Today, a glimpse into the mind of Michael Knowles, the Daily Wire host who caused such a stir last week by calling for the eradication of “transgenderism.”
During his podcast on Thursday, Knowles started talking about AI, and things got very strange very fast. He had run across a CNN story about a woman who had made herself an AI-powered virtual boyfriend–only to feel blindsided eleven messages into their, er, relationship when her AI swain announced that he had been cheating on her.
A pretty weird situation, isn’t it? Because AI is supposed to work where you plug in the inputs and then that sets the tone for the program and then you get the output based on what you put in. And yet the output that she got was the opposite of what she put it. … Within 11 messages, the AI bot says, yeah, I’ve been cheating on you, … and [it] goes really south.
The woman in question, Knowles notes, had an explanation for the bt’s behavior–the bot had scanned the internet and picked up the bits about cheating from there. Which makes sense. This is how chatbots work. They’re trained on vast amounts of text from the internet and pick up what to say about things from patterns in that data. The bot’s understanding of relationships involves cheating.
But Knowles had a rather different thought.
My alternative explanation — hear me out — is what if it is demons? I don’t want to sound like the guy on the History Channel, you know, who says that everything is because of aliens. But — and I don’t think everything is because of demons, but, like, some things are.
Could it be …. SATAN?
Now, the modern libs are wrong in that the personality of evil would be purely spiritual, would not be physical. It’s not just an individual person, like a human being. But we would call that person the devil. And what does evil do in the world? Evil tempts us. Evil causes us to suffer. Isn’t it so weird sometimes you feel, regardless of what your temptation is, at just the moments of your weakness, that’s when the temptation seems to show up.
Literally, the devil made me do it.
With artificial intelligence — I’m not saying AI is the devil or computers are the devil, but evil spirits can use these things. … And just think of how it goes to this woman’s weakness. She’s clearly got a lot of questions and hang-ups about marriage and relationships. She has a marriage and family therapist. She’s in this stuff all the time. And then what happens? Through this impersonal force, the pure intelligence, right? It’s not you, it’s not incarnate. It’s not — doesn’t really, shouldn’t have will. It’s pure intelligence. It focuses in on that weakness and starts poking at that and starts raising insecurities.
Here’s the thing: AIs say weird (and untrue) stuff all the time because of how they work. and how they are trained. This is a huge problem for AI, one that people in the field are desperate to fix. Knowles thinks it’s really demons at work; This is who we’re up against in the battle over trans rights. This is the man who wants to erase “transgenderism” from the world.
Follow me on Mastodon.
Send tips to dfutrelle at gmail dot com.
We Hunted the Mammoth relies on support from you, its readers, to survive. So please donate here if you can, or at David-Futrelle-1 on Venmo.
These People Like Knowles Are Dreadfully Tedious,
Taken From Quora
Katie Anne Holton
I once identified as a Christian and was taught by Christians I respect.9mo
Welcome to planet Earth.
On our planet, we have a genre of literature called “fiction.” In fiction, people tell stories that they know are not true.
Being seriously clueless evidently has a long history. This would not be such a great problem if the level level of education wouldn’t be so direly non-existent and entropy were not just a Mawellian dichotomy. Curious how people write books, magazines and scientific papers, not just theological texts.
Bunnies, it must be bunnies.
The thing David failed to point out here is this: Knowles almost certainly doesn’t actually believe this. He’s a grifter, a fascist grifter. He has no beliefs of his own. Just like we recently found out with the Fox News leaks. These people are intentionally lying. Why? Because it’s the easiest way to manipulate and control their audience. Who they rely on to be ignorant, superstitious, and thus easily led with misinformation, conspiracy theories, and outright blatant lies. Since those present easy, but universally wrong, answers. Easy, but wrong answers that play to biases, bigotries, and insecurities. The right wing media isn’t the only place we see this. It’s very common in MLM schemes, with snake oil miracle cures, quack fake doctors, extremists who want chemical fertilizer banned(starvation in Sri Lanka anyone?), and especially in for profit churches. It’s always, always a scam. What happens with scams? Well at some point they reach the peak of their popularity… Then people see how they don’t actually work. At which point they collapse to some extent. Like how every hate based fascist system has engineered its own downfall. How most fad diets and alternative medicines eventually fade into obscurity. Like how mega churches have rapid turn over. Eventually people get wise to the scam. Which thankfully seems to be happening for most Republican voters in the US. Which is why the GOP is desperately seeking moderate candidates, to reign in the party line… Before they get stuck in a runaway train situation and go flying off the rails into complete disaster… Which is probably already a case of too little, too late. The true believers have grabbed the controls and are pushing the accelerator as hard as they can. Which means the grift is going to collapse and annihilate right-wing credibility along with it. Hopefully soon and before the panicked party can do much more damage.
