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Sunflower seeds in colored glaze lie on a pink background. Flat lay, copy space, top view.
Photo by Elena at Adobe Stock

Review: Big Tech is Sowing the Seeds of Its Own Destruction

George Gilder is the archetypal disruptive futurist author. Unlike many a denizen of Silicon Valley, Gilder is a theist who possesses a teleological view of knowledge and power, championing the idea that the all is not directionless, but is headed somewhere ultimately meaningful. As such, he’s been a noted proponent of intelligent design. In his long and influential career (he’s 78), Gilder has always been a writer given to aphorism and oracular pronouncement. Sometimes these nuggets are profound and suggestive. They make you feel smart, like Neo about to control the Matrix, just by reading them. But sometimes they leave a reader befuddled as to what the heck Gilder might even be talking about, much less whether it is true or not. Read More ›
Photo by Dan Meyers

Evolution — More Certain Than Gravity?

Imagine two science teachers. Mr. Smith teaches straight out of the textbook. He expects students simply to memorize and correctly regurgitate. The other, Ms. Jones, supplements her teaching with challenging mainstream material that casts the textbook’s position in a new, more critical light. She asks students to weigh some of the evidence for themselves, like real scientists do. Which sounds like the better teacher? This is a question that lawmakers have considered in a series of legislative battles across the country over academic freedom for high school science instructors. The idea that students are well served by creative, challenging instruction would seem uncontroversial. Except, that is, when the subject is evolution. Then all hell breaks loose.

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What Happens to the Future When It’s Severed From the Past

No one can say when exactly the modern age began, but it was clearly tied to the Reformation, Renaissance, and the Scientific Revolution which had their roots in 14thand 15th century Europe.

The reformation of church corruption and pursuit of spiritual truth promoted by Martin Luther had its analog with the pursuit of truth regarding the physical universe by contemporary Nicholas Copernicus, who is credited as a key founder of the scientific revolution. Copernicus’ empirical evidence and reasoning upset the prevailing geocentric view that the earth was the center of universe with the heliocentric model that took its place — placing the sun at the center, with the earth and other planets orbiting it.

The Reformation and Renaissance set in motion a cultural awakening as well as an unusual concentration of human genius and extraordinary wisdom that culminated in the birth of a new nation, the United States — dedicated to the rule of law, separation of powers and limited government, and accountability to its citizens whose rights were God-given and thus unalienable and not subject to infringement by the state — a truly revolutionary model that subsequently influenced other nations worldwide well into the 20thcentury.

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Future car, retro 80th

Back to the Future by Connecting with the Past

In the 1985 classic American science fiction film Back to the Future, Marty McFly travels back in time in a DeLorean time machine, and with the help of its inventor, the eccentric scientist “Doc,” history gets repaired so that when McFly returns to the present he finds healthy relations restored, providing optimism for the future and a happy ending.  As a film Read More ›

Times Change, But The Ideas In Declaration Of Independence Endure

July 4th is a generally more festive American holiday — with cookouts, parades, parties, and fireworks — than other patriotic holidays, such as Memorial Day or Veterans Day.

Most people forget that when the Declaration of Independence was drafted and signed on or about July 4th 1776 it was both a revolutionary and a somber occasion.  It was revolutionary in being the first political doctrine in human history to assert that the rights of the people come from God, and not the state — which made those rights natural, absolute, and “unalienable.”

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Photo by Dries Augustyns

Two Views of Evolution, and Why They Don’t Mix

For a year now, I’ve been discussing my book Undeniable: How Biology Confirms Our Intuition That Life Is Designed with my friend Hans Vodder, who thinks I got it wrong. Although Hans agrees that life came from God, he thinks natural evolutionary processes could have been the means by which God did his creative work. As is often the case, it has taken some Read More ›

Photo by Lenny Kuhne

Will Robots Really Create an Employment “Death Spiral”?

According to a new International Monetary Fund research paper, the answer to the above question is yes. As one story on the IMF report put it, “The future of work run by robots appears to be a dystopian march to rising inequality, falling wages and higher unemployment.” This is just the latest in a long line of predictions that artificial intelligence and automation will soon create massive “technological unemployment.”

I get it. Doomsday predictions gain shares on Facebook and Twitter. But these apocalyptic fears defy the lessons of both history and economics.

