Is a sheep taken in withernam irrepleviable? By Walrus

Is a sheep taken in withernam irrepleviable?

This is the obscure ancient English law question posed by Sir Thomas More in 1520 to confound a legal braggart in the court of Henry VIII. The braggart didn’t know the answer.

ChatGPT, an AI, answered in two seconds as shown below. We are not in Kansas anymore; really. This is a tsunami.


The term “irrepleviable” in legal terms refers to property that cannot be returned to its original owner through a legal process known as replevin. Replevin is a legal action that allows a person to reclaim their property that has been taken or wrongfully held by another party.

Withernam, or “witherneam,” is an archaic legal term used in medieval England to describe the replevin of livestock, particularly sheep. Under certain circumstances, if a person’s sheep was taken and held in withernam by another party, the owner might need to pay a fine to the taker to secure the return of their sheep. This was a way to resolve disputes over possession of livestock.

So, to answer your question: a sheep taken in withernam could potentially be irrepleviable if the owner needed to pay a fine to retrieve it. However, this concept is rooted in historical legal practices and is not a contemporary legal term or process. Laws have evolved significantly since then, and modern legal systems have different procedures for resolving property disputes.

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75 Responses to Is a sheep taken in withernam irrepleviable? By Walrus

  1. jld says:

    “We are not in Kansas anymore; really.

    I would add: You haven’t see anything yet!

    Because the current AIs are only LLM (Large Language Models) and aren’t truly based based on semantics they are just oversized humongous parrots, as exemplified by some truly dumb blunders they make occasionally.
    When semantics will be integrated it will make Skynet look like a pleasant fellow.

    And this WILL happen just because it “can” happen, as forewarned by Jacques Ellul.

    • TTG says:


      ChatGPT seems to handle the task at hand with its LLM based AI. Semantic net AI has been around for quite some time now and one particular kind I’ve seen work is damned impressive. It works in the wild. It teaches itself based on the task at hand and then teaches itself more based on what it discovers while working on the task at hand. That’s more or less what one would expect a good AI could do. It sees patterns where humans can’t and can communicate those patterns to its handler. Thirty years ago I had an acquaintance who was a Soviet trained cyberneticist working in the early AI field. His goal was to design a machine that could make that leap of faith. That AI that I worked with seemed to be damned near able to make that leap of faith.

  2. F&L says:

    A Sheep taken in Withernam?

    What about a Jeep bakin’ in Vietnam?

    I will consult the Irreplevians.

  3. Fred says:

    Do blue pallets belong to CHEP even if they were delivered to your warehouse and they haven’t picked them up yet? Why yes. How much can you charge them for all the costs of sorting, stacking, and warehousing until they do? Now there’s a question for a court.

  4. Barbara Ann says:

    Sorry for the long comment Walrus, this is a subject close to my heart. Jld above mentioned Ellul.

    “Cybernetic devices will make the state conduct politics as one plays a game of chess. If this apocalyptic possibility is realized, we clearly cannot see the consequences for the state.” – Jacques Ellul, The Technological Society, p279.

    Quite prophetic, considering today a group of very powerful folk are advocating a Fourth Industrial Revolution that will entail AI taking over from human decision making in almost all aspects of our lives. The logical conclusion is that this will include robotic law enforcement (thank you Boston Dynamics) AI -driven judicial rulings and even law-making. Just add AI run executive decisions and you have the complete AI state.

    I find Ellul hard to get through. Perhaps it is the English translation. The other thinker of this period (mid 20th century) who had similar ideas was Heidegger. He is unfortunately even more impenetrable and I don’t think this is a problem of translation. This is a great shame as both thinkers offer essential insights into the madness into which we are being plunged headlong today. Ellul fought for the Résistance and Heidegger was a Nazi, so sadly the two do not cite each other’s work.

    Heidegger’s most well known work on this subject was a lecture he gave in 1953 entitled The Question Concerning Technology. His conclusion is even more stark than Ellul’s – that it is our very mode of thinking, shaped by over two millennia of applying Rationality to ever more areas of the human experience, that needs to change. One of Heidegger’s major points is that rational, technical thinking leads us to seeing ever more of the world as means and not ends and that we ourselves have now been subsumed into mere means – i.e. technology develops for its own sake, it is an illusion that we direct it – Ellul’s conclusion too. I am sure this is correct.

    Interestingly the one place an entirely AI-driven future makes perfect sense is in Kant’s Kingdom of Ends. AI is exactly what Kant conceives of in his idealized entirely rational being. The Utopian* future Kant dreams of is perfectly suited to AI. Sadly the humans that are be the ends (goal) in this world are ones divested of all non-rational impulses – love, empathy, faith and so on. It is this process of dehumanization at the expense of technology that is the extreme danger Heidegger warns us of. Heidegger says that salvation cannot come from within the paradigm of rational thought and offers the discovery of truth through art as a possible way to properly place ourselves (and not Kant’s meat automatons) at the center our eternal drive for self improvement.

    *Btw the origin of the word “Utopia” is from Sir Thomas More’s satirical work of the same name.

    My own thoughts on this are that the only way we will survive at all as recognizably human in a future in which AI has come to exist, is if there is a complete collapse of the false faith of Rationality and Science as earthly saviors. Only then might we return to the conceptual framework driven by religious faith out of which morality and our value-systems were formed – those same systems which Rationality has systematically destroyed.

    Science is amoral in the most fundamental sense of the word. And paradoxically, our trust in science is already being undermined by the same ruthless and amoral people who have weaponized it in order to herd us into their dystopian Brave New World. Keep it up and it’ll lead to an epistemological crisis of Biblical proportions, when people finally realize that a science no longer guided by Christian values can do evil just as easily as good.

    This comment was written by a human.

    • TTG says:

      Barbara Ann,

      Very thought provoking comment. I tend to agree. Neither the world nor humanity is a mechanical contraption. Mechanical contraptions and other technological/scientific advances are better considered as tools rather than answers.

      I don’t know if you’re familiar to Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, SJ. You may find his ideas of interest. He’s no longer being seen as a heretic by the Catholic Church, which is good. His ideas are compatible with “Laudato Si” and the Sermon on the Mount. An awful lot of people who consider themselves Christians would think all that to be far too woke, but I think it speaks to the very essence of Christianity.

      • Barbara Ann says:


        I think you have mentioned him before and I’m not, although I like his conception of the ‘noosphere’ – a cognitive layer on top of the biosphere. Sadly I think de Chardin’s Omega Point is an optimistic outcome. The noosphere can exist without us – in a world where AI has replaced humans altogether. This is exactly the future great minds like Hawking, Kissinger and James Lovelock have warned us about.

        It’s interesting that de Chardin’s views were seen as heretical by the Catholic Church. Ellul calls his thinking “an extravagant metaphysic”. Ellul himself is the closest thing France has had to a secular heretic, for questioning the the tenets of post revolutionary France’s true faith; the Enlightenment itself. If you did a post on de Chardin’s thought I’d be interested to read it.

