Do you think the earth's rotation on its axis is absurd? You look me in the eye and tell me that it is. Of course you won't, because you believe in every one of those statements.
I believe in them! That's because I pretend to be an intellectual on A2K, and intellectuals love absurd-sounding statements, preferably ones that are true. Mind you, I'm not saying it's a good
thing that some intellectuals go even farther and wave the truth requirement altogether. (Incidentally, they often wave it on some elaborate, distinctly intellectual theory of philosophical relativism, by which there is no such thing as truth anyway.) All I'm saying is that it's not necessarily an anti-intellectual
act to wave it.
Why you'd imagine that I would think it's absurd is, frankly, a little insulting. And if you're suggesting that those scientific facts are absurd to the uneducated or the naive or the credulous, then all I have to say is that it's rather more than a little insulting.
So what if my views are insulting? They are true: If I was living around the time when the first astronomer suggested that the sun is not
rotating around the Earth, I myself would have found his views ridiculous, impossible to take seriously, in a word, absurd. They would have flown in the face of what I saw every day with my own eyes. Granted, it may be a little different in this age of satellite images. But the other propositions? The Onion
didn't stop being satire when it turned out to offer by far the most realistic assessment of the Bush administration. Similarly, quantum mechanics didn't stop striking me as absurd just because I realized it was true. Indeed, that's an important reason I relish it. For I make pretensions at being an intellectual.
Who's talking about the average citizen? I'm talking about people who are purportedly intellectuals.
So am I. I am using non-intellectuals as a statistical control for statements I make about intellectuals. For example, when post-modernist philosophy of art and deconstructivist lit-crit appeal to intellectuals but not to non-intellectuals, that tells us something about intellectuals. If they also appealed to the people you so disparagingly call the hoi polloi
, it wouldn't.