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