Saturday, October 18, 2008

John Stuart Mill and P.G. Wodehouse

I had to chuckle when Adam Gopnik used a character from P.G. Wodehouse's Blandings Castle books to make a point about John Stuart Mill in a recent review of a biography about Mill:

"When someone says that proof of God's existence can be found in Nature, [Mill] doesn't say it's bosh. He asks what this would actually entail if it were true, and infers that such a creator would have to be limited, inept, well-meaning, forgetful, and in a daily contest with another power: 'A Being of great but limited power ... who desires, and pays some regard to, the happiness of his creatures, but who seems to have some other motives of action which he cares more for, and who can hardly be supposed to have created the universe for that purpose alone.' What natural theology, taken seriously, shows is not the great Watchmaker or the All-Seeing Jove but the absent-minded Landlord, a sort of eternal Lord Emsworth, who, though he helps the young lovers, cares mainly about his pig."


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