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Update on a pilgrim’s progress

Last updated on 22 Jun 2018

waynepilgrim.pngOkay, well it’s more like the John Wayne sense of “pilgrim” than John Bunyan, but here I am, having gotten out of Dodge Brisbane just as the latest natural disaster hit. “Here” being the Blue Mountains outside of Sydney. Once my goods and chattels were “uplifted”, to use the quaint movers’ terms, I set out for Sin City.

A Bunyan Pilgrim. Babe is nowhere to be seen.


A Blue Mountain. Yes, it really does look like this.


Despite some flood diversions and detours, I got here pretty much as I planned, and am staying at my friends’ Malte and Melinda’s place until I find somewhere I can afford in this city to store myself and said goods and chattels. And of course the very next day I had a dose of gastro – probably either from the norovirus infection doing the rounds in Brissie or the Subway I had in some country town. But I got over that (or rather I got that out), and the next day Kipling Will, a noted entomologist and systematist, came to stay for a day or so.

We went beetling, which is not at all like buggering. Kip found some Caribidae, and was happy. I have photos of him bending over, as he rustled through the undergrowth and detritus. A man should not be that happy, bending over. In public, anyway. He’s seen more of Australia this trip than I have in my life, which is pretty impressive. For those that do not know, Texas fits happily into NSW about three times. And he drove up and down Queensland, which is bigger, NSW, South Australia and substantial and rural parts of Western Australia too.

Kip Will, beetling, not buggering.


And we talked, of course. Lots. About species concepts, classification and stuff whereof I know not wot (i.e., most stuff; it’s frightening to be the only philosopher in a room of scientists). There was beer. Or so I’m told – it’s all a bit hazy.

I got the proof of a paper I am going to display in front of actual scientists in Zootaxa, which I corrected (some of which were of course my errors, not theirs). This is equally frightening. It’s a good thing mere facts do not affect a philosophical argument. Scientists will understand, I am sure.

Right now more beetling not buggering is going on outside in the dark, but being as I am a sessile organism I decided to catch up on a little bloggery (not buggery) and reassure you all I have not succumbed to the fleshpots of NSW (what, exactly, are fleshpots, by the way? My febrile imagination is not to be trusted on this matter*).

I apologise for channelling Henry Gee, but he’s like a mind virus, you know. A very large and infectious mind virus.

  • Late note: OED says it’s a pot one boils flesh in. You dirty-minded buggers!


  1. Dominic Hyde Dominic Hyde

    Glad to hear that substantial and interesting matters are continuing at your end. A lovely post.

  2. Glad to hear that substantial and interesting matters are continuing at your end.

    The rear end?

  3. And more good news!

    I know how you’ve wanted more attention from the philosophy blogosphere and now you’ve got it! That premier philosopher/scientist/lawyer, Casey Luskin, has taken notice of your Synthese article and finds you condescending and sneering. High praise indeed from someone who strives to make “Darwinist” into an insult!

    And the very notion of teaching children “experiential and experimental knowledge early” so they might be more rational is just a sinister plot to … uh … make ’em rational!

    You fiend, you!

    • John S. Wilkins John S. Wilkins

      But did you note: I am not as condescending as Kelly Smith? I of course wrote to Kelly to complain that he has defeated me.

    • Oh Casey… No words, really. I have none.

  4. John Harshman John Harshman

    There are some people toward whom condescension and sneering are appropriate responses. Pointing and laughing are good too.

  5. jeff jeff

    Looks like remote Arizona, where I am now. Not blue mountains, but white. Sin city is far away. Can’t say I ever seen a cowboy bend over though. They don’t much care for beetling, but still like the Beatles. But I’m sure they wear cooler hats than Australians.

    • John S. Wilkins John S. Wilkins

      Akubra hat
      is so much cooler than this:
      Texan hat
      by any objective measure.

      • Susan Silberstein Susan Silberstein

        No question. My husband obtained a free Stetson, but it just sleeps in its box. I saw a TV program on how they are made; the process is lengthy and complex and I understand why they are expensive, but they are not very pretty. Can real Ozzie hats be found online, to be grabbed with U.S. dollars?

        • John S. Wilkins John S. Wilkins

          Google “Akubra”. Accept no substitutes.

  6. Notwithstanding inasmuch as which, your bus did get to the station, then?

    • John S. Wilkins John S. Wilkins

      Err, albatross?

  7. Chris G Chris G

    Good to hear you’re moving on and doing cool stuff. Sorry about not inviting you over for dinner last week to see the new house, not enough snorkels to go around.

    • John S. Wilkins John S. Wilkins

      How’s things progressing about that? Will the insurance company pay for a new one?

      • Chris G Chris G

        Yep, sorted. Contents lump sum on way. Still working out how much we’ll get for building. Will lift house as high as possible. Renting 3bedroom house in wilston as of tomorrow off freind’s parents, and his mate’s a builder who’s on the case (lucky, expect accom and tradespeople will be very sought after).

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