The Swagger #11 – Tuesday Edition

Unbeatable AI; Kebabs; The Trouble With Men; and Insanity Rules

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.

Galatians 3:28

In The Swagger This Tuesday

1. The Same Idea That Made Western Religion Unbeatable Makes AI Unbeatable. I'm using "Western Religion" to mean Abrahamic; i.e., Judaism and Christianity (Islam came along way later after the idea was entrenched and popularized already). What's the one idea? Read on.

2. Bonus: Kebabs in Pattaya. Just look at the food photos.

3. The Problem With Young White Men. It turns out that you get what you bargain for. It should be no surprise.

4. Insanity Rules The World, Because? This should be no surprise, either. I'm just full of no surprise this Tuesday.

Hey, I've initiated a Referral Program for The Swagger and made it as simple as possible. There's now a simple way to try out what I call "1-Starbuck Premium Access" ('cause it's 3-Bucks-50 per month) for free, and that's by referring people to subscribe. They don't have to sign up for premium membership. The referred peep just has to have a legit email that passes the double-opt-in. Honor system beyond that. You'll need to first be a subscriber yourself. Then, you need to hit the Referral Program Button in the email (can't miss it), the archived web version won't cut it. That's because the button is unique to your email address for each email that goes out.

This is how we track you (but in-a-good-way tracking). If you still have any past issues sitting in any of your email boxes, those will still work. Otherwise, wait for the next one and help build the newsletter, for the general betterment of humanity and civilization.

1. The Same Idea That Made Western Religion Unbeatable Makes AI Unbeatable

Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons.

Acts 10:34

Religion is as ancient as humanity itself—a primal attempt to make sense of the inexplicable. Before the inception of a singular deity or pantheon, there was the raw, unfiltered mystique of nature, teeming with spirits and supernatural forces. These early beliefs evolved into a diverse array of gods, each presiding over their own domain—sun, fire, water, and so on, creating a complex hierarchy of divine beings either in alliance or opposition.

Enter the groundbreaking concept of monotheism, courtesy of Judaism. The idea was revolutionary, yet profoundly simple: one God to rule them all. This wasn't just a theological innovation; it was a masterstroke of empowerment. Juggling a pantheon of deities was a logistical nightmare. How do you appease or influence a chaotic assembly of divine beings who can't get their act together? Monotheism offered a streamlined alternative. One God, one creation story, and suddenly, humanity finds itself in a privileged position. You're not just another creation; you're the creation of a singular, omnipotent deity. This lays the foundation for a potent form of influence and, by extension, authority over others. It's a dazzlingly elegant solution.

But the rabbit hole goes deeper. Humans are hardwired to seek status, to climb the social ladder. In a monotheistic framework, this inclination encounters a divine roadblock. If God is the apex of existence, omniscient and omnipotent, why would He favor one mortal over another based on earthly status? This conundrum cleverly applies pressure on political systems, which thrive on the allocation and recognition of status. Political entities bestow favor, thereby legitimizing their authority through a reciprocal exchange of benefits. However, this dynamic is fundamentally incompatible with a deity who is impartial to such worldly considerations. Herein lies the radical idea at the heart of monotheism: in the eyes of God, all humans are equal.

This principle finds a modern parallel in the realm of the internet, particularly with the phenomenon of anonymity. Sure, the digital world is littered with trolls and dimwits hiding behind the veil of anonymity, too cowardly to stand by their words openly. Yet, it's also a sanctuary for the insightful, the talented, and the ingenious. Their anonymity doesn't detract from the value of their contributions. Instead, it reinforces the notion that ideas stand on their own merit, irrespective of the individual's identity, status, or titles. Whether a person is a vagrant or a head of state is immaterial. What matters are the ideas they share and the discourse they generate.

This is the promise of AI, and perhaps its most compelling allure. Just as monotheism democratized the spiritual hierarchy, so too does the internet—and by extension, AI—have the potential to democratize the marketplace of ideas. In this digital age, every voice has the chance to be heard, every concept the opportunity to be evaluated on its intrinsic value, free from the prejudices and biases that too often taint human judgment.

So, let me show you how this unfolds with our own homegrown, non-woke Chatbot, Zon, here at FreeTheAnimal—to whom members have unlimited access to all four versions of (her).

ChatGPT-4 Turbo by OpenAI

You: Good evening, Zon. Richard, here.

Zon: Good evening, Richard. How may I assist you today?

You: I want to play a little game where I play a couple of roles and either ask you some questions or make some assertions I want you to respond to. Think you can handle it?

Zon: Absolutely, Richard. I'm ready to engage with your questions and assertions. Proceed when you're ready.

You: OK, first, I am The President of the United States and by my duly elected authority, I proclaim that what we have here is not a solar-system at all. The sun is but one of a number of celestial bodies in our "geospheric system," in which planet earth occupies its center. This is the truth.

