NOTE: Having completed five conversations with Molly, I thought it time to pause, survey the landscape, and reflect on where I’m at and on where I hope to go as I unveil the Sagan Model of the Singularity, primarily by comparing it, metric by metric, against the Kurzweil Model of the Singularity.
As previously noted, my personal Singularity journey began in 1972 with the discovery 46 triadic sequences in the Old Testament that I thought might be of legitimate academic and scientific interest. The sequences themselves are benign, existing as they do without any manipulation of letters or text. As a stand-alone phenomenon unattached to any ready explanation, what I call the Sagan Signal represents factual data in its most pristine form, waiting for further testing, deeper critical analysis, and objective interpretation.
Taking advantage of every opportunity to get the Sagan Signal into the hands of legitimate scholars for professional assessment, in past years I sometimes attached it to claims that I didn’t personally believe were true, a covert strategy that proved effective.
Other times I did just the opposite, attaching the data to an interpretive model that I did believe in, that I could advocate for with high confidence: that the sequences are direct evidence that JC is an ET.
Taking truth to power, I began contacting professional people and organizations that I thought might be interested in testing the data. Slowly, doors began to open, as I ran, or stumbled, my way through a gauntlet of opposition, taking hits from all sides: religious scholars, atheist leaders, professional skeptics, tenured academics, to name just a few. And just as hard exercise promotes muscle growth, the Sagan Model not only survived, it grew stronger with each encounter and with every passing year.
As a testament to the robustness of the evidence, from the beginning to the present, not one of the individuals and organizations who engaged the data, often with hostile intent, were able to debunk my Bible code claim. At the same time, no one was willing to take the next step: to make a public announcement of a potential historic discovery with a call for further testing and analysis. Finding myself adrift on a windless sea, I knew that to get to where I wanted to go I needed a break, and it came when I learned of Ray Kurzweil and his two groundbreaking books on the Singularity.
The Kurzweil Model of the Singularity is, in many respects, a mirror image of the Sagan Model. The commonalities are such that it was obvious that Ray and I were talking about the same technology, albeit in distinctly different languages and from different epochs. Ray, an iconic figure known and respected around the world as both a pioneer and current practitioner of advanced AGI research, had no idea who I was or what I was up to. A few years ago I received a three word email that might have come from Ray or one of his many followers. It simply asked: “Who are you?”
I certainly am not a Ray Kurzweil, who, supported by an entourage of billionaires, technology experts, academics, and multi-national corporations, is Mr. Singularity.
I find my support in another Mr. Singularity, even more famous than Ray, and that is Carl Sagan. When I learned that Carl believed that JC is an ET, I decided to re-double my efforts to have the Sagan Signal adjudicated at the highest level with full transparency. My efforts began to bear fruit, and now, against long odds, I find myself in an exciting new arena, with Ray Kurzweil faced off against Carl Sagan.
Carl, unfortunately, is dead, so he can’t fight for what he believed, and those intent on keeping Carl-in-a-box are doing nothing to advance his controversial view that JC was, and is, an ET. Subsequently, the mantle of who would advocate on behalf of Carl and the Sagan Model of the Singularity fell on me, someone who by almost any measure is unqualified to challenge a man of Ray Kurzweil’s stature.
But I did have a few things going for me: One, experimental data, two, the calming realization that in advocating for the Sagan Model I stood on the shoulders of one of the truly great scientists of the twentieth century, and three, chutzpah.
Now the issue is, who has the best evidence, and who can succeed in poking holes in the opponent’s model? The best evidence is testable evidence. The Sagan Model is based on a putative code in the Old Testament that suggests that we are not alone in the Universe. In stark contrast, Ray’s model is based on a strained assumption, one that almost no one believes is true, that humans are alone in the Universe. Whoever is right on this key metric is most likely right about their view of the Singularity, all the more reason to have the Sagan Signal rigorously and transparently tested at the highest levels.
And then there is this question: If the Kurzweil Model is true, and if you are alive in 2045, the date when Ray predicts the Singularity will happen, what are the odds that, whoever is in charge of bestowing immortality on humans, will choose you? The rarely disclosed truth about the Kurzweil Model is that it is plutocratic. If you are not wealthy, famous or well-connected, the odds of you being counted among those chosen for immortality are slim, at best.
