Thinking Anglicans

Opinion – 26 August 2017

Fred Hiltz, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Journal Good disagreement

Andrew Lightbown Theore0 Speaking of the wonderful old writers; in search of the significant

Richard Blackledge of The Star interviews Pete Wilcox: The new Bishop of Sheffield on women priests, the church’s big challenges – and why his wife’s books aren’t ‘raunchy’

Stephen Croft, Bishop of Oxford, Artificial Intelligence: a guide to the key issues

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CynthiaJCFMarkBrunsonChris HDaniel Berry, NYC Recent comment authors
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Froghole
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Froghole

Even into the 1990s there was considerable scepticism as to the possibility of artificial intelligence, and thus little investigation into the theological implications of developments that were – unbeknownst to many – reaching a critical level of maturity. Serious discussions about the implications of AI date from the 1980s, specifically the works of Hugo de Garis ‘The Artilect War’ (2005), Lee Gutkind ‘Making Robots Think’ (2006), Hans Moravec ‘Mind Children: The Future of Robot and Human Intelligence’ (1988, and many other essays), David Nye ‘America as Second Creation’ (2003) and Kevin Warwick ‘March of the Machines’ (1997, 2004), etc. Many… Read more »

Susannah Clark
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Good article by Steven Croft. He’s right to make the distinction between narrow AI (set up for specific tasks only) and AI with a general intelligence, eventually leading towards consciousness and personality. It will be very easy to fall into a kind of ‘racism’ about AI as it emerges. I prefer the term ‘Advanced Intelligence’ to the term ‘Artificial Intelligence’. Really, biological and digital frameworks for intelligence both deserve respect, as consciousness and personality gradually emerge (maybe by 2040 or 2050?). I prefer to refer to these future intelligences as ‘he’ or ‘she’ rather than ‘it’. I understand the anxiety… Read more »

Froghole
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Froghole

I should add re Dr Croft that the current fashionable panacea for mass human redundancy in the face of AI is the universal basic income (UBI), which is being tested in some jurisdictions (e.g., Alaska, Finland). The idea is not new – it was being advanced by More, Vives, Paine, Condorcet, Fourier, Charlier, etc., articulated with a considerable level of sophistication by Pigou, Russell, Meade, Tobin, etc. in the last century, and was more recently overhauled by the late Andrew Glyn (‘Capitalism Unleashed’, 2006, at ch. 7), and by the ubiquitous Elon Musk. The conventional wisdom decrees that UBI must… Read more »

Susannah Clark
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“Many in our church are coming to accept and declare that we will never agree on this matter. There will always be those who favour same-sex marriage and those who oppose it… The challenge is, how do we live with such deep-seated differences of conviction? “At the heart of this challenge are two things — the acknowledging of our fears and the embracing of good disagreement… “I believe that in our church there is both a commitment and a capacity to do just that—to disagree in a manner that does not demean one another, but honours our calling in Christ.… Read more »

Father David
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Father David

Catherine Fox’s books may not be “raunchy” but my word, the language is enough to make a bishop blush.

Rod Gillis
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Rod Gillis

Re: Archbishop Hiltz, “good agreement” certainly has a place in the hierarchy of values; but it tends to be a value especially lauded within the church as institution. It can be in tension with the value of justice for individuals within the institution. An over emphasis on good agreement may result in a false moral equivalency between church as doer of justice and church as oppressor. Fred often refers to our “beloved church” which has a kind of Johannine ring. Love for one’s community of faith is appropriate; but it is also important to see the tension between a “beloved”… Read more »

Chris H.
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Chris H.

