The Return of Catholic Anti-Modernism

Commentators are sure to make the false claim that Pope Francis has aligned the Church with modern science. They’ll say this because he endorses climate change. But that’s a superficial reading of Laudato Si. In this encyclical, Francis expresses strikingly anti-scientific, anti-technological, . . . . Continue Reading »

​Even Materialists Crave Religion

Even materialists crave religion. The need to believe—to locate ultimate meaning in the universe—is deeply embedded in our natures. Atheists seek to deflect attention from this deeply human yearning. Thus, Richard Dawkins famously wrote that Darwin made it possible “to be an intellectually . . . . Continue Reading »

Frequencies of Thought

Stephen Meredith argues a thesis that seems to me correct, important, and widely overlooked—the triple crown in the Interesting Assertions sweepstakes. It is that the scientific attitude must respect the nonscientific grounds of its actions, or else it shall slide into a dehumanizing instrument . . . . Continue Reading »

Against Edenism

The future will look very different from the past. The Garden of Paradise will culminate in the City of God—“the Holy City, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God. . . . The wall was made of jasper, and the city of pure gold, as pure as glass. . . . The city does not need the sun or moon . . . . Continue Reading »

The Screen and the Book

Books are solid. This is at once a physical description and a metaphysical one, and it is on this metaphysical solidity that we ought to ground our loyalty to the book over and against the allure of the ever-changing screen.A book is solid in the warm way a friend is solid: direct, dependable, . . . . Continue Reading »

The Limits of Responsibility

I recently attended a small conference in Washington, DC, co-sponsored by the New America Foundation (NAF), a think tank that describes itself as “dedicated to the renewal of American politics, prosperity, and purpose in the digital age, through big ideas, technological innovation, next generation politics, and creative engagement with broad audiences.” The conference was entitled “The Future of Reproduction” and was troubling in all manner of ways, not least because it was unclear whether I was witnessing a naïve attempt to really speak about the renewal of American culture, or a cynical undertaking to destroy the whole enterprise from within. Continue Reading »

AI Machines: Things Not Persons

Transhumanists insist that we are quickly approaching [R1] the moment at which technology will become an unstoppable and self-directing power that will usher in the “post-human” era. To get us from here to there requires the invention of “artificial intelligence” (AI), computers and/or robots that become “conscious” and self-programming, independent of human control. Actually, these advocates would say “who” become conscious: Transhumanists believe that AI contraptions would become self-aware and thus deserve human rights. Continue Reading »

Ubi Amor, Ibi Oculus

In Technopoly, Neil Postman says that overly technological cultures, “driven by the impulse to invent, have as their aim a grand reductionism in which human life must find its meaning in machinery and technique.”