Monday, August 13, 2007

From the notebooks of Lazarus Long

The great Dawkins returns tonight with a new TV series, The enemies of reason. The targets this time are irrational 'new age' superstitions such as astrology. I feel Dawkins might have enjoyed the company of Lazarus Long, one of Robert A. Heinlein's personae:

What are the facts? Again and again and again --- what are the facts? Shun wishful thinking, ignore divine revelation, forget what "the stars foretell", avoid opinion, Care not what the neighbors think, never mind the unguessable "verdict of history" --- what are the facts, and to how many decimal places? You pilot always in to an unknown future; facts are your only chance. Get the facts! -- Lazarus Long

The most preposterous motion that H. sapiens has ever dreamed up it that the Lord God of Creation, Shaper and Ruler of all the Universes, wants the saccharine adoration of His creatures, can be swayed by prayers, and becomes petulant if He does not receive this flattery. Yet this absurd fantasy, without a shred of evidence to bolster it, pays all the expenses of the oldest, largest and least productive industry in all history. -- Lazarus Long

"God split himself into a myriad parts so that he might have friends". This may not be true, but it sounds good -- and is no sillier than any other theology. -- Lazarus Long

To be "matter of fact" about the world is to blunder into fantasy --- and dull fantasy at that, as the real world is strange and wonderful. -- Lazarus Long

Freedom begins when you tell Mrs Grundy to go fly a kite. -- Lazarus Long

Political tags -- such as royalist, communist, democrat, populist, fascist, liberal, conservative, and so forth -- are never basic criteria. The human race divides politically into those who want people to be controlled and those who have no such desire. The former are idealists acting from highest motives for the greatest good of the greatest number. The latter are surly curmudgeons, suspicious and lacking in altruism. But they are more comfortable neighbors than the other sort. -- Lazarus Long


elberry said...

always found it hard to believe the world i inhabit is random and uncreated; but just as hard to believe it was created by a Semitic deity who wants worship. Why not a creator who doesn't give a fuck if you worship him or not, or would even prefer you not to? Perhaps Dawkins is this new God's prophet, encouraging non-worship.

Gordon McCabe said...

An insouciant God, then? Omnisouciant, perhaps.

elberry said...

He or She certainly seems to have been quite lazy, just look at male pattern baldness, it wouldn't have taken more than an extra 30 seconds to prevent that, surely.