Reflections on the First Spring 2017 Session

Within the previous eight weeks, two courses were completed: Computer Architecture and Introduction to Information Systems. Since my first session involved two courses, CSCI 210 and ISYS 204 that were three credit courses within the Regent University course offerings, the format was accelerated; as the previous and future courses fitting the description mentioned are identified as such, they require more percentages of weekly study time periods in shorter total course durations. ISYS 204 being an introductory course consisted of learning business and analytical knowledge about information systems, and Biblical ethics remain significant since this was a Regent University course, a Christian university. As sister to Oxford University, Regent University emphasizes the integration of the faith described and urged by the Bible with reason related to contemporary issues; ISYS 204 involving this demand on students was consistent with previous courses in my academic program.

In ISYS 204, there was an emphasis on the economics related to businesses using information systems as well; since contemporary economic theory in secular settings approves of utilitarianism, accepting this emphasis within course textbook titled Essentials of Management Information Systems by Laudon and Laudon (2017) as a challenge for the liberal arts encouraged confidence. The writing attributed by critical scholars to the Apostle Luke, the Book of Acts in the King James Bible expresses the basis that the Apostle Paul had for confidence. The Book of Acts (KJV) says about Paul, “And Paul dwelt two whole years in his own hired house, and received all that came in unto him. Preaching the kingdom of God, and teaching those things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ, with all confidence, no man forbidding him” (28:30-31). An interpretation of this passage is the recognition that any coming unto followers of Christ and not bringing the truth should be denied entry into our place of rest and encouragement for the rate of action that faith in the God of Israel provides (2 John 10:10). In exposition, the Laudon and Laudon (2017) text discusses the Golden Rule of the Biblical Scriptures; that a candidate ethical principle for business practices involves doing unto others as you would have them do unto you (p.127). Theologically speaking, although Laudon and Laudon are not literally in my home when studying the course text, the thoughts written to the text can be challenged; the form of written communication on the Internet Web provides a domain for capturing thoughts so that they are for Christ (2 Cor 10:5) rather than every wind of doctrine (Eph 4:14).

In my view as a Regent University student, the applications of the Biblical Scriptures mentioned was a learning outcome of CSCI 210 and ISYS 204, though not explicitly mentioned as such in them. My basis for the applications of the Bible for CSCI 210 and ISYS 204 is my experience with CSCI 220, Ethics for Computer Science: supporting the divine command theory was encouraged by my course instructor while rejected by the writers of the course texts called Ethics in a Computing Culture, Bo Brinkman and Alton F. Sanders (2013, p. 10). In contrast, the relevant Stallings (2016) text for CSCI 210, Computer Organization and Architecture: Designing for Performance, did not suggest or recommend any ethical arguments for computer architecture, so the Biblical integration related to that text was more relatable to transcendentals in mathematics than approval of utilitarianism by contemporary economists; conflicting interpretations of ethics were researched outside the CSCI 210 by Stallings for reasonable exposition. Having said that, there were much descriptions about computer architecture and low-level programming helped with programming skills; instructions on binary, hexadecimal, and assembly language programming emphasized allowed for studying applications related to computer architecture. Describable as essentially a game, one in particular, Core Wars, involved programs that combat a separate program for processing capability was useful for study; this was not played, so to speak, as the concept of play is about action without reason.

With two courses in the Spring 2017 term concluded, there are seven courses that remain in my academic program. Looking forward to my future challenges, my view remains that Regent University has much that may be offered to students, and online courses require commitment to significant periods of self-study that might build confidence in a power beyond the intelligence of mankind. Hopefully, my future academic studies will involve more Biblical integration for scientific and scientifically analytical theories and applications for continued research opportunities and the blessings of family and friendships.

References

Brinkman, B., & Sanders, A. F. (2013). Ethics in a Computing Culture. Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.

Laudon, K. C., & Laudon, J. P. (2017). Essentials of Management Information Systems (12th ed.). Pearson Education.

Stallings, W., Zeno, P., & Jesshope, C. (2016). Computer Organization and Architecture: Designing for Performance (10th ed.). Hoboken, NJ.

