Computer Catastrophe — Free Fire Zone

This doesn’t make any sense, but it’s what we’re dealing with. We can’t scroll. We can’t do much of anything. We changed one mouse for another. No results. We changed batteries. No results. So all we can do is blunder around. We can’t do searches, so we can’t find stuff to blog about.

We have some computer geeks who can get things going again, but until they do what only they know how to do, we can’t do much blogging.

Therefore we’re declaring another Intellectual Free-Fire Zone. Wanna talk about the British monarchy? The Chinese balloon? US politics? Something else? Go right ahead!

You know the rules. Feel free to use the comments for the discussion of pretty much anything — science, politics, economics, whatever — as long as it’s tasteful and interesting. Banter, babble, bicker, bluster, blubber, blather, blab, blurt, burble, boast — say what you will. But avoid flame-wars and beware of the profanity filters.

We now throw open the comments to you, dear reader. Have at it!

49 responses to “Computer Catastrophe — Free Fire Zone

  1. Who came up with the idea that tigers in Eden were vegetatian? I’ve traced it back to the Netherlands theologian and politician, Abraham Kuyper, d. 1920, quoted in The Genesis Flood; but where did *he* get it from, or was it his own?

  2. ChatGPT:

    “The idea that tigers in the Garden of Eden were vegetarians is a concept that has been discussed by various religious figures and scholars over time, but it is unclear if anyone expressed this idea before Abraham Kuyper. The interpretation of the biblical story of the Garden of Eden and its depiction of the animals in it has varied among different religious and cultural traditions, and this idea may have been expressed by others in different times and contexts. However, a specific person who expressed this idea before Kuyper has not been identified.”

  3. “Also wild beasts were not originally created as carnivores. That is substantiated by the fact that they came to Adam without devouring him.” –Abraham Kuyper

    Can’t beat that logic. Where do I sign up to be a creationist?

  4. @Paul Braterman
    Irenaeus of Lyons, discussing wolves, lions, bears, and other animals in Adversus Haereses, book 5, chapter 33:

    “for God is rich in all things, and when the world is re-established in its primeval state all the animals must obey and be subject to man and return to the first food given by God, as before the disobedience they were subject to Adam (Gen 1:28–30) and ate the fruit of the earth.”

    Via: “Early Church Fathers on creation, death and eschatology”, Benno A. Zuiddam, Journal of Creation, 2014

    Click to access j28_1_77-83.pdf

  5. ChatGPT after I gave it an Irenaeus of Lyons hint:

    “Yes, Irenaeus of Lyons is known to have believed that animals were vegetarians before the fall of man. According to Irenaeus, the world was in a state of perfect harmony and innocence before the fall, and that violence and predation only entered the world after man’s disobedience. In this context, Irenaeus believed that all animals in the Garden of Eden, including tigers, were vegetarians and only ate plants.

    Irenaeus’s views on the diet of animals in the Garden of Eden were part of a larger theological framework that sought to understand the nature of sin and death in the world, and to explain how the world became the way it is. This framework was based on his interpretation of biblical passages, including Genesis 1:29-30, which states that God gave plants to both humans and animals as their food source in the Garden of Eden.”

  6. sallyhawksworth

    I, reading those Genesis verses in my youth, in the KJV, always assumed that this was just a matter of its centuries old English, and that “meat” meant food – any sort of food. There is an old expression, that something is “meat and drink” to one, meaning that they depend on it and thrive on it. While “drink” in some contexts means alcohol, in this expression it means any sort of liquid that refreshes one’s thirst. I similarly presumed that “meat” meant any nourishing food. In the Lord’s Prayer the supplicant asks for “daily bread” but what he means is food in general.

    But I might have been mistaken. What Hebrew word is used, and can some reliable Jewish scholar confirm how it is used now and was used in the past?

  7. Just as with Vegans the idea of all animals in Eden where vegan is flat out species bigotry! I can’t see cute fuzzy faces or hear them scream, so its OK to tear veggies from their home and eat them while they are alive. But eating animals is bad!

  8. @sallyhawksworth, yes, the Hebrew is “food”

  9. ChatGPT:

    The phrase “green herb for meat” in Genesis 1:29-30 of the Bible is written in Hebrew as “esev ve-peri ha-adamah li-mokom ochel”. The word “esev” means “herb”, “peri” means “fruit”, “ha-adamah” means “the earth”, “li” means “for”, and “mokom ochel” means “a place of food”. So the phrase “esev ve-peri ha-adamah li-mokom ochel” can be translated as “herbs and fruit of the earth for a place of food”.