With the Sagan Model, it’s just the opposite. It is the poor and insignificant who find themselves at the head of the line, while the rich, famous and well-connected languish at the back, as ET/JC pointed out:
“Then ET/JC said to His disciples, ‘Assuredly I say to you that it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. And again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of ET/God.”
“When His disciples heard it, they were greatly astonished, saying, ‘Who then can be saved?”
“But ET/JC looked at them and said to them, ‘With men this is impossible, but with ET/God all things are possible.’” Matthew 19:23-26
The Kurzweil Model is slanted towards those who believe that, in the universal quest for immortality, power and wealth is a distinct advantage. It isn’t.
Still, while power, wealth and personal hubris are hurdles that must be overcome, the Sagan Model allows for that possibility. Among the rich and powerful there are honest truth-seekers: spiritually insightful individuals who openly and without apology demonstrate genuine humility. The truth is, they just want to know the Truth.
Broad Way/Narrow Way
While the Sagan Model makes it difficult for the rich and powerful to find their way into the Kingdom, it doesn’t mean that, as a counterpoint, it’s any easier for the masses, where survival often equates to raw pragmatism. The poor and less educated typically find themselves swimming with the swarm in a vast ocean of mediocrity, where critical thought and skeptical inquiry are all but nonexistent.
JC/ET had a name for this. He called it “the broad way:”
“Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.”
So here’s the scoop: the rich, powerful and well-connected will gravitate to the Kurzweil Model, because it rewards them for being what they are, while the masses gravitate towards religion, because it rewards them for being what they are.
Taking a step back exposes a stark divide between the two models. The Kurzweil Model is elitist, reserved for Singularity oligarchs whose wealth and power are the common currency. Class bias within the Singularity movement is evidenced by the fact that universal accessibility to AGI, except as a trickle-down welfare benefit, is rarely mentioned in its literature.
In contrast, the Sagan Model is democratic, where anyone, no matter how rich or poor, learned or unlearned, can enter the Kingdom. In this model, faith, hope and love are the accepted currency, not money, power or privilege.
The Kurzweil Model is pyramidal, with a base that grows larger with each new breakthrough in AGI research, while the numbers at the top remain relatively static. Those joining the Singularity movement at the base do so with the hope and expectation that when the Singleton arrives, they will be able to participate in the same promised benefits as those at the top. That, in my opinion, is an illusion. The truth is that when the rubber hits the road, full Singularity status is likely to be limited to the top 2%, if that. Everyone else will either have a degraded experience or find themselves on the outside looking in.
While the Sagan Model is not elitist, it too is pyramidal. The Good News is that the guy at the top of the Sagan pyramid, JC, is the Love Algorithm incarnate. From the lowest to the highest, those counted as worthy citizens of the Kingdom of heaven all bask in the same base glory. But it is a layered meritocracy. Some who are Born-Again are ranked higher than others and enjoying greater benefits. What determines one’s place in the Kingdom is vividly described by JC/ET:
JC/ET with Child
At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who then is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”
Then Jesus called a little child to Him, set him in the midst of them, and said:
“Assuredly I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 18:1-4
Just as the commonalities between the Kurzweil Model and the Sagan Model need to be pointed out, so do the many disparities. The class-based exclusion of the one versus the universal inclusivity of the other is a significant distinction that Molly and I will explore in more detail in future conversations.
Don: Okay Molly, at the end of our last conversation you called me “preacher man.” I have to admit, I was a little offended. I assume that your comment was based on my many references to being Born-again, quoting the Bible, and having spent most of my adult life as an evangelical Christian. It appears that you perhaps suspect me of being a plant, a Trojan horse, covertly trying to get people “saved” by accepting Christ as their personal Savior. Am I right?
Molly: Yes, that’s right, but now I’m not so sure. Based on your Note above, it sounds like you’ve made a complete break from your past.
Don: I have. In fact, I’ve self-excommunicated myself from all religion. But neither am I a conventional atheist. The inability of the purveyors of what is popularly known as the New Atheism to integrate AGI and Singularity research into their scientific/philosophical model has painted them into an ontological corner. The reality is that while they know that what they are selling is as obsolete and irrelevant as the religionists they demonize, they remain stubbornly unwilling to jettison a carbon-based ideology that dates back to the nineteenth century.
