What Are We Accomplishing?

February 21, 2011

Yesterday, during the morning worship service, I learned of Said Musa, an Afghan man facing execution by his government. His “crime”? Apostasy—Musa converted from Islam to Christianity about eight years ago. You can learn more through the Christian Post and National Review (and if you have registered with Wall Street Journal Online, an article here), but basically, Musa was arrested in 2010 after being seen in a video of a Christian worship service in Afghanistan. Even in the face of death, he has refused to recant his faith.

In the National Review article, Paul Marshall makes a probing observation:

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Fearfully and Wonderfully Made

February 15, 2011

Probably you have heard of—if not seen—the ongoing Jeopardy contest in which man once again faces a machine, this time an IBM computer named Watson. Much is being said about the match and its implications. But I was struck with something that I read in the computer trade press today:

Operating on a single CPU, it could take Watson 2 hours to answer a single question. A typical “Jeopardy” contestant can accomplish this feat in less than 3 seconds. For Watson to rival the speed of its human competitors in delivering a single, precise answer to a question requires custom algorithms, terabytes of storage and thousands of Power7 computing cores working in a massively parallel system. (eWeek)

Massive it is! The photographs of Watson are striking. All to match the power of a single human brain.

When I read this, a verse of Scripture came immediately to mind. Addressing the Lord, David writes

I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well. (Psalm 139:14)

Let’s chew on that.