Monday, July 13, 2009

The grand total of far-below-average stupidity

I saw a headline, and clicked on it. Yeah, I know - big mistake. Don't click on something just because you saw it on CNN's website. It could still lead you to a loony - if not downright offensive and potentially dangerous - article. Apart from that, you and your PC may be negatively impacted upon because of this ugly virus that infects many people on earth - the Stupidity Virus A1H1. Guess what the A and the H stand for...

(Hint: put two ss'es between the A and the H)

But I have to add that I was conned. I saw the word "Numerologist", and I thought this meant something intelligent. Being an engineer makes me attracted to numbers - it's one of those geeky requirements for becoming an engineer. Before you are allowed into the engineering faculty they ask you - "how did you like maths in school, young man?" If you didn't enjoy maths in school, chances are good that you won't enjoy studying engineering.

I don't consider myself a mathematician - I've done enough maths at university to know that I barely have a grasp of basic calculus. But I probably know a little more than mister average. And I am still fascinated by the subject.

Anyway, I saw this reference to Michael Jackson and "numerology", and I clicked. I had to see this - there must be tons of statistics and mathematical formulas - sounds very interesting.

The page opened up, and I looked into the face of this brilliant mathematical scholar. She doesn't seem too bright, but hell, most nerds look awful.

And then I started reading.

A new world opened up before me - a world of severe stupidity, in the name of numbers. What utter blasphemy! How can you connect numbers, real, sensible good old numbers - with crackpot theories like this?

So, to explain further, here is a little lesson in so-called "numerology" :

"Numerology deals with the influence of numbers on personal characteristics and human affairs"

OK, well, so far so good - no harm done? But wait - there's more!

"McCants -- who has appeared on nationally syndicated television and radio shows and is known as the "Numbers Lady" -- said that by taking Jackson's birth date (August 29, 1958, or 8/29/1958) she could chart his personality.

His was "six life path," she said, meaning he was magnetic and drew people to him. That, coupled with the fact that he was born on a two day made him irresistible, she said."

Wait. Please give me some facts here. Numbers please. Anything mathematical that I can relate to - please?

What I can tell you is that there are more than 6 billion people on this planet at the moment - not counting the dead ones. There are only 365 days in a year. I am not sure what the definition of a "two day" is, but lets say it's all the days that have the number 2 in them. There are at least 12 "two days" in every month of the year, except for February. This makes the chance of any single person on earth to be born on a "two day" quite high - in fact almost 2 billion people can claim this, if I roughly estimate that a third of the planet's population was born on a "two-day". (12 days - roughly a third of a 30 day month. )

There are potentially 16,438,356 people on earth who were born on the same day as Michael Jackson, or Britney spears, or any of the other so-called examples that Glynis mentions. In fact, I share my birthday with that same amount of people, give or take a few thousand.

Now, if you were to give me FACTS, and real statistics, you may convince me of some special magical "connection" between a specific number and someone's character, but the proof has yet to be shown.

When you go on and read the rest of this nutty article, you can understand where all this hocus-pocus comes from. According to Psychic Eddie Conner, :

"Unlike other souls that stay in the nonphysical realm anywhere from 70 to 150 years, he said, he believes the singer's soul will return quickly -- within the next 20 years -- because Jackson was such a perfectionist that he will want to "pick up where he left off."

O yeah, I forgot all about the "coming back" thing. But wasn't he already Elvis in a previous life? Or Bach? Or Beethoven? Or Charlie Chaplin?

According to another "expert" in this "scientific field",

"Rourke said he fully expects people to come forward claiming to have communicated with Jackson, but that any credible professional psychic or medium will not attempt to connect with Jackson for at least six months to a year and will only do so at the behest of a family member or an intimate friend of the singer..."

Yeah right. I can't wait to hear what he's got to say in 6 month's time, that he can't say right now?

Where do these people come from?

Here's some more maths - I statistically calculated that 45.65% of the people who read this article, will actually believe this bull and will one day proclaim to their kids that they spoke to MJ in a séance at the local circus. And he told them to BEAT IT.

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