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An Urban's Rural View
Urban C. Lehner Editor Emeritus
Tue Sep 16, 2014 05:32 PM CDT

Perhaps you've seen the BBC skit (http://tiny.cc/…) in which a swaggering party guest keeps gloating that he is a brain surgeon and deriding other guests' occupations. What you do is nice, he says, but "it's not exactly brain surgery, is it?"

The skit's finale is as satisfying as it is predictable. In walks a rocket scientist to deliver the braggart's comeuppance. Brain surgery, eh? "Not exactly rocket science, is it?"

Braggadocio breeds resentment, the skit reminds us, and rank-ordering non-comparable things breeds nonsense. Is one science really more complex than another? By what criteria?

Yet the rank-ordering game ...

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