This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
SCIENCE FICTION AND THE GOSPEL
By Hugh Nibley · 13 february 1969
here were very few early Science Fiction stories in which one of the most important characters was not the Great Professor, which the layman writer worshiped as a superman. Scientists writing Science Fiction were more than willing to go along. The scientists’ descriptions of themselves are either hypercritical or very flattering—recently they have been extremely critical. Of course, they are the only ones who could do it, and Science Fiction is the only place they could get away with it. Some quite eminent scientists have been writing some scathing Science Fiction, in which they show up scientists. A layman could not do a thing like that. It would be considered sour grapes. And where else could these men unburden themselves with impunity, except by putting their speeches in the mouths of other people, in fiction? But that is an interesting trend of our times. Thomas Kuhn has recently shown that the history of science is actually fiction, deliberately contrived to make science look good. The history of science itself is the foundation of Science Fiction. If every problem in science has a scientific solution (following from the Miletian school), then God is not wanted in any solution. You see the original idea: “We can’t bring God into the laboratory, we can’t weigh Him, we can’t use Him, so let’s leave Him out. He exists and all that, but we can’t use Him in our calculations.” And before you know it, any problem can be solved without Him, so He becomes an impediment. Science Fiction uniformly describes life in worlds in which “science is king—meaning the scientist. In this kind of world is fulfilled the dream of the Sophist, in which there is no room for any but one kind of thinking. This is the One World of John Dewey, which he carried to its logical conclusion. Richard McKenna, a geologist writing Science Fiction, recently said, “I am a positivistic a scientist as you will find. The students blush and hate me, but it is for their own good. Science is the only safe game, and it’s safe only if kept pure.” The speaker here is, of all things, a geologist, whose business is to reconstruct the past. That is why he likes to write Science Fiction. Any reconstruction of the past is 100 percent imagination. So much for keeping science pure. Science Fiction beguiled the western world on the image of the super-scientist, who was once the chief figure of Science Fiction—but never lived in real life, as we find out now. He was calm, aloof, dedicated, unswayed, incorruptible, self-effacing, magisterial. “Science is
a superman,” said Huxley. “It is as far above the savage as the savage is above a blade of grass.” Compare this sentiment with the evidence collected in La Penseé Sauvage by Claude Levi-Strauss, who shows that it is a lucky anthropologist who can even equal the “savages” of the tribal societies for knowledge and sheer intellectual power. Great Science Fiction by scientists deals with the question, should scientists rule the universe? Who else? In Eric Temple Bell’s story, “The Ultimate Catalyst,” a pure-minded scientist does terrible things to a wicked dictator. This is all right, because he takes the scientific view. As an idealist, the scientist is the necessary enemy of all bad people. This is the Baconian image of the pure scientist. J. M. Brewer’s “The Gostec and the Doshes” starts this way (and this is deadpan—he is quite serious); “Woleshinsky, the great scientist, smiled indulgently. He towered in his chair as though in the infinite kindness of his vast mind there were room to overlook all the foolish little foibles of all the weak little beings that call themselves men. A mathematical physicist lives in vast spaces. To him, human beings and their affairs do not loom very important.” We have a sort of superman here. The nearest thing to him is in the figure of Rutherford, as he is worshipfully described by C. P. Snow: “The tone of science at Cambridge in 1932 was the tone of Rutherford. Magniloquently boastful, creatively confident, generous, argumentative, and full of hope. Science and Rutherford were on top of the world. Worldly success—he loved every minute of it: flattery, titles, the company of the high official world. He was superbly and magnificently vain as well as wise, and he enjoyed his own personality.” Here, if ever, is the great lovable scientist of Science Fiction. What more could one ask for than science at such a level? “He enjoyed a life of miraculous success,” says Snow. But then—something strange follows: “But I am sure that even late in life he felt stabs of sickening insecurity.” Now this is strange. Sickening insecurity in this man, of all men. And then Snow goes on to talk about other great Cambridge scientists: “Does anyone really imagine that Bertrand Russell, G. H. Hardy, Rutherford, Blackett, and the rest were bemused by cheerfulness as they faced their own individual state? In the crowd, they were the leaders; they were worshiped. But by themselves, they believed with the same certainty that they believed in Rutherford’s atom that they were going after this life into annihilation. Against this, they only
had to offer the nature of scientific activity; its complete success on its own terms. It itself was a source of happiness. But it is whistling in the dark, when they are alone.” He gives some very interesting sketches of the very odd way these people behave. Only scientists dare criticize scientists as demigods, and then only in Science Fiction. J. B. S. Haldane, the great British biologist, in the only Science Fiction story he ever wrote, “The Gold Makers,” shows that science as a key to power and gain is likely to become a pawn to clever and unscrupulous men, that the scientist is not really ruling the roost at all, that just as sure as anything he will be victimized and used as a tool. And this becomes a theme of much Science Fiction, of course. Take Julian Huxley, the British biologist (brother of Aldous Huxley). The only Science Fiction he ever wrote was a story called “The Tissue-culture King.” The theme here is the superiority of the scientist to ordinary people, and the right of science to meddle with all forms of life, including human life. In The Saturday Evening Post, 6 November (1968), an article says: “We Scientists have a Right to play God.” And this is by, of all things, an anthropologist. One has a right to play God or play Hamlet or play the organ before the world, only if he has the capacity to do so. So the question is, how Godlike is this man’s capacity? So many stories by scientists explode this myth of our great capacity, which we pretend to have by hiding behind our specialties. James McConnell, a psychologist, wrote a story called “Learning Theory” (a good one, with a lot of comment), in which we have a human psychologist who thinks very highly of himself; but he is captured by a much smarter psychologist from the planet Uranus, who studies him as we would study an insect under glass. Well, has he not the right? This man from the outer planet is so much more intelligent. Is not that the hypothesis? If we are the ones who know the answers, if we are the clever ones, we can cut up anyone we want, if we are superior to them. And so in the McConnell story the psychologist from outer space puts the human psychologist in a maze situation which humiliates him, drives him insane—and shows what happens to the poor rats when they are put in there. This is the irony of the story: This wise, wise man from another planet completely misses the interpretation of the behavior of this animal from Earth. He does not—of course—impute any intelligence to him, or anything like that. But he
has a theory explaining why the man in the maze does what he does, and he takes away the food from him, and so forth, just as you would treat a rat. And now this man knows what that is like. Does a scientist have a right to play God? If one scientist is superior to another, does he have the right to play God with the other one? Everybody knows a little about science, so where are you going to draw the line? Here is one of the useful functions which Science Fiction performs. You carry these notions to their logical conclusion, to their ad absurdum, and see what they lead to. Men should always have that in mind. A. J. Gordon, a Nobel Prize winner, has published a very amusing story on this theme. He visits a super-research center and says: “If this is industrial research, what an indictment!” The scientists project this superman image, and they agree that nobody will damage it with the public. They never call each other anything but Doctor, and they have an agreement about not showing each other up. This is how they get away with it. “The people were nice and clean in lab smocks, very serious and busy-busy. Over each door was a group name: Operations, Research, Physics, Organic Chemistry, Inorganic Chemistry, Electric Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, the works. Each group had its own special rabbits. Hurlbot, the manager, said: ‘We keep the strain pure here, and you know what happened to the collie. Its nose got sharpened, its head thinner, till its brains were pushed out through its ears. A terrible, terrible thing—but what can I do? They’ve all got families to support. The minute they’re in a jam, my people scream for fancy instruments and tools, big enough to hide behind. Don’t laugh, that’s how we get big government research jobs. Monumental cyclotrons, well-behaved people to use them. God save us from competence. Isn’t there one nut around? The board asked me why I didn’t have any great men around, so I hired Cole and Hart, the Nobel Prize winners.’ I pointed out that Cole and Hart hadn’t published anything in twenty years. ‘Of course not,’ said Hurlbot. ‘The Defense Department wants competence. Their degrees must appear on a laundry list of people who will make up the task force. The Defense Department loves the expression “Task Force.” They eat it up. These two old Nobelorama gentlemen have put me over the top on contracts more than once. It’s the star system.’” In other words, what he is telling us is that the great scientists are not all that they are cracked up to be.
