My daughter and I listened to Hitchhiker’s Guide and some of Restaurant, read by Douglas Adams, on our car trip this week. It made me think a lot about who this guy was and what genius he had at explaining perspective, relative meaning, etc.
In the current climate of “intelligent design” claptrap, I thought this a lovely bit related by Dawkins:
Edge: LAMENT FOR DOUGLAS By Richard Dawkins
To illustrate the vain conceit that the universe must be somehow pre-ordained for us, because we are so well-suited to live in it, he mimed a wonderfully funny imitation of a puddle of water, fitting itself snugly into a depression in the ground, the depression uncannily being exactly the same shape as the puddle. Or thereâ€™s this parable, which he told with huge enjoyment, whose moral leaps out with no further explanation. A man didnâ€™t understand how televisions work, and was convinced that there must be lots of little men inside the box. manipulating images at high speed. An engineer explained to him about high frequency modulations of the electromagnetic spectrum, about transmitters and receivers, about amplifiers and cathode ray tubes, about scan lines moving across and down a phosphorescent screen. The man listened to the engineer with careful attention, nodding his head at every step of the argument. At the end he pronounced himself satisfied. He really did now understand how televisions work. â€œBut I expect there are just a few little men in there, arenâ€™t there?â€