A scientific convention was held at a lakeside resort. After the first day’s proceedings, a mathematician, a physicist, an astronomer and a molecular biologist hired a boatman to row them around on the lake. As they sat in the boat, they discussed string theory, bubble universes, the Gaea Hypothesis and other abstruse topics.
The biologist noticed the boatman looking at them from the corner of his eyes. He asked him, “What do you think of these ideas?” The boatman replied, “I didn’t understand any of it.” The astronomer asked him how far he had studied. He told them he couldn’t even read. “I hate to say it,” said the physicist, “but you seem to have wasted a good part of your life.” The boatman remained silent. By now they were out in the middle of the lake, far from shore. A sudden storm whipped up. The waves started churning and heaving. All of a sudden, the boat flipped over. The boatman started swimming for shore. The scientists cried out, “Help! We can’t swim!” The boatman called back, “I hate to say it, but you seem to have wasted your whole lives.”