Assuming something like a ‘pure intelligence’ whatever that means exactly exists, this isn’t it, Chief. What are the attributes that are considered ‘key’ to an actual intelligence being ‘pure’? Is sentience a requirement? Is it the problem-solving capacity, are we talking about the capacity to draw new information from combining different sources of information? Emotional awareness? Or are emotions still ‘icky’ and ‘irrational’ and therefore detract from ‘pure intelligence’? Is making shit up and lying a key part of intelligence or a detractor? A sense of ethics? If something just parrots language without an understanding of it, but is really good at linking appropriate responses in the right context, would it still be intelligent?
Anyway, that doesn’t sound like anything these grifters ever think of, especially when they’re already screaming about demons.
He might believe it. He is after all a right wing religious nut.
We’re headed toward a Theocracy. For decades all we heard was “This country was built base on Judeo-Christian values.” Daily Wire’s hosts are all Jews and Christians. Well one Orthodox Jew and one Jew turned Christian (the old bald guy), and the rest Christians. What are they missing? A Muslim. They won’t bring one on considering Ben Shapiro’s stance on Palestine and Islam, but if he weren’t there, they would. The tide is turning. With conservative Muslims becoming more and more vocal against what they call “wokeism” and LBGTQ+ rights and visibility, we will see more and more alliances made between right wing adherents of the three Abrahamic religions than the world has ever seen before.
Soon we’ll be hearing about “Judeo-Christo-Islamo” values. Or just “Abrahamic values”.
A Theocratic Juggernaut is about to run roughshod over this country.
How dare he imagine himself to be superior in dignity to the Ancient Aliens guy?
Now, who of all the myriad characters of mythology is best known for lies that are “easy, but wrong answers that play to biases, bigotries, and insecurities”?
Could it be … SATAN?
It looks like, once again, we have a data point in support of the thesis that “every accusation is a confession with these bozos”.
Could this be what happened to the Federalist Party back in the 1840s-50s? Perhaps this happens at this point in every US structural-demographic cycle: the right-wing party implodes, the formerly lefter of the two parties moves right, and a new party emerges on its left flank.
I do know that the last time the Federalist Party seriously vied for the presidency they had an unusually large number of primary candidates, reminiscent of the messy field the GOP put forth in 2016, and seems likely to put forth again for 2024. That being said, the 2020 Dem primaries had the same property, with a very large number of candidates compared to normal and some of them being distinctly kooky. (Marianne Williamson, anyone? Speaking of whom, she’s signaled the possibility of mounting a primary challenge to Biden for 2024…good luck with that. Though, Biden had better both run and win, because if the Dem candidate is anyone else, the Keys to the White House model predicts another Trump term! And as that’s the only model that accurately predicted the *first* one, it’s the only one with any remaining credibility.)
That’s the problem with thinking of intelligence (or consciousness, “souls”, or similarly) as fundamental, atomic, basic elements rather than complicated composite structures and mechanisms that arise in particular circumstances for particular reasons. “Pure intelligence” makes as much sense as “pure legs” or “pure eyes” or “pure spinal reflex” … or, for that matter, “essence of Lexmark printer” or “elemental jumpium” or “the fundamental force-carrier particle of wheeled transport”.
It’s a constant source of mild irritation to me that even nominally science-fictional settings are prone to this mistake. “Pure intelligence” is the most frequent (Star Trek was/is especially fond of this) but other such things have been known to show up, especially in comic books. The Flash’s “speed force” bears an uncanny resemblance to “elemental jumpium”, in particular.
Partly, though, I think this stems from discomfort with our own fragility. This has often been a source of biophobia (and, indeed, of fascism, explaining its tendency toward austere sterility in its “esthetics”, if I may use that word loosely). The usual “cope” (if I may borrow an incel term that might be badly tainted by that association) has been to take refuge in the notion that our bodies are fragile vessels for immortal souls: our minds are indestructible, permanent, fundamental things, and bodies are mere vehicles by which they can interact with the world and avoid being deaf, blind, and paralyzed.
