Thursday, March 25, 2010

Intellectual Capacity

But if we laugh with derision, we will never understand.  Human
intellectual capacity has not altered for thousands of years so far as
we can tell.  If intelligent people invested intense energy in issues
that now seem foolish to us, then the failure lies in our understanding
of their world, not in their distorted perceptions.  Even the standard
example of ancient nonsense -- the debate about angels on pinheads --
makes sense once you realize that theologians were not discussing
whether five or eighteen would fit, but whether a pin could house a
finite or an infinite number.
                -- S.J. Gould, "Wide Hats and Narrow Minds"

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