the blind kangaroomaker

December 18, 2007

So "Plato and a Platypus Walk into a Bar" also references David Hume pointing out the danger of analogies when describing something as unique as the entire universe. (I couldn't google up other references to Hume having this thought, but still.)

In particular, it's the trouble of the "watchmaker" analogy, where you say just like if you found a beautifully designed watch on the ground, you'd assume there was a skilled maker somewhere, rather than it just shake itself into being, a well "designed" universe implies a maker as well. But why, the book says Hume asks, pick a watch? Why not a kangaroo? Which is a complex and interconnected and organic system, much like the universe. In that case, our universe would have come from another universe, after that parent universe had sex with a third universe. So clearly, analogies are not always a way to definitive knowledge.

Excerpt of the Moment
I was about ready to say I think I better go down and see my mom now when she leaned forward and kissed me with an open mouth on the lips. It wasn't like with Jilly. Nothing could distract me, not even the living corpse of her father. She took my hand in hers and slipped it inside her shirt. It was more romantic than it sounds.
--Dirk Wittenborn, "Fierce People". (The "living corpse" is about her father in a coma.) Always weird when the book you've had on your "read this someday" pile for years was made into a move in the meanwhile and you didn't even realize. Odd book, set in '78 but with some anachronisms, I'd say, like tasers and diet coke, and turns of phrase like "the 'rents" for parents. It feels like an 80s child writing about the 70s but sounding more like the 90s movie Cruel Intentions (which in turn is based on a book from the 1780s)