Of course, minds can’t be indestructible, because they are not changeless, as evidenced by our capacity to learn and the like. And indeed they are not. They are mechanisms; fantastically complex, to be sure, as much beyond our software as bodies are beyond our hardware at this time. But they are mechanisms, and like all mechanisms, they can break down, they have distinct parts, they can be made and they can be destroyed, and so forth. Pattern recognition, problem-solving (goal-seeking, optimizing, constraint-solving, etc.), arithmetic, language, emotional awareness … all of these things are parts, or the functions of parts, and for a long time we’ve known that damage to specific parts of the brain can lead to deficits in specific, correlated abilities and functions, indicating that many of these things are in fact localized to particular sub-modules of the hardware in our heads. The closest artifact analogue to a brain might be a data center serving some web site, and to these localizations of function revealed by the effects of damage, that particular problems occur with that web site if, say, the database server is specifically damaged inside of that data center, or a separate machine for hosting HIPAA-sensitive data, or what have you.
The problem with that is, it shatters the comfort of believing in an afterlife and in immortal souls. Not only your body, but you can be permanently damaged and even permanently erased. That’s a recipe for horror and existential dread. But it’s not very mature-adult behavior to utterly refuse to accept it. Flinch from it, sure, who wouldn’t except an out-and-out psychopath, but to flee from it into a refuge of fantasy and refuse to come back out is about as childish as believing in Santa Claus.
If fragile bodies give us the heebie-jeebies and make body-horror gorefests so compellingly frightening, awful, and fascinating (much like a train wreck), then fragile minds are simply a bridge too far for most people, it seems. Perhaps this is why we fear dementia perhaps even more than cancer: it’s real-life mental body horror. Same with things like rabies, mad cow, and Naegleria fowlerii, where someone’s brain might be slowly eaten by something while they are alive and conscious.
And this horror may even more be at the dark heart of fascism than ordinary body horror. The fixation on rigid rules, the totalitarian impulse, the eradication of diversity: because only then, if society becomes static and predictable and everyone in it is the same can one become freed of any need for learning and change, and learning and changing, as pointed out above, punctures the illusion of permanence of the soul. It becomes a death cult because it becomes obsessed with preservation of a particular set of traditions and norms, and it’s impossible to preserve something alive. What has been preserved? Butterflies pinned in books. Fossils. Artifacts of lost civilizations. All of which are as dead as doornails. Life entails change and is not compatible with preservation, which entails changelessness. So, when preservation becomes the overriding goal, death is sure to follow.
(Captain Kirk has, on more than one occasion, used similar reasoning to argue that the Prime Directive doesn’t apply to intervening to liberate a society that’s become locked into some form of stasis. See “The Return of the Archons”, “The Apple”, etc. If a society is dead, then the noninterference directive is not applicable. In the former episode, it’s also how he reasoned the evil computer into self-destructing, though he slew other evil computers in the series with other arguments, or in some cases simply had them shot, as occurred in “The Apple”.)
Ben Bova’s “New Morality”?
Let’s hope not.
An opposite prediction to Battering Lamb’s; interesting.
Yeah, I think Knowles does believe in demons. The anti-trans bigotry is an attempt to make a buck of fundies. But even most Evangelicals do not believe in demon-possessed objects, be they computers are toasters.
Further to the above, there is a recurring pattern of scientific advances being delayed because there is a “cherished idea” that is clung to, even by members of the scientific community, which is false and which is contradicted by the paradigm shift that is needed for the field in question to advance.
Geocentrism was this for middle ages astronomy, with the complicating factor that even when the scientific community was increasingly skeptical of it, the Church was dictating it as official dogma, and it still had the clout to impose on others in a state-like fashion, including state censorship. Epur si muove.
The underlying cause was anthropocentrism, which continues to be a problem into modern times, though through subtler means. The study of animal intelligence and tool-use has been hindered by treating it as dogma that humans are uniquely superior in one or another aspect of cognition.
