Tag: Authority

Rise of The Machine


Artificial intelligence, or AI, has taken center stage in cultural conversations. We were discussing AI during my classes in the 1990s. But in the 21st century, AI has taken on a life of its own – literally. Here is what I mean.

You may have heard of AI but the expanded idea from the 1990s to today is something called “transhumanism.” A transhumanist is a person who believes the human species can evolve past our physical and intellectual limitations through technological breakthroughs. Some actually believe transhumanism can lead humans to become God.

The following quotes come from the essay “Rage Against the Machine” at The Free Press, noted at the end of this Truth in Two. Transhumanist Martine Rothblatt says that by building AI systems, “we are making God.” Transhumanist Elise Bohan says, “we are building God.” Futurist Kevin Kelly believes that “we can see more of God in a cell phone than in a tree frog.” “Does God exist?” asks transhumanist and Google maven Ray Kurzweil. “I would say, ‘Not yet.’ ”

If There Is No God, Then Gods Are Everywhere


“Who is the number one god?” There is a scene in the 1996 movie version of The Island of Dr. Moreau that is worth discussion. Based on H. G. Wells’s famous novel, a shipwrecked man is confronted by the mad scientist, Dr. Moreau. The doctor is creating half-man, half-beast people to unite the best of both species. Of course, he utterly fails.

At the end of the movie, the beast people have taken over Moreau’s laboratory. The shipwrecked man is now alone, facing the fury of a hybrid species. Thinking they are now the island’s god, the animal people seek to rid themselves of the last man. It is then he asks the question, “Who is the number one god?” causing the beasts to turn on each other.

Such a scene-summary tells us about the two doctrines that run through every discussion about every subject: (1) Who is our authority? And (2) Who are we as humans?

Will the Feds Ever End the Public Health Emergency?


At the beginning of the pandemic, most of us were persuaded that the federal government’s enacting the Public Health Emergency was trying to keep us safe from an insidious disease. Locking us down and insisting that we wear masks were in our best interests. And the vaccine was going to protect us from infection and save lives, neither of which was true. For all intents and purposes, the government has failed miserably in its supposed efforts to protect us and to follow the science. In the meantime, they’ve given us no indication that they have criteria for taking down the emergency, or that they have any intention of doing so. I’m pretty much convinced that something catastrophic will need to happen to end this oppressive and destructive act.

We were almost convinced that it was all about to be over when Joe Biden slipped and said the pandemic was over during an interview on “60 Minutes,” but as usual, the White House walked it back. Even Joe knew it was time to bring the whole insidious action to a close. In fact, his statement raised a number of questions about who has the authority to end the pandemic and the many reasons why the end is not about to arrive any time soon.

One major question is who decides that a pandemic is even over. J. Alex Navarro, assistant director of the Center for the History of Medicine at the University of Michigan Medical School shared the following:

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I made “Humanist Manifestos I & II” part of my earliest teaching curriculum. Why? I wanted my students to interact with what others taught – not what I said that humanists taught – so that young people could grapple with the basic issues of life. Authority. Humanity. Sin. Salvation. I tell stories about how students […]

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I enjoy being around smart people; I learn a great deal from them and they help me feel smarter. But when smart people expound on ideas in a naïve and irrational fashion, it doesn’t make me feel smart. It makes me feel sad. That happened today.

This morning, I was to meet with a little group I formed to discuss Jewish topics on Zoom. Unfortunately, the internet wasn’t cooperating, and since we all live in the same area, we were all impacted. But today’s presenter was determined to make our meeting happen, so one of the women offered her home for our meeting. That sounded like a great and generous solution, except for one thing: one of our members hadn’t received her third Covid shot. She’d made that decision because of her concern regarding blood clots. The problem is that the other women in our group don’t want to be with her and the booster-shunner (let’s call her BS for short) knew it; she told me that she was being ostracized, but felt she shouldn’t have the third shot, particularly due to a medication she’s taking which can cause blood clots, too. So, she didn’t join us that morning.

The woman who was presenting picked me up in her car, so I took that opportunity to ask her if she was unwilling to be around the woman without the booster. She said yes. When I asked her why, she said that she thought everyone should have the third shot. When I asked her if she realized that BS was the one more in danger because of her more limited protection, she answered me by saying that was “just the way I felt.”

Quote of the Day: Responsibility


“Responsibility without authority is slavery.” – Rollo Tomassi

This is a quote that cuts to the heart of what is wrong with Critical Race Theory. It assigns responsibility for actions to those who did not perform them while simultaneously denying those with responsibility for “fixing” the problem the authority to do so. All you can do is admit fault, accept guilt, and do what your masters demand of you. Isn’t that the very definition of slavery – of being a slave?

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What makes a government legitimate? What does legitimacy mean in regard to politics?  I have been wondering, again, about the conditions which require obedience to unjust laws. The question of legitimacy seems the most fundamental form of that ethical conundrum. Laws express authority. Before one accepts the laws of representatives or rulers, one must accept […]

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When I was a kid in school, I looked up to teachers. They didn’t always like me very much (my teachers seemed to prefer quiet kids to inquisitive ones), but even when I didn’t like how my teachers treated me, I understood that I had to obey them. Of course, for seven of my twelve […]

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There Is No Long Game


shutterstock_180292460During his excellent speech before Congress, Sen. Ted Cruz repeated a common complaint of Republican voters:

The American people were told, “If only we have a Republican majority in the House, things will be different.” Well, in 2010, the American people showed up in enormous numbers and we got a Republican majority in the House. And very little changed. […] Then the American people were told, “You know, the problem is the Senate. If only we get a Republican majority in the Senate and retire Harry Reid as majority leader, then things will be different.” Well, in 2014, the American people rose up in enormous numbers, voted to do exactly that. We have had a Republican majority in both houses of Congress now for about 6 months. What has that majority done?

While debating the possibility of de-funding Planned Parenthood the other day, a fellow Republican insisted we needed total control — a Republican president and a Republican majority in both houses of Congress — for that to happen. Appropriations are not a significant authority, apparently. Since Roe v Wade, he told me, Republicans have enjoyed such total control for only two years, under President George W. Bush. That’s two out of 40 years. In order to prevent about a million children from being slaughtered every year, I’m being asked to wait for an electoral scenario which has only happened once in my lifetime.

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As President Obama has aptly demonstrated, a President has considerable powers (some even authorized) in addition to powers which require the cooperation of legislators. Most of these powers are known before one enters office. So why doesn’t every candidate plan these well in advance?  Publicizing one’s full list during the campaign might scare away voters […]

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