The Misconception: You take randomness into account when determining cause and effect.
The Truth: You tend to ignore random chance when the results seem meaningful or when you want a random event to have a meaningful cause.
Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy were both presidents of the United States, elected 100 years apart. Both were shot and killed by assassins who were known by three names with 15 letters, John Wilkes Booth and Lee Harvey Oswald, and neither killer would make it to trial.
Spooky, huh? It gets better.
Lincoln had a secretary named Kennedy, and Kennedy had a secretary named Lincoln.
They were both killed on a Friday while sitting next to their wives, Lincoln in the Ford Theater, Kennedy in a Lincoln made by Ford.
Both men were succeeded by a man named Johnson – Andrew for Lincoln and Lyndon for Kennedy. Andrew was born in 1808. Lyndon in 1908.
What are the odds?
In 1898, Morgan Robertson wrote a novel titled “Futility.”
Written 14 years before the Titanic sank, 11 years before construction on the vessel even began, the similarities between the book and the real event are eerie.
The novel describes a giant boat called the Titan which everyone considers unsinkable. It is the largest ever created, and inside it seems like a luxury hotel – just like the as yet unbuilt Titanic.
Titan had only 20 lifeboats, half than it needed should the great ship sink. The Titanic had 24, also half than it needed.
In the book, the Titan hits an iceberg in April 400 miles from Newfoundland. The Titanic, years later, would do the same in the same month in the same place.
The Titan sinks, and more than half of the passengers die, just as with the Titanic. The number of people on board who die in the book and the number in the future accident are nearly identical.
The similarities don’t stop there. The fictional Titan and the real Titanic both had three propellers and two masts. Both had a capacity of 3,000 people. Both hit the iceberg close to midnight.
Did Robertson have a premonition? I mean, what are the odds?
In the 1500s, Nostradamus wrote:
Bêtes farouches de faim fleuves tranner
Plus part du champ encore Hister sera, En caige de fer le grand sera treisner, Quand rien enfant de Germain observa.
This is often translated to:
Beasts wild with hunger will cross the rivers, The greater part of the battle will be against Hister. He will cause great men to be dragged in a cage of iron, When the son of Germany obeys no law.
That’s rather creepy, considering this seems to describe a guy with a tiny mustache born about 400 years later. Here is another prophecy:
Out of the deepest part of the west of Europe, From poor people a young child shall be born, Who with his tongue shall seduce many people, His fame shall increase in the Eastern Kingdom.
Wow. Hister certainly sounds like Hitler, and that second quatrain seems to drive it home. Actually, Many of Nostradamus’ predictions are about a guy from Germania who wages a great war and dies mysteriously.
What are the odds?
If any of this seems too amazing to be coincidence, too odd to be random, too similar to be chance, you are not so smart.
You see, in all three examples the barn was already peppered with holes. You just drew bullseyes around the spots where the holes clustered together.
Allow me to explain.
by Gordon Bonnet via Skeptophilia
I didn’t realize what a fuss there still was over the sinking of the Titanic.
Okay, I know that it has some cachet as one of the biggest shipping disasters in history. I know it was made into a movie, with heartthrob Leonardo DiCaprio in the title role. (What, the movie isn’t named Jack Dawson’s Terrible, Horrible, No-Good, Really Bad Day?) I know that the theