chapter  1
Let There Be Rationalization
Pages 41

In the final scenes of the 1974 science fiction film Dark Star, a malfunc­ tioning, artificially intelligent bomb explodes, destroying the spaceship carrying it. Prior to this, the ship’s crew had attempted to persuade the bomb not to explode, by teaching it phenomenology. This involved getting the bomb to question the validity of the command to explode, by asking it to examine its knowledge of the source of the command. Reflecting on this, the bomb shut down, caught in an apparently irresolvable paradox-that the status of the command to explode depends upon sources that appear to be external, but which might not in fact be so, as the only evidence for their externality comes from the detection of signals that are actually internal events. Finally, the bomb arrives at the ultimate point of solipsism; conclud­ ing it is the only entity in existence, it assigns itself God-like status and explodes in what it takes to be a Big Bang-like act of creation. As it does so, it says: “Let there be light!”