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  • Ha! Addendumb, see the discussion at atom. :-)

    July 13, 2007

  • Edward Lear's Nonsense Recipe for Crumboblious Cutlets invites us to "Procure some strips of beef, and having cut them into the smallest possible pieces, proceed to cut them still smaller, eight or perhaps nine times." Some regresses do reach a natural terminator. Scientists used to wonder what would happen if you could dissect, say, gold into the smallest possible pieces. Why shouldn't you cut one of those pieces in half and produce an even smaller smidgin of gold? The regress in this case is decisively terminated by the atom. The smallest possible piece of gold is a nucleus consisting of exactly 79 protons and a slightly larger number of neutrons, surrounded by a swarm of 79 electrons. If you "cut" gold any further than the level of the single atom, whatever else you get it is not gold. The atom provides a natural terminator to the Crumboblious Cutlets type of regress. It is by no means clear that God provides a natural terminator to the regresses of Aquinas. -Richard Dawkins

    July 13, 2007