Better Than Being in the Phone Book

I found something at Wikipedia. It’s quite amusing.

The entry is: Who breaks a butterfly on a wheel?

“Who breaks a butterfly on a wheel?” is a quotation from Alexander Pope’s Epistle to Dr Arbuthnot of 1735, which has entered common use and has become associated with more recent figures.

Ah – has it? Who’s that then?

The philosopher Mary Midgley used a variation on the phrase in an article in the journal Philosophy written to counter a review praising The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins, where she cuttingly said that she had “not attended to Dawkins, thinking it unnecessary to break a butterfly upon a wheel.” Dawkins replied that this statement would be “hard to match, in reputable journals, for its patronising condescension toward a fellow academic.” The name Butterflies And Wheels was then adopted by a website set up to oppose Pseudoscience, Epistemic relativism and those disciplines or schools of thought whose truth claims are prompted by the political, ideological and moral commitments of their adherents.

Why – that’s us. (By ‘us’ I mean all of us, here, reading this and occasionally writing it.) They’re talking about us – me, you, the butterflies, and the wheels. Don’t know why they didn’t make the name a hyperlink, the silly prats, but anyway – it’s fun to make a cameo appearance in an entry.

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