Look, I Accidentally Proved There’s No God!
One of my favourite episodes of The Simpsons is the one where Homer discovers that for most of his life he’s been living with a crayon lodged in his brain. Realising this blockage is probably the cause of his mental slowness he opts to have it surgically removed and instantly becomes a nerdy brain-box.
He soon discovers that being a nerdy know it all is no fun, people seem to like him less. The stand out moment happens when Homer meets his God-fearing neigbour Ned Flanders who is on his way to attend church when Homer utters the immortal line….
“I was working on a flat tax proposal and I accidentally proved there’s no God.”
He hands Flanders his theory and then begins sticking his ‘no God’ pamphlet under the windscreen wipers of all the parked cars of Springfield’s churchgoers.
Flanders takes a look at Homer’s ‘no God’ thesis and worries aloud:
“Well this can’t be, no, wait, this, erm, no…” – he then sighs, defeated – “It’s air tight. Can’t let this little doozy get out.”
He then proceeds to set it alight.
It was a brilliant, fantastic exchange. Homer has become so analytical he’s managed to find ‘air tight’, conclusive proof that there’s no God – presenting it immediately to the most God fearing person he knows he’s too busy trying to spread the news of his finding to others that he doesn’t even look behind him to see Flanders setting the paper on fire.
When I first read Patrick Burns’ brilliant, fantastic article ‘Inbred Thinking‘ I immediately thought of Homer’s exchange with Flanders.
‘It’s air tight’ I thought. My word, they WILL want to burn this!
I loved the piece so much I asked Patrick (and was graciously given) permission to publish the article, un-touched and un-edited in the printed edition of K9 Magazine. Since then I have told as many people who’ll listen to go and read it.
I can then tell, rather quickly, whether someone is going to do a Flanders (“Can’t let this little doozy get out”) or whether it can serve the far higher purpose of instilling a somewhat air-tight notion that close inbreeding and a closed studbook is so incredibly detrimental to the health of pedigree dogs, we stupid, crayon-in-brain humans should be flayed for ever having stuck with its concept for this long. We’re in 2009 for God’s, erm, I mean Homer’s sake!
Institutional abuse of animals is no more forgiveable just because it might happen to be endorsed by people who say they care and who profess to know what they’re doing.
To quote one of my favourite modern-day thinkers, Nassim Nicholas Taleb:
“it’s totally irresponsible to make people rely on you without telling them you’re incompetent.”
There is, inherently, nothing wrong with dog shows, nothing wrong with show dogs, nothing wrong with breeders, pedigree dogs – none of it – what IS wrong and what absolutely MUST stop, right now are the breeding practices and competitive elements that are leading to crippling, debilitating disease and hereditary defects which are killing dogs. And we DO know which elements they are. And we DO know that they could be stamped out if those in position to make changes to the rules were to do the right thing.
So, even if you’re dog show enthusiast or even if you’re not; please, please, please give this article your time. Even if you chose to be all Ned Flanders about it, at least you’ll know you’re only kidding yourself!
(Incidentally, this particular episode of The Simpsons concludes when Homer decides he can’t live with knowing he’s right, with the intelligent, analytical brain – so he opts to have the crayon inserted back in to his brain so he can revert back to a life of blissful ignorance. How tragic. How very, very tragic )
Something interesting to read: why do dogs bark?