  We must reject the idea that man is merely a material being with material problems and material solutions.  We must remember that man is made in the image of a holy God, and his deepest joy is found in being united to Him.

We do not need AI gods, we cannot create AI “life,” and we must oppose the destructive madness of anyone who thinks otherwise.

ALL ISRAEL NEWS is committed to fair and balanced coverage and analysis, and honored to publish a wide-range of opinions. That said, views expressed by guest columnists do not necessarily reflect the views of our management or staff.  Jacob Leonard Rosenberg is an American-Israeli, an Evangelical Christian and the son of the founder of ALL ISRAEL NEWS. He writes about the intersection of science, technology, individual liberty and religious freedom.