Upon skimming this column, your first thought might well be – as I hope for your sake it is – Why is Cowles writing about this? Didn’t everyone long ago receive the tweet debunking those bullet points? Would to the Great Old Ones – Ia! Cthulhu nafl’fhtagn! – that such were the case. But time and again, I see the following arguments being reiterated, rising just when we thought they were safely dead to shamble across the intellectual landscape of American culture like zombie refugees from The Walking Dead or Z Nation who did not receive a proper “double-tap” on the amygdala. So, like Rick Grimes or Michonne from the former, or like Roberta Warren or Addison “Addy” Carver from the latter, I guess I’ll have heave a deep sigh and have another shot at it … as it were. Ah! If only I had a ni
Let's find out which!
Once in a while, for better or for worse, the past comes back to haunt you. An instance of the “better” part of this assertion occurred with me recently when I saw a public TV documentary on mathematics. Much of the documentary revolved around what the physicist and mathematician Eugene Wigner described as the “unreasonable effectiveness” of mathematics in the natural sciences in an essay of that title. Wigner’s famous essay was written around 1960. I first encountered it as an undergraduate math and physics – and, significantly, philosophy – major at Wichita State University in Wichita, KS, during the late 1960s. It stuck around in the back of my mind to haunt me at graduate school in physics about ten years after it was written. But, finding little or no sympathy f