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« Housekeeping | Main | The Conscience of the Information Age »

October 30, 2007

Re: Creepy experiments

Anne, I wonder if Russell Kirk might have been interested in this review of the novel Ghost by Alan Lightman (a nonbeliever). It certainly fits in nicely with some of the recent scientific and religious debates around here.

There's not really any doubt about Lightman's loyalties in this debate. His description of an annual meeting of "truth seekers" is a brilliant piece of satire, complete with crazy field reports and kooky evidence decorated with scientific lingo. Beneath the comedy, though, one senses Lightman's sympathy with that deep human desire for transcendence. "There has to be another world," one of the attendants tells David, "because there has to be something after we die. Death can't be the end." Lightman is wise enough to hear that sentiment echoing down through the millennia, and he has no intention of dismissing it simply because it can't be confirmed with a microscope.

But what's more surprising is Lightman's willingness to expose the dogmatism of his colleagues. In one particularly damning scene, the university scientists display their unwillingness to consider radical interpretations no matter what the evidence. Like the charlatans they oppose, they're willing to repress and distort anything that doesn't confirm their conclusions. Courted by believers on both sides, poor David remains helplessly suspended between irreconcilable concepts of reality. [Emphasis in original]

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