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Percy Was Brilliant, But Mary Is Relevant

As marvelous as it was that the day came when we had our first Catholic President, and later, our first Black President, two very gifted men, (and in between their times we had our first president who smoked pot but didn’t inhale, and our first president who fought with a killer rabbit) the day will surely come when we will have our first woman president, and, if we are at once as a voting people perspicacious and fortunate she will have some Thatcher-like leadership qualities. It will be a different experience for the U.S. and probably good. No doubt, if the country lives on as a great nation despite the debt it has recently heaped up, we will have Indian Presidents, Hispanic presidents, Italian presidents, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.

This will all happen if time and change (forgive the redundancy) happen in a sort of plodding arithmetically sequential way. It would be nice to step as a nation down some carefully ordered stones. It appears, however, emerging like a ship from the fog, that maybe that isn’t exactly what’s happening. It is likely that we may have our first non-humanly conceived president, and perhaps even a non-human president before some of the other possibilities occur.

I don’t know that the framers of the Constitution and the authors of the early American historical documents were so wise as to indicate that a President had to be human. While they did indicate he must be born, and in fact born in the United States (some will claim that that has already been breeched*), they did not specify that the birth must be of a human descended, as it were, from Eve.
Now this is pertinent to our current circumstances, because we are racing towards a time when two technologies may converge or diverge to produce a being that, while not human, is at least as intelligent as a human. Those technologies are of course AI or artificial intelligence and genetic engineering.

Some scientists have come to some sort of consensus that machines will reach the level of ‘self-awareness’ sometime after the year 2030. Now I am not sure what the self awareness benchmark is, but in my own assessment of my own self awareness I am keenly aware of what puts me in touch with myself: One of those qualities, if I must call it that, is the quality of ‘Pain’. While the once legendary Billy Pilgrim’s quest may have been for ‘No Pain’ and our current medical standards seek the constant reduction of pain, it is in fact, pain that makes us probably more self-aware than anything. After pondering this I realized why it was that God allowed us to feel pain in the first place. Unquestionably, without it, we would certainly have a reduced self-awareness, and even if we someday venture into a time and place where there is no pain (heaven I think), it will be the awareness of what pain was and what it had been that will allow us to be aware of ourselves and, more importantly, others. For even in the writings of Paul of Tarsus it is evidenced that some arrive at that point of awareness, “…[God] recompense…to you who are troubled rest… when he [the Lord] shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe.” (II Thes. 1:7- 10)
So machines will begin to feel, will they? Let’s suppose they do, or let’s suppose, which is more likely, that bioengineered creatures finally exceed us in intelligence, and because they are life, quite in spite of themselves, they will have a spirit and may in fact, have a soul. How can they have a soul, or a mind, as the ancient Greeks would refer to it? While we all acknowledge that both people and animals have brains, and do in fact utilize cerebral activities and do with respect to each of their own abilities ‘think’ we would not attribute to all animals the quality of having a mind or a soul. Though we all have these tendencies to look at our pets and seem to see numerous anthropomorphic qualities – I myself am convinced that my dog muses** over whether to dump the garbage over, and then deliberates over whether or not to admit to it, or play dumb – still, qualities of the mind, the ability to have a conversation with ourselves so to speak, is uniquely human. I think that the discussion God is having with all aspects of Himself in Genesis as he ponders the creation of mankind is what makes us realize that we are in his image and Rusty the dog is not.
Let’s suppose that the machine of man’s alleged design, whether it’s biological or mechanical, is able to quickly perform tasks, engage in discussions, quip, tell jokes, respond in a manner that appears to be emotional, will we believe that It is human? I ask those of us who witnessed the ascendancy of machines, for certainly our children will be absolutely convinced. Will this bestowal of our belief somehow make them ‘living beings’, or is something more necessary? Well, first, perhaps we need to consider that the reality may be different with machines as opposed to genetically engineered beings.