Norbart Weiner, in a story called “The Brain,” points out that man’s moral weakness is his undoing. The story is about a great brain surgeon who operates on a criminal who has offended him grievously. And he makes a cut in the brain that makes him incapable of the clever judgments necessary to carry out his criminal activities. (He is a very smart criminal because of his brain.) Does the doctor have a right to do that? If we become dependent on scientists, we are at their mercy. The physician, as he is about to operate, says he does not like the idea at all: “It’s an ugly business . . . . Sometimes it cuts out a man’s conscience, and pretty nearly every time it does eerie things to his judgment and personal balance.” He wiped out a dangerous criminal gang—but he saw that what he was doing is dangerous. “We human beings act as if other living species, animals and plants, exist only for our convenience. We feel free to exploit or destroy them as we see fit. It is true that some sentimental laymen have moral qualms about vivisection, but no orthodox scientist would ever have any hesitation about an experiment involving mere animals.” This is from that horrifying story of H. G. Wells, the only one that ever kept me awake (I was a little kid when I read it), The Island of Dr. Moreau, wherein a scientist cuts up live animals (inflicting unbearable pain on them) and makes them into terrible creatures. Fred Hoyle, in “The Black Cloud,” says: “It isn’t so much the volume of talk that surprises me among the scientists; it’s the number of mistakes they make—how often things have turned out differently from what they expected.” He must not let the outsiders like us in on that sort of thing, but it takes a scientist to get away with a statement like that. John R. Pearce, an experimental psychologist, wrote a famous story, “On the Futility of Mere Quantification,” in which he says: “In the world that experimental psychologists had pulled together from the chaos of nuclear destruction, no one cared to speak the obscenity that physics had become.” Physics had become a dirty word, and physical scientists were taboo. They were hiding under rocks and bridges. The only people who were really respected were psychologists; and they were God, now. I don’t know how ironic or not this is. He says, “After the atomic blowup, the experimental psychology men brought the remnants of the race together. They founded our civilization,
they evolved our culture.” (No place for God in all this.) “We live in a world in which orthodox scientists refuse to see–or seeing, refuse to believe—that which is before their very eyes: that a future which the open-minded and perceptive among us have foreseen, is already at hand.” This is the way they talked about religion a very short time ago. Now it is the orthodox scientists he is jumping on—those who refuse to see that which is before their very eyes. The dead hand of scientific orthodoxy can not long delay the coming future. The antidote to science, he is saying, is more science—but my king of science: get rid of those awful physicists before they destroy us, and turn to experimental psychology. At the dawn of western science, Herakleitus pointed out very clearly what Science Fiction is now discovering, the pure observation of Baconism. If the scientist is a faulty instrument (he is a human being after all), he is going to make mistakes. The great scientist is not doing what he thinks he is doing—getting outside the smoke-filled room. He is in it. He is taking his measurements there. We ring the changes on the same old bells, and every time we hit on a new combination we gleefully announce that we have discovered a whole new set of bells. It sounds like it, but after a time we begin to see that it is the same old belfry. In C. P. Snow’s portrayal of the great mathematician, G. H. Hardy, he says, “He could not endure having his photograph taken. He would not have any looking-glass in his room. When he went to a hotel, his first action was to cover all the looking-glasses with towels. Of all mechanical devices, including fountain pens, he had a deep distrust. He had a morbid suspicion of mechanical gadgets.” This is the great scientist, you see. “He would not own a watch, or ever use a telephone. He hated all gadgets. His autobiography is witty and sharp, with intellectual high spirits, yet it is a book of such haunting sadness, because Hardy realizes, with the finality of truth, that he is absolutely finished.” It is not only in Science Fiction that we find strangely- acting scientists. Science Fiction worships efficiency—the superiority of the scientific way over all other ways. The scientist does not guess, he knows. The scientific mind is direct, clear, intense, trenchant, clean, unhampered by any defects of wishful or mythical thinking, recognizing only Facts. There are still people who talk that way: “There is no assignment that science could not carry out.” But who gives the assignments?