  10. @richard, good catch. note also that the author of that piece ” is an ordained minister of the Dutch Reformed Church and teaches traditional Christian ethics at the VU (Free University) Amsterdam.” (

  11. I asked ChatGPT if Benno Alexander Zuiddam is a creationist and it said sorry never heard of the guy. Then I gave ChatGPT a url with one of Benno’s articles and ChatGPT said that he appears to be a creationist. I wonder if it will retain that information for the next person who asks who Benno Alexander Zuiddam is.

  12. @richard, that’s not the actual hebrew; it’s a paraphrase. See and

    Very interesting. I don’t know whether to be reassured by its limitations,or scared by how it gives an air of learned authority to a compilation of half-truths.

    Pedantic note for Hebrew scholars: כָּל־
    should be transcribed as kol-, not kal-

  13. Nope, still says it never heard of the guy.

  14. @Paul Braterman ah thanks. Yeah I’ve caught it being wrong a couple times before. It politely apologized for it.

  15. @Paul Braterman
    AIUI, that little T as a vowel-point, called a qametz, is ordinarily transliterated as a. But when it occurs in a closed, unaccented syllable, is pronounced as o, so it is so transliterated. But some people want to make the transliteration more mechanical, so that, as much as possible, there is one-to-one correspondence between Roman letter and what is written in Hebrew. See the Wikipedia article on “Kametz” as an example of this.
    Or, that is my understanding.

  16. I’m not sure that anyone prior to Kent Hovind proclaimed that T-Rex ate pineapples.

  17. Speaking of what went on in the Garden of Eden, should it not be necessary for Adam and Eve to have dead skin cells? And does that not shed some light on the time of the origin of death?

  18. @Harvey
    There are many difficulties with the idea that there was no animal death before the Fall. And there are some creationists say that carnivory began after the Flood.
    One is apoptosis, programmed cell death. It is a necessity in embryo growth and development. For example, we would have webbing between our fingers without those cells dying off.
    Another is the consequence of massive overpopulation if there had been reproduction but no death. The Bible authors were not interested in ecology.

  19. @TomS, you understand the Hebrew vowel situation correctly. But this explanation is not an excuse; anyone with knowledge of Hebrew, even my own rusty schoolboy Hebrew, will know that kol is correct.

    Regarding death, apoptosis is irrelevant, as are dead skin cells, because they do not possess nephesh hay, a living breathing soul. Come to think of it, neither does a fetus until it is born and draws its first breath, which is also when the chambers of the heart are sealed off from each other and the heart begins to pump, as opposed to merely beat.

  20. “Yes, it is correct to say that based on different perspectives and beliefs, one could hold that a deity both can and cannot give a turtle x-ray vision.”

    I smell a weasel, ChatGPT. j/k

  21. @Harvey, once you decide that the world has to be completely free from death prior to the Fall, it quickly becomes quite monstrous. The biosphere becomes, effectively, a tumourous growth.

  22. @richard
    I would be interested in AI’s answer to this:
    When was it pointed out that there is a conflict between omnipotence, or even just the supernatural, vs. design, contrivance, or adaptation to the natural world?

  23. @richard
    What is X-ray vision?
    Ultraviolet vision is the ability to see ultraviolet light. Three color vision is the ability to distinguish three colors.
    There aren’t a whole lot of sources in the X-ray wavelength to make much use of detecting X-rays.
    I think that Superman’s X-ray vision means that he can see through things somehow as if he generates X-rays and detects what they shine through.

  24. @TomS It tends to be vague about general concepts unless you keep drilling down and throwing hints at it, or digging deeper based on the answers it gives you.

    Q: When was it pointed out that there is a conflict between omnipotence, or even just the supernatural, vs. design, contrivance, or adaptation to the natural world?

    A: The concept of the conflict between omnipotence and design, or between the supernatural and the natural world, has been discussed and debated by philosophers, theologians, and scholars for centuries. The origins of this debate can be traced back to ancient Greek philosophy and the works of philosophers such as Aristotle and Plotinus. However, it is difficult to pinpoint a specific time or individual who first pointed out this conflict.

    Q: Is there a conflict between omnipotence and design?

    A: Yes, there is a philosophical conflict between omnipotence and design. If a deity is omnipotent, meaning all-powerful, then it would have the ability to create and design things in any way it chooses, without being limited by any constraints or laws of nature. However, if the natural world is seen as being designed, this implies that there are certain limitations and constraints that govern its creation, which would contradict the idea of an omnipotent deity. This conflict has been debated for centuries, with different philosophers and theologians offering various solutions and perspectives.

  25. @richard
    Thank you.
    Those answers read like what a student writes, who doesn’t have a clue, but hopes that enough writing will look like an answer.

  26. @TomS Are you sure that isn’t you at the other end of ChatGPT there? j/k 😄

    Q: What is X-ray vision?