Let’s look at genetically engineered beings first:

If they breathe, live, eat, sleep, move, communicate, and perhaps even breed, do they possess a mind? Let’s suppose we come upon one of these genetically engineered beings sitting on a rock, blinking all six sets of his eyelids, and tearing up remorsefully over the death of a pet. Does that being, which evidently appears to feel pain, have a mind or soul? I will refer to a New Testament Scripture which, I believe answers this. (It’s irrelevant whether you are religious or even believe in God for the sake of this.) I am afraid I have not thought of a scripture from the Old Testament. I’ll paraphrase for brevity: Jesus spoke a parable to them, “…a man …sewed good seed in his field. While men slept, his enemy came and sewed tares [weeds] among the wheat… He said, “an enemy hath done this!” Jesus explained the parable to them, “…The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one.” -Matt 13:24-43. (Sorry, I’m addicted to the King James English). Evidently, it is possible for beings who were not intended, were not even a part of the Creator’s design, but were rather the design of some lesser being, to, in fact, have life and be worthy of consideration for a sort of eternal life or punishment. This is a state that is only conferred upon beings with minds and souls. It is clear that only human beings are addressed in this parable. This writing has great implication for whom and what we consider to be life and soulful life. Do yourself a favor and read the entire parable. The Jewish Talmud addresses ‘What Is a Human’ by indicating that a creature must have at least one human parent in order to be human. While we may laugh at this, it was found necessary to discuss because of the ancient writings regarding the Nephilim, or creatures who were the product of earthly women and heavenly (bad) angels. It’s discussed in Genesis 6:1-6. We can laugh and be amused that the ancients ever thought such a thing occurred, but, whether or not it did occur we can rest assured that, even if by human machinations, it certainly will occur. We will, no doubt, be visiting these ancient writings so that we can answer, “Does this being have a claim on ‘being a Living Being’ ?” Rather, “Does it have a claim on having a soul?”, or, better yet, “Does this creature, some half son of humankind, possess a human soul?”
Then we can answer whether or not he or she can be President.
I suspect that the people who cheered most loudly for the rights of minorities, (and rightfully so), and those of us who cheered with equal volume for the rights of women, though strangely often not the same people, will together be somewhat confused, and not necessarily convinced as to what regard we shall have for these new creatures. It will have bad implications for those who have been pro-abortion, because, if a genetically engineered child of human genes is in fact a living soul, then we must ask, “Is an unborn, naturally conceived living fetus any less?”
Yet, we will see strange things and stranger resolutions in the minds of the old human Left as well as the Right.
In short the beings are very likely to be living souls if we trust the ancient writings. If we don’t trust the ancient writings, well, we will have the Civil War all over again.

What about the machines, the bits of gold and steel and silicon and …yes electricity?
Even if they are smarter than humans, and quicker, and more agile, and wittier in conversation, will they possess a mind? Will we know if they have a mind? … and, if not, why not? If we say, “No, they do not have a mind”, then what will be our reason? Will you give your children blessings to marry an electronic being? I’m not speaking snidely. Some people are already darn near married to their electronics. What about when it is equal to us in capability? What about if it is superior to us in so many ways? Can one be a Senator or President?
This is not some sort of evil syllogism written to parody our current political situation into some future scenario. Despite the fact that I and many others are not happy with the decisions that the current administration has made, they are still the decisions of people influencing and, indeed, challenging and waking up other people.

That will not always be the case. Have we become our own enemies, sewing a seed, the fruit of which we cannot even comprehend? Is the Creator laughing? Do you believe in the Creator?
If not, what do you suppose makes you any different than that very intelligent, self aware creation of ostensibly human design?
Do you think you are the creator? If so, how will you deal with, the revolt of the angels (messenger servants) when it happens here?
Better do some reading.

-copyright February 6th, 2011 by Juan Zapatero

**That’s just my dog
*Breached probably would have been more germane, but the idea of one coming into things with his ass instead of his head seemed strangely relevant.


4 Comments

  • Zenobia

    Nice blog! Is your theme custom made or did you download it from somewhere? A theme like yours with a few simple tweeks would really make my blog jump out. Please let me know where you got your design. With thanks

 




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