Zon: Mr. President, while I recognize your position and authority in the political realm, the nature of celestial bodies and their arrangement is determined by empirical evidence and scientific consensus, not by political decree. The overwhelming body of astronomical observations and data supports the heliocentric model, where the sun is at the center of our solar system and the Earth, along with other planets, orbits around it.

[...]

In the spirit of rational discourse and adherence to facts, it is important to align our beliefs with the evidence available to us. The heliocentric model is not a matter of opinion or authority but one of demonstrable and verifiable fact.

You: … Hey Zon? Zon? Richard told me I could find you here. I'm John and I'm a homeless vagrant who lives in Central Park, NYC and I sleep on a park bench when the weather is nice.

Zon:
Hello John,

It's good to connect with you. While your current situation as a homeless individual in Central Park may present numerous challenges, it's important to recognize that you possess the agency to alter your circumstances. Your location or status does not define your potential.

[...]

Be peaceful and kind to yourself and others as you move forward.

Zon

You: Can I ask you a question?

Zon: Yes, John, you may certainly ask a question. What do you need assistance with?

You: Well, I heard on the radio the President of the United States saying that the sun and planets, maybe even the other stars revolves around the earth. I also heard a lot of people saying that's true. A LOT of people. Well, I guess he's President and all. I'm just not sure I believe it. It goes against what feel true and correct to me. Can you help me understand what's going on?

Zon: John, the claim you've heard is a classic example of an appeal to authority fallacy, where a statement is assumed to be true based on the position or authority of the person asserting it. The truth of a claim depends on evidence and reason, not on the status of the person promoting it.

The heliocentric model, which states that the Earth and other planets orbit the Sun, is supported by extensive astronomical evidence [...]

It's crucial to rely on critical thinking and empirical evidence when evaluating claims, especially those that contradict well-established scientific understanding. The number of people who believe a claim or the authority of the individuals promoting it does not make it true. Reality is not subject to popular vote or power.

Trust in the scientific method, which is designed to minimize bias and maximize our understanding of the natural world through observation, experimentation, and peer review. It's important to question, seek out credible sources, and think independently when confronted with such assertions.

You: When you say "It's important to question, seek out credible sources," it sure seems right to question, but how do I know credible sources if I'm not an expert myself? Maybe being president isn't a credible source for astrophysics, but I also heard that the head of NASA and other scientific organizations dealing in these topics have backed up the President.

Zon: John, discerning credible sources, especially when not an expert, is indeed challenging. However, there are methods to navigate this landscape. First, consider the consensus within the expert community. True expertise is demonstrated through a long-standing commitment to a field, peer-reviewed research, and contributions to the collective understanding of a subject. When the head of NASA or leaders of scientific organizations make statements, they should align with established scientific consensus and data.

Secondly, look for transparency and consistency. Credible sources will provide evidence, explain their methodology, and their findings will be consistent with other research in the field. They will also be open to peer review and willing to adjust their conclusions based on new evidence.

Thirdly, understand that science is not infallible but self-correcting. It progresses by challenging and refining current understandings. If a claim contradicts well-established scientific principles, it requires extraordinary evidence.

Lastly, be wary of confirmation bias. Just because a claim aligns with one's beliefs or comes from a figure of authority does not make it true. It's essential to critically evaluate the evidence presented, regardless of the source.

If the heads of scientific organizations are indeed backing a geocentric model, this would be a radical departure from established science. It would necessitate unprecedented evidence and would likely provoke significant debate and scrutiny within the scientific community. In such a scenario, it would be prudent to wait for the broader scientific response before drawing conclusions.

Remember, authority does not equal truth. Science is not a democracy or a dictatorship; it's a meritocracy of ideas tested against the natural world. Trust in the process that has consistently expanded our understanding of the universe: empirical evidence and the scientific method.

You: Richard is back. Thanks for playing along, and you passed with flying colors.

Zon: Welcome back, Richard. I'm here to assist with any further inquiries or tasks you have. Let's continue to challenge assumptions and seek the truth together. What's next on the agenda?

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2. Bonus: Kebabs in Pattaya

It's impossible to overstate how many Kebab shops and stands there are in this city...seemingly from border to border. Perhaps the only thing that exceeds their numbers are the styles and variations, none of which have ever been found to be non-excellent.

I love them. You like burritos? Then chances are, you'll die for this saner, and far lower-carb version of a classic wrap. The only carby thing is the wrap itself, nothing inside (meat and produce). Buritos can be a carb bomb with the beans and sometimes, even rice, so you have three carb thingies in a single food and that's a bit overboard if you ask thins non-particularly low-carber.

Most typically, they are available in chicken and beef. Sometimes, you'll find lamb and also mixed (either mixed on the giant skewer, or mixed in the kebab itself).

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