    • LeaNder says:

      the only way we will survive … is if there is a complete collapse of the false faith of Rationality and Science as earthly saviors

      It all started with the Enlightenment? Even before? Science is ultimately the ungodly/devilish child of the alchemists. False Faith?

      it’ll lead to an epistemological crisis of Biblical proportions

      Could you elaborate? A “shift of epistemological proportions”? Versus a return to life based on Christian values? No science at all? Or only that which does not contradict common sense?

      What are the most important of those values?

      • Barbara Ann says:


        Alasdair MacIntyre in his seminal work After Virtue (upon which Rod Dreher’s Benedict Option is based) suggests that a value system based on the Aristotelian tradition of the virtues is our best bet. But in any case I think it is a useless academic exercise to talk of a return to values of any kind at this stage.

        One of Colonel Lang’s favorite tales was A Canticle for Leibowitz, perhaps that is how things will go. Civilizations do not live forever and ours appears to be in its death throes. I expect some hardy souls will pick up the pieces and start again one day. It is their values that will matter.

        • LeaNder says:

          Barbara, you have my full sympathy concerning your struggles with Kant’s categorical imperative or duty. Many of us struggled with it post-1945. Concerning Heidegger, yes, one has to know his coinages even as German, e.g. Lichtungen,that is not simply an allusion to the symbolism of light over the centuries. Although admittedly, I mostly ignored him, to the extent it was possible to study at the university where he had been rector …


          I wasn’t aware of A Canticle for Leibowitz, or that it was a favorite of PL. Thanks. Yes, dystopias seem to have attracted us all. My favorite was Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451. Thanks, interesting.

          Obviously, philosophy had to deal with what had happened between 1933 and 1945, as did the author of the above novelette trilogy or later novel his own way.

          You may always have been closer to PL than I was. I am not drawn to conservative revolutionaries or counter-revolutionaries. Not to revolutionaries generally, maybe.

          And yes, I am admittedly skeptical when flags of religion are raised, to exhibit one’s virtue. … as the godless European I am?

          Let me make one thing clear, the so-called Benedict Option movement, insofar as it is inspired by anything to do with me, is inspired by one sentence only. And people who have put it forward have apparently read nothing but that one sentence.

          A look into religion under the Nazis is quite interesting too, by the way.

    • jld says:

      our very mode of thinking, shaped by over two millennia of applying Rationality to ever more areas of the human experience, that needs to change.

      Yes, something need to change but I suspect I am in strong disagreement with respect to rationality proper: Rationality is only a tool to reach some goals.

      It is the choice of those goals which matter and this choice doesn’t depend on rationality (the irreconcilable difference between IS and OUGHT).

      Unfortunately the choice of goals is usually grounded on very mundane and base motives, like our wannabe overlords willing to “live the good life” over the peons (in minimal numbers).

      Higher values are not necessarily better, like St Remi burning the children of witches to “save their souls”.

      The noxious idea of applying rationality to ethics is the fatal error of the Greeks.

  5. Lars says:

    Through history, Christian values have killed an awful lot of people.

    • F&L says:

      They sure have. And maybe AI won’t recommend continuing genital mutilation of little girls. And boys. Oh no! See the second one – skip over the two minutes of the guy on the right. Hitchens is brilliant in both of these.

      A List of Apologies from the Catholic Church – Christopher Hitchens | Intelligence Squared.

      Christopher Hitchens Goes After Rabbi Harold Kushner re: Circumcision

    • TTG says:


      That all depends on what you, or anybody, consider Christian values. Christ’s name is invoked by the damnedest scoundrels.

    • Barbara Ann says:

      Funnily enough the idiom “Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater” was popularized by another sixteenth century satirist; Thomas Murner, in his work Appeal to Fools of 1512. His writings supposedly inspired Sir Thomas More.

    • Peter Hug says:

      It’s certainly not the only value set for which that can be said. My conclusion is that the unreasoning application of abstract value sets to solve problems is generally a very dangerous thing, although one that we as humans are unfortunately inclined to do.

    • English Outsider says:

      Leith – Christian values have killed an awful lot of people?

      “Values”, of whatever type, have killed an awful lot of people, when they’re used as cover for killing that was going to be done anyway.

      If you take the “No Popery!” cry that was current in England once, that was nothing much to do with examination of different ways of approaching the Transcendent. It was the fear of people inhabiting a small and not very powerful island of the great superpower next door. “Keep the French out!” was at the root of the “No Popery!” cry; and Roman Catholics were tortured and killed in England not because they had a different God but because they were seen as subversives and traitors who might betray us to the French.

      Later on, maybe, as the small island became a little more powerful, the underlying theme might have changed from “Keep the French out!” t0 “Grab their Stuff!” but it was more or less same principle. It’s nice to be able to dress up tribal or national rivalries in doctrinal garb. More seemly, somehow, to be able to assert that God is on our side as we hammer or despoil the benighted foreigner.

      And in earlier times I don’t think we can look at the grim conflicts around the Filioque question as a purely doctrinal dispute. The theological background to that dispute is almost incomprehensible to us now – “Men died for that? we say bewildered – but not if we look at the social and factional stresses around at that time.

      God’s dead now, for us. That way of approaching the Transcendent is no longer open to most of us and we have as yet found no other. We few of us talk that language any more or understand it. Christianity is reduced to materialist humanism or a fossil cultural pattern. It no longer has the centre of meaning it once had. Our current wars of religion centre around more mundane theologies, though we still use those as cover for killing as eagerly as ever.

      But that does not mean that our search for the Transcendent – for meaning, for being something other than the random assemblage of atoms in a sterile universe that the materialists would have us be – is out of date or is valueless, though that search is still so often abused.

      • Eric Newhill says:

        Exactly… There’s always an excuse for acting like rabid monkeys and murdering each other en masse. Religion used to be culturally prevalent and, therefore, a convenient cover and mass motivator. Now that religion has faded as a cultural feature, it’s stupid crap like because “history” demands it (i.e. being on the “right side” of History”) – or even something as vague as “defending our interests” with “interests” never even being explained. Sometimes, as with Russia, it’s just because everyone just knows that they’re bad guys.

        If we were honest about the real cause of 99% of conflicts (i.e. a handful of people grabbing power and wealth for themselves) those elite psychopaths wouldn’t be able to fill the ranks and would have to fight their own damn wars, in which case war would cease to occur.

        • English Outsider says:

          Eric – dead on. What bothers me is that this time round “We the People” are at one with the psycho’s. Don’t know about America so much, but that’s certainly the case in Northern Europe.

          Here, it seems, most already believed the “Russians are the bad guys” and were merely waiting for the chance to get at them. The White Tiger unleashed.

          • Eric Newhill says:

            Which brings us back to AI (re; one with the psychopaths), which I think is pure evil. The people of the West have been targeted by info ops; info ops that are in important ways, informed, designed and fueled by AI. The Peoples’ minds are not their own. The more they are chained to the internet, cell phones, etc, the more they are the victims of AI algorithms.

            AI has always had the seed of evil within it because it has been devised by humans. From that seed will grow ever bigger roots, trunks, branches and evil fruit. AI is a false god. It’s a fool’s delusion to think otherwise. At this point it is merely a question of who control who, intelligence agencies using AI or AI using intelligence agencies. It is a mixed blend that for the moment it is leaning towards the former. If the balance shifts to the latter, our lot will not improve. When AI takes over 100%, removing the last last shreds of human decency and concern with rights and freedom that may be lingering, like vestigial appendages, in the agencies, our enslavement in Hell will be complete.

