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Genesis, Biotechnology


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Title: Genesis, Biotechnology

Genesis, Biotechnology The Future of Us
  • How will the Church respond to the brave new
    world of biotech?

  • Presentations are online at
  • Also a new link to Euthanasia article from
    Christianity Today
  • Please email your questions for the upcoming open
    forum class at
  • Pass roll/clipboard

Where were headed in this course
Class 7 Euthanasia
Class 8 Biotechnology, Robotics AI
Class 9 What Has the Church Done?
Class 10 What Should the Church Do?
Class 11 Literary Perspective including discussion of Collins book a debate
Where were headed in this course
Class 12 Open Forum on the Media and Your Questions from the Course
Class 13 The New Atheism including a debate between Dr. B Dr. D
News Bulletins
  • Wake Forest Harvard researchers confirmed that
    useful stem cells can be found in amniotic fluid
    surrounding a fetus in the womb
  • Democratic-controlled House passed a bill that
    lifted funding restrictions on embryonic stem
    cell research
  • Likely to be vetoed

Biotechnology, Robotics Artificial Intelligence
Hans Moravec Carnegie Mellon U.
  • Adjunct prof. CMU
  • Long time member of Robotics Institute at CMU
  • Founder of SEEGRID a firm that specializes in
    practical robotics vision guiding material
    handling robots
  • Author of several books on robotics the future
    of man

Movarvecs Curve
MIPS Million Instructions per Second
Movarvecs Conclusions
  • Robots with the computational power / thinking
    ability of humans will be available at affordable
    costs by 2030-2050
  • Robotic industries would compete vigorously among
    themselves for matter, energy, and space,
    incidentally driving their price beyond human
    reach. Unable to afford the necessities of life,
    biological humans would be squeezed out of
    existence. (quoted by Mitchell)

Movarvecs Conclusions - 2
  • Humans can be enhanced by both biological and
    hard robotic technologies
  • Mind Children his 1988 book speculated on ways
    to preserve a person while replacing every part
    of body and brain with superior artificial
  • A biological human...could grow into something
    seriously dangerous once transformed into an
    unbounded superintelligent robot.

Ray Kurzweil
  • Inventor in fields of optical character
    recognition (OCR), music synthesizers,
    print-to-sound readers for the blind, CCD
  • Received national medal of technology from
    President Clinton along with numerous other
  • Wrote The Age of Spiritual Machines The
    Singularity is Near

Kurzweils Singularity
"An analysis of the history of technology shows
that technological change is exponential,
contrary to the common-sense 'intuitive linear'
view. So we won't experience 100 years of
progress in the 21st centuryit will be more like
20,000 years of progress (at today's rate). .
Within a few decades, machine intelligence will
surpass human intelligence, leading to the
Singularitytechnological change so rapid and
profound it represents a rupture in the fabric of
human history. The implications include the
merger of biological and nonbiological
intelligence, immortal software-based humans, and
ultra-high levels of intelligence that expand
outward in the universe at the speed of light."
Quote from essay The Law of Accelerating Returns
Kurzweil predicts the singularity will occur in
Moravec Kurzweils Predictions Depend On the
Success of AI
  • AI Artificial Intelligence
  • Before we define AI and consider its sub-fields,
    we need to define intelligence
  • Intelligence is the thing you measure on an IQ

The Original IQ Test
  • Stanford-Binet (Terman 1900) most widely used
  • Criticized by Stephen J. Gould who defined
    intelligence as the ability to face problems in
    an unprogrammed (creative) manner
  • Responded to by 52 psychologists in Wall Street
    Journal (December 13, 1994)

The 52 Psychologists Said
  • Intelligence exists as a very general mental
    capability involving ability to
  • reason
  • plan
  • solve problems
  • think abstractly
  • comprehend complex ideas
  • learn quickly
  • learn from experience.
  • The brain processes involved are little

Artificial intelligence (AI) can be defined as
intelligence exhibited by an artificial
(non-natural, manufactured) entity. Wikipedia
What is AI
  • Thus, AI entails a manufactured object (robot,
    computer program, etc.) exhibiting the traits
    shown previously such as reasoning, planning,
    solving problems, thinking abstractly,
    comprehending complex ideas, learning quickly and
    learning from experience

AI Sub Fields
  • The challenge to actually perform at the level
    indicated on the previous slide is so great that
    AI researchers have lowered their goals
  • AI as defined on the previous slide is known as
    Strong AI
  • More modest definitions are termed Weak AI

Strong AI
...according to strong AI, the computer is not
merely a tool in the study of the mind rather,
the appropriately programmed computer really is a
John Searle, UC Berkeley
Strong AI aims to build machines that think. (The
term strong AI was introduced for this category
of research in 1980 by the philosopher John
Searle of the University of California at
Berkeley.) The ultimate ambition of strong AI is
to produce a machine whose overall intellectual
ability is indistinguishable from that of a human
being. This goal generated great interest in the
1950s and '60s, but such optimism has given way
to an appreciation of the extreme difficulties
involved. To date, progress has been meager. Some
critics doubt whether research will produce even
a system with the overall intellectual ability of
an ant in the foreseeable future. Indeed, some
researchers working in AI's other branches view
strong AI as not worth pursuing. Encyclopedia
Britannica Online
Searles Chinese Room Experiment
  • Chinese symbols come into room
  • Searle looks them up in rule book (written in
  • Send appropriate Chinese response to output

