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« More on New York Dirty Bomb | Main | Radioactive in New Jersey? »

Monday, August 13, 2007

Atlas Exclusive: Religion of Science

Mankind needs to use deductive reasoning to realize simple facts such as the fact that a world where everyone has access to nanoweapons is more dangerous than a world without them.

Eric Klien, founder of the Lifeboat Foundation, (of which I am a member and board member) has written this frightening, eye opening article on the dangers we face in the age of super weaponry and nanoweapons.


The dangerous delusion that all scientific progress is good and what to do about it.

It is always more difficult to fight against faith than against knowledge.  Adolph Hitler.


Science, and the technology it enables, has and will continue to provide great benefits to man.  The purpose of this piece is to point out that science can be dangerous as well.  We need to prepare for these dangers before it is too late.

Please note that it is unrealistic to prepare for these dangers by trying to stop scientific progress.  Instead efforts should be made to build up defenses and to try to stop ridiculous excesses committed by the Religion of Science such as publishing the 1918 flu virus on the internet for use by Al Qaeda scientists.


The recipe for the 1918 flu virus which killed 50 million people was donated by the Religion of Science to Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups. Above picture is a death scene caused by this virus.

As many on this site know, the "Religion of Peace" (Muslims) is not an ideal religion.  In fact, there is considerable evidence that many who follow it wish to overthrow Western Civilization and put Muslims in charge.  Ground Zero in New York City is an example of this evidence. The $5 million reward for this Al Qaeda wacko who wishes to nuke Western cities is a bit more evidence. In fact, there is considerable evidence that such people wish to kill all people who will not convert and become Muslims, so they could end up reducing the world's population by a couple billion people, if not more.

But believe it or not, there is a religion much more dangerous than the Religion of Peace.  It is the Religion of Science.

What are the beliefs of the Religion of Science?  They are that all scientific advancement is good under all circumstances.  If worrying about a potential danger might cause scientific funding to be reduced by even 1%, this religion will do whatever it takes to quiet people mentioning such a danger.

Why do I call it a religion?  Because in any religion something is worshipped.  In this case, scientific progress is worshipped instead of a single entity as in the world's organized religions.  And this worship causes its followers to do things that require faith.  For example, its followers are eager to develop dangerous weapons such as atomic bombs, bioweapons, and, in the future, nanoweapons, with the FAITH that such inventions will somehow make the world a better place as all scientific progress does according to their religious beliefs.

No one is paying attention to this religion as its followers generally don't even realize that they are part of a religion.  At least Muslims about to blow up large numbers of women and children know they are doing it for Allah.  Members of the Religion of Science don't even realize that the reason they are developing weapons of mass destruction is their FAITH is telling them this is a good thing to do.  Instead they rationalize some reason for why the world needs doomsday weapons.

Please note that the problem is not science, it is mankind.  Mankind turns pretty much everything into a religion and he has now done the same with science.  (Environmentalism has been turned into a religion, etc.)  If mankind applied scientific methods to his thoughts about science then we wouldn't have a Religion of Science.

Mankind needs to use deductive reasoning to realize simple facts such as the fact that a world where everyone has access to nanoweapons is more dangerous than a world without them.  (And therefore his faith that all scientific progress is good is wrong.)  As the heretic Sir Martin Rees said, "If there were millions of independent fingers on the button of a Doomsday machine, then one person's act of irrationality, or even one person's error, could do us all in."

Why has the Religion of Science gained so many followers?  Because it has provided a long list of miracles — the Religion of Science has tripled our lifespans, increased our population a thousand-fold, and given us cable tv.

Note that to date, the Religion of Science has kept its promises. People who like to whine about nuclear bombs being used in WW II, pollution, global warming, etc. are at best whining about minor problems that have come with great benefits or at worst whining about problems that don't actually exist.  (Nuking Hiroshima and Nagasaki did save both American and Japanese lives and so far there has been no nuclear holocaust or even nuclear terrorist attack.  "So far" being the operative word here.)


To test the danger of the Religion of Science, you need to see if it is willing to commit human sacrifice as the Aztecs did.  (Or the Muslims do today.)  The answer is yes.  Here are some examples:

1. Development of nanoweapons.

Nanotechnology will be used to create weapons of mass destruction. Instead of scientists putting a lot of effort into defenses against such weapons, they have repeatedly said that those worrying about such dangers are alarmists.