Preoccupation with Ways and Means is another thing that Science Fiction has been helpful in explaining. Many years ago, Edinborough geographer Halford MacKinder (his student was Haushoffer, Hitler’s advisor) wrote a book on Geopolitics, in which he said that the Germans lose wars because they are too scientific. They know all about ways and means. They have everything figured out, with the slide rule, down to the sixth decimal place. They know just what it is, but they do not know what they are after, exactly—just a vague idea of world conquest, so they always lose the war. The British bungle along, and they really bungle. Yet they conquered half the world with a mere task force here, a mere token force there, and lots of bluff everywhere, because they knew what they wanted. “If you know what you want, you can always get it,” says MacKinder. Even if you bungle, you will get it in the end. But if you just bog down in ways and means, you will never get it. Science, he says, is preoccupation with ways and means. Science Fiction has been first to point this out. In The Christian Science Monitor (3 February 1969), W. H. Pickering, director of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory at Caltech, said, “We are building communication systems very close to the ultimate . . . . You can use more power, but we are near the ultimate in performance.” Ultimate is a strong word. What happens to unending perfectibility when we are already near the ultimate? The realization that perfectibility lies in another direction, in another dimension—that is what happens. “So,” Pickering says, “it is not a question of how difficult such exploration is. Ways and means is not the problem. We will always get the gadget if we know what we want.” And then he speaks of going even beyond the planets to the stars—the ultimate in human achievement, according to Science Fiction. That is not achievement at all, he says. The question is whether or not it is worthwhile to go there. As MacKinder pointed out, this question is not asked by business, industry, and the military. Rather, they ask how to get a particular thing done. But what is it we are after, after all? When a student of William Morris rushed to him, breathless with the news that the cable to India had been completed, he merely asked: “Young man, what message will it bear?” When Einstein heard that the atom bomb really worked, he grabbed his head and said, “Oy vey?! (Oh my, this is terrible!) He was not thrilled at all. Ted Serios today is causing a terrific rumpus everywhere. He is a man who gets
drunk, and then he can (sometimes) project images on film. The mere fact that he makes images appear on film is considered a wonder, and it is. But what images? Apparently, nobody cares. “British investigators,” said Sir Oliver Lodge, “are very firmly believed to receive spirit messages. But what messages? Idiot gibberings and scribblings.” The world makes a major matter over whether Joseph Smith really saw angels, possessed gold plates, or translated Egyptian, but they could not care less about what the angels, the plates, and the papyri have to say. For our age, the message is the medium, because we have run out of message. A wise German scientist, writing in Kosmos, said in a leading editorial that nothing could be more foolish than for science to do or make something simply because it has not been done before and can be done now. A few years ago, this would have been thought rank heresy. But why do we need to make all these things? The important thing is, we know we can do it now. Why bother? It is like the hunter who has reached such a height of efficiency he now uses blanks, or does not use shells at all, because it is really not sporting anymore, as long as he knows it can be done. A cobalt bomb can be made. Is that any reason for making it? We used to think, oh yes, think of the wonderful things we can do. This going forward without knowing where we are going, unable to think of another goal but more power for more gain, and more gain for more power, is the way of insanity. And a lot of stories point this out. From Tales of Ecstasy, Science Fiction quickly turned to Tales of Terror. Is there nothing in between? Look at C. P. Snow’s great scientists. They are manic- depressive. They are either on top of the wave, or in the dumps, desperately haunted men—because either you are going somewhere or you are going nowhere. If nowhere, then it does not matter how great is your eminence, how loud the shouting: it is but a brief, pathetic interlude, “one moment in annihilation’s waste.” You are not going anywhere. “The stars are setting. The caravan makes for the dawn of nothing. Oh make haste” (Omar Khayyam). Groff Conklin, in his collection of works by great scientists, says, “Very few scientists write science fiction, because real science is far more interesting. But . . . they have taken to writing it for one reason: terror . . . . They want to warn us, and they think this is a good medium for reaching the public. It is unfortunate they are not very successful.
Real science fiction by real scientists has strong and pertinent warnings on the dangers to society of certain applications of science or technology. These soon are given up, however, because of the lack of impact of their first efforts at education through fiction.” They think that this is their duty to the public, and they try their hand at it. For some reason the stories do not cause the expected flurry, and so they fall over. But Mr. Conklin says, “No practicing scientist, until well into the twentieth century, ever wrote science fiction.” And then this little book here contains at least 75 percent of the Science Fiction written in English by scientists. But they are now writing to warn us. Science has failed in its great promise of comfort and joy. Even the Science Fiction of H. G. Wells becomes fascinating only when he turns his attention to the sinister and appalling. Before you know it, the great scientist becomes the mad scientist, as in The Island of Dr. Moreau. If Science Fiction can show us no convincing glories ahead, at least it can give us a warning, and it is a dismal message. John Jacob Astor, Junior, in his nineteenth-century story, could only think of aliens as inferior and dangerous, something to be met with guns. Combat is the theme. And, of course, it has remained that, with Tarzan, Doc Savage, and all the rest. This is called the BEM (Bug-eyed Monster) school of Science Fiction writing, which once dominated the pulps, as it was believed to have the greatest appeal to adolescents. We are told it is now spurned by the better class of Science Fiction writers, but don’t you believe it. They are in there working at it, as hard as ever. Thus, beginning with a Great Scientist of godlike knowledge and uprightness as its central character, Science Fiction soon discovered chinks in the armor and ended up in very short order with the sinister figure of the Mad Scientist, either making a Frankenstein’s monster he cannot control, or deliberately perverting his knowledge for power. The Mad Scientist became a stock figure instead of the Great Scientist— which passed away because he was altogether too fantastic, anyway. A new book published by MacMillan, The Year 2000 by Kohn and Weiner, according to the reviewer, “points out thousands of ways in which the world can go wrong, and the very few ways in which it can go right. The chances of it going right are extremely remote, according to these authors.” After all, how many wrong answers are there to any problem? As many as you want. But how many right ones? Very
