Ages ago, before humans knew counting, there was a man who preached that the world was number and that it could be counted, and that there is one true
science of counting. He showed people how to add, subtract, and even multiply. After he went on, wandering off into the mountains, a cult grew up
around this doctrine and people spent their Sundays counting rocks, communing with the divine order of things.
One day some cult members got word of another strange cult across the mountains that also had similar doctrines of counting. Some members made the
journey and heard the doctrine of this other cult. To their amazement, these people were counting wrong! This whole cult was engaging in totally
different rituals and had very different rules about adding and subtracting and multiplying their numbers. It was blasphemy!
They began to argue with these people, showing them their "true" science of counting. But these other people insisted that their counting was the
true doctrine. Anger grew, until finally fighting broke out between them. They threw rocks at each other. It was a holy war. They were even counting
the rocks as they threw them. The one group was throwing them, shouting 1,2,3,4,5,... as the rocks flew. The other group was throwing their rocks
Appalled by such insanity, many people declared such counting cults as irrational. This counting knowledge obviously had serious epistemological
problems, they said. These people were claiming to have verified two conflicting doctrines. They think "I tried it, it worked for me, therefore it's
true." The subjective nature of their knowledge clearly shows that it is not a true science, but arbitrary belief.
Meanwhile, the visionary wandering counter, whose teachings had become the doctrines of these cults, was relaxing under a tree in a far off land,
enjoying the summer breeze, and marveling over the beautiful unity of counting, and the wonderful diversity of manifestations it takes.
Copyright 1993 Thomas J. McFarlane
Something to think about, I hope.
Just in case the underlying message is missed by anyone, the counting cults represent religion.