AI Apotheosis

by Rolaant McKenzie

In the Star Trek: The Original Series episode, Court Martial (Season 1, Episode 20, 2/2/1967), the USS Enterprise had sustained considerable damage and the death of a crewman, Lt. Commander Finney, after going through a severe ion storm. While the starship was being repaired as it orbited Starbase 11, Kirk was ordered to remain at the starbase facilities until an inquiry into Finney's death could be conducted to determine whether a general court martial was necessary.

Whenever a starship faced an ion storm, something that could be very hazardous to even the sturdiest starships, an ion pod at the stern of the ship would be deployed to take sensor readings not available to the usual ship's sensors. In the event of severe stress levels on the ship in the Force-7 range, the captain would order a red alert, giving the officer in the pod seconds to leave before the captain jettisoned it.

Finney served as the Records Officer on the Enterprise, and it was his turn to enter the pod and take the sensor readings. At the edge of the storm Kirk signaled yellow alert and warned Finney that he may need to go to red alert. As the severity of the storm grew, greatly rattling the ship, he ordered red alert. After waiting as many seconds as he could, Kirk ejected the pod. But Finney apparently was still in the pod when it was jettisoned, so he was presumed dead.

Key to the inquiry was the log report compiled by the ship's computer, an artificial intelligence (AI) system that assisted the crew in maintaining essential functions of the ship and records of all activities. This system was considered to be virtually infallible. According to the log report, Kirk ejected the ion pod while it was still yellow alert, not red alert, indicating guilt of culpable negligence in the death of Finney.

During the subsequent court martial, the guilty verdict and the end of Kirk's career appeared to be certain. But before the verdict was delivered by the court, Mr. Spock and Dr. McCoy entered the court room to convey some information to Mr. Samuel Cogley, Kirk's defense attorney.

Over the objections of the prosecutor, Cogley sought to present new evidence for the court to consider. Appealing to the four-judge panel, Cogley said that one of the most important human rights, expressed in the Bible and other codes of justice throughout history, was the right to face and cross-examine one's accuser, something that had been denied to his client.

The main witness against Kirk was a machine, the computer log of the Enterprise. He asked the court to reconvene on the ship to "cross-examine" the computer, and that if his motion was denied, then a human being with inherent rights implicitly granted by God would be brought down below the level of the machine, which has no rights.

As a result of the court's willingness to further examine the computer record, evidence was brought to light that exonerated Captain Kirk. It was discovered that Finney, aware of his society's exalted view of its AI computer systems, reprogrammed the ship's computer to make it appear that Kirk jettisoned the ion pod during yellow alert when he did not.

Furthermore, Finney had faked his death to frame Kirk and destroy his life over a long-held grudge he had against him. He was later found hiding in the bowels of the ship and taken into custody.

As the AI of the USS Enterprise was viewed by the crew and the court as an indisputably correct source of information, so many today are developing a similar perception of AI applications. People grow to unquestionably depend on tools such as search engines (e.g., Google Search), recommendation systems (used by YouTube and Amazon), generative devices (e.g., ChatGPT), and automated decision-making mechanisms for work, travel, research, leisure, and daily life.

Building on this, professing atheist Dr. Yuval Noah Harari, senior advisor to Founder and Executive Chairman Klaus Schwab of the World Economic Forum (WEF), spoke of using AI to create a spirituality consistent with the organization's ideas of inclusivism (exclusion and silencing of those who disagree with their agenda) and equity (prohibition of opportunities to rise above their imposed mass austerity).

In an interview with Pedro Pinto of The Francisco Manuel dos Santos Foundation (FFMS) on May 19, 2023, in Lisbon, Portugal, Harari stated that technologies like the printing press, radio, and television are unable to create new ideas, but AI is different.

"AI can create new ideas, even write a new Bible. Throughout history, religions dreamt about having a book written by a superhuman intelligence, by a non-human entity. ... In a few years, there might be religions that are actually correct. Just think about a religion whose holy book is written by an AI."

Notice that Harari did not call for the rewriting of the Koran, Bhagavad Gita, or books sacred to Buddhists.

Many of the ancient Canaanite, Greek, and Roman gods, represented by wood, metal, and stone idols, were characterized by their greed, cruelty, deception, barbarism, and licentiousness. Worshipers ascribed to them superhuman abilities, maximizing their immoral characteristics. This brought out the worst depravity in those who followed them, reminiscent of the words of Psalm 135:15-18.

"The idols of the nations are but silver and gold, the work of man's hands. They have mouths, but they do not speak; they have eyes, but they do not see; they have ears, but they do not hear, nor is there any breath at all in their mouths. Those who make them will be like them, yes, everyone who trusts in them."

Apotheosis is defined as the glorification of someone, something, or an abstract idea to divine status. Technology may change, but human nature does not. Too many in their pride are inclined to apotheosize the works of their hands.

Notwithstanding efforts to portray AI formed from computer code and software run through metallic structures as virtually infallible, it is still as much an idol for people like Harari as those of wood, metal, and stone were for the ancient Canaanites, Greeks, and Romans. It is a man-made technology subject to human shortcomings, biases, and corruption, amplified by its apparent superhuman abilities to quickly compile and process vast amounts of information.

Any religious text generated from this technology would not create a "correct" religion, but design one reflecting and approving of corrupt human desires and inclinations (Romans 1:18-32). Such a text would not lead to the worship of God, but the deification of man.

We do not need a "new Bible" written by AI and the counterfeit spirituality that it offers. The actual Bible is composed of 66 books by 40 different writers over approximately 1,500 years. One consistent theme, God's plan to rescue human beings from the devastating results of Adam's fall through His Son Jesus Christ, runs all the way through these books. Fulfilled prophecy, especially in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus point to the Bible's supernatural origin, its invariable reliability, and God as its ultimate author.

There are terrible consequences for those who seek to alter the word of God to create a god amenable to their own imagination (Proverbs 30:5-6; Revelation 22:18-19).

"Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever." (Hebrews 13:8)

AI created by man cannot save from sin and the judgment of God; only faith in God through the Jesus Christ of the Bible can (John 3:16-18, 14:1-6).

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