few. If there are thousands of ways (as the science people are pointing out to us now) in which the world can go wrong and only one right, there is the Gospel. Here are some of the new stories on the end-of-the-world theme: “Pilot Lights of the Apocalypse” by Riddeneur (notice they borrow Biblical themes, all the time), wherein military control of the push buttons brings absolute disaster. This is the reason: they have the technique, they have the power, they have the ways and means, but they do not really know what is going on. “Last Year’s Grave Undug” by Chan Davis (another scientist): the patrioteers have liquidated each other. The United States invaded itself. Everybody had haunting fears that everybody else was not what he should be. And so they wiped each other out. “Grand Central Terminal” by Leo Zillard (the famous Hungarian all-around genius who died recently): the Earth is deserted, with everything wiped out, because it divided into two factions (like Shiz and Coriantumr), and they extinguished each other. This is the way scientists are writing Science Fiction now. “Adrift on the Policy Level” by Chandler Davis: What can science do? Power and salesmanship is what you are dealing with when you are up against a corporation. Personality is the asset of scientists. The world is ruled by rhetoric. It is not the hardware, but who controls it. It is the salesman who is on top. “Nobody Bothers Gus” by Algis Budrys: another alienation story. The human race is described as Homo nondescriptus, according to the idea of the “why.” If we do not know why, what is all the use of fancy, shining magnificent cities, materials, and everything else? He concludes the story: “What purpose did Homo nondescriptus serve, and where was he going?” Robert Sheckley, who is the most cynical and the most amusing of the present writers, wrote “The Prize of Peril”: total degeneration of society expressed in a TV gimmick, a show in which citizens fight and exterminate each other. By Damon Knight, “The Handler,” in which the look is everything. And Isaac Asimov, who dabbles in all sorts of things (having had a lot of training, he writes a great deal, including Science Fiction), has a story called “Dreaming Is a Private Thing”: daydreaming has become a highly paid profession. People have become too lazy to dream on their own, so specialists daydream, and tracks are made to be sold around the world. Morganson, a psychologist,
writes “Coming of Age Day”: compulsory sex gadget. An important theme is the victory of the robot—the ultimate in automation, regimentation, specialization, efficiency, and exploitation. The robot works for everybody. It does not overpower us suddenly. Humanity surrenders its functions gradually (and willingly) to the machine. This is what we read in the robot stories: the machine can move into the vacuum only after we have moved out. As soon as we have turned ourselves into robots, then we can be replaced by robots. This is the idea, the theme of thousands of SF stories: when men use hardware to control the world, with its resources and other men, the hardware brings about destruction. “For behold, you do love your substance more than you love the poor . . . ” (Mormon (8:37). We love our expensive hardware, here described by Mormon, more than we esteem the inexpensive “live software.” With what result? Again the old SF theme, destruction: “Behold, the sword of vengeance hangeth over you, and the time soon cometh . . . .” Because you love your hardware, your substance, more than you love people. The steps to surrender to specialization and despiritualization—a lot is being written about that now. M. Greenburg, writing on this subject, says the robot began with RUR (Rossum’s Universal Robots) by Karel Capek. A robot is a creature that does work for a highly specialized job and nothing else. He becomes the worker, and then he becomes the thinker, and he may even become the feeler. This is the favorite theme of SF stories today: robots who may have feelings. Do they have them or not? This is being discussed a great deal now, anyway. Greenburg says: “The growth of the robot continues until he ultimately achieves acceptance as an entity by his creator. The final phase in the inevitable scent of man’s servant is reached when man has disappeared, and only a robotic civilization remains. A new cycle has begun, when man is recreated by the beings he himself gave birth to. Thus the machine takes the place not only of man, but of God.” So we have replaced ourselves completely by these robots. We have done it ourselves. This is old stuff, too. It is a case of getting used to it anyway. In the Sutro Museum in San Francisco there is a great collection of nineteenth-century clockwork people. They are impressive, and they do all sorts of things. It is hard for us today to imagine the effect of clockwork man on nineteenth-century thinking, but it had a
great one. In Ernst Theodor Amadeus Hoffmann’s Tales of Hoffmann there is the doll Olympia. She was just a pretty doll, but she was run by machinery. The doll becomes a monster as soon as it is accepted as a living thing. Until then, it is just a machine. The Golem also is just a machine that works. But when people regard it as a personality, the Golem becomes a terrible object. [Two famous writers, Eli Wiesel and Nobel prize winner Isaac B. Singer, have recently written and published their own versions of the Golem story. Editor] The same thing is found in the tales of Edgar Allan Poe, and of Oscar Wilde, and, of course, Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein. The monster is not a monster because of size, neither does it have to be terrible-looking: the doll Olympia was a beautiful object, but it became a very terrible thing when people took it seriously. [Another beautiful but evil robot is the mechanical imitation of Maria in the classic movie Metropolis. Editor] Writing in the journal Science for June 1968, the editor says, “There is no danger of machine personality devaluating human beings, or of man suffering loss of innocence by understanding his own mental workings. The real danger, which is very serious, is the programming of people to behave like computers.” He cites the case at the University of Michigan where students had been conditioned to react to mere numbers with intense anxiety and other emotions, even to have programmed dreams: “If I were the parent of one of these students, I should be raising hell. I am shocked that the University of Michigan tolerated this.” In contrast, Rudolf Anthes cites the case of a Pharaoh of the Old Kingdom, more than 4500 years ago. A magician in his court performed that favorite trick of Egyptian scientists, namely replacing the head of a decapitated goose or duck so that the bird could actually give a couple of quacks. It can actually be done, and this was considered a great thing. Someone in the court asked the magician whether the same could be done with a man, and the magician said it could. It was suggested that the thing be tried on a criminal who was sentenced to be decapitated anyway, but the king very indignantly vetoed it. He said, “A man may have been condemned to death for crime, but it is his prerogative to die with dignity, to pay the price and no more.” Human beings are not to be subjected to this sort of thing, to be guinea pigs for clever lab demonstrations. But we have come a long
way from the Old Kingdom of Egypt, where Pharaoh refused to let a condemned criminal serve as an experimental animal, to modern enlightened times, when some people say we have the right to play God and cut up anyone we want. “Robots must be specialized,” says a character in Asimov’s very popular story, Lenny. “A versatile robot is a monstrosity.” Lenny accidentally gets programmed the wrong way and begins to get human feelings. To quote Asimov, “And industry tells us what it means. A computer designs the brain, machinery forms the robot. But the same industry also wants the same type of man, one reliable as the robot to do certain things and nothing else.” There are now 60,000 computers in the world, including 40,000 in the U.S.A. and 3,000 in the U.K., all built within the last decade. There is also a hexadactylous (six fingers in each hand) person named Zera Colburn, who extracted the cube root of 413,993,348,677 in five seconds, in his head. Here we have a real physical and mental Science Fiction figure. Is the world better off because of his abilities? I do not speak disrespectfully. At the beginning of his famous discourse Isocrates asks, “If every athlete in the world could run twice as fast as he does, lift weights twice as heavy, jump twice as far, hit twice as hard, would the world be the least bit better off?” The world does not exist for specialists. A favorite SF theme is the superior efficiency of the robot built by other robots so programmed that any mistakes or malfunctions are automatically corrected. We get to the idea now that the machines are getting more and more human, more refined, more complicated, sensitive in their reactions, until they may even begin to feel emotions. Robert Bloch’s story “Almost Human” is a good example of it. With human emotions and sensibilities, human temper and tantrums, human fears and misgivings, and all the rest, comes human fallibility, for they are the very stuff of which it is made. “Computers usually work with much greater accuracy than the human brain,” says N. S. Sutherland, a British computer man, “but if any element in a computer becomes faulty, then catastrophic errors occur.” There is on this theme a terrifying story in Ron Goulart called “Terminal” (in the 11th Annual, a very good one). The robots get old, their relays run out, wires get disconnected, and then all hell breaks loose. “But,” says Sutherland,
