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Evolution quotes: The English and theories

‘What I really like about the English is that they don’t have theories. No Englishman would ever have said, “I think, therefore I am.” Although possibly he might have said, “I think, therefore I am, I think.”‘ [Solomon, from Dodger, by Terry Pratchett, p219]


  1. Mitchell Coffey Mitchell Coffey

    So how come most and all the really good theories either come from the British or came from the influence of the British on the mind of the World? Reflecting on the Revolution in France, Burke said “the age of chivalry is dead, that of sophisters, economists and calculators has succeeded, and the glory of Europe is extinguished forever.” Nietzsche elaborated upon the point: “Mankind does not strive for happiness; only the Englishman does that.” Also, Gandhi turned out to be fuck wrong about the Brits leaving India. And the greatness of America became true to the World when Englishmen, young and lank, took to impostering Black Yank bluesmen and rockers. Democracy is an English, not a Greek invention. Or at least Democracy with man-portable musical instruments, lines of credit and a book of rules. All hope is there.

    • But that’s the beauty of it. By not having theories, the English manage to come up with rippers… unlike Germans who start with theories and never let them go (*coughHegelcough*)…

  2. Bob O'H Bob O'H

    Who needs theory when you have cricket?

    • Ian H Spedding FCD Ian H Spedding FCD

      I have a theory about that…

  3. DiscoveredJoys DiscoveredJoys

    No theories? Like Natural Selection?

    • The book is set in the 1830s. Natural selection had not yet become widely known.

      I liked it because a recurring theme in the science of then and later is that one should not go beyond observations and hypothesise, as Newton and Locke had said. It was considered a peculiarly English trait in science right up to the end of the 19th century.

  4. I think I was in high school when I first encountered ‘Cogito ergo sum.’

    I almost immediately occurred to me that it should read ‘I think, therefore I think I am.’

    The whole thing still makes my thinker hurt.

  5. I’m not sure why an Australian would want to stand up for the Pommie bastards—maybe you were being ironic. Anyhow, as far as *coughHegelcough* is concerned, England was full of would-be Hegelians in the 19th Century, although to be fair they weren’t very good at it. Except for Coleridge, they didn’t get Kant very well either. And let us not omit that monument of English theorizing, Cassabon’s Key to All Mythologies since even though it’s a non-existent work that only appears in a novel, it’s got all the hallmarks of 19th Century English scholarship, i.e. amateurishness, lack of rigor, and presumption.

    It says something that the two greatest English philosophers were a Scot and an Austrian. So there.

    • Well I have a lot of respect for F. H. Bradley…

  6. telson telson

    Is it possible, however, that there are faults in the evolution theory? Is it possible that it is not true, but false? The supporters of this theory certainly deny this possibility, but it should be noted that weaknesses and inconsistencies in the theory can be found even in their own writings. These have been discussed, but the possibility of the doctrine’s whole foundation being wrong and untenable has never been brought out. It has generally been denied. This is why we will now study this subject, which everyone should learn about.

    This article proves problems of the evolution theory;

  7. jeb jeb

    “Is it possible, however, that there are faults in the evolution theory?”

    Darwin was English rather than Irish or Scottish for a start so he is always going to be wrong. I don’t think you need any fancy article to demonstrate that one, the fault line is obvious.

    Clearly Mr Pratchett or Mr Wilkins have never read Thomas Cahill’s “How the Irish Saved Civilization: The Untold Story of Irelands Heroic Role from the Fall of Rome to the Rise of Medieval Europe.”

    But as Mr Wilkins and Mr Pratchett both speak with strange outlandish accents and have uncouth non-Irish customs and mannerisms ignorance of course is to be expected and we should not be too harsh on them.

    Not being Irish is a common problem many people unfortunately suffer from.

    I think all the problems started after the fall of the tower of Bable. In the 6th century Irish scholars proved beyond all doubt that up until this point everyone in the world spoke Irish (as any right thinking person would of course); it all went down hill from then on.

  8. Jeb Jeb

    P.S It’s entirely obvious that Darwin’s theory pales into insignificance and the most important contribution towards knowledge was made in 19th century Ireland when Irish intellectuals made the crucial breakthrough and discovered just how important being Irish really was!

    • How odd. That’s also when Australian intellectuals discovered the significance of being Australian.

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