Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Argumentum Ornithologicum

It's early, I'm practically gorged on oatmeal and a banana, and I remember Borges' little "proof" of God's existence.  The proof, as it were, is of course paltry, but the verbal acrobatics are genius and make me smile.  Enjoy, and have a happy day.

I close my eyes and see a flock of birds.  The vision lasts a second or perhaps less; I don’t know how many birds I saw.  Were they a definite or an indefinite number?  This problem involves the question of the existence of God.  If God exists, the number is definite, because how many birds I saw is known to God.  If God does not exist, the number is indefinite, because nobody was able to take count.  In this case, I saw fewer than ten birds (let’s say) and more than one; but I did not see nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, three, or two birds.  I saw a number between ten and one, but not nine, eight, seven, six, five, etc.  That number, as a whole number, is conceivable; ergo, God exists.

—Jorge Luis Borges
from Dreamtigers

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