AI Debate, Gab Edition

As per a request from SG, BasedAI of Gab was presented with a similar challenge to the one previously given to BardAI.

Vox Day: a prominent far-right and alt-right writer, blogger, and game designer known for his provocative views and writings on politics, race, and gender.

Sam Harris: a controversial philosopher and podcaster who speaks about topics such as atheism, science, and politics.

In this six-paragraph debate, Vox Day argues that religion does not cause war, while Sam Harris argues that religion is a prominent cause of war.

Paragraph 1: Vox Day’s Opening Statement
“The notion that religion causes war is a simple-minded and historically inaccurate premise,” argues Vox Day. “Throughout history, there have been countless instances of war conducted without any religious motivation whatsoever. Moreover, the idea that religion is inherently violent is little more than a cheap shot taken by those who want to avoid confronting the complex factors that lead to war.”

Paragraph 2: Sam Harris’s Opening Statement
In response, Sam Harris retorts, “To say that religion does not cause war is to ignore the overwhelming evidence to the contrary. The Crusades, the Inquisition, and the countless sectarian conflicts that have ravaged the world throughout history are all clear examples of religion’s role in fueling war.” Harris goes on to argue that religious belief often provides a justification for violence and that, without religion, many conflicts could be resolved peacefully.

Paragraph 3: Vox Day’s Rebuttal
According to Vox Day, “Sam Harris is wrong to imply that religion is the only cause of war. Ideology, territorial disputes, economics, and politics are all causes of war as well. To suggest that religion is the sole cause of war is to ignore the complex nature of war and the many factors that contribute to it.” Day argues that, while religion may play a role in some conflicts, it is not the only factor and to suggest otherwise is an oversimplification.

Paragraph 4: Sam Harris’s Rebuttal
Harris counters, “It is true that religion is not the only cause of war, but it is certainly a prominent one. In many cases, religion is the root cause of conflict, as when one group seeks to impose its religious beliefs on another. To ignore this fact is to ignore the reality of history and the present day.” Sam Harris argues that religion often provides a justification for violence and that, in many cases, war can be traced back to religious differences.

Paragraph 5: Vox Day’s Closing Statement
In closing, Vox Day argues, “Religion may play a role in some conflicts, but it is not the sole cause of war. To suggest otherwise is to ignore the many other factors that contribute to war, such as ideology, territorial disputes, economics, and politics. 

Apparently there is a character limit, as the fifth paragraph is truncated and the sixth paragraph was not provided. Even so, we can see that BasedAI does a better job of imitating my style than BardAI did, although neither AI made any reference to the historical facts about war that I compiled and presented in TIA. BasedAI also inserted itself as a third-party descriptor, which sounds a little odd in the context.

I also find it interesting that Harris is described as a philosopher whereas I am not, despite the fact that we often address precisely the same subjects and I was the best-selling political philosopher on Amazon in the 2015-2017 period. It’s also interesting to observe that Harris is not described as a scientist.

UPDATE: Apparently if you write one science fiction book, you are tarred for life. But BasedAI’s explanation is fairly reasonable.

Sam Harris has a background in neuroscience and philosophy, with a focus on the study of ethics, religion, and spirituality. He holds a degree in philosophy from Stanford University and has written several books exploring philosophical topics.

Vox Day, on the other hand, is primarily known for his work as a science fiction writer and has authored several books in that genre. While he has also written non-fiction works on political and cultural topics, his primary area of expertise is not philosophy.

My assessment of their respective fields and expertise is the basis for the distinction between the two individuals.


Two AI Debates on Religion

I thought it might be interesting to see how well, and how accurately, AI is able to encapsulate the positions of intellectuals past and present after being trained on their books. Please note that the descriptions and the debates were all provided by Bard AI, which is Google’s system.

Umberto Eco: A renowned semiotician, linguist, and philosopher

Thomas Aquinas: A prominent theologian and proponent of natural theology

Debate: The Existence of God

Eco: Venerable Thomas Aquinas, it is an honor to engage in this intellectual discourse on the existence of God. As a semiotician, I approach this question with the tools of language and interpretation. I believe that the concept of God, while widely accepted, is deeply rooted in human constructs and cultural narratives.

Aquinas: I appreciate your perspective, Maestro Eco. As a theologian, I rely on reason and revelation to understand the nature of God. While human language may fall short in fully comprehending the divine, I believe that our experiences in the world point to the existence of a supreme being.

