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OOL Researchers Channel Steve Martin

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The UD News Desk recently reported on obviously desperate origin of life researchers’ attempts to give themselves a leg up on the whole “how did life begin” issue.  I had to chuckle when I read the article, because it reminded me of my second favorite* Steve Martin routine, “You can be millionaire and never pay taxes!”  The routine starts with this:

You can be a millionaire and never pay taxes!  You can have one million dollars and never pay taxes! You say  “Steve how can I be a millionaire and never pay taxes?”  First, get a million dollars.  Now you say, “Steve what do I say to the tax man when he comes to my door and says, ‘You have never paid taxes’?”  Two simple words.  Two simple words in the English language: “I forgot!”

The routine is a classic setup and takedown.  Martin sets the scenario up by promising the audience he will show them two things, first how to make a million dollars and second how to avoid paying taxes on the income.  Hilarity ensues when he takes down the first expectation with a simple “First, get a million dollars,” and then takes down the second with the lamest tax-avoidance scheme in the history of the world, “I forgot.”

The similarity between the “research” reported in the UD News story and the Martin routine is obvious.  It is as if the researches said:

You can account for the staggering complexity of life with one simple explanation!  You say, “Mr. Researcher, how can I account for the staggering complexity of life with one simple explanation?” First, start with the complexity.  Now you say, “Mr. Researcher, what do I say to the academic community when they come to my door and say ‘You never actually accounted for the origin of the staggering complexity of life.’?”  Three simple words.  Three simple words in the English language: “I assumed it!”


*Like any reasonable person, my favorite is “Cruel Shoes.”

@your #3, News : That could easily be a true story, on the basis of an experience I had as teenager. I was walking in a field with some Welsh lads in thhe direction of the gate to field. I think they call it a 'five-bar gate' for the obvious reason. There were heifers in the field and suddenly one of the lads said watch out ! They're coming for us. I believe it was a set-up for my benefit, because the heifers suddenly started charging towards us. By the time I looked round and registered it, they were as good as over the gate already, I was never a top sportsman at school (cough), but I can tell you I almost cleared that gate without touching it. Truly. I was astonished at my new-found, adrenaline-fuelled athelicism. I believe if thy had not began running, the heifers would have been fine and not charged us. Of course, cows, after calving are very dangersous to go near. At least, with their calves nearby, as some unfortunate woman discovered at the cost of her life, in Engand ,recently. And maybe someone else was badly injured trying to rescue her, I believe. Axel
And at last count was still running for his life! kairosfocus
Vmahuna: There is another solution. Once upon a time in a cold twilight somewhere in Canada, a drunk wandered around a village and eventually fell into an open grave in a cemetery that had not been properly fenced off. He decided he may as well just sleep it off down there. It was below the frost line so he would not die of cold before he was rescued. Later, a local citizen was taking a shortcut through the cemetery in near total darkness. He was unaware of the grave and fell in. He scrambled desperately, trying to get out, but he could not manage the six-foot height. Then suddenly he heard a voice in the darkness. "You'll never get out." But he did. Immediately. News
Simply brilliant. There's an older version of this joke along the lines of: Q: You have stumbled into a pit by the side of the trail. How do you get out? A: Assume a ladder... vmahuna
Or, as we used to say in Physics 101, "First, assume we have a friction-free surface..." Somerschool

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