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gwern comments on Your Strength as a Rationalist - Less Wrong

69 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 11 August 2007 12:21AM

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Comment author: gwern 22 April 2011 02:12:31PM 13 points [-]

From TvTropes:

"According to legend, one night the students of Baron Cuvier (one of the founders of modern paleontology and comparative anatomy) decided to play a trick on their instructor. They fashioned a medley of skins, skulls and other animal parts (including the head and legs of a deer) into a credibly monstrous costume. One brave fellow then donned the chimeric assemblage, crept into the Baron's bedroom when he was asleep and growled "Cuvier, wake up! I am going to eat you!" Cuvier woke up, took one look at the deer parts that formed part of the costume and sniffed "Impossible! You have horns and hooves!" (one would think "what sort of animals have horns and hooves" is common knowledge).

More likely he was saying "Impossible! You have horns and hooves (and are therefore not not a predator.)" The prank is more commonly reported as: "Cuvier, wake up! I am the Devil! I am going to eat you!" His response was "Divided hoof; graminivorous! It cannot be done." Apparently Satan is vegan. Don't comment that some deer have been seen eating meat or entrails, I occasionally grab the last slice of my bud's pizza but that doesn't classify me as a scavenger."