192 Pentecost 16: ChatGPT is a Stupid Robot
"He has not dealt with us according to our sins, nor punished us according to our iniquities. For as the heavens are high above the earth, so great is His mercy toward those who fear Him." ~ Psalm 103
ChatGPT is Stupid Robot
It’s sort of cute, like a puppy. Without question, it has proven itself the most powerful research tool at my fingertips. It does not replace anything, but week by week it answers questions my other biblical research resources simply cannot provide: -What does sqq mean? -What is the biblical history of Beersheba? -Tell me about the corpus callosum, including the etymology of callosum. -What is the etymological history of the word “world” including Proto-Indo-European roots? It also lies to you, or at least makes child-like mistakes. By, “It’s a stupid robot,” I mean that it’s first answer about sqq was, “Sqq is not a common abbreviation or acronym with a widely recognized meaning in the English language.” I had to prompt it further. “It’s used to reference Deut. XXI. 15 sqq. in a theological book from the 1800s,” at which I got what I was looking for:
It’s helpful to think of ChatGPT or other language models as enhanced search engines, or, as the technology is already being applied in many industries, a “robot” tutor. The lure is that this tutor is a secular gnostic machine coded by unbelievers. The prospect is the capacity for Christians to pursue biblical learning at levels and layers previously impossible. My suggestion that laymen take up learning biblical languages and the lore of Scripture is only further enhanced by this. How much more when Christians stop merely using the tools of others and put our hearts and minds to developing our own? Till angel cry and trumpet sound, The Mad Christian
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In this edition of Mad Mondays:
Humility and politics: a lethal mix?
Impeachments and indictments
And something for everyone.. Headlines, John Michael Jones, curios and resources. Enjoy!
I wanna thank me
Former President Donald Trump was interviewed by Megyn Kelly last week, where she asked him some important questions about his actions during the pandemic. Kelly grilled Mr. Trump about Dr. Fauci, asking why he made the mandate proponent into "a star.” Trump was also given opportunity to speak to the vaccine injured, with Kelly pointing out that "those people are mad that [the vaccines] were rushed through and that they can’t sue." However, Mr. Trump spent most of the time deflecting blame and said he "never got the credit I deserve on Covid.”
We have come to expect bluster from politicians. In fact, some people would say that trumpeting your own record is necessary to be elected. But a pre-print study we stumbled on has concluded that "reputational consequences" (whether people like you) has a lot to do with where you attribute success and failure. The study authors found that a person who gave credit to others for their success was viewed warmly. Likewise, a person who took responsibility for their failures, rather than shifting blame was seen as competent.
Maybe Mr. Trump could use some Proverbs in his life! "Let another man praise you, and not your own mouth; a stranger, and not your own lips." Or how about some wisdom from St. Paul who boasted in his weaknesses? It is an unfortunate fact that a politician speaking with modesty or acknowledging his mistakes probably won’t make for viral headlines. But we can certainly set an example ourselves as those who have the mind of Christ. Maybe Pfizer can concoct a vaccine dose of humility..?
When two tribes go to war…
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy has directed Congressional committees to open an impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden. Republicans have yet to show that the President "personally financially benefited from or made policy decisions based on his family’s business dealings." However, the GOP believe there is enough evidence to merit a formal investigation. The outcome will not be put to a vote – a precedent set by former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi – allowing proceedings to move quickly, without forcing Representatives to choose a side.
Corporate media reports criticized the Speaker's announcement, insisting the inquiry is "based on lies.” However, it has been revealed that the White House asked the media to say just that in a memo to news executives. Yes, the whole exercise may come to nothing and is possibly a distraction, designed to sate voter desire to see their elected Reps doing something. But as one opinion writer put it: the fact we have been tipped off to the pipeline between Pennsylvania Ave and the press shows that narrative control is slipping. It could be argued that the fourth estate never actually "held government power in check,” but the decentralized nature of the internet is challenging the ability of elites to exercise soft power within the white noise. “The truth has a nasty habit of getting out.”
Hunter Biden has been indicted on three felony charges relating to a firearm purchase, carrying up to 25 years in prison. Journalists have also raised the issue of a second gun, found in photos on Biden's notorious laptop. Skeptics doubt that the indictment will achieve anything and they have good reason. Handwritten notes from an IRS whistleblower add weight to the claim that the Service's investigations into Hunter Biden's tax evasion were slow-walked by higher-ups. The Agents said the "delay, divulge, deny" strategy was deployed to shield the President’s son by "allowing the statute of limitations to expire on several tax crimes."
So it will do us good to keep praying for our leaders. Though both sides often seem to be shades of the same color, God is working his purposes out. Men scheme, but they cannot stop the King!
