Re: Mother Goose Prophecies

Date: Sat Jul 08 2000 - 11:25:42 MDT

In a message dated 7/5/00 9:09:35 AM Central Daylight Time, writes:

> The trouble with Biblical prophecies is that the "predictions" only work
> after the event
> happened not before. I must say that retroactive prediction seem rather
> pointless to
> me. That vastly overrated book is so full of archaic ideas, unfamiliar
> language,
> vague allusions, and silly stories and the hunt for hidden meaning is so
> intense that
> you can find any prediction you want if you read between the lines with
> enough
> imagination. It's like seeing familiar faces in cloud formations. I'm sure
> that if
> you studied Mother Goose deeply enough you could find some convoluted
> argument
> that "predicted" president Kennedy would be assassinated on November 22
> 1963.
> Mother Goose would be more fun to read too.

This points to a general problem with debunking ju-ju: There's no money in
it. Aside from CSICOP and their magazine the Skeptical Inquirer and and few
books, there is no real forum for dubunking and very little SYSTEMATIC
checking of "prophecies" and other clap-trap. Systematically collecting,
checking the claims of "prophets" and "psychics" and publicizing the results
would be a hugely expensive and difficult undertaking. Worse, sensible
people know that there isn't any good that comes from such an endeavor other
than the frustrating one of trying to stem the tide of irrationality in the
world. Unlike the spontaneously generated mechanism that the scientific
method offers for publication, peer review and independent corroboration,
debunking charlatans doesn't produce valuable new products to provide funding
for the process. In other words, perhaps dubunking charlatans is a public
good that is underproduced by the market, especialy in comparison to the
money to be made from PRODUCING and selling quackery and nonsense . . .

       Greg Burch <>----<>
      Attorney ::: Vice President, Extropy Institute ::: Wilderness Guide -or-
                                           ICQ # 61112550
        "We never stop investigating. We are never satisfied that we know
        enough to get by. Every question we answer leads on to another
       question. This has become the greatest survival trick of our species."
                                          -- Desmond Morris

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