When my friends would come over, my dad always tried to be 'cool' by holding my friends in the hallway, not letting them continue to my room, and telling them a joke or two or three.
I'd cringe and try to hurry things, being quite rude when I think about it today. My friends, so polite, always laughed. It never dawned on me that the jokes were actually funny (well... having heard them so many times).
Well, today I'll share one of these jokes with you that somehow made more of an impression with me. Unlike my dad, however, I'm the worst joke teller, so please bear with me while I struggle here:
A scientist performs an experiment. He takes a spider and tears off two of its legs.
"Go," he tells the spider and the spider goes.
The scientist makes a note in his log and tears off another pair of legs.
"Go," says the scientist and the spider goes.
He makes another note in the log and repeats the process until he tears off the last pair of legs.
"Go," the scientist says but the spider doesn't move. The scientist makes the following note in his log:
'Conclusion: A spider with no legs can't hear.'
This joke appealed to me on so many levels, but first and foremost was the statement it made about us, humans, and our cockiness. Our assumptions, our presumtions of understanding the world around us.
I loved this joke's mockery of science specifially and of our deductive abilities in general. Do we really infer correctly from the picture we see? From the data?
Of course there is a reason this joke came to mind; a reason I'm talking about reasoning -- I've been reading about 'racist science' lately.
Naturally, scientists investigating such matters go to great lengths to sound as impartial and as dry and as disinterested as they can. They present the data and the conclusions. They don't care what the conclusions are, they're not racist.
Well, I wonder if some of these scientist aren't like the scientist in my dad's joke...