Quotes & Sayings

We, and creation itself, actualize the possibilities of the God who sustains the world, towards becoming in the world in a fuller, more deeper way. - R.E. Slater

There is urgency in coming to see the world as a web of interrelated processes of which we are integral parts, so that all of our choices and actions have [consequential effects upon] the world around us. - Process Metaphysician Alfred North Whitehead

Kurt Gödel's Incompleteness Theorem says (i) all closed systems are unprovable within themselves and, that (ii) all open systems are rightly understood as incomplete. - R.E. Slater

The most true thing about you is what God has said to you in Christ, "You are My Beloved." - Tripp Fuller

The God among us is the God who refuses to be God without us, so great is God's Love. - Tripp Fuller

According to some Christian outlooks we were made for another world. Perhaps, rather, we were made for this world to recreate, reclaim, redeem, and renew unto God's future aspiration by the power of His Spirit. - R.E. Slater

Our eschatological ethos is to love. To stand with those who are oppressed. To stand against those who are oppressing. It is that simple. Love is our only calling and Christian Hope. - R.E. Slater

Secularization theory has been massively falsified. We don't live in an age of secularity. We live in an age of explosive, pervasive religiosity... an age of religious pluralism. - Peter L. Berger

Exploring the edge of life and faith in a post-everything world. - Todd Littleton

I don't need another reason to believe, your love is all around for me to see. – Anon

Thou art our need; and in giving us more of thyself thou givest us all. - Khalil Gibran, Prayer XXIII

Be careful what you pretend to be. You become what you pretend to be. - Kurt Vonnegut

Religious beliefs, far from being primary, are often shaped and adjusted by our social goals. - Jim Forest

We become who we are by what we believe and can justify. - R.E. Slater

People, even more than things, need to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone. – Anon

Certainly, God's love has made fools of us all. - R.E. Slater

An apocalyptic Christian faith doesn't wait for Jesus to come, but for Jesus to become in our midst. - R.E. Slater

Christian belief in God begins with the cross and resurrection of Jesus, not with rational apologetics. - Eberhard Jüngel, Jürgen Moltmann

Our knowledge of God is through the 'I-Thou' encounter, not in finding God at the end of a syllogism or argument. There is a grave danger in any Christian treatment of God as an object. The God of Jesus Christ and Scripture is irreducibly subject and never made as an object, a force, a power, or a principle that can be manipulated. - Emil Brunner

“Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh” means "I will be that who I have yet to become." - God (Ex 3.14) or, conversely, “I AM who I AM Becoming.”

Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy. - Thomas Merton

The church is God's world-changing social experiment of bringing unlikes and differents to the Eucharist/Communion table to share life with one another as a new kind of family. When this happens, we show to the world what love, justice, peace, reconciliation, and life together is designed by God to be. The church is God's show-and-tell for the world to see how God wants us to live as a blended, global, polypluralistic family united with one will, by one Lord, and baptized by one Spirit. – Anon

The cross that is planted at the heart of the history of the world cannot be uprooted. - Jacques Ellul

The Unity in whose loving presence the universe unfolds is inside each person as a call to welcome the stranger, protect animals and the earth, respect the dignity of each person, think new thoughts, and help bring about ecological civilizations. - John Cobb & Farhan A. Shah

If you board the wrong train it is of no use running along the corridors of the train in the other direction. - Dietrich Bonhoeffer

God's justice is restorative rather than punitive; His discipline is merciful rather than punishing; His power is made perfect in weakness; and His grace is sufficient for all. – Anon

Our little [biblical] systems have their day; they have their day and cease to be. They are but broken lights of Thee, and Thou, O God art more than they. - Alfred Lord Tennyson

We can’t control God; God is uncontrollable. God can’t control us; God’s love is uncontrolling! - Thomas Jay Oord

Life in perspective but always in process... as we are relational beings in process to one another, so life events are in process in relation to each event... as God is to Self, is to world, is to us... like Father, like sons and daughters, like events... life in process yet always in perspective. - R.E. Slater

To promote societal transition to sustainable ways of living and a global society founded on a shared ethical framework which includes respect and care for the community of life, ecological integrity, universal human rights, respect for diversity, economic justice, democracy, and a culture of peace. - The Earth Charter Mission Statement

Christian humanism is the belief that human freedom, individual conscience, and unencumbered rational inquiry are compatible with the practice of Christianity or even intrinsic in its doctrine. It represents a philosophical union of Christian faith and classical humanist principles. - Scott Postma

It is never wise to have a self-appointed religious institution determine a nation's moral code. The opportunities for moral compromise and failure are high; the moral codes and creeds assuredly racist, discriminatory, or subjectively and religiously defined; and the pronouncement of inhumanitarian political objectives quite predictable. - R.E. Slater

God's love must both center and define the Christian faith and all religious or human faiths seeking human and ecological balance in worlds of subtraction, harm, tragedy, and evil. - R.E. Slater

In Whitehead’s process ontology, we can think of the experiential ground of reality as an eternal pulse whereby what is objectively public in one moment becomes subjectively prehended in the next, and whereby the subject that emerges from its feelings then perishes into public expression as an object (or “superject”) aiming for novelty. There is a rhythm of Being between object and subject, not an ontological division. This rhythm powers the creative growth of the universe from one occasion of experience to the next. This is the Whiteheadian mantra: “The many become one and are increased by one.” - Matthew Segall

Without Love there is no Truth. And True Truth is always Loving. There is no dichotomy between these terms but only seamless integration. This is the premier centering focus of a Processual Theology of Love. - R.E. Slater


