4
The Blind Who Would Lead

In the United States, an old, old phenomenon resurfaced in 1980. It is the voice of self-righteous, all-knowing, narrow-minded "religion," this time in the form of the self-styled "Moral Majority," which has as its objectives the punishment of politicians who deviate from M.M. principles, and the dictation to all Americans of what they should read, think, and believe.

The Moral Majority speaks with the voice of absolute authority.

This is not to be confused with the kind of authority expressed by scientists, who can only claim to hope they are right pending further information. The greatest scientists have been wrong on this point or that— Newton on the nature of light, Einstein in his views of the uncertainty principle— and this does not lessen respect for their achievements.Scientists expect to be improved on and corrected; they hope to be. Science has its "authority," but it is an open and nonauthoritarian authority.

The Moral Majority, however, speaks, it would seem, with the voice of God.How do we know they do? Why, they themselves say so; and, since they speak with the voice of God, then their testimony that they do so is unshakable. Q. E. D. And since the voice of God is never wrong and cannot be wrong (the Moral Majority, speaking with that voice, says so) any spokesman of the M.M. is never wrong and cannot be wrong.

The Moral Majority is, in other words, a closed intellectual system, without possibility of change or admission of error.It insists that all the answers exist and have existed from the beginning because God wrote them all out in the Bible and we need only observe them to the letter.

Surely this puts an end forever to any hope of social or intellectual advance or to any rational adaptation to changing conditions. For what does the Bible say? "The letter killeth" (Cor. II, 3:6).

-24-

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The Roving Mind
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • The Roving Mind *
  • Contents vii
  • Foreword Isaac Asimov: Science Popularizer, Skeptic, and Rationalist xi
  • A Celebration of Isaac Asimov — a Man for the Universe xv
  • Introduction 1
  • Part I the Religious Radicals *
  • 1: The Army of the Night *
  • 3: The Reagan Doctrine 20
  • 4: The Blind Who Would Lead 24
  • 5: Creeping Censorship 27
  • 6: Losing the Debate 29
  • Part II Other Aberrations 30
  • 7: The Harvest of Intelligence *
  • 8: That Old-Time Violence 37
  • 9: Little Green Men or Not? 40
  • 10: Don'T You Believe? 43
  • 11: Open Mind? 47
  • 12: The Role of the Heretic 49
  • Part III Population *
  • 13: The Good Earth is Dying *
  • 14: The Price of Survival 66
  • 15: Letter to a Newborn Child 72
  • Part IV Science: Opinion 74
  • 16: Technophobia *
  • 17: What Have You Done for Us Lately? 84
  • 18: Speculation 88
  • 19: Is It Wise for Us to Contact Advanced Civilizations? 92
  • 20: Pure and Impure 97
  • 21: Do We Regulate Science? 104
  • 22: For Public Understanding of Science 107
  • 23: Science Corps 110
  • 24: Science and Beauty 113
  • 25: Art and Science 116
  • 26: The Fascination of Science 120
  • 27: Sherlock Holmes as Chemist 127
  • Part V Science: Explanation 132
  • 28: The Global Jigsaw *
  • 29: The Inconstant Sun 139
  • 30: The Sky of the Satellites 151
  • 31: The Surprises of Pluto 157
  • 32: Neutron Stars 160
  • 33: Black Holes 162
  • 34: Faster Than Light 165
  • 35: Hyperspace 169
  • 36: Beyond the Universe 175
  • 37: Life on Earth 183
  • Part VI the Future 188
  • 38: Transportation and the Future *
  • 39: The Corporation of the Future 200
  • 40: The Future of Collecting 208
  • 41: The Computerized World 214
  • 42: The Individualism to Come 228
  • 43: The Coming Age of Age 237
  • 44: The Decade of Decision 244
  • 45: Do You Want to Be Cloned? 251
  • 46: The Hotel of the Future 256
  • 47: The Future of Plants 262
  • 48: Bacterial Engineering 266
  • 49: Flying in Time to Come 272
  • 50: The Ultimate in Communication 278
  • 51: His Own Particular Drummer 285
  • 52: The Future of Exploration 295
  • 53: Homo Obsoletus? 300
  • 54: Volatiles for the Life on Luna 307
  • 55: Touring the Moon 312
  • 56: Life on a Space Settlement 317
  • 57: The Payoff in Space 324
  • Part VII Personal *
  • 58: I Am a Signpost *
  • 59: The Word-Processor and I 334
  • 60: A Question of Speed 337
  • 61: A Question of Spelling 340
  • 62: My Father 344
  • Acknowledgments 348
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