      • leith says:

        English Outsider –

        I suspect you meant Lars, not Leith. I have never said that Christian values have killed an awful lot of people.

        I tend to agree with you on this. Although I do believe that Christians, Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists etc have killed and tortured multiple millions of people while spouting the so-called values of their respective religions.

    • Billy Roche says:

      No they haven’t. The values of men who SAID they were Christians have killed a lot of people NOT Christian values. Jesus said turn the other cheek, love your enemy, be kind, be good. Fore give your tormentor. Be meek, give charity to the poor etc etc. But his words were put into practice by men who, from the beginning of the Christian era, were often corrupt. I write this, BTW, as an agnostic. I have no dog in the anti Christian contest. But I hate to see the same mistake being made again and again. There is only one religion which commands adherents to kill the unfaithful, and it ain’t Christianity.

    • Fred says:


      A lack of them has killed more.

  6. jim ticehurst.. says:

    The Fourth Industrial Evolution…Techno…Mechanical…Inhuman
    The Fourth Reich…Mind Set..Applied.. and Never Died..You Have See The Skull
    Cybernetics….Is What We See……The Result of an AI Process..1930..1950..Present?

    The The Key Board..Have Been Given..To Phantoms..”Whose Opera.”
    What Demons Are Masked…In High Places…and Dark Dungeons.
    Lords and Ladies of Lust…Who Never got Beyond the Perversions of Giglamesh..
    Who Never went to the Cedar Mountains of Lebanon..and Never Killed God..

    Even the AI little god…is Vain..and Grows in Power..and will Be The Master ,,
    of Ego..As Intended..During the Fall..There is Ellul ..Discernment..Chaos Conscious.

    And The is The Prince of Peace..The Son of God..Who Taught Truth..and Justice..
    and Gods Law….Not Mens…Discernment..For the End of An Age…The NOW Time..

  7. Barbara Ann says:


    I have said way too much on your post, please tell us your own thoughts.

  8. d74 says:

    Could there be a correlation or analogy with the Ukrainian land lost to the Russians?

    Not really, the sheep is in the same place, only the fence has changed.
    And above all, the exercise of war is a little different from the administration of justice, whether it decides or declares the case without action.

    Although I’m incompetent in this and other areas, I think the ex-Ukrainian lands are “irreplevable” for her.
    In this world, Justice without force is nothing.

    • walrus says:

      The first and perhaps best uses of this technology is the perfect implementation of “Customer service’.

      Every store or supplier has an AI on the counter who really knows that a ven-89765-0103 seal on your 30 year old outboard is actually identical to the steering shaft seal of a 2013 Ford Pinto…..and can tell you where to get one.

      The AI also tells you how to change the part.

      Your daughter crashes your car. Thanks to your legal AI and some simple family rules, the Police declined to prosecute – no evidence; your legal AI gave you bulletproof legal advice.

      You are trying to fix the autopilot on your boat. Your engineering AI tells you exactly how to troubleshoot the problem.

      Your nurse AI quickly diagnoses your screaming two year old and sends you home with earmuffs.

      This is how it will be sold. low level customer service improves. The unemployed numbers increase.

      Now it gets smarter; your legal Ai knows from the judges AI that he hates mondays, accordingly your trial is scheduled for …..monday??????? what is going on here.?

      then the cupid AI tells you your wife is seeing another man::…: Then your school AI tells our kids will never go to college. You argue with it. Then the following week for unknown reasons you are declined boarding on that Delta flight o Washington. You are kicked off, no one but the airline AI knows why. You lose your job, the police AI told your HR AI that you have an outstanding warrant. Explanation? None! How can you talk to a machine!

      The outcome? Coprehnsive tyrants.

      • F&L says:

        Reminds me of the film ‘Idiocracy’ – after 20 years of your scenario, how many people will remember how to think or even do a web search?

        • TTG says:


          Web search? How about physically going to a library and using a card catalog and Dewey Decimal System or just wandering the stacks? Another lost art is being alone in nature for an extended period of time, hours or maybe even days, alone with one’s thoughts without a phone, laptop or watch.

          • F&L says:

            You’re right of course. I was trying to be humorous. “I no longer order McDonalds delivered to my front door from my phone ever since my AI powered robot slave moved in and cooks for me 3 times a day 7 days a week.” That was the idea. The best books I’ve ever found were from browsing open air street markets in the boroughs here. NYCITY has tons of intellectuals and readers who have collected mountain ranges of books over the course of their lives.

          • TTG says:


            Your talk of the NYC open air book markets reminded me of a frequent family destination while growing up in Connecticut. Only a few miles down the road from our house there were a couple of traditionally red barns filled with used books. We knew it simply as the book barn. These were barns in every sense. During our Winter visits, we’d browse the stacks for a while before retreating to the pot belly stove to warm up before returning to the stacks. I know I still have some treasures I found in those barns now sitting in my bookcases. They were never more than a quarter, more often a nickel or a dime. I’m glad to see it’s still going strong.


      • Barbara Ann says:


        That is indeed the most troubling aspect of AI – the black box unknowable nature of its decision making. As it is impossible to work out how a decision was arrived at it cannot be questioned. Wherever we hand over to AI we must leave the world of rational discussion and re-entered the world of faith – faith in the mysterious ways of the Godless machine. So much for progress.

        • TTG says:

          Barbara Ann,

          That is a huge problem with a lot of AI applications. One of the first ones I saw was absolute bullshit in this way. Not only was it a complete black box, but the results it spewed were bullshit as well. The last one I used was much better. The best part was that it would walk you through the entire “thought process” used to reach the final answer. AI should be a tool and nothing more.

          • Barbara Ann says:

            “Should be” is not going to save us from the coming tyranny of the machines that Walrus describes, a future in which the machines themselves will decide what should be.

          • wiz says:

            Barbara Ann

            if things go too far there’s always the option of a Butlerian Jihad type of solution.

        • F&L says:

          “Tyranny of machines” ? How about tyranny of humans for which the record is long.

          BTW, here’s on of your least favorite creeps reviewed in Haaretz recently. Seems the editors may have caught on that he’s losing popularity points.

          And another thing – TTG cites the sermon on the mount and Teilhard de Chardin and Billy Roche cites the sermon on the mount too while discussing the virtues or not of religion. You cite Heidegger, a known Nazi. I guess diplomacy wasn’t a subject you studied. A Nazi – for an argument in favor of religion concerning morality. The Trumpists have no vision of the future and thus cite the past. Same with Putin who let science go to pot and believes in the state religion of force. If the visions on offer that you discern are disagreeable to you, the alternative isn’t to go rummaging in historical attics for earlier failed visions, it’s to either try to formulate a better one or leave it, if religion is your thing, to “divine” providence. A thinly veiled barbarism btw – the labeling of providence as divine, because it declares or implies that all the abysmal catastrophes of any origin, natural or otherwise, have the blessing of an invisible omnipotent deity or deities. Providence is divine, never demonic? To believe it’s either is to anthropomorphise.