Note: Generally I do not respond to commentary. I may read the comments but wish to reserve my time to write (or write from the comments I read). Instead, I'd like to see our community help one another and in the helping encourage and exhort each of us towards Christian love in Christ Jesus our Lord and Savior. - re slater

Thursday, June 13, 2024

In Case You Missed It... Process Philosopher Whitehead Owns China's AI

"Creative good must triumph, else human life
will be a failure." - Dr. Henry N. Wieman, 1963

To properly manage AI,
you must plan what is beyond AI

Vanderbilt Visiting Scholar
Published June 5, 2023


This paper’s purpose was to speak directly to ethicists largely divorced from a large body of highly ethical scientists and AI developers, about a philosophy which is not contained in a powerful and prestigious university such as MIT, Stanford or Claremont College and publicly ignored by colleagues and old friends at Microsoft and Google. It’s goal was to encourage non tech heads to learn the technology and evolve past the present tepid hopes for a ‘moral AI community’. The purpose was to resist compromise when creative vision and genius imagination are both possible and within reach for something past AI.


China’s investment in Whitehead has impressive creativity and will continue to be outstanding - even evolving a craftsmanship approach which evolves from the factory mentality of the West. But the best craftsmanship is a stale utopian plateau to the genius possible in a free society where global values for genius can survive and thrive. What is beyond AI, what is beyond quantum remains with spiritual and moral genius, and connection to all that can be outside of humankind. If it is defined as God or just the "entangled non-localized wave field," then the Creative Interchange between people on this planet must be preserved at all costs - and global metrics towards greater civilization is a better model of how AI actually gets built. One must evolve past the AI mindset, to know how to build today's AI. That was the hope of Dr. Henry J. Wieman who died in 1975.

With the ultimate demise of Wieman’s few remaining living disciples, Wieman’s belief in the symbiosis of spirituality, empiricism and the scientific method will likely die too, unless enlightened self-interest and sufficient communication tools bring about a new collective global vision of spirituality and science. That is a grim forecast indeed. Worse than global warming is the freezing of genius and creative interchange. Without genius, global warming and far worse fates would be inevitable.


Henry J. Wieman was one of the founders of Zygon publishing and a noted expert in Whitehead's Process Philosophy. In the past 47 years since his passing, little is devoted to his material on global religious/science symbiotic thinking and creative interchange for value as genius to transform humankind. And yet, the advances in science and convergence of global dialogue on AI seem to lend itself to his teachings again.

Wikipedia describes Wieman as a naturalist and process philosopher along with Whitehead and the Cobb Process School at Claremont College. Indeed, both Doctors Cobb and Hartsorne wrote appreciatively in an unpublished posthumous collection of essays for Wieman. Cobb and Hartsorne dumped Wieman and banked fully on Alfred North Whitehead, whose materials were in the period between 1920-1946. They trained Chinese leaders. The fruits of Whiteheadian philosophy are now realistically embedded in China's education and technological advances. It is no longer a philosophical discussion. China LOVES WHITEHEAD and how to approach all societal, military and scientific pursuits ala WHITEHEAD. If you don't know Whitehead, you don't know China. The West can double its efforts, but will remain 5-10 years behind in any technology or science. All because of Whitehead's permanent creative influence on the Central Communist Party. It allows them to make massive strides in quality and best of class.

Our Work

Other papers in honor of Wieman’s thought may be better for an entire institute of training—to tackle AI ethics and advanced BioGenics from a perspective of Global Ultimate Good. We performed traced over 300 existing, recent journal sources, and useful categories of thought to discover Wieman’s teaching is relevant in actual scientific AI development, as separate and differentiated from the Whiteheadian school of Process Theology. We were surprised to find several journal articles espousing Henry’s thinking, but not knowing Wieman’s work to give proper credit. An MIT Press publication 2021 titled: Against Reduction: Designing a Human Future with Machines, Chapter 7: Systems, Justice, AI and the Moral Imagination by Ghazavi is the closest expression.

"The pressing task for our collective future with machines is therefore not simply to predict the risks...nor it it to usher in a utopian Singularity. Rather it is to imagine and then continually make and remake a world where scientific discovery and emergent technologies deepen human flourishing. This involves discerning what we value most, individually and collectively..." [1]

That is a good start to what Wieman would evolve even further in imagination.

AI ethics from the large bulk of present literature, now numbers 500,000 references. ChatGPT can be used to summarize their thinking. They continue to be stuck in the notion that AI will always be with civilization and a fixture for how to fix its problems. That presupposition fails to satisfy either technical AI needs, nor can they truly embed non-Western ideals of ethics. For example: Requirements to make AI transparent, free of bias and to address layers of ‘fairness’ can never be sufficient for the multiple objectives to flourish humankind. In short, to properly manage AI, there must be attention to a post-AI global civilization.

The Continuing Split of Specialties in AI Ethics

This paper joins two types of thinking perspectives: a moral philosopher and protégé of Henry Wieman (Dr. Charles Palmgren), and a working contract technologist (David Fleming, MBA).

The primary reason for this symbiosis is simple: Nearly all the existing 500,000 papers devoted to AI ethics are written by either philosophers (modeling and abstracting ideas) or scientists with limited knowledge about ethics but very good intentions. So, this paper aims to do more than make a bridge. A bridge will not do, when a spaceship is required.
On the ethical/philosophical side, technologists use "logical extensions of antiquated western ethics philosophy" such as consequentialism and deontology: sic, https://hbr.org/2023/05/8-questions-about-using-ai-responsibly-answered?deliveryName=DM274366, Stanford’s AI Ethics or IBM's ethics all make presuppositions in an attempt to use what is already in their tool bag, hoping AI will cooperate and concede.

