Chat GPT and Human Intelligence: A Case for a Christian View of Natural Science

A Christological account of creation allows Christianity to embrace natural science by explaining the latter’s success in terms of the correlation between nature and the human mind. This account posits that the Logos who creates an intelligible world is the Christ who serves as the source and end of human nature. It thus explains how human intelligence can discern and theorize on the patterns inherent in nature through scientific experimentation and reasoning. However, the emergence of AI technology potentially undermines this crucial link between Christianity and natural science with its capacity to design models that generate knowledge based on pattern recognition. These models point to an alternative vision for natural science that bypasses the need for human intelligence created in the imago Dei. If such science is possible and Christian anthropology is no longer necessary for explaining scientific intelligence, then Christianity would relinquish a significant portion of its relevance for natural science.

The purpose of this paper is to appraise the feasibility of such an outcome. I begin by evaluating the structure and potency of an artificial “intelligence” to perform intellectual tasks involved in scientific processes, with specific reference to the characteristics of intellect demonstrated by OpenAI’s Chat GPT. I argue that the intelligence demonstrated by Chat GPT comes close to the human intelligence involved in natural science, demonstrated particularly by its ability to recognize patterns of significance across any large set of textual data and generate corresponding predictions. In fact, if natural science is reducible to an empiricist agenda of “saving the phenomena,” then it seems possible for AI to fully replace human intelligence in scientific theorizing.

However, despite the importance of pattern recognition in natural science, practitioners in this field widely agree that the discipline goes beyond merely “saving the phenomena.” Scientific theorizing involves a vision of the world that delves deeper than mere patterns, whose focal point is on the “laws of nature” that extend beyond the current set of empirical data available. What makes natural science “miraculous” to some is that these laws are validated by new data. A Christian anthropology may explain this “miracle” in terms of the unique potency of human intelligence to hypothesize beyond currently known data by corresponding with the inherent intelligibility of nature.

While Chat GPT does simulate an essential aspect of human intelligence in natural science – the ability to recognize significant patterns – it is unable to move beyond patterns into laws relevant to new data sets. Consequently, the intelligence demonstrated by Chat GPT cannot wholly account for the success of natural science. Therefore, the relevance of Christianity for understanding natural science remains unchallenged by recent developments in AI technology.

4 thoughts on “Chat GPT and Human Intelligence: A Case for a Christian View of Natural Science”

  1. AI and Video Games
    AI and Chat GPT are not living entities anymore than a recorded song or movie. Video games may appear to be real, but they include endless loops and scenarios. Video games may defeat an accomplished chess player, but they simply depend on probability, processing speed, etc. Computers or machines do not receive eternal life. Is this proposal really based on a theological issue?

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  2. intriguing
    I’m intrigued by the topic because of its contemporary importance, but it seems to lack any biblical point of reference, & the theological component seems weak.

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