08 March 2010

EPH–6 / TRACT ON EXTRATERRESTRIAL DARWINISM











The world is a good judge of things, because it is in a state of natural ignorance where man really belongs.
Blaise Pascal, Pensées, No. 327











I. GNOSTIC ALIENS.
The topic addressed in this analysis is outlandish, meant both in a literal and suppositional sense. It has to do with the so-called existence of creatures from extraterrestrial civilizations. TH2 has no intention of discussing UFO sightings, alien abductions, cow mutilations, Project Blue Book, “The Roswell Incident”, crop circles, psychic communication with effeminate-looking insect humanoids, or whatever new aspect of ufology is currently in vogue. The enchantment which the West has with these fantastical phenomena is yet another indicator of the resuscitation of gnosis in modern times. That the UFO craze forms one branch of the New Age movement is obvious. In this school of gnosis, extraterrestrials are depicted as quasi-transcendent beings or pseudo-messiahs who have disembarked on planet Earth from without, from “out there”, to “save us from ourselves”, to introduce “superior knowledge” to humanity, even to solve environmental problems. Some believe these aliens to be benign, even all-loving in nature. Recall the film ET, The Extraterrestrial, wherein at the film's end a benevolent and huggable ET, presumably dead, thereafter appears to its human child friend, now alive, draped in a white robe, as if resurrected from the dead like Christ.[1] This is the positive, optimistic, mystery mongering conception of extraterrestrials. Of course, final answers or solutions to dilemmas are never provided. Indeed, they are incessantly proscribed. Secret reports, intelligence agency cover-ups, government conspiracies, blurry photographs, barely audible voice recordings, arcane symbol inscriptions, vague descriptions of events (i.e. non-specificity) - hence we have a fine example of modern day gnosticism.


II. DARWINISTIC ALIENS. In contradistinction to this, when the ultra-violence of the latest science fiction film is scrutinized, of odious reptilian beasts bursting out of human bellies; when we consider that mesmerization with visions of the massive and swift annihilation of millions by Martian invaders, as in The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells (1866-1946) or in the trendy science fiction novella, an altogether different philosophy is being expressed. The imaginings are exceedingly pessimistic and vicious and do not necessarily allude to hazy esotericisms. Science and technology are intricately woven into the storyline. To the opposite of the negation of matter and the convolution of intellection that attends gnosis, this conception has more to do with the sensible, the materialistic, the rationally comprehensible. The philosophical undercurrent of this ultramundane view is, without doubt, straightforward Darwinism. In the interplanetary warfare between the humans of Earth and the Cythereans from Venus; in the ruination of extrasolar civilizations by gigantic particle beam lasers and photon torpedoes; in the vivisection of the human body in the alien operating arena with bizarre medical instruments; in the vomitus-like appearance of the alien intruder, its organism drenched with mucus, effusing a noxious stench, protrusive fangs that glimmer with a repulsive drool - in all of these guises is Darwinism manifest.

III. SEEKING REVELATION. With gnostic extraterrestrialism, emphasis is placed on cathectic aspects, the “mind’s eye”. Likely, it is a hybrid of Descartes’ angelism. Aliens are, in a way, symbolical spirits. They communicate with human “contactees” by way of weird symbols signs that necessitate decryption. For those enthusiasts maintaining this position, the mind is effectively blotted out from the world. Conversely, extraterrestrialism in its Darwinist semblance is riveted to the wholly material. Its fascination is with the grossly biologic, on chemical and physical constitutionality. It is clear. The vacuum left after the rejection of the Christian worldview in modern times has been filled with another secular religion: the worship of extraterrestrial beings. Humility before God as the “Totally Other” has been transmogrified into a groveling before our alien brothers. Revelation from God becomes a telepathic influx from the blond-haired Jovian in his cigar-shaped spacecraft. Revelation for the astronomer is the possible reception of an artificial radio signal from a planetary system on the far side of the Milky Way galaxy. Anxiously does this astro-monk wait for a revelatory message at his observatory-monastery on the altitudinous mountain top. Restlessly do these desirous ones seek enlightenment.

IV. SEEKING TRANSCENDENCE. Both the gnostic and Darwinist views, nonetheless, are reiterations of attempted transcendence as they presuppose that some sort of “contact” has been or can be accomplished with the extraterritorial. This is not real transcendence. It is quasi-transcendence. For the gnostic, the “out there” is another dimension, a gateway into another realm of being, a wormhole into the 7th dimension where the laws of Newtonian physics do not apply. Since all is centralized about the mind (inward looking), these vistas are subjectivist, not unlike Eastern philosophy, which negates materiality and thinks that transcendence can be gleaned by retreating to within the self. For the Darwinist, transcendence is equated with the universe itself. Space alone becomes the “final frontier”. Focus is on observable and quantifiable aspects. The view is physicalist, as the mystery of the universe is assumed to be totally explainable in raw materialist terms. Outer space is heaven for the gnostic.[2] It is hell for the latter if a gloomy Darwinist, or “a galactic Polynesian archipelago”[3] if there is a propensity towards utopianism (as with those astronomers and “serious” science fiction writers who like to dissociate themselves from the UFO community and regard themselves more respectable). The Russian scientist M. Minsky spoke that if contact were to be made with extraterrestrials, man would gain “immortality, colossal intelligence, the ability to experience a wider range of abstract and concrete phenomena that are beyond the reach of humans.”[4] The science fiction sage Isaac Asimov (1920-1992) was even more religious: “Imagine, then, how incredibly exciting it would be to touch, at last, even the outermost fringes of this godlike knowledge of life beyond.”[5]



V. THE NEW GODS.
Irrespective of the so-called differences in view between the astrophysicist and
ufologist, both are indicative of that old polytheism. Forget about Apollo, Zeus, Pan, Hercules, Dionysius and Prometheus. Now there are new gods, some angelic, others demonic, who will teach us, so it is proclaimed, the answer to life, the universe and everything. And their names are now Grog, Spock, Drak, Zortron, Moobok and Zaphod Beeblebrox.


VI. TWO FORMS RELATED IN BLOOD.
Consider that Darwinist brand of extraterrestrialism, though not so much on the negative variety as it appertains more to science fiction novelists who are generally untrained in the sciences. Rather, let TH2 explore those notions of scientists enamored with the search for alien life, be it microbial, evolved and self-conscious, or technologically advanced. The attitude is surely optimistic, and it is optimization itself that is the rule abided to in this area of prognostication. Thus Charles Darwin (1809-1882) is quoted to set the theme of this tract:




...the more nearly any two forms are related in blood, the nearer they will gradually stand to each other in time and space; in both cases the laws of variation have been the same, and modifications have been accumulated by the same power of natural selection.[6]



If the philosophy behind this remark is extrapolated to the topic now under review, two implications arise. The first is that as soon as extraterrestrial life is hypothesized to be a possibility, let alone an actuality, then automatically does man’s uniqueness in the universe become questionable.[7] Say, for example, if some alien form of primitive life was detected,[8] or even if it has been long extinct, then the shock to humanity would perhaps not be too momentous. Yet if this life was discovered to be biologically evolved, or if it possessed some “intelligence”, then, so professes the ecstatic astronomer, does the special value of the human being in the universe dissolve into nothing. For instance, M. Michaud writes:

We would undergo a revolution in the way that we conceive our own position in the Universe; any remaining pretense of centrality or a special role, any belief that we are a chosen species would be dashed forever... Our anthropocentric religions might crumble, as superior aliens become our new gods, or as we adopt their religious concepts.[9]
It is “wildly megalomaniac”,[10] wrote Arthur C. Clarke (1917-2008), to assume that human beings are unique in the universe.

VII. EXOCHRISTOLOGY / EXOBIOLOGY. Now when such commentators deny the uniqueness of humanity amidst the awesome universal expanse, they are more specifically assailing the Christian concept of the special status of man, once inbred into the Western outlook,[11] but today regarded as preposterous in a post-Christian society. When commenting on the dissolution of man’s singular dignity in Creation, after factoring in extraterrestrial life, K.S. Guthke eagerly penned that “the Christian view of man as the pinnacle of Creation is severely shaken”. Any metaphysical speculation becomes “innocuous” since “in the light of modern astrophysics this would leave man terribly isolated in the immeasurable vastness of space.” Therefore: “Exochristology seems to be less problematic than exobiology”[12] ... and the smiles amongst this community of alien worshippers, TH2 is sure, are as wide as the universe itself.[13]

VIII. THEOCENTRIC / ANTHROPOCENTRIC CONFUSION. “Serious” investigators of extraterrestrials also make sure to insist upon two things, used for purposes of slander. Firstly, they will claim the Christian view of man to be “anthropocentric”. The Christian view of selflessness, including the principle that a believer should live a theocentric or Christocentric life, invalidates this argument. Such disinformation takes that aspect of Christian doctrine saying that one person is of more worth than the totality of the universe, contextualizing this worth into a magnitudinal acceptation (inattentive to "worth" as a referent to each person’s special intrinsic value), and then assume this is representative of the Christian worldview. The presupposition that Christianity is anthropocentric is partly due to the confusion of Catholic-Thomistic philosophy with Cartesianism (segregating absolutely body and soul, turning man into an intuitive angel), or with Kant’s apriorism (obfuscating the distinction between mind and the world in its denial of objective reality). Secondly, they will maintain that humanity must dispense with the so-called anthropocentric view and adopt one less restrictive. As if under the influence of an alien narcotic, J. Heidmann of the Paris Observatory contended that:
...if we throw our taboos, common sense, and prejudices overboard in order to come to know the Universe, be moved by its grandeur and enchanted with its beauty, humans appear not as the goal of the cosmic odyssey, beings who by their existence would unveil its meaning, but as the fruit, infinitely precarious and fragile, of a grandiose adventure whose destiny was highly whimsical, like a think arabesque drawn on a frosted window pane, a fragile line at the mercy of immense forces that overtake it and dispose of it, a light foam on the restless billow.[14]
This is called cosmological nihilism or, alternatively, it is a LDS-trip as described by some lazy hippie... We all live in a yellow submarine, a yellow submarine... Whatever. But why deny common sense? Why rid rationality? Yes, TH2 is moved by the grandeur of the universe, but he will not be assimilated by it and deem himself some forever flowing particle caught in a meaningless astronomical flux. Human beings have freewill and the mechanism that is the universe does not. Existence is not “highly whimsical”. It is highly purposeful. Should we let the “immense forces” of the universe “overtake” and “dispose”! human existence? Strange, TH2 always thought that this mentality was the inspiration of totalitarian tyrants. Heidmann’s remarks are not indicative of scientific realism. They are reminiscent of the paralogic rantings extolled by soap-box gnostics.

IX. BIOLOGICAL / "INTELLIGENCE" EVOLUTION. Speculatively speaking, if life does exist elsewhere in the Milky Way, or in any one of the billions of galaxies now catalogued by astrophysicists, it is assumed that the physical processes governing the emergence and evolution of this life must be comparable to that which occurred on the Earth. Darwin again: “the more nearly any two forms are related in blood, the nearer they will generally stand to each other in time and space.” In other words, when Darwin’s theory crosses over into the realm of the galactic, man and alien become situated on an equal plane of value. Universalization is the assumption. Carl Sagan (1934-1996), avowed atheist, staunch proponent of purposeless Darwinism, and advocate for the “Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence” (SETI), asserted this universalism:
Both the existence of those other [alien] civilizations and the nature of the messages they may be sending depend on the universality of the process of evolution of intelligence that has occurred on Earth.[15]
Now the evolution of biological forms is one thing, but the gradual mutation of intelligence per se (the second implication) from an always obscurely named source is another subject altogether. The “evolution of intelligence” necessarily entails and suggests, however indirectly, that the human mind has it origination in matter, that intelligence is explainable by crude material agents. This is the reductionist hypothesis. It is often forgotten that neurophysiologists and other researchers of the mind are, despite periodic assertions of the grandiose, nowhere near to understanding the workings of the mind as consequent of the molecular interaction, chemical combinations or genetic configurations.

X. MONKEY = HUMAN = ALIEN. If Darwin’s “two forms” are ascribed as being human and alien, instead of human and monkey, then consider more of Sagan's comments:
...in both cases the laws of variation have been the same, and modifications have been accumulated by the same power of natural selection.... Natural selection has served as a kind of intellectual sieve, producing brains and intelligences increasingly competent to deal with the laws of nature... the same evolutionary winnowing must have occurred on other worlds that evolved intelligent beings.[16]
Sagan follows right behind Darwin. Though how could he even argue this when science concerns itself not with intelligence as such, let alone societies in distant galaxies, but with only the quantifiable magnitudes and observable traits of physical phenomena? Science appertains only to physical phenomena, regardless of locality in the galaxy, be it within our own solar system or in the Crab Nebula. It deals with the assemblage of facts, the emulation of physical phenomena by way of mathematical formulation, and with the increase in precision, concomitant with technological advancement, that permits for greater resolution in perception (increased specificity) of the phenomena themselves. The mathematical equations and language employed to characterize these phenomena imply universality. Science is the diminution of the multiplicity of things into the generalization or the unity of theory. Things - their observable properties and patterns - are particulars, whereas symbols used in language or mathematics denote the universal, they represent these realities to the mind. Intellection is not wholly a material operation, though it is to the materialist. But, as just indicated, no physicalist explanation of the mind is forthcoming, irrespective of the assurances of science popularizers.