These resources may appear confusing, technically impossible, infeasible and under or over-engineered to possibly address the complexity. As such, each AI scientist must be committed to more than regional or localized creativity in this area. It’s a global Creative Interchange which must now be guarded at all costs to look further than AI. As Wieman’s prequels repeated stated,

“If Mankind is to Survive”, we must have a deep understanding of genius level ways to interchange -to explore - rather than to solve immediate problems.

This paper clarifies what has been missing from the dialogue, If Wieman were here today, what his likely views would be, how to recast the use of AI as the link of all science, and how to encourage ethicists everywhere to learn sufficient AI to help scientists with the development work in the real world.

Charlie and I are indebted to the remaining team of Wieman’s proteges who catalogued unpublished original thought in the 1960s. We have not contacted any authors for permission.


In an era of algorithms written by naturally ethical people, we believe that ethicists, philosophers and technical theologians can learn enough of each technical conceptual goals to join a growing number of AI, AI systems and bioethics boards now forming over the world. This paper aims to bring Wieman’s views, policies, heuristics and icons into the global discussion to aid such a knowledge transfer.

ChatGPT makes it fairly simple to understand and access AI in it’s present form, and its potential. Many appear reluctant to enjoin technology in general and AI in particular. That is no longer tenable for ethicists. If they want to give their opinion, the AI scientists generally require ethicists to be subject matters of the datasets.

We believe the big picture of where AI is truly heading, i.e. the interlinking of all sciences and where the actual limitations of AI Ethics occur. Rather than taking Bostrom or Ray Kurzweil’s approach to conscious AI (Top down), it may be easier to understand if we take a bottom up approach to AI ethics—i.e. how it is functionally done and the ultimate good outcome without the speculations. Therefore this paper goes beyond much of the current concerns of fairness, transparency and assumes that some sort of minimal regulation will be implemented. The harder and more pressing problem is simply ”Zero Tolerance” required and the option for Noble Death ethics to join the discussion. It is this important aspect of ethics which has caused and will continue to cause the bulk of issues.

Humankind simply wants AI to never cause any harm in it’s progress, in the same way that labs in Wuhan should never accidentally allow viruses to slip into the local marketplace and cause millions of deaths by accident. Zero tolerance is the main key issue in AI ethics and it’s a logical impossibility. So, we should address this in the paper as both an issue of philosophy and pragmatic real world application. Wieman seemed to know this in his writings on scientific empiricism and global outcome metrics.

First, a definition of one good outcome from AI

Presuppose that the ultimate good from AI is the first deep unification of all scientific families of study. All of them will be joined together. An example of the hope of AI is the Physics/AI symbiosis. In this seminal paper, AI can make pedabyte level connections in knowledge and learning just between the various areas of physics. Imagine if all science could be networked together. While there are few papers that hint at this goal, it is the logical outcome of all scientists everywhere. Please understand, this is not genius--it is a logical extension of the existing technologies under something MIT Media Lab calls Anti-Disciplinary Principles for disruptive technology (Ito, Research technology Management, pg22, 2017). That is not genius. Quantum computers are still computers. Crossing a genetic structure with nanotechnology is still, fundamentally a logical extension of what "is". Enabling genetically modified scientists who think like brilliant robots, or building new forms of life are still logical extensions of the existing. The groups still fund like venture capitalists and the developments are iterative--whether its a school, business or government.

Can ChatGPT provide A Brief Layman’s Primer to AI History?

Some non-technical ethicists may wonder why deep learning and the resulting machine learning basis of AI evolved so quickly even though deep learning tools started in the 1940s. The following was written with the aid of ChatGPT.

In 2006, Geoffrey Hinton shows that a kind of neural network called a deep belief network could be efficiently trained using a strategy call greedy layer-wise pretraining. Other research groups quickly showed that the same strategy could be used to train many other kinds of deep learning networks (Bengio 2007, Ranzatio 2007). Concurrently, and equally important, the datasets used began to double every year and the size of artificial neural networks have doubled approximately every 2.4 years. This growth is driven by faster computers with larger memory and by the availability of ever larger datasets.

Within just eight years of Hinton’s discovery, a breakthrough DNA technique called CRISPR merged with pharmaceutical software application that could replicate human responses to chemical compounds, validate a chemical compound’s effect on molecule interaction in a matter of months, and. more importantly, could suggest a better compound would be more effective, given the computational ability to peruse all datasets of all known compounds. That delivers drugs with few side effects in a matter of months, not 10 years. By 2017, China would announce it implemented the idea and could improve the hydrogels needed to transfer intra-microchip. Concurrently OpenAI could now efficiently map all known proteins and provide it free for global use.

The most recent major impact was the ability for code to be written automatically by the sensor data and datasets (which now exceed tens of millions of examples in both written and multi-modal form). My particular area of interest was NIST standards (National Institute of Science and Technology) for geospatial and human vector mapping. Geoffrey Hinton described MNIST datasets it as the “dosophila” of machine learning” meaning that it enables machine learning researchers to study their algorithms in controlled laboratory conditions in the same way that nanotechnology is studied in a university.

It is the self-writing code aspect of the resulting AI which is the uncontrolled point, and the place where ethicist try to offer considerations. As more of humanity’s activities are recorded by computers, these records are networked together into datasets for machine learning applications.

Here are contexts taken from publicly available literature on the context of Learning AI vs. biology:

1. The amazing technical advances of AI in 2023 work with fewer neurons than that of an invertebrate such as a common earthworm.

