27/5/2010

Magisteria Deliciosa

Filed under: — Bravus @ 10:44 am

You lucky people: one more small glimpse inside the scary place that is my mind!

I thought the title phrase on the ride in this morning, and smiled to myself. Here’s why:

I was thinking about Stephen Jay Gould’s notion of science and religion as operating in ‘non-overlapping magisteria’. That’s a fancy way of saying that these fields of human endeavour act in different domains and address different kinds of questions using different kinds of evidence. In particular, I was thinking of this blog post: Gould’s Hopeless Monster, which suggests that that idea is not really tenable1.

At the same time, I was thinking of a book I read on the recent trip – Robert G Barrett’s ‘The Ultimate Aphrodisiac’2. In it, a character enjoys a rum punch made with the fruit of the monstera deliciosa. It’s described as tasting heavenly, but being a pain to get all the tiny seeds out of the fruit to make it.

monstera deliciosa

And I remembered that we had a monstera deliciosa plant growing at the side of our (decidedly non-tropical) house in Newport Road, Cooranbong, when I was growing up, and that once it did fruit and I did taste the fruit, which was as advertised.

So there you have it.

  1. The blog post itself puns on one of Gould’s other notions, the ‘hopeful monsters‘ that make large evolutionary leaps very quickly, rather than the more gradual changes described by Darwin.
  2. In case the title isn’t a sufficient hint, the book is hilarious but deeply ribald and politically incorrect – read with caution if that’s likely to offend.

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