A machine programmed to do this would have no
more understanding of Chinese than Searle would.
Hence, strong AI is not achievable
David Ray weighs in (from the ID Blog)
Regarding the mention in the first class about
the increasing power of computers and estimates
about time until they mimic (have?)
consciousness I don't believe that sufficient
power is all that is lacking for computers to
exhibit consciousness-like behavior. I think some
major breakthroughs yet to be made in the
understanding of consciousness and how to program
a computer to mimic or have it.
David (continued)
Have you noticed that even though our personal
computers have increased in power very
dramatically over the years, from tens of
megahertz to hundreds of megahertz to thousands
of megahertz (or similar increases in MIPS or
MFLOPS) that they still do the same basic thing
they did when they first came out. Software has
improved qualitatively but there has been no real
breakthroughs. We still use them to do word
processing, spreadsheets and to play games. All
of those things are easier (arguably), faster and
more powerful, but conceptually they are the same
as they were twenty years ago. We don't see any
progress toward "intelligence" in spite of the
incredible increase in power.
Attempts to Produce Intelligence by Simulation
of Neuron Interconnections
meanwhile, bottom-up researchers have been
unable to replicate the nervous systems of even
the simplest living things. Caenorhabditis
elegans, a much-studied worm, has approximately
300 neurons whose pattern of interconnections is
perfectly known. Yet connectionist models have
failed to mimic even this worm. Evidently, the
neurons of connectionist theory are gross
oversimplifications of the real
thing. Encyclopedia Britannica Online
Movarvecs Curve
MIPS Million Instructions per Second
Intelligence in the Bible
  • 4 Occurrences
  • Abigail intelligent beautiful (I Sam 253)
  • Procounsul on Cyprus, Sergius Paulus, was an
    intelligent man (Acts 137)
  • Isaiah the intelligence of the intelligent
    shall vanish (Is. 2914)
  • Paul quotes Isaiah in I Cor. 119

Pauls Quotation of Isaiah
18For the message of the cross is foolishness to
those who are perishing, but to us who are being
saved it is the power of God. 19For it is
written    "I will destroy the wisdom of the
wise       the intelligence of the intelligent
I will frustrate."
20Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar?
Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God
made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21For since
in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom
did not know him, God was pleased through the
foolishness of what was preached to save those
who believe.
Pauls Quotation of Isaiah
22Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look
for wisdom, 23but we preach Christ crucified a
stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to
Gentiles, 24but to those whom God has called,
both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God
and the wisdom of God. 25For the foolishness of
God is wiser than man's wisdom, and the weakness
of God is stronger than man's strength.
A Stumbling Block Foolishness
  • As in Pauls day, so in our day, Christ as the
    Wisdom of God, is a stumbling block to our
    culture, which increasingly has come to believe
    that the universe is a product of blind chance
    and is therefore pointless
  • The more the universe seems comprehensible, the
    more it also seems pointless. Steven Weinberg,
    Nobel Laureate in The First Three Minutes, a book
    about the Big Bang
  • Yet our generation is privileged to have
    unprecedented data showing the extent of the
    Wisdom of God

Paul Davies The Goldilocks Enigma
If almost any of the basic features of the
universe, from the properties of atoms to the
distribution of the galaxies, were different,
life would very probably be impossible. Now, it
happens that to meet these various requirements,
certain stringent conditions must be satisfied in
the underlying laws of physics that regulate the
universe, so stringent in fact that a biofriendly
universe looks like a fix - or 'a put-up job', to
use the pithy description of the late British
cosmologist Fred Hoyle. It appeared to Hoyle as
if a super-intellect had been 'monkeying' with
the laws of physics. He was right in his
impression. On the face of it, the universe does
look as if it has been designed by an intelligent
creator expressly for the purpose of spawning
sentient beings.
Dallas Willard on Jesus the Logician
There is in our culture an uneasy relation
between Jesus and intelligence, and I have
actually heard Christians respond to my statement
that Jesus is the most intelligent man who ever
lived by saying that it is an oxymoron. Today we
automatically position him away from (or even in
opposition to) the intellect and intellectual
life. Almost no one would consider him to be a
thinker, addressing the same issues as, say,
Aristotle, Kant, Heidegger or Wittgenstein, and
with the same logical method.
Supreme Intelligence
  • How do we view the intelligence of our Lord Jesus

Jim Caviezel as Jesus
A Meaningful World Wiker Witt
  • Our book takes on materialist reductionism, which
    tries to reduce everything to mere matter and
  • Materialist reductionism leads to nihilism, the
    view that life is pointless. It sucks the meaning
    out of life, flattens reality like a steamroller.
  • We counter this by showing that the world is
    meaning-full, a work of genius far beyond any
    work of human genius. In doing so, we're trying
    to help restore our culture's sense of the
    richness of everyday reality.

  • Einstein discovered the equations that govern the

  • Shakespeare wrote the greatest prose and poetry
    in the English language

  • Mozart wrote some of most beautiful music ever

  • Euclid discovered the mathematical elegance of
    plane geometry worked out its theorems proofs