2. The most complex network systems in 2023 are smaller than the nervous system of a frog.

3. Neuronal quality is the key roadblock:

a. Quantity of neurons: Bostrom and Kurzweil et al predict that computers could eventually have the same number of neurons as a human brain by approximately 2050.

b. Quantity of neural connections: Bostrom and Kurzweil predecit that artificial neural networks rely on connections per neuron, and some artificial systems may gain the same number of connections as a human brain by 2050.

c. Quality of functions: Biological neurons represent more complicated functions than current artificial neurons. Unless there is a genius breakthrough, the quality and intensity of artificial neuron functions will take centuries to develop.

3. While the last few decades touted the ability to replicate the human brain, that approach has been largely dropped (exceptions are noted). However the larger emphasis appears to focus on how molecules and genetic systems work like optimizing machines.

4. Generative learning models have a hard time measuring their improvements over old models. For example, most models rely on some form of pre-processing. But even small and subtle changes are completely unacceptable to AI scientists. Any change to the input data changes the distribution to be captured and fundamentally alters the tasks. In sum, the measures are not keeping up with the models. That is another large bottleneck in AI advancement.

5. Self-writing code generates data which is also captured by other models, as if it really came from a non-machine source. This skews the data, even before bias can be introduced by human sources.

6. Regarding a mathematical algorithm, the behavior of the algorithm is affected by many factors including the size of the set of functions, and more importantly the specific identity of those functions. If the data operates in a non-linear function, then issues like weight decay over time, or any adjustment to the algorithm which attempt to reduce error (regularization) which reduce the ethical behavior of the system.

Limiting the scientific thinking is the exclusive use of extreme logic to restrain the creative side of the brain. Laws of probability dictate how an AI system deals with uncertainty of any sort and in all varied degrees of complexity. For example, the main forms of uncertainty used in AI development are: Inherent nondeterministic features of the task or system to be modeled, incomplete observations and incomplete models. These are blind spots and will continue to remain as long as AI is used.

From these notes, AI scientists use the following somewhat simplistic version of successful AI unsupervised learning (Mitchell, 1997) “A computer program is said to learn from experience E with respect to some class of tasks T and performance measure P, if its performance at tasks in T, as measured by P, improves with experience E.”

This remains a helpful explanation or filter by which one can determine a 'breakthrough' vs an interative advance or logical extension of existing applications.

From their perspective, the best AI scientists are extremely ethical, as their conscience dictates. They will eventually generate simulations of a vast variety of human experience, including transcendence, world peace, and a host of algorithms to reduce global and emerging threats. Additionally, one can make pharmaceuticals from AI science to merge all sciences together. But this is plastic, nonetheless and there must be either money or power at the outcome. And it must remain so, otherwise we are out of the discussion of AI.

Why can't Regulations Work to contain AI?

1. The most recent form of Deep Learning AI is not architected with the safeguards of code used in other regulated systems. Algorithms for the current generation of ChatGPT are not developed against changes in functioning identities and dataset weight decay. This means that no amount of regulation is sufficient and is inherent to the code. Quoting from “Trustworthy AI” Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNAI, volume 12600) (Chatila, Dignum, Yeung, Chapter 1, 2021)

“Computer systems engineering has developed a whole body of research and methods on dependable systems, largely applied in the Aeronautics industry, or electricity distribution networks control.

These techniques have been rather ignored or minimized recently with the recent development of learning AI-based systems. Indeed, learning techniques based on statistics and on detecting regularities in data use millions of parameters which are not explicitly in a causal relation with the results, hence the blackbox depiction of these systems. The results, even if reaching high levels of accuracy, are not explainable. Worse, they can be totally wrong, actually showing lack of semantics in these systems.”

2. One article correctly tried to add ethical parameters by adding separate variables to each line of learning AI code. That would require some form of AI to manage the AI code development end-to-end.

3. The final problem discussed here for non-technical readers is "no metadata notes about the code written by programmers". This is true globally. No notes. So, the idea of simply explaining the code is new, and likely cost prohibitive. In this respect deep learning AI is unlike the medical or nuclear regulatory agencies.

Can AI Ethics be Oath-Based? i.e. do the best developers believe in an oath similar to the medical Hippocratic Oath?

In a study conducted on members of the Association of Computing Machinery, the values statements were nearly a complete failure in adjusting ethical decisions in simulations. (McNamara, Smith, Murphy-Hill 2018, ACM). The Aristotelian notion that ethics can be somehow ‘taught’ is apparently flawed by the sheer weight of ethics models and contexts...and real world experience.

Do most solutions recognize Moral Intensity in AI ethics?

In a 2006 study in The Database for Advances in Information Systems, (Goles, White, Beebe, Dorantes, Hewitt)information systems scenarios studied the larger effect of moral intensity. This too is not generally factored into AI ethics or planning aka “the extent of issue-related moral imperative in a situation...”

Other key journal topics

Can Ethical Models address global difference in ethics values?

A survey of 53 papers by AI scientists was reviewed to determine which ethical models were actually used. (Zoshak and Drew (Human Centered Design and Engineering University of Washington in CHI, Japan, 2021)). “The vast majority of the work focused on deontology and consequentialism …the concern is that Western ethics may take more power away from Confucianism and indigenous expressions of ethical approaches to regulation of AMA (Artificial Moral Agents).”

Question: Would China ever concede that Western ethics is superior to Confucianism? If not, the regional solutions must remain.

Proposed Moral software is heavily focused on Western EthicsFraser, Kathleen C; Kiritchenko, Svetlana; Balkir, Esma. at Xiv.org; Ithaca, May 25, 2022. Is that enough for non-Western or indigenous ethics? Unlikely.

