About the Four Horsemen of Atheism click here)
The Castle was built for those who want to overcome the evil wizard Lord Vladimir, whose aim is to conquer the wizarding world and subjugate non-magical people, and who threatens with utter and final destruction all those who stand in His way.
When I entered the castle I paid attention to the carved image above the main gate. Although cut form stone it magically changed depicting different embryos of vertebrates in pharyngeal state but so that while the image altered between different species it always made visible the notochord, dorsal hollow nerve cord, post-anal tail and a series of paired branchial grooves that almost looked like gills.
The witches and their students staying in the castle were weary of Muggle people in general. They were especially tired of visitors smelling of Lord Vladimir and these were given at the entrance a strange top hat and a green coat. In the hat there was in clear and big yellow letters written "Village Idiot" and in the coat "Moron" so that also younger wizards staying in the castle would know how to properly use the thousand times repeated and tested spells against possible agents of Lord Vladimir.
Even the supervisors did not notice the white dove that was some times sitting on my shoulder and some times flying ahead of me showing the way. It seems they had such scientifically polished goggles on their eyes that they were totally incapable of noticing the dove. This gave me a certain advantage since this bird is very special.
THE GARDEN OF GREEK STATUES
Democritus The Laughing Philosopher
The castle was quite large and I only visited a small section of it. There was a well-kept and pleasant garden decorated with classical statues of people who were highly respected by the wizards. I guessed that other gardens might have statues of other people who have contributed to the wizard's world.
Under the marble head of smiling Democritus was written
ONLY MATTER MATTERS.
Beside this stood a bronze statue of Epicurus with a bunch of grapes on his shoulder and a pretty slave girl sitting and holding his sandal. The text written on the base read
LET US EAT AND DRINK FOR TOMORROW WE SHALL DIE
The wizards had given special place of honor to the head of Platon with his high forehead and his teacher, long bearded Socrates. In the base of the sculpted head I noticed the word αθεϊστής. written in beautiful golden letters.
A fenced area was open for public. Pack of ferocious wild dogs was there to amuse onlookers waiting that something was fed to them. I chose from my bag items and threw them down and immediately and with great rejoicing the dogs broke them apart waiting for more fun. The more the things I threw in there smelled like Lord Vladimir the happier the ferocious and self-confident beasts were giving cause to much laughter and sneering by the onlookers. This seemed to be a favorite pastime in the castle.
Because many of the wizards and witches suffered from a christophobia and because I had the funny strange top hat and the coat they detected me easily and some avoided me and others tried their trusty spells on me just for fun (and maybe some extra immunity protection). One noble wizard looked at me amused from some distance, lifted his magic wand and said "Boo! So your killer argument consists of a rhetorical trick followed by a conflation of probability with set outcomes and distributions with blind anything-goes luck." Very impressive spell! Another wizard amused himself and the crowd with slightly less sophisticated spell "iftah jasimsim! BTW, moron, no-one says that we are purely the product of chance - it's just that you are too stupid to grasp how natural selection works. Oh, and BTW again, the possessive of "Dawkins" is "Dawkins'" or "Dawkins's", not "Dawkin's".
At such wizardry of words I blushed in my ignorance of facts and was also quite ashamed by my lack of spell-ing skills, especially the lèse majesté in miss-spelling the possessive of the name of one of the Four Horses of Atheism. Absolutely unforgivable!
THE QUIDDITCH GAME OF EVOLUTION
The wizards and their student witches staying in the castle were very skilled in the popular game of quidditch. For a while I followed two teams that had been formed for this particular game, not purely by chance, after a new winged golden snitch had been brought to the castle from the City of Science. Riding the latest models of their broomsticks the players reached frightening heights of pure knowledge and informed understanding of the biological processes in time we call evolution. No simple man like me can ride those broomsticks! The audience did not tire reminding me of the fact. (About the Evotution of Quidditch click here)
At one moment the snitch flew near me and stopped for a moment, maybe it recognized the white dove on my shoulder, and I imagined I saw something on it. When I later said that I saw the word h-e-g-e-l on it one of the witches took some time to tell me that I was all wrong, no such garbage words had scratched the pure golden snitch. We had no time to finish the argument when I already had to go. Fast game it was and showed real wizardry in arguing about the significance and lack of significance of the latest of the latest in human science. In this castle quiddith of evolution is trusted only to the illuminated ones.
ABRAHAM AND THE ALTAR OF SACRIFICE
Sacrifice of Isaac - detail
Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio (1601-02)
Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio (1601-02)
Many things I saw during my short visit to this Castle of the Four Horses of Atheism. When I tried to say that Abraham is venerated by two billion as Father of Faith, Friend of God, el-Khalil, I was taken to see the horrific painting by Caravaggio where a bloodthirsty god demanded human blood from this rude and most primitive person.
The dove whispered to my ear and indeed, when I looked on the left I noticed a wizard looking in disgust at this crude display of religion which such a bad influence on humans. Beside him was standing a sad looking beautiful young woman. I realized that this was his girl friend and he had encouraged her to sacrifice the fetus in her womb in the name of Freedom on Her Own Body.
The real reason for the horrific murder of a child in her womb was that he would not have to pay alimony for this girl with whom he had had such a drunken fun night some months ago. Bible takes extremely the sacrifice of humans – which after all never took place at the end of the narrative – while this young wizard experienced the extreme lightness of living in the company of his friend whose womb had been turned into Altar of Molok of Pleasure and Convenience. I was well aware that many in the crowd did not agree with the lighthearted attitude of this wizard who was so abhorred by the Sacrifice of Isaac (that did not take place).
But there was no time for such rumblings and I had to continue my explorations.
ONE OF THE FOUR HORSES
THE FORGOTTEN ROOM
Oh how many interesting and touching things I noticed in the castle! There were embryos of discussions, scientific theme parks and marvelous duels on theories and logic and everything although the pan-dimensional 42 was not in the program.
Just before leaving the castle the white dove took me to an old door that nobody had opened in ages. It was dusty, made of thick oak and rather low as some castle doors can be. Since it was not locked I pushed the door open and entered into the small dimly lit and apparently forgotten room. I was deeply saddened, truly, and left the room very quickly in deep thoughts.
What I had seen in the dim light was a bronze tablet attached to the wall with text that explained some of the bitterness and lack of joy I noticed in the castle.
THE BRAIN OF AN ATHEIST IS NOT LOST BUT THE SOUL IS
What made me even sadder was the sentence written under it in one of the languages known by the greatly despised feared and even ridiculed Lord Vladimir.
Ecen crutzezco hitza, galtzen diradeney behinçát
erhogoa çaye: baina guri saluatzen garenoy
Iainçoaren verthute da
I dedicate this memoir to Professor PZ Myers at the University of Minnesota, Morris, who kindly allowed me to visit one section of his castle between 29 April and 4 May 2011 and when the laughter and melee grew up showed me not so kindly out - as is, of course, his right.