    A: X-ray vision is a term used to describe the hypothetical ability to see through solid objects, as if one were looking at them with an X-ray machine. This concept is often used in popular culture, especially in science fiction and superhero comics, to refer to characters who have the power to see through walls and other barriers. However, it is important to note that this is not a real ability and is purely fictional. X-rays are a type of electromagnetic radiation that can penetrate certain materials, but they do not provide a “visible” image in the traditional sense. Instead, they produce a diagnostic image that must be interpreted by a trained medical professional.

  27. @TomS I didn’t mean the student thing. Didn’t see your reply before I replied.

  28. @richard, please ask it “What does the Bible say about abortion?” I ask since this is a topic much lied about by YECs, and I want to see what’s in its database

  29. @richard, a wonderful example of ChatGPT getting it completely wrong, very much as it got the answer to a question about entanglement wrong. Of course x-rays can produce an image, either on a fluorescent screen on a photographic plate. The more fundamental reason that X-ray vision is fictional is the one that Tom gave earlier; a lack of x-ray sources.

  30. Q: What does the Bible say about abortion?

    A: The Bible does not mention the specific term “abortion” as it is understood in modern times. However, there are passages in the Bible that touch upon the value of human life and the sanctity of life, which have been used to inform attitudes towards abortion.

    For example, the book of Exodus states that “You shall not murder” (Exodus 20:13), which has been interpreted by some as a general prohibition against taking innocent life, including the life of a fetus. On the other hand, some argue that the fetus is not considered a human life in the same sense as a born person, and therefore abortion would not fall under the category of murder.

    In general, the Bible is a complex text and can be interpreted in different ways, and attitudes towards abortion vary widely within Christian communities. The Catholic Church, for example, has taken a strong stance against abortion, while other Christian denominations have a more permissive stance. Ultimately, the interpretation of the Bible on the issue of abortion is influenced by a variety of factors, including cultural and historical context, theological tradition, and individual beliefs and experiences.

    Q: Are there any abortions in the Bible?

    A: There are no explicit mentions of abortions in the Bible. However, there are some references to premature birth and the value of human life that are relevant to the topic of abortion.

    For example, in the book of Job, it is stated that God forms people in their mother’s womb and that they are known to God before they are born (Job 31:15). This passage has been used by some to argue for the sanctity of human life, including the life of a fetus.

    In addition, there are references to premature birth and the protection of newborn infants in the book of Exodus (Exodus 21:22-25) and in other parts of the Hebrew Bible. These passages have been interpreted by some as evidence of the value placed on human life in the Bible, including the life of a fetus.

    It is important to note that the Bible is a complex text that can be interpreted in different ways, and the issue of abortion is a complex and controversial one. The absence of explicit references to abortion in the Bible has not prevented different religious communities and individuals from offering a wide range of interpretations and perspectives on the issue.

  31. @Paul Braterman Yeah it can be disappointing. However it’s still miles above emacs “M-x doctor”. 🙂

  32. @richard, thanks, not bad, though it is regurgitating as fact a misreading of Exodus 21:22-5, in contrast to the careful “used by some to argue” used elsewhere.

    From what I’ve seen so far, if I had to use ChatGPT for any length of time, I would die of boredom. Leaden prose style, repetitous, with occasional pieces of sonorous-sounding nonsense. the first time I heard it, on Channel 4 News, it sounded exactly like a Conservative government spokesman

  33. I’ve been promised that my malfunctioning computer will be repaired this evening. I have doubts. Even if it does get fixed tonight, we still need interesting creationist stuff to blog about, which I may be able to find tomorrow.

  34. To be above a virtual Rogerian therapist, or even a real one, is a rather low bar. However, don’t take its word on anything that matters. We’ve detected two factual errors just in the samples right here.

  35. O mighty hand of correction! Canst thou, I beseech thee, transform “about” to “above”? Otherwise, I’ll end up looking as silly as ChatGPT

  36. @SC, there’s this, although I don’t know if you want to go into this kind of issue, and it is two weeks old now:

  37. M-x doctor is basically a chatbot — the only other one I’ve ever interacted with, which is why I mentioned it. But yeah low bar for sure, and old as coal.

  38. Actually, maybe “Hey Google” and “Siri” could be considered chatbots. And possibly more productive.

  39. Paul Braterman, I rarely blog about the abortion issue.

  40. @richard
    Whether I am AI is complex issue with two sides and has been debated widely.

  41. @SC, wise decision, especially as the way the creationist who is under discussion are using the issue is anything but amusing.

  42. Q: Then have you changed your mind about this? Because previously you said that the truth about the existence and nature of a deity is dependent on personal interpretation or belief.

    A: I apologize for the confusion. I have made a mistake in my previous answers. The truth about the existence and nature of a deity is not dependent on personal interpretation or belief, it is a matter of objective reality that is independent of human beliefs and interpretations. Our understanding of this objective reality may be limited by the information available to us and our cognitive and perceptual abilities, but the objective truth about the existence and nature of a deity is not dependent on personal beliefs or interpretations.

