Donall and Conall Meet Richard Dawkins: Mini-Commentary
Once upon a time in ancient Bulgondia, there was a local scientist named Turgon. Turgon the Scientist fancied himself a man of reason and evidence and facts. He never cared much for the temple rituals of the village priests. He scoffed at the notion that leaving offerings of wheat or grains or yak gut flan could somehow appease the wrath of these deities that no one had ever seen. And, of course, he guffawed with smug superiority every time one of his neighbors claimed that something supernatural had occurred by the hand of the gods. In fact, Turgon was quite confident that no such gods existed.
Ancient Bulgondia, as everyone knows, was a near tropical climate and therefore saw no more than one or two flutterings of snow in a given century. One day, however, a group of men who had been hunting in the northern part of the country came running back to the village, claiming that they’d seen a mysterious cold, wet, white substance falling from the sky, much like what they’d heard described in the writings of their people—writings that Turgon knew in his heart were simply the invention of people from a far simpler and less educated era.
“Don’t be ridiculous,” Turgon shouted as he heard the men telling their tales. “You’re all deluded. There’s no such thing as this sky ice.”
“But we saw it,” the men said. “Why would you say it doesn’t exist?”
“I am the greatest scientist in the land!” Turgon declared. “And science tells us that sky-ice is not possible.”
“Actually, science doesn’t tell us anything,” said Flarp the Moron. “I mean, I know that I, Flarp, do not possess your superior intellect and education. But even I know that science is not a floating, wafting body of information that occasionally invites super-intelligent people, mostly with British accents, to feast on its cerebral fruit. Science is not something that’s outside of us. Science is, quite simply, a discipline we carry out by gathering, analyzing, and interpreting data in order to understand the world around us.”
“But using the scientific method, we’ve found no explanation for how sky-ice could fall, so then we know that what you saw wasn’t sky-ice.”
“Again, I know you’re far more brilliant than I,” Flarp said. “but you do know that not being able to explain how something happened does not necessarily mean that the thing didn’t happen, right? I mean, since our scientific conclusions are only as good as our ability to gather and analyze data, it could simply be that we don’t have the ability to gather or analyze the data necessary to understand how sky-ice happens, rather than that all of us just made up the sky-ice story and that everyone in our sacred books made up the sky-ice stories before us.”
Turgon squinted in frustration. “No, if we can’t explain sky-ice, then it’s stupid to believe that it fell from the sky.”
“But if we did understand how sky-ice happens, it would be stupid to deny that it exists?” Flarp asked.
“Um…yes,” Turgon replied.
“So right now, sky-ice doesn’t exist, but if ever we understand how the thing that doesn’t happen happens, it will have always existed?”
Turgon grew very angry and pulled out his diploma from Dung Pile College in order to bludgeon Flarp silly, but before he could sufficiently roll up the document, a giant piece of sky-ice fell struck him in the head and killed him. Three thousand years later, he was reincarnated as Richard Dawkins and, despite being a world renowned evolutionary biologist, didn’t understand science any better.
~Rev. Hans Fiene