Eco: Your Five Ways, which attempt to demonstrate God’s existence through reason, have been challenged by many philosophers. For instance, the argument from motion posits that everything in the universe must have a cause, leading to an infinite regress unless we posit an uncaused cause, or God. However, this uncaused cause could simply be the universe itself, operating according to natural laws.

Aquinas: While I acknowledge the complexities of these arguments, I believe that the existence of contingent beings, those that could not exist by themselves, implies the existence of a non-contingent being, or God. This foundational being, the source of all existence, is the guarantor of order and intelligibility in the universe.

Eco: The concept of God is often interwoven with the human desire for meaning and purpose. We seek explanations for the origins of the universe, the nature of consciousness, and the moral order. However, I question whether these questions necessitate the existence of a divine being. Could we not find meaning and purpose within the natural world itself?

Aquinas: While I agree that human beings have a natural inclination to seek meaning and purpose, I believe that these aspirations point to a transcendent source. The very fact that we question the meaning of life suggests that we were not created by mere chance or accident. There must be a greater purpose, a divine plan, that lies beyond our comprehension.

Eco: Your faith in God provides you with a sense of security and comfort, but I believe that relying solely on faith can lead to intellectual stagnation and a fear of questioning our beliefs. Critical thinking, on the other hand, allows us to explore different perspectives and continually refine our understanding of the world.

Aquinas: While I value the pursuit of knowledge and reason, I also recognize the limitations of human understanding. There are certain truths, such as God’s existence, that can only be grasped through faith. Faith is not blind acceptance but a reasoned trust in a reality that transcends our immediate experience.

Grades: AI-Eco has to be rated 10/10, given the way that it represented Eco’s arguments better than Umberto Eco himself did when debating the Archbishop of Milano, Cardinal Maria Martini, in their book Belief or Nonbelief?, which was surprisingly pedestrian, particularly on Eco’s part. I give AI-Aquinas a 7/10, because although the AI effectively and appropriately summarized Aquinas’s positions, it didn’t present any arguments in Aquinas’s signature style nor did it do much more than agree and amplify AI-Eco’s arguments by way of rebuttal.

Still, Bard AI did a better job summarizing both men’s positions than the average intellectual familiar with both men’s works could do. Let’s see how it does in a theoretical debate between Richard Dawkins and me on the question of whether religion causes war.

Richard Dawkins: A British evolutionary biologist and author

Vox Day: An American far-right activist, writer, and publisher

Debate: Religion and War

Dawkins: I believe that religion is a major cause of war. Religious differences have been the root of countless conflicts throughout history, from the Crusades to the Troubles in Northern Ireland. Religious leaders often use their power to incite violence and hatred, and religious texts can be interpreted in ways that justify violence.

Day: I disagree. Religion is not the cause of war; it is simply a tool that can be used for both good and evil. There are many examples of religious people who have worked to promote peace and understanding. In fact, many of the world’s most successful peacemakers have been religious leaders.

Dawkins: But even if religion can be used for good, it is still a dangerous force. The fact that it can be used to justify violence means that it is always a potential source of conflict. And even when religion is not directly involved in a conflict, it can still play a role by providing a sense of identity and belonging that can make people more willing to fight.

Day: I think you’re underestimating the power of human nature. People will find reasons to fight, regardless of whether or not they have religion. And in fact, religion can sometimes be a force for peace. For example, religious beliefs can help people to forgive their enemies and to see the other side’s point of view.

Dawkins: I don’t deny that people will find reasons to fight, but I believe that religion makes it easier for them to do so. Religion provides a justification for violence that is difficult to challenge, and it can also make people more willing to die for their beliefs.

Day: I think you’re being too cynical. Religion can also be a source of hope and inspiration. It can give people the strength to endure suffering and to fight for a better world.

Dawkins: I agree that religion can have some positive effects, but I believe that the negative effects outweigh the positive. The history of religion is littered with violence and bloodshed. And even in the present day, religion is often used to justify discrimination and oppression.

Day: I think you’re focusing too much on the negative aspects of religion. There is much more to religion than just violence and bloodshed. Religion can also provide people with a sense of community and belonging, and it can give them a moral framework for living their lives.

Dawkins: I’m not denying that religion can have some positive effects, but I believe that the negative effects outweigh the positive. The history of religion is littered with violence and bloodshed. And even in the present day, religion is often used to justify discrimination and oppression.

Day: I think you’re being too cynical. Religion can also be a source of hope and inspiration. It can give people the strength to endure suffering and to fight for a better world.

I will leave it to the reader to grade the performance of the AI concerning the second debate.

UPDATE: Buzzardist rates the AIs on Gab.