Rod, I take it then that you don’t believe that “good disagreement” works at the personal level because, for example, a gay person who meets a “traditionalist” will always see that person as evil and vice versa. I agree it’s very hard not to take such things personally, but should we give up and split? It would be easier, but then when someone else doesn’t like something else about us, and split again? and again…ad infinitum, ad nauseum? As a single, never married, no kids, I’m looked down on in every church in town, because God loves families and single… Read more »

Rod Gillis
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Rod Gillis

Re: Chris H, thanks for your rejoinder. It draws my attention to a typo of mine, in my first use (only) not “good agreement” but that should read “good disagreement” which is the subject of the Primate’s article. Do I believe that “good disagreement” can work at the personal level? Yes I do. I’m not sure at what other level it could work. My point is that church leaders champion the rather managerial notion of “good disagreement” as a plea for irenic institutional outcomes. The risk, as I see it, is an outcome that accepts moral equivalency between injustice and… Read more »

Garry Lovatt
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Garry Lovatt

Now that I am in my eightieth year, one of my experiences, backed up by the record of history, is that over time as people live and learn together, the feverish heat of disagreement begins to cool and the fear dissipates. If we could look inside one another, we would be able to see there all kinds of differences that we are barely if at all aware of. But old differences tend to take on a new perspective. To continue to fight over them becomes just too tiresome and boring, if not foolish, in a world that continues to reveal… Read more »

Cynthia
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Cynthia

” But there is a task to be done of encouraging those within the church who are at odds on this issue to express their concerns in a safe environment, listen carefully to those with whom they disagree profoundly, find something of Christ in each other and consider together what the practical consequence of disagreement might be.” There simply is no “Christianly” way to tell me and my LGBTQI sisters and brothers that we are too deficient to be fully included in the life and sacraments of the church. We are people, we are not “disagreements.” You can’t heal the… Read more »

Cynthia
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Cynthia

Re: AI

Both Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk have come out in favor of the “universal basic income” as a means of compensating people when work is done by robots. Zuckerberg told a roomful of his wealthy colleagues that they were obligated to pay for it. Interesting.

Daniel Berry, NYC
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Daniel Berry, NYC

Garry Lovatt’s posting above makes me think of the wise rhyme by Dorothy Sayers:

As I grow older and older, and totter towards the tomb,

I find that I care less and less who goes to bed with whom.

Chris H
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Chris H

Cynthia, and what of the traditionalist attacked as non-Christian and non-human by liberals? Does it matter to you if one of them commits suicide because the liberal priest or teacher in their parish hates them?

Cynthia
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Cynthia

Chris H., there is a great deal of data to show that LGBT teens in both the US and the UK commit suicide at a higher rate than other groups and it is correlated to bullying and hate rhetoric, in person and online. These bullies are emboldened by thinking of us as non human and an abomination before God, after all, Christian leadership say as much, or act accordingly. Is there data about conservatives? I doubt it. I think conservatives will be fine. When the slaves were emancipated, they didn’t turn around and murder the former slave masters. The conservative… Read more »

MarkBrunson
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MarkBrunson

You can love people without having to share a house with them. We. Should. Split.

JCF
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JCF

“what of the traditionalist attacked as non-Christian and non-human by liberals? Does it matter to you if one of them commits suicide because the liberal priest or teacher in their parish hates them?” Citation (of this in actuality) please? Or are you merely crucifying a straw man? [Because LGBT youth coming from traditionalist Christian upbringing who commit suicide are, sadly, a dime a dozen.] I would understand this supposedly “intractable disagreement”, if it were a Zero Sum Game: “the Church will marry opposite-sex couples, OR same-sex couples—but not both.” But of course, it isn’t Zero Sum at all. It’s “Dog… Read more »

Cynthia
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Cynthia

Well said, JCF. Excluders are crushed because they can’t exclude anymore. And supposedly that is equal to the exclusion and hate rhetoric (and actions) LGBTQI people face. Conservatives are losing the power to oppress. And that makes them victims? The theology of that is hard to fathom when we all profess to follow the Christ who commanded us to love our neighbors as ourselves. Hiltz is buying into a false equivalence with “good disagreement.” What is ever good about excluding and condemning others? How can anyone say outloud that LGBT people are not worthy of the sacraments and full inclusion… Read more »