“It’s the end of the world!” “Again?”

Buffy: I told you. I said end of the world and you’re like “pooh, pooh, Southern California, pooh, pooh.”
Giles: I’m so very sorry. My contrition completely dwarfs the impending apocalypse.

I never resist the urge to quote Buffy.

Anyway, there was some apparent worry that all those nines yesterday would herald in the end of the world.

This is despite the fact that the world has endured despite a number of previous dates for Armageddon, including the millenium and 06/06/06.

Though technically there’s nothing special about the symmetrical date, some concerned with the history and meaning of numbers ascribe powerful significance to 09/09/09.

Users of the alien-earth.org website combined Nostrodamus, the Book of Revelation and the Mayan prophecies with fears about the Cern Large Hadron Collider in Geneva in their predictions.

But scientists dismissed the conspiracy theories and said numerology and the belief in special dates should be ignored.

Professor Chris French of Goldsmiths, University of London and editor of The Skeptic Magazine, told the Daily Mail: “Numerology, like any other system of divination, has no validity whatsoever with the exception that sometimes your belief that a day is auspicious may affect your behaviour.”

“If a deeply superstitious person is anxious about driving on Friday 13th it’s possible they may be more likely to crash.

“We are very good at seeking out meaning and patterns in randomness – it’s one of the reasons humans are such a successful species. But the price is that we see significance in things that aren’t there at all.”

I had to bold the last statement. It felt like it needed a bold.

It’s what makes religions and mysticism so successful as well. Random natural events are given supernatural meaning, be it an earthquake, or flood, or disease, or simply a person being born albino.

And yes, of course it’s important to assume the rustle in the grass is a lion. Because it might be. It might be incredibly unlikely, but would you want to be the one devoured because you didn’t anticipate the threat? Better to prepare for the possibility – that’s why we find meaning in the random. Because sometimes there’s meaning to be found. It’s just the fact that you can spend so much time looking for what isn’t there, you miss what is.

About 1minionsopinion

Canadian Atheist Basically ordinary Library employee Avid book lover Ditto for movies Wanna-be writer Procrastinator
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