Thursday, September 19, 2013

Rational-idiocy

Commentary on “Con-silly-piracy”

There is a drive somewhere inside all of us to see reasons, patterns and causes. It pushes some of us to embrace the irrational activity of “conspiracy theorizing.” The classic “proof” of a conspiracy is that there is no proof, for example. Most see fun little coincidences and strange connections as entertaining to a point, but some go a little crazy with it all.

Take the Shakespeare-Bible theory as an example. It turns out that some people claim that Shakespeare had a hand in the most famous translation of the Bible in the English language. These people don’t just assume his involvement based on his genius and the fact that his lifetime overlapped the most influential English language work ever. No. They claim that he inserted his autograph. Here is how the theory goes:

Shakespeare would have been 46 in 1610 when the work on the translation was wrapping up. If you turn to Psalm 46 and count down to the 46th word, it is “shake.” Then go the last word in the Psalm—not counting the real last word which is “selah,” so you leave it out—and count back 46 words and you get “spear.” Shake+spear!

This is clearly ridiculous. That is a pretty extreme case of finding patterns where there aren’t any,

There are those, however, who commit just as illogical a leap when they use those extreme examples to justify ignoring any patterns in nature. The level of design and intricacy in the universe makes a claim that: pure “chance and chaos” operating within the clear laws that the universe functions under produced life as we know it are… silly. What is worse is the fact that there are those—the most evangelical proponents of chance—who are so skewed against a divine designer (due to the evils of religious people claiming to speak on divinity’s behalf) that they are willing to concede a level of design. As long as the designers are themselves a product of the universe (paradoxical, I know) and not an external divinity. Aliens, yes. God, no.

That too is ridiculous.

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