The scientists and researchers employed in my secret basement laboratory are quite an ecclectic bunch. We have staff that wash their hands and brush their teeth after every thought as well as those whose superstitions will not allow them to change their underwear until the completion of their research project. We have committed Christians as well as atheists who should be committed. We have cool, but mostly we have nerd. One biochemist's 5 year old was visiting and after talking to several researchers said to her dad, "Daddy, these guys make even Todd and Lance seem cool." Her dad just shook his head and said, "Sweetie, you have never met Todd or Lance, have you?" That little girl has the cutest giggle.
Perhaps the most unusual character in our lab is Alfred the Atheist, one of our physicists. He's a Landscaper of the String Theory clan. Alfred is always spewing equations about which no one else has a clue. Nobody is ever sure if he really knows what he is talking about. Our only evidence on these matters occurs when he does calculations on his super computer. Often after a result is obtained, his computer smacks itself on its monitor with its own mouse and exclaims, "Boo-yah! My hard drive just had an orgasm!" Then it has a smoke.
Alfred has long been determined to calculate and describe the nature of other universes in the Landscape. (Some say that he hasn't changed underwear in 3 years; others claim he goes 'commando.') He declares that he wants to prove beyond all question that God doesn't exist. His computer now has a 2 pack-a-day habit.
Alfred was convinced that he had chosen the proper mathematical parameters to obtain accurate predictions of the nature of two other universes. For several days he was submerged in his cubicle with smoke billowing a carbon dioxide footprint nearly the size of Al Gore's. There were shrieks of 'Eureka', 'Aha', and 'Yesss!' with regularity. Some thought Frankenstein would emerge from that cubicle, but others figured Alfred was just watching internet porn.
Last Friday, while I was in my office working on computations after compiling data... OK, while playing computer solitaire... Alfred barged in, pale and shaking, and plopped like a corpse on my sofa. I watched as he sat there in silence for several minutes. He would occasionally shake his head and cradle his head in his hands as he slowly contorted into a fetal position. It was unusual, even for Alfred. I decided not to dial 911 since he was not bleeding and would occasionally breathe.
After about 30 minutes of this, which reminded me of many Liberals I know after each of W's elections, Alfred looked at me and stated meekly, "I have completed my research."
"My formulations have described 2 alternate universes as well the founding principle for both them and ours."
"And?" (I have always had a gift when it comes to intelligent dialogue.)
"I have calculated that one universe can be accurately described as an arid inferno, with humanoid entities of the gnashing teeth variety. There also prove to be a plethora of immortal worm-like creatures. Everywhere there is the sound of wailing... baleful wailing."
"The formulation of the other universe in the Landscape proves to also inhabited by humanoid entities and others. Here there is no wailing or grief, but joy and worship alone. All indications are those of bliss."
"The founding principle?"
"God is pulling all the strings."
"Can I go to church with you this Sunday?"
"Of course, but please change your underwear."
(I greatly appreciate the write ups and links from Post-Darwinist, Colliding Universes, Uncommon Descent, and The Carnival of the Insanities. Special thanks to Denyse O'Leary from Toronto, co-author of The Spiritual Brain: A Neuroscientist's Case for the Existence of the Soul.)
(Extra special thanks to the R.C.M.P. for not yet 'getting your man.')