XI. NEBULOUS PHRASEOLOGIES. Nonetheless Darwinists are convinced that intelligence has somehow sprung forth from matter. However, notice Sagan’s mode of evasion and lack of specificity in defining how intelligence proceeded from matter. He wrote that our intellects, including those of alien beings, have gradually come to be via natural selection which, in its functionality, has acted as “a kind of intellectual sieve”, a process of “evolutionary winnowing”, that has induced man and alien to develop into thinking beings. These re-quoted two phrases are evidential of misdirected thinking on Sagan’s part. An “intellectual sieve” and “evolutionary winnowing” are vague and shifty phraseologies, euphemisms for his belief in the blind, aimless forces that propel the universe (i.e. tychism). More popularly, this is called chance because in a universe deficient of purpose, and on a planet not reckoned to be constructed especially for man, meaningless chance is the name of the game. All that was, is, and shall be ensues from a roll of the dice, the randomization of eventuation. The “origin of new taxa”, writes E. Mayr, “is largely a chance event.”[17] Man, said Clarke, is “the product of thousands of successive rolls of the genetic dice.”[18] But the superconfident Clarke forgot the more important questions: Who has thrown the dice? And, are the dice rigged?

XII. RELIGION OF MAGNITUDE. If the purpose of man in the cosmos is repudiated, if his value as a sentient being is adjudged solely upon physical characteristics on par with the presupposed existence of extraterrestrial denizens who inhabit some far away planetary system, and if man is said to be the product of chance events in a universe where non-purposeful forces reign supreme (forces in an continuous state of flux and confluence, where configurations, varieties and happenstances are forever created anew) then, and only then, is alien intelligence seen as a likelihood. With the materialist conviction, quantity supersedes quality or intrinsic value. Essentially (and this impinges on followers of Sagan) what has been discussed here is the worship of spatial enormity, it is the new Religion of Magnitude. The greater the extent of the universe, the larger the number of galaxies there are (and hence the probability of planetary systems, “the immense number of such possible systems”[19] says Heidmann), it follows, so goes the logic, that the prospect is even higher for the existence of extraterrestrial beings and civilizations at whatever stage of development.

XIII. PRETERNATURAL MYSTERY. From a personal standpoint, TH2 renounces the existence of intelligent extraterrestrial life. Perhaps lower life forms exist somewhere. Even though 99.9% of anomalous aerial phenomena (e.g. UFOs, "flying saucers") can be attributed to human activity and/or explained scientifically (i.e. rare natural phenomena), there remains (controversially) that extremely small proportion of "sightings" that must be investigated within a preternatural context. This is due to the combinatorial high quality of evidence, the impeccable objectivity of some witnesses, and the bizarre (often disturbing) nature of the phenomena observed, which, as reported, do not obey the laws of physics. The term preternatural refers to a departure from natural causation (the immanent), but it is not supernatural (transcendent). It means the anomalous, the extraordinary, outside of the normal, and can point to demonic forces. The preeminent and most trustworthy researcher (amongst the dominating rule of charlatans) of (properly) "Unidentified Aerial Phenomena" (UAP) is the French astronomer Dr. Jacques F. Vallée, a co-investigator with the astronomer Dr. J. Allen Hynek (1910-1986), where the latter was retained by the US Air Force to investigate UAPs under Projects Sign/Grudge/Blue Book (1947-1969). Vallée sees aspects of UAPs as similar/comparable to accounts - in the distant past - of ghosts, fairies, angels, demons and other "psychic" or "paranormal" phenomena. Although rare, the phenomena are real, he contends, but do not point to visitors from other planets. This is because, he argues (convincingly) that: (i) these strange phenomena have occurred throughout history and are thus not contemporary, (ii) the bodily characteristics of alleged "aliens", as reported, are not biologically conducive to travel over astronomical distances, (iii) experimentation on humans (i.e. "alien abductions", accounts read like psychological trauma due to sexual abuse) and animals (i.e. "cow mutilations") are behaviors incompatible with advanced beings and (iv) the semblances of UAPs exhibit an ability to manipulate time and space. All of Vallée's argumentation points to the hypothesis that "authentic" UAPs are "interdimensional" or "multidimensional", which TH2 the Catholic more accurately calls preternatural.[20]

XIV. ESCAPISM / MISANTHROPY. Past government expenditures on such programs as SETI were a waste of tax dollars.[21] As for those who are insistent on the continuation of such otherworldly programs, their excitement can be attributed to other factors hidden below the surface of scientific jargon and flashy space technology. Indeed, TH2 would even assert that there is, subconsciously, a secret loathing of humanity and the Earth itself in all of this religious-like guesswork about extraterrestrial life.[22] In other words, that old philosophy of annihilationist escapism. The annihilationist-escapist mentality, and its intimate relation to the worship of magnitude, is all too ascertainable in Sagan’s works, for example. It is well to remember he was a leading member of a group of politically-motivated scientists who initiated the fad on the numerical simulation of the global climatic consequences from nuclear war,[23] now more or less forgotten after the end of the Cold War. Moreover, his book Pale Blue Dot [24] surely betrayed his idolization of magnitude and a secret contempt for our little Earth - a dot; its achievements and its peoples, great and small, who are now, so the overpopulation monger bellows, ushering the planet towards an environmental apocalypse. Why? Because the intrinsic value of the human being is made to be a function only of matter and space. Thus Sagan referred to humans as the “dumbest” beings in the galaxy.[25] Comparing humanity to the size of the universe, Clarke uses the analogy of “ants crawling around the base of the Empire State Building.”[26] Such statements by Sagan, Clarke and the like are, of course, secretly misanthropic. There is a presumption that size and duration determines worth. Blaise Pascal (1623-1662) knew the dangers of this materialism. One of his "Thoughts" gets to the core of the matter: “By space the universe encompasses and swallows me up like a dot; by thought I encompass the universe.”[27]. Since no real purpose is seen to exist on Earth, and because only the size and surveillance of matter matters, humanity can only opt for, and escape to, outer space in a sortie of spaceships to save the human race, to “learn more” (not better) and to “begin anew” (yet again).

XV. SEEKING IMMORTALITY "OUT THERE". The annihilationist escapist philosophy, forming one aspect of extraterrestrial Darwinism, is presented here for two reasons. Firstly, to illustrate that social Darwinism is still as prominent as it was at the beginning of the last century. Secondly, regardless of earth-based arrays of antennas working to receive artificially-produced radio transmissions from Alpha Centuri or Gamma-Hydra 4, escapism as a philosophy of life still deceives many, even if consideration is given to the more realistic prediction of life and human habitation within our own solar system, particularly with respect to the planet Mars. That is because another motivation lies behind the deification of magnitude and the search for extraterrestrial life. C.S. Lewis (1898-1963), in his science fiction story Perelandra, expresses well this motivation. It has to do with the escape into the infinite realm of the pseudo-transcendent “out there”. Behind the attraction of extraterrestrialism there:
...lies the sweet poison of the false infinite - the wild dream that planet after planet, system after system, in the end galaxy after galaxy, can be forced to sustain, everywhere and forever, the sort of life which is contained in the loins of our own species - the dream begotten by the hatred of death upon the fear of true immortality, fondled in secret by thousands of ignorant men and hundreds who are ignorant.[28]
Part of what Lewis was reproving is that when humanity finds itself in a crisis, either politically or religiously, there is a sort of collective sense of being “fed up with life” here on Earth. Consequently, an escape will be attempted, for freedom - not only our homes and countries, but from ourselves and our own terrestrial space, by planning and envisioning a future utopia; of not dealing with the harsh realities which occur presently - now - in the world. Whether this utopia, this vision of the future, is terrestrial or extraterrestrial is irrelative. Both are designators of immanency, of being locked in transit within a never-ending line of time, that feeling of encasement by space and matter. Whether the utopian construct comes from the pen of a Marx or a Sagan is extraneous to the matter. Whether the artistic vision be cubist or from the paintbrush of a futurist is of minimal significance. They all aspire, with at least some of the rudiments of Darwinist world picture, to breakout, to run away, to struggle against and traverse into the unknown, to reach out, as Neil Peart wrote, to “the alien shore”.[29] The view is forward looking. It is skewed to futurity, in a temporal sense, directed to the “out there”, in a spatial sense.

XVI. SOCIAL DARWINISM. One example of annihilationist escapism: The popular literary critic George Steiner wrote the following in his commentary of the mythologized “Great Ennui” following the French Revolution of 1789, of how a succeeding and widespread boredom in European society climaxed in the Nazi concentration camps. Steiner premised that:
...there may be in the genocidal reflexes of the twentieth century, in the compulsive scale of massacre, a lashing out of the choked psyche, an attempt to ‘get air’, to break the live prison-walls of an intolerably thronged condition. Even at the price of ruin. The void of the city after the fire storm, the emptiness of the field after the mass murder, may speak to some obscure but primal need for free space, for the silence in which the ego can cry out its mastery.[30]
Now whenever reading Steiner, an unadulterated sophister, “we must be very careful”, to use one of his favorite phrases. His euphonic writing style can be seductive, and the social Darwinism involved in the quoted remark, let alone the Nietzchean undercurrent, is obvious. Without question, social Darwinism is implicit to the adherents of extraterrestrial intelligence. Accordingly, the topic under review can be renamed astrosocial Darwinism. Admittedly, a bad grammatical invention, though it does not detract from the argument here presented. This is because it appears that Herbert Spencer’s (1820-1903) stylistic rendition of Darwin’s theory of evolution, which “offered a comprehensive worldview, uniting under one generalization everything in nature from protozoa to politics”,[31] has been broadened to include interstellar radiolarians and alien polities.

XVII. MARTIAN TERRAFORMING. Next, consider the escape to regions within our own solar system. It should emphasized here that TH2 does not denigrate space travel or the excellent technology involved. The exploration and exploitation of planetary bodies, made possible by the wonders of high technology, should be continued, promoted and celebrated. There is a problem, however. Not in the knowledge acquired from astronomical investigations and technological developments. Rather, it relates to that questionable type of study which frequently, and supported by large research grants, rides piggyback on good science. Take the “terraforming” of Mars, for instance. Namely, the artificial modification, on a planet-wide scale (warming and changing the chemical composition of the Martian atmosphere), so as to make our nearest planet neighbor Earth-like, habitable for plant life and even for the settlement of human populations. Of course, the technology needed to effectuate such an endeavor does not exist. Moreover, the costs and research, the planning and strategies, including the dangers of altering the red planet’s environment for long durations are tremendous, and would necessitate an international effort if it were to be properly conducted. In my opinion, the odds of initiating such a project with the next hundred years is nil. Today, the idea of terraforming Mars is, unfortunately, too much romanticized by unqualified armchair commentators and science fiction novelists.

XVIII. ADVERTENT ATMOSPHERIC MODIFICATION. An article in a prestigious scientific periodical, reviewing the methodologies needed for terraforming Mars, concludes “that the key goal for future exploration of Mars should be to determine the feasibility of terraforming that planet.”[32] Just considering the fact that hemispheric-wide dust storms periodically actuate on Mars, and that the mean annual surface temperature of the planet is approximately -80oC,[33] makes the suggestion of the feasibility of such a venture now to be highly impractical. Logically do the authors of the paper tell us that the terraforming procedure would require two steps: “warming the planet, and altering its chemical state.”[34] In theory, the warming of the Martian climate can be effected by releasing mammoth amounts of carbon dioxide into its presently thin, low-CO2 atmosphere. This CO2 would be derived from Mars’ frozen ice caps, located at both the northern and southern poles,[35] or from subterranean ice. To heighten the overall temperature of the planet, making it suitable for life, the poles would have to be warmed “with giant mirrors, or by spreading black soot over the polar caps, or by introducing greenhouse gases. Then the amount of CO2 and water vapour in the atmosphere would increase.”[36] Now there is nothing unscientific in the sequence of artificial modification that the author’s propose. They recommended the basics. Satellite imagery and telescopic observations, mathematical models and empirical inferencing, including the sparse data gleaned from landers,[37] have given an elementary idea of Mars’ volatile inventory, its radiation budget, its general circulation patterns, and the photochemical properties of its atmosphere. The terraforming of Mars, disregarding the complicated technologies required, can be more or less determined from the estimation and budgeting of quantities. But this is not the focus. Instead, the focus here is with the technological feasibility of the undertaking. For instance, the notion of artificially warming Mars’ polar regions with “giant mirrors” is simply not within the capabilities of current know-how. If they were to be constructed, let alone properly and continually operated in Martian orbit, they would have to be one-third of the size of the planet’s surface area!

