Monday, June 19, 2017

Remembering Ralph D. Winter


Ralph D. Winter (1924-2008)  Missiology and Founder of the US Center for World Missions




Ralph Winter stepped onto the world stage at the 1974 International Congress on World Evangelization in Lausanne, Switzerland. There he issued a call for other Protestant evangelists to proselytize to the world's "unreached people," those who had not been exposed to Christianity. In identifying mission fields, Winter looked for "ethnic pockets," isolated areas where language, ethnicity, culture and social status as well as religion had hindered the spread of the Christian Gospel.

Winter was born in South Pasadena in December 1924, the middle son of Hugo H. Winter and his wife Hazel. Hugo was a prominent freeway designer with the Los Angeles Bureau of Engineering, and his wife, Hazel.

Ralph Winter earned a bachelor's degree in civil engineering at Caltech before serving in the Navy during World War II. After his discharge, he studied for a doctorate in linguistics, anthropology and mathematical statistics at Cornell. He then attended Columbia, where he received a master's degree in teaching English as a second language, and Princeton Theological Seminary, where he was ordained a Presbyterian minister in 1956.

In 1956, he and his wife Roberta went as missionaries to Guatemala. Roberta was a registered nurse. Ten years later he returned to the United States to become professor of missions at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena. At Fuller he trained missionaries, sharing with students his experiences working with the indigenous Maya people of Latin America. Roberta died in 2001.

In 1976 he decided to leave the classroom to become a strategist for Christian outreach, founding the interdenominational U.S. Center for World Mission on the former campus of Pasadena Nazarene College. A year after establishing a research institute there, he founded the related William Carey International University.



In 2005 Ralph Winter was included along with Rick Warren and James Dobson in Time's compilation of the most influential American evangelicals. 

Dr. Winter died at age 84 at his home in Pasadena after battling multiple myeloma and lymphoma. Winter is survived by his second wife, Barbara and his 4 daughters: Elizabeth Gill, Rebecca Lewis, Linda Dorr and Patricia Johnson, all of whom became involved in missions.

Having worked with Dr. Ralph Winter on a few projects, I can say that he was a dynamo and a visionary. May his memory be eternal!

Alice C. Linsley


Thursday, June 15, 2017

Michael Cook on The Great Human Dignity Heist





Michael Cook is the Editor of BioEdge,newsletter about bioethics, and MercatorNet. He also writes a bioethics column for Australasian Science.

Michael likes bad puns, bushwalking and black coffee. He did a BA at Harvard University. He then moved to Sydney. He did a PhD on an obscure corner of Australian literature.

He has worked as a book editor and magazine editor and has published articles in magazines and newspapers in the US, the UK and Australia.


Monday, June 5, 2017

Quote of the Week: John Lennox



“In China we can criticize Darwin, but not the government; in America you can criticize the government, but not Darwin.” ― John C. Lennox, God's Undertaker: Has Science Buried God?


Saturday, June 3, 2017

Exit Paris Agreement: Good News for Bioethicists?


Michael Cook
Editor of BioEdge

Now that President Donald Trump has backed out of the Paris Climate Change agreement, employment prospects for bioethicists may pick up. Let me explain

The boundaries of bioethics are very elastic, and on some maps they take in care for the natural environment. I would predict that in the measure that scientists lose faith in a political solution to global warming, some will back geoengineering projects to cool the planet.

These include tactics such as injecting aerosols into the upper atmosphere, dumping iron filings into the sea to promote algal blooms, and machines to capture carbon dioxide. These involve significant risk and place great power in the calculations of technocrats. They need to be studied very carefully. As University of Chicago climate scientist Raymond Pierrehumbert said a few years ago, “I see lots [of geoengineering ideas] that are feasible but they all terrify me.”

A 2010 conference on the ethics of climate intervention at Asilomar, in California, addressed some of these issues using principles drawn from the famous Belmont principles of autonomy, beneficence, non-malificence and justice. And who knows more about these than bioethicists? Dust off those resum├ęs.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

LAWS: Ethics of Robotic Violence




Russell Stewart, a professor of computer science, has written an informative article on LAWS in which he explains the moral and ethical issues of robotic weapon systems.

LAWS stands for lethal autonomous weapons systems.

Read the article here.

Related reading: Peter Asaro On Banning LAWS; US: Take Lead Against Lethal Robotic Weapons


Monday, April 17, 2017

Robots Designed to Act Morally?



NAO is the world’s most widely used humanoid robot for education, healthcare, and research. NAO is a fully programmable robot that can walk, talk, listen to you, and even recognise your face. However, robotic science is far from knowing how to instill human-like morality. How to build ethical robots is one of the challenges in artificial intelligence and machine ethics.


Boer Deng

In his 1942 short story 'Runaround', science-fiction writer Isaac Asimov introduced the Three Laws of Robotics — engineering safeguards and built-in ethical principles that he would go on to use in dozens of stories and novels. They were: 1) A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm; 2) A robot must obey the orders given it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law; and 3) A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Laws.

Fittingly, 'Runaround' is set in 2015. Real-life roboticists are citing Asimov's laws a lot these days: their creations are becoming autonomous enough to need that kind of guidance. In May, a panel talk on driverless cars at the Brookings Institution, a think tank in Washington DC, turned into a discussion about how autonomous vehicles would behave in a crisis. What if a vehicle's efforts to save its own passengers by, say, slamming on the brakes risked a pile-up with the vehicles behind it? Or what if an autonomous car swerved to avoid a child, but risked hitting someone else nearby?

Read more here.

Related reading: The Ethics of Artificial Intelligence by Nick Bostrom


Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Truth Defends Itself




Modernization often comes from people who are bored with Truth because it does not tickle their egos. The ego that demands to be the center of attention is not interesting. Truth is interesting. It entices us to come closer, to investigate some mystery. There is always an element of mystery where there is Truth.

Alice C. Linsley