“in contrast to this, except in pathological conditions the brain does not break down completely, and although information processing is done rather inaccurately, to say the least, the result is almost never complete nonsense, whereas if one thing goes wrong with a machine the result is complete nonsense.” In other words, the machine, while it functions, is an idiot savant. The savants are these people who can do fantastic things very well—but if anything goes wrong, all is lost. Speaking of this very thing, in a whole issue of Science devoted to intelligent machines, the editor writes: “I believe that diversity is rewarding in itself, and deplore the way in which the world is tending to a single universal culture,” which used to be though a great blessing. When I was in high school, this was the thing they looked forward to, a great universal single culture, and not even a very admirable one. “I regard respect for life as the touchstone of ethics,” he says, and then he notes the 240 species of animals that are now threatened with extinction. Here the Gospel also comes in—because God has commanded that all forms of life should multiply and fulfill the measure of their creation, that every form of life might have joy therein. How very different from saying, specialize and do only this or that. Another award goes to Jack Vance, who wrote an exciting story, The Mechs of Revolt. This is a new story, but you would think it was written forty years ago. The Mech-brains are from another world, but we have made them work for us here. The Mech-brain falls shortest in its lack of emotional color. One Mech is precisely like another. They served us efficiently because they thought nothing about their condition. They neither loved us nor hated us, nor do they now. Why do the revolt? That has a familiar ring, does it not? The answer is just as unoriginal as the question: because they do not like to be serving somebody else all the time and because the world is too small for two races, one exploiting the other. And this is supposed to be original Science Fiction. [Vance has, in fact, written several stories and books using the same basic idea—humans enslaving aliens and/or being enslaved by them—and has repeatedly won awards with it. How does he do it? Editor] One of my children has a psychology book by A. A. Broncha, called Psychology: The Science of Behavior. On the flyleaf and covers are three photographs of a rat in a box. Never mind that the poor rat is
almost certainly crazy, driven insane by the ways of science. There is a good article saying that these animals are not living under normal conditions, and they soon lose their balance. You are not dealing with a normal creature at all, in a maze. Never mind that. In the inky tracks that show his wanderings in the box, our school children are told, we have a sure index to the workings of the mind. The genius of behaviorism was to discover that overt behavior is the only kind we can study: therefore, to all intents and purposes, overt behavior was the complete disclosure of the mind at work. It is the story of the lost keys. A man was on his hands and knees on a sidewalk one night, looking for a lost key ring. He was asked if he was sure and certain that this was where he had lost the keys. “No,” he replied. “In fact, I know that I lost them on the other sidewalk across the street, but that one has no light at all, while this one is very well lighted, so I am looking here.” Following this same principle, we search for the mind in a well-lit rat maze because we have no way of looking inside the human mind, but it is easy to make mazes and put rodents inside them. But psychology as the study of such behavior is the equivalent of religion as the study of bells and steeples, or patriotism as the study of firecrackers. Since it is only the external aspects that can be studied, we assume for the sake of convenience that only the external aspects exist—and, of course, this leads to trouble. But a big issue of today, being discussed a great deal, is: do computers think? I shall not go into that, but a short while ago a German science journal asked a related question: does a tea strainer think? A tea strainer has one simple task to perform, but it is a task that requires making a decision. It must remove the leaves and let the liquid pass through. In this act of selectivity, the editor pointed out, the tea strainer does just what the computer does. So if a computer thinks, so does a tea strainer. The response from the readers, many of them scientists, was spirited. Most of the contributors vigorously defended the proposition that a tea strainer does think. Some felt that the effect of this doctrine was not to exalt the tea strainer as a thinker, but to debase the mind of man as an automaton. Others replied heatedly that that simply showed their pride, arrogance and pigheadedness; they would not admit that a tea strainer thinketh as a man thinketh because they did not want to believe it. Minsky, an electrical engineer
at MIT, says, “Our pious skeptics told us that machines could never see things. But now that machines can see complex things” (he does not put see in quotes; he just assumes that they really see), “our skeptics tell us that we can never know that they sense these things. Do not believe authoritative pronouncements about what machines will never do. Such statements are based on pride.” How neatly the issue is drawn here. Andre Malraux actually wrote an SF story, and it is based on the stubborn insistence of scientist friends of his who observed the social instinct behavior of insects and other animals and maintained that the creatures do not think. They admit that their behavior shows all the outward signs of intelligence and that they sometimes display amazing problem-solving capacities—but they insist that no intelligence whatever is involved, taking Bertrand Russell’s position that “animals behave in a manner showing the rightness of views of the man who observes them, not the animal itself. The rightness of their behavior and the correctness of their response is appreciated by their beholder, but the actors themselves are completely unaware of what they are doing.” These same scientists who unhesitatingly and emphatically insist that animals do not think, in spite of the clear thought patterns implied in their behavior, insist just as unhesitatingly and emphatically that machines do think, because of the though patterns implied by their “behavior.” The electric eye that opens the door for you at the supermarket is able to think. In the best Watsonian sense, it gives a useful, sensible response to a definite stimulus. And what is thought but a matter of response to stimulus? But the dog who gives you a resentful, guilty look and scurries out of the way at the supermarket does not think at all. He seems to be aware he is not welcome in the store, but that is only your impression of the way he behaves. So the electric eye that opens the door is thinking, but the dog has no thought at all. It is just a matter of your opinion and interpretation. Exactly the same sort of yea and nay was reached with the argument of the stars. The Sophist said, “Look, the stars are just moving up there, that proves there is no God.” Aristotle looked at the same stars: “Look at those stars moving up there. That proves there is a God. I do not need any more argument.” The very same evidence, two different conclusions. “There is a real possibility,” writes Sutherland, “that we may one day