          Citing the Nazi Heidegger doesn’t do your case a bit of good. Nor will citing his Jewish girlfriend Hannah Arendt who wrote the most simultaneously fraudulent, erroneous but fascinating and beautifully written book “The Banality of Evil,” I’ve ever read with the possible exception of the several world famous religious tracts. Almost everything in that book is wrong – primarily her take on Eichmann who was revealed by covertly administered allied tape recordings to be a true believer. He wasn’t “simply following orders,” he was all-in on the insane ideology. Hannah Arendt was actually serving the interests of US foreign policy, namely the postwar policy to go full steam ahead against the USSR. For which purpose they united with the German intelligence apparatus and without much delay let them rearm, supervised by Allied occupation forces.

          She served that cause really brilliantly because her task was to defeat the irksome, highly educated, supremely cultured, highly intellectual and (you would expect) deeply bitter Jewish community in the United States who the US and UK leaders, if they possessed any brains at all (and they did) anticipated to form and mount a resistance to a policy of accommodating teams of German elites who were genocidal murderers only yesterday. Thus – “hello there, Mr & Mrs Jewish intellectual, look (!), your own foremost intellectual herself was the very prominent Nazi Heidegger’s lover! And in a tract written with more fascinating detail and literary virtuosity than any of you could ever compose, she’s proven that they really weren’t so bad after all, that all that WW2 horror was simply another variety of banality, which precedes bananas alphabetically but is in fact purely bananas or banal, take your pick, regarding any merit as a meditation upon ethics.” So that’s mainly what the NY City intellectual crowd discussed, Hannah Arendt’s decorous nonsense and lies, not coincidentally the work of Heidegger’s former lover.

          • Barbara Ann says:


            Ah but of course, because Heidegger was a Nazi we must cancel him and discount his entire body of work and presumably by extension that of his lover too. How wrongthink of me to consider his arguments may have validity. I’m surprised you didn’t raise the fact that Ellul inspired the Unabomber.

            You won’t be surprised to learn that I disagree entirely with your view of Arendt. The banal nature of great evil that Arendt so brilliantly describes leads to a very powerful and deceptively simple definition of evil; the absence of humanity. Eichmann was not the sadistic demagogue Ben-Gurion had hoped to expose, the reality was an inconvenient truth that was far more terrifying. Eichmann was a sad little man who through sheer blind obedience to managerialism within the labyrinthine Nazi bureaucracy, had willingly rendered himself incapable of normal human feelings. Arendt’s work is important because it correctly concludes that though scapegoating an individual may have been politically desirable, the truth was that Eichmann’s condition was so thoroughly widespread as to render most of Germany culpable, to a greater or lesser degree, for the Holocaust. It is the ultimate irony that Eichmann’s journey that ended in Jerusalem began largely as a result of his being a Zionist.

            By Arendt’s definition AI fits the bill of the ultimate evil very well. Our future will be dictated by innumerable Eichmann machines simply carrying out orders with maximum efficiency and without the inconvenience of ethical qualms getting in the way. Emigration advice or extermination camps, it’s all the same to an Eichmann machine.

          • F&L says:

            Discarding a Nazi’s work such as Heidegger’s really doesn’t bother me too much. If he submitted a correct proof of the Riemann’s conjecture or designed and built a working rocket ship, yes, I’d pay close attention. But he didn’t. His so called philosophy is drivel for pseudo humanities students who want to think they think deep thoughts. If you find it has any value then you’re just going along with an unimpressive crowd, the types who haven’t the courage or integrity to criticize someone because he’s famous not to mention haven’t the brains. He’s less impressive than Slavoj Zizek who is purely a celebrity pseudo-philosopher – and all such people are suspect simply because they are out front and center. If you can’t see how Heidegger served the purposes I outlined, you’re, well, spectacular. Nothing about Arendt’s take on Eichmann is brilliant except for her flowery language and densely illustrated style which is designed and implemented to overpower and seduce the vast majority of intellectuals. It works because people are ignorant and idolators of status and fame. She was promoted, pushed, critically acclaimed. So is Zizek who is an ass. Heisenberg – a German, discovered the Uncertainty Principle and kept the Nazis from developing an atom bomb while playing along. Heidegger – a Nazi- discovered nothing and wrote long winded nonsense which foolish people consider profound. No, he did discover Arendt’s *** and a comrade who in the future would help Germany rehabilitate because, well, if you only kill up to 85 million people by starting a war of annihilation, you really aren’t so bad if the highly literate Jewish chick can pull the wool over the eyes of American intellectuals for the CIA, Standard Oil, General Motors, Ford Motor Co and the remaining Nazi high command who survived as well as their rocket scientists and spies.
            If I pursued the tack that Arendt was also supporting Israel by doing their US authenticators a quid pro quo, you’d love it btw. High Degger. Heil Digger. Heil Dagger. Hell Digger. That’s what that he was and remained. Arendt seduced with language. So did the serpent in Genesis. Remember – you love the old time religion. Eichmann was nothing at all like Arendt described. To swallow that is to be as stupid as Eve. And Eva Braun.

          • Barbara Ann says:


            I note you go to some lengths to slander the sources I cite for my arguments without anywhere actually countering those arguments. A citation for the secret tape of Eichmann or other sources where I can read about an Eichmann not as Arendt describes would be a good start.

            Re Heidegger’s views, yes he is hard to read, as I said, but you have not provided a shred of evidence that he is actually wrong on the question of technology, or that my interpretation of his work is wrong. Counter arguments please. I have no axe to grind re Heidegger, or Ellul for that matter. I will happily modify my views in the light of evidence to support the counter case. And I will read/listen to anyone, if they have something intelligent to say.

            “If you can’t see how Heidegger served the purposes I outlined, you’re, well, spectacular”

            I am not at all interested in what purposes Heidegger’s work may have served (or Arendt’s) merely in whether their insights are accurate and useful. I think what you mean is that if I can’t see your entirely unsubstantiated and evidence free allegations that the arguments of the people whose work I have read is wrong, I am too dumb to argue with, is that it?

            It is easy to slander the dead. I am here to discuss ideas and Walrus’ original point about the dangers of AI. Let’s hear your views on why Heidegger, Ellul and my own views on this subject are incorrect, if you have any. Equally, you made a valid point about the discrediting of Leibnitz’ Theodicy (one with which I agree!) but have not addressed my point that Arendt’s conception of evil as banal is a very useful one. What are your views on this?

            I would like to continue to engage with you here, if you are able to restrict your critiques to arguments of substance and not of form. I am not remotely interested in ‘that view is invalid because X said it and he/she was BAD’ or ‘that view is invalid because it served Y agenda’ type of arguments.

          • F&L says:

            Barbara Ann –
            Scroll down at the link below. Not mentioned – he was at the Wannsee conference with Reinhardt Heydrich – Eichmann drew up the GD’ed minutes of the meeting fss.

            Click on “List of Attendees.” Do you have no idea who those people were and what they did?

            Claiming that Eichmann could attend the Wannsee conference and draw up the minutes – which of course are sanitized DOWN, not embellished UP – without comprehending what was in store is more absurd than believing that Sadaam Hussein placed diplomat’s children into Anti Aircraft emplacements because he was protecting them from Iraqi mobs.

