Friday, October 24, 2008


Apologies to my many readers (all three or four of you!) for not having written for weeks. I'm treating this blog more like an irregular newspaper column than a daily journal. "Choose the middle way, Grasshopper!" So, a moderate essay on a big, though occult subject. Remember, "occult" means hidden. There's a good reason for this, from a Christian viewpoint. First, a quote from James Blish (approximate): All magic, without exception, is performed by fallen angels (demons). No lesser class will serve. I am going to illustrate this with several examples, chief of which is a fascinating book, Fire From Heaven, by Michael Harrison. By magic, I mean all preternatural, supernatural, and paranormal manifestations that seemingly originate from human beings. The only exception to this is any and all acts of Yeshua bar El, i.e., Jesus Christ. If you are God, You do what You will. All other acts of this nature are done by angels, fallen or otherwise, sometimes with express impetus from God.

In The Devil's Day ("Black Easter" + "The Day After Judgment") Blish deals with ceremonial magic in a serious manner, neither playful nor romantic, but rather as a species of engineering, almost. Why demons would make bargains with humans is a good question, but beyond the scope of this essay (later, Grasshopper). Remember, all angels are created beings, just like us. Some may be much older and wiser than most of us, but they were still created by God. One Creator, many created. Satan (whose name is probably Samael) was an archangel in Heaven, leading the Worship of God, until he rebelled. He is a powerful being, very knowledgeable, and is to be respected. He also hates God and us passionately, and must be opposed at every turn. Satan and his demons cannot create or destroy; they can only change and distort. God's angels, led by Michael and Gabriel, implement His plans and creations.

Michael Harrison (Maurice Desmond Rohan) was an English writer who wrote fiction and non-fiction. He wrote a "biography" of Sherlock Holmes as influential as William S. Baring-Gould's. His book, Fire From Heaven, deals with spontaneous human combustion (SHC) most intelligently. He also includes sections on Kirlian or aura viewing and "slow vaulting", or control of gravity. The great Russian danseur, Nijinsky, is reported to have been able to prolong his leaps greatly, and to land as lightly as a thistle. This last ability is similar, perhaps identical, to one of the siddhis, or paranormal abilities, developed by yogic masters in India. Garima and laghima confer the abilities to increase or decrease gravity. SHC seems to involve intense heat (2000 degrees C. +) localized or controled so tightly that sometimes clothes are not burned. Often chairs, floors, and other nearby objects are scorched but not burned or melted. There is no tenable natural explanation. To me it smacks of demonic interference--that is, all the molecules within a circumscribed area are accelerated terribly.

Other "psionic" abilities, such as telepathy, clairvoyance, precognition, telekinesis, and teleportation, seem to exist, at least sporadically, in people. I don't believe it. I don't believe these "gifts" are inherent in us, at least not in God's present plan. I believe that any miraculous manifestations, whether levitation or healing, are performed by angels, by spirit beings, either God's or Satan's. We are warned in the Bible about trafficking with witches and sorcerers: it is an abomination to God. These "powers" exist, people. So does Hell.--Dan Moore

Monday, October 6, 2008

Rock of Ages

How old id the Earth? To many, this is a frivolous or meaningless question. The Earth is under our feet: it was there yesterday; it'll be there tomorrow (we hope). . . . I think it is the pivotal, central question about our origins. The scientific and educational establishments have made it the centerpiece of their religion of uniformitarianism. This ill-gotten jawcracker simply means the Earth formed billions of years ago and gradually changed into the form we see now. Bible-believing Christians and others (Muslims included) believe our planet was created by God thousands of years ago and that the Great Flood killed almost all life, re-arranged the surface features, and created the strata, complete with "fossils", the uniformitarians (Lyell-Agassiz-Darwinists or LAD's) call the "geological column". Young-Earth creationists (YEC's) are also, of course, catastrophists, although not out of the Velikovsky mold. Dr. V. was a brilliant man and a careful observer of the effects of our catastrophic past, but his causative hypotheses of the Deluge were too wild to believe. Simply put, YEC's believe Earth was created 6,000+ years ago and all the life at the same time. This included dinosaurs and us. Many species (or kinds) did not survive the Flood.

What about carbon-14 dating? Radiometric dating has been shown (RATE Project, etc.) to be alarmingly inconsistent. Some objects have been dated by different labs at anywhere from 50 to 50 million years old. "Erratics", dates out of sequence, are routinely discarded. Catastrophic events have been shown to affect the balance of isotopes (C-14 to C-16 ratios, for instance). The traditional YEC's, on the other hand, adhere rigidly to dating established by Bishop Ussher from Biblical genealogies. They think (see the linkages in "Genesis" from Adam to Abraham are inclusive and admit of less than 2,000 years. Abraham was born about 2,100 B.C. Thus they date creation at about 4,004 B.C. I believe it to thave been at least ten-thousand years before that date. I cannot logically defend that hypothesis; the traditionalists might accuse me of ignoring the Bible's authority. I still strongly believe in young-earth creation by God. Ex nihilo!--Daniel Moore

Friday, October 3, 2008

Algis Budrys

I just heard about Budrys' death (June 8 or 9?), three months after the fact. He started writing in the early Fifties. He had been been praised by Blish and Knight early in his career and by many others later. His style was clean and flexible, poetic when necessary; his dialogue was great; and his characterization and plotting beyond reproach. He made you think about what he wrote; he made you ponder the ideas and situations he showed you. Not all writers have this reflective quality. Many writers are evocative, operating at an emotional level (if that). A few convey images and feelings and make you wonder about their convictions. Budrys' signature novels, such as The Death Machine (aka Rogue Moon), Who?, and Some Will Not Die have this quality: they get under your skin and stay there. He wrote many excellent stories and was also a perceptive and influential critic. His short fiction and criticism cry out for comprehensive collections. He wrote ten novels, mostly published in paperback; several have never been reprinted. An omnibus of his best novels would be nice. I remember one of his critical columns in a sceince-fiction magazine from the Eighties. He was discussing one of the middle novels in Gene Wolfe's magnum opus The Book of the New Sun. He said he could usually look behind the scenes and see how the author was getting the effects the reader perceived. In Wolfe's case, Budrys said he had no idea how Wolfe was doing it! He called Wolfe a magician.

Budrys was Lithuanian, from an important political family. They fled to the U.S. after the Soviets took over, and Algirdas Jonas Budrys (his name translates approximately as "Gordon John Sentinel"--Damon Knight says it was adopted) was raised and educated in America. He worked in magazine and book publishing and advertising and taught writing. He was largely unknown outside the speculative fiction genre, and unsung. He deserves at least a symphony.--Dan Moore