⭕ A fifth-circuit court has found that the Biden administration likely violated the First Amendment when it “coerced or significantly encouraged social media platforms to moderate content” during the pandemic and after the 2020 election. White House personnel as well as officials from the office of the Surgeon General, the CDC and the FBI and Prevention used "intimidating messages and threats of adverse consequences" to commandeer the decision-making processes of social media platforms.(CNN, USA Today)
⭕ Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX) says the only way to slow the weaponization of the government intelligence apparatus is for Republicans in Congress to put the kibosh on funding. With a government shut down looming, that will be a tall order. (The Federalist)
Keep out of reach of children
Here's a fresh level of crazy: An Ontario school board has trashed almost half of its library's books after deciding that students should only have access to books written after 2008. This "diversity audit" means books that aren't "reflective of students" are thrown away. Apparently, these books cannot even be donated because they are "not suitable for any learner."
So, can we call it book banning yet? Isn't that what you call it when you protect kids from inappropriate content? This twisting of language is deliberate but it isn’t the only way to obfuscate. Last week, the fight over sexually explicit content in children's curriculum reached Capitol Hill, with Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) insisting that "no one is advocating for sexually explicit content to be available in an elementary school library or in the children's section of the library." Really? In the same way that no one is advocating for abortion-on-demand, Mr. Durbin? Is it still considered a smear to say schools are sexualizing children? Or can we agree that these things are real?
Senator Durbin went on to say, "Every student deserves access to books that reflect their experiences and help them better understand who they are." What better way to do that than to read old books? Books that connect generations, books that pass on morals and traditions, books that expose readers to cultures beside their own, books that teach the mistakes of the past. Could it be that is exactly what the ideologues want – kids steeped in “The Current Thing,” unable to identify the worldview foisted on them let alone challenge it?
In the end, both left and right want to keep some books out of reach of children. As parents, it is best if we make that call, not leave it to lawmakers.
⭕ The move out of school to homeschooling in Texas shows no signs of slowing down after the pandemic. (The Federalist)
Know what's in your kids' books before they read it!
This week's sponsor screenitfirst.com (a parental resource built by our Lutheran friends Mac & Jessica in North Idaho) -- is a crowd-sourced resource that helps parents identify questionable content in children's books. Here's what Rev. Wiley Smith of Christ the King in Redlands, CA has to say about Screen It First:
Visit our sponsor, Screen It First to preview, share, and help families everywhere!
Odds and Ends
Marriage, sex and family
According to a new Pew survey, Americans are more worried about falling rates of marriage than fewer births. The most acceptable family structure to most respondents is still a married father and mother raising their children. However, attitudes towards single parents and same-sex families have become more favorable. (Washington Times, Pew)
Passport bros: Apparently there is a movement of young men who travel abroad to find a bride. (ZeroHedge)
President Biden has asked the Supreme Court to rule on the availability of mifepristone, the drug used in medical abortions. A federal appeals court placed restrictions on the pill in 2021, making it harder to get for more advanced pregnancies or through the mail. (The Hill)
Polish health authorities have developed a test to detect the presence of abortive drugs mifepristone and misoprostol, to verify whether a baby was deliberately aborted. Poland has effectively outlawed abortion and while women can't be prosecuted for taking an abortifacient, anyone helping procure them can. In the US, both drugs are also prescribed during miscarriage. (New York Times, NPR)
Argentinan presidential hopeful Javier Milei is not afraid to articulate pro-life truth. (The Federalist)
The Biden administration has agreed to release $6bn in frozen Iranian funds in exchange for the safe return of five US citizens held there. Tehran will also get five Iranians currently detained in the US. The National Security Council said it has taken “steps” to make sure the money is only spent on "humanitarian aid." However, the Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi said his country will decide what to do with the money. Critics of the move say Biden's action "further incentivizes Iran and its proxies to continue targeting US citizens for abduction and detention." (Mediaite, Townhall)
The Fulton County election interference case will be split into two, after a judge ruled that defendants who requested a speedy trial can be tried separately. Donald Trump and several others will be tried at a later date. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
Medicine and health
The FDA has concluded that phenylephrine, the active ingredient in several popular decongestants, doesn't work. The announcement means brands such as Sudafed will likely disappear from shelves this fall, according to reporting. (The Guardian)
Japanese researchers say they might be able to flip a genetic switch to make humans grow new teeth. (Popular Mechanics)
After visiting 17 doctors over three years, a mom used ChatGPT to diagnose her son's medical condition. (Today)
History: How white rice nearly wiped out Japan's upper classes. (Atlas Obscura)
A “highly credible senior-level CIA officer” has claimed that the Agency offered the analysts investigating lab-leak origins of covid money to "change their conclusion in favor of a zoonotic origin." (The Federalist)
The CDC has recommended updated covid booster shots for everyone over 6 months of age. However, Florida's Surgeon General, Joseph Ladapo has advised anyone under 65 to steer clear of them. (Stat News, The Federalist)
