The Brains We Are Building

It’s the most important job of each generation, and we get to do it twice.

We are building the brains that will replace us – those of our children but also those vast new mechanical brains that read and remember more than we can imagine.

The brains we build will believe us, at least for a while.

And that might be a problem. Take the recent experience of law professor Jonathan Turley. A recent article composed by the artificial intelligence (AI) tool, ChatGPT “reported on a claim of sexual harassment that was never made against me on a trip that never occurred while I was on a faculty where I never taught. ChapGPT relied on a cited Post article that was never written and quotes a statement that was never made.”

This is a helpful example because the facts can be easily verified. The AI brain lied.

Our Washington representatives have been discussing “the weaponization of Government,” which is indeed a disastrous thing. But, here, we meet something dramatically more disastrous – the weaponization of speech.

Speech is at the heart of human relationships. We speak to transmit. We listen to learn. The invisibly obvious assumption behind every conversation is that the words will be true.

A lie murders speech. It makes a weapon of the hearer’s good faith and uses it against her. It betrays trust and attacks the very possibility of human connection.

And our culture is full of lies.

The brains we build will believe us, at least for a while. The vast mechanical brains of AI will be as truthful as their programmers, and the lies they create will be bigger, faster, and more alluring. The brains of our children will be as discerning as our educational system, which distorts our history and can no longer tell a girl from a boy.

It’s the most important job of each generation, and we’re failing at it twice, in heartbreaking ways that may cripple future generations.

Let’s hope their precious brains don’t believe us for long.


“He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”
-Jesus, describing Satan in John 8.

More about Professor Turley and AI:

Other People’s Children

I wasn’t the smartest kid on the farm, but I noticed something right away. Farmers were often permitted the astonishing privilege of feeding and cultivating plants – merely because they planted them.

In my youth and inexperience, it never occurred to me that neighbors might find these actions brash or unfair. There seemed a logical connection between planting and cultivating – between nativity and nurture.

But things were different then. Culture was largely focused on family, and family was a scandalously narrow thing: One man who wanted to be manly. One woman who liked being a woman. His fascination with her femininity. Her love for his masculinity. Their permanent union. Their desire for children.

Of course, we know better than all that. Gender means nothing now but also everything. Our concept of marriage is remarkably inclusive, though less commonly exclusive. Current ideas about family are infinitely broad but often sterile.


Let that word lie dead on the page.

Every ideology – whether democracy or CRT, monogamy or transsexuality – is one generation from extinction. Every ideology needs children to carry their ideas forward, even ideologies that abort children.

If our grandparents had lived in this brave new world, they might have become anything – with the possible exception of grandparents. We, the proud vanguards of new society, are really the offspring of old society. Of – dare I say it? – that old-fashioned menace known as heterosexuality. Our grandparents’ marriages were narrow, but their love was broad, bridging the mysterious gulf between male and female. And their love was fertile.

And that is the agricultural significance of this moment. If there are now (as I just read) 81 genders, that makes 6,561 possible combinations in a two-person marriage. That’s a dazzling array of infertility, layered atop a fanatical insistence upon the disposability of unborn children. If these ideas about sexuality and culture are to survive, they need far more children than their supporters will produce.

They need other people’s children.

It’s no coincidence that schools are increasingly focused on social (and not academic) conditioning. While many – and likely most – teachers serve from genuine concern for their students, there is increasing pressure upon the educational system to proselytize. From presentations by drag queens to salacious library books to privacy policies barricading parents from information about their minor children, schools at all levels perform a sort of conversion therapy, normalizing practices and values previously considered abnormal.

And it’s no coincidence that the school attacked last week was Christian, given the stubborn Christian confidence that gender is a good and clear gift of a competent and loving God. Schools, churches, and families that reproduce this confidence in their children represent a profound threat to an increasingly hateful and violent opposition.

In this bizarre moment of sexual confusion, traditional families are being used to serve an agricultural function, giving birth, food, and clothing to little bodies whose minds are to be properly filled by someone else.

Our children will eventually decide what is true and important for American culture, but – unlike the many generations before us – we are being told to surrender the idea that parents are best qualified to prepare them for this responsibility.

Let’s say no.

The Lonely Voice

There is a collective chuckle from the crowd as he stands to speak, and, as they expect, he spouts the same old tripe. They exchange knowing glances and shake their heads, amused by his absurdity. For twenty years, this routine is repeated: His crazy insistence and their incredulous murmurs. But on February 23, 1807, there is another vote, and tears rush down his tired face. The slave trade has been abolished, and he has won.

Along the way, he has been mocked as a dwarf and a fraud. The King of England branded him a hypocrite. All for saying what, at some level, they all knew to be true.

I thought of this during the local Board of Education meeting the other night. There was, as the saying goes, an elephant in the room. Every seat was filled, more people stood along the walls, and still more watched from outside.

There was a buzz when the time came for public comment. Everyone knew the topic at hand. A few people rose to speak, and they all agreed. A loud clatter of applause followed every speech.

And then another name was called, and the room grew quiet. I heard a chuckle as she stood, and I noticed the grim look on her face as she began the long walk to the podium. She has taken this walk before, and it is always the same. Incredulous murmurs from the audience. Knowing looks and shaking heads. They all know what she will say, and she is quite alone.

Well, she said her piece, and it was a sad piece. The practice that grieves her, that has set her on that lonely walk through an angry room, over and over again, seemed to her audience a small thing, much as slavery once seemed a small thing.

So, how do we know a small thing from a big thing? How do we recognize the crazy insistence that might be telling an unwelcome truth?

