While I'm on about Lileks, I have to say that to a Mormon, all of Star Trek, and science fiction as well, has always related to religion for me. It's only recently that I've started to understand the profound difference between the LDS doctrine concerning God and those of just about every other religion. We're probably the only religion that teaches that God is a person with a body and that when the Bible says we were created in his image, it means exactly what it says. When it says that Moses spoke with the Lord face to face, it means that. How can this be? Well, for one thing, Joseph Smith also saw and spoke to God the Father and Jesus Christ, the latter on more than one occasion.
Do I realize how crazy that sounds? Well, yes. So does the current prophet and president of the church which was restored to the earth through the prophet Joseph Smith, the Church of Jesus Christ. You'd think that if people really believed the Bible, they wouldn't be so upset at the claims of a man who, like Samuel, was called as a boy to be a prophet of God and who, like Moses, Jeremiah and Isaiah, was called by God directly and personally. The claims seem so strange, but the fact that this church is growing incredibly rapidly at a time when other Christian churches are losing members, despite the extraordinary changes it calls for in the lives of its members, suggests that there may be more to it than peeping and muttering.
As Hugh Nibley, Professor Emeritus of Ancient Scripture at Brigham Young University, who is the most pure scholar I ever met has pointed out, much of Mormon doctrine reads like science fiction. In the 1830s, the revelations received by Joseph Smith spoke of "worlds without number" created by God, about a hundred years before Edwin Hubble discovered that there are billions of galaxies like the Milky Way, each with billions of stars of its own. He also taught that spirit is matter but of a kind that our senses can't detect. Today we read about Dark Matter. There are other examples, as well.
So when Star Trek came along, I loved it, and Star Wars even more. They seemed a comfirmation, not in specifics but in the confirmation of the nature of the human mind. We are not adapted merely for survival, but for endless exploration and searching for answers. Despite the constant assurances from the level-headed that we are no more immortal fhan mayflies, our minds reach out to understand more than we can ever hope to benefit from.