 

 

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Reflections on 2016

Over the course of 2016, I learned about various topics related to natural and transcendent aspects of existence, and I think that reflecting on them is important for understanding why I should continue on my academic journey. Since January, I received admission to Regent University, and I call myself a Regent: someone who represents a ruler before He returns. This ruler is who I believe will be called “Faithful and True” (KJV, Revelation 19:11). Starting from that belief, understanding all truths related to the Biblical Scriptures and therefore all man might be achieved. This is only in the context of man’s understanding, for the Father said that man’s ways are not his ways (Is 55:8). For example, microeconomics might be commonly thought of as a “dry science,” but it comes alive when noticed in the Biblical Scriptures. Information Systems contextually affect every part of contemporary society, and the ethical relevance related to those who would guide or control people with them might result in efficient results if the epistemological structures that the faiths of the people conceptualizing and engineering the science and its applications are built on are understood.

Besides that, computer science has theories, but without a constant standard, values may progress while many vulnerable groups who I think are marginalized people remain those who will not have the opportunity because the best in us would not be represented over time. Next, theories about data relate to information. The Bible says that “Word of the Most High pierces even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit” (He 4:12). For the lives of people, I think that strengthening hermeneutical understanding for exegetical results is the best way that data may be utilized. Although there is the notion that pleasure should be maximized as an evolution of lasting happiness, the most widely respected nation-state in contemporary history holds, among other truths believed self-evident, that the pursuit of happiness is granted to all men by our Creator (US 1776). People may argue the details, but I agree with the contemporary view that teleological theology helps understand the context of data more than derivations to a point alone may seem. Hence, integrating faith with reason builds general relatability to what is important: the transcendent standard of morality and people who may work with His concept of right and wrong even if without a direct relationship with the Son of Man.

While ethical understanding has relevance to isolated groups, there is strength in greater numbers that morality may persuade. When volunteering for a video game website, for example, I realized that the niche ethical code of conduct that people accepted for membership was a bubble that reflected reality in an exponential form, so subjects quickly gained and lost relevance, but the moral principles related to it are inversely conserved over time with a slow rate of change in understanding. I think that experience is a sign that knowledge is and will increase, but wisdom remains an outcome of looking outside ourselves for guidance and reflection. Furthermore, mathematical understanding comes at the cost of time and effort, but the reward is a refined theological understanding of the sovereign who created the world and is blessed from everlasting to everlasting (Gen 1:1, Ps 41:13).

In Parallel and Distributive Programming, the superiority of relatively larger datasets being handled by a distributed set of nodes in comparison to the superiority of handling relatively smaller datasets faster with shared memory is relevant for understanding the logic of people seeking moral and ethical understanding of the world and what is beyond it. This is because the Tower of Babel, for instance, was built with a people speaking one language, a relatively smaller dataset than what languages exist, today, and they might have reached heaven had it not been for the Most High’s intervention (Gen 11:1-9). In contrast, people are reaching towards the heavens in a distributed way over the course of thousands of years with man eventually stepping foot on the moon itself with common ambitions in popular culture and in government-funded programs beyond the earth’s orbit.

With these courses, I do think that the most important aspect of my education is ethical understanding related to how scientific theory and application might benefit the common man in a way better than pleasure can provide that would be recognized as victory. In the light that right beliefs shine in the world, the engineering applications of the world may benefit all of us who accept the responsibility that understanding what truth, goodness, and beauty are require in us. Biblically-based education provides the opportunity for that.

Purpose-Driven Human-Computer Interaction

Within the years past of the second millennium AD, there is a discussion about the predicted future of human-computer interaction in dialogues related to computing technology. In a fictional science fiction video game concentrating on cybernetic augmentations in society, Deus Ex: Human Revolution (Eidos Montreal, 2011), an article is given called Nano-Augmentation – Pipedream, or Theory for the Future. The fictional article in the game asserts:

In the decade to come, the enhanced beings — post humans who are our progeny– will look at the mechanical devices we rudely bolted on to our living flesh or buried inside our grey matter, and they will mock us for our crudity. They will look upon what we have made with the same curiosity, the same disinterest, as the pilot of the veetol helicopter would look upon an ox-cart. (2011)