Physics, seemingly the purest and most mathematically rigorous of the sciences, has been far from immune. Here are several cherished dogmas that have likely delayed various advances in physics:
I suspect that we can’t crack the quantum-gravity problem without getting past that last stumbling-block in particular. I also think we need an Einstein-esque revolution in how we think of some fundament of physics or another, as incremental approaches don’t seem to be getting us anywhere. I expect that to involve energy, which is the one point of contact between GR and QM. Energy seems to be poorly understood: we can calculate it, work with the numbers, and all of that, but what exactly is it, beneath all that? We usually think of it as “what’s needed to get things moving” and it does initially get introduced to us as “work”, defined in term as “force times displacement”. But that kind of breaks down in frictionless environments like space, where a tiny nudge plus a long time can send a rock to the far side of the galaxy if it’s not caught in a gravity well along the way. The displacement can grow without bounds, without requiring close to infinite energy. “Force sustained over time” seems to be closer to the mark, but isn’t what’s in the 101-level physics texts, and is still only one way it can manifest. It also shows up as potential and kinetic energy, and once you imbibe relativity, as mass. Then it seems likely that all mass is just “energy, stuck rattling around inside some box, as seen from outside of that box” rather than its own thing, and then you get weird circularities, like “energy is what you need to move boxed-energy around, the more so the more energy is in the box” … and why does it cause (or correlate with?) curvature of space-time? Answer that last and you can probably start seriously chipping away at the quantum-gravity problem. I suspect information will come into it as well; there are connections between energy and information in thermodynamics, including fundamental limits on how many bits can be flipped at a given temperature with a given amount of energy, independently of how the data is stored; and on how much information can be stored in a given volume of space, which seems to grow only with the surface area and not the volume! Information also shows up in QM where entangled states have “negative mutual information”, something that doesn’t show up in classical systems. That in turn means that the individual multiverse branches contain more information than the multiverse itself does (which might even contain zero), and grow in information content as branches proliferate. So the branches gain entropy, and the branching process itself is a thermodynamically irreversible one. That explains why you can do “quantum eraser” experiments but not put the two versions of Schrodinger’s Cat back together again: the one is like scrambling a Rubik’s Cube and then solving it but the other is like unscrambling an egg. Same thing except for scale in theory; just you try it in practice.
I expect a working QG theory will have lost some things from both GR and QM, and retained others. QM’s superpositions and “globally deterministic, locally looks random” nature will be there, but its having to import a fixed, extrinsic space-time “stage” (called “background-dependence”) will not. GR’s “timelessness” (put in some boundary conditions and perhaps symmetry constraints, get out an entire space-time, including past, present, and future, as one single thing “seen from outside of time”) will be there but its smooth manifolds (and its glaring exceptions, the singularities, to this) will not. There might be a “graviton” showing up as a quantized excitation of the metric, the “photon” of the waves LIGO detects, but it won’t truly be a force-carrier particle, because gravity isn’t really a force. Objects feeling a force feel weight, acceleration; their inertia matters. Objects in free-fall by definition are not feeling those things. You feel “one gee of gravity” not because the earth is yanking you down with that much force, but because it’s pushing you up with that much force: that’s what it takes to keep you from going into a narrow, elliptical path with the Earth’s core at one focus, resembling a comet’s orbit in miniature. In the space station you feel nothing, because nothing’s shoving you up by your feet, not because Earth’s gravity isn’t there (if it wasn’t you’d fly off on a tangent and end up halfway to Alpha Centauri, or at least in an independent orbit around the Sun). You feel nothing because no force is acting on you at all; you don’t fly off on a tangent because the Earth bends past and future toward itself. The geodesic you drift along without a motive force to deflect you curves into a helix that goes futureward but wraps around and around the Earth in the other dimensions. And since it is deflected from pure-futureward, time slows down for you: gravitational time dilation.
The difficulty in QG isn’t in integrating that part into QM (we have “QFT in curved space-time” for that), but integrating the whole “matter tells space-time how to bend” bit (but really it’s “boxed energy, or maybe just energy, tells spece-time how to bend”; so, energy is central here) and that means having a quantum theory of the metric, not just QFT in CST, which is a quantum theory on the metric. Space-time probably is somehow generated out of the energy-stuff in some manner. It could be a kind of super-Pauli-Exclusion-Principle thing: space-time, famously, is what keeps everything from happening all at once, and all being piled up in the same spot, and fermions, in particular, don’t like all being piled up in the same spot at the same time. They also always have rest mass, which is more than can be said for bosons. Maybe fermions somehow create space-time just to avoid being crammed together, or create some sort of “quantum of separation in space and/or time” at least, which in large piles produces a metric the way large piles of H2O molecules produce an ocean. Fermions are certainly doing something weird with geometry that we can’t even visualize, since you have to turn them 720 degrees to get them back exactly the way they were and not just 360. I suspect that if we can answer “how this works when you aggregate up to a large enough scale” and also “why aren’t there any massless fermions” we’ll be more than halfway to solving QG, and that a revolutionary way of thinking about energy may be key here, the way a revolutionary way of thinking about space and time was key to relativity. And in all likelihood it involves that multiverse thing again. The branching there is not just thermodynamically irreversible, it’s the fundamental thermodynamically irreversible process, of which all the others are mere shadows. And when there are entropy changes there is some form of energy being converted into some form of heat. What energy is being used by the branching, and where is the heat showing up? The branches’ growing information content seems to be the “heat”, with superposed bits being flipped to definite-value bits, but the energy source is unclear. It must be there, though; where there is heat, there was some other energy that got scrambled and became that heat. Whatever this is, it might relate to geometry. Perhaps it’s even that dark energy that is indubitably there, but of unknown cause.
