The Last Continent Discussion **Spoilers**

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Postby MongoGutman » Mon Apr 04, 2011 11:47 pm

I re-read TLC recently and I found I liked it better second time around.

The aussie references I found a bit obvious - lump all the cliches about Australia together, give them a discworld spin and run Rincewind through the mix. Not much there, I thought.

The God of Evolution idea was fun though, the very idea sort of short-circuits the Creationism "debate".
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Postby Tonyblack » Tue Apr 05, 2011 5:22 am

Cool Middle Name wrote:So, this is the sequel to Interesting Times? ^^
I've only read IT as a Rincewing/Twoflower story, not COM or this or the other RW books.

(One day I'll have my own complete collection of these books... grumblegrumble...)
Not really a sequel - it's more a case of what became of Rincewind after Interesting Times. Youy could certainly read TLC without having read IT. :D
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Postby poohcarrot » Tue Apr 05, 2011 1:22 pm

poohcarrot wrote:So why the cockroach, then? :P


My Cockroach Theory - Part 1

Firstly, to prove beyond reasonable doubt that this is a pro-evolution book, here are just 8 quotes. They are all from the Josh Kirby paperback and as some of the quotes are very long, I'll just put in the page numbers.

1. Page 15 'Apes and humans are related'
2. Page 26/27 Evolution.
3. Page 51 'The Ascent of Man'
4. Page 94 'Millions of years'
5. Page 119/120 Creationist argument against evolution leading to 'But lemmings didn't turn into birds' .

True! Birds are actually descended from dinosaurs. :P

6. Page 121 A dinosaur (thunder lizard) turns into a bird (chicken).
7. Page 181 'People breed dogs for fierceness and racehorses for speed'

Dogs and racehorses (and roses) have evolved recently due to selective breeding and are examples of evolution in action today. :P

8. Page 388 The Librarian evolves every time he sneezes into an 'obviously successful shape for survival' in different environments.
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Postby Tonyblack » Tue Apr 05, 2011 1:30 pm

I don't think very many people doubt you. :lol:

The god on the island is trying his hand at creating, but doesn't really understand the concept of evolution - the passing on of genes. Evolution is fighting back though and his creations have a strong desire to procreate and make copies of themselves. Something that the god doesn't understand at all.

If you want a good example of evolution in action you only have to look at bacteria. Humans discovered antibiotics to fight them and that worked for a while, but the bacteria keeps on mutating to get past the defences that humans put up. A programme I saw yesterday suggested that we'll have run out of antibacterial protection in as little as ten years. :shock:

Bacteria is highly motivated to adapt and evolve. And I'm not talking about flagellum wottsits either! :lol:
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Postby poohcarrot » Tue Apr 05, 2011 1:44 pm

poohcarrot wrote:So why the cockroach, then? :P


My Cockroach Theory - Part 2

Creationists believe there is no such thing as evolution and that God created all the animals in one day, 6,000 years ago. :roll:

This means that the God creationists believe in, is in fact the God of Evolution. Everything evolved from God's hands.

In the Bible, God doesn't just wave his hands and create human beings. He actually has to put a bit of work in, moulding clay, removing ribs etc etc. Therefore in order to create all the other animals, it's reasonable to assume he had to put some more work in. The Bible doesn't tell us exactly how he created all the other creatures, but the Last Continent does - using small tools and trial and error. :lol: (The dinosaurs were a bit of an error. :D )

And just how the creationist God created over 400,000 different species of beetles (hence the beetles in LC) in just one day, makes the mind boggle. :shock:
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Postby poohcarrot » Tue Apr 05, 2011 1:56 pm

poohcarrot wrote:So why the cockroach, then? :P


My Cockroach Theory - Part 3

Creationists believe God created every living thing. This means as well as the fluffy bunny rabbits, kittens and puppies, he also created wasps, mosquitoes and (of course) cockroaches. The creationist God must have created pests, vermin and ceatures that are harmful to human beings.

But Monty Python can explain this better than me. :lol:

"All things dull and ugly,
All creatures short and squat,
All things rude and nasty,
The Lord God made the lot.
Each little snake that poisons,
Each little wasp that stings,
He made their brutish venom.
He made their horrid wings.