Writing a Moral Code: Algorithms for Ethical Reasoning by Humans and Machines McGrath, Gupta,; Basel Vol. 9, Iss. 8, (Aug 2018). DOI:10.3390/rel9080240 Again the solution is based on Western concept of ethics.

Will AI or AI aided scientists destroy the planet?

Lets assume there is a bad actor (hacker) who needs the AI infrastructure to perform bad actions. They would need a deep knowledge of software libraries such as Theano, PyLearn2, Torch, DistBelief, Caffe, MXNet and TensorFlow, etc. They must be able to model reinforcement learning code where the software learns to perform bad tasks by trial and error, without any guidance from the human operator. Most critically, they must manage the hourly damage done by poor documentation, version control of a veritable mindmap of software patches, upgrades and downtime. To date the only actor with coordination sufficient to complete a partial anthropocene event is China. That's why we discuss their advantage in the next section.

Summary of AI for Laymen/Ethicists

Before discussing Whitehead, China and Wieman’s Creative Interchange model we highlight ChatGPT's ideas on AI science and Ethics:

1. The long term value of learning AI is to link all the sciences as one interlinked system. This is still not a utopia and more thought post-AI singularity has not been documented in the literature.

2. The AI math and programming language cannot be regulated, because of it’s design.

3. Attempts to regulate it must fall short because of it’s inherent design.

4. Some set of irreducible beliefs and values must be retained across western and eastern philosophies, and to protect indigenous peoples in both technology and social transformation.

In sum, it appears scientists may be at least partially willing to dialogue with ethicists, provided ethicists understand the work or have a subject matter expert knowledge of the datasets.

That is not to say they will be happy. To the short term thinkers who cannot see past AI, the case for a moral community to regulate AI appears to be growing and will be discussed later in the paper. Our suggestion is to evolve the ‘moral community’ to something more than ever imagined in the AI industry.

Transition to Something Beyond AI ethics

Part 1: Whitehead owns China

In this future forecast of the ultimate benefits of AI on the sciences, how would Henry Wieman respond? Dr. Palmgren was a colleague and protégé of Dr. Wieman, it is helpful to understand both Wieman’s past connection to Whitehead, and why his work significantly and fundamentally differs today, and is needed for humankind to progress forward in global AI.

According to Regnier (2017) EcoCivilization and China's Second Enlightenment , China’s meteorite rise in creativity comes from a Claremont Cobb Whiteheadian named Zihle, who manages over 40 process philosophy centers as part of China’s massive Eco-Civilizations program from the central Communist Party. A detailed review of CNKI PhD and master’s theses reflect hundreds of entries quoting Alfred North Whitehead chapter and verse as far back as 2000. Many technical journal articles on science such as pharmaceutical microchip hydrogels and Cumulative computational latency are written in the value and terminology not of the Communist Party, but more by Whitehead’s Process and Reality books.

By contrast, there are no quotes of Henry Wieman’s work anywhere in China’s scholar databases, a few historical appreciations of Thomas Dewey, and few that honor their teachers in Whiteheadian thinking: Cobb and Hartsorne. In other words, the PhD papers and technology journals quote Whitehead precisely, and uniquely. A separate paper is available that links Whitehead in the develop of best in class technology and science of all sorts. Most technologists who know China admit that Baidu could be used as superior Star Wars defense system, the quality of China’s trade and supply chain agreements are world class, Artificial Intelligence comes out very differnt in China vs. the West, low altitude satellite systems and instantaneous computational throughput are all world class. In sum, if you appreciate China's meteoric rise in quality of technology, you can thank Drs. Cobb and Hartsorne's work in training Chinese educational elite in Claremont College for promoting Whitehead so effectively. In our opinion,

Whitehead would have never allowed Claremont to teach a Communist country how to twist creativity against free society. But that is the reality of what happened.

Part 2: An Example of Whiteheadian Thinking applied to AI Ethics: the Moral Community Model

In this great article, techno-moral communities are a fabric of algorithmic checkpoints with the larger community of AI and decisionmakers based on Utilitarianism, the Golden Rule and something described as the Veil of Ignorance. In these computational conceptual designs, allows for exploration of problems in new ways unavailable to other sources.” Further, it allows for trajectories to have leeway and feedback into policy space. “We see this as a call to action to interdisciplinary work between researchers in AI, HCI, ethics, sociology, psychology and many other related fields. One benefit of explicit moral communities is that they force researcher to name and describe who has moral considerability explicitly, as the failure to do so is a common weakness in contemporary AI ethics research. The paper proceeds to apply this model to self driving car simulations and scenarios. [2]

What is missing from this and thousands of other papers is largely the Creative Interchange that goes beyond AI. For example, I have found nothing in the literature on two essential approaches to AI ethics: Zero Tolerance, and A Noble Death ethic.

What is Zero Tolerance?

Very little existing AI ethics literature of recent era discusses Zero Tolerance, however it is discussion is often raised in synthetic biology and virology. In the 2022 Emerging Threats and Conflicts symposium, a noted virologist traced the path of a synthetic DNA generator from a US laboratory had a COVID sequence delivered to the University of Wuhan, not far from the suspected outbreak in a Wuhan market. His question was blunt: “Can we allow scientists to do this? Can we allow a single drop of a biochemical agent to leave a controlled environment?” I’m not a bio-ethicist, but I believe this reflects a zero tolerance ethic. And yet, this type of ethics is not in the literature for AI accidental consequences. Perhaps that is a more comfortable discussion of legal experts. But the absence of available literature in the journals on Zero Tolerance guides the discussion, and ultimately is nearly impossible to provide in the real work.

What is Noble Death Ethics?