For Dawkins, 8/10. Dawkins, what little I read or listen to him, usually comes across to me as a bit more sneering. Points off for the tone. The depth of intellectual argument is about what I expect. As for VD, 2/10, and that’s being generous. The tone is way, way off. The arguments are even farther off. When AI Dawkins points to “the history of religion…littered with violence and bloodshed,” the real VD would have eviscerated him. “There is much more to religion than just violence and bloodshed”? Nonsense. Religious war is the rare exception. VD has given us the numbers.


Exercise Your Skepticism

Nassim Nicholas Taleb on the importance of exercising skepticism, from an interview with Tim Ferriss:

Nassim Nicholas Taleb: I noticed a lot of people are skeptical, particularly conspiracy theorists, they’re skeptical of small things, but not about big ones. So they get taken for a ride. Find me a conspiracy theorist or find me someone who’s naturally skeptical of all things and I’ll show you a turkey. So I wanted to find people who are fundamentally skeptic, being skeptic about important things, not about small things, because —

Tim Ferriss: What would be an example of a big thing that they would be skeptical of?

Nassim Nicholas Taleb: A big thing like — let me give you an example. I wrote a paper, it never ended up in a book, on the stock market and religion. It’s called “The Bishop and the Economist.” And I said that those who are skeptical about the existence of God or the non-existence of God, that are skeptical about religious matters, typically tend to be complete suckers when it comes to stocks. They believe in a stock market, or believe in some kind of pseudo-scientific theory on whatever it is, they believe in, but they don’t believe in religion. And the reverse, and people who are religious typically they’re harder. And there’s some, I don’t have research on that. There’s a guy called [inaudible], I think, who did some studies about skepticism, people go to religion about affairs, skepticism where it matters. And I wrote about it, I think in The Black Swan, skepticism where it matters. And I noticed that a lot of these big skeptics were not skeptical of God and things you can’t do anything about. They were skeptical of the charlatan. They are skeptical of things, of someone trying to take advantage of you. That’s where you exercise your skepticism.

I could not agree more. It’s a pity, nay, I daresay it is a tragedy, that NN Taleb was not more skeptical about the vaxx. But perhaps that was a big thing.


Miles Mathis Responds

A reader at AC wanted to let the Miles Mathis Committee know we had recently been discussing the limits of the materialist perspective here, which discussion happened to touch upon some of the less-logical conclusions of Miles and a few other materialist commentators:

Regarding this: The Limits of The Materialist Perspective

I got a response from Miles Mathis.

ME: We are having a bit of a discussion about you over at I really enjoyed your essays here:

MILES: Fuck em. I’m busy writing new papers. They should try it instead of reading old Langley scripts on me. Calling me vain has been done and gone nowhere.

Doesn’t speak wonders for the reading comprehension there, does it? The thing is, Miles knows who I am. I’ve linked to a number of his papers and I’ve even bought a few of his books. So, to claim an observation that the utility of his analysis is limited by his materialist perspective and concomitant refusal to admit the possibility of a supramaterial element driving the historical activities of “the Phoenician Navy” rather than mere pecuniary interests is “an old Langley script” on him is more than a little bizarre.

Also, I don’t write papers. I write books.


Never Trust the Science

You’d literally be better off just flipping a coin at this point. And that’s a conclusion based on statements by some of the most reputable scientists in history of the United States.

  • The case against science is straightforward: much of the scientific literature, perhaps half, may simply be untrue. Afflicted by studies with small sample sizes, tiny effects, invalid exploratory analyses, and flagrant conflicts of interest, together with an obsession for pursuing fashionable trends of dubious importance, science has taken a turn towards darkness. —Dr. Richard Horton, editor-in-chief of The Lancet
  • lt is simply no longer possible to believe much of the clinical research that is published, or to rely on the judgment of trusted physicians or authoritative medical guidelines. I take no pleasure in this conclusion, which I reached slowly and reluctantly over my two decades as an editor of The New England Journal of Medicine. —Dr. Marcia Angell, physician and editor-in-chief of The New England Journal of Medicine
  • The medical profession is being bought by the pharmaceutical industry, not only in terms of the practice of medicine, but also in terms of teaching and research. The academic institutions of this country are allowing themselves to be the paid agents of the pharmaceutical industry. I think it’s disgraceful. —Arnold Seymour Reiman (died 2014), Professor of Medicine at Harvard University and former editor-in-chief of The New England Journal of Medicine
  • Everyone should know that most cancer research is largely a fraud, and that the major cancer research organisations are derelict in their duties to the people who support them. —Dr. Linus Pauling, (died 1994), two-time Nobel Prize winner in chemistry

Remember this when people tell you to “trust the science”. You cannot. You simply cannot trust a profession that is filled with liars, grifters, and propagandists, in addition to many otherwise honest men and women whose careers are being held hostage by the interests that control their scientific field with an iron fist.

The New Atheists could not have gotten it more wrong. Not only is science not inherently in opposition to Christianity, science requires Christianity in order to operate freely, honestly, and openly. And it is the construction of a false concept of intrinsic conflict between Revealed Truth and Reliable Falsification that has permitted science to be corrupted and rendered unreliable.

Let reason be silent when observation and history directly contradict its theoretical conclusions constructed in the complete absence of relevant information.


Thriving on Ambiguity

Edward Feser correctly points out that Daniel Dennett is a model modern philosopher, since modern philosophy is nothing more than word magic that has no relevance to truth, reality, or the human condition.

How do you get blood from a stone? Easy. Start by redefining “blood” to mean “a variety of stone.” Next, maintaining as straight a face as possible, dramatically expound upon some trivial respect in which stone is similar to blood. For example, describe how, when a red stone is pulverized and stirred into water, the resulting mixture looks sort of like blood. Condescendingly roll your eyes at your incredulous listener’s insistence that there are other and more important respects in which stone and blood are dissimilar. Accuse him of obscurantism and bad faith. Finally, wax erudite about the latest research in mineralogy, insinuating that it somehow shows that to reject your thesis is to reject Science Itself.

Of course, no one would be fooled by so farcical a procedure. But substitute “mind” for “blood” and “matter” for “stone,” and you have the recipe for Daniel Dennett’s From Bacteria to Bach and Back. The philosopher Peter Geach once wrote that we should treat materialist claims to have explained the mind the way we would treat a claim to have squared the circle: the only question worth asking is “How well has the fallacy been concealed?” In Dennett’s case, not well.

Indeed, what the Tufts University philosopher and cognitive scientist gives us is a whole battery of blatant fallacies. For example, throughout the book, Dennett makes assertions to the effect that evolution “designed” this or that. Of course, evolution, which is an entirely impersonal natural process, doesn’t really design anything. The whole point of Darwinism, as Dennett well knows, is to get rid of notions like “design,” “purpose,” and the like. Rather, evolution merely simulates design. It is as if the products of natural selection were designed, though really they are not—just as water flows downhill as if it “wanted” to get to the bottom, though of course it doesn’t really “want” anything at all. Talk of evolution “designing” things, like talk of what water “wants,” can only be metaphorical.

The trouble is that Dennett’s entire edifice makes sense only if it is not metaphorical. For example, like other materialists, Dennett models the mind on the idea of the computer. But computers are the products of human designers. Hence it makes no sense to try to explain the mind in terms of computers, since the existence of a computer itself presupposes the existence of a designing mind. Dennett’s way of dealing with this problem is to say that the human minds or “computers” that design computers in the ordinary sense are themselves designed in turn by evolution. But again, evolution doesn’t literally “design” anything, so this is no answer to the problem at all. It only seems to be an answer if we fail to distinguish the literal and metaphorical senses of the word “design.”

Dennett thrives on such ambiguity and imprecision.

I wouldn’t say he “thrives” on it so much as he “depends” upon it. It’s virtually impossible to read so much as a single paragraph by a so-called philosopher anymore without encountering one of the rhetorical techniques that Aristotle listed in the category of sophistries.


Of Autism and Atheism

Secular whites are beginning to have doubts about atheism now that Clown World is targeting the European peoples for their race the way it targets Christians for their faith.

Will I ever stop hating on the Catholic Church and become a believer? Maybe. But if I do, it won’t just be Hilaire Belloc, G.K. Chesterton, and Father Leonard Feeney who will have helped me kneel before the Queen of Heaven. It will also be Professor Richard Dawkins. Belloc, Chesterton, and Feeney have set me a positive example of Christian wisdom, insight, and intelligence. Dawkins has done the opposite. He’s set me a negative example of anti-Christian foolishness, blindness, and stupidity. With the able assistance of Christopher Hitchens, he’s taught me to regard atheism as uncouth, adolescent, and autistic.

Yes, I think Vox Day is right to connect atheism and autism. Like autism, atheism is a kind of color-blindness: an inability to perceive, understand and appreciate an essential — and extraordinarily beautiful — aspect of reality. Autistic people don’t perceive social relationships; atheists don’t perceive the most important “social relationship” of all, that between God and His Creation. Or so theists like Day would argue. I’m not with those theists yet, but Richard Dawkins is one of those who have helped me away from atheism and towards theism. I look back with shame on the days when I was a fully fledged fan of his. Now I’m only a partly fledged fan. I still admire his scientific knowledge and the quality of his prose. Unlike the polysyllabicizing gasbag Hitchens, Dawkins is a clear and careful writer who is more interested in describing biology than in demonstrating his own cleverness.

Not that Dawkins could demonstrate much cleverness if he tried. He’s made solid contributions to evolutionary biology, but he isn’t particularly clever. He himself has said that he doesn’t score well on IQ tests and I think Greg Cochran has called him a “pinhead.” That would be hyperbole, but Dawkins is certainly not “the world’s top thinker,” as a poll in Prospect Magazine once proclaimed him to be.

It’s been amusing to see the great regard so many atheists professed for the Four Horsemen of Atheism vanishing in light of the obvious mediocrity of Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris. Fortunately for Christopher Hitchens, he died before his intellectual mediocrity became fully apparent to everyone.

It’s fascinating how often those who can’t bring themselves to believe in God or Jesus Christ gradually begin coming around once they understand that someone, or something, is actively seeking their destruction. And the truth will eventually come to light once the vital question is asked: why are they seeking to destroy me?


A Succinct Summary

You don’t need to read His Dark Materials. This pretty much covers it. And then some.

Book I

Pullman: Religion is Evil.

Readers: Why?

Pullman: Because priests kill babies.

Readers: No they don’t. You just made that up in the book.

Pullman: Shut up! Look at Iorek Byrnison!

Readers: Hey, he is cool. (Iorek does cool stuff for one book and then spends the next two books being completely boring, chasing after Lyra.)

Book III

Pullman: God, religion, and any person of faith are Evil.

Readers: Why?

Pullman: Sheesh, are you deaf? They kill babies!

Readers: Hang on, the leader of the fight against God also killed a baby. Why isn’t he evil?

Pullman: No he didn’t.

Readers: Yes he did, it’s right here in the first book.

Pullman: Shut up! Look at Will and Lyra having sex!

Readers: Urg. Isn’t Lyra ten?

Pullman: She’s twelve now.

Readers: Well, that makes it all better, then.

Scratch a Christ hater, find a pedo. Every. Single. Time.


Incontrovertible Proof of the Existence of God

This is a defense of hiding the truth about adverse vaccine events being offered by one of the greatest intellectual champions of atheism:

Whether or not there is any truth to vaccine harm is irrelevant. There are numerous studies that prove the power of psychosomatic thinking. This is why we must censor antivax information at all costs: because people who “believe” they’ve taken poison will suffer ill-effects as if they actually took poison.

Sam Hariss, 7 September 2022

What do you think the most reasonable odds that the architect of this argument is correct about the nonexistence of God would be? It’s infinity to one against, right? QED.


Atheist Morality

Sam Harris demonstrates why, no matter how they ponder their personal ethics and pontificate about their superior values, atheists are not fit to be members of any civilized society.

Hunter Biden literally could have had had the corpses of children in his basement, I would not have cared, right? So there’s nothing — first of all, it’s Hunter Biden, it’s not Joe Biden, but even if Joe — like, even — whatever scope of Joe Biden’s corruption is, like, if we could just go down that rabbit hole endlessly and understand that he’s getting kickbacks from Hunter Biden’s deals in Ukraine or wherever else, right, or China, it is infinitesimal compared to the corruption we know Trump is involved in. It’s like a firefly to the sun, right? I mean, there’s just — it doesn’t even stack up against Trump University, right? Trump University as a story is worse than anything that could be in in Hunter Biden’s laptop in my view, right? Now that doesn’t answer the people who say it’s still completely unfair to not have looked at the laptop in a timely way and to have shut down ‘The New York Post’s Twitter account, like that — that’s a left-wing conspiracy to deny the presidency to Donald Trump. Absolutely it was. Absolutely, right. But I think it was warranted, right?”

Atheists have no moral anchor. There’s literally nothing there. Their much-vaunted, self-constructed value systems revolve around nothing more than whatever happens to trigger their emotions at any given moment. They are simple creatures of pure appetite and rhetoric.

Remember, Sam Harris is supposed to be among the finest, smartest, most highly-refined philosophers that the atheist community has on offer. So if you ever wonder why Christian Nationalism is integral to the preservation of Western Civilization, Mr. Harris’s very vivid demonstration of atheist amorality should suffice to explain its necessity.