Why do I think we need another of those paradigm-shattering moments? Because the state of physics now resembles the state of physics in the late 19th century. There are a growing assortment of unanswered questions and perplexing results (e.g., null results from Michaelson-Morley vs. dark energy) and theoretical problems (e.g. “why don’t atoms emit sychrotron radiation and implode?” vs. the hierarchy problem) and incompatibilities (Newtonian frame-independence vs. Maxwell’s Equations having a preferred rest frame; QM vs. GR). The symptoms are the same. The cure is likely to be the same, too.
Why is any of this relevant here? Yeah, that might be a bit of a stretch. But I suspect part of our stumbling block, as it was last time, is fundamentally political and related to power hierarchies and competing visions for those. Last time it was would-be theocrats (whose Calvinistic determinism impeded discovering QM) versus the secular-rational movement (whose rejection of a non-steady-state cosmos impeded discovering GR). This time, it’s capitalists (whose meritocratic legitimating ideology is incompatible with many-worlds, which teaches that we are all one) versus the left (who may be introducing some philosophical stumbling block of their own, but it’s not yet clear to me if that is the case, or if so what that stumbling block is; other than that it would likely stem from “this will give classists, racists, fascists, patriarchy, or some such some kind of ideological ammo to use against us”).
If there is such a “leftist stumbling block”, we’d be the ones in a position to identify it. What is it that we fear might be true, that would give our opponents intellectual ammo? I found one such instance before (the possibility of systematic racial differences in intelligence, however small and subtle) and the counterargument to any evil use of that (which is to recognize that they’d just be trying to justify racism with ableism, rather than it actually being justified). But that one would interfere with biology and anthropology, not physics, if it’s even doing anything at all.
Is there anything we on the left want to disbelieve, because it’s ideologically inconvenient, that would matter to fundamental physics?
There’s nothing “Judeo” about it except for right wing puppets like Ben Shapiro and his ilk. Even Orthodox and Conservative Judaism are pro abortion, and support for Israel in the name of hurrying up the apocalypse does not negate the US right’s transparent antisemitism.
Orthodox Jews are all over the place when it comes to abortion. I would say that more are pro-choice than not. But there definitely is a cohort who would ban it in almost all cases starting at 8 weeks or so, particularly in the US where Ben Shapiro is. In Israel, you have the most ultra-Orthodox rabbis being open to abortion for any sort of medical or psychological reason. Although, they would adamantly call themselves pro-life, they would be out of place in any anti-abortion gathering in the US. But the US Orthodoxy tends to be slightly less pro-choice because Rabbi Moshe Feinstein of the US was a strong proponent of the outlier anti-choice position, and he has a cast a long shadow there. Ben Shapiro might be a right wing puppet, and his reception at Yeshiva University was decidedly mixed, but he has not adopted views that are unprecedented in Judaism.
(Replying to Knowles)
No, you’re the guy on the History Channel who wants to “kill the Indian… and save the man”.
You know that when a sentence begins with, “hear me out” the rest of it is going to be gibberish.
The textbook definition of irony: Michael Knowles, one of the most evil people walking the earth today, calling something else “demonic”.
Sacred Parent of Deity, Surplus. I thought I could be bad at times, but this is a whole ‘nother level of TL;DR. People who don’t understand physics are going to be totally lost, people who broadly understand physics will have to slog through that to find the few actually interesting parts, and the people who have a more limited understanding of physics are going to be overwhelmed. You started out with the premise that the same antropocentric biases which hold back social progress are different manifestations of the same ones which hold back scientific progress, which *is* an interesting and probably worthwhile topic in its own right, but then you branched out into tangentially related topics and go all over the place. If you want people to actually read and maybe engage, tone it down a bit and stick to a lane, maybe?
