God and Golem, Inc.
The main crux here is creator versus created; God playing a game with the Devil; man playing checkers with a computer. Where is the line between alive and not alive? If you go low enough, the molecules aren't alive. While these types of questions are philosophically interesting, the more pragmatic are already (circa 1960) using learning machines, often without understanding the potentially devastating consequences; the machines act completely literal, unapologetically producing monkey paw like results, with no wiggle room for nuances in input that are second nature to humans. These people, gadget-worshipers, see the learning machine as a slave, perfectly obedient, without recognizing the potential dangers that, in hindsight, we can see all around us today.
The Sacred Mushroom and the Cross
The ancient peoples of the modern Middle East had worshipped a fertility god that Allegro posits was based on the rain being seen as the sperm of god, giving life to the desert each spring. The mushroom, as Allegro sees it, was a microcosm of the universe in that it would grow quickly after a rain, it had some resemblance to a womb and of course a penis, and it imparted those who ingest it with a kind of communion with god. Allegro gives as evidence the evolution of the written Sumerian language cuneiform into Aramaic, Hebrew, and Indo-European languages such as Greek. The language used in the bible may have been to hide the true purpose, passing down knowledge of the mushroom, of this fertility cult. While it would be impossible for any lay person to make heads or tails of the 'translations' within, this book provides a unique perspective on the roots of modern religions.