I am sitting here on my deck, facing the Atlantic surf in South-West France, witnessing a Summer sunset, fascinated by the size of the ship on the horizon. It must be one of those monsters, 12 stories high with 5000 people on board, heading towards Spain and ports further South. Like the sun it will soon sink below the horizon. Reminds me of an old Spike Jones’ classic : “As the Sun pulls away from the shore and our ship sinks slowly in the West, we approach the lovely island of Lulu, spelt backwards, “UL-UL”. Don’t ask me why. When you are approaching eighty, your mind does strange things. (One reader has recently accused me, seriously, of insanity. Sorry to disappoint you, Jim.)
But the cruise-ship really does seem to be ready to go over the edge (I nearly said “the brink” . . .). One minute it’s there, and while you’re mixing another Bloody Mary, it just disappears. We know so much more than our ancestors (they couldn’t mix a B.M. if they tried).
The subject “God and Science” still draws the crowds and still provides substantial income to speakers happy to defend both sides of the question. It took believers centuries to shake off their biblical certitudes about the earth, the sky, the planets, the stars – and especially our own star, the Sun, which does NOT, they finally had to admit, rotate around the earth. You have to admire the mental and rhetorical gymnastics the Church had to go through to accommodate irrefutable scientific evidence which it once denied. I’m glad I don’t have to bother any more. Anyone for an ocean cruise, or maybe a Bloody Mary ?