be able to design a machine that is more intelligent than ourselves, to replace ourselves as lords of the Earth. The species could also, of course, be morally superior to ourselves.” Here we see the enormity of this misconceived perversion. According to the early Christian idea of the ancient law of liberty, a gadget programmed in a way that avoided any behavior that might be called immoral would not be a morally superior being at all. Simon Magus asked Peter, “Could not God have made us all good, so that we could not do anything else but be virtuous?” (St. Augustine later asked the same question in anguish. Remember, Satan wanted to program us, everybody, to be virtuous and nothing else—see Moses 4:1.) Peter replied, “That’s a foolish question, for if He made us unchangeably and immovably inclined to good, we wouldn’t really be good at all, since we couldn’t really be anything else. And it would be no merit on our part that we were good, nor could we be given credit for doing what we did by necessity of nature. How can you call any act good that is not performed intentionally?” This is the answer to the idea that we could make a machine morally superior to ourselves because we program it not to do certain naughty things. Would you call that a moral machine? There is an enormous gulf between this type of thinking and the Gospel. In the same issue in which Minsky let out his blast about our “pride,” there is an article that says, “The machine that can understand normal, fluent human speech may never be built.” There is a crew that was working on that a long time. And talking about Aldous, the University of Texas machine that seems to have emotions and to react with fear, anger, or attraction, we are reminded that it should, of course, be emphasized (but is diligently de-emphasized by most of us) that Aldous is only a model of personality, not the thing itself; “Thus when I speak of Aldous’ fear I refer to a numerical variable in the program that takes on different forms to represent different degrees of fear. The model or computer does not feel frightened any more than a molecular model of plastic balls and wooden dowels will enter into a real chemical combination. The introspection routine in Aldous can report on certain of its states because it was constructed to do so. It is not a pipeline to some ghostly inner world of the computer.” So this argument goes on, but it is a theme of many SF stories today. Mr. George, who is in charge of the program in England for com-
puters, says, “All this simulates emotion, sometimes deceptively like the real thing. If you have built an imitation human response into a machine, you have cheated. You have not done anything really interesting, however practical.” Now it is precisely this dissimulation that is the Satanic part of the machine. So we want to look out that we do not get programmed. The basic characteristic of SF is its unoriginality. It often is, as Miss Judith Merrill says, a commentary on present conditions, what will happen if they are allowed to go on. As such, it can perform a valuable critical function. The stock SF themes are the Wonderful Journey (including Time Travel, the Wonderful Invention, e.g. the Time Machine), the End of the World (especially today, after the atom bomb), building a new world after such a holocaust, Big and Little, the Conquest of the Earth (e.g. The War of the Worlds), Galactic Empires, Strange Visitors (including the BEMs and visitors who are better than people on our world). “The Duel” is a great favorite today—the magnificent fighting machines dueling to the last and wiping each other out. The Last Survivor, the Breakdown of the Machine, the Revolt of the Robots, Strange Worlds, the distant future, man coping with the challenge of strange environments, Boy meets Girl (humanity is the same in all environments), man meets rival, and Alienation (a great theme today). The SF writers often use Biblical terms in their titles. [e.g. Stranger in a Strange Land and I Will Fear No Evil, both by Robert Heinlein. Editor] The antics of Tarzan and Fu Manchu are almost perfectly representative of the type of SF appearing in the contemporary catalogs: the super-brain and super-brawn of man out-calculates, outwits, outcomputes hordes of robots and other monsters, mechanical or organic, and it is all on the level of naked power, right out of the world of the Djins of the 1001 Nights. Is not that the world we live in already? This is the SF that appeals to us most; so we get the apocalyptic stories. No matter how negative SF has become, it still cannot be original. The worst you can think of has already happened, as far as that goes. It really does seem that the effect of every major scientific discovery has been to make men lose their balance, a sense of dependency on anything but themselves. “When I was a kid and went to school,” said Socrates, “Science knew all the answers. We knew that the brain was the center of everything, and we were on top of the world. We were
just too cocky for anything.” Plutarch, talking about the same thing, said, “The new physics taught people to despise all the superstitious fears which the awe-inspiring signs in the heavens arouse in the minds of those who are ignorant of the real cause of things.” From then on, the Sophists carried the ball as ardent debunkers of all that was not Science. The Miletian school claimed to have discovered the basic principles and elements of all existence. In launching the program of modern science, Bacon announced that if he could just enjoy one season of uninterrupted work, he would be able to embrace all knowledge in a single system, to which he had discovered the key. Newton’s discoveries were held to answer all the essential problems of cosmology for all of life. Freud, by a single stroke, solved all our psychological problems. Grimm’s law explained the nature of all languages. The computers, finally, can solve all problems of any kind. It seems that with every breakthrough this is the immediate response: “At last we have it!”—even though we had it before, again and again and again, and it turned out to be wrong. But no, at last we do have it. The most wonderful machines have already been invented long ago. We think of our computing machines as intelligent entities because we are not used to living with them, that’s all. A punched card or magnetized tape, when stored away, we think of as memory—because of the novelty of the thing. We do not think a book remembers, even when it can be arranged to be opened automatically at a given item of information by pressing a button, like an address finder. Isn’t that memory? No, we say, that is not memory at all—because we have been living with that—but once upon a time people thought it was. Yes, there was a time when people actually thought the book was a thinking machine, that it would think for you. They thought it was just a miracle, they couldn’t get over it, and it took them a long time to get used to the Book. Then they realized that the book was not actually thinking or remembering: it was just you operating it. Those who did not understand how it worked really believed that the written page was a living, thinking entity, just as we now think that the computer has a memory. Plato tells a wonderful story about this. When the Egyptian God Thoth discovered writing, he went to Ammon, the Father of the Gods, in great excitement. He said, “I have discovered a device that will infinitely project the power of the human mind: writing!” Of