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View from Space Needle
Photo by Wynand van Poortvliet via Unsplash

Make the Seattle City Council Great Again

There seem to be cycles in city politics. Fifty years ago a small band of Young Republicans and Young Democrats came together in an unusual alliance to overturn the existing Seattle City Council. They called themselves CHECC: Choose an Effective City Council. It took a couple of elections, but they prevailed and it was then — in the 1970s — that formerly …

The Big Picture Behind Memorial Day

Memorial Day had its origin as Decoration Day following the Civil War, but it only became an official federal holiday to honor those who lost their lives while serving in the U.S. armed forces in 1971.

Memorial Day had its origin as Decoration Day following the Civil War, but it only became an official federal holiday to honor those who lost their lives while serving in the U.S. armed forces in 1971.

Memorial Day is also an occasion to associate those who died in the just causes for which the United States was willing to go to war. World War I, World War II, Korea and Vietnam were conflicts where freedom was clearly at stake. The post September 11 engagements in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria remain a bit more complicated, being associated with responses to abuse of power in divided countries and to transnational radical Islamist terrorism.

October 2018 marks the commemoration of 25 years since U.S. forces suffered defeat in Somalia. But we still commemorate the courageous Army Rangers and Delta Force members who fought and died in the chaotic streets of Mogadishu so that their fellow soldiers could survive against overwhelming odds, depicted in the popular film “Black Hawk Down.”

Some U.S. military engagements were ill-advised and injustices were committed along the way. History shows that the injustices were probably greater in actions taken by Washington politicians and bureaucrats than by the military in the field. For instance, the government’s willingness to authorize and deploy military force — putting American lives in harm’s way without clear and realistic objectives and plans for victory — was the great injustice of the Vietnam War. In other cases, such as in Iraq, President Obama’s political decision to withdraw U.S. military forces by the end of 2011 directly led to the injustice of reversal of hard-fought gains made by the military in the prior eight years, and resulted in a power vacuum filled by the rise of ISIS and growing Iranian influence.

While remembering those who died in defending U.S. interests in conflicts large and small is a central purpose of this holiday, Memorial Day takes on its deepest meaning when we connect it with our roots. Americans were unique in sacrificing their treasure and giving their lives to found the first country in history establishing that all people have natural rights that come from God rather than from rulers or government. The Declaration of Independence affirmed the equality of all people and that they were endowed with unalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Thus, when Americans sacrificed their lives in military service, it was not just to defend the United States, but it was also to uphold the natural rights and spiritual values associated with the nation’s founding — and which remain exemplary and true for all time and people.

There were times and places in human history when there were nation-states of cultural achievement, virtue and efflorescence, such as in Periclean Athens, in the Florence of the Medicis, and in England of Queen Elizabeth and Shakespeare. But none were founded the way America was — that is, by a collection of human genius who prayerfully approached drafting a constitution that would mitigate corruption and abuse of power while also protecting the citizens’ unalienable, God-given rights and enabling them to rise to levels closer to the divine image in which all were created than they would have under any government previously conceived. Yet another significant part of celebrating Memorial Day is associated with the example set by Americans in how they treated their vanquished foes.

The respect that Gen. Douglas MacArthur and the occupying American forces displayed after Japan’s surrender amazed the people, who assumed the victorious Americans would execute their beloved emperor and plunder, and treat them in ways similar to what Japanese soldiers did to those they had conquered in East and Southeast Asia. The courtesy, helpfulness and respect shown by the Americans won the Japanese people’s trust and acceptance of the occupation’s policies that forced fundamental change on the country — rewriting their constitution and laws, and reorganizing the ownership of land and business to provide more fairness and opportunity.

In Europe after armistice, the war-indebted United States launched the Marshall Plan that gave some $125 billion (in current dollar value) in economic support to help reconstruct war-devastated regions in Western Europe. Major initiatives included rebuilding industry — even giving the Europeans a leg up with the building of state-of-the-art factories and facilities that were in many cases more efficient than what then existed in the U.S.

In sum, Memorial Day means more than remembering those who died in military service to the country. It means connecting with a heritage that began with a courageous and faithful group of Founders, who risked their lives for the birth of freedom and the establishment of America as a “shining city on a hill.” It also means remembering what made “the greatest generation,” who — after forfeiting so many lives to assure victory for the Allied nations in World War II — then sacrificed more to rebuild and preserve the independence of its former enemies.

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