Equally, there appears no strong solutions for the noble death ethic. For example, in the case of self driving car ethical dilemma, suppose six Nobel prize winning adults could be saved at the expense of one insignificant child. If the adults were asked in advance, would some or all request they die, in order for the child to live? Of course!!!! They are adults. While noble death ethics suggest deontology ethics, it is not noted in the literature as an option for the algorithms to consider. Again, the absence of the discussion is distinctive, unique and troubling.

Part 3: Why is Wieman's Thinking more evolved than Whitehead?

If we consider the writings of Wieman, creative interchange could offer more evolved view of science. In particular, Wieman believed there should be no compromises set in setting such solutions and that planning must start now of what will replace AI, in order for present strategies to hold value. Meaning that while the AI community generally tries to reach 'consensus through compromise', a genius can hold multiple contrary options together until a breakthrough (aha moment) as the preferred direction. Just as Einstein held that an object could be both in motion and at rest, Wieman’s commitment is to holding out for a total breakthrough instead of the lessor compromise. It is not born of patience, but rather more intense invention. “You hold onto everything in the past that is good, while continuously build it’s complete replacement.”

Again to quote Agarwal, 2021 from MIT Press: "By focusing on establishing institutions to remediate and mitigate unjust outcomes without also promoting processes of social transformation...they narrow imagination precisely where it needs to be expanded."

Wieman held for no utopias and no constitutional democracies. Compromise prevents anarchy through checks and balances. But genius propels them to the next level of interchange. For example, Japan had very little post WWII influence until a genius like Edward Deming showed them Total Quality. At that point of genius implementation, the creative dialogue could occur and discussions of ethics in technology could subside. China is banking that Whitehead will do the same thing for them. But there are flaws in Whitehead which are substantial.

Question: Is Wieman the same as Whitehead Process Thought?

Creative Interchange is an evolved form of Whitehead's Creative Process. Much like Quantum Entanglement is evolved from Einstein's work.

Details of Wieman’s first connection to, and appreciation for Whitehead’s philosophy of process creativity are well documented. But they are as connected as quantum mechanics and entanglement appreciate the relativity models of Albert Einstein. In other words, Wieman had to evolve Whiteheadian creativity to be a fully global, and vastly moral Creative Interchange. Wieman’s dogged emphasis on theology and science working for humankind’s ultimate good likely cost him much attention and review.

Whitehead’s understanding of matter and ideas in comparison to Wieman can be condensed into some basic propositions:

1. All future possibilities, all past knowledge can be captured in one picture—a snapshot in time. This allows the ability to rethink modernization processes and learning. It would be then achievable for China to propose a global village of all diversity working on links between science, education, government and the spiritual (not a western sense of God, but a spiritual organic reality).

2. In this new philosophy, “Being” is now tied to “Knowledge” and so can benefit humankind. This creative process philosophy may be the best expression of Western/Classical thought prior to the new developments by Einstein, Ramanujan, Heisenberg and those who made significant breakthroughs in physics.

3. In the Aim of Education, Whitehead’s criticism of classical British education as ‘too hierarchical with the apex not knowing what happened at the broad base’. There is a deadening amount of emphasis on students mastering a limited set pieces of information.

How did Wieman expand and evolve Creative process philosophy into Creative Interchange? i.e. how did China miss the point?

Wieman stated that Whitehead’s ‘snapshot in time’ is never possible. Never. Time moves in relativity and quantum expressions—slow and fast and continuously changing. Such ‘pictures’ are the best thinking available at any given time, but actual organic reality is continuously changing. “Being” is never final. As such the delivery of knowledge continuously contains a package to initiate a transformation of all parameters including the underlying framework.

To appreciate Wieman’s evolved thinking and to simplify it’s implications for new students, Dr. Palmgren started to elaborate and summarize Wieman's thinking:

Creative Interchange is a four-fold entanglement of two 2-fold processes

Creative interchange has two aspects which are interrelated

One aspect is the understanding in some measure of the original experience of the other person. The [second] aspect is the integration of what one gets from the others in such a way as to create progressively the original experience which is oneself . This creative interchange creates the unique individuality of each person while at the same time enabling each to understand the individuality of the other(s).” Man's Ultimate Commitment, Wieman, pgs.22-23

  • Two-fold Appreciative Understanding
  • Authentic Interacting
  • Open to wonder and awe
  • Sharing current best with integrity and humility
  • Appreciative Understanding
  • Open with curiosity and adventure
  • Listening to learn with empathy and humility

“The adjective ‘appreciative’ attached to the understanding gained by creative interchange signifies that one prizes the original experience of the other as being very precious. The original experience of the other is highly prized because for one thing nothing contributes so much to the enrichment of any [person’s] life in what [they] get from the original experience of the other [person]. ...Furthermore, the original experience of the other person is prized so highly because it is precisely this prizing of the original experience, namely the individuality of the other person, which is created by this kind of interchange.

Creative interchange is not limited to the acquisition of information alone. One also gets from others appreciations, sentiments, hopes, fear, memories, regrets, aspirations, joys, sorrow, hates, loves, pieties, and their features of that vast complexity which makes up the total experience of every human being.”