Good for him: Novak Djokovic, who just clocked up his 24th tennis grand slam by winning the US Open, got the shot but not the shot. If you know, you know.. (Twitter)
It's Monday. But Jesus Christ is risen, so…
Climate and the natural world
The Biden administration recently canceled seven remaining licenses for mining oil and gas in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. In other oily news, recently unsealed documents show that the US seized a tanker of crude bound for China in April. Paperwork for the shipment was falsified to disguise the origin oil in a bid to skirt US sanctions against Iran. (AP News, Hot Air)
There's lithium in them thar hills.. It turns out the US is sitting on a lithium goldmine (if you will.) Loads of the metal used in high-tech gadgets has been discovered in a volcano caldera on the Nevada-Oregon border. The deposit would mean independence from foreign imports and control of production. But will NIMBY climate elites allow it to be dug up? Maine also has significant deposits of lithium, but strict regulations prevent it from being mined. (Not the Bee, Time)
How does climate policy impact national security? Ask the Brits. Police in the UK have arrested a parliamentary researcher on suspicion of spying for China. Though you would think Westminster would dish out sanctions or other political pain on Beijing, the Sunak government appears reluctant to upset the CCP as they are dependent on China to produce components for its Net Zero climate targets. (BBC, Telegraph)
A bird once thought extinct has been released back into the wild. New Zealand's takahē was declared extinct at the end of the 19th century. (The Guardian)
Unionized workers at General Motors, Ford and Stellantis went on strike last week over pay and job security. Although the workers have been offered a pay rise, they are looking for longer term guarantees. According to Sean Higgins, a research fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, the partial strike across three plants shows that the unions don’t actually have much leverage. You can hear his arguments on the podcast. (AP, Federalist Radio Hour)
Tesla is close to perfecting a process to die cast the base of their vehicles in one piece. (The Verge)
NASA has released a report of UFOs concluding there is no evidence that unidentified anomalous phenomena have extra-terrestrial origins. (AP)
Mexican ufologist's alien mummies are "unsubstantiated stunt.” Perhaps early Spirit Halloween merch? (Wired)
A group of content creators have signed an open letter from Creative Commons asking the House to include them in discussions about regulating AI. (Creative Commons)
A French regulatory body has ordered Apple to bring its iPhone 12 up to acceptable standard or recall the device altogether. The watchdog said the phone exceeds the emission limit for electromagnetic radiation. (France24)
Apple released its latest iPhone with USB-C ports which made lots of folks happy. (The Verge)
Autonomous vehicle maker, Cruise, says it's nearing approval to produce taxis with no pedals or steering wheel. (Tech Crunch)
Religion and the church
Survey: Mainline clergy are more liberal than their congregants. (Religion News Service)
Well here’s a good example.. This LGBTQ-affirming “Lutheran” pastrix made up her own version of Noah’s story and told the congregation they are “queer-fully” and wonderfully made. (Not the Bee)
“See, here is water!” About 200 young people were baptized in a lake following a worship event held at Auburn University. (Not the Bee)
People used to wander in and out of movie theaters as the film was on a continuous loop. Alfred Hitchcock would not stand for that and made people show up on time for the debut of Psycho. (Kotkke)
How Hollywood insures its biggest stunts. (The Hustle)
Impressive 3-D reconstruction of Tenochtitlan, the Aztec capital. (Tenochtitlan)
Stories from far away
The United Kingdom is facing an issue with crumbling school buildings as students head back to class. Aerated concrete was used to construct various buildings from the 1950s. It was cheaper than regular concrete and has a lifespan of around 30 years leaving structures now at risk of failing. (The Guardian)
Authorities are monitoring the Indian state of Kerala after the discovery of several cases of nipah virus. (The Guardian)
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has returned home after visiting Russian leader Vladimir Putin. (Reuters)
Pro-Russia hackers have reportedly sabotaged Poland’s rail system using cheap equipment. The trains run on unencrypted radio signals. (Wired)
John Michael Jones Gets a Life is produced for Mad ⳩ Mondays by E. Darwin Hartshorn. Episodes can also be found on Tuesday, along with previous episodes, on Bunny Trail Junction at bunny-trail.com.
Quick Hits for the Eyebuds
🌇 People sitting on stoops in New York City in the 1970s
🛸 Artist imagines retro flying cars parked on city streets
🧘 Yoga class mistaken for mass murder scene
🎮 New world record Super Mario speed run
😆 An actual dog whistle
💭 Associate a word with a color then see what others chose
🛴 Totes adorbs: Cockatoo on a scooter
A Good Word: Links from the Show Notes
This week's Stop the White Noise contained great conversation about withdrawal after breaking idols, work ethic and a frank discussion of the act of marriage. Here are a couple of recommendations we picked up:
The Ragamuffin Gospel: Good News for the Bedraggled, Beat-Up, and Burnt Out by Brennan Manning. Use discernment, but Rev Fisk said he read it at a time when he needed to hear about God’s grace.
Intended for Pleasure: Sex Technique and Sexual Fulfillment in Christian Marriage by Ed and Gaye Wheat.
Sweetness You May Have Missed
This Week Preached: Joseph – Part VII
Podcast Release: BHoP#161 The Exit from History Part 1 – From Mainline to Mainstream
Let us pray: O God, our refuge and strength, the author of all godliness, hear the devout prayers of Your Church, especially in times of persecution, and grant that what we ask in faith we may obtain; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
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