Less than an hour’s drive from the heart of Mexico City lies the expansive ruins of Teotihuacan, a massive city of nearly 120,000 people who built pyramids, temples and palaces before disappearing around 650 A.D.
This civilization, which pre-dates the Aztecs, remains a mystery in many ways….
“Creationists reject Darwin’s theory of evolution on the grounds that it is “just a theory”. This is a valid criticism: evolution is indeed merely “a theory”, albeit one with ten billion times more credence than the theory of creationism - although, to be fair, the theory of creationism is more than just a theory. It’s also a fairy story. And children love fairy stories, which is presumably why so many creationists are keen to have their whimsical gibberish taught in schools.”—Charlie Brooker, “The Guardian” (via thedragoninmygarage)
life hack: get a tattoo. if the people at the job interview notice it and look concerned, laugh a little and explain “it’s just temporary.” months later if your boss asks why you lied and said it was a temporary tattoo, stare off into the distance and whisper with a tremulous voice the poor excuse for truth your subconscious has been fighting for its entire insignificant existence: “everything is temporary.”
Suppose I seriously make such an assertion to you. Surely you’d want to check it out, see for yourself. There have been innumerable stories of dragons over the centuries, but no real evidence. What an opportunity!
"Show me", you say, and I lead you to my garage. You look inside and see a ladder, empty paint cans, an old tricycle - but no dragon
"Where’s the dragon", you ask.
"Oh, she’s right here", I reply, waving vaguely. "I neglected to mention that she’s an invisible dragon".
You propose spreading flour on the floor of the garage to capture the dragon’s footprints. “Good idea”, I say, “but this dragon floats in the air”. Then you’ll use an infrared sensor to detect the invisible fire. “Good idea, but the invisible fire is also heatless”, I say. You’ll spray-paint the dragon and make her visible. “Good idea, except she’s an incorporeal (bodyless) dragon and the paint won’t stick!”
And so on. I counter every physical test you propose with a special explanation of why it won’t work.
Now what is the difference between an invisible, incorporeal, floating dragon who spits heatless fire and no dragon at all? If there’s no way to disprove my contention, no conceivable experiment that would count against it, what does it mean to say that my dragon exists? You’re inability to invalidate my hypothesis is not at all the same thing as proving it true. Claims that cannot be tested, assertions immune to disproof are veridically worthless, whatever value they may have in inspiring us or in exciting our sense of wonder. What I’m asking you to do comes down to believing, in the absence of evidence, on my say-so.
A story from “The Demon Haunted World”, by Carl Sagan
The propensity to see connections or patterns that are not there (apophenia) seems to be related to high levels of religiosity, especially the fundamentalist kind. I think this is due to the mental gymnastics a fundamentalist has to go through to make their worldview as ordered as they believe it is.