A beautifully told story with colorful characters out of epic tradition, a tight and complex plot, and solid pacing. -- Booklist, starred review of On the Razor's Edge

Great writing, vivid scenarios, and thoughtful commentary ... the stories will linger after the last page is turned. -- Publisher's Weekly, on Captive Dreams

Thursday, February 26, 2015

What is TOF up to these days?

TOF seems to be coming out of his slump. He recently:
  • Sent the long-delayed "The Journeyman: In the Great North Woods" off to Analog, and we will see what its fate shall be.
  • Completed a fact article, "The Autumn of Modern Science," but it is lying doggo awaiting a fresh read to smooth over its infelicities.
  • Resumed work on "Laminated Moose Zombies and Other Problems of Road Maintenance" which he is attempting to write with his esteemed Number One Son, Dennis M. Flynn. It should be a hard SF zombie story with a humorous twist. Don't recall if it was excerpted here.
  • Resumed work on the long-moribund novel The Shipwrecks of Time -- hooray. He is coming up on the March Across the Bridge, which for plot purposes he had moved forward in time before the Milwaukee riot. The Viaduct in Milwaukee was known as the Longest Bridge in the World since it stretched from Africa to Poland. Sometimes it is well to remember that we live in the future in more than the technological-advancement sense.
  • Began work on "Nexus," a very strange stories. Which it may not be possible to excerpt. In any case, an excerpt now would encompass most of the rough draft as it currently exists. Let's just say it involves aliens, a time traveler, an artificial intelligence, a telepath, an immortal, and maybe clones.
  • Thought about "The Journeyman: Among the Great States," but he does not yet have a good sense of what Teodorq will get up to there.


  1. Mr. Flynn:

    Since it seems like you enjoy, in your spare time, to take the time to debunk stupid objections to Christianity, Aristotelianism, Thomism, common sense, and the like, you might like to write a post on what is called "the black cat analogy." It's one of those groupthink stories that village atheists tell to pat themselves on the back while not actually thinking about what they are talking about. The analogy goes like this:

    Philosophy is like being in a dark room and looking for a black cat.
    Metaphysics is like being in a dark room and looking for a black cat that isn't there.
    Theology is like being in a dark room and looking for a black cat that isn't there, and shouting "I found it!"
    Science is like being in a dark room and looking for a switch. The light will reveal a cat... if there is one.

    Honestly, I'm baffled at how they came to this, especially with the sentence regarding metaphysics. Do they realize that metaphysics is considered a sub-branch of philosophy? This story looks like one only logical positivists would tell their children at night.

    I think your post are simple, clear, informative, and humorous, so I was curious what you would write regarding this. A post on this lazily thought-out analogy might be a good chance to explain the Thomist's point of view regarding philosophy, physics, metaphysics, theology (natural and revealed), analogies, and black cats in dark rooms.

    I relatively recently found your blog through Dr. Feser, and I plan to purchase Eifelheim soon. I'm looking forward to it!

    Thank you,


    1. It's easy enough to construct a series of tendentious analogies. It's harder to establish in what way the analogies are true. (I did not say 'factual'.) One could as easily say:

      Science is like being in a dark room and developing a theory about what sort of cats might be in the room, get into an argument with other scientists with other theories of felinicity. Then an engineer walks in the room looking for a hammer and snaps on the light, and the scientists all look at one another and say, "Oh." Then they develop another set of theories and begin arguing about them. The engineer scratches his head, feeds the cat, and exists the room. When he turns the light off, the scientists begin arguing over whether the cat is still there or not.

      That doesn't mean science actually IS like that; only that tendentious analogies are a dime the dozen. Schroedinger proposed his cat-in-the-box thought experiment to illustrate how incoherent the Copenhagen interpretation was, and then watched as the Copenhageners took it seriously.

    2. Metaphysics is like being in a dark room, wanting to find a black cat, and having some inkling of what a black cat is. Dismissing metaphysics in service to atheism is like having very strong opinions whether there is a black cat or not, but not knowing what "black cat" means.

    3. I have to ask: how do you all suffer with people's irrationality? I read through comments at other corners of the Internet and see the stupidest and most incoherent thoughts imaginable. At university I'm indoctrinated with the same old unquestioned falsity. Do people like the village atheists, the "progressive" professor, or the homosexual propagandists realize that their beliefs are not coherent? That they cannot justify any objective morality at all with them? How do you explain to these people that their reasoning is unreasonable, since they don't have the attention span or heart to listen? Or do you just wipe the dirt off your sandals and move on?

      Christi pax,


  2. I saw this and thought of you and your son and your story:

    Currently making the rounds with my friends...


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