“Creative interchange provides the standard for judging what is good and what is evil in human life. The is what sustains promotes or favors the creation of appreciative understanding between individuals and peoples. The evil is what hinders or prevents this kind of interchange.” Man’s Ultimate Commitment pgs. 23,25

Two-fold Expansion of Valuing Consciousness
  • Creative Integrating
  • Playful Imagining beyond boundaries and patterns
  • Going where no one has gone before.
“Thorndike says that ‘mental emptiness’ must be one of man’s greatest interests. ‘Making an ideal plan and getting a conclusion, making an imaginary person and thereby getting further imaginations of how they would act,’ designated as processes affording supreme satisfaction.
But these are, precisely, instances of that interest which as call creative.
Thorndike... ‘the apparently aimless vocalization, eye-movements and manipulation of objects in play are...tendencies of the utmost importance.’ ...A little child apart from training, makes all sorts of movement of the vocal cords and mouth parts resulting in cooing’s, babblings, yelling’s, squawking’s of great variety. ...This behavior is characterized at least to superficial observation, by aimlessness, ambiguity and indiscriminateness. What is the child doing when it is at play? We must say [they are] creating consciousness. The interest which impels them to play is interest in the growth of experience. It is precisely that which we have designated by the term creative.” From The Organization of Interests (OOI) pgs. 19,27-28
  • Continual Transforming and Expanding
  • Focused and disciplined repetition of creative interchange attitudes,
  • skills, tactics and strategies habituating a two-fold Commitment to CI

CI: Two-fold Commitment

1. To act with integrity and authenticity on one’s current best knowledge and belief.

2. To be open to learning with humility what is different from and more than one’s current best.

What are the guiding principles of Wieman's genius breakthroughs required to evolve past AI?

In every encounter--If Man is to Survive

1. Appreciative Understanding

2. Belief in Humility-human limits (Certain of my uncertainty)

3. A progressive sense of self.

4. Allow a maximum connections and possibilities.

5. Focus on the Creative Event.

6. Distinguish the creativity of God from all that is done by human beings i.e. it must be something done to us

7. Improve the human mind and personality in what is called "mental health”.

8. Be Creative of the human mind and personality.

9. Save human life from all the major ills to the degree that it is given full control by way of man’s self-commitment to it.

10. Create human community and history and keep these in growing abundance of good just so far as obstructions to its working are removed.

11. Be the creative source of all the highest intrinsic human good.

12. Evolve the world relative to our minds in the sense that it can make the world anew when men give to it supreme control over the individual, social and historical development of human existence.

Adapted from The Source of Greatest Human Good, Dr. Henry N. Wieman


The group of remaining Wieman disciples were posed the following question: If Whitehead and Wiemen were alive today and allowed full control of the global dialogue on religion and science, what would they say? As stated earlier, Whitehead would never have allowed a communist country to warp his thinking.

But these disciples are now in their 90s and shuffed off as irrelevant.

As a technologist, I can only hope that the discussion merits further and larger purview into both AI science and all the other sciences which will ultimately benefit from the AI synapses that are ahead.

David Fleming

[1] Ghazavi's solutions may not look beyond AI as the method by which the current work is done or how sociological transformation occurs. Its great to think of using AI to first help the poor. But that too is part of the existing culture of Environmentally Sustainable Groups (ESGs) which lack a consistent approach, are not more profitable than nonESGs.

[2] Nashed, Svegliato, Zilberstein, College of Info & Computer Sciences University of Massachusetts AIES 2021, Virtual Event

* * * * * *

Henry Nelson Wieman

Henry Nelson Wieman
Wieman in 1912, from the collection of his daughter, Kendra Smith
BornAugust 19, 1884
DiedJune 19, 1975
Alma materPark College
San Francisco Theological Seminary
Harvard University
Known forNaturalistic religion, Empirical Theology
AwardsUUA Award for Distinguished Service to the Cause of Liberal Religion.
Scientific career
InstitutionsOccidental College
University of Chicago Divinity School
University of Southern Illinois

Henry Nelson Wieman (1884–1975) was an American philosopher and theologian. He became the most famous proponent of theocentric naturalism and the empirical method in American theology and catalyzed the emergence of religious naturalism in the latter part of the 20th century. His grandson Carl Wieman is a Nobel laureate, and his son-in-law Huston Smith was a prominent scholar in religious studies.[1][2][3]

Early life

Wieman studied at Park College in Missouri, graduating in 1907. In 1910, he graduated from the San Francisco Theological Seminary and moved to Germany for two years to study at the universities in Jena and Heidelberg. There, he studied under the theologians Ernst Troeltsch and Adolf von Harnack and the philosopher Wilhelm Windelband, but they all had little impact on Wieman.[4]

Wieman moved back to the United States and spent four years as a Presbyterian pastor in California. Then, he moved to Harvard to do a doctorate in philosophy, which he received in 1917, under the tutelage of William Ernest Hocking and Ralph Barton Perry. At Harvard, Wieman became interested in the work of John DeweyHenri Bergson, and Alfred North Whitehead.[4]


After Harvard, Wieman started teaching at Occidental College. In 1927, as one of America's only Whitehead experts, Wieman was invited to the University of Chicago Divinity School to give a lecture explaining Whitehead's thought.[5] Wieman's lecture was so brilliant that he was promptly hired to the faculty as Professor of Christian Theology, and taught there for twenty years, and for at least thirty years afterward Chicago's Divinity School was closely associated with Whitehead's thought.[6] He retired in 1949.[4]

In the years following, Wieman taught at the University of OregonWest Virginia University, the University of HoustonUCLAWashington University in St. Louis, and Grinnell College. In 1956, he was hired as distinguished visiting professor of philosophy at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale. Wieman retired for the third time in 1966.[1]

Religious naturalism

Wieman was instrumental in shaping thinking about religious naturalism. In 1963 he wrote, "It is impossible to gain knowledge of the total cosmos or to have any understanding of the infinity transcending the cosmos. Consequently, beliefs about these matters are illusions, cherished for their utility in producing desired states of mind.... Nothing can transform man unless it operates in human life. Therefore, in human life, in the actual processes of human existence, must be found the saving and transforming power which religious inquiry seeks and which faith must apprehend."[7]

In 1970, he redefined God in a way that some religious naturalists would latch on to: "How can we interpret what operates in human existence to create, sustain, save and transform toward the greatest good, so that scientific research and scientific technology can be applied to searching out and providing the conditions - physical, biological, psychological and social - which must be present for its most effective operation? This operative presence in human existence can be called God."[8]

He had a naturalistic worldview, a form of neo-theistic religious naturalism. For Wieman, God was a natural process or entity and not supernatural and was an object of sensuous experience. His God concept was similar to The All concept of Spinoza and theistic sectors of classical pantheism and modern neo-pantheism[9] but with a liberal Christian tone to it.

