Alan Moore was recently interviewed by New Humanist magazine while backstage at the “Nine Lessons for Godless People” show, and the video has been posted on YouTube (see below). It’s a wonderfully typical chat with the renowned story-teller, with Moore quickly pointing out that, in the context of some of the ideas in cosmology these days that rationalists find credible, “my worship of a 2nd century sock-puppet snake god seems entirely reasonable.”
What I did want to share though was his response to the question “Is there a conflict between what can and can’t be proven by science”, as it echoes my thoughts almost exactly (though he’s far more eloquent on the topic than I could hope to be):
I would prefer a two-state solution. My basic premise is that human beings are amphibious, in the etymological sense of ‘two lives’. We have one life in the solid material world that is most perfectly measured by science. Science is the most exquisite tool that we’ve developed for measuring that hard, physical, material world. Then there is the world of ideas which is inside our head. I would say that both of these worlds are equally real – they’re just real in different ways. The concept of a world of ideas, yes it’s intangible, it can’t be repeated in a laboratory, but pretty much the evidence for it is all around us. In that, every detail of our clothing, our mindsets, of the buildings and the streets and cities that surround us – that started life as an idea in someone’s head.
Terence McKenna mentioned something along similar lines once, though his point was going in a different direction: “We take in matter that has a low degree of organization; we put it through mental filters, and we extrude jewelry, gospels, space shuttles. This is what we do.” I think that the word ‘reality’ has come to be intimately connected to a definition of “what is measurable”, when it should perhaps be more connected to something along the lines of “things that can create change in the world”.
Anyhow, enough of my 2 cent philosophizing: here’s Mr Moore:
And for those (like me) that have been perplexed about Alan Moore’s presence at a number of ‘rationalist’ events (including Randi’s conference a couple of years back), he’s not shy in mentioning dogmatism amongst certain scientists as well:
Rationalism is under siege, by all of these witless…Fundamentalist Christians… that tends to unfortunately, to drive scientists – who are obviously concerned by those possibilities – into an almost religious position themselves…. the problem with religions is that generally, they develop dogmas, which are limitations to thought, and are never a good thing.
I can’t help but wonder how Alan Moore would be treated at these events if he was just an ordinary Joe off the street, saying the exact same words…