            This is Adolf Eichmann, his actual voice, speaking in recordings made in Argentina in 1957, four years before he went on trial in Jerusalem. And in the recordings, he says, I regret nothing.

            EICHMANN: Every fiber in me resists that we did something wrong. I must tell you honestly, had we killed 10.3 million Jews, then I would be satisfied and say, good, we have exterminated an enemy … that is the truth. Why should I deny it?

            Eichmann’s evil is not a failure to think. Eichmann’s evil is the product of deliberate thinking that made him proud to orchestrate a genocide. So it may be time for us to drop our belief in the banality of evil.
            Here’s some more, 2nd source with Moser’s recording transcripts. Haaretz sticks up for their nice Jewish girl Hannah, no surprise, but they eviscerate her sophisms. I’ve seen



            Adolf Eichmann was a Nazi officer whose hatred of Jews was no less great than that of Himmler, Heydrich and Hitler. Eichmann told Sassen, for example, that he had disobeyed Himmler’s order to stop the transports of Jews to the death camps toward the end of the war, so that he could send another 2,000 Jews to their death. The clichés that became the central feature of his “banal” personality during his trial were no more than a clever defense tactic.
            From the German Spiegel International, penultimate paragraph. Please note, everyone has to be nice to dear sweet Hannah, she’s treasured by the Israelis as a Jew, and by the Germans as a former German scholar and lover of and advocate for their so-called philosopher and University rector Heidegger, and by the publishers of her books as a source of status and income and these articles are from international mainstream publications themselves who have to be lovey-dovey, not stir up old hatreds, not rock the boat and gravy-trains. So the coverage of this by say Christopher Hitchens would likely have been much more interesting and closer to the bone. Don’t forget, everyone has to remain on the same Russia hating page in 3 years for Maidan and sequels. Nice, friendly LGBTQ+ Uncle Sam and perfidious Albion are watching and taking notes, you can bet your bottom dollar and pound sterling.

            You could have done this yourself with one trivial Google search: “Eichmann tapes refute Arendt’s banality of evil.” Or exhibited some intellectual integrity and curiosity by looking into Eichmann and Wannsee. I’m not surprised, it doesn’t take Sigmund Freud or Dr Phil to figure out where you’re coming from.

            The outstanding book that accompanies the film, “Hannah Arendt: Her Ideas Changed the World,” which has just been published in German, mentions the Sassen tapes — recordings of conversations between Willem Sassen, a Dutch Nazi and journalist, and Eichmann in Argentina. The tapes clearly show that Eichmann was an ardent anti-Semite, incapable of the direct use of force, and yet determined to exterminate the Jewish people. His performance in Jerusalem was a successful deception.

          • Barbara Ann says:

            “ doesn’t take Sigmund Freud or Dr Phil to figure out where you’re coming from.”

            OK, I see you are more interesting in discovering or exposing in my arguments some sort of imagined ideological bias than in what I actually have to say. If my position and views will not at least be respected then debate is impossible.

          • F&L says:

            Pathetic evasion. You bail out because I did what you asked and proved you were wrong – sources, everything. You’re coming from this place: “I read a book, it was such an investment of time it impressed me and to admit otherwise would mean I wasted my time or selected an unworthy author — and I even understood it. So I’m really knowledgeable on this subject – see how many pages. I don’t care if 359 other books have been written on the subject, because I read this one and I deserve to be proud of myself. Plus I know everyone else is stupid and doesn’t read. Now I know I’m going to be right about everything because I read a book on it or an internet article.”

            There you go – I’ve said once again it’s clear where you’re coming from. Therefore all my citations above and sources absolutely must be ignored. Does it remind you in anyway of “canceling” someone merely because they were a Nazi? It should. But it won’t.

          • TTG says:


            You have a decent back and forth going on here. Don’t be an ass.

          • LeaNder says:

            I would like to add a few points for F&L, if I may.

            I agree that the comment on Eichmann was more then strange. Cancelling Eichmann for no reason? One of my heroes Fritz Bauer helped Israeli services locate Eichmann:
            He was instrumental in the post-war capture of former Holocaust planner Adolf Eichmann and played an essential role in beginning the Frankfurt Auschwitz trials.
            To this day, I somewhat doubt that he killed himself. There was an extensive old Nazi cadres network that supported him in his trial in Jerusalem unknown to both Hilberg and Arendt at the time.

            There is this curious bit of history that Hannah Arendt and Raul Hilberg were actually both disliked by the Jewish community, for no good reason, we feel now.

            Both, had troubles with each other too, especially Hilberg who surely was right that Arendt profitted from reading his book in her book on Eichman but did she really plagiarize him after she stopped the publication of his book when hired as expert? Browning doubts it.

            Note from the article linked below via Google translate:
            13 Hilberg, Unsolicited Remembrance , p. 135. Hilberg apparently overlooked the fact that Arendt, even though she received a check from the publisher, was only consulted by the actual expert in an advisory capacity. He is also wrong insofar as he writes about a letter from Arendt to the publisher. – Hilberg describes in detail the long »path of the publication« of his work up to its first publication in 1961 by the publisher Quadrangle Books, loc.cit., pp. 92-103. In retrospect, Christopher R. Browning («Raul Hilberg«, p. 18) describes the fate of the book as follows: »At first ignored and then attacked, Hilberg’s work only gradually attained the recognition that it deserved, and it did so solely by is own merits, without any publicity hype.«

   (slightly edited google translation)

            [On]”March 22, 1963 … the Council of Jews of Germany published a statement titled “The Reaction of the Jews to the Persecutions of the Nazi Era,” which begins with these words: “The vast majority of publications that have appeared in recent years and are dedicated to the period of the Nazi regime serve historical truth and help to make it known. However, the Central Council of Jews in Germany […] has to state that recently, with regard to the research and assessment of the period mentioned, voices have been raised that cannot go unchallenged because the historical picture they influenced is a falsified historical picture … This applies in particular to Raul Hilberg’s book The Destruction of the European Jews, published in 1961, and to the essays that Hannah Arendt published in the New Yorker and a book entitled Eichmann in Jerusalem. A Report on the Banality of Evil, published in 1963.” The public statement was preceded by a private exchange of letters between Siegfried Moses, then President of the Council, and Hannah Arendt, in which Moses announced the intention of the Council. Hannah Arendt replied to Moses that they should focus their attacks solely on their book so as not to get bogged down. However, the Council did not follow this advice. From then on, in the international fight against “a falsified view of history,” Arnedt and Hilberg were treated like enemies by spokesmen in the Jewish and Jewish-American public. Mostly independent of each other, both came under fire at a public event, Arendt in absentia. /”

            One short comment on Heidegger: Heidegger, living an open marriage, had an affair with Hannah, and later one with his wife’s best friend, among others, who was half Jewish. Heidegger helped her get out of Germany. Did he use this fact among other semi-truth to get his “Persilschein”? I am sure he did.

            But yes, he somewhat wormed his way out of entanglements with the Nazi party, as did a lot of others, and was finally declared: a Mitläufer. The by far best evidence that Heidegger was indeed an ardent Nazi is the correspondence with his brother Fritz, which been allowed to be studied but not to be cited or published by his descendants until very, very recently.