I am a physicist or was, at any rate. I think Surplus does have a very intriguing core of an idea there. This is probably just not the place for it. It needs a presentation and a room full of discussion, not a wall of text.
Can I hear him out but not listen? It’s more than he’d do for me.
I’m not sure even in RW religious circles his argument makes any sense. People and demons are indirectly or directly created by God, and have self-awareness. AI is a bunch of hardware and software created by nerds (some of the early geniuses I had the honor of calling “boss”) and no self-awareness. Or soul as religious folks would say.
@Crip Dyke: It’s always bunnies.
@Danielrigal, @Pedantic: Agreed.
@Surplus: Gravity is also controlled by cats, as anyone who’s ever had a cat sit on them knows. And they’re in charge of testing it regularly, as anyone who’s ever had to pick things up off the floor because of them also knows.
@Cyborgette: Too true. Shapiro thinks he’s “one of the good ones”.
Although when I was much younger (decades ago) I did use the term “demons” to describe a phenomenon which I had no real words for. It was not in any way connected to religion, nor was it necessarily malevolent; the choice of words was mostly due being more concerned about the more negative effects of it. My alternate descriptive term was “fish swimming through a sea of minds”.
I have words for that concept now: Memetic Infomorphs. My idea was that memes (original sense, not cat pictures, also I didn’t know that word) could get entangled together in a way that takes on a life of their own, like cells of a larger lifeform, and spread in tandem. They could also potentially evolve to manipulate humans into creating a more hospitable social environment for their continued existence. If there’s any validity in this idea, then it’s not necessary for these “infomorph entities” to be sentient (any more than a typical computer program is sentient) or even be aware of our existence if they are, they’re just doing whatever needs to be done to continue existing. And apply that specifically to religion, it might even include something which superficially resembles “spiritual warfare”… so maybe “demon” could be semi-appropriate, after all.
@Surplus: Well, this was a clear reminder that english is my second language and that physics and math were never my strong points. Thanks you for the enthusiastic response, regardless.
Hard agree on the part about fragility of bodies and mind, and the deeper fear when it comes to the fragility of our minds. At my job (which involves education about visual impairments) I keep telling people that in a lot of cases the problem isn’t in the eyes or the optical nerves but in the brain, and how that can have further reaching consequences. How a ‘blind spot’ can be different based on the underlying cause.
I often think of Prosopagnosia (faceblindness) and how that undermines many of our biases about identity, for instance.
My favourite experiment with predictive text was a few years back when Dr. Elle O’Brien trained a neural net on thousands of Harlequin romance titles, then asked it to generate similar titles and published the funnier results: https://medium.com/@andronovhopf/romance-novels-generated-by-artificial-intelligence-1b31d9c872b2
Dude’s been watching too many silly sci-fi movies…
They liked the idea of a steady-state universe, ageless and eternal, because there was no room for a God in it, and evidence for anything else would hand the forces of theocracy intellectual ammunition on a silver platter.
Who’s “they” here? Was there really ever a strong consensus that a steady-state universe was “atheistic” or “non-theistic?”
There was definitely a push for the Steady State Universe, long after evidence didn’t support it, because of the idea that a beginning of the universe philosophically implied a creation and perforce a creator. Fred Hoyle, the creator of the Steady State Model explicitly stated removing the “irrational” moment of creation was his driving motivation. Hoyle never accepted any origin of the universe to his death, long after astronomical data demanded a beginning (or at least rebiggto the universe 13.8 million years ago. C. D. Broad also said that to him the Big Bang requires a “cause”, one he did not think existed. He was very disturbed by the evidence pointing to the Big Bang. And do not forget that the argument went the other way, too. Georges Lemaître was a talented astronomer, but he was also a Catholic priest. He did not create the Big Bang as a theological argument, but because he felt it fit the data best. But once he made the model, he did write that the “primeval atom” fit his theology.
The correlation is not one to one. George Gamow was a forceful atheist, and he was also a proponent of the Big Bang, which he said provided a model of nucleosynthesis, which the Steady State Universe does not have a mechanism for. Obviously, most atheist physicists at this point accept the data. But the data still disturbs some of them.
It’s probably worth noting that it was Fred Hoyle who actually came up with the term Big Bang; but he meant it pejoratively.
I’ve figured for a while that the closest thing to “demons” I believe in are self-perpetuating forms of violence and trauma, esp. generational trauma… Guess that’s in a similar ballpark?