In that ‘Cock and Bull’ story, Tristram Shandy, Laurence Sterne satirises philosophic disputation. Since the subject is a nose, the philosophers, divided already along Catholic and Lutheran lines, become Nosarians and Anti-nosarians. The doctors belong to the two universities of Strasburg. On ‘which side of the nose [would] the two universities split’?
'Tis above reason, cried the doctors on one side.
'Tis below reason, cried the others.
'Tis faith, we cried.
'Tis a fiddle-stick, said the other.
'Tis possible, cried the one.
'Tis impossible, said the other.
God's power is infinite, cried the Nosarians, he can do anything.
He can do nothing, cried the Antinosarians, which implies contradictions.
He can make matter think, said the Nosarians.
As certainly as you can make a velvet cap out of a sow's ear, replied the Antinosarians.