Tuesday, October 02, 2007


Chris Rywalt is bored! The horror! Darlings, this is what happens in today's modern Cubicle Culture. This is the root of all Flame Wars. Quick, something Interesting and Stimulating, and potentially Controversial!

Well, Pretty Lady will desperately hurl herself into the breach, by committing the inexcusible faux pas of quoting herself. She takes as her text the letter she wrote today to dear Richard Dawkins, who has embroiled himself in a bit of controversy of late.

(It has been Pretty Lady's historical habit to treat social retardation, in general, with a certain amount of Denial, Forbearance, and Compensation. But the dear man was becoming so agitated, and was inciting so many other persons to similar clueless nonsense, that Pretty Lady at last decided to intervene.)

Ritchie! Ritchie honey! Yoo hoo!

I very much hate to break it to you, darling, but you are embarrassing yourself. You have failed, dear, to pick up on the all-important Social Subtext of the theological situation.

For of course, darling, you grew up in the Anglican church. And to anyone with a smidge of social sensibility, it is perfectly obvious that Anglicans are hypocrites.

Yes, darling, it's true. Nobody really believes all that 'God created the world in seven days' and 'God will send you to hell if you're bad' business. Otherwise the Bishop wouldn't be so free with the Jack Daniels in the evenings. However, it does not follow that these stories are fantasies with no purpose.

You see, Ritchie, all these literal stories are what we tell seven-year-olds to make them behave. As they grow into strapping young (or not so young) scientists, the habit of discipline stays with them, while the cute stories are gradually shed, the way wood frameworks are no longer necessary once the concrete has set.

What this lovely reverend is attempting to tell you, gently, dear Richard (and friends! of course! Pleased to meet you all!) is that seven-year-old stories are not the sum total of theology, but rather a necessary developmental framework. For discipline, sweethearts, in whatever context, is necessary for the human mind to expand its apparent limits and envelop the cosmos.

And by 'discipline' I do not mean mere spankings. I mean the habit of training the ego-will to attend to things larger than itself--to the scientific method, if you will, or literature, or ethics, or to the peace which passes all understanding and lies at the root of consciousness itself.

Darlings, it's so splendid!
Pretty Lady wished, of course, to elaborate upon the splendidity of transcending the ego-will, but she has work to do, and felt that she had expressed herself sufficiently for an introductory letter. So she will leave it to Chris, and to other emergency de-borifiers, to discuss.


Chris Rywalt said...

I've noticed that it's become fashionable -- E.O. Wilson does it, for example -- to say that while religion makes no rational sense, it's still necessary for humans to have it for some reason, probably evolutionary. In other words, the trouble Richard Dawkins has is that he says that human belief in a god or gods is like human belief in leprechauns, when the two are nothing alike: Humans societies can thrive without believing in leprechauns but they're not so good at thriving without belief in a god or gods.

But then it seems to me that Dawkins is always trying to piss people off. He's not really interested in a dialog between faith and science; clearly he thinks that's like a dialog between Ents and electrons.

Of course I, personally, don't understand any kind of faith. But I consider that a failing on my part, or a missing brain function, and not something wrong with everyone else.

Pretty Lady said...

But then it seems to me that Dawkins is always trying to piss people off.

Indeed. He appears to be evolutionarily stuck at the age of nine, which is when boys typically decide that seven-year-olds are their intellectual inferiors, and take a sadistic delight in telling them so.

Chris Rywalt said...

I do think it's good to have impolite people like him around. I might not invite him to a party on the poop, but having a loose cannon somewhere on deck is entertaining.

Anonymous said...

'God created the world in seven days'

I could have sworn it was six days with Him resting on the seventh. I guess that's just me.

Pretty Lady said...

You're absolutely right, Ducky-boy. My bad.

Anonymous said...


"What this lovely reverend is attempting to tell you, gently, dear Richard (and friends! of course! Pleased to meet you all!) is that seven-year-old stories are not the sum total of theology, but rather a necessary developmental framework."

In other words, feed the kids a line of crap. Lying is A-OK, fine and dandy, if the kids aren't act up.

Yeah, right. Great strategy. We can all sort out the truth in it all later.

More excuses for unacceptable behaviour.

Pretty Lady said...

Bobert! How are you, cutie-pie?

You say 'lie,' Bobert, I say 'age-appropriate metaphor.' And unacceptable behavior is precisely what we are trying to avoid, by employing this metaphor.

Anonymous said...

A rose by any other name...

Nancy said...


What Pretty Lady is telling you is that a wise parent tells his/her child about the world in ways that are appropriate to the capability of understanding of that child.

When a 6 year old asks "Mommy, where do babies come from?", a wise mommy does not trot out a biology text book and indepth into a complete and exhaustive explaination of how sexual reproduction works.

Instead, a wise mommy, knowing what the child can understand usually answers something along the lines of : "A mommy and a daddy love each other and a baby grows in mommy's tummy."

Notice: "tummy" not "uterus", "love each other" not "engage in sexual congress and a full explaination with demonstration of how such congress is achieved".

We are children bobert, all of us. It's just that some of us are working towards becoming adults. Others are content to stay children.

Oops... a metaphor! Gee, I hope bobert doesn't think I'm lying.

Pretty Lady said...

Thank you, Nancy.