Dennis

Rawlins








Epitaph:







  • Married forever to the best person he ever knew.


  • Himself the happiest person he knew.
    (DIO 2.1 [1992] p.6.) More affection, adventures, comebacks, cascades of ethereal & mundane wealth, mutual peer-inspiration & appreciation, as well as inductive-discovery-highs came his way than he had any reasonable chance or right to expect.

  • Mixed play and idealism, attempting to maximize the happiness of all —
    while rigorously representing an exception to his own cynicism. (DIO 6 [1996] ‡4 §B5 [d] [p.47].)

  • Literally lived for thought.

  • Worked at enhancing others' enlightenment, character, and happiness simultaneously, even while aware of such hopes' psychological & historical self-contradictions.

  • Reveled in paradoxes, ironies, oddities, surprises, and contradictions of stereotypes, etc. (See, e.g., DIO 4.3 [1994] ‡13 §B [pp.112-114]; DIO 11.2 [2003] p.30 n.1.) And especially of self:
    [a] From minor injuries incurred while sliding into bases during decades of softball, developed mildly-trick right knee. This permitted running but not kneeling — which was so ideal for a baseball-playing atheist that he would pseudo-contend that it was the best argument he knew of personally, for teleology & theistic beneficence.
    [b] Developed simple but powerful and apparently novel statistical argument against the reality of the eternal afterlife.
    Via tiny (even sub-DIO-sized) footnotelets in human history, will DR attain immortality (in unattributed thought) by creating a disproof of immortality?

  • Authored books connected to astronomy & astronomical navigation (on Tycho Brahe's stars and several polar expeditions). Academic recognition evolved via numerous professional papers in the world's leading academic journals, covering a wide variety of fields. Became more generally known (from decades of international newspaper & television accounts) for investigations connected to polar history, anti-occultism, and the Great Pyramid, even while amused at the irony that by far his most enduring work occurred in obscure areas of the mathematical sciences — especially the history of ancient mathematical and observational astronomy (his longtime inductive fascination) which non-specialists cared virtually nothing for, though these sporadic forays delicately (sometimes outright speculatively) reconstructed the hitherto-barely-discernable methods and visions of those rare immortal early (largely Greek) scholars whose brilliance and drive for truth effected man's very earliest successes in precise predictive science.


  • Though far from infallible — and always looking to improve — nonetheless: an occasionally useful practitioner of mathematical science, also of “scientific history”, coining the very phrase and founding the international journal DIO devoted primarily to it.


  • Original creativity (instances at various links here, including several hundred mostly academic items bulleted at the Contributions link): mathematics, physics, astronomy, geophysics, navigation, geography, archaeoastronomy (strictly Egypt), history, idea-germs, epigrams, philosophy, theology, satires, shirt-unstuffings, atrocious humor, neologisms, doggerel verse, antiquities, magic, chocolate.


  • Revealed more historical science fakes and institutional coverups of them than anyone ever had, in a quixotic attempt to encourage the best in academic institutions, who customarily did not appreciate the effort. (Largely-creditable potential exceptions cited at DIO 11.1 [2002] p.2 n.3.)


  • Though hugely indebted to his teachers and colleagues, DR was particularly the beneficiary of an intermingling of the heritages, influences, and kindnesses of five good people: inventive engineer-airman eternally-young-playful father Lou; passionate poet-novelist mother Barbara Dennis; creatively-optimistic lawyer step-father John Avirett; ever ethical and jolly great-aunt Lillian Robinson; gentle & wise psychologist-sociologist-librarian-saint and ideal wife Barbara.


  • Among oddities: Avoided tobacco, alcohol, and (excepting chocolate) caffeine. Also: X-Rays, bores, & doorknobs. Never raised voice for decades on end, except (often) at own numerous shortcomings. Elevators were against his religion. (Something had to be.) Ran up all stairways. (Often ran down them two steps at a time.) Treating himself (perhaps foolishly) as a sample-of-one bio-experiment, he skipped doctors for consecutive decades and eschewed medications. Did several 40 meter sprints daily despite vascular & cardiac risks, leaning undogmatically to the debatable view that living vitally for a decade was better than cootily for two. Never depressed, his main worry was not worrying enough. As a friend of B.F.Skinner, DR enjoyed cat-training. (Best trainer: W.M.D.Hobbes, talkie, spoiled, bright ocicat — armed with Weapons of Mouse Destruction. [Photo at right: airborne-kitten W.M.D.H. outmaneuvers & deals death to yet another Evil-Invader toy-mouse aspirant-pretender to rulership of His Mewjesty's sprawling Counterpane Empire.])

  • Insisted on setting aside unprogrammed time every day throughout officially-adult life (excepting 11 months 1972-1973), as key to creativity and other fun.

  • Eyemisted at several non-independent apparitions.
    Favorite operas: (Wagner's Ring, Puccini's Turandot, Vaughan Williams' Pilgrim's Progress). Hanson's Merry Mount.
    Funerals.
    Amundsen's travails: History Channel 2000/12/8.
    Human heights and depths.

  • Consistently warned his consistently-dim sycophantic enemies not to rep-suicide as kamikaze-tools for their user-manipulator moguls. Consistently vainly.

  • Spent much academic energy engaging in a non-scientific but personally-precious purpose for history:

    Doing justice to ghosts.









  • Covering for Naked Emperors vs Unstuffing Shirts —
    The Ethics of Ladling Adoration Into Vulnerable BrainKissAholics — Pioneering Credibility-Suicide-by-Ricochet

    Though regularly recognizing whatever merits he could find in his academic opponents, DR tended (due to their limitations of intellect, integrity, and non-fake pacifism) to write of their shortcomings in a jocular, more than occasionally condescending fashion (a hobby demonstrably irrelevant to their craven fleeing of debate with DIO), which didn't — and was not intended to — brain-kiss the dimmest and most suppressive academic society chiefs (whose lordly attitudes his style ricochet-mocked more often than they perceived), whom he ambi-Hellenically referred to as “Archons”. In the Blazing-Addles context of the pushy lower end of institutional academe's censors, dementia-cases, cementia-cases, back-shooters, puffed-grouse, smearers, fabricators, [Mel-Blazing-Brooks would add “and Methodists!”!], not to mention those whose petty vindictiveness intimidated their several genuinely scholarly colleagues into silence, DR justified his defiant style thusly: to pretend that this menagerie was entitled to the respect to which its emperors automatically became addicted (during whole careers of accelerating obeisance), was to help legitimize an ongoing mass social deception. Of H.C.Andersen dimensions. And ludicrousness.
    [Though, DR noted that his targets' flatterer-flatteree symbioses were funnier than (whenever distinguishable from) satire, as readers of the historical instances quoted at DIO 2.3 [1992] ‡6 §F4 [p.95] were already rib-achingly aware.]



  • His dreams came true more than anyone else's he knew.