Originally posted by winofiend
That notion of "something not as it seems" is always going to be where humans are, because of that one thing that has helped us evolve.
Imagination and pareidolia are what help keep cavemen safe at night. Better to beat that bear with a club, and unintentionally kill dino the pet, than
Indeed, the culling to change dynamic in why our genetics survived and accreted the 16 Human Accelerated Regions of our genome, selected by evolution,
was precisely because of this skill to see beyond, determine the potential element of awesomeness (good and bad), and communicate it to the clan.
Seeing what could be there, is not the same thing as pareidolia. It is what makes for sound business, and infrastructure planning for the clan.
One thing I learned through my years, the hard way, and the single greatest mistake which is even worse than pareidolia or conspiracy thought habits,
in the end, is pretending that we hold a penultimate set of data and understanding. That is when the real damage is effective. When we think we are
smarter than we really are, and we set about a methodology which targets and filters out that which we pretend does not exist.
A running joke I hear back consistently from techs in the field or labs is "Well we obtained the answer to ________, and all it did was create more
questions." I have that posted on my office wall, along with "Don't assume anything."
I recently toured a Miocene lava dome in Africa, 8 miles across, convex and yet below elastic limit; to survey some geo studies my company has being
conducted therein. Growing on it was endless strawgrass, hip high. The only thing that could grow there. The locals said that the "hyenas will not
go there because the magnetics messes with them." It is 74% hematite and magnetite, along with other upper magma constituents. Just the same, I
carried a Glock .45 (not that it would stop a lion or hyena pack that close) and we lit off firecrackers before every auger move for the next core
sample. Expert testimony is never sufficient excuse for stupidity. This from experience, is our greater challenge.
The key resides in not panicking or seeking doomsday magic every time a set of unknowns is encountered. But to pretend that the unknowns are teensy
little gaps in our authoritative knowledge, or that what resides inside them is insignificant or irrelevant is our Penultimate Set Fallacy, .. that
human foible has proven through the entire industrial age to constitute the real insanity.
If one is to be skeptical, our first duty is to be skeptical of what we extrapolate into thinking we know. New things, and fanciful thinking will
falsify themselves through added facts and will not harm us if we apply non-prejudiced discipline; but the things we confidently presume from 32
months of extra classwork, or while we comfortably sit in front of bookshelves, will die - with us.