The premise of this story is not an aberration of the world, but rather a checkpoint on the path towards human-computer interconnectivity. Ray Bradbury wrote about the slights people would perceive in an environment essentially saturated in computing technologies that surveil society. Bradbury (1953) wrote that the self-described murderer of technology said, “I’m the vanguard of the small public which is tired of the noise and being taken advantage of and pushed around and yelled at, every moment music, every moment in touch with some voice somewhere” (p. 299).  In contemporary times, the field of engineering solution discussed by a wide domain of computer science including cyber security is called The Internet of Things. A writer for the Journal of Engineering (2014) said, “Slowly shaping the market in embedded security or the testing and auditing of IoT applications prior to launch are the first steps in providing a trustworthy base: Arrayent, Hewlett-Packard, Microchip, NXP Semiconductors, Sonatype, and Wind River.” Therefore, major participants for the future of human-computer interaction consider this field relevant enough that it is invested in for the purpose of embedding computing systems into human lives, but forward presentations do not discuss the strength of the flank that ushers in the legality of human-computer interaction. Although the truth of innovation being followed by litigation may be thought of as an avoidable practice, the relevance of confronting the exponential growth of technology with the notion that the rest of its users is part of the human psyche.

Statista, an organization that provides scholarly communities with facts and statistics explained the origin of the Internet of Things (IoT). Statista stated, “In 1999, British technologist Kevin Ashton came up with the term Internet of Things (IoT) to define a network that not only connects people, but also the objects around them” (Web 1). What Kevin Ashton labeled, Ray Bradbury expressed as something that would result in slights harming people attributable to societal misconceptions about the benefits of relying on normalized science and technology without inner sanity and outward care for results that benefit the common man. The question that follows naturally depends on the historical and Biblical truth (KJV) that “That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment” (Mat 12:36). Therefore, the reader might ask what benefit is scientific understanding and technological connectivity if it does not result in the advancement of humanity in a moral sense. The notion that the Deus Ex: Human Revolution presents related to curiosity and mockery as a result of progress is a focus of this because the strength of character does not necessarily evolve, so to speak, with, what in this case may be sarcastically called, character displacement of technological adaptation. Having said that, value may be found by accepting that the big picture of scientific advancement and technological innovation is justified through correct faith applied for the common man, male and female. This is so that he may be offered a hand up and understand that the machinery that augments the person extending it will be a beautiful instance of equipping him with the mental tools for giving him an active voice in society.

References

ABI research; internet of things is cybersecurity’s next frontier, according to ABI research. (2014). Journal of Engineering, 718.

Bradbury, R. (1953). The Murderer.

Nano-Augmentation – Pipedream, or Theory for the Future [Deus Ex: Human Revolution]. Montreal, Canada: Eidos Montreal.

Web 1. Statista. (n.d.). Internet of Things – Statistics & Facts. Retrieved December 21, 2016.

Epistemology and Information on the Internet

A practice that is relevant to the development of views is finding citable sources. However, what constitutes a citable source is predicated on the notion that a source is trustworthy.

In contemporary times, one of the most relevant topics related to developing views is how we accept what we consider useful for dissemination, and the Internet is related to that. Bo Brinkman and Alton F. Sanders (2013) said, “Epistemology, roughly speaking, studies the nature of knowledge and how we know what we know” (p. 211). A practice that is relevant to the development of views is finding citable sources. However, what constitutes a citable source is predicated on the notion that a source is trustworthy. Brinkman and Sanders mentioned that the start of the age of Enlightenment began societal dependence on singular experts who apply reason and construct knowledge (p. 211). Although this is the progress of history from a secular perspective and is valid as a concept of reason, it is a position apart from the grace of the Most High. We may look to the ancient philosophy, that of science, also relevant for an understanding of how Biblical truths are germane. In paraphrasing, Stephen Law (2007) said,

Scientists construct theories they believe are confirmed by what they observe. Such confirmation, however, comes in degrees. A theory might be very slightly confirmed by a piece of evidence, or it might be very strongly confirmed. One question we might ask about confirmation is: what makes one theory more strongly confirmed than the next? (170)