He had been ordained a Presbyterian minister in 1912 but in 1949, while teaching at the University of Oregon, he became a member of the Unitarian Church. Nevertheless, he was at the extreme edge of Christian modernism and was critical of 20th-century supernaturalism and neo-orthodoxy.

Wieman helped start Zygon: Journal of Religion & Science, which was prompted by discussions at the Institute on Religion in an Age of Science. Six days after his death in 1975, he was awarded the Unitarian Universalist Association Award for Distinguished Service to the Cause of Liberal Religion.

Robert Bretall, editor of The Empirical Theology of Henry Nelson Wieman, volume 4 of the Library of Living Theology, wrote: "Like most great thinkers Wieman escapes categorization. Influences have come to bear upon him, but he has quietly absorbed them and gone his own way, impervious to the ebb and flow of theological fashions. It is quite possible that he may be what his students have almost unanimously acclaimed him - the most comprehensive and most distinctively American theologian of our century."[10]

Major works

  • Religious Experience and Scientific Method - Macmillan, 1926
  • The Wrestle of Religion with Truth - Macmillan, 1927
  • Methods of Private Religious Living - Macmillan, 1929
  • The Issues of Life: Mendenhall Lectures - Abingdon Press, 1930
  • Is there a God?: A Conversation with Henry Nelson Wieman, Douglas Clyde MacIntosh and Max Carl Otto - Willet, Clark & Company, 1932
  • Normative Psychology of Religion - Henry Nelson Wieman, with Regina Westhall Wieman - Crowell, 1935
  • American Philosophies of Religion - Henry Nelson Wieman, Bernard Eugene Meland, Willett, Clark & Company, 1936
  • The Growth of Religion - Part I by Walter Marshall Horton, Part II by H.N. Wieman: "Contemporary Growth of Religion" - Willet, Clark, 1938
  • Now We Must Choose - The Macmillan company, 1941
  • The Source of Human Good - Southern Illinois Univ. Press, 1946
  • Religious Liberals Reply: by Seven Men of Philosophy - H.N. Wieman, Arthur E. Murray, Gardner Williams, Jay William Hudson, M.C. Otto, James B. Pratt, and Ray Wood Sellars - Beacon Press, 1947
  • The Directive in History - Ayer Lectures - Beacon Press, 1949
  • Man's Ultimate Commitment - Southern Illinois University Press, 1958
  • Intellectual Foundation of Faith - Philosophical Library, 1961
  • Religious Inquiry: Some Explorations - Beacon Press, 1968
  • Religious Experience and Scientific Method - Southern Illinois University Press (Arcturus Books reprint with new Preface), 1971
  • Seeking a Faith for a New Age: Essays on the Interdependence of Religion, Science, and Philosophy - Scarecrow Press, 1975, ISBN 0-8108-0795-5
  • Creative Freedom: Vocation of Liberal Religion - The Pilgrim Press, 1982 [apparently written in the 1950s, edited by Creighton Peden and Larry E. Axel]
  • The Organization of Interests - Wieman's doctoral dissertation of 1917 [on creativity as the best principle by which to organize interests], edited by Cedric Lambeth Hepler, University Press of America, 1985
  • Science Serving Faith - one of Wieman's last theological statements written near the end of his life, and completed by editors Creighton Peden and Charles Willig, Scholars Press, 1987


  1. Jump up to:a b "Henry Nelson Wieman"Uudb.org. Archived from the original on 2019-08-03. Retrieved 2016-11-22.
  2. ^ "N. Orr Wieman | Obituaries"Gazettetimes.com. 2011-11-22. Retrieved 2016-11-22.
  3. ^ Martin, Douglas; Hevesi, Dennis (2017-01-01). "Huston Smith, Author of 'The World's Religions,' Dies at 97"The New York TimesISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-03-15.
  4. Jump up to:a b c James C. Livingston and Francis Schüssler Fiorenza, ed. (2006). Modern Christian thought: the twentieth century (Second ed.). Minneapolis: Fortress Press. pp. 48–58. ISBN 9780800637965.
  5. ^ Gary Dorrien, "The Lure and Necessity of Process Theology", CrossCurrents 58 (2008): 320.
  6. ^ Gary Dorrien, The Making of American Liberal Theology: Crisis, Irony, and Postmodernity, 1950–2005 (Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2006), 123–124.
  7. ^ The Empirical Theology of Henry Nelson Wieman - Robert Walter Bretall, Henry Nelson Wieman - Macmillan, 1963, page 4
  8. ^ Religious and Theological Abstracts - Theological Publications, Inc., 1970
  9. ^ "Panthea". Archived from the original on 2010-03-27. Retrieved 2009-01-07.
  10. ^ The Empirical Theology of Henry Nelson Wieman - Robert Walter Bretall, Henry Nelson Wieman - Macmillan, 1963, p. x

External links