Friday, July 16, 2010

A Great Philosophical Question Answered!

One of the most intriguing philosophical questions of all time, an issue which has occupied the thoughts of of philosophers from Aristotle to Comicus to Marx, has been answered.

But before we get to that, let's say a few words about Comicus.

Comicus was the stand-up philosopher played by Mel Brooks in his movie, History of the World, Part 1. This film contains one of my all-time favorite exchanges, between Comicus and a clerk at the unemployment office played by Beatrice Arthur:

Unemployment Office Clerk: "Occupation?"

Comicus: "Stand-up philosopher."

Clerk: "What?"

Comicus: "Stand-up philosopher. I coalesce the vapors of human experience into a viable and meaningful comprehension."

Clerk: "Oh, a bullshit artist."

Comicus: "Grumble..."

Clerk: "Did you bullshit last week?"

Comicus: "No."

Clerk: "Did you try to bullshit last week?"

Comicus: "Yes!"

That Comicus, he's my kind of guy.

Anyhow, back to Great Questions of the Universe: we now know the answer to the classic conundrum - "Which came first, the chicken or the egg?" You can read the full, amazing story here.

According to a scientific paper titled, "Structural Control of Crystal Nuclei by an Eggshell Protein," the answer is (drum roll, please) - the chicken.

The official answer has to do with eggshell proteins and dinosaurs and the use of a supercomputer in Edinburgh, Scotland, all of which seems quite a bit of trouble and expense to go through to answer such an arcane philosophical question, but hey, if you're going to be a bullshit artist, you might as well be able to do it with the entire gravitas of the scientific community behind you.

In the last analysis, though, it doesn't really matter which came first as long as both are available at your local Piggly Wiggly when you're assembling the ingredients for your favorite recipe.

I wonder if that supercomputer can crunch a few more numbers and answer a really important, for instance, whether or not there's any good way to differentiate between Republican Stand-Up Philosophy and Democratic Stand-Up Philosophy. It's hard for most of us to tell the difference.

Have a good day. More thoughts tomorrow, when Cartoon Saturday rides to your rescue from the insanity of the week.



Anonymous said...

The only philosophy of ALL POLITICIANS: Do anything to get elected. Corollary: If you are already elected do ANYTHING to stay elected. The Devil installed a direct line to the Capitol the day Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone.*

Eminence Grise

*The Devil has now got a severe bandwidth problem, with all the messages flying back and forth between the Capitol and him. These guys are so good sometimes they even beat the Devil!

Bilbo said...

Devilishly clever, Eminence! Of course, if the politicians are using iPhone 4's, most of the calls aren't getting through, and the Devil is starting to get worried that the politicians are getting along just fine without him.

KathyA said...

Chicken/egg mystery solved! Thanks, I was losing sleep.
It's getting easier with handless phones for politicians to talk out of both sides of their mouths. Just a thought.

KathyA said...

PS Laughed when I read your comment about your earth-shaking blog. We'll now consider that the reason for the earthquake!

Mike said...

I always knew the answer but thought the common man was better off not knowing. I see the end of times coming now.

Wv: consequ - This knowledge will bring consequ.... too late.