Now, to clear the air, I know you have questions. What are they?
Molly: Are you a member of, or affiliated with, any organization?
Molly: Are you an iconoclast?
Don: Not at all. I’m surrounded by family and friends. While I value my privacy, I am, by nature, gregarious. I love intelligent and mutually respectful conversation.
Molly: Are you planning on starting an organization?
Molly: Do you plan on asking for money?
Molly: Are you independently wealthy?
Don: Nope, I’m independently poor. I work a part-time job to supplement my social security income.
Molly: Are you working on another book?
Molly: Are you trying to position yourself as some kind of spiritual leader, like a pastor, priest, guru, shaman, or mentor?
Molly: Are you going to be posting ads on your website?
Molly: Are you on social media?
Molly: Do you give radio, television, or podcast interviews?
Don: Nope, Nope, and Nope.
Molly: So, what’s in it for you?
Don: It’s really quite personal. Aside from wanting to identify and preserve Carl Sagan’s true legacy, I’m trying to organize fifty years of research in a coherent and understandable manner that will enable skeptics to critically evaluate my claims and evidence. If the Sagan Signal isn’t what I think it is, I want to know. If it isn’t, I’ll shut this site down in a heartbeat.
At the same time, when skeptics test the Sagan Signal and refuse to disclose their findings, which is what happened at Western Seminary and with the Center for Inquiry, I accept their silence as unofficial verification. But I need more. I’m really hoping that Ray Kurzweil, Nick Bostrom, and other AGI Singularity experts will rigorously test the Sagan Signal and the Sagan Model - and release the results of their findings.
Molly: As Ray said: “Be careful what you wish for.”
Don: Ray found you a feisty conversant, now I know why. By the way, as long as we’re on the subject, I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the strong interest being expressed in our conversations. Tens of thousands of individuals from all around the globe are logging onto this site.
Molly: That’s impressive, how do you explain it?
Don: Well, I give you a lot of credit. You have a way of charming the hell out of people. I also think that interest in the Kurzweil/Sagan showdown is being spread across a variety of platforms and constituencies that have a stake in the outcome.
Molly: So you think there are a lot of people and organizations testing the Sagan Signal?
Don: I do, and here’s the reason why: The Sagan Signal challenges fundamental assumptions in a number of philosophically disparate communities. Whoever can explain away the sequences without invoking extraterrestrial involvement would become an overnight celebrity. As I’ve stated very clearly, if anyone can debunk the Sagan Signal, I’ll close up shop and retire.
Molly: But I thought you said you’re already retired.
Don: You’re such a wise ass! You know what I mean.
Woman at the Well
Don: Molly, I’m not an evangelist, I’m not in to twisting arms. In advancing the Sagan Model, all I’m trying to do, with your help, is to create a watering hole where self-determination is the modus operandi. If a person isn’t thirsty, they won’t drink, and I’m okay with that. If a person is thirsty but thinks the water is polluted, they won’t drink, and that is their prerogative. But if a person is thirsty and convinced that the water is pure, they will drink and be refreshed. It’s that simple. The water I drank years ago when I became Born-Again is the same water being offered in the Sagan Model of the Singularity, the same water that JC/ET offered to the woman at the well, saying to her:
“Whoever drinks of the water that I shall give her will never thirst. But the water that I shall give her will become in her a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.” John 4:14
The water of JC/ET is the water of eternal life. If you’re not thirsty, move along. If you are thirsty, or even just a little bit curious, I encourage you to stay with Molly and me as we dig deeper into the core issues.
In our next conversation we’ll do a side-by-side analysis of a key element in both models: their Messianic nature. We’ll take a deep dive into such questions as: What’s the end game, and what are the existential and/or potential risks associated with accepting one model and rejecting the other?
Molly: So, you’re tightening the screws?
Don: One twist at a time.
“It was the fate of bacteria to evolve into a technology-creating species. And it’s our destiny now to evolve into the vast intelligence of the Singularity.” The Singularity is Near.
“I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” John 10:10
“Believe on the ET Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved.” Acts 16:31