You are on page 1of 1

CITY

OF

Q U A R TZ

to reconcile God and Science. Millikan went on the stump as a ‘Christian scientist’ proclaiming, via radio, a national lecture tour and a book, that there was ‘no contradiction between real science and real religion’. The ‘debunker’ Morrow Mayo, disgusted by the capitulation of America’s leading scientist to the fundamentalist backlash of the 1920s, described his performance as follows: When he got through with science and religion, they were so wrapped up in each other that a Philadelphia lawyer could never untangle them. The closest this great scientist ever came to a definite stand was a full gallop on a supernatural race-track running from Fundamentalism to theism, but his powers of occult observation would have done credit to any crystal-gazer in Los Angeles.. .. The whole thing was a conglomeration of metaphysical aphorisms and theological sophistry, suffused in a weird and ghostly atmosphere of obscurantism, with occasional and literal references to Santa Claus.104 At the same time that Millikan was trying to soothe evangelical ire with reassurances about Jesus, the electron and Santa Claus, Los Angeles’s powerful ‘New Thought’ movement was avidly assimilating Einstein and Millikan to Nostradamus and Annie Besant as ‘Masters of the Ages’. Con­ temporary ‘science’, in the guise of astounding powers and arcane revela­ tions, became the progenitor of an entire Southern California cult stratum. As Farnsworth Crowder explains the origin of ‘good vibrations’ in his ‘Little Blue Book’ classic, ‘Los Angeles - The Heaven of Bunk-Shooters’: Science is the first-assistant Messiah inspiring many a sect.. . . What psychology will not suppply can be lifted from the physical sciences. Einstein, Michaelson, Millikan and company are unwitting contributors. . . . Whatever waves, oscillates, vibrates, pulses or surges contributes, by analogy, to the explanations of harmony, absent treatment, telepathy, magnetic healing, vibratory equilibirum, spiritualism or any other cloudy wonder. Surpassing are the powers of these scientific sects. One awed citizen referring to a busy group of vibrators cloistered in the hills, whispered, ‘My lord, man! - they wouldn’t dare release their secrets. The race isn’t ready - not advanced enough. The world would go to pieces. It would be like giving everybody a handful of radium. Ignorant people would have too much power.’105 In Southern California physics and metaphysics continued to rub shoulders in a variety of weird circumstances. Crowder specifically had in

58