NABOKV-L post 0021927, Mon, 8 Aug 2011 20:24:53 -0400

Subject
Re: SKB re Coincidences
Date
Body
Stan Kelly-Bootle:

"Not the original Laura"! Good one! Having the neighbor of Laura
Buxton find the balloon instead of Laura herself is just the sort of
thing that a good novelist would do to make the insane coincidence a
little more believable. It's just like the misprint Shade admired so
much.

> Dawkins’s Blind Watchmaker. He makes some sound observations on
> mimicry. How it helps hunter as well as hunted. How we can only
> guess what advantages mimicry affords (we don’t get to see the prey
> through the predators’ eyes, especially under diverse lighting
> conditions. Even a small, occasional advantage can improve survival.)

Yes, I'm sure resemblances would afford many advantages, and natural
selection is surely a factor in helping "mimics" proliferate and be
stabilized in a population. But this is not the same thing as natural
selection actually creating the resemblance. There is a very good book
on the creation/gradualism question by Robert G B Reid called
Biological Emergences: Evolution by Natural Experiment.

Jansy's comment "I suppose Nabokov ... selected humor when he, as an
author, played God... " I have to agree!

Very best,
Tori


On Aug 6, 2011, at 8:55 PM, Nabokv-L wrote:

>
> Subject: Re: [NABOKV-L] [NABOKOV-L] An armless painter and
> coincidences
> From: Stan Kelly-Bootle <stan@bootle.biz>
> Date: Sun, 7 Aug 2011 01:19:20 +0100
> To: Vladimir Nabokov Forum <NABOKV-L@listserv.ucsb.edu>
> Ten days passed and a farmer in Milton Lilbourne, Wiltshire pulled a
> balloon out of the hedge that separated his fields from his
> neighbour's house.
>
> He noticed the name of Laura Buxton. As this was the name of his
> neighbour's daughter he handed over the balloon straight away,
> thinking it must belong to her. But this was a different Laura
> Buxton, though she was also ten years old, but she lived 140 miles
> away from the girl who had released the balloon. [from early reports
> of the incident]
>
> Tori: Bravo! A point to note that affects the probability
> calculations: the second Laura* did not find the balloon!
> Mystics will not be bothered that it’s marginally more likely that a
> finder knows a Laura Buxton rather than is LB.
>
> * I almost wrote ‘not the original Laura’ to add a Nabokovian touch
> to the coincincidence.
>
> I must add, briefly, that I don’t expect to learn mathematics,
> science, history, politics, economics or philosophy from Nabokov’s
> fiction. VN’s allusions to such are of passing interest, but I have
> more up-to-date, more dedicated, better-informed sources.
> A possible analogy: I read Genesis and Pale Fire with the same spine-
> tingling impact.
>
> PS: You’ll probably know (better than I do) the latest edition of
> Dawkins’s Blind Watchmaker. He makes some sound observations on
> mimicry. How it helps hunter as well as hunted. How we can only
> guess what advantages mimicry affords (we don’t get to see the prey
> through the predators’ eyes, especially under diverse lighting
> conditions. Even a small, occasional advantage can improve survival.)
>
> Stan Kelly-Bootle, MAA, AMS
> Google Search the archive Contact the Editors Visit "Nabokov Online
> Journal" Visit Zembla View Nabokv-L Policies Manage subscription
> options Visit AdaOnline View NSJ Ada Annotations Temporary L-Soft
> Search the archive
> All private editorial communications are read by both co-editors.
>


Search archive with Google:
http://www.google.com/advanced_search?q=site:listserv.ucsb.edu&HL=en

Contact the Editors: mailto:nabokv-l@utk.edu,nabokv-l@holycross.edu
Visit Zembla: http://www.libraries.psu.edu/nabokov/zembla.htm
View Nabokv-L policies: http://web.utk.edu/~sblackwe/EDNote.htm
Visit "Nabokov Online Journal:" http://www.nabokovonline.com

Manage subscription options: http://listserv.ucsb.edu/