XIX. ANALOGUE EARTH. For comparison, look at the Earth's atmosphere, and two past problems of artificial modification thereof. Firstly, an experiment done in the 1960s in the Canadian Arctic involved the placement of large quantities of black soot on the ice (to induce melting) had completely failed (allowing, in theory, the surface to absorb more incoming solar radiation, decreasing the reflective power or “albedo” of the ice, thus increasing surface temperatures). Secondly, advertent weather modification for the Earth is still at a rudimentary level. The seeding of clouds with silver iodide particles (acting as nuclei upon which moisture can accrue) when expelled by aircraft under special atmospheric conditions has not, in case studies, significantly increased rainfall amounts nor do they always cause rainfall to eventuate.[38] The point: If techniques for artificial weather modification have not been perfected for the Earth, why, then, suggest techniques by which Mars can be terraformed? A myriad number of conjectures are made for a great escape to another planet while right now, here on Earth, explanations and solutions are still requisite. Why surrender to the current unfeasibility of terraforming Mars when the feasibility already exists, and a weighty one at that, for the consideration of terra firma. There is, of course, nothing wrong - scientifically speaking that is, in theorizing on the artificial aeration of the Martian climate. Yet when this possibility or potential is overemphasized, then science, as a field of human endeavor, becomes misguided. And if the annihilationist escapist philosophy is a motivator, it is because the scientist in question sees no, or refuses to acknowledge, the uniqueness of Earth and its human inhabitants - man with a purpose, with an intellect and freewill that differentiates him from all other organisms, and who can - with these attributes, tackle various exigencies on Earth increasingly ambushing him in the present age. Escapism under the guise of a purposeless Darwinism, plus that magnetic attraction to the universe's vast size, is not the solution to the general crisis which humanity now endures. More realistically, we should use our energies and pursuits on planet Earth, and all of the objectivity that it entails, than to impractically postulate upon the terraforming of a planet named after a god of war, and all of the subjectivity that that would entail. Realism and present situations far outweigh futuristic visions that can never be validated nor given guarantee of their eventuation.

XX. RARE EARTH. Disregarding the importance of Mars as an astronomical object of scientific study, why even be entranced about the potentialities of a barren and lifeless planet, of another place where purpose and design may be sought after (a search for truth “out there”), when the Earth itself has multitudinous intimations of uniqueness, of specialized construction. Think of its position relative to the Sun whereof the Earth circulates around the former at just the right distance, receiving a not too high or low influx of solar energy, and giving the Earth a generally warm and livable climate. Consider how the Earth’s temperature variability, as compared to other planets in the solar system, fluctuates within a very narrow thermal window, dictated by the precession of the equinoxes, and permitting for noticeable dissimilarities and distributions in biological processes and forms, though not so extreme so as to eradicate all of life in entirety. True, millions and billions of years ago the Earth’s environment was very different from today. The Sun was weaker in its radiative power, the greenhouse effect for the Earth during the Archaen epoch (2500-3800 Ma.) was augmented in its intensity, glaciations have come and gone at regular time intervals. But extreme climatic changes, incited by massive asteroid impactions, solar output alternations, magnetic pole shifts, or occasional internal mechanisms of catastrophe (e.g. the cooling affects of volcanoes from particulate injection into the atmosphere) have, over time, made some species extinct while allowing others to survive and thrive.[39]



XXI. SPECIFIC EARTH. Furthermore, consider the insightful comments presented by Fr. Stanley Jaki (1924-2009) in regard to the Moon; of how the flux and reflux of the Earth’s ocean tides, impelled by lunar orbital movements, permitted for the transport of life from the oceans onto dry land; or of how the Moon almost perfectly covers the solar disc during a full eclipse, making conditions excellent for astronomers to analyze solar perturbations without the searing interference of a whole visible Sun; or of the Moon’s tremendous size relative to moons for other planets in the solar system, which are not observable from the surfaces of those respective bodies; or of how the Moon’s gravitational inducements had gradually decelerated the Earth’s rotational velocity during the early stages of formation, wherefrom this slow-down to a day-night modulation of 24 hours made environmental conditions suitable for the development of life; or of the influence of lunar motion on the Earth’s magnetic field, allowing for the production of the ozone layer in the upper atmosphere (reflecting to space incoming ultraviolet radiation, inimical to life) yet maintaining a high concentration of oxygen in the lower atmosphere (necessary for life); or of the “Big Whack” theory, which states that moon was created by the agglomeration of debris subsequent to the impact of an asteroid into the Earth. For the Moon to form, the asteroid had, according to computer model simulations, to collide into the Earth at a specific plane, time, angle, direction and speed. Do not these few (of many) aspects of the geophysical properties of the Earth and its astrophysical associations point to a specially constituted planet.[40] Is it so absurd to state that these specific situations and astrophysical parameters have been set in place by God for the particular purpose of man? Everywhere on the Earth and throughout the immense expanses of this universe that our science and technology has made possible to understand, precise physical characteristics, including efficient arrangements, incessantly tending away from disproportionality to equilibrium “as the arrow is shot to its mark by the archer”[41] (St. Thomas), point to the handiwork of an omnipotent God of all that is.

XXII. RELIGION OF PURPOSELESSNESS. Magnitudinalism, incidentally, has nothing whatsoever to do with this view. It does not in any way impede the wonder that is our “Pale Blue Dot” and the inestimable value of the human being. For it is the consideration of size alone that has led many to say that “we are not alone”.[42] Could it not be that the very obviousness of design by purpose, reverberating terrestrially and extraterrestrially, blinds atheists to this magnificent design with purpose? How can one not be astonished at the configurations that terrestrially surround us and extraterrestrially encapsulate us? The obviousness that blinds has impelled not a few thinkers to credit the origin of the universe and life itself to “blind forces”, randomness, chaos, chance, indeterminism, and so on. But look closely at the fervid manner by which these people advocate their position. They are defiant, relentless, as if it was their purpose in life to demonstrate life’s purposelessness. Both their pleas and nonchalant remarks to the public about the purposelessness of life (as if it is a common acceptation) are secretly vehement against the obviousness of designs with purpose, concealed with jargon and acronyms of the latest scientific fad. Proponents of purposelessness do not propose but - indeed! - impose the idea that “blind forces” control the earth and universe. They are absolutely sure to the highest degree of accuracy, with argumentation that is well-ordered, with theories that are mathematically elegant, that the interaction of matter, that the emergence of life, and that the design of the universe, are all a result of chance.

XXIII. FATALISM. Does not this insurgence against purpose and design evidence that those very scientists who advocate universal Darwinism, which removes the necessity of God, are bothered, when alone in those silent moments of diffidence, when perhaps burdened by a conscience that informs them otherwise, that there is indeed a design with purpose in the biogeochemical world? Think of the despair of "Darwin's Bulldog", namely T.H. Huxley (1825-1895) who, when offered religious consolation by the clergyman Charles Kingsley (1819-1875), after the death of Huxley's son, shunned away the kind gesture. Anything but... Anything but... this was the unspoken motto of the evolutionary biologist Stephen J. Gould (1941-2002) and the like. The god of Darwinism says that only matter - pure and rugged and dirty matter viewed only surficially, matter ever transmuting, is where the answer dwells. The words of the Roman poet Lucretius (ca. 99-55 BC) in his De Rerum Natura are worth noting at this juncture:

----------------------------... aside from matter and void, there cannot be
----------------------------any third nature existing in the sum of things
----------------------------for we could never either perceive it with our senses
----------------------------nor could we ever comprehend it with our minds.[43]

Perhaps chasers after the purposeless processes of physical phenomena might read to the angered words of a French anthropologist who lapsed into a fatalistic worldview after his investigations of the myths of aboriginals in the “out there” of the New World in the Americas. Claude Lévi-Strauss (1908-2009) wrote in his autobiography: “I hate travelling and explorers... Is mine the only voice to bear witness to the impossibility of escapism?”[44] This fatalism is the only outcome when the universe and the world, its life and designs, are deemed to be void of purpose. No surprise - Lévi-Strauss was inspired by Marxism.

XXXIV. DELUSIONAL DAWKINS. A typical view of this radical purposelessness, as regards the development of life on Earth, is found in The Blind Watchmaker, by the atheist biologist (and pseudo-philosopher) Richard Dawkins at Oxford University. It should be noted that the stress of this book, or rather its purpose, is to eliminate meaning and God in the world, and this is done with a large measure of self-assurance. Dawkins is one of these cornballs who has become quite proficient at riding the horse of Darwinism into the new millennium. He makes lots of loud noises, he bellows his yee-haws for all to hear, and his glosses on the meaningless direction taken by evolutionary life on Earth has become somewhat fashionable these days, especially with impressionable university students. You know - that lazy guy with a science degree living in his parents basement, unwilling to get a real job, spending most of his time snacking on pizza-pops while prowling the internet for conspiracy theories, pornography and Buffy the Vampire Slayer trivia.

XXV. DISPENSING SPECIFICITY. The Blind Watchmaker explores how biological existence came into being. Inspired by Darwin, Dawkins attempts to explain the evolution of life “as a consequence of gradual, cumulative, step-by-step transformations from simpler things, from primordial objects sufficiently simple enough to have come into being by chance”. Organisms are simple in essence. Do not trouble yourself, contends Dawkins, with the complexity of matter upon its breakdown into component parts. Forget about stripping away the layers of matter as physicists do. Do not mine into the subsurface of things. Why? “Life is too short for most of us to follow them.” Indeed, the positivist philosopher Auguste Comte (1798-1857) must be proud of his ideational grandchild. Just look, exhorts Dawkins, only at big and simple observable associations:
...if you asked me how a motor car worked you would think me somewhat pompous if I answered in terms of Newton’s laws and the laws of thermodynamics, and downright obscurantist if I answered in terms of fundamental particles. It is doubtless true that at the bottom the behaviour of a motor car is to be explained in terms of interactions between fundamental particles. But it is much more useful to explain it in terms of interactions between pistons, cylinders and sparking plugs.
Why does Dawkins wish not to encumber himself with excavating below the surface of objects? Why does he de-emphasize complexity in the natural order and overemphasize simplistic structures? Why this concentration just on the simple? The answer is simple: Dawkins, knowingly or not, is entreating readers to avoid specificity in science. He wants people to disregard precision in observation, measurement and instrumentation. What, TH2 asks, would microbiology be without the greater precision known of organism structure and function without improvements done to the microscope by Antonie Leeuwenhoek (1632-1723)? Was not the Hubble telescope launched into space for the purpose of gaining clearer and therefore more specific views of the universe?

XXVI. EVOLVING RIDICULOUSNESS. The “cumulative evolution” of Dawkins works by natural selection, or “the blind, unconscious, automatic process which Darwin discovered, and which we know is the explanation for the existence and apparently purposeful form of all life, [which] has no purpose in mind.” Fair enough. There is no purpose involved, only “blind forces”. But notice! See how Dawkins slips with the following statement: “the only watchmaker in nature is the blind forces of physics, albeit deployed in a very special way". [45] What is this “special way”? He, of course, does not elaborate. Does not “special” countercheck the “blind forces of physics”? How can something be purposeless and special at the same time? Ridiculous. If there is a exemplar of an irrational man in the field of evolutionary biology today, Richard Dawkins is that man. The more humorous of Dawkins’ fabrications was his computer program, also named The Blind Watchmaker, available to the public at nominal cost.[46] The program was designed such that “blind forces” are used to simulate biomorphs appearing by chance. The Times Educational Supplement and the New Scientist showered accolades on this program, though evidently not seeing the fallacy involved. A strict, logically constructed computer program, with deterministic mathematical rules - always generating one, invariant set of results - was sold to the public whereof the basic premise of the program is that the emergence of life is the outcome of chance. Last TH2 recalls, one plus one equals two and, regardless of mathematical elaborateness (even under the deceptive guise of “chaos theory”, see Semiotica Neurotica), chance does not play any role in Dawkins’ program. As the great mathematician and father of computing John von Neumann (1903-1957) remarked: “Anyone who considers arithmetical methods of producing random digits is, of course, in a state of sin.”[47] Dawkins also rejects the “instantaneous creation” of the universe, the theistic belief. This is because, so he claims, evolution is a cumulative process - change occurs by degree, not in kind. Dawkins’ ascribes this as “slow gradualism”.[48] The implication is that one has to regress ad infinitum and must posit an eternalism, which can only be justified by subjective argumentation. Dawkins counters the theists with this: “they assume the existence of the main thing we want to explain.” Perhaps he might be reminded that the word “explain” is derived from the Latin explicare, meaning to tread below surface appearances to get to the locus of naked reality itself (metaphysics).

