Sunday, June 26, 2011


Pareidolia is defined as a psychological phenomenon involving a random or vague stimulus as being perceived as significant. For example: o_O or other "emoticons" that resemble a face, or seeing the hand of "God" in the clouds, Jesus' face in a piece of toast, or even something like "answered prayers". Our brains are prone to look for and find patterns where there may or may not be any. Michael Shermer, founder of The Skeptic Society, calls this tendency "patternicity" which is defined as "the tendency to find meaningful patterns in meaningless noise. Everyone has probably experienced this phenomenon, whether it's something like learning a new word and then hearing it the same day on TV, or seeing those old American Express commercials where they made ordinary objects appear to resemble faces. It's a perfectly normal occurrence, but sometimes people can go a little too far with it.

I was checking for messages and updates on facebook this afternoon and stumbled across this link that talked about this woman finding the word GOD outlined by veins in her leg (talk about taking God's name in vein; hardy har). I must admit that, once you know what you're supposed to be looking for, it does kinda look like her veins do spell GOD. But, I'm not altogether sure I buy it; pictures can be altered, and people will do anything for a few seconds of fame. But even if the photo is not doctored, I have to ask myself, "WTF?" First off, I don't believe in God and I don't think one exists. I can't be one hundred per cent sure of that (nobody can; not even believers), but I'm sure enough to live my life accordingly to that stance. Secondly, if there were an omnipotent being somewhere out there, why would he see fit to write his name in blood vessels on some woman's leg? Couldn't an all-powerful deity muster up a little more than that? Oh wait, I forgot; "God can't reveal himself; that would nullify free will". Right. But according to the same people that tell you that will refer to the argument of predestination--God being omniscient and all. Which cancels out the free will argument, so why doesn't he appear to everyone and then leave the choice of following him to each person? Some might say that they'd prefer not to spend an eternity pontificating and being a sycophant to a megalomaniac forever; that hell would be the better choice, far and away. So, again, why not reveal yourself? I God exists. Can't we, as humans, just concede and understand that we're not all that we think we are? That this entire universe with its billions of galaxies and innumerable planets wasn't made just for us; and that we're just a random event of fortuity and life is capable on this planet mostly by accident?

If that woman's leg really has God's name on it, so what? Good for her. Maybe she should find a circus and travel as a sideshow attraction or something....

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