To be a conservative, says Yale polymath David Gelernter, is to “give due credit to the ideas that created the civilization we live within.” A simple and beautiful summary. In a new podcast episode of Great Mind with Michael Medved, Dr. Gelernter talks with our host Mr. Medved about the shocking irresponsibility in the failure to introduce young people to the best achievements in thought. They also, however, discuss evidence that our civilization is due for a healthy correction as we “snap out” of the torpor that suppresses consideration of great ideas. If Gelernter is right, there’s reason for optimism.
Speaker: David Gelernter
Of his many specialties, in this episode Michael inquires into David Gelernter’s professional preoccupation: artificial intelligence. Gelernter recalls the pioneering role of his father, warns of the perils of letting children be captive to flickering screens, and remarks on whether AI robots can be spiritual seekers. Gelernter also emphasizes the key role of the Judeo-Christian Western tradition in creating a free and idealistic context in which technology is primed to explode.
In this wide ranging conversation, Michael Medved and David Gelernter touch on scientism, consciousness, and education. Gelernter observes how at times, scientists let their vaunted position get to their head, bullying other disciplines while failing to acknowledge their own limits. Having written extensively on consciousness, he describes the current state of the field and Thomas Nagel’s scandalous opinion that we currently lack the tools to solve this “deepest mystery”. Finally, Gelernter reflects on the state of higher education, specifically with reference to Yale.