T. H. White on Thinking

Do you know, I think that Dr. Swift was silly to laugh about Laputa. I believe it is a mistake to make a mock of people, just because they think. There are ninety thousand people in this world who do not think, for every one who does, and these people hate the thinkers like poison. Even if some thinkers are fanciful, it is wrong to make fun of them for it. Better to think about cucumbers even, than not to think at all.

Discuss. Laputa was a flying sky-island of natural philosophers where no one’s clothes fit because they preferred astronomical instruments to mundane tape measures. It is the ivory tower done one better.
Is a thoughtful dissembler, one who thinks with the intent of misleading people who haven’t got time to think about certain issues, still better than someone unthoughtful?

Does the same consideration apply to, for instance, Michael Behe? Would he be better off thinking about nothing than furthering “the intellectual desperation of the intelligent-design movement as it struggles to survive in the absence of even a shred of scientific data in its favour“? There is no doubt that he and society would be better served if he spent more time thinking about cucumbers, but that seems unlikely to be in the cards.


  1. #1 C.S.Strowbridge
    June 27, 2007


    Michael Behe thinks about ways to keep other people from thinking. Surely that’s worse than not thinking at all.

  2. #2 Flex
    June 28, 2007

    I’m not certain I agree.

    While Michael Behe manages to eschew rationality, he is good resource as an example to others.

    His work reminds me a lot of Ecclesiastes 10:13, “The beginning of the words of his mouth is foolishness: and the end of his talk is mischievous madness.”

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