XXVII. "BLIND FORCES" ENGENDERS NIHILISM. The principal hazard associated with Dawkins worldview is that, if life (or natural selection) is the product of the “blind forces”, nihilism is the aftereffect. Disturbingly, acceptance of his thesis automatically cancels out freewill. His physicalism adjoins man and nature into one component, i.e. if nature acts blindly, then so must man as he is locked therein. But why is Dawkins not blinded by this fact? Because he is special. Digress from the “science” of Dawkins’ book for a moment. Ignore his grandiosity and something very interesting is discovered. When reading through the book a pertinacious writing style is noticed. There is an definiteness in his discourse, a parlance relayed that he is absolutely confident in what he is expounding is absolutely true. He seems elated, as if the meaning of life has been revealed to him from some beatific source. What satisfaction can one obtain by demonstrating that the emergence of life is the product of chance? What motivates a man to such an ecstatic assault on standards that have long been held only until recent times? Does such a man not realize, in his vaunting contention of purposelessness - and factoring in the acclaim he has received, that he might be deceiving gullible people who are searching for meaning and answers in an increasingly nihilistic society? If some of his more naive or unlearned readers took his ideas as absolutely true, would they then act, in their personal lives and with those they encounter, as if life biological and even life moral (the latter comes soon after) were the upshots of chance events?[49]

XXVIII. GAIA HYPOTHESIS. Purposeless Darwinism contends that the world's design, the ordering and structuring of things animate and inanimate, are the result of “blind forces”. There is, however, another view that states that things are self-created, that geophysical forms and functions possess some innate, mystical life force. This is where the so-called “Gaia Hypothesis” holds sway. Indeed, the name Gaia, a Greek goddess, and all of the pantheistic-animistic connotations it evokes (Mother Earth, nature worship, granola, sandals, unhygienic hippies, etc.), is a seedbed for the introduction of impulse feminist theologies.[50] Unsurprisingly, the “Gaia Hypothesis” is very much in trend with environmentalists. The recent profusion of books on Gaia in connection with global environmentalism is the newest way that nature worshippers champion their agenda. The English chemist James Lovelock (b. 1919), originator of the Gaia Hypothesis, writes:
She is now through us awake and aware of herself... [Gaia is] a complex entity involving the Earth’s biosphere, atmosphere, oceans and soil; the totality constituting a feedback or cybernetic system which seeks an optimal physical and chemical environment for life on this planet. The maintenance of relatively constant conditions by active control may be conveniently described by the term ‘homeostasis’.[51]
XIX. HUMANITY AS A CONTAMINATION. As with any animistic worldview, the factor betraying Gaia’s proclivity to obscurantism is its failure to admit real distinctions between various biological, chemical and physical phenomena. Land, sea and sky are, in effect, merged into a indistinguishable “One”. Non-living, inorganic matter, such as rocks or soil or seawater are given peculiar life qualities, characterized as bodily organs of the globe. To suggest, for instance, that an inanimate rock and an animate amoeba are equivalent, in the sense that the former has some intrinsic life property, suggests a kind of vitalism. Consequently, any interference with the Earth (as an "organism"), anything that upsets the equilibrium of this life system, is deemed to be a contamination. This contamination, so says the militant or unwary environmentalist (who elevates the value of a cuddly panda bear or a whale over man), is man himself.

XXX. JUXTAPOSITION / ASSIMILATION. When Lovelock speaks of a “feedback”, he means specifically the character of interactions between biogeochemical phenomena. Whether these phenomena constitute segments of the biosphere, cryosphere, hydrosphere, pedosphere or atmosphere is not important. In the Gaian world schematic, the situation has more to do with the removal of real distinctions between the animate and inanimate. In reality, a rock is only a rock and it does not possess life. Nor does clay or a snowcover. A plant is only a plant and it does possess life. So does a slug and a road runner. Yet - and here is the problem - when Lovelock tells of “interactions” occurring feedback systems, he means not a juxtaposition of particles or processes, but rather an assimilation of them, with and through one another.

XXXI. THE INANIMATE. Further detail will substantiate: If we look at mineral or inorganic forms which comprise the world, say the hydrosphere (oceans, lakes, rivers), the cryosphere (snow, ice), the atmosphere (air masses, clouds), the pedosphere (soils, rocks) and the lithosphere (continental plates), and if we also consider the processes in which they undergo, namely wave action, melting, erosion, chemical dissolution and weathering, air convection and conduction, plate subduction, and so forth - what is observed are only tessellations of phenomena. There is only a concatenation of constituents. They are devoid of any assimilative or intusussceptional traits. Inorganic things, in their functionality, only combine, breakdown, dissipate, congeal and bounce off each other. They only exist side-by-side and do not amalgamate with one another so as to be possessed or changed by the “other”. Think of the condition like a stick of butter than slides off a sheet of teflon, or how oil and water do not intermix when placed in the same container. Incidentally, it makes no difference whether the inorganic thing is a soil particle, a snowflake, a slab of granite, an air molecule or a minute atomic particle like a proton. The dissimilarity lies only in magnitude, the size of things, and of more refined instrumentation or sense perception that can measure the physical dimensions of a thing.

XXXII. THE ANIMATE. Next we come to the animate, namely the plant and the animal. They are really distinct not only from the inanimate (since they are life forms), but between themselves, and for the following reasons: A plant is assimilative in the sense that it possesses some-thing else, an-other, but only in connection with itself. The plant utilizes the inanimate to sustain itself. Water, from rainfall and snowmelt, is absorbed and transpired. Minerals within the soil are accrued by root uptake from the subsurface. The plant does this only to maintain itself. As for the animal, it, too, assimilates, but it is really distinct from the inanimate and plant life because its “other” is solely the totality of it biologically perceivable environment. It pursues this “other” only as the moment demands. It tracks down its prey, killing it, to satisfy its hunger. It copulates only to produce offspring. For refuge against predators and extreme environmental conditions, it burrows a hole into the ground or hides in a cave. Unlike the human being, it has not reason nor freewill, the two attributes making man and animal really distinct. But once there is a call for the removal of these distinctions between rock, plant, animal, and man, then is the hierarchy of being leveled into one plane of existence. A kind of geophysical egalitarianism.

XXXIII. THOR SLAYS GAIA. The Gaia Hypothesis is a passing intellectual fad. Like all fads, it will soon end because this geoscientific world picture will, in the last analysis, tend towards animistic obscurantism, hardly a mode of thinking needed for an objective, rational investigation of the Earth’s design. Moreover, but no less crucially, one should not altogether dismiss the dangers associated with Lovelock’s theory when it is realized that there is always a steady supply of non-scientists who use Gaia, knowingly and unknowingly, for ulterior purposes unrelated to the study of the natural world. If you equate the animate with the inanimate, setting them on the same plane of being (putting desert sand on par with Amazonian forests, for example), or if a plant is made to be equal in value to an animal which dwells on a higher echelon within the hierarchy of being, then man himself will be said to be infused (and not really distinct) from this geoscientific system inspired by a mythological pagan goddess. If man’s nature, if his very being, is assumed to be one with the natural world, and if man is increasingly considered to be inimical to the natural world (by, say, agricultural and industrial activities) then man will be identified as the contagion which perturbs the natural order of existence. With the aid of manipulative propaganda by professional activists and West Coast liberals, including the amateurish slogans regularly extolled by the media and celebrities (always quick to jump onto bandwagons), the human being’s incalculable value in the grand design of the natural world will latterly be subsumed by the “higher” worth of rocks and plants. If man is considered to be a kind of disease, and if this ideology is permitted to run its full course, human beings will called for elimination by whatever means - and it is here where the goddess Gaia of Paganism is slain by the god Thor of Darwinism. Because the supporters of Gaia wield the formula rock=plant=animal=man, that smooth continuum without designation of real distinctions, that vague and imperceptible “step-by-step transformation” (Dawkins) which is implicit to Darwinism, arises once again.

XXXIV. PATH TO RELATIVISM. To summarize, philosophical Darwinism is a materialistic worldview that sees life and design in the universe as meaningless, the product of chance. The animistic philosophy of Gaia admits design in nature, but the global environment is self-determining. All matter is living, vitalized, even sacred. Both worldviews eventually have to refute freewill since they consider man, in some fashion, to be irreparably locked in the deterministic laws by which nature operates. Man is not really distinguished from the world, either by his will or intellectual powers. His very being is declared to be one with matter and natural causation. The Darwinist, if he is gloomy like Dawkins, is usually an atheist, whereas the Gaia exponent will more often than not be a pantheist. But since things cannot be the cause of themselves, and because from nothing nothing can be produced (ex nihilo nihil fit), the remaining option for explaining purpose and design in the world is to exposit a God who is really distinct from, and transcendent to, the material universe. If not, if the religions of Darwinism and Gaia are upheld - and their exponents are very religious in pronouncement, any meaning for man, his purpose and value, will be dictated by that now two century old principle of relativization: “All evolution, all progress, is from a lower to higher plane. From a philosophic point of view, things are not good and evil, but only higher and lower.”[52] This is called moral relativism. As for intelligence, it “dawned in humans, if not exclusively at least in greater abundance than in other animals.”[53] Obviously, the religions of Darwinism and Gaiaism are immanent. Their gods are entrapped within the material realm of being. Gaia is the goddess worshipped by pagan environmentalists. For atheistic Darwinists who seek enlightenment by placing hope in the false transcendence of outer space, their gods are extraterrestrial beings who, because they are only “higher or lower” than us (and not really different), will “all probability... look an awful lot like us.”[54] They will also be predicated to be more brilliant.

XXXV. GOOFY GORILLAS. In the last century there was a needless stir about how our distant “animal cousins” looked similar to human beings. A big fuss for nothing. It does not bother TH2 in the least that a gorilla’s facial expressions and bodily structure are similar in appearance to mine. That’s fine. True, both a human being and a gorilla eat bananas. However TH2 can, unlike my hairy companion, take that banana, examine its chemical composition, and afterwards compose a book called A Treatise on Bananas, Arguments Proffered Whereof it is Demonstrated that Bananas Taste Good, With an Index of Banana Qualities and their Potential Deterrents to Dilettantism, Including an Appendix Outlining the Goofiness of Gorillas. TH2 could also harvest the fruit to feed many and, because only the human being can act irrationally, TH2 could also take that banana and stick it in the gorilla's ear. The hairy fellow would not be exactly pleased with my prank, nor would it accept my apology (it would not understand me). Though TH2 could opt for running away, and very quickly too.

XXXVI. ASTRONOMICAL EMPTINESS DIVINIZED. Today, extrapolating not backwards in time, but projecting outwards into space, this commotion resounds, and the hopes,[55] even the horror,[56] concerns itself with alien beings who, too, are conjectured to look an awful lot like us. Once again, the “higher and lower” principle is taken as a verity, and this meant in a material sense. Materialism and magnitude: the greater the amount of material there is in the universe, the higher the plausibility of extraterrestrial life. The lesser the amount of matter, the lower the probability. Not a there is and is not (which really differentiates), but a there may-be or may-be not (which formally gradualizes). On this modern tragedy of the Religion of Magnitude, the pen of G.K. Chesterton (1874-1936) would be instructive at this point in the tract:

...the materialist, like the madman, is in prison; in the prison of one thought. These people seem to think it singularly inspiring to keep on saying that the prison was very large. The size of this scientific universe gave one no novelty, no relief. The cosmos went on forever, but not in its wildest constellation could there be anything really interesting; anything, for instance, such as forgiveness or free will. The grandeur or infinity of the secret of its cosmos added nothing to it. It was like telling a prisoner in Reading gaol that he would be glad to hear that the gaol now covered half the country. The warder would have nothing to show the man except more and more long corridors of stone lit by ghastly lights and empty of all that is human. So these expanders of the universe had nothing to show us except more and more infinite corridors of space lit up by ghastly suns and empty of all that is divine.[57]


XXXVII. THEATER OF THE ABSURD.
Escape to that false transcendent, or to use C.S. Lewis’ phrase again, to make that getaway toward “the sweet poison of the false infinite” is, to be blunt, the product of dreamers, utopians, and, more generally, those who are unwilling to deal with the present day toils (i.e. slackers). Escapism is easy and painless. All one has to do is think without reference to cold and concrete reality. Reality, in reality, is often wearisome and painful. Life here on Earth may be ponderous, hectic, painstaking, boring, seemingly purposeless. The responsibility that comes with freewill and rationality may periodically steer one, in our dark moments, to the edge of despair, making one think that they are feigned human endowments. Nevertheless, beyond this ephemeralism, in the revolt against nihilism, life is still good, it is very good. Nietzsche is popular because his view of life was easy, too easy. Anyone can, with Samuel Beckett (1906-1989), say that life is absurd - and how purposefully did this mythologized atheist write of life’s absurdity! The contradiction is that he assumed rationality, that people understood him, when at the same time he proclaimed the essential irrationality of man.


XXXVIII. SOLARIANS AND LUNARTARIANS. Does TH2 sound like a palaeotraditionalist preoccupied with the “Dark Ages”? If such is the sentiment, it is taken as a compliment. For it was during the latter part of the so-called Dark Ages that the churchman Nicholas of Cues (1401-1464), contrary to my view, spoke of the existence of intelligent life on other worlds:
It may be conjectured that the inhabitants of the sun are more solar, more bright, clear, and intellectual; we assume that they are more spiritual than those who inhabit the moon - who are lunatic... The regions of the other stars are similar to this, for we believe that none of them is deprived of inhabitants.[58]
These words come from his De docta ignorantia (1440). It was the first time in the Latin West, noted the philosopher of science Pierre Duhem (1861-1916), that someone granted the existence of extraterrestrial life, and intelligent life at that, except for the lunartarians “who are lunatic”. This work (On Learned Ignorance, translated) is mentioned because a parallel is noticed, relating to the abovementioned Religion of Magnitude, though not in a physical sense. In the following, the great Cardinal interrelates the mind to truth by way of a geometrical analogy:
For the intellect is to truth as the inscribed polygon is to the inscribing circle. The more angles the inscribed polygon has the more similar it is to the circle. However, even if the number of its angles is increased ad infinitum, the polygon never becomes equal to the circle unless it is resolved into an identity with the circle.[59]
A mathematician indifferent to Kurt Gödel’s (1906-1978) Theorem of Incompleteness[60] would retort by saying that the puzzle is easily solved with differential calculus. Calculus was not invented in Cues’ day, however that is irrelevant to the issue. He was not referring to mathematical truth. Indeed, Cues said symbols are finite, that they assist understanding, and his symbolization of infinity was not meant to be expressive of God’s infinity.[61]

XXXIX. CYDONIAN FACE. Cue’s polygon analogy is mentioned because (for instance) the application of geometrical symbolism was used by one planet researcher to appraise an “unusual” feature on the surface of Mars, located in the planet’s northern hemisphere in a region coined Cydonia.[62] In July 1976 the Viking 1 Obiter imaged a strange surface feature in the Cydonian region of Mars which, so it is contended, resembles a “face” (see inset image). Apparently, there are polyhedral-like features adjoining the “face”, having the aspect, so it is also claimed, of an ancient, long-uninhabited “city”. Inevitably, upon the realization of this enigmatic image, New Agers, mystery mongers and a whole gallery of quacks started to hindcast on the existence of an ancient Martian civilization. Books sold well and a hefty profits were made.[63] No surprise. TH2's target, however, is not these latter day charlatans. Rather it is the researcher of the article just referenced, published in a highly respected journal on optical physics.

