Natalie Solent

Politics, news, libertarianism, Science Fiction, religion, sewing. You got a problem, bud? I like sewing.

E-mail: nataliesolent-at-aol-dot-com (I assume it's OK to quote senders by name.)

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Jane's Blogosphere: blogtrack for Natalie Solent.


( 'Nother Solent is this blog's good twin. Same words, searchable archives, RSS feed. Provided by a benefactor, to whom thanks.
I also sometimes write for Samizdata and Biased BBC.)

The Old Comrades:

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Monday, July 24, 2006
G.O.G. 666 by John Taine (real name: Eric Temple Bell).

Perhaps the best vindication of the proverb "Don't judge a book by its cover" I personally have ever picked up; when I read it many years ago I was rather moved. I protected this book from being shot.

That memory was prompted by this post about the BBC's 1988 ape-man drama First Born, which also prompted an email from JEM.

Gor Blimey*


I'm not sure i want to get involved in this, but...

Surely there is a fundamental difference between being conceived as a result of fornication, adultery and rape, all viewed by the Catholic Church as misuses of an entirely natural process on the one hand, and conception resulting from test-tubes, clones, genetic manipulation or whatever, all viewed by the Catholic Church as entirely unnatural processes on the other?

As for souls: by your test, would a computer able to ask if it has a soul thus have one? Or do gorillas all have souls in any case? Or dogs? Or cats? And so on and on, all the way down to the humble amoeba -- do amoebas have souls, and if not why not? Or is the whole concept of a soul meaningless? Or are souls only for Homo Sapiens because we are so important, like the sun orbits the earth at the centre of the universe because the earth is so important? And even then, what about Homo Neanderthalensis ? Did they have souls?

For the avoidance of any lingering doubt, I hold no personal candle* for the position of the RC Church; I'm just here to question your logic, which I know you will want to thank me for.

*Sorry, that was irresistible.


More argument from me later, perhaps. Right now, yes, by my test, a computer able to ask if it has a soul has one. Actually " more argument from me" might mean "more argument from C.S. Lewis. There's a chapter that deals with the possibility of animal souls in The Problem of Pain and a suggested comeback somewhere else to the "implausible importance" objection you raise.