OK, watch this Flash video. Watch it carefully, read all you can, think about it. Whatever your political slant and belief, watch it all. And then be sure to come back here when you’re done. Watch it twice even.
Here it is:
Did you watch? Interesting, huh? Pretty convincing even. Or at least, maybe make you wonder pretty seriously?
OK, now read this:
Now what do you think?
See, the Flash image uses very sensationalized presentation to draw on emotion and gut feelings to elicit a pseudo-intellectual response. It uses assumption, LOTS of assumption, circuitous logic, spurious logic, and opinion presented as fact.
And it trusts that the “facts” will play off the viewer’s “common sense.” When you watched it, did you think to yourself, “of course! That makes perfect sense!”
Common sense is not perfect. It’s incredibly biased and prone to subjectivity, personal experience, and emotion.
Here’s another example.
The Kennedy assassination. What would you think if you saw the shirt and jacket JFK wore, and the autopsy report, all showing the entry wound in the back as being a few inches below the base of the skull, and about even with the exit wound?
“Holy cow!” you might say. “Common sense, logic for goodness sake, mandates that that means that shot was fired at street level! Not from the 6th story of a building!”
Now do this experiment. Place a clothing stay, a grommet, an ink spot on a suit jacket and a shirt and your skin in those same places. Now sit down, and raise your elbow the level, nearly 90-degrees, that Kennedy had his when he was shot. You’ll see that the clothing as well as your skin and muscle on your back will rise to above the level of the exit wound. An angle that would match someone 6 floors above the ground.
There’s the magic bullet. Logic, common sense, dictates that it’s impossible for a bullet to change direction twice, in mid-air even, and be able to pass through two torsos, an arm, and a leg, AND remain nearly pristine in appearance. Not possible. Not logical. Completely against common sense!
An experiment was recently carried out using a sharpshooter, the same model of rifle Oswald used, and a round from the exact same manufacturing batch Oswald got his ammo from. A company created exact replicas of Kennedy and the Texan Governor’s torsos, arm, and leg. Using materials that exactly matches human tissue, from skin to bone. They placed them in the exact same positions the were sitting and created the models using the exact same postures. Using some info not easily seen in film, and that is that the seat the Governor was sitting in was a modified “jump seat” which sits off-center from Kennedy’s. That plus the positions there were sitting in, in the film produced this:
That test round fired at exactly the same elevation and distance and angle made the exact same wounds in those models as were in Kennedy and the Governor. Exactly. Including the elongated entrance wound on the Governor’s back. The only difference is that the test round broke two of the model Governor’s ribs instead of one. So even though it exited, went through the model wrist the same way, when it hit the model thigh in the same place, it didn’t break the “skin.” But it did hit the same place. And the fact that it had slightly less velocity because of the 2nd rib means that in the Oswald shot it entered the Governor’s leg only superficially. Which explains why it had worked itself out and was found on the Governor’s hospital gurney.
And, the test round looked the exact same as the Oswald round. Perfect outer casing, very slight bend, and a little bit of the lead core pushed out the back.
Logic, common sense, can make us believe very wrong conclusions and it’s only through rational, critical, skeptical thought, analysis, research, and observation of data can the truth be revealed.
Some years ago I had a friend who was Wiccan. Her mom was Wiccan, her grandmother was…whatever “good” witches called themselves before Wicca was invented. Being open-minded and a friendly guy, I never scoffed at her beliefs, but one day it got too much for me. She’d made some comment about how majik (or however majick believers want to spell it) was just as legitimate and viable as science.
So, I confirmed from her, the magic that Wicca, viz a vis, witchcraft, is based on has been around for centuries. It’s as old as the Celtic Druids, as the ancient Egyptians, yadda yadda. OK, so in all those centuries, how come there’s no PROOF that witchcraft works? No undeniable, empirical evidence that magick works? No one who can provide undeniable evidence that someone was turned into a toad, the exact future event was predicted, someone was spelled into loving another, etc. We’ve had centuries to come up with evidence and there is none.
Oh, she says, but it’s based on belief. On the power of belief and the force of spirit. (Everyone clap your hands and Tinkerbell will live!)
OK then, I say, you believe. You practice. You say it works. I’m willing to believe if I see it works. So do something to me. make my hair fall out. Foretell an exact event in my life and when it will happen down to the hour. Make my nose bigger or make it so that I will find an envelope of money at a specific place and time. Do anything, ANYTHING, that will provide undeniable proof that majiq was responsible for it happening. I will provide any body sample you need, my real name, the exact time and place of my birth. I would provide anything she needed.
Her response was to get mad at me.
See, if I want to make polymer strings, I know what chemicals I need to get and how to combine them and I will get plastic fibers every time. If I want to bake a cake, I know that the proper combination of starch, protein, and carbohydrates will produce the same effect. I know that if I mix carbon, ammonia, and salt peter together in a fine powder and apply heat I will get combustion. Science works. And every year science improves upon itself and works better, and more. (Unlike my grammar.)
But no matter how many centuries practitioners of mahjek have, they still cannot provide proof that it works. It doesn’t evolve, it doesn’t improve, it doesn’t progress. Scince has brought us from rural agrarians to the information age in 300 years. Magic has done nothing over 3000+ years but provide superstition and folklore.
And the basis for some cool movies.
Don’t just believe things because it Sounds Good. Because it strikes an emotional chord in you. Think about it rationally. Challenge it. Demand irrefutable proof. be a skeptic, and you won’t be a fool.