XL. OPTICAL GNOSTICISM. A read of this paper exposes an underlying obscurantism. In it, digital enhancement and filtering techniques are used to determine whether or not the facial feature was attributable to natural processes or if it was artificially created. Three-dimensional analyses, geometrical transformation methods, shape and shading assessments, and isometric plots were employed by the author, a certain M.J. Carlotto, to yield new, modified imagery so as to allow for viewing of the “face” at varying angles of perspective.[64] Now my confutation here (yes, "confutation" is a word TH2 likes using) has nothing whatsoever to do with the mathematics and computerization involved. What is unusual, however, is that no matter what is effected to alter the satellite image in question, the "face" always appears blurry. Irrespective of the visual transformation, the so-called “face” is never quite clear to the eye. It is always almost resolvable. For Carlotto, objectivity and precision, necessary for good science, seems not to be the crux of the study. Emphasis is laid more so on the manipulation of figures and symbols. True, the actual feature in Cydonia is an objective thing re-presented symbolically with a digital image. Yet the thrust of the paper is not so much an exercise in the confirmation or rejection of the “face”. Rather, it appears to be a graphical play with the arcane. Carlotto concludes by stating that the “face” and “city” are “enigmatic objects”, that they “may not be natural”.[65]

XLI. THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS. This tedious summary was provided because Carlotto’s paper evidences a preoccupation with magnitude. Not physical magnitude, but the subjective, symbolic kind. Not a material infinity expanding outwards, but a mental infinity contracting inwards. The point: one can rearrange graphical signs and symbols to whatever degree and read into the configuration or display the most fantastical meanings. Multitudinous designs, shapes, angles and patterns can be inscribed into the photograph or symbolic sequence. Though unless it is assumed that the meaning involved (if there is any) resides outside the graphical or symbolic system, one is merely playing a game of semantics. Even if this formal system is disguised with complex mathematical equations or a suite of visually appealing icons, if there is no extraneous referent or objective foundation to this system, the numerical analysis involved effectively becomes an exercise in numerology. When geometry is employed to garner some sort of meaning of the “face on Mars”, the investigation, despite the mathematics and technology used to give the study credibility, is essentially a construction of cryptograms with no other purpose than to amuse and titillate. Like Cues’ inscribed polygon within the circle, more and more sides can be added to the polygon ad infinitum without ever reaching the identity of the circle. Similarly, symbols, bisymmetrical figures, and place coordinates can be added to the Martian “face”, giving it “meaning” or a purpose by design. But since this can be done an infinite number of times in an infinite variety of ways, these symbolic systems are themselves deemed to be infinite vistas of secret knowledge (i.e. gnosis). As another eminent Cardinal wrote in the nineteenth century: “Nothing is easier than to use the word and mean nothing by it.”[66]

XLII. PURPOSE BY DESIGN. Without that metaphysical quality dwelling outside of that seemed infinity, material or symbolic, a search for purpose ends up being fruitless. If the material and symbolic are not admitted an association with one another, and if they are denied finitude, immanent eternalism results. At once does the origin, nature and destiny of man, life and the universe devolve into, depending on the route chosen, materialism or mentalism. Without purpose, things occur by chance and the notion of “beginning and end” becomes a non sequitur. It is impossible to explain and communicate without making assumptions, of there being an antecedent first principle which orders and makes understanding possible. When we speak or write it is assumed that the listener or reader comprehends those words spoken and written, of what they mean, of saying a this and a that. Negating that assumption (like Dawkins) or, in the case of evolution, ignoring an instantaneous beginning of things that are and of man who is (man as really distinct from animals, a “discontinuity, an ontological leap”,[67] said Pope John Paul II), would make understanding impossible. At that moment of comprehension or revelation, when we say “this is it”, “I understand that”, or when we exclaim “bingo!”, “now!” or “eureka!”, or when we snap our fingers in recognition of something - are these actions and words driven by material operations alone? Has not a reason been discovered? Has not some single, distinct principle been extracted and universalized from many physical things, evidencing a design in the world? Is not science the reduction of multiplicity of individual concrete things into the unity of theory? For it is simple to see that unity and difference exist in concomitance. To see unity one must assemble and abut differences into one unit, affirming real distinctions, yet still attesting a totality that comes with the discernment of a reason, a principle, or a purpose by design.

XLIII. PLATE TECTONICS. An example to demonstrate: In the 1920’s the German meteorologist Alfred Wegener (1880-1930) proposed a new theory that explained the arrangement of the continental plates spanning throughout the globe. Before Wegener, it was figured that land bridges stretched from continent to continent. These bridges, thought to be long submerged in the ocean, acted a viaducts for the transportation of animals and vegetation from one continent to another and, as such, explained why fossils on one continent were similar to those on others many thousands of miles away, separated by expansive oceans. Wegener’s studies disproved the former existence of land bridges but he was still left with a dilemma. As he wrote in his classic treatise which was to revolutionize the field of geophysics: “if we do not accept the idea of such former land connection, the whole evolution of life on earth and the affinities of present-day organisms occurring even on widely separated continents must remain an insoluble riddle.”[68] What was his solution? Wegener had before him a series of continental plates covering the globe which he recognized, by their shapes and relative positions, to fit together like a puzzle. Therefore, he said, all of the continents must have at one time in the distant past been coalesced into one supercontinent, into what is known today as Pangaea, existent approximately 250 million years ago. Notice what Wegener did: he conglomerated all of the individual pieces of the continents into a theory of one supercontinent. His reason, that which gave unity, was a single landmass. It gave a purpose for the later spatial configuration (or design) of the continents for the present time. This was Wegener’s theory, not accepted by the geophysical community until the 1960s. Wegener had developed a theory of geodesign which assumed purpose by design. Those Darwinist seekers of alien life have proposed a theory of astrodesign without purpose. TH2 opts for the former.

XLIV. THE GALACTIC FEDERATION. Even though TH2 disbelieves in intelligent alien creatures living by the laws of Darwinism, he sometimes question himself. He wonders about another alien who seems to have dropped in from outer space and, too, works “by power of natural selection”. There was an article about him, reporting a conversation between Darwin’s “two forms... related in blood”, a mother and son:
K: Mother, I’ve just dropped in to see how you are?
M: Fine. Now get outta here! Last time you ‘dropped’ in on Aunt Esmeralda I had to but a funeral plot for her.
K: A pure coincidence, mother, she died of natural causes.
M: Yeah, well that’s what I want to die from. Now get outta here before I call the police![69]
In this brief dialogue, recounted by a reporter (which actually occurred), the K is Jack Kervorkian (aka Dr. Death). To be sure, social Darwinism is not a dead philosophy. Though as Monsieur Michaud warns us, this philosophy may not be wholly restricted to our own planet: “We must hope that the relations among civilizations in our galaxy are not based on some sort of interstellar social Darwinism.” Not only this, it would seem that the Reverend Malthus, Margaret Sanger and a host of population controllers at the United Nations have been abducted by flying saucers and now work for the Galactic Federation. This is because M. Michaud also cautions that “the aliens might wish to confine us to our own solar system, and prevent us from achieving interstellar flight, as if they were isolating a virus. That could close human expansion, and set a final limit to our growth.”[70]

XLV. TERMINATION. If these worshippers of matter and magnitude cannot get an extraterrestrial life, then please, please get a real one. It makes no difference if the views of Gnostic Extraterrestrialism or Darwinistic Extraterrestrialism are adopted by whatever group of influence or effect. This is because, in the final analysis, the message of the aliens will always be exactly the same: "DEATH TO HUMANS".


NOTES / REFERENCES

1. Ever since Steven Spielberg’s movie Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977 release) there has been a proliferation of claimants describing space aliens with bodily characteristics exactly like those depicted in the film, i.e. oval heads, large insect eyes, thin and short bodies, no sex organs, formally called “grays” by the UFO community. Even up here in Canada do we see this idolization of extraterrestrials. In one book by Hugh Cochrane, with the slick title Gateway to Oblivion (New York: Doubleday, 1980), “evidence” is submitted for the existence of “another Bermuda Triangle” in the Great Lakes. From the coasts of St. Catharines to the beaches of Kingston, disappearing aircraft, mysteriously sunken vessels, alien encounters, and strange signs in the skies are documented. Could a UFO be the blame for the sinking of the ship Edmund Fitzgerald? Was Gordon Lightfoot’s famous song erroneous in its melodious chronicle of the disaster?

2. The mass suicide in 1997 of “Heaven's Gate” cult members in California is a case in point. Followers believed that, at death, they were to board a UFO flying behind Hale-Bop comet. What is most disgusting (but more so disturbing) about this tragedy is that the media pundits and talk show hosts mocked these poor people and got a frenzied amount of laughter from their audiences to boot. After the tragedy, the cover of Time magazine (April 7, 1997) had a full close-up photograph of cult’s leader, Marshall Applewhite, displaying a wide-eyed madman (see inset image in main text). Afterwards there were all kinds of sanctimonious psychologists and religious “experts” trying to understand “why” such people (educated, serene demeanors, on a lavish estate complex - and not the poor and uneducated as our social engineers tell us) would commit such an outrageous act. For it is the very cultural relativism of the Left, that Time magazine and the like endorse, that fosters the emergence such ultraistic cults. Cults, it should be added, that some have attempted to analogize with Catholicism, and with a grin to be sure. The hypocrisy of these commentators was despicable as they nonchalantly disassociated their own relativist worldviews from contributing to the radical mentality of religious fringe groups. Heaven’s Gate members were seeking a false transcendence (discussed in main text), attempting to “shed” the “containers” that were their bodies, i.e. negation of matter, castration, rejection of marriage and sex which, if anything, evidences that Manicheanism has returned to the West. Like the Manichees of the Middle Ages, Applewhite, a former Christian, responded brutally to his homosexual inclinations (castration). Are not those fantastical artistic renditions of bug-eyed and benevolent alien beings genderless, void of sexual organs?

3. Words spoken by G. Stent. See Communication with Extraterrestrial Intelligence (CETI), ed. C. Sagan (Boston: Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1973), p. 158. Hereafter referenced as CETI.

4.
CETI, p. 160.


5. I. Asimov, “Of Life Beyond: Man’s Age-Old Speculations” in Extraterrestrial Intelligence, The First Encounter, ed. J.L. Christian (Buffalo, NY: Prometheus Books, 1976), p. 51. The editor of this book gives special thanks to Paul Kurtz (p. 2) of Prometheus Books for allowing its publication. Kurtz is author of the Humanist Manifesto II, wherein we read that the humanist view seeks “the transformation, control, and direction of all associations and institutions” , i.e. a thoroughly secularized society without the need for God and religion. This utopianism, which claims a perfection of man without God, should be seen as intimately connected with the philosophy advocated by seekers of alien intelligence.

6. The Origin of Species by Natural Selection (Toronto: Penguin Books Canada Limited, 1968), pp. 395-396. Originally published in 1859.

7. Here an avenue is opened for the introduction of an astronomical version of polygenism, as in the “astroplankton” notion posited by the Marxist J.B.S. Haldane (1892-1964), or what is today known as “panspermia”. This conjecture has it that spores or bacteria were adrift in the galaxy and deposited on Earth, thereafter acting as seedlings for first life. The New Age version of this idea came to popularity with Erik von Däniken’s book Chariots of the Gods (published in 1968). Däniken’s thesis contends that extraterrestrial astronauts landed on earth in prehistoric times, introduced alien genes to life on earth and, upon the emergence of the human race, taught men technology. Däniken is forthright in the rejection of his Catholicism when a younger man.

8. In the 1990s NASA scientists published a paper describing the unique characteristics of detritus from an asteroid originating from the planet Mars which, as claimed, exhibited a bacterial fossil structure, suggesting microbial life. See D.S. McKay et al., “Search for Past Life on Mars: Possible Relic Biogenic Activity in Martian Meteorite ALH84001”, Science, 1996, vol. 27, no. 5277, p. 924. The media, as expected, went haywire. Past life on Mars has not been proven. Indeed, the “fossilized bacteria” were eventually determined to be 100 times smaller than normal bacteria. Other scientists counterargued, saying that the hydrocarbon (an indicator of life) found in the Mars rock was produced by the heat generated by an asteroid that impacted Mars, sending the rock flying to Earth. Even if the prior existence of Martian bacterial life were to be demonstrated, it still would not evidence more evolved life, let alone intelligent life, as an actuality on other planetary bodies.