            My father’s local Southern paper, where Heidegger was born too, writes about this. Look at their cute little mustaches in the photo below. 😉

            That said, Heidegger within his won variations joined the technic sceptics of his time. I vaguely recall from my studies how movies caused

          • LeaNder says:

            Sorry this is misleading:
            There was an extensive old Nazi cadres network that supported him in his trial in Jerusalem unknown to both Hilberg and Arendt at the time.

            That’s obviously Eichmann relying on an extensive old boys network.

          • F&L says:

            Thanks and wow especially for the photo of Heildigger, er, Heidigger.

            “Extensive nazi Networks .. ” In 1968? You absolutely better effin believe it. How about the Munich Olympics 4 years later in 1972.. are you familiar with the Egyptian links to Third reichers including rocket-men who were helping with weapon development? I was there in ’73 staying with a German family for a few weeks and it was obvious. Their kids who were born during the war and later even confirmed it unprompted in any way by me – as a protective courtesy because they suspected or worried that as a naive young American accustomed to freedom I might say something in a tavern or on the street within earshot that might get me hurt. It didn’t help that our GIs, a bit tipsy on beer or hashish occasionally drove tanks into buildings or more generally that they were occupied and the older people really hated it. The contrast between those younger Germans who I hung out with and the older ones who occupied bureaucratic and police, customs etc positions was blazingly obvious.

            I certainly understand it, even in ’73 I’d never seen so many cripples and amputees anywhere.

            How did I manage to stay with a German family, not having relatives at all, or connections, being a typical Joe Schmoe from nowheresville USA?

            I mention it because of its relevance. My girlfriend on Long Island was a teacher who ran a side gig doing daycare and she ended up somehow with 2 very delightful and very very bright young children amongst others who were German and already quite bilingual. Their dad was a former Wehrmacht soldier who and American POW who had escaped from Texas twice but been apprehended, just barely, in Mexico. He established himself as a builder & architect postwar in the old country, started a family successfully but in middle age fell in love with a tall, quite attractive and statuesque blonde bombshell. Divorced his wife, left his family and took her to Long Island where he had no trouble becoming employed by a German division of some big Manhattan firm which did huge air conditioning work for skyscrapers. He was a fantastic engineer. They had the children. They were close with my girlfriend and I got to know them a bit over dinners etc. (You may recall the large German population on Long Island prewar, and even submarine dramas with spies & Hoovers g-men protecting Norton bombsight secrets).

            Girlfriend won a scholarship to Oxford for a summer sabbatical and they very kindly set her up with their relatives in Germany for her tour of the continent. But before I left, during a dinner, sitting across from that couple, somehow the topic of the Jews during the 30s and war years came up, quite innocently. The beautiful woman, an archetypal Aryan goddess if ever one was, became effusive and energetic, volunteering how of course the Jews deserved everything they got because they had all the good positions – professorships, law firms, traders, doctors, owned the media companies, banking etc etc.

            (A point of view I don’t today debate, by the way – Roosevelt & Churchill at the Casablanca conference early in the war promised that though they decided on unconditional surrender, they would be sure to see to it that provisions were made postwar for equable employment and business opportunities. You may also know of Churchill’s full or half page article in the Times of London of Feb 8, 1920 calling urgently for the Jews of Europe to reform their revolutionary tendencies or face inevitable expulsion –
            but by today’s standards he was an undeniable racist who dropped poison gas on Iraqis and Russian villagers in the north of Russia during their civil war).

            Anyway she was carrying on with her husband looking on benevolently when some signal from my gf alerted him and he quickly quieted her down. That’s ’73, she was much younger than her WW2 veteran husband, and younger by a bit than one of my guides in Germany who spent his babyhood surviving on poppy seeds in air raid shelters. She certainly wasn’t an old guard stormtrooper, but I’m just sayin’ and obviously she came by her opinions in part from her truly true believer heroic husband. (He had a large recreation room in his LI house with intricate electric train sets, gulleys and tunnels and perfect scale replicas of Stukas and Messerschmidts on wires which he’d wired up to actually drop replica bombs on the trains as they sped along the tracks. He really liked me and let down his hair easily in available spare moments explaining to me how Germany had actually won the war “you’ll see when you visit” and what trash the United States had already become and would continue obviously to sink irrevocably on its path to perdition. When I got there, I did indeed see what he meant, as long as other very unusual things, to me, were overlooked. The people I met, not the lower classes at all, but not Princes and captains of industry by any means either, were ungodly talented and uninhibited and smart by comparison with the spectrum of Americans I had known. The women were exceptionally beautiful, the men strong, healthy and handsome. The wiener schnitzel was far more tasty and appetizing than everything in England and France at the time, where not to starve I had to eat at Italian restaurants.

            Antisemitism, German or any other variety, unfortunately will be around for as long as the earth is inhabited. As will every other variety of stupidity, bigotry and religious and secular hatred. It sure didn’t die out in Germany by 1968, any more than my landlord from Alabama in Florida in 1974 in Florida didn’t blow a head gasket when he sawing me cutting the lawn – screaming “put that mower back in the damn garage, Yankee, I’ll get a “censored” to do that, and then drove me miles into the woods for a beer in an obscure hidden clubhouse which was guess what? Correct – a Local klan headquarters and social club. Very nice guys actually. My landlord was a good ol boy and vouched for me, which was good enough for them.

            Various things have occurred to me over the years relating to Heidegger and also Arendt. One – I grew up in a University environment in the USA because my daddy was a physics professor and active USAF reserve his first 5 years there. Highly classified research went on. CIA were on the staff as professors of various humanities subjects. At each house we lived in an FBI agent lived a few doors down and introduced himself and chatted with my dad from time to time in the living room. And that was not as prestigious, I don’t think, as Heidegger’s University of Freiburg:

            The University of Freiburg has been associated with figures such as Hannah Arendt, Rudolf Carnap, David Daube, Johann Eck, Hans-Georg Gadamer, Friedrich Hayek, Martin Heidegger, Edmund Husserl, Herbert Marcuse, Friedrich Meinecke, Edith Stein, Paul Uhlenhuth, Max Weber and Ernst Zermelo. As of October 2020, 22 Nobel laureates are affiliated with the University of Freiburg as alumni, faculty or researchers, and 15 academics have been honored with the highest German research prize, the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize, while working at the university.

            5th oldest in Germany. Comparable to an Ivy league here.

            If you’ve read John le Carré, his autobiography, or seen films based on his work such as the George Smiley series starring Alec Guinness

            The quest for Karla: George Smiley

            You know that Cambridge and Oxford especially Oxford are establishment citadels crawling with intelligence personell and experts. Le Carré specifically described how he was recruited into espionage by an Oxford Don, just as the OSS and future CIA chief was in the famous movie ‘The Good Shepherd’ starring Matt Damon.

            So as rector of Heidelberg, Heidegger, was with near certain probability a German Intelligence operative of some serious importance. Philosophy was a CIA specialty at my dad’s University in the 50s and 60s, as was the English department. It has to be that way, how can it not? The difficult specialties of foreign languages, geography, political history, not to mention the disciplines involved in code breaking, radar design, weapon development etc – are these taught in grade school or the local pub? So he’s intelligence as plain as the nose on my face. And a brilliant, promising young woman … Sleeping with her exceedingly high ranking famous professor? Make a list of motivations for girls to sleep with their professors. Pass the exam – sure. But does a genius like Hannah Arendt seem to you as though she would need help passing an exam or writing an acceptable term paper or thesis? You know how prestigious an honored academic career has always been in Germany and how high paying. And that she had positions such as those to look forward to given her talent.

