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Cold Hard Faith

Here is the pareidolia du jour: The Virgin Mary-cicle.

Isn’t it amazing how people perceive order within chaos? We are pattern-seeking animals that love to anthropomorphize non-human objects and items. If it’s clouds, we see animals, objects, and faces. If it’s a hill on Mars, we see human-like features. And if it’s made of oil, cheese, old knotted trees, or in this case, frozen water, we see characters from the bible.

From the AOLNews.com article:

One woman even claimed it answered her prayers. “I had a lump in my breast and yesterday when I went home it disappeared,” she told reporters. “I don’t have it no more.”

And, of course, this icicle healed this woman. What else could it have possibly been? No other explanations needed. All you need is a little faith, and the ability to suppress rational thought, and BAM, the lump in your breast is gone! I really don’t like making fun of people’s faith – I think it is an essential right within a free society that is worth defending on many levels. But it is sometimes painful to watch people abandon ALL reason at the expense of trying to “keep the faith”.

And I could not help but laugh out loud when I read that the devoted were lighting candles and putting them around the icicle. Seriously? You are putting candles around the holy ice? That’s just icing on the cake. I can just see some well-wisher getting their candle a little too close to the ice, and a few minutes later, the ice that supposedly looks like the Virgin Mary suddenly looks like one of those melted Nazi’s from the climax in Raiders of the Lost Ark. Too funny!

But there is nothing funny about people being so steeped in their religious beliefs that they wind up sacrificing the collective understanding of the universe around us (i.e. science.)

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