9. M. Michaud, “A Unique Moment in History” in First Contact, The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, eds. B. Bova and B. Preiss (New York: Nal Books, 1990), pp. 246, 250.

10. A.C. Clarke, “Where Are They?”, ibid., p. 307.

11. See C.S. Lewis, “Religion and Rocketry” in The World’s Last Night and Other Essays (San Diego: Harcourt Brace & Company, 1987), p. 84. As an example, reference could be made to the film Contact (released 1997), based on novel of the same title by the atheist astronomer Carl Sagan. The storyline has it that aliens from the Vega star system send a radio message to Earth. Decryption of the signal reveals the schematics to construct a transport mechanism allowing humans to travel to distant planets. Upon the announcement of the reception of the alien message to the public, hysteria arises, with strong emphasis placed on religious implications, especially the Christian reaction (e.g. signs of “Jesus Saves”, bellowing preachers, and so on with the stereotypes). It so happened that, after construction of the transportation device, it was sabotaged. A terrorist posing as a technician with a bomb wrapped around his waist blew the mechanism to smithereens. Who was this character? A fanatical Christian, with a big cross around his neck and a psychotic-looking stare. Hollywood strikes again!

12. K.S. Guthke, The Last Frontier, Imagining Worlds from the Copernican Revolution to Modern Science Fiction, trans. H. Atkins (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1990), pp. 35, 41, 28, 17. Originally published in 1983.

13. Reflecting on this situation, Guillermo Gonzalez, a research astronomer at the University of Washington, wrote a letter to the journal First Things (January 1999, No. 89, p. 3): “Atheists strongly believe they must support SETI, because the discovery of other intelligent beings in the Milky Way would show once and for all that we are not special in any way... It is only a small step, then, to discredit the Judeo-Christian worldview... extraterrestrials are a perfect God-substitute: they will cure all our diseases with their advanced medical knowledge, they will solve all our social problems as they have presumably done on their worlds, and they are superintelligent and apparently omnipotent - clearly qualities worthy of worship.”

14. J. Heidmann, Life in the Universe, trans. I.A. Leonard (New York: McGraw-Hill Incorporated, 1992), p. 111. A flamboyantly optimistic book with many exclamation marks. Originally published in 1989.

15. C. Sagan, The Dragons of Eden, Speculations on the Evolution of Human Intelligence (New York: Ballantine Books, 1977), p. 5.

16. Ibid., pp. 242-243.

17. “Probability of Extraterrestrial Intelligent Life” in Philosophy of Biology (New York: MacMillan Publishing Company, 1989), p. 288. Mayr’s use of the word “largely” in this statement automatically eliminates chance as a factor. Such examples of illogic are commonplace in this area of investigation.

18. A.C. Clarke, loc. cit., p. 310.

19. J. Heidmann, op. cit., p. 47.

20. See J. Vallée, Passport to Magonia: From Folklore to Flying Saucers (Chicago, IL: Henry Regnery Company, 1969) and Messengers of Deception: UFO Contacts and Cults (New York: Bantam Books, 1980). Latter originally published in French in 1983. The Vallée position goes against the two standard views: (i) belief in the existence extraterrestrial beings in the material universe, known as the "Extraterrestrial Hypothesis" (ETH); and (ii) disbelieving scientific opinion ascribing UAPs wholly to natural causation, called the "Natural Phenomena Hypothesis" (NPH). See various texts by W.R. Corliss for compilations on anomalous geophysical phenomena: Earthquakes, Tides, Unidentified Sounds and Related Phenomena (1983); Rare Halos, Mirages, Anomalous Rainbows and Related Electromagnetic Phenomena (1984); Remarkable Luminous Phenomena (2001); and Dark Days, Ice Falls, Firestorms and Related Weather Anomalies (2006). Published by The Sourcebook Project (Glen Arm, MD). Despite an inability to weigh properly the credibility and accuracy of sources, a good history of the UFO phenomenon is provided by Richard M. Dolan, UFOs and the National Security State (Charlottesville, VA: Hampton Roads Publishing Company Incorporated, 2000), vol. 1, Chronology of a Cover-Up 1941-1973. Foreword to this volume is by Vallée. Catholics should still approach Vallée's research with caution as, for example, he believes a UAP-type phenomenon was responsible for the apparition/"dancing sun" at Fatima on October 13, 1917.

21. In 1990, the US Congress granted the SETI project 10 million dollars to produce a multi-frequency computer apparatus to monitor/detect extraterrestrial radio transmissions.

22. J. Heidmann (op. cit., p.31) writes of “the irrefutable data we already have about the existence of life forms in the Universe”, when there is no evidence whatsoever. The most popular way scientists “seriously” attempt to come up with an “objective” estimate of the probability of extraterrestrial life is by use of the Drake equation (most users of it already assume life exists in the galaxy). It is given as:

N = R* fp ne f1 fi fc L

where N = the number of technological civilizations in the galaxy,
-------R* = rate of star formation averaged over the galaxy’s lifetime,
-------fp = fraction of stars with planetary systems,
-------ne = mean number of planets within planetary system ecologically suitable for life,
-------f1 = fraction of planets on which the origin of life eventuates,
-------fi = fraction of planets, after life begins, which possess intelligent life,
-------fc = fraction of planets in which beings develop communication capacity,
-------L = mean lifetime of such civilizations.

Estimation of the first two parameters in this equation (R*, fp) is not unreasonable, as these belong to the realm of astrophysics. The third and fourth (ne, f1) are highly speculative. Estimation of the final three (fi, fc, L) is impossible, if not outright fantasy, and if done, one will always find deterministic undercurrents at work. At a conference in 1973 (see note 3 for proceedings), Sagan and cohorts set out to describe and give numerical approximations to these parameters. For example, discussing intelligence, D. Hubel writes: “learning is the most complex manifestation of a more general attribute of the nervous system, namely plasticity[!]... plasticity is a prerequisite for learning - which, in turn, is necessary for intelligence.” According to Hubel, “plasticity” is an “ontogenetic feature”. Here is where the vague phraseologies begin. Hubel’s characterization of intelligence as “plasticity” is really no different from the belief that intelligence is “electricity”, as proposed by Julien Offray de La Mettrie (1709-1751). The “ontogenetic feature” is just another expression that attempts to veil the belief that genes determine intelligence. R.B. Lee, an anthropologist at the University of Toronto, stated that the historical materialism of Marx and Engels gives “a basis for using our experience to shed light on intelligence as a general process”. TH2 guesses he had to say that as there were many Russian delegates in attendance. On the L parameter, J.R. Platt blurts the Malthusian line: “over half of our critical minerals will be exhausted in twenty years [said in 1973]... The lifetimes of extraterrestrial societies may involve a race between cooperation and competition”. He then goes on to talk about J. Forrester’s World Dynamics, inspired by Thomas Malthus (The Principle of Population, published in 1798) and Paul Erlich (The Population Bomb, published in 1968), to pose scenarios of the end of civilization, in 2020 according to one prediction. G. Stent wrote that the “progress” of a civilization is related to “the fruit of creativity, [and] embodies within it an intrinsic psychological contradiction”. We should disregard the Faustian-Nietzschean “will to power” domination over nature and embrace a “paradise on Earth” view, presuming this same outlook exists in all alien societies (CETI, pp. 81, 83, 86, 151-153, 154-155, 158). In less than convincing short article, Sagan uses a modified version of the Drake equation (i.e. he plays with mathematical symbols without any objective basis) to guesstimate levels of technology in alien civilizations. See “On the Detectivity of Advanced Galactic Civilizations”, Icarus, 1973, vol. 19, pp. 350-352. For excellent counterpoints to the Drake equation see the article by A. Rose, “Why humans rule the galaxy”, National Post, July 10, 1999, p. B7.

23. See R.P. Turco, O.B. Toon, T.P. Ackerman, J.B. Pollack and C. Sagan, “Nuclear winter: Global consequences to multiple nuclear explosions”, Science, 1983, vol. 222, pp. 1283-1292.

24. C. Sagan, Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of Human Future in Space (New York: Random House, 1994).

25. Sagan revealed his secret disdain for human life when, along with wife Ann Druyan, wrote that an unborn child is “a kind of parasite” which “sucks blood” from the mother’s womb. A sort of inter-terrestrial vampire, it would seem. See “Is it Possible to be Pro-Life and Pro-Choice?”, Parade Magazine, 1990, April 22, pp. 4-8.

26. Loc. cit., p. 309. Rather arrogantly, Clarke further wrote (p. 308) of “Clarke’s well-known Third Law: Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” What he forgets is that any outlook (regardless of the consideration of past, present or future) that confuses magic with technology and science is obscurantist. Look back in time to Egyptian “science”. Only obscurantism is manifest. What Clarke did was to situate our present level of technology (which is not magic) on par with, say, the Egyptian kind, and then compare this with future technology or superior alien technology. Thus if we were presented with a picture of this future or otherworldy technology, in a flashforward say, we would think, so presumed Clarke, that this technology is “magic”, and that humans of the future would look back in time, or that aliens would look down upon us from high above, like a mother to a child, and consider the present level of technology as obscurantist. But if TH2 thought it was magic, then he would never understand it in a rational way. Amazement there would be, but this does not preclude the capability to eventually comprehend it. Obviously, what Clarke is suggesting with his so-called “Third Law” is that, until we reach a higher state of knowledge, or a more evolved level of consciousness, or whatever relativistic phrase one wishes to insert here, man is now, and has in the past, effectively been stupid, superstitious, primitive or whatever condescending word one would like to say. Upon the realization of this higher technology, man would reach his, so asserted Clarke in his popular book, Childhood’s End (published in 1953). Yet men have always held this secretly contemptuous perspective. But when does this process stop? Have not past principles permitted for the development of the wonders of modern day science and technology? How could have Clarke been so sure that when or if we attain our “childhood’s end” that others will look ever further into the future, and deeper into the expanses of the universe, and proclaim the same thing, namely a hatred for the past, transcendence seen only in the “infinity” of space and time, the deification of the future? It is ironic, but more so devastating to Clarke and his groveling followers, that the ideas of eternal time and matter belong only to pagan worldviews, in those cultures which science never developed in the first place because technology was confused with magic. Additionally, science could only develop in the Christian West because a real distinction was set between an autonomously running natural world and a transcendent God claimed to freely create this world (see my The Origins of Science). All other cultures mix up the God-world configuration. Thus TH2 presents to the reader his largely unknown First Law: Beware of science fiction gurus who try to pass themselves off as serious philosophers of science.

27. B. Pascal, Thoughts, trans. W.F. Trotter (New York: P.F. Collier & Son, 1910), no. 348, p. 120. Published originally in 1670 (posthumously) with the title Pensées de M. Pascal sur la religion, et sur quelques autres sujets.

28. The full text is published in The Essential C.S. Lewis, ed. L.W. Dorsett (New York: Collier Books, 1988), pp. 145-296. Lewis’ science fiction was written within the context of the Christian worldview, examining “larger themes”, such as theology, mans role and value in the universe. Other types of science fiction, banal and philosophical, will in some way or other reintroduce pagan worldviews, e.g. multi-worlds, parallel dimensions, time travel, portals into other universes, superior beings - all of which are modern euphemisms for those pagan ideas of eternal time cycles, infinite matter, perpetual flux/motion, polytheism, and so forth.

29. Peart is drummer/lyricist for the Canadian rock band Rush. The words quoted in the main text come from their album Counterparts. In a previous album, Roll The Bones, the theme is chance and randomness. Another album, Test for Echo, is also of pertinence here, viz. a sense of alienation and that felt immanency. One photograph in the album package (see main text) displays a series of satellite dishes pointing upwards into the sky. After listening to the songs and reading lyrics, the theme is that humanity receives no signals from “out there”, and that we are alone, trapped, doomed in a way. A test was made from some sort of echo response to a signal radiated upwards, but there was no reply of confirmation. Real transcendence, it seems to Peart, is an impossibility. Looking at Peart’s lyrics as a whole, especially upon reading his travelogue of his bicycle excursion through Cameroon, the influence of Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900) and Ayn Rand (1905-1982) is obvious (i.e. will to power, radical individualism). Hence there is an incredibly tense dialect of inwardness, as all is trapped within the self, strenuously contained therein. As such, he seemed very sensitive and distraught when peoples of differing outlooks were encountered in his travels. Expectedly, the book has a fair number of anti-Catholic potshots, using the standard “organized religion” vilification technique. See The Masked Rider, Cycling in West Africa (Nova Scotia: Pottersfield Press, 1996). It seems Peart overlooked Aristotle's dictum: “One may see in the course of travel... how friendly man is to man”, Nicomachean Ethics, trans. D.P. Chase (London: George Routledge & Sons, Limited, 1910), bk. VIII, ch. 1, p. 216.

30. G. Steiner, In Bluebeard’s Castle, Some Notes Towards the Redefinition of Culture (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1971), pp. 52-53. From the T.S. Eliot Memorial Lectures of 1970. Hitler expressed a desire, under pressure, for “free space”: “The acquisition of new soil for the settlement of the excess population possesses an infinite number of advantages, particularly if we turn from the present to the future... For Germany... the only possibility for carrying out a healthy territorial policy lays in the acquisition of new land in Europe itself.” See Mein Kampf, trans. R. Manheim (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1971), vol. 1, pp. 138-9.