For example, The Foresight Institute used to discuss grey goo and other problems — now it plays them down since the Religion of Science has grabbed ahold of it.  And despite his great contributions to nanotech, pioneer Eric K. Drexler — who is one of the few who has been unafraid to point out the imminent dangers of the technology — has seen his good name and intentions attacked by everyone, from academia to Richard Smalley.  His quest for safe MNT development has been mocked from all corners of the Religion of Science as they try their best to hush up his mentioning the dangers of nanotechnology.

The book Nano by John Robert Marlow does a good job in highlighting these dangers that scientists like to make fun of because they are afraid that belief in these dangers would slightly reduce funding for developing nanotechnology.  This is also the reason why "serious" nanotechnologists avoid molecular nanotech like a plague — it is the root of potential grey goo problems, and thus religiously incorrect, as mentioning such problems MIGHT reduce funding for science.

2. Development of bioweapons.

Biological technology has advanced to the point where it could be used to kill tens of millions of people per attack.  Instead of scientists pushing to reduce these dangers, they instead put the recipe for the lethal (killed 50 million people or so) 1918 flu virus on the internet so any member of Al Qaeda could unleash this horror upon us.  (Luckily, most Muslim extremists are a few french fries short of a happy meal and haven't figured out bioweapons yet.)

3. Broadcasting our location and technology level to potentially hostile and powerful forces.

David Brin has documented that scientists have now decided to tell potentially hostile alien lifeforms our location and technology level.  He seems unable to figure out why scientists refuse to discuss the consequences of such an action.  He doesn't realize that he is going against a powerful religion.  This religion says if you CAN move forward with science, for example, by developing stronger transmitters, you MUST do so.

4. Particle accelerator experiments.

Although the risk from such experiments is low, anyone discussing existential risks must discuss them.  For example, Nick Bostrom and Martin Rees have discussed such risks.  But just by mentioning the potential for such risks, the Lifeboat Foundation has had prominent scientists leave our organization.  It is obvious that if particle accelerator experiments were actually quite risky, they would be done anyway.  A good example of this is that at the Manhattan Project there were side bets on whether the nuclear test would ignite the atmosphere. The tests were conducted anyway.

5. Development of unfriendly AI.

Despite the obvious risks from unfriendly artificial intelligence, scientists have downplayed this issue causing virtually no money to be spent on developing friendly artificial intelligence.  Unfriendly AI is not going to miss like the robots in "I, Robot" or the "Terminator" movies always do.  It probably won't be as nice as the AI in "2001", either.


We live in a ginormous but DEAD UNIVERSE where no civilization has survived the Religion of Science.

No civilization has survived the Religion of Science so far.  Let me repeat this fact.  No civilization has survived the Religion of Science so far.  Whether you are an optimist like Ray Kurzweil and believe that we are the first civilization to experience technology, or a realist like me and believe that a billion civilizations have already been struck down by this religion, this fact remains.

"Wait a minute!" you say.  "Why do you believe there are no other civilizations that have survived technology?"  Because as Ray Kurzweil documented in The Singularity is Near (pages 342-367), any advanced (say a century more advanced than ours) civilization would expand at nearly the speed of light, if not faster, and would therefore be hard to miss.

Kurzweil is far from the first person to figure out this obvious fact that followers of the Religion of Science do their best to deny.  Of course such reasoning would likely miss a ten million year old civilization twenty million light years from us, etc., but the fact remains that we live in a universe that looks to be dead and therefore we should take existential risks more seriously than if we lived in a universe that looked to be alive.  (Which is the whole point of the Leslie-Carter Doomsday argument.  Note that John Leslie is on our SAB and author of Risking Human Extinction.)

The question is: what do you believe is more likely?  That out of 100 billion trillion planets over a 14 billion year time period, we are the first civilization to experience technology, or that the Religion of Science has been 100% effective in exterminating its followers?

All trends seem to point to self-sustaining space colonies being developed AFTER doomsday weapons are available and it is therefore likely that other civilizations ran into the same problem.

I should point out that a cow going to a slaughter house has more reason to be optimistic than the human race has reason to be optimistic about its future.  There have been documented cases of cows surviving a trip to a slaughter house.  There are no documented cases of any civilization surviving the Religion of Science.