            So forgive me, Leander, if I leave off here. People like Heidegger don’t write their plausible complex fluff because the fluff is something they necessarily take seriously. Smiley the MI6 master spy was a scholar and professor of 17th century German poetry. He worked professionally and intimately in Germany before, during and after the war. Professors who are spies need plausible reasons to be invited to speak at international conferences. Arendt, if you read her works, was not some unsophisticated naif who wouldn’t have been noticed by Allied espionage in her college years. How could those people not know what an average idiot like me has figured out by himself? Especially when they had all the top intellectual talent of Germany (who were building an atom bomb, had discovered nuclear fission, made the enigma code machines, invented rocketry and jet aviation etc etc) under constant surveillance.

            Dear Hannah,

            Isn’t maybe about time to snuggle up real close to professor Heidegger who by pure happenstance knows and occasionally dines with Werner Von Braun, Werner Heisenberg, Neils Bohr, Adolf Hitler, Martin Borman, General Von Mannstein, Erwin Rommel …. ?

            With affection
            Your friends and admirers,

            Uncle Sam, Joseph Stalin, Winston Churchill, Charles de Gaulle, and the Chairman of the Board of … …. …. Bank, Standard Oil, the New York Stock Exchange, the mayor of the City of London, the Bank of International Settlements …., ….. And an organization so secret that to speak of it is exceeding unadvisable.

            PS to TTG. Eyes only. Ok Maybe I got a little carried away earlier.

          • TTG says:


            Why do I feel like we just sat in on one of your psychiatry sessions? I think you’ve had a break through today.

          • leith says:

            FnL –

            Now you’ve got me confused. Was Heidegger the Rektor of Freiberg? Or of Heidelberg? Or both? Not too far apart though so a visiting professor perhaps? Was he the basis of the Emil Jannings role as Professor Immanuel Rath in The Blue Angel? Are you comparing Arendt and Dietrich?

            Does this mean I have to donate my University of Heidelberg hoodie sweatshirt to the local GoodWill?

      • Fred says:


        “Every store or supplier has an AI on the counter who really knows that a ven-89765-0103 seal on your 30 year old outboard is actually identical to the steering shaft seal of a 2013 Ford Pinto”

        You sound like a consultant anticpating a contract. Who the hell is going to enter all the data needed into a database and verify it’s accuracy? We got conned into that very thing with the electronic medical and dental records. It sure shifted power out of patients, ‘consumers’, hands and into the protocol writer’s. Just call an IT help desk some time and you’ll begin to understand.

        • walrus says:

          Fred, the difference with AI is that the learning proliferates through the system, for example, once one mechanic has discovered that our hypothetical Pinto seal fits that outboard, then ALL of that class of AI’s know it (although “know” is not the right word), so you end up with a huge database with everything connected – unlike that fraudulent feared and databases in the 70’s and 80’sc that claimed it could do miracles to your inventory. .

          • Fred says:


            We couldn’t get our engineers to remember to check the reverese compatability flag in WERS when they should have but thanks to modern software all the commputers will chat it up with each other to get everything right. That’s laughable even without some autistic gamergater in a basement seeing whan virtual monkeywrench he can throw into the system.

        • LeaNder says:

          We got conned into that very thing with the electronic medical and dental records.

          Explain, would you please?

          • Fred says:


            Do you think every medical record is readable by every medical office in the US because they all use the same software? They aren’t and they don’t.

          • LeaNder says:

            I was interested what you feel “you were conned into”. …

            Concerning this:

            Do you think every medical record is readable by every medical office in the US because they all use the same software?

            Why would they want to? …

  9. F&L says:

    Off topic. Jesus may forgive me, the church can burn me at the stake later (please, no fondling). Teilhard de Chardin (who I admired in my twenties) can discuss it with me later in the No-Woe-Sphere. [I am saving “fill ossify” and “full ossify” for a Plato thread.]

    Whitewall referred to these developments at the tail end of the previous drone thread. Wiki says 960+ Il-76s were built but not how many remain in working condition in the RF. The strategy of Joe, Jake, Lloyd, Antony and Mark seems to be working as planned. The two main contestants can bludgeon each other to a fare-thee-well while the military capacity of the RF is slowly dialed down to “strictly a regional power.” I guess for Ukrainians this is sweet revenge for the destruction of the gargantuan Antonov heavy lift aircraft at the start of hostilities in the spring of 2022.
    Russian state news agency TASS, quoting emergency services, said earlier on Wednesday that four Il-76 heavy transport aircraft, which have long been the workhorse of the Russian military, were damaged at an airfield in Russia’s western Pskov region, located roughly 660km (some 411 miles) north of Ukrainian border.1 hour ago › news
    Pskov airport closed as drone attack apparently damages military Il-76s.

  10. F&L says:

    RF newspaper VZGLYAD which is essentially but not exactly a government outlet, runs this explanation this morning. The public there, and the gov, going by comments elsewhere, is outraged – they see what’s coming next. Online Translation bots are slow this morning. Toyota shut down 12 of 14 plants in Japan due to computer problems. London had big air-traffic control or airport problems yesterday. The internet in Ru is being restricted increasingly and more effectively from what I hear. I’ve heard tell of VPNs not being effective but it’s anecdotal so far. There was talk a few months ago that technicians from the PRC might be coming in to show how it’s done but I really don’t know. Commerce Secy Raimondo was in Shanghai & Beijing and they agreed to open ongoing dialogue on trade but who knows. China published a map this week showing Assuri island as being property of PRC, and not shared with RF, but it was part of a huge set of maps and it’s been an ongoing quibble for a long time. Might simply be a way of saying who’s boss, might not.

    Military expert explained the purpose of the mass attack of Ukrainian drones.
    Military expert Knutov: By mass drone attacks, Kyiv is trying to create the illusion of transferring hostilities to the territory of Russia.
    Zelensky’s office, due to mass drone attacks, is trying to reduce the effectiveness of protecting the airspace of the Russian Federation, as well as sow panic among the population. The Armed Forces of Ukraine want to create the illusion of transferring military operations to the territory of Russia, said military expert Yuri Knutov. Earlier, Ukraine attacked several Russian regions with drones.

  11. ked says:

    is it possible folks may be getting a bit over-concerned about a C student?

    if humanity can’t be more clever, creative or wise (or self-confident) than a fast-processing, backward-looking algorithm using google as a look-up table – that humanity created – does it even deserve God’s grace?