31. R. Hofstadter, Social Darwinism in American Thought (Boston: Beacon Press, 1992), p. 31. Originally published in 1944.

32. C.P. McKay, O.B. Toon and J.F. Kasting, “Making Mars Habitable”, Nature, August 8, 1991, vol. 352, pp. 489-496.

33. See R.P. Sharp, “Ice on Mars”, Journal of Glaciology, 1974, vol. 13, no. 68, pp. 173-185.

34. C.P. McKay et al., op. cit.

35. Ice at the Martian poles is comprised primarily of solid carbon dioxide. Frozen water exists in much lesser proportions.

36. C.P. McKay et al., op. cit.

37. The likelihood of pooling money and technological know-how to terraform Mars now seems even a more remote possibility if NASA’s Pathfinder lander is considered. Due to governmental budget cuts, the mission to Mars had to be done with a budget of 125 million dollars, much less expensive than the Viking missions of the 1970s, which would in today’s funds cost over a billion dollars. According to a NASA public relations representative, components of the Pathfinder lander were bought “off the shelf”.

38. In the 1970s Russian scientists claimed to lessen the intensity of hailstorms by firing rockets and radar controlled bomb shells with silver iodide into storm clouds. See R.G. Barry and R.J. Chorley, Atmosphere, Weather and Climate (London: Metheun & Company Limited,1982), p. 87. During the Vietnam War, the US military used cloud seeding so as to increase rainfall over the Ho Chi Minh Trail. This project, called Operation Popeye, working to lengthen the monsoon season, was theorized to produce intense mud conditions. Accordingly, creating such quagmires would have made it increasingly arduous for motor vehicle transportation along the trail. The endeavor had an insignificant impact on the hydrometeorological regime. Cf. S.M. Hersh, "Rainmaking Is Used As Weapon by U.S.; Cloud-Seeding in Indochina Is Said to Be Aimed at Hindering Troop Movements and Suppressing Antiaircraft Fire; Rainmaking Used for Military Purposes by the U.S. in Indochina Since '63", New York Times, July 3, 1972, p. 1.

39. P. Ward and D.E. Brownlee provide more evidences in astronomy, climatology, geology, ecology and biology for the uniqueness of the Earth in their book Rare Earth: Why Complex Life Is Uncommon in the Universe (New York: Copernicus Books, 2000). This text also introduces the "Rare Earth equation", a counterpoint to the Drake equation (as described in note 22).

40. Another/related comment: “If our solar system were closer to the center of the Milky Way or closer to one of its spiral arms, we would encounter harmful radiation from supernovae and perturbations from stars that would send Oort cloud comets careening into the inner solar system. If the solar system had formed farther out in the disk of the Milky Way, there would not have been sufficient heavy elements to build a planet capable of supporting life. While most textbooks discuss the Sun as if it were a typical star, it is a more massive star than 90 percent of the stars in the Milky Way.” See G. Gonzalez and H. Ross, "Home Alone in the Universe", First Things, May 2000, vol. 103, pp. 10-12.

41. Sum. Theol., i, q. 2, art. 3c.

42. A phrase made popular in the 1960s by the science journalist Walter S. Sullivan in his book We Are Not Alone, The Continuing Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1964).

43. On the Nature of the Universe, trans. J.H. Martinbrand (New York: Frederick Ungar Publishing Company, 1965), bk. I, vv. 445-448, p. 13.

44. C. Lévi-Strauss, Tristes Tropiques, trans. J. Weightman and D. Weightman (London: Pan Books, 1973), passim.

45. This quote, and the four immediately above (in the main text), are from The Blind Watchmaker (Toronto: Penguin Books, 1991), pp. 14, 12, 5. Book originally published in 1986.

46. See ibid. (Appendix), pp. 327-334.

47. See J. von Neumann, "Various techniques used in connection with random digits", Applied Mathematics Series, 1951, no. 12, pp. 36-38.

48. R. Dawkins, op. cit., pp. 316-318.

49. Proof of this claim: In his international bestseller Unweaving the Rainbow: Science, Delusion, and the Appetite for Wonder (London: Penguin Books Limited, 1998), Dawkins writes that a “teacher from a distant country wrote to me reproachfully that a pupil had come to him in tears after reading... [my] book, because it had persuaded her that life was empty and purposeless.” Quoted in book review by S.M. Barr, First Things, August/September, 1999, no. 95, pp. 55-56.

50. A case in point is Rosemary Radford Ruether’s Gaia and God: An Ecofeminist Theology of Earth Healing (New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1992). Today there is no lack of “theologians” (she is a heretic) who quickly adopt the latest fad in science and use it as a foundation for trendy, if not spurious, thinking.

51. J. Lovelock, Gaia, A New Look at Life (Oxford University Press, 1979), pp. 148, 11.

52. J. LeConte, Evolution, Its Nature, Its Evidences, and Its Relation to Religious Thought (New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1899), p. 374. Second edition.

53. J. Heidmann, op. cit., p. 71.

54. See A.E. Slater and R. Bieri, "Humanoids on Other Planets?", American Scientist, December 1964, vol. 52, pp. 425-458.

55. Based on a series of “hunches”, Frank Drake, deriver of the Drake equation (see note 22), thought radio contact would be made with space aliens “before the year 2000”. In SETI Pioneers: Scientists Talk About Their Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, ed. D.W. Swift (Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1990), p. 83. Well, the collect call from ET is now 10+ years overdue.

56. Recall the widespread public panic in northeastern America spurred by Orson Welles’ (1915-1985) radio broadcast and adaption of H.G. Well’s The War of the Worlds on October 30, 1938. There is also the view that, after World War II (specifically after June 24, 1947, with the reported sighting “flying saucers” by pilot Kenneth Arnold over Mount Ranier, Washington - concurrent with the beginning of the Cold War), the fascination with UFOs was indicative of a collective fear of Russian communism (“watch the skies” for “alien invaders” translated as “be on the lookout for Russian ICBMs”).

57. G.K. Chesterton, Collected Works (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1986), vol. 1, p. 265.

58. Quoted in P. Duhem, Medieval Cosmology, Theories of Infinity, Place, Time, Void, and the Plurality of Worlds, ed. and trans. R. Ariew (The University of Chicago Press, 1985), pp. 509-510. The Ionion philosopher Anaximander of Miletus (ca. 610-546 BC) was the first to speak of the plurality of worlds (in time, not space, reflecting the pagan notion of eternal time cycles). Mockers of religion, like Arthur C. Clarke - in his usual patronizing verbiage, liked to point out how the Catholic Church was hostile to science by specifying that Girodano Bruno (an opportunist who used Copernicus’s heliocentrism for his own brand of gnosis, see note 61) was burned at the stake for believing in the plurality of worlds. Not only do they forget Cardinal Cues, but also that the Condemnation of 1277 by Bishop Etienne Tempier (d. 1279) affirmed the plurality of worlds, long before Bruno’s time. Other notes on Cues and Galileo (with respect to their views on the plurality of worlds) are revealing. According to Guthke (op. cit., p. 40), Cues had to perform a “delicate philosophical-cum-theological balancing act” so as not to get into too much trouble with ecclesiastical authorities. Galileo, truth be known, denied the existence of extraterrestrial life, but Guthke insists Galileo believed otherwise, if only we would read “between the lines” as he spoke in “a sort of code” (p. 97). What a load of crap! Such comments are, obviously, made to slander the Catholic Church and place Galileo - the great scientist allegedly coerced by ecclesiastics, and Cues - the so-called rebel Cardinal, on the side of anti-Catholic scientists.

59. Nicholas of Cusa, On Learned Ignorance, trans. J. Hopkins (Minneapolis: The Arthur J. Banning Press, 1981), bk. I, ch. 3, p. 52.

60. Gödel proved that “of no formal system can one affirm with certainty that all contential considerations are representable within it”. In other words, no symbolic system is resolvable within itself. There is always something outside of the system. See “Discussion on Providing a Foundation for Mathematics” in Collected Works, Kurt Gödel (Oxford University Press, 1986), vol. 1, pp. 201-205.

61. Cues thought had an inclination to Platonism, not to the obscurantism of, say, Giordano Bruno (1548-1600). Bruno was executed in 1600, not for advocating heliocentricity, but for his gnosticism. The great British scholar Dame Francis Yates (1899-1981) made this very clear in her book Giordano Bruno and the Hermetic Tradition (The University Chicago Press, 1964), pp. 450-451: “Bruno was an out-and-out magician, an ‘Egyptian’ and a hermeticist of the deepest dye, for whom the Copernican heliocentricity heralded the return of magical religion... the Copernican diagram was a hieroglyph of the divine... whose aim was to achieve a Hermetic gnosis... and so to become a great Magus and a miracle-working religious leader.” See also Fr. Stanley Jaki’s introduction to Bruno’s The Ash Wednesday Supper (The Hague: Mouton and Company, 1975), pp. 7-38.

62. M.J. Carlotto, “Digital imagery analysis of unusual Martian features”, Applied Optics, 1988, vol. 27, no. 10, pp. 1926-1933. Cydonia was a city and port in ancient Greece.

63. One snake oil salesman who makes a living disseminating such nonsense is Richard C. Hoagland, author of The Monuments of Mars: A City on the Edge of Forever (Berkley, CA: Frog Books Limited, 2002). Hoagland, a well-known charlatan, regularly appears on the popular paranormal late-night radio program Coast-to-Coast-AM, hosted originally by Art Bell (rumored to be a Freemason), and now George Noory (a lapsed Catholic). Hoagland's secret trick is his impeccable vocabulary. His phraseology can make the most ridiculous of concepts seem absolutely rational, like his hilarious theory of "hyperdimensional physics".

64. M.J. Carlotto, op. cit., Figures 6-8, p. 1932.

65. Ibid., p. 1933. A 2001 image of the same Martian landform (13 years after Carlotto's paper) obtained from the Mars Global Surveyor showed a more detailed picture of the "face", which in no way resembles a facial feature.

66. J.H. Newman, The Idea of a University (South Bend, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1986), disc. II, para. 7, p. 28.

67. From “Theories of Evolution”, Address to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, October 22, 1996. Published in First Things, March 1997, no. 71, pp. 28-29.

68. A. Wegener, The Origins of Continents and Oceans, trans. J. Biram (New York: Dover Publications, 1966), p. 6. See also p. 17. Originally published in 1922 as Die Entstehung der Kontinente und Ozeane. Wegener first proposed his idea of continental drift (Kontinentalverschiebung) in 1912 at the young age of 32.

69. F. Kennedy, "Dr. Jack at home", The Interim, October 1996, vol. xiv, no. 8, p. 9.

70. M. Michaud, op. cit., p. 253.


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40 comments:

Anonymous said...

Zikalkis asks: what is my position as the god that is eligible for guidance of the civilisation on universal values using his paradigm of inventveness and harmonious universalization of all the population of the world.

TH2 said...

Eh? What is your home planet?

Anita Moore said...

I have to break this piece off before finishing it, because I have choir rehearsal tonight, but I can tell you one thing: there really ARE aliens out there. I see them every day when I go to work. Anthropomorphic insectoids, man-eating cybercreatures, Daleks, multi-legged horrors beyond all description -- and that's just the other lawyers in the office.

TH2 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
TH2 said...

Anita: I published your comment. Did not come up right away, so I published under my tag. And then your message appears all of a sudden. Hence I deleted my comment above. Blogger problems, unless...

Are you some alien inter-dimensional traveler? Are you able to flux and reflux between this reality and the 8th dimension. I have no other way to explain how your comments appear and disappear. Blast! those Daleks.

Mary said...

TH2, I'm only half-way through, but both of the older two have finished your opus. Just a couple of thoughts: I wholly reject the possibility of intelligent extraterrestrial beings (for the reasons you've cited), but I have some extended-family members who delight in the thought. Of course, then they wonder what this means for our relationship with God....blah blah blah. And I've long thought that those alien "visitations" were instead demonic visitations, based on how the "victims" testified about the incidents. Lastly, I'm impressed that you worked Rush into this. I always loved their music, but was disappointed in many of Peart's lyrics. I understand that recent years have brought hard blows to him, and was hopeful that he would come to and be consoled by Christ, but that doesn't seem to be the case as far as I know.

TH2 said...

Mary:

1. Thank you for taking the time to read.

2. I am very impressed (and humbled) that 3-of-7 and 4-of-7 "finished" reading. Tell them thank you and hope they found at least a paragraph or two interesting. Remember, however, your friendly neighborhood TH2 is just a lowly compiler.

3. Re: "visitations", "abductions" - Either: (a) hoax/lie, (b) psychological trauma due to sexual abuse and/or other mental health issues - NOT said by TH2 in denigrating manner, these poor people need help, or (c) preternatural/demonic - extremely rare.

SIDEBAR: I have a relative claiming, within just a few hundred yards, a "sighting" (on the order of minutes) of the most bizarre/eerie/disturbing account of an object. This guy has a mathematics degree, is a hard core rationalist, is level-headed, and is no religious man. Every time I see him a family gatherings I pound him with questions on the matter - he is always consistent and obstinate in his claim.

