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"I don't know, so I'm an atheist libertarian." - Penn Jillette

#1angryleghandPosted 8/27/2011 12:44:24 PM
I try to claim that I was friends with the genius Richard Feynman. He came to our show a few times and was very complimentary, and I had dinner with him a couple times, and we chatted on the phone several times. I'd call him to get quick tutoring on physics so I could pretend to read his books.

No matter how much I want to brag, it's overstating it to call him a friend. I would never have called him to help me move a couch. I did, however, call him once to ask how we could score some liquid nitrogen for a Letterman spot we wanted to do. He was the only physicist I knew at the time. He explained patiently that he didn't know. He was a theoretical physicist and I needed a hands-on guy, but he'd try to find one for me.

About a half-hour later a physics teacher from a community college in Brooklyn called me and said, "I don't know what kind of practical joke this is, but a Nobel Prize-winning scientist just called me here at the community college, gave me this number, and told me to call Penn of Penn & Teller to help with a Letterman appearance."

I guess that's close to a friend.

My friend Richard Feynman said, "I don't know." I heard him say it several times. He said it just like Harold, the mentally handicapped dishwasher I worked with when I was a young man making minimum wage at Famous Bill's Restaurant in Greenfield, Massachusetts.

"I don't know" is not an apology. There's no shame. It's a simple statement of fact. When Richard Feynman didn't know, he often worked harder than anyone else to find out, but while he didn't know, he said, "I don't know."

I like to think I fit in somewhere between my friends Harold and Richard. I don't know. I try to remember to say "I don't know" just the way they both did, as a simple statement of fact. It doesn't always work, but I try.


http://articles.cnn.com/2011-08-16/opinion/jillette.atheist.libertarian_1_piers-morgan-friend-minimum-wage?

Pretty good op-ed by everyone's favorite atheist.
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#2OzymandiasIVPosted 8/27/2011 12:53:45 PM
Uh... you left out a bit of the article... in fact, you left out the really important bits of the article. At least you linked to it, but you really should have posted the entire thing if you were going to post any of it at all.
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In order to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe.
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#3angryleghand(Topic Creator)Posted 8/27/2011 1:01:05 PM
From: PolluxFrost47 | #002
Uh... you left out a bit of the article... in fact, you left out the really important bits of the article. At least you linked to it, but you really should have posted the entire thing if you were going to post any of it at all.

IIRC, posting entire articles is moddable, so I just quoted the beginning.
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Consult your pineal gland?
#4OzymandiasIVPosted 8/27/2011 1:04:30 PM
You should have at least mentioned that it continues. I know a lot of people that don't click on links when someone reposts the article, because they think the whole thing has been posted and the link is just to provide the source for those who will inevitably ask for it.
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In order to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe.
You musn't be afraid to dream a little bigger, darling.
#5OrnitierIXPosted 8/27/2011 1:53:06 PM
I can kind of understand the atheist bit, but how does "I don't know" lead to being a libertarian?
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If only I could relieve my hunger by vigorously rubbing my belly...
#6chukie_suePosted 8/27/2011 2:23:06 PM
OrnitierIX posted...
I can kind of understand the atheist bit, but how does "I don't know" lead to being a libertarian?

Precisely what I was going to say.

Anyway, I really like Penn Jillette. I enjoyed him on a few talk shows, and his guest appearance in Numb3rs was pretty cool.
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Die before you die, there is no chance after. -CS Lewis
Whom God would use greatly, He will hurt deeply. - A.W. Tozer
#7cyclonekrusePosted 8/27/2011 2:33:07 PM
OrnitierIX posted...
I can kind of understand the atheist bit, but how does "I don't know" lead to being a libertarian?

I think I get it. I think he is saying that government regulation is basically telling people the correct way to live their lives, how to fix societal problems, etc. He's saying that he doesn't know how to do those things and he doesn't think anyone else does either. Basically he doesn't feel like the government knows how to govern these affairs and would rather it be left up to us as individuals. Hence, libertarianism.
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Locke: "Why do you find it so hard to believe?" || Jack "Why do you find it so easy?!" ||
Locke: "It's never been easy!"
#8SilviiroPosted 8/27/2011 2:48:19 PM
The story about Feynman alone makes this a great article. I like Penn too, but Feynman is so epic.
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"I have offended God and mankind because my work didn't reach the quality it should have." -- Leonardo da Vinci
#9mercuryinkPosted 8/27/2011 4:37:57 PM
Basically he doesn't feel like the government knows how to govern these affairs and would rather it be left up to us as individuals. Hence, libertarianism.
That's not "I don't know". That's "private industry". And private industry has rarely shown any sympathy for the little guy. Companies don't have an obligation to us, which is why government regulations were created in the first place; to artificially create a few. We've apparently learned very little since the Triangle Shirtwaist fire and henbane in our beer.
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#10cyclonekrusePosted 8/27/2011 5:05:32 PM
mercuryink posted...
That's not "I don't know". That's "private industry". And private industry has rarely shown any sympathy for the little guy. Companies don't have an obligation to us, which is why government regulations were created in the first place; to artificially create a few. We've apparently learned very little since the Triangle Shirtwaist fire and henbane in our beer.

I think you're reading more into the statement than is there. Saying "I don't know" to how someone else should run his/her life doesn't imply that private industry should be the answer.
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Locke: "Why do you find it so hard to believe?" || Jack "Why do you find it so easy?!" ||
Locke: "It's never been easy!"