course it is a tremendous invention that beats anything else you can imagine—but nevertheless Thoth was wrong, as Ammon immediately pointed out to him. “This will not aid men’s mental powers,” he said, “but cripple them. It will seriously damage their power both to think and to remember.” In the end, no gadget makes us better off. This may sound strange, but if we think of it, the purpose of every gadget is to liquidate itself. As it is improved more and more, it becomes progressively reduced in size, complexity, cost and rarity, until in the end it is replaced by come contemptibly small machine. Gigantic transformers, cables, wheels, rails, enormous computers, filling whole buildings, ponderous weapons, monstrous machines, all those belong to the essentially barbaric world. So SF, and now experience, are teaching us. The ultimate achievement is to do what we do without depending on gadgets. The best gadget is no gadget. There are some stories on this theme. In one by Chad Oliver, the hero says, “Hell, I sometimes think there’s nothing as dull as constant, everlasting change. The devil of it is there’s just plain nothing new under the sun,” to coin an inspired phrase. There is nothing behind the door save more of the same. That is what they are telling us now. Fritz Lieber, who has written a lot of junk, has a story called “Marianna,” with this closing line: “Annihilation brings unutterable relief.” The idea, a favorite theme of Heinlein, is that once we have solved all our problems, including biological problems, in particular the problem of death, we are faced with the question: now what do we do? Sit around and be bored to tears, yearning for death, the only thing left worth looking forward to. Without the Gospel, everything is completely hollow. This is the surprising thing. There are more stories on this theme. One is called “Traveler’s Rest” by Massen. There is a perennial war going on. Ordinary people bother little about this war. Their spare mental energies are spent in a vast selection of play and ploys: making, representing, creating, relishing, criticizing, theorizing, discussing, arranging, organizing, cooperating. That sounds like living, but it is all busywork. It is meaningless in the end—the theme is futility. In one by William Morrison called “The Feast of Demons,” people can make themselves become younger and older as much as they want. They reverse entropy, and people age and go in reverse forever and ever, and it is terrible, terrible, because
nobody dies. And here is our old friend Isaac Asimov coming back again, in “Eyes Do More Than See.” There is nothing behind the door, is the message: “He could dare manipulate matter before the assembled energy beings who had so drearily waited over the aeons for something new. He fled back across the galaxies on the energy track of Brok, back to the endless doom of life. The energy beings could no longer weep for the fragile beauty of the bodies they had once given up a trillion years ago.” Notice we are back to the endless doom of life, doomed to just more of the same—what we find (and not as good) when we go out in space. What a disillusionment. The splendors and high hopes soon shot their bolt and fizzled, because they had nowhere to go. Science, without religion, like philosophy without religion, has nothing to feed on. “All true science,” says Karl Popper, “is cosmology, and all cosmology is eschatology. It is my contention that any branch of human thought without religion soon withers and dies of anemia.” In the 1965 symposium, “Life on Other Worlds,” sponsored by the Seagram Whiskey Co., such scientists as G. B. Kiskiakovsky, D. B. Michael, Harlow Shapley, Otto Strube, and others went out of their way (every one of them) to show something that had nothing to do with the case: namely, that the existence of life on other worlds is at last the definite, final proof that we needed to rule God out of the picture. The immediate effect of scientific discovery was a sense of emancipation: “We are on our own now! Now at last Man can throw off the shackles of the Past. God was all right for our ancestors, but we certainly don’t need him in our calculations. Man is at last the master!” A great deal of scientific experience, as well as Science Fiction, has shown that that way madness lies. So this is a faith-promoting discipline, after all. It is a wasteland, a heap of slag as far as the eye cn see; joyless, endless, monotonous, repetitive, empty but cluttered, a haunted universe. When we think that this project started out as a joyful and confident search for the best world or worlds that the human mind could conceive and bring into existence, but after generations of untrammeled and soaring imagination this desolate city dump is what we have come up with—it just shows how far we can get without the Gospel. I have some ancient texts here that beat these things hollow for Sci-
ence Fiction. This is a Syriac text from the Berlin Manuscript: “This Earth is littered with remnants” (it uses the Greek word lapson) “of other worlds which have been mixed up in Earth-fire in places where it is still impossible for plants to take root.” This is supposed to be the Lord talking to the Apostles. “But what about the material that is still out there in orbit?” the Apostles asked the Lord. “They still surround the Earth in the sky,” He replies, “but they are not brought down into the common crucible.” The word used is “trench.” There is a sort of circulating trench up there, and, as matter is required, it is drawn off. It is meanwhile being purified by its circular motion in outer space. And He says, “It is first poured down upon the Earth, and then swept together and thrown into a pit, a sort of crucible. This is so that the fumes” (this is a passage nobody understands) “can mount up and mingle with yet more elements which are to descend.” Some kind of feedback process. “There are space waters out there, but they have to be purified of certain poisonous elements of outer darkness.” The idea that things that come from outer space are poisoned and must be decontaminated before they can be used in this Earth is met constantly in these old documents. This one is a very early Christian text, first or second century: “Great advantage came to the Earth when these fragments (or vehicles) were scrapped in the heavens. They were turned into junk, because they were the remnants of other worlds, and they were to be used again. They were swept up from Earths, and cast out to circulate among the worlds, where they would follow certain laws that would get them in motion again. There were various disposal areas. The Father emptied the three elements. They are water, dark heavy matter and fire, which have to be used in all these processes, from Heaven. He empties them together in dumps at the edge of the firmament, or else He pours them out upon the Earth. After that, they will be swept away to some other place. Each is a deposit of matter being poured out in a particular place where it is to be kept until it will be needed, again clothed with the three forms of wind, water and fire, which are the three great forces of metamorphosis that make a world. Heat, water, and wind are the three great erosion forces. When they are used on a solid body, we start making a world. “He revealed to me how this Earth was established, how the Sons of Light came down in ships and purified the light, removing the slag and the apporoya” (the
stuff that is poured off, the scum that is taken off) “to a dump. There are five types of depositories, from which five elements come as they are needed. Some are used more than others. What we call elements, however, are the energy which is in all things. In the womb of the Earth, the elements are gathered, fused, and poured out.” And so we get this amazing picture of a physical process of creation. We get dim visions. Of course, you may say, “Well, that’s a mess,” and it certainly is. But it is the sort of thing that Isaac Asimov gives you. It is as good as any Science Fiction you get today, considering when it was. And here is an interesting one from the Apocalypse of Abraham. Abraham has taken the Wonderful Journey. Science Fiction began with this type of journey. In the whole field of testamentary literature, lots of new items have been discovered recently. Any prophet and apostle you can name has a Testament, and a Testament always ends with a great trip, a guided tour through the Universe. He usually gets into a vessel of some sort, he is carried around, and he inspects many things. Here it is in the Testament of Abraham, also called the Apocalypse of Abraham. In Heaven, he and the angel arrive, and they pass with violent winds above the firmament. He sees an indescribably mighty light, and within the light a vast seething fire, and within there is a great host of changing forms moving within each other, mighty forms, changing and exchanging with each other as they go and come and alter themselves. They seem to call out to each other. There are strange, confusing noises. Abraham asks the angel, “What’s it all about? Why have you brought me here? I can’t see anything. I don’t know what’s going on. I’ve become weak. I think I’m out of my mind.” “Stay close to me,” the angel replies, “and don’t be afraid.” The angel himself is beginning to shake, though. He is seeing too much. Then they are wrapped in fire and hear a voice and mighty rushing waters. Abraham wants to fall down on his face and worship. But there is no Earth under their feet and nothing to fall on. And so they are just suspended up there. Abraham cries out with all his voice, and the angel cries at the same time: “Oh God! Oh Thou who hast brought order into this terrible confusion, into the great confusion of the universe, and hast renewed the worlds of the righteous!” There is a Power that can actually master these terrible forces, which just to contemplate them is absolutely appalling. The great Catholic scholar who just died Pierre Teilhard de