4. Peart/RUSH - Interesting that you caught the footnote. There is a Catholic blog called "SUMMA CONTRA PEART"... it is a dead blog, but about one year ago I wrote a rather long comment on my view of Peart's philosophy. You can find it at: http://summacontrapeart.blogspot.com/2008/01/bad-blogger.html

Al said...

TH2,

It never ceases to amaze me that the same gang that knocks the faith of Christians comes up with things that take much more credulity than any part of the Christian faith ever did.

& although I sometimes wish there is life on other planets, I suspect we are it.

However sometimes given how things are here on Earth I "pray that there's intelligent life somewhere up in space
Because there's bugger all down here on Earth!"

Al said...

That having been said, I have to add that I love Sci-Fi, but I do not buy into all this "New Age" that much of it is vested with.

Have to add a comment about Isaac Asimov & his attempt to use his Foundation series as a push towards Gaia/Galaxia that he found he had written himself into a corner he couldn't get out of, thus his last few books being prequels. Symbolic, in a way, of what these alien hunters have done with their gnostic, new age aliens.

TH2 said...

Al:

1. You hit the nail on the head on your "credulity" remark. People will believe in anything, but THAT one thing. But this automatically/indirectly confirms the singularity of the Christian faith.

2. So far as I am aware, there is nothing inconsistent between belief in intelligent life on other planets and Catholic theology. Though it is my view that there is not intelligent life at all. If there was, then the whole situation/implications of a "planet hopping Savior" arises - a term by Fr. Stanley Jaki.

Anita Moore said...

Disregarding the importance of Mars as an astronomical object of scientific study, why even be entranced about the potentialities of a barren and lifeless planet, of another place where purpose and design may be sought after (a search for truth “out there”), when the Earth itself has multitudinous intimations of uniqueness, of specialized construction.

Because I have a long and growing list of people who need to be sent there. And Australia isn't far enough. (And it wouldn't be fair to the Australians, anyway.)

TH2 said...

Yes, the Aussies would not be too happy about that... Regarding your list of people to be sent away, here are some locality suggestions: (1) Gilligan's Island - really, it is an island, (2) anywhere within the Transantarctic Mountain Range,(3) Hollywood, (4) in that "van down by the river".

Mary said...

TH2, 3/7 and 4/7 understand far more than I, I'm afraid. I blame public schools.

Regarding the visitations/abductions, I had forgotten than most or all of the victims claim some bodily experimentation that is often sexual. Hmmm. I believe you are right in your assessment of the situation, although I'd argue (and I'm sure you'd agree) that the root of it is demonic.

Your relative's account sounds intriguing. Share sometime, if you like.

One of my favorite things about TH2's posts is the expansion of my vocabulary. I Googled the word "intussesceptional" to find exactly three results, and one of them was this blog post. I have never had so few results for a search.

I read the Peart blog post, and I'll add my prayers for his conversion. Having also seen them several times in concert, I found his concentration amazing; he didn't appear to ever look up from the drum set.

Oh - I finally finished this post. :)

TH2 said...

Mary:

First came across the word "intussesception" many years ago when I read a book by Bishop Sheen, his first, called "God and Intelligence" - a text that had a momentous impact on me.

I knew you liked Rush, but you also saw them "several times" in concert ! - and you are a professional in sacred music (organ/voice)!. Said it before and said will say it again. You are one cool Catholic chick.

TH2 said...

By the way, Mary, a video news item reporting on some recent strange happenings in your state:

LINK: http://www.examiner.com/x-2363-UFO-Examiner~y2010m3d13-MSNBC-reports-on-Euclid-Ohio-UFO-sightings-now-9-days-in-a-row

Mary said...

Ah - interesting link, TH2. I am amused that there are "No Military Tests" being conducted.

My husband and I, while standing on our front porch, have witnessed a very cool "UFO"; it flashed in a sort-of triangular pattern, then disappeared at a high rate of speed. We made many happy exclamations about the exciting military tests! After all, if one examines military technology from the 1950's, it would boggle the mind to know what we have today.

Rush Side Note: At my very first Rush concert in Charleston, West Virginia, I was fortunate to have a near-front-and-middle seat. After "carefully" loading a new roll of film into my parents' camera, I stood on my chair to capture some kind of awesome shot. Geddy Lee saw me, came to the front of the stage, and made a fantastic face for me. I, thrilled beyond belief, captured the shot! When I got the pictures back a few weeks later, they were all black; my film hadn't loaded properly. :(

TH2 said...

Love the Rush camera story. Sorry, however, that the photos did not come through. Standing on your chair to take a shot!... you're funny. I was always one of those quiet guys that sat in their and listened. If I recall correctly, I thought that cameras were not permitted at their concerts, at least back in the 80s and early 90s, before cell phone camera and the internet.

TH2 said...

Forgot to mention that, unlike you and your husband - and my relative, this blogger has never seen a UFO. I did, however, used to know a guy named Zoltan - a name sounding somewhat extraterrestrial. I'm just saying...

Mary said...

TH2: Methinks I'm a little older than you! I looked it up at http://www.test4echo.net/rush_tour_dates.htm. The year was 1979.

And to keep this comment somehow related to your post, I still plan to enjoy Star Trek, especially Voyager and Enterprise.

:)

TH2 said...

Saw my first Rush concert in 1981 - Moving Pictures tour. Beat me by 2 years.

Star Trek - like the originals mainly. That Shatner is the best - though I have not seen an episode in a while.

Al said...

I was thinking about some of the above when a name popped into my head that I haven't thought of in a long time, Erich von Däniken. Yup, Mr. "Chariot of the Gods" himself. He is alive & living in Switzerland. I'm surprized he isn't trying to make a comeback as his theories would fit in well with a lot of today's anti-Christian, aliens, gnostic mindset.

I remember reading some of his stuff & even then thinking it was far out in space in several ways. But, a lot of people took him seriously. Including the Academy Awards. The 1970 film based on Chariot was nominated for best documentary. Unlike Algore's bit on global warming, it lost.

TH2 said...

Recall seeing his documentary as a kid - in bits, I think, on television. To this day he makes quite a hefty profit via some sort of amusement park/museum dedicated to the whole thing (von Däniken is mentioned in note 7)

Al said...

Somehow I missed the footnotenote. I saw the English version on TV myself.

The amusement park was called called Mystery Park in Interlaken, Switzerland. It opened on 23 May 2003 & closed on 19 November 2006.

http://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/Closure_of_Mystery_Park_is_no_enigma.html?cid=5576928

It reopened on 16 May 2009 under new ownership.

Like I said, I am surprized there hasn't been a revival of interest in his many books. But then I guess we should be thankful for small favors that there hasn't been.

Mary said...

Ah, one more thing: I used to work with a man who insisted he was an alien, and yes, I believe he was serious about this. He stated that aliens don't have 24-hour wake-sleep cycles, and since he definitely didn't, he was of alien origin. Not sure he ever asked his parents about this, with whom he attended a Lutheran church every Sunday just to keep peace in the family. His personal belief? Atheist. Got his hair cut once a year "whether it needs it or not". House reeked of natural gas; he couldn't smell it though, thanks to his nasal spray addiction. We didn't worry too much about the gas because his birds were still alive.

Nice guy, though.

TH2 said...

God bless him.

Helen said...

So much food for thought here.

On a light note it's good to be at a Blog where the Author's happy to have been made In His Own Image with readers on the side of GOOD.

TH2 said...

Thank you so much, Helen. Plenty of stuff to ruminate upon, but these long articles compensate for me not posting on a daily basis.

Al said...

Was out at Borders last night picking up my copy of Mother Angelica's latest collection by Raymond Arroyo that should have been in 2-1/2 wees ago & just got in. While wandering the aisles I was surprized to see Erich von Däniken's latest on the shelves. Sounds like he is trying to prove the Mormons were at least partially right.

I came across it only because I was going through the metaphysical aisle only because the aisle I wanted to go down was occupied by a young couple & far be it from me to interupt the course of young love.

TH2 said...

Al: It appears that your expectation (in your previous comment) was correct after all, when you said: `I am surprized there hasn't been a revival of interest in his many books`. He`s still working the schtick alright.

He even has a Facebook page and a Twitter feed (just checked).

Al said...

TH2, this is 1 time I wish I was wrong, sadly I'm not. He oesn't seem to want to go out quietly. As P.T. said "There's a sucker born every minute" & ,may I add, he is making amint off of them

Lola said...

Thank you for the awesome photo and quote from Chesterton!

This posting I printed off, read and am re-reading because I'm just impressed with your tackling the connections with those 'intellectuals' such as Dawkins and Gould and the UFOers.

You have wrote what I wish I could.


TH2, what do you do at your day job or field? Do you write for a living? Do you teach in a University? (If so, I'm sending the darlings to Canada for their Higher Education.) You can be very vague in order to protect your alter-ego.

TH2 said...

Lola - dear and kind lady: many, many thanks for your comments and for taking the time to read one of my long posts. It makes all the effort worth it. Truly. My good friend Mary at St. Paul Athens Saturday Schola (see my link list) was also kind to read it as well.

TH2 is well aware that his posts are too long, not necessarily suited for blogging (sorry that you had to print it out), but the main aim here, when I started 1+ years ago, is to demonstrate that reason, logic, truth, objectivity, etc. belong to the Catholic Church. Many think it is "faith alone", but that is a Protestant thing. All of history, science, all mysteries, all suffering, all that is, was and shall be is resolvable in the God-Man nailed to a Cross - and His Holy Catholic Church. It all comes down to that. This is my motivation and, as such, I will do my utmost to defend the Church and, especially, will go out of my way to ideationally attack those who assault His Church, from without and within.

Job/Field: Work in the private sector (do not teach at university). My background is in the sciences. All else - philosophy, anthropology, etc. learned from books over the years. My teachers: Fr. Stanley Jaki, Bishop Sheen, etc.

Identity: I know there are those who claim that bloggers should be up front, but I have my reasons for remaining anonymous (for now), which I believe are valid. One reason: to divert focus from my "personality" and concentrate on the issue(s) at hand.

Writing: In the past I used to submit pieces to magazines, etc. But - rejection after rejection. That is why I am thankful for blogs. Plus I can add pictures and be an editor too! More fun.

Ahhh, I am rambling... anyway... intentions for Lola and her family shall be included in my next Rosary.

Respectfully...TH2/

Lola said...

Thank you TH2. I seem to be on the right path with Sheen and now I have Fr. Stanley Jaki to read.


BTW, I only tend to print out that sort of thing that is worth printing.

Would you consider an annotated Bibliography one day of your MUST READS?

And, especially Thank You for the prayers.

TH2 said...

Yes, Lola, I will do a Biblio for you. Please give me a little time. I'll give ya a head's up at your blog.

Al said...

Update on Erich von Däniken.

I hate to say this but I have just discovered I am even more right that I thought about him. While on break a while ago I saw an ad for a new series on History Channel called "Ancient Aliens". Didn't see who was hosting it or behind it but you can guess who 1st crossed my mind. So I went to the History Channel website
http://www.history.com/shows/ancient-aliens
& guess what? Yup he is involved with the whole series. With how it has handed Christ, Mary Magdalene & many other things over the years my respect for the channel has gone downhill a lot. This definitely takes it to a whole new low.

TH2 said...

Our "History Television" channel up here is pretty much the same as your "History Channel" - to which I had access at one time. Bad stuff - all those documentaries on bizarre topics are ever increasing. Not so much "history" per se anymore. Moreover, almost in every program on religion or the Catholic Church... negative and/or falsehoods are presented. Expert "Catholic" "scholars" are commonly liberal heretics, etc... Same old stuff.

Al said...

Expert "Catholic" "scholars" such as the "Jesus Project" cofounder & ex priest John Dominic Crossan who causes me to just cringe whenever I see him on 1 of these programs. Heritic is too nice a word for him.

Except for a few early morning programs (emphasis few) the History Channel might as well call itself the TV equivalent of tabloids like "The Sun". It amazes me that that paper sells as they have been so wrong about the end of the world etc so many times. & the History Channel makes it look downright accurate in comparison. & the only reason I know what the Sun says is I can't help seeing it while waiting in line at the checkout counter.

Anita Moore said...

I used to like the History Channel, until it gave itself over to UFOs and The DaVinci Code. If I wanted that kind of crap, I could just go to "Theology on Tap" and it wouldn't cost me anything.

Al said...

I got to see a bit of "Ancient Aliens" when I was on break a while ago. It was as bad as I expected it would be. I "learned" that the Hebrews has a manna machine called the "Ancient of Days" & it was because it broke down that they left the desert. Of course this was all extracted from info the the Kaballah. I think you can fill in the blanks. The drawing of the machine was interesting though. They went on to compare it to amodern machine extracting protein from kelp.

IMHO, Doctor Who is more historically accurate these days than the History Channel is.

TH2 said...

Al: I agree with your Doctor Who comment.

Re: History Channel - one of the deceptions of programs broadcasted is that they are so well produced (i.e. excellent cinematography, dramatic music, slick editing, expensive "recreations", etc.)... which all work to hide the nonsensity of topics/ideas actually covered (e.g. "Ancient Aliens"). Style over substance.

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