Sunday, February 21, 2010

God's Early Warning System Needs to be Tweaked

Courtesy of Unreasonable Faith, we find out that a woman who raped was actually warned by her god that it was going to happen.  Why did she allow the rape to happen, then?  Well, it seems that SHE WAS ALREADY TIED UP WHEN HE TOLD HER, alone with an attacker.  Great timing, g.  What is your next trick - You going to tell us that Booth is going to shoot Lincoln?
(Although there are more gory (not graphic) details about it  here, Unreasonable Faith has a good rundown on the foolishness (fallacy?) of prophesy when it is too late to do anything about the prophesied event.)

This led me to think about other sources of prophesy.  Bizarre things like "The Bible Code", NospheratuNostradamus, tea leaves, tarot cards, astronomy, etc.  These "prophesies" fall into one or more of the following categories:

1)  Ambiguous - Astronomy, tea leaves, and tarot card readings (among others) - "Get together with friends today," "stay focused," "You're possibilities for success in your field of endeavor look very good in the days ahead" (all of these were culled out of this morning's paper).  They either describe a normal day's activity, or in the example "success in your field of endeavor", is so wide-open as to be true if you happen to not trip over your own shoelace.

2)  Hindsight is 20/20 - Nostradamus, Bible Code (and many, many more) - After a (major) event, folks scour over these sources of "prophesy" to find a quatrain to misinterpret, or biblical verse that "foretold" the event.  Humans have been writing for thousands of years, and the human imagination is vast.  Some time in the past, somebody thought of something that sounded like the event that just occurred.  Here - let me try one.... "A sphere will drop, a flame will appear, a red river will flow."  There - I can say I foretold the next war!

3)  A Room Full of Monkeys - Bible Code, others - If you take a big enough book, break it down into blocks of various sizes, "read" the book going forward, backward, and diagonally like you would a word jumble, you will find "hidden words".  These hidden words are then manipulated/combined in a haphazard way to create "prophesies".  Sadly, they are usually combined *afterwards* (hindsight being 20/20, after all) to "prove" the event was "foreseen".  Why don't they make these claims ahead of time?  Probably because, with nothing to guide them in putting the words together, they'd end up with something as meaningful as "mended as well as their bruises, their tempers and their hopes. Their plans were improved with the best advice. So the time came to mid summer eve, Elrond knew all about runes of every kind".  (That was taken from a spam email.)

I saw a documentary a couple of years back about prophesies, and one section centered on 9/11.  Of course, proponents of the Bible Code and Nostradamus all rushed forth AFTERWARDS to declare that their source FORETOLD that horrible event.  Penn Jillette had a line that was something like "If you have the ability to foresee these events, or you have information of them before they happen, AND YOU DO NOTHING ABOUT IT, YOU ARE EVIL, and should be prosecuted!" (I'll try to find the exact quote).  He nails it.

Whether your prophesies are bible related, or come from some other form of witchcraft, unless you come forward ahead of time, the just STFU.

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