Clever notions mildly diminished by an occasional foul word by Bobby Henderson 2006, Villard, 166 pages
In the wonderful The God Delusion, Richard Dawkins mentions Bertrand Russell’s parable of the celestial teapot:
If I were to suggest that between the Earth and the Moon there is a china teapot revolving about the sun in an elliptical orbit, nobody would be able to disprove my assertion provided I were careful to add that the teapot is too small to be revealed even by our most powerful telescopes. But if I were to go on to say that, since my assertion cannot be disproved, it is intolerable presumption on the part of human reason to doubt it, I should rightly be thought to be talking nonsense.
If, however, existence of such a teapot were affirmed in ancient books, taught as the sacred truth every Sunday, and instilled into the minds of children at school, hesitation to believe in its existence would become a mark of eccentricity and entitle the doubter to the attentions of the psychiatrist in an enlightened age or of the Inquisitor in an earlier time. — Russell, Is There a God? (1952) Continue reading →
Disturbing analysis of the roots of antithought in America (and elsewhere)
by Susan Jacoby 2008, Random House , 318 pages
Reviewed by Brian Wright
“I raise no objections to television’s junk. The best things on television are its junk, and no one and nothing is seriously threatened by it. Besides, we do not measure a culture by its output of undisguised trivialities but by what it claims as significant. Therein is our problem, for television is at its most trivial and, therefore, most dangerous when its aspirations are high, when it presents itself as a carrier of important cultural conversations.” — Neil Postman, Amusing Ourselves to Death (1985) Continue reading →