Even if you are optimistic like Kurzweil and believe that we are the first civilization to experience technology, I would hope that you take the Carter-Leslie Doomsday argument seriously.  This argument does not claim that we are guaranteed to be doomed, instead it says that the dead universe we live in should make us take threats more seriously than odds based on our current knowledge suggests.  (And optimists like Ray Kurzweil who haven't considered the Carter-Leslie argument only give us a 50% chance or so of survival!)

An example of the Carter-Leslie argument is to assume that eventually the universe will be full of intelligent beings who will colonize the universe and live for a long time in large numbers.  An intelligent being would be defined as a being who is able to live outside of his home planet.  If such a universe was going to exist, then 99.999999999999999999% of conscious beings would exist after intelligent beings existed so it would be unlikely to be a conscious being who existed before intelligent beings existed.  So if you are a conscious being who exists before intelligent beings exist then you should be doubtful that intelligent beings will ever exist.  It was such a thought that caused me to found the Lifeboat Foundation.  (I thought of this argument on my own, the Carter-Leslie argument is pretty obvious.)

Due to the Law of Accelerating Returns, the Religion of Science will soon go from a religion with the potential to commit mass human sacrifice to one that DOES have such a potential.  The dangerous phase of the Religion of Science will begin in our near future.  This phase will only last a decade or two as double exponential technological growth will quickly move us from a fairly safe planet to one where we have either colonized other worlds or have gone extinct.


How does the Religion of Science compare in danger to the Religion of Peace?  It is much more dangerous for two reasons: 1) Anyone who follows it has access to the latest advances in weaponry 2) This religion does not advertise its support of human sacrifice as the Religion of Peace does so no one is paying attention to it.  In reality, most of the people who worship science don't even realize that they are doing so or what the consequences of their worship will be.


The Religion of Science is too powerful to try to fight it with controls on certain technologies or any particular set of regulations.  Remember this is a worldwide religion which will soon have the ability to commit human sacrifice a world at a time.  If the religion was still alive in even one country, it would doom us all.

So the solution is to develop a world as open/transparent (thus inherently safe) as we can make it, to try to build up defenses against bio- and nano- weapons, and to develop self-sustaining colonies in space and elsewhere that would help us weather such attacks.

We live in a world where virtually all of the money that goes into science helps the development of the weapons described in this piece. There needs to be an effort made to ensure that at least $1 is spent on defense for each $100 spent on offense.  This would give us at least a fighting chance.  (Say it would give us a 1% chance — if we could up spending on defense to $2 for each $100, we would have a 2% chance, etc.)

I have developed Lifeboat Foundation with a Trojan Horse meme that tries to wrap our goals in the Religion of Science memes.  For example our mission statement begins with "The Lifeboat Foundation is a nonprofit nongovernmental organization dedicated to encouraging scientific advancements".

By wrapping our meme with a Religion of Science coating, I hope to develop enough resources that we can make sure that unlike every civilization so far, we can have at least SOME people survive this dangerous religion.

Join our fight! Pamela did!


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The Fifth Column

  • Chappaquiddick
  • Edward Kennedy
  • "Senator Kennedy killed that girl the same as if he put a gun to her head and pulled the trigger" - George Killen ~ State Police Detective-Lieutenant
  • Kkk05
    Senator Robert Byrd

    This ex-Klansman wasn't just a passive member of the nation's most notorious hate group. He wrote: "The Klan is needed today as never before and I am anxious to see its rebirth here in West Virginia" and "in every state in the Union." The ex-Klansman later filibustered the landmark 1964 Civil Rights Act - He also opposed the nominations of the Supreme Court's two black justices, liberal Thurgood Marshall and conservative Clarence Thomas. In fact, the ex-Klansman had the gall to accuse Justice Thomas of "injecting racism" into the Senate hearings. The ex-Klansman vowed never to fight "with a Negro by my side. Rather I should die a thousand times, and see Old Glory trampled in the dirt never to rise again, than to see this beloved land of ours become degraded by race mongrels, a throwback to the blackest specimen from the wilds."

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    Senator John Kerry

    The North Vietnamese general in charge of the military campaign that finally drove the U.S. out of South Vietnam credited a group led by John Kerry with helping him achieve victory. Gen. Vo Nguyen Giap wrote that if it weren't for organizations like Kerry's Vietnam Veterans Against the War, Hanoi would have surrendered to the U.S.

  • Clinton_finger
    Bill Clinton

    Pardoning terrorists, discussing troop movements while being pleasured by an intern, running an obstruction-of-justice operation out of the Oval Office and suborning and committing perjury.........