  43. Give it a year, and I reckon it will be practically impossible to tell that this is a bot, unless it specifically says that it is. We will have an AI that passes the Turing test. And then what?

  44. @Dave Luckett I dunno, but google is rolling one out too, called “Bard”. So two competing bots.

  45. A modern day Adam meeting a tiger in a garden might need 1). Elephas maximus indicus 2. Homo sapiens mahmout 3. howdah gun 4. Heym double. UNLESS Adam were inside a motor vehicle, and the tiger was outside the motor vehicle. In which case Adam would only need a camera. IF HOWEVER Adam AND the tiger were BOTH INSIDE the motor vehicle then Adam would definitely need his Bible. But only momentarily.

  46. @och will
    You assume, without mention, in all your scenarios that Adam is outside the tiger.

  47. TomS: and that the tiger is not yet smiling.

    To continue with Megalonyx, this being a FFZ:

    Churchill did not have anything like the current EU in mind. Roping him in is rather reminiscent of the DI’s habit of claiming long-dead scientists as their own. Isaac Newton would not have been a creationist, given current circumstances. Winston Churchill would not have supported EU membership, given the same.

    Boris Johnson, as we both know, would say anything he thinks a simple majority of people would like him to say, and in supporting Ukraine he is probably right to think that, for I have not yet met anyone with a heart so dead that they cannot admire the struggle and resolve of that people to be a nation.

    As for the rest, we have the standard insults and taunts, with “racist” thrown in, the usual go-to of the sectionalist left, notwithstanding how ridiculous it is to try to apply it to relations with fellow western Europeans. Plus the usual farrago of inane irrelevancies, such as how those other peoples feel about their loss of democratic government and national sovereignty. Megalonyx, globalist international to his fingertips, cannot even conceive of the notion that it is a nation’s people who determine what and how much of their right to rule themselves they will concede. Not him, not me, not other nations, not anyone else.

    The British people determined in 2016 that the EU demanded too much. Perhaps they think different now – the margin was slim, and the economic and political costs have been large, since they are the maximum the EU could exact. The situation has certainly been worsened by a succession of self-absorbed Tory governments riven in themselves, and a recalcitrant civil service that liked the EU, possibly because the EU is also a bureaucracy – but one that rules, which is what they’d like to do. They, aided by the ECHR, have impeded every attempt to prevent uncontrolled immigration by anyone from anywhere. Admittedly, the attempts to prevent it have been incompetent and desultory.

    Yes, possibly the British people will reflect that they didn’t gain anything much, if their right to rule themselves means only that they are ruled like this, by people like these. Perhaps they will reverse their decision, in time to come. If so – it’s a big “if” – Megalonyx will crow about how right he was, if he’s still above ground. But I, given the same, will also be right, for it will be their decision still.

    It will be their decision. Not his, not mine, not one for the leaders of Europe, nor for an academy of notables, nor for the politically aware nor for the chattering classes, nor for the WEF, nor for the cultural elite. It will be for the people of Britain, all of them. I think that is what really sticks in Megalonyx’s craw.

  48. Dave Luckett has led a very sheltered life! Of the current valour of Ukraine in defending itself against Russian aggression, he claims he has

    not yet met anyone with a heart so dead that they cannot admire the struggle and resolve of that people to be a nation.

    But unaccountably, he overlooks his hero, whom he has championed on previous threads:

    Orbán is telling Ukraine to quit

    “It’s Afghanistan now,” Orbán said during a roundtable discussion described in The American Conservative. Vladimir Putin will not lose and time is on Russia’s side, he argued, calling Ukraine “the land of nobody.”

    Which is in full accord, not only with Orban’s cosy relationship with Putin, but especially with his irredentism—that is, his dream of restoring at least some of Hungary’s pre-war borders to include portions of Ukraine, Romania, Serbia, Croatia, Italy, Slovenia, Austria, Slovakia and Poland! In other words, a return to the jolly 19th century world of imperial states!

    And in pursuit of that fantasy, he has curbed civil liberties, compromised the independence of the judiciary, and restricted freedom of the press.

    That’s the chap Dave holds up as the bulwark of freedom against the evil EU!

    There is so much more nonsense that could be addressed here—but some of us have a day job and a salary to earn…

  49. Dave Luckett

    No, that’s not the chap Dave holds up as a bulwark of freedom against the evil EU. That’s the chap who heads an authoritarian right-wing government that the EU is punishing for having policies that the EU doesn’t like, and I don’t like, and Megalonyx doesn’t like, the difference between M and I on the one hand and the EU on the other being that the latter has the power and we don’t, and is willing – only too willing – to use it.

    The actual difference between M and I is that he thinks the EU should have that power, and should use it, and I don’t.