For Biblical truths, I think that individuals and people may rely on trust. The strongest argument that a skeptic could say against trusting the Biblical Scriptures is that no sense of self or self-concept may be trusted; all of reality could be a hologram for a single brain interfacing with a computer while placed in a vat. However, the notion that nothing is real therefore nothing is permitted is an induction of an induction, and doing so is a failure to build a general or specific argument based on the character of an individual person or people related to an action or series of actions. Without the acknowledgment of differentiated character, there can be no general brain in a vat. Without a general commanding character, there can be no multiple brains in vats. The notion that a computer could represent human ideals as well as human immorality and unethical behavior as an unconstructed leader that could be known in human terms separates the skeptic’s argument from a brain in a vat controlled by a computer from the essential resulting position that is a computer that is co-dependent on the brain because the best that the computer could be is another level of creation. There must be an ultimate level of truth by the skeptic’s own method of exhaustion. As Thomas Aquinas said of the highest level of existence that must be apart from reality, et-hoc-dicimus-deum: “And this we call God.” (Charry, 2000, p. 33). In proposing this position as the basis of trust, I think that sources that seek truth may be trusted.

When reviewing reports from one source or another on a single issue and there are contradictory reports, that may be an indicator of some unseen truth that may be derived or, on the other side of the mathematical axis of logic, induced. Although there is a contemporary notion that a truth is merely a fact, Biblical truths are facts that apply to all of mankind, male and female. Different people saying the exact same thing about an event implies that there is one source thus different people saying different things about an event implies that there are multiple sources and is more trustworthy than a single source. A Biblical truth that is relevant to this discussion is a verse from Mosaic Law. The Book of Deuteronomy (KJV) says, “One witness shall not rise up against a man for any iniquity, or any sin, in any sin that he sinneth: at the mouth of two witnesses, or at the mouth of three witnesses, shall the matter be established” (19:15). Therefore, even with two or more sources, if these so-called sources have a single source for themselves linking them all together, two separate sources are more historically credible in a way that truths may be respected and understood.

With that said, the Internet offers access to much data on the internet, but in my experience, there are relatively few major sources of information. The vertical honor or prestige that is apparent is elevated from the base of horizontal honor that is introductory recognition. For the purpose of keeping the freedoms of speech and equal protections led by the United States, alternative sources or news should probably be acknowledged in a truthful way. Going against that is an attack on the integrity of character that Internet news sources have respect for apart from mere consistency. Rather than only consistency, the integrity of character that I speak of is the consistency of doing right things. Without that kind of integrity, any notion of doing the right thing is coated by the subject of seeking an end that results in maximum good for a particular group of people rather than what benefits man in common. As a Christian American, I believe that those who lack in basic necessities such as knowledge need truths that may help enrich characters so even if money is tight, people may rejoice in the blessings that they do have or will have with hard work.

Even though the epistemology that people may take for granted can be useful in a variety of disciplines, I think that there are issues with contemporary perspectives related to the development of views about contemporary issues. There is a useful application for the skeptic’s strongest position and that is the recognition that computer that the brain in a vat is attached to would ultimately be a part of creation as well, so assuming the highest existence as beyond reality that is thus supernatural is more tenable. Having said that, distinguishing truths that apply to all men, male and female, may help recognize fact from fiction for the purpose of developing information relevant for dissemination on the Internet.

References

Brinkman, W. J., & Sanders, A. F. (2013). Ethics in a Computing Culture. Boston, MA.

Charry, E. T. (2000). Inquiring after God: Classic and contemporary readings. Malden, MA: Blackwell.

Law, S. (2012). Philosophy.

 

Excessive Autonomy or Excessive Control in the Digital Age

While reading through Egypt’s national mobile phone ethics code, I noticed some aspects that I think are pernicious. Particularly, the rules number one and fifteen. From ITP.net, “1. The mobile phone technology is considered one of the greatest technologies that emerged in the last few years to serve humanity, so do not ever use it to annoy or tease others” (Sutton 2009) and “Don’t respond to text messages or calls you receive from unknown numbers or sources because most probably they aim to swindle on you” (Sutton 2009). The idea that something as subjective as annoyance could be put an ethics code is potentially paralyzing because the annoyed are not homogeneous. Further, the idea that someone probably has nefarious plans for another because they are calling from an unknown number is self-defeating because it encourages paranoia.

