Aristotle Had ProblemsPosted: February 4, 2011
A very common mistake is to imagine that we are more intelligent than the ancients because we have access to more information. We think to ourselves (in very disrespectful tones,) “How foolish was Plato? He thought that the Sun circled the Earth! Every child knows that it is t’other way round!” We wonder, “what idiot could think that all matter is made up of four elemental parts (fire, earth, water, air)? It is as plain as day that all matter is made up of THREE elemental parts (neutrons, protons, electrons.)” We even have the nerve to question Aristotle. “How could The Philosopher be so silly?” we think. “He thought that birds do not urinate because that part of their bodily waste is turned into feathers.”
Okay. I admit that that one seems a bit more outlandish than the others. But maybe it is not as silly as it seems. He makes a significant jump when he claims the very specific relationship between birds feathers and the fact that they don’t (appear to) urinate, but it seems unreasonable to assume that they are NOT related. What separates birds from other animals? Feathers and a lack of urination. How can there not be SOME connection?
Beer of the week: Cass Lemon – Like feathers made out of urine, some ideas, while not necessarily wrong, are so strange or odd that they cause an involuntary chuckle. The first sip of this beer was like that for me. I expected a very ordinary macro-brew with a hint of lemon. Perhaps “a hint” doesn’t translate well into Korean. As far as I can tell, they ran out of fresh water at the Cass brewery. Luckily, however, they had gallons and gallons of lemon-lime Kool-aid on hand, so they just brewed the beer with that. It wasn’t bad, it just didn’t taste much like beer. It was almost like a shandy.
Reading for the week: Problems by Aristotle – Aristotle’s major works are still regarded with great reverence and taken very seriously. One finds it hard to believe that some of the Problems were EVER taken seriously. If you don’t enjoy your beer, at least you’ll be able to get a laugh out of some of these. (Just promise that you won’t think that you are actually smarter than Aristotle was.)
Question for the week: Can you come up with a reasonable explanation of why underarms are the most ticklish part of the body?