Жанр книги: Научная Фантастика
Robert A Heinlein To Sail Beyond The Sunset

World-as-Myth. .. Much as I love Hilda, much as I love Jubal and respect his analytical genius, World-as-Myth doesn't explain anything.

As Dr Will Durant would put it, it is an insufficient hypothesis. I studied philosophy under Dr Durant in Kansas City in 1921 and ‘22, not long after he left the Catholic Church - and turned agnostic, socialist, and benedict, all through sniffing a fourteen-year-old girl half his age.

Dr Durant must have been a disappointment to Mrs Grundy - he married his jailbait sweetheart and stayed married to her till his death in his nineties, with never a breath of scandal. For Mrs Grundy it must have been a case of ‘Some days it is hardly worth while to listen at keyholes. '

The Church's loss was the World's gain. A horny young teacher's ability to keep his hands off a pretty, smart, and nubile student gave several universes a great teacher in history and philosophy. .. and gave Maureen her introduction to metaphysics - my greatest intellectual adventure since Father introduced me to Professor Thomas Henry Huxley.

Professor Huxley introduced me to the fact that theology is a study with no answers because it has no subject matter.

No subject matter? That's right; no subject matter whatever - just coloured water with artificial sweetening. ‘Theo-‘ = ‘God' and ‘-logy' = word(s), i. e. , any word ending in ‘-ology' means ‘talk about' or ‘discussion of' or ‘words concerning' or ‘study of' a subject named in the first part of the word, whether it is ‘hippology', or ‘astrology', or ‘proctology', or ‘eschatology', or ‘scatology', or something else. But to discuss any subject, it is first necessary to agree on what it is you are discussing. ‘Hippology' presents no problem; everybody has seen a horse. ‘Proctology' - everybody has seen an arsehole. .. or, if you have been so carefully brought up that you've never seen one, go down to your city hall; you will find the place full of them. But the subject tagged by the spell-symbol ‘theology' is a horse of another colour.

‘God', or ‘god', or ‘gods' - have you ever seen ‘God'? If so, where and when, how tall was She and what did She weigh? What was Her skin colour? Did She have a belly button and, if so, why? Did She have breasts? For what purpose? How about organs of reproduction and of excretion - did She or didn't She?

(If you think I am making fun of the idea of a God fashioned in Man's image or vice versa, you have much to on. )

I will agree that the notion of an anthropomorphic God went out of fashion some time ago with most professional godsmen. .. but that doesn't get us any nearer to defining the English spell-symbol ‘God'. Let's consult fundamentalist preachers. .. because Episcopalians won't even let God into His sanctuary unless He shines His shoes and trims that awful beard. .. and Unitarians won't let Him in at all.

So let's listen to fundamentalists: ‘God is the Creator. He Created the World. The existence of the World proves that it was created; therefore there is a Creator. That Creator we call "God". Let us all bow down and worship Him, for He is almighty and His works proclaim His might. '

Will someone please page Dr S. I. Hayakawa? Or, if he is busy, any student who received a B-plus or better in Logic 101? I'm looking for someone able to discuss the fallacy of circular reasoning and also the concatenative process by which abstract words can be logically defined by building on concrete words. What is a ‘concrete' word? It is a spell-symbol used to tag something you can point to and thereby agree on, e. g. ‘cat', ‘sailboat', ‘ice-skating' - agree with such certainty that when you say ‘sailboat' there is no chance whatever that I will think you mean a furry quadruped with retractile claws.

With the spell-symbol ‘God' there is no way to achieve such agreement because there is nothing to point to. Circular reasoning can't get you out of this dilemma. Pointing to something (the physical world) and asserting that it has to have a Creator and this Creator necessarily has such-and-such attributes proves nothing save that you have made certain assertions without proof. You Nave pointed at a physical thing, the physical world; you have asserted that this physical thing has to have a ‘Creator'. (Who told you that? What's His mailing address? Who told Him? ) But to assert that something physical was created out of nothing - not even empty space - by a Thingamajig you can't point to is not to make a philosophical statement or any sort of statement, it is mere noise, amphigory, sound and fury signifying nothing

Jesuits take fourteen years to learn to talk that sort of nonsense. Southern fundamentalist preachers learn to talk it in much shorter time. Either way, it's nonsense.

Pardon me. Attempts to define ‘God' cause one to break out in hives.

Unlike theology, ‘metaphysics' does have a subject, the physical world, the world that you can feel, taste, and see, the world of potholes and beautiful men and railroad tickets and barking dogs and wars and marshmallow sundaes. But, like theology, metaphysics has no answers. Just questions.

But what lovely questions!

Was this world created? If so, when and by whom and why?

How is consciousness (‘Me-ness') hooked to the physical world?