    In acts of official perfidy that may be unparalleled in our nation’s history, Clinton accepted bribes from Red China in the form of illegal political contributions, and in exchange made policy decisions that undermined our national security.
    • The Red Chinese military (the so-called People’s Liberation Army, or PLA) is now able to deploy much more accurate nuclear-armed missiles pointed at the United States, in large measure because of policy decisions by President Clinton
    • President Clinton signed national security waivers to allow four U.S. commercial satellites to be launched in China, despite evidence that China was exporting nuclear and missile technology to Pakistan and Iran.

    "How did it come about that highly sensitive technical information was given to the Chinese? Why did the president ignore the national security experts who counseled against this deal? What damage has been done to our national security?" Goss asked.

    Clinton's terror failures are too numerous and damaging to recount here but Bill Clinton was the quintessential dhimmi. He allowed AL QAEDA CELLS - INCLUDING THE 9/11 CELL to OPERATE IN THE USA  ignored the World Trade Center bombings of '93, ignored the Cole, the embassy bombings and handed Israel over to the most barbaric terrorist of the late twentieth century, Yassar Arafat.

    and that's just for starters...........

    Clinton-era policies ignored Able Danger (Mohammed Atta et al)
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    More Clinton Damage

    As if the botched 1994 Framework Agreementwith North Korea, whereby the Clinton administration provided Pyongyang with materials for building a nuclear reactor, wasn’t enough, allegations are now being made that the Clinton administration may have also provided Iran with blueprints to build a nuclear weapon.

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  • Media
  • This influence is Ginormous. It's the media elites, the alphabets, the LLL, Hollywood, to quote Ike - instead of the the "Military Industrial Complex", the real enemy is "the Media/Entertainment Industrial Complex".

  • The International Herald Tribune (owned by NYT)
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    Senator Joe Biden

    Plagiarist. He plagiarized somebody else's life story, claiming it as his own. He plagiarized a speech from British Labour Party leader Neil Kinnock. A barrage of revelations by the press contributed to Biden's withdrawal from a presidential race: a serious plagiarism incident involving Biden during his law school years; the senator's boastful exaggerations of his academic record at a New Hampshire campaign event; and the discovery of other quotations in Biden's speeches pilfered from past Democratic politicians.

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  • The United Nations
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  • Jimmy Carter
  • The Carter White House during the disasters of the Sandinista takeover of Nicaragua, the energy crisis and stagflation, the Iranian revolution and hostage crisis, and the invasion of Afghanistan. Not backing the Shah of Iran in 1979, our close ally in the Middle East, resulted in the take over by Radical Islamic Fundamentalist Ayatollah Khomeini which brings us to where we are today with Iran.

    Time magazine columnist wrote that some of Carter's "Lone Ranger work has taken him dangerously close to the neighborhood of what we used to call treason"

    Carter befriended North Korea during the Clinton administration, appeasing the communist regime and giving it cover for its nuclear weapons program

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    Woodward, Bernstein


  • Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, two leftwing cub/pitbull reporters at the Wahington Post, intent on bringing down President Nixon.

    And they did. After being exposed for covering for his people (not guilty of the break in mind you), Nixon resigned. Imagine if Nixon had been a democrat. Would that ever have happened? The shenanigans of Democrat Presidents going back to JFK's stolen election are wildly known (don't even get me started on Bill).

    What made this left wing assault on America so damaging is the subsequent road America went down. Had it not been for Watergate, America- leery and distrusting of the GOP after Nixon's resignation - would never have elected a Democrat, an unknown peanut farmer to the office of the President. A man so out of his league, a man so incapable of the office of the President, that we are still suffering from his ineptitude. Imagine if Reagan had been President when the leader of one of our greatest allies in the Middle East, Iran, called upon the President for help. Imagine the course of history, if you will, if we had backed the Shah of Iran. Imagine what a different world this would be.

    According to many Iranians, Carter practically pushed out the Shah and gave Iran to the Ayatollah Khomeini (much the way he relinguished control of the Panama Canal).

  • Churchill_ward

    Ward Churchill

    In a treatise titled, "Some People Push Back," written after the attacks, Churchill asserted the 3,000 people killed at the World Trade Center worked for "the mighty engine of profit" but chose to ignore their role.
    "True enough, they were civilians of a sort," he wrote. "But innocent? Gimme a break."