When utilizing a mobile device, I consider its purpose. Today, mobile devices such as smartphones, tablet, and laptops are designed for human requirements. I wonder what those requirements are at the meta level. Jean-Paul Sartre shared his thoughts. Sartre thinking was, “Lived narratives comprise a succession of events and the responses one makes to them, and they are the basis of our identities” (Gillett, 2009, pg. 337). I think that the framework or narrative of the mind of the Messiah should be the basis of a Christian identity.

As Paul said to the Corinthians, “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (NIV, 2 Cor 10:5). I think that this is an argument for internal thoughts more than external confrontation because the mind is what Christ sought for humanity rather than our bodies. I think that people should care about why they are utilized so that ideas like Egypt’s aforementioned code, frankly, do not propagate. When seeking safety, people are sometimes willing to give up freedom because the deluge of discomforting information overwhelms. However, I think that excessive control is as unacceptable as Sartrean identities without a true moral standard as God is.

Bibliography

Gillett, G. (2009). Intention, autonomy, and brain events. Bioethics, 23(6), 330-339 10p. doi:10.1111/j.1467-8519.2009.01726.x. Pg. 337.

Sutton, M. (2009, October 31). Egypt introduces mobile phone ethics code – – ITP.net. Retrieved March 30, 2016, from http://www.itp.net/578306-egypt-introduces-mobile-phone-ethics-code/?tab=article

Nicomachean Ethics Book I: The Good for Man

In the days of Ancient Greece, before Christ walked the earth in the flesh, a philosopher named Aristotle of Cyrene wrote a worked titled Nichomachean Ethics, and this entry is about the first book. The first book, THE GOOD FOR MAN, Aristotle begins with an assumption about all men. Steven M. Cahn and Peter Markie wrote that Aristotle said, “All human activities aim at some good: some goods are subordinate to others” (Cahn, Markie, 2012 p. 124). Aristotle was claiming that every personal and professional action throughout history can be assumed as working towards some end goal from a purpose. This may be interpreted as people having any particular end that is a personal philosophical argument. In the post-modern age, this is called a worldview. After this initial assumption, Aristotle derives an answer. Aristotle said, “The science of the good for man is politics” (p. 124). Further, Robert C. Bartlett asserted his stance about Aristotle. Bartlett said, “And in order to grasp the most important arguments of Aristotle’s “philosophy of human matters”—for example, to understand the ground of the superiority of intellectual to moral virtue—such reflection on happiness proves to be crucial” (Bartlett, 2008). With the words of Aristotle and Bartlett’s analysis, superior mental ability may be surmised as the means for attaining a particular good according to Aristotle.

Before this, the Biblical Scriptures contrasted this assertion. For example, the Book of Micah says, “He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God” (NIV, Micah 6:8). This is after the Exodus date asserted by Ralph K. Hawkins. In paraphrasing, Hawkins said, “Both biblical and extrabiblical evidence pointed to a mid-15th century BC date” (Hawkins, 2007). Andrew E. Hill and John H. Walton assert an approximate date for Micah. Hill and Walton wrote, “He [Micah] is said to have prophesied during the days of kings Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah. These three kings reigned during the last half of the eighth century BC, and it is a safe assumption that the prophecies would have been recorded at that time” (Hill & Walton, 2009, p. 642). During the time of the divided monarchy of Israel, Micah prophesied that God’s law is a reflection of His intelligence.

Although God is thought of in contemporary times as all knowing, the Hebrew Bible saw him particularly as infinitely wise in contexts of morality that exist in all things, and that is the distinguishing trait that separates Yahweh from all other gods. This may be seen with God’s position of lifting up people out of slavery and making them leaders of the ancient world; God is best noticed in his blessing of the meek. Therefore, Aristotle’s good for man is probably challenged the most in helping those who are meek. In my experience, the political good of a group even if refined from birth is not always moral in the eyes of Christ.

Bibliography

Bartlett, R. C. (2008). Aristotle’s introduction to the problem of happiness: On Book I of the Nicomachean Ethics. American Journal of Political Science, 52(3), 677-687. doi:10.1111/j.1540-5907.2008.00336.x

Cahn, S. M., & Markie, P. J. (2012). Ethics: History, Theory, and Contemporary Issues (5th ed.). New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

 

Hill, A. E., & Walton, J. H. (2009). A survey of the Old Testament (3rd ed.). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Pub. House.