We might begin by noticing the personal cost of that lonely walk, the remarkable courage required to stand alone and say what a roomful of people don’t want to hear.

We might also consider the question being asked – in this case, whether school libraries should provide sexually-explicit materials – and decide if the question deserves a hearing.

It is a strange fact that the audience is often louder than the speaker; we tend to hear as a group and respond as a group, with a clear sense of what the group will find acceptable. It takes courage to listen – to really listen – to hear the lonely voice above the offended audience and take a moment to consider what is being said.

I don’t know if Stefanie‘s question will get a hearing, but I hope our community will recognize the courage and sacrifice she demonstrates in continuing to ask it.

William Wilberforce led a long and determined campaign to eliminate slavery in England. For more information, see

The Abortion Argument Comes To An End

It must be painful to surrender so many arguments at once. For years, we were told the thing could be done because the subject was not alive. Or, if alive, it was not human. Or, if human, it was only part of another body. These were passionate claims, screamed in holy rage and not to be denied.

But, in one day, that has all changed. The claims have been denied – and denied passionately – by the very people who made them. After fifty years, we find that it was all a show.

The occasion for this change is a proposed new law, which is actually a very old law. Thou shalt not kill. Even if it’s a little kid whom you were hoping to kill – a little kid now squalling on a surgical table, clearly alive and human and not part of anyone else’s body.

This newborn child, though small and helpless, defeats the tired old arguments, and now we see what pro-choice really means. It means this cold and naked baby is about to be killed.

Many people will find the treatment of this child troubling, but 210 of our elected representatives – an entire political party and nearly half of the House of Representatives – insist that she really ought to die. In Nancy Pelosi’s words, those who would protect this child “disrespect a woman’s right to choose the size or timing of her family.”

The arguments for abortion were loud, but they never mattered, even to those who screamed them loudest. It was never really a question of whether the child was alive or human or part of another person’s body. It was only this: she has been chosen for death, and nothing may stand in the way.

For more information about the bill and vote, see:…/

Camille, After the Storm

Winter has come early to Michigan. Camille looks through the window and watches the snow fall, tries to think about Christmas, but the feeling in her stomach is not comfort and joy. For her, winter has always been a dangerous time. She is stronger now, but her body remembers the risk, still feels the dread.

Her body remembers many things that are no longer true. Starving for air. Being stuck in a hospital room on beautiful summer mornings. Stuck in a chair, watching her friends run and dance.

The problem had been her lungs, which shrank and withered even as her young body grew. Her heart was working itself to death, trying to compensate. Camille pushed on with a smile, but there was no healing for this, no way for her body to continue, and this is the dread she remembers.

But then the miracle they had prayed for, a new heart and lungs. For twenty months now, Camille has been exploring a world she had watched from outside. She can safely touch a flower, touch the earth, lay in the grass, listening to bird songs she used to play on her phone. It is a miracle and it is good, but it is not simple.

A few weeks after the transplant, she stood at the bottom of a hill she had been watching for months through the car window. She would climb it someday, she had told her parents, and today was the day. They started up the hill together but, after a few hundred feet, Camille fell behind. Her parents stopped and asked if she was OK. She looked at them, amazed. “How do you stand it?” she exclaimed. The heat and the sweat and the aching muscles were new to her – and frightening. She had never been strong enough to use her body this way, to make it tired.

Camille being Camille, she eventually made it up that hill, and many other hills, until sweat and aching muscles became the new normal. Eighteen months after her transplant, Camille was in England, competing as a cyclist in the World Transplant Games.

Camille is an overcomer, but that’s not so simple either. She more often speaks of “we” than “I”, and that means her parents Nancy and Eric. Throughout her life, they have researched her condition and traveled to specialists and laughed and wept and suffered alongside. The three of them have, together, clung fiercely to her life and, even more than most families, their lives are intertwined.

It’s hard to exaggerate how much better Camille’s body works since the transplant. She is no longer “the grey girl”, whose very skin announced her fragility. She can run and dance. Having lungs that work helps with other things, too, like memory and even vision. But, still, her mind cannot forget, cannot quite let go of the defenses she developed to survive.

Even church was a dangerous place. The coughs and colds in a typical Sunday crowd were a minefield for someone with Camille’s limited immunity. Kids her age didn’t understand the battle she was fighting and sometimes made it worse by teasing or leaving her out. Those wounds went deep and added to the question of why God would allow her to suffer so much, to be so different.

These are not easy questions and, even now, Camille does not have easy answers. She has made her body strong, but the instability of her past life is not easy to forget. She learned not to plan because her plans never survived, and – even now – she is wary.

There is one exception, one plan drove her even when it seemed she might not survive. Already a Registered Nurse, she is training to be a Physician’s Assistant and wants to work in Boston with one of the doctors who saved her life, helping people who are struggling down the same path she traveled.

As we talk about this, Camille laughs and describes herself as a medical nerd. She wanted her surgeon to keep her old heart and lungs so she could see them, and he did what he could. The heart was huge and weary. The shriveled lungs, once deflated, left little more than a tissue sample. Talking about this does not bother Camille. She was not her heart, not her lungs. They were not her life; only parts that enabled her life, and she is passionate about the need for organ donors. About 90% of people registered for heart transplants lose their life because so few hearts are donated.

This week, she flies again with Wings of Mercy, back to Boston to prepare for minor surgery – all the way to Boston because, after a heart and lung transplant, there is no such thing as minor surgery.

For Camille, that’s just the way it goes. Another hill to climb, another challenge to overcome, in a life that is miraculous and good, but rarely simple.