Spawn of Mars
Blog of Fictioneer David Skinner
Desperately Seeking E.T.
A Peculiar Sort of Hype
Wednesday, May 29, 2019 11:44 am
In a lecture in October of 2015, Dr. Carolyn Porco, Imaging Team Leader for the Cassini Mission to Saturn, said, regarding the chance of life on Enceladus:
Should we ever make such a discovery, if we ever, anywhere, find that there has been a second, independent genesis in our Solar System, then I think that at that point the spell is broken. The existence theorem has been proven. And we could safely infer from that, that life is commonplace; that it is not a bug but a feature of the universe in which we live and that it has occurred a staggering number of times throughout the 13.7 billion years of the history of the cosmos. And I think that that might be the kind of discovery that could change a great many things.
Maybe I'm just curmudgeonly contrarian, but the discovery of extraterrestrial life would not impress me.
Whence Then Hath It Cockle?
An Insight Into Theodicy
Thursday, March 7, 2019 10:00 pm
I'm not put out by the existence of evil. That is, I do not think it is some sort of terrible mystery, nor a thing to make one doubt the existence of God. You have heard it said: "A truly good God would never allow this! So there is no good God; indeed, no God at all." But that is not an argument. It is a kind of tantrum, really.
Superfluous in Heaven
Even Sacred Music Is Mundane
Saturday, February 4, 2017 12:36 am
In the mid '80s, when I was a college boy, I regularly went to the record stores near campus. This was just before CDs and long before MP3s. You wanted music, you flipped through an alphabetized bin and found an LP. Anyhow, one day, while I was browsing for something new, a classical work of some sort started playing on the store stereo. It was beautiful and unfamiliar. I listened for quite a while. I finally asked the clerk what it was. He showed me the sleeve and I went to the proper bin. The LP was in stock. I bought it.
Amid the Forests, Among the Stars
A Little Animism Might Help
Sunday, October 5, 2008 7:52 pm
When considering what has occupied thinkers until the modern age, it strikes me how unabashedly they ruminated on the non-material. For ancient and medieval thinkers, material things were not ultimate things, and truly ultimate things can and should be understood.
Modern materialists simply lack imagination. Maybe it is better to say that their imaginations cannot escape their machines and mathematics. Whatever strength of imagination they do have — to imagine, say, a warp in spacetime — they reject any concepts not reducible to the material.
Thus they are terribly hampered when it comes to thinking about the supernatural, let alone believing in God. Indeed, unlike the rest of us, they have no sense of the Divine. Perhaps they truly lack this sense. Rather than having plucked out their eyes, they were simply born blind. Either way, is it not amusing how they think themselves superior for being handicapped? It never occurs to them that they are in a minority not because they, as an elite, have transcended mankind, but because they are simply damaged.
Ages as Bright as Any
Michael Flynn's Eifelheim
Saturday, June 21, 2008 9:37 pm
In seeking science fiction that is neither left-wing nor Christophobic, I would have thought the worst
place to look would be in a novel about aliens crashing in a medieval German town. O! the opportunities to condemn the superstitious villainies of the Dark Ages! Beleaguered aliens — so like ourselves in their adherence to Science! — against the base and ignorant Catholicism of dim-witted villagers! Goodness me, the cliches write themselves.Eifelheim
is absolutely nothing like that. This is a work that depicts medieval Catholics with sympathy, not by supposing them to be unwashed Episcopalians who would vote Democratic if only they could, but by eschewing condescension and hatred — and, more to the point, by depicting the faithful Catholics as fully rational
A Bourne Rumination
On the Last of the Trilogy
Sunday, January 13, 2008 3:52 pm
Beware! Spoilers follow.
I can watch the first two Bourne movies repeatedly and still enjoy them. They really do succeed. In general I am annoyed that they, like too much out of Hollywood, find the greatest criminality among American spies; but hey, they are exciting and they aren't cartoons. Having heard that The Bourne Ultimatum was even more anti-American, I wasn't so sure I wanted to bother with it; yet I had also heard it was very good, and so I got it.
Yes, yes, one could argue that it's not anti-American as such but only anti-CIA; but, in the end, it is Americans who are the bad guys, so it's a bit sour. It also spins its wheels a bit, as far as the action goes; the variations on a theme were sometimes not so variant. Still, I really liked it — and unlike, say, Spider-Man 3, it doesn't crater and ruin its trilogy, but finishes things very well.
Now, two observations.
Eternity With Love Handles
God's Gonna Resurrect This?
Monday, August 1, 2005 1:54 am
It's right there in the Nicene Creed: "I expect the resurrection of the dead." On the final day we will each arise as Christ arose and be restored to our bodies, no matter how dispersed our flesh might be among the elements of the Earth. To be sure, on that day our bodies will be uncorrupted and imperishable, glorious bodies like the glorious body of Christ; but I've always wondered: What will those bodies look like?