All things sick and cancerous,
All evil great and small,
All things foul and dangerous,
The Lord God made them all.

Each nasty little hornet,
Each beastly little squid--
Who made the spikey urchin?
Who made the sharks? He did!

All things scabbed and ulcerous,
All pox both great and small,
Putrid, foul and gangrenous,
The Lord God made them all.

Amen."

And here's a video.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ooaGhYFHIzg
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Postby poohcarrot » Tue Apr 05, 2011 2:07 pm

My Cockroach Theory - Conclusion

I believe tha God of evolution in LC is actually the same as the creationist God. 8)

I believe that TP was taking the p*ss out of the creationist God, therefore taking the p*ss out of creationists themselves. :lol:

The fact that a few years later, with Ian Stewart and Jack Cohen, he wrote the excellent Darwin's Watch (Science of Discworld III) seems to support my theory.

PS Feel free to destroy this theory in anyway you seem fit. :D
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Postby The Mad Collector » Tue Apr 05, 2011 3:00 pm

poohcarrot wrote:PS Feel free to destroy this theory in anyway you seem fit. :D


Nope, I don't think I will as I agree with you :)
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Postby Cool Middle Name » Tue Apr 05, 2011 5:07 pm

I must say, in all that we claim, Cockroaches are the most evolutionary species in existence.
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Postby raisindot » Tue Apr 05, 2011 5:15 pm

I really tried re-reading this. I really did. But I got halfway and stopped. I just couldn't get through it.

The best thing I can say about it is that it's probably the best of the Rincewind books, but, like all Rincewind books, it's pretty much the standard theme of Rincewind getting plunked into some strange place and serving as straight man for all the whacky creatures 'n characters around him. This time it's Oz instead of parodies of Faust or Dante or other fantasy genres.

Considering how many of the great 'mid-period' masterpieces (Small Gods, Men at Arms, Feet of Clay, Jingo, Lords and Ladies, Soul Music, Hogfather) Pterry had written by this time, one wonders, other than for commercial reasons, why he would go another round with his least interesting character and most literary-limited series. The fact that he hasn't written a Rincewind-starring book since is a pretty good indication that he felt there wasn't much gas left in this thank.
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Postby LilMaibe » Tue Apr 05, 2011 6:13 pm

On a further sidenote:

It's also one of the books where you get quite a good bunch of information on some characters' backgrounds (childhood etc). Ponder, Rincewind to a certain degree.
In some bits even info that didn't make it into the Compendium or the discworldwiki (as in -those info was not found important enough by the editors over there so far), such as Ponder's acrophobia and that he, apparently is an excellent swimmer or Rincewind's lamb-plush
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Postby MongoGutman » Tue Apr 05, 2011 9:11 pm

On creationism...

If one posits the existence of an omnipotent god then the theory that this being created all fossiles and rock strata and so on in one day and gave them the appearance of being more ancient than they acutally are is not a particularly unreasonable theory. There's no way you can prove or disprove it.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flying_Spaghetti_Monster
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Postby Tonyblack » Tue Apr 05, 2011 9:16 pm

Yes, but that's the argument that Creationists tend to give to all questions - God can do anything, therefore he could make all the fossils and whatever. Their argument is that you have to have 'Faith'.

Rather like the quote earlier on that Pooh posted - they don't ask questions like scientists do. Scientists might be wrong with their answers, but at least they are asking questions. If you just try to explain things by saying: God can do anything, then you make no progress. :)
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Postby The Mad Collector » Tue Apr 05, 2011 9:17 pm

I think that it is actually a good idea to read Strata alongside Last Continent. It's nowhere near as well written but you can see where Terry was heading even then with the evolution/creationist 'debate'. Plus it's the first appearance of a Discworld in his writings so is interesting from that aspect as well.
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Postby Quatermass » Tue Apr 05, 2011 9:42 pm

The Mad Collector wrote:
poohcarrot wrote:PS Feel free to destroy this theory in anyway you seem fit. :D


Nope, I don't think I will as I agree with you :)


Ditto, as much as it galls me to agree with Pooh.

The central problem with creationism is that you cannot test God, yet science demands that you put everything to the test.
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