Chardin, a paleontologist, says, “Man is the most refined being there is. He is much more complicated, in chemistry and everything else, than a star, even a giant star, or a solar system, or a galaxy.” He must be the end product, and to organize and control him, with all these terrible forces unleashed all around him, is an appalling performance, and this is the story of Abraham here. He sees this, and he says, “And yet there is a God who can actually bring worlds out of this, where the righteous can dwell!” It is quite an idea. And here is one from the Clementines, the earliest Christian writing we have after the New Testament. This shows that the questions that interested the early Christians, the legitimate questions they asked, were questions to which the church would say, “Well you’re not supposed to ask that.” Clement said he has been to the University, and they could not answer the questions: “Is there life after death? Is there a preexistence? If we live after, will we remember this life? Why don’t we remember the preexistence? When was the world created? What existed before that? If the world was created, will it pass away? And then what? Will we feel things we cannot feel now?” He could not shake the immortalitatis cupido, the desire to go on living, from his mind. “It was these questions,” he said, “that led me to the true Light.” Notice they are primarily scientific questions—but they are the basic religious questions, also. The Doctors could not give Clement any answers. They gave him a lot of clever talk but nothing else. When he was young, the pagan philosophers scared him out of his wits with stories of hellfire (notice that comes from the pagan schools. He never learned that from the Christians, this hellfire). And then he finally goes to the Land of Israel (he is a rich young man), where he sees Peter during a conference of the Church, and puts these questions to him and gets his answers, at last. The answers that Peter gives him to these questions are very interesting, but they are legitimate. [Please notice that it was Clement who went to Israel, not Peter to Rome. Editor] Here is an interesting thing from the early Mandean Christian writings: Those in other worlds move with great, almost instantaneous speed, as quickly as human thought, so that in a single hour they reach a distant place. Their motion, however, is calm and effortless, like the rays of the sun passing between heaven and earth. Now the Father
ordered Hebel Zeba (that is Abel) to make a world and to place Adam and Eve in it. And the three angels of glory and light should come down and visit and instruct them and keep Adam company. God said to the Pure Sent One, who was to lead this delegation, “Go call Adam and Eve and all their posterity, and teach them concerning everything about the King of Light and the worlds of Light. Be friendly with Adam, and give him company, thou and the two angels that will be with thee, and warn him against Satan.” So the three angels are instructed to go down and teach Adam the law of chastity. And Adam was told, “We will also send helpers to those of thy progeny who seek further Light and knowledge from us.” There is a lot on this business of the beings’ visiting the other worlds. Another version says, “He sent down the Sent One to help them get back to His presence, where they had come from. And he spread a table for Adam and Eve, and there he instructed them. And then the Evil Ones complained, saying, ‘The Children of Men have taken over the Earth. They are strangers who speak the language of those three men who visited them. They have accepted the teachings of the three men, and rejected us and our own world, so they plot against us. These three men are in this world, but they are not men. They are beings of Light and glory, they are trespassing on our territory. They have come to this little Enosh (Man) who is helpless and alone in the world, to instruct him and to give him an advantage over us.’” This is the very stuff you read about in Science Fiction all the time, but it is written up beautifully in these old sources, and there is so much of it: A ship with ropes of light, with crews clothed in light, is laden with a treasure, and it is going from one world to another. The evil ones waylay it, and they pirate it. This is from the pseudo-Thomas, a recent discovery but a very old text: “The Evil One came from I do not where in his ship, and he hijacked the cargo and divided up the treasure among the worlds over which he ruled.” This is your Galactic Empire motif. “He planted precious plants in these worlds, the plants he had stolen. He fixed precious stones in their firmaments, and they gloried in their stolen finery.” God found out, and He sent a messenger to get back all the stolen stuff and replant the plants in their proper worlds, from which they had been purloined in the first place. This is described in very physical terms. And He says, “Prepare your
people to receive and reclaim and disinfect all these things that they have stolen from us, so that we can put it in the worlds for which it was designated.” This messenger is the Son of Light Himself. He goes and gets the treasure back and puts it in the worlds where it belongs. There is a lot of Coptic material on this. Note how realistic this one is: “From the place of thine inheritance,” Adam is told, “the sun will look like a little tiny grain of flour. The distance between the worlds is vast.” Their size is enormous, and there is a hierarchy among them. Every one of these worlds is ruled by a single pattern, though no two of them are alike. There is always a governing body of twelve, wherever you go. Every topos (place) has twelve rulers over each part. And each world, whether it is awaiting occupants who have not yet found their place (or have not yet been assigned) or whether it is already occupied, is governed on the same plan. Every kingdom requires a space, so we have to go down and find a space to build a kingdom. There are some very intriguing things here: “My Father laid His hand upon my head, and He gave e the name of Hibbel Yabbah, and he created for me a world containing ten thousand worlds of light . . . and every world was different.” This is from the Manichean prayer book: “A thousand, thousand mysteries, and a myriad, myriad planets, each with its own mysteries, preceded this world. During Yahweh’s great discussions of the new creations that were to take place, He sent down envoys to report on how things were going on. They did not send all the Uthras, nor did they teach them all the worlds.” But this is the usual order, it says: “Uthra after Uthra will teach thee, will take thee by the right hand and will show thee worlds and dwellings and treasure houses.” In the Ascension of Isaiah there is an interesting thing: “This the devils do not know. They are banished to particular places and they are not aware of how much really goes on.” They miss all the show. And they say, “We are alone, and there are none beside us.” They have the same illusion that the human race has had for a long time. Well, we’ve taken up enough time with this, and if there are no questions, I think we can end now. Naturally I can’t answer any scientific questions, and any questions about fiction I can slough off. I almost forgot to bear my testimony. Can’t stop without this. What else is there but the Gospel, brothers and sisters? If I didn’t believe
it, I’d jolly well have to, but I don’t believe it for that reason. I believe it because it’s true, and I hope we all get testimonies of the Gospel.
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
We've moved you to where you read on your other device.
Get the full title to continue reading from where you left off, or restart the preview.