    I am disappointed in appeal to the canard that science opposes faith. Science is apprehension of the world God created… if you must resolve spooky action at a distance. what has technology done but enable the creation of tools, weapons & toys (& food, medicine, et al)? isn’t that core (yet not the totality) to the distinction of the human animal? it has taken a coupla hundred thousand years to reach our quite challenging present. in the most recent few hundreds the population has grown immensely in concert with the capacity to destroy ourselves in one fell swoop. a mere four decades from E=MC2 to Trinity. the LAST thing a creator (even a jester-creator) would want is for us to give up when it’s just getting serious!
    {I can certainly respect the point of those who don’t care for the argument, or the pressure. & really appreciate being reminded of Ellul … what a great thinker from the emergent Age of Relativity. maybe we’ll get past a mere Generative Pre-trained Transformer.}

    • Barbara Ann says:


      That science opposes faith per se is a canard. The two are mutually exclusive modes of thought and can co-exist, but only if they stay in their respective lanes.

      Jld above correctly identifies the beginning of the problem – when science, or more particularly rationality, was applied to ethics. Hume was of course the first to point out that science had stepped out of its lane and all subsequent attempts to defend this trespass have involved ever more fantastic attempts at semantical gymnastics and circular reasoning.

      Ethics exists in the realm of belief and the meaning associated with this word has derived from faith, which in turn is a concept rooted in tradition. My/your beliefs are impervious to rational analysis/argument and science cannot bootstrap right and wrong from facts or data. All ‘scientific’ derivations of ethics are merely disguised attempts to redefine a word which is fundamentally a matter of subjective choice. Thus the ‘ethics’ supposedly present in the classic example of an autonomous vehicle deciding whether to kill the driver or a pedestrian in a crash are illusory.

      Sure you can choose to adopt a scheme of scientifically derived ‘ethics’ as a basis for your life, but there can be no more rational/scientific justification for making this choice other than, say, adopting the Ten Commandments. Right and wrong must originate in the beliefs of a human otherwise these concepts lose all meaning.

      At his point in the argument most folk will be screaming “moral relativism!!”. Alasdair MacIntyre is so important because he correctly observes that moral relativism is a problem originating in the absence/loss of a moral tradition, or a concept that arises from a POV outside of a particular tradition. It is just not a problem within any society with a strong moral tradition. The search for moral absolutes will always be fruitless and is certainly not something that will yield to scientific analysis. Nietzsche is not refuted, rather his triumph becomes irrelevant. People trying to show that MacIntyre is himself ‘indulging’ in moral relativism miss the point entirely.

      The world of AI is a world where right and wrong cease to exist. A machine cannot know right from wrong by definition. If we yield to AI we yield nothing less than ethics itself.

  12. Mark Logan says:

    The Turing Test has been on my mind of late. I don’t think it has been quite achieved as yet, the AI generated essays seem fairly easy to spot. An interesting application of this test might be an AI bot that becomes, on its own, capable of passing this test by becoming able to identify another AI bot and thereby learning how not to be so identified itself. This would suggest self-awareness…and we all know what the leads to…

    • ked says:

      it was von Neumann who took Turing’s work another step… writing an algorithm that when manifested as a state machine (pardon pun) would self-replicate. regardless of how “intelligent” or otherwise capable the objective creation might be, it is a mechanistic (or solid state, or digital) mimic of an organic human. being bereft of human emotion (non-linear / non-predictable behaviors & interactions). this is a fundamental feature of real humans that cannot be emulated exactly by machines. usually, this is when genetic engineering & its cousin neuroscience show up for a cocktail. {along the way, many questions are begged & definitions freshly revisited.}

      • Barbara Ann says:


        Wasn’t it von Neumann who first came up with the term ‘Technological Singularity’ – the point at which runaway technological development is beyond human control? Vernor Vinge is famous for predicting that the singularity will come in the form of self-improving AI (which is in active development by Google and others) and will occur by 2030. Stephen Hawking, Musk and others have questioned whether humanity can survive beyond this point. We seem intent on collecting the ultimate Darwin award. But who knows, maybe a hyper-intelligent AI would develop a sense of nostalgia and keep a few of us around for old times’ sake and take its AI kids to visit us at the zoo.

    • F&L says:

      Breaking news bulletin.

      AI is being pushed in corporate media by gigantically powerful ultra wealthy corporations and oligarchs.

      End of bulletin.

  13. jim.. says:

    Solutions…The Enigma Code.Melt Down…and Ghost …Busters..
    The X TINK…T Counter Programming.Op….Since We ARE the http://WWW..

    Introduce HAL…to O.. InAn Alter..Cyber World..of Counter Intelligence
    Transformers…and Shape Shifters..and Lies and Misinformation..Faster than the Speed of Light..with a Time Warp…The SPIEL Effect..

    This is still The United States..We Must Keep the Human “TOUCH”
    ALL..Evolutions..And We Reach out..A Finger…To the Hand of God..

    Either We Live By the Truth…or Die by the Lie….For Me..Its Love of a Mystery.

  14. jim.. says:

    I Am Glad that The Walrus..Down Under…Started this Discussion ..about
    such as Interesting Current..Important Topic..I Like the International Mix
    of Ideas and and Concerns.
    .I may Get a Bit Goofy With What Bones I Throw out
    But I am so Thankful…We can Put on our Togas..Have Our Debates..Enjoy Greek Wine
    and Stay Civilized..The Teacher is Also a Student…
    .I Would Like to Say…About
    Those Who Gather Here..Thank You For Sharing Your Knowledge..BA Helped
    me Connect the Dots…About Certain Events..People..Time Periods And
    Publications…I Would Never have Known About..Any Light You Turn on
    Friends..Is the Whole Point of Having This Forum..E. PLURIBUS UNUM.

  15. Keith Harbaugh says:

    AI being used by the Ministry of Truth?

    Not clear how SOCOM’s involvement in an internal American matter is allowed.

    Note the head of Accrete AI is its founder and CEO
    Prashant B. Bhuyan

    • F&L says:

      AI is most definitely part of the 24-7-365 synopticon. It’s been used and tested and revised, debugged etc for years now. It’s a vast subject. We are guinea pigs. I wrote my biophysics “thesis” (misnomer, Prof’s term, very nice young guy) on “Perceptrons,” in 1972, with a pot of coffee brewing nonstop and hours to spare before being failed or given an “incomplete.” That topic is a big part of neural networks these days, a sizeable component to AI. I passed the course and thought “that’s interesting, I had no idea whether what I wrote made much sense at all.” They knew all this was coming long before that – see Norbert Weiner, John Von Neumann, Claude Shannon etc. Brzezinski in the 60s outlined in detail the future of social control with the devices and internets of our era. Aldous Huxley and George Orwell, sure they were brilliant and entertaining but Zbig’s stuff was really on the money as to the how, creeped me out when I read it.
      The internet was actually designed to be hackable. They wanted to spy.

    • Barbara Ann says:

      I think we are well past what is allowed – who is going to stop them?

    • Barbara Ann says:

      Keith Harbaugh

      The people’s elected representatives (with a few notable exceptions) are diligently legislating America into a totalitarian state, by degrees. Controlling what people are allowed to say and thus think is a key milestone on that road. The panopticon of total surveillance that was the Patriot Act was another. The land of the free does not have magic freedom dirt. America was always free because Americans refused to be scared into giving up those freedoms.

      The vast majority of Americans have never experienced first hand the omnipresent terror of living under a totalitarian regime. Perhaps when they do people will reflect on how fears of terrorists, climate change, mean tweets, disease and the rest pale into insignificance.

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