    Churchill went on to describe the World Trade Center victims as "little Eichmanns," a reference to Adolph Eichmann, who carried out Hitler's plan to exterminate Europe's Jews during World War II.

  • Fauxtography
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    Nancy Pelosi

    Ayn Rand at 100: "Yours is the Glory"

    • Aynrandstamp_1

    • Speaking to the unnamed, unchampioned, beating heart of her new land, Ayn was to say: 'Yours is the glory.'"
      A man whose ability and independence leads others to reject him, but who perseveres nevertheless to achieve his values. Man as an individual, as a creator. What's the most depraved type of human being? Not a sadist or a murderer or a sex maniac or a dictator; "The man without a purpose." Yet most people seem to go through their lives without a clearly defined purpose.

    January 2008

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    Edna, my Edna

    • Millay

      It's not true that life is one damn thing after another; it is one damn thing over and over.
      Edna St. Vincent Millay

      Soar, eat ether, see what has never been seen; depart, be lost, but climb.
      Edna St. Vincent Millay

      My candle burns at both ends It will not last the night; But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends - It gives a lovely light.
      Edna St. Vincent Millay, "A Few Figs from Thistles", 1920

      Please give me some good advice in your next letter. I promise not to follow it.
      Edna St. Vincent Millay, Letters, 1952

      Where you used to be, there is a hole in the world, which I find myself constantly walking around in the daytime, and falling into at night. I miss you like hell.
      Edna St. Vincent Millay, Letters, 1952

      God, I can push the grass apart and lay my finger on Thy heart. Edna

      I am glad that I paid so little attention to good advice; had I abided by it I might have been saved from some of my most valuable mistakes.

      I know I am but summer to your heart, and not the full four seasons of the year

      If I love you Wednesday, What is that to you? I do not love you Thursday - so much is true.

      Not truth, but faith, it is that keeps the world alive.

      Set the foot down with distrust on the crust of the world - it is thin.

      The longest absence is less perilous to love than the terrible trials of incessant proximity.

      The soul can split the sky in two and let the face of God shine through.

      What the customer demands is last year's model, cheaper. To find out what the customer needs you have to understand what the customer is doing as well as he understands it. Then you build what he needs and you educate him to the fact that he needs it.

      Edna St. Vincent Millay


    • Life has Loveliness to sell,
      All beautiful and splendid things,
      Blue waves whitened on a cliff,
      Soaring fires that sways and swing,
      And children's faces looking up,
      Holding wonder like a cup

      Life has Loveliness to sell,
      Music like a curve of Gold,
      Scent of pinetrees in the rain,
      Eyes that love you, arms that hold,
      And for your spirit's still delight,
      Holy stars that star the night.

      Spend all you have for loveliness,
      Buy it and never count the cost;
      For one white singing hour of Peace
      Count many a year of strife well lost
      And for a breath of ecstasy
      Give all you have been, or could be.
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    I, Pencil

    • I, Pencil

      By Leonard Read

      I am a lead pencil — the ordinary wooden pencil familiar to all boys and girls and adults who can read and write.

      Writing is both my vocation and my avocation; that’s all I do.

      You may wonder why I should write a genealogy. Well, to begin with, my story is interesting. And, next, I am a mystery-more so than a tree or a sunset or even a flash of lightning. But, sadly, I am taken for granted by those who use me, as if I were a mere incident and without background. This supercilious attitude relegates me to the level of the commonplace. This is a species of the grievous error in which mankind cannot too long persist without peril. For, as a wise man observed, “We are perishing for want of wonder, not for want of wonders.”

      I, Pencil, simple though I appear to be, merit your wonder and awe; a claim I shall attempt to prove. In fact, if you can understand me — no, that’s too much to ask of anyone — if you can become aware of the miraculousness which I symbolize, you can help save the freedom mankind is so unhappily losing. I have a profound lesson to teach. And I can teach this lesson better than can an automobile or an aeroplane or a mechanical dishwasher because-well, because I am seemingly so simple.

      Simple? Yet, not a single person on the face of this earth knows how to make me. This sounds fantastic, doesn’t it? Especially when it is realised that there are about one and one-half billion of my kind produced in the USA. each year.

      Pick me up and look me over. What do you see? Not much meets the eye — there’s some wood, lacquer, the printed labelling, graphite lead, a bit of metal, and an eraser. Just as you cannot trace your family tree back very far, so is it impossible for me to name and explain all my antecedents. But I would like to suggest enough of them to impress upon you the richness and complexity of my background.

      My family tree begins with what in fact is a tree, a cedar of straight grain that grows in Northern California and Oregon. Now contemplate all the saws and trucks and rope and the countless other gear used in harvesting and carting the cedar logs to the railroad siding. Think of all the persons and the numberless skills that went into their fabrication: the mining of ore, the making of steel and its refinement into saws, axes motors; the growing of hemp and bringing it through all the states to heavy and strong rope; the logging camps with their beds and mess halls the cookery and the raising of all the foods. Why, untold thousands of persons had a hand in every cup of coffee the loggers drink!

      The logs are shipped to a mill in San Leandro, California. Can you imagine the individuals who make flat cars and rails and railroad engines and who construct and install the communication systems incidental thereto? These legions among my antecedents.

      Consider the millwork in San Leandro. The cedar logs are cut into small, pencil-length slats less than one-fourth of an inch in thickness. These are kiln dried and then tinted for the same reason women put rouge on their faces. People prefer that I look pretty, not a pallid white. The slats are waxed and kiln dried again. How many skills went into the making of the tint and the kilns, into supplying the heat, the light and power, the belts, motors, and all the other things a mill requires? Sweepers in the mill among my ancestors? Yes, and included are the men who poured the concrete for the dam of a Pacific Gas & Electric Company hydroplant which supplies the mill’s power!

      Don’t overlook the ancestors present and distant who have a hand in transporting sixty carloads of slats across the nation from California to Wilkes-Barre!

      Complicated Machinery

      Once in the pencil factory — $4,000,000 in machinery and building, all capital accumulated by thrifty and saving parents of mine — each slat is given eight grooves by a complex machine, after which another machine lays leads in every other slat, applies glue, and places another slat atop — a lead sandwich, so to speak. Seven brothers and I are mechanically carved from this “wood-clinched” sandwich.

      My “lead” itself — it contains no lead at all — is complex. The graphite is mined in Ceylon. Consider these miners and those who make their many tools and the makers of the paper sacks in which the graphite is shipped and those who make the string that ties the sacks and those who put them aboard ships and those who make the ships. Even the lighthouse keepers along the way assisted in my birth — and the harbour pilots.

      The graphite is mixed with clay from Mississippi in which ammonium hydroxide is used in the refining process. Then wetting agents are added such as sulfonated tallow — animal fats chemically reacted with sulphuric acid. After passing through numerous machines, the mixture finally appears as endless extrusions — as from a sausage grinder — cut to size, dried, and baked for several hours at 1,850 degrees Fahrenheit. To increase their strength and smoothness the leads are then treated with a hot mixture which includes candelilla wax from Mexico, paraffin wax, and hydrogenated natural fats.

      My cedar receives six coats of lacquer. Do you know all of the ingredients of lacquer? Who would think that the growers of castor beans and the refiners of castor oil are a part of it? They are. Why, even the processes by which the lacquer is made, a beautiful yellow, involves the skills of more persons than one can enumerate!

      Observe the labelling. That’s a film formed by applying heat to carbon black mixed with resins. How do you make resins and what, pray, is carbon black? My bit of metal — the ferrule — is brass. Think of all the persons who mine zinc and copper and those who have the skills to make shiny sheet brass from these products of nature. Those black rings on my ferrule are black nickel. What is black nickel and how is it applied? The complete story of why the centre of my ferrule has no black nickel on it would take pages to explain.

      Then there is my crowning glory, inelegantly referred to in the trade as “the plug,” the part man uses to erase the errors he makes with me. An ingredient called “factice” is what does the erasing. It is a rubber-like product made by reacting rape seed oil from the Dutch East Indies with sulphur chloride. Rubber, contrary to the common notion, is only for binding purposes. Then, too, there are numerous vulcanizing and accelerating agents. The pumice comes from Italy, and the pigment which gives “the plug” its colour is cadmium sulphide.

      No One Knows

      Does anyone wish to challenge my earlier assertion that no single person on the face of this earth knows how to make me?

      Actually, millions of human beings have had a hand in my creation, no one of whom even knows more than a very few of the others. Now, you may say that I go too far in relating the picker of a coffee berry in far off Brazil and food growers elsewhere to my creation; that this is an extreme position. I shall stand by my claim. There isn’t a single person in all these millions, including the president of the pencil company, who contributes more than a tiny, infinitesimal bit of know-how. From the standpoint of know-how the only difference between the miner of graphite in Ceylon and the logger in Oregon is in the type of know-how. Neither the miner nor the logger can be dispensed with any more than can the chemist at the factory or the worker in the oil field-paraffin being a by-product of petroleum.

      Here is an astounding fact: Neither the worker in the oil field nor the chemist nor the digger of graphite or clay nor any who mans or makes the ships or trains or trucks nor the one who runs the machine that does the knurling on my bit of metal nor the president of the company performs his singular task because he wants me. Each one wants me less, perhaps, than does a child in the in first grade. Indeed, there are some among this vast multitude who never saw a pencil nor would they know how to use one. Their motivation is other than me. Perhaps it is something like this: Each of these millions sees that he can thus exchange his tiny know-how for the goods and services he needs or wants. I may or may not be among these items.

      No Master Mind

      There is a fact still more astounding: The absence of a master mind, of anyone dictating or forcibly directing these countless actions which bring me into being. No trace of such a person can be found. Instead, we find the Invisible Hand at work. This is the mystery to which I earlier referred.

      It has been said that “only God can make a tree.” Why do we agree with this? Isn’t it because we realise that we ourselves could not make one? Indeed, can we even describe a tree? We cannot, except in superficial terms. We can say, for instance, that a certain molecular configuration manifests itself as a tree. But what mind is there among men that could even record, let alone direct, the constant changes in molecules that transpire in the life span of a tree? Such a feat is utterly unthinkable!

      I, Pencil, am a complex combination of miracles: a tree, zinc, copper, graphite, and so on. But to these miracles which manifest themselves in Nature an even more extraordinary miracle has been added: the configuration of creative human energies-millions of tiny know-hows configurating naturally and spontaneously in response to human necessity and desire and in the absence of any human masterminding! Since only God can make a tree, I insist that only God could make me. Man can no more direct these millions of know-hows to bring me into being than he can put molecules together to create a tree.

      The above is what I meant when writing, “If you can become aware of the miraculousness which I symbolise, you can help save the freedom mankind is unhappily losing.” For, if one is aware that these know-hows will naturally, yes, automatically, arrange themselves into creative and productive patterns in response to human necessity and demand — that is, in the absence of governmental or any other coercive masterminding — then one will possess an absolutely essential ingredient for freedom: a faith in free men. Freedom is impossible without this faith.

      Once a government has had a monopoly of a creative activity such, for instance, as the delivery of the mails, most individuals will believe that the mails could not be efficiently delivered by men acting freely. And here is the reason: Each one acknowledges that he himself doesn’t know how to do all the things incident to mail delivery. He also recognises that no other individual could do it. These assumptions are correct. No individual possesses enough know-how to perform a nation’s mail delivery any more than any individual possesses enough know-how to make a pencil. Now, in the absence of a faith in free men — in the unawareness that millions of tiny know-hows would naturally and miraculously form and cooperate to satisfy this necessity — the individual cannot help but reach the erroneous conclusion that mail can be delivered only by governmental “masterminding.”

      If I, Pencil, were the only item that could offer testimony on what men can accomplish when free to try, then those with little faith would have a fair case. However, there is testimony, galore; it’s all about us and on every hand. Mail delivery is exceedingly simple when compared, for instance, to the making of an automobile or a calculating machine or a grain combine or a milling machine or to tens of thousands of other things. Delivery? Why, in this area where men have been left free to try, they deliver the human voice around the world in less than one second; they deliver an event visually and in motion to any person’s home when it is happening; they deliver 150 passengers from Seattle to Baltimore in less than four hours; they deliver gas from Texas to one’s range or furnace in New York at unbelievably low rates and without subsidy; they deliver each four pounds of oil from the Persian Gulf to our Eastern Seaboard — halfway, around the world — for less money than the governments charges for delivering a one-ounce letter across the street!

      The lesson I have to teach is this: Leave all creative energies uninhibited. Merely organise society to act in harmony with this lesson. Let society’s legal apparatus remove all obstacles the best it can. Permit these creative know-hows freely to flow. Have faith that free men will respond to the Invisible Hand. This faith will be confirmed. I, Pencil, seemingly simple though I am, offer the miracle of my creation as testimony that this is a practical faith, as practical as the sun, the rain, a cedar tree, the good earth.

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