Friday, October 09, 2009

Quote of the Day

"Homo sapiens [are] a tiny twig on an improbable branch of a contingent limb on a fortunate tree."
— Stephen Jay Gould

I came across this quotation today, and it chimed in with my thinking about the recent near-apocalyptic disasters in our region. People ask "Why does God allow these things?" I reflect upon the sheer miracle that we exist at all. Here we sit, on a thin semi-solid crust floating upon a ball of molten rock, surrounded by a thin layer of atmosphere with enough oxygen to keep us alive, and then beyond that: nothing. More or less.

Leunig's cartoon in The Age today (see his gallery here) has something to contribute also:

[caption id="attachment_2349" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Cartoon by Michael Leunig, The Age, 9th Oct 2009"]Cartoon by Michael Leunig, The Age, 9th Oct 2009[/caption]


At Friday, October 09, 2009 10:53:00 pm , Anonymous matthias said...

There was a poem from World War One -Siegfried Sassoon I think who wrote -or to that effect:

The Germans say "Gott mit uns" and the
British say 'We have God on our side"
Whilst God says 'I am going to be busy".

At Tuesday, October 13, 2009 9:32:00 pm , Anonymous An Liaig said...

The reason there are these two positions (actually there are many more than two) is that science per se has nothing to say about meaning. Issues of meaning are beyond its scope and methodology. This means that when people claim that a particular philosophical view is 'scientific' they are being dishonest, perhaps even to themselves. They are appropriating the credibility of science (which, within its area of competence, has a very high reliability) to a philosophical view which is not open to the same tests of repeatability and falsification. This approach is most commonly seen in reductionist philosophy but the pantheists will also use it. Catholics should be wary of it eg. quantum entanglement has nothing to do with the relationships between Christians!

Yes, my username is a homage to a favorite science fiction show. It is also a play on words with my real surname and aspects of my profession. As for not speaking Irish - sure its never to late to learn, so!

At Wednesday, October 14, 2009 1:25:00 am , Anonymous Schütz said...

Ah. Now I understand. Not Irish, but the reason for your nom de plume. Very clever.


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