Orac on me on Orac etc

Orac responds to me ... sort of:

Orac paused, his lights blinking, patterns ever changing. It was almost as though he were thinking, if such a thing were possible by a computer. Then he went on, "Of course, as much as I've defended Dawkins before against similarly spurious uses of the Hitler analogy, now that I think of it, I have caught him before making arguments based on a dubious understanding of history."

"Not everyone would agree with you on that last bit," said Vila, smiling because he loved to see Orac get a comeuppance, and betting that Orac would be surprised that he knew of that little fisking.

"My basic point was correct," snapped Orac, his lights blinking red, "but I will concede that I may have overplayed my hand with respect to discussing Bomber Harris, who was a true ideologue. Certainly the Americans would have embraced the technology, even if Harris did not. [...]"

This is just a small part of a much longer post on a controversy raging among atheist bloggers at the moment, which itself is an interesting use/abuse of British history, as it revolves around calling anyone perceived to be "soft" on the intrusion of religion into science a "Neville Chamberlain atheist", i.e. an appeaser -- apparently a trend begun by Richard Dawkins. There's even a cute, ironic graphic to go with it (from here):

Proud Neville Chamberlain Atheist

I don't think this is an argument I want to get into! Anyway, I think that's something of a concession from Orac on the Harris issue; and I do appreciate his extended Blake's 7 pastiche, as I'm currently working my way through the first season on DVD. And Vila is one of my favourite characters, so I'm honoured to see him take notice of my humble blog :)

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7 thoughts on “Orac on me on Orac etc

  1. I too find 'Respectful Influence' never less than interesting, even on debates which I would not choose to get involved in.

    But oh, you Blake's 7 fans.... If you are working your way through series 1, I'm afraid that's a cue for a theatrical anecdote from my previous life. If you have a look at the (slightly self-indulgent) comments from me on this post http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2006/04/whoever_thought_this_would_be.php
    you will see my Gareth Thomas (Blake) connection, of which I'm rather proud, and which I remember with great amusement and affection.

    Yes, Vila was a great character which Paul Darrow played quite brilliantly. But, paraphrasing what Gareth once told me he was often wont to remind Paul Darrow (with tongue firmly in cheek): 'yes, you've got the cheekbones, but remember - I'm the serious actor, love'.

    Thespians, eh?. Can't live with 'em, can't live without 'em! :)

  2. Avon, rather. (Sorry - any excuse for an anecdote.)

    Btw, there is a a very good retrospective series on British Science Fiction currently running here on BBC Four. As well as being good-quality TV History at the more populist end, it has covered Wyndham, Orwell, and has been a serious analysis of apocalypticism, dystopianism and British cultural identity. (As well as having many funny bits.) Keep an eye out for it if it turns up Down Under.

  3. Post author

    That's very cool! And Avon is of course my other fave. Blake was a nice guy and all (and Gareth Thomas clearly one of the better actors!), but Avon and Vila got all the best lines. And the cheekbones, in Avon's case ...

    Thanks for the doco tip, sounds right up my alley. Is it one of these?

  4. Yes, it is. The BBC blurb and ad campaign had made the programmes sound quite 'trashy', but the quality is much better than the usual clip-show rubbish. It's not my cup of tea as an entire genre, but I caught 'The Cult of...Adam Adamant Lives!' programme (in relation to Austin Powers), and I've been hooked on them all. They make a very convincing link between the more 'serious' literary tradition of Orwell, Wyndham, etc and the more, eh....'geeky' end of TV sci-fi.

    They've been particularly strong on 1970s series such as 'Doomwatch' and 'Survivors' reflecting Britain's socio-economic travails of the time. And I'm delighted to have finally worked out that 'Survivors' is the title sequence (which basically predicted a Bird Flu epidemic) which used to terrify me in 1975 when I was 5 years old - probably just as I was being sent to bed. It has stuck with me ever since. Very scary indeed.

  5. And I’m delighted to have finally worked out that ‘Survivors’ is the title sequence (which basically predicted a Bird Flu epidemic) which used to terrify me in 1975 when I was 5 years old - probably just as I was being sent to bed. It has stuck with me ever since. Very scary indeed.

    Indeed. I also remember being terrified at about the same time and about the same age by The Mad Death (rabid pooch gets through quarantine, dog bites man, whole population runs around on all fours foaming at the mouth. Or something like that).

  6. I don't recall 'The Mad Death', but, having just googled it, given that it was made by BBC Scotland and featured many, eh...'colourful' Scottish 'character' actors, I'm not surprised you found it terrifying. "Whole population runs around on all fours foaming at the mouth"? How quintessentially Scottish! 'No acting required', as we thesps would say... :)

  7. Post author

    I do like a good end-of-the-world (or after) story, but I haven't seen any of these! I've read about Survivors and must track that down one day. I notice that the director of The Mad Death also directed such classics as Vampire Circus, Jeeves and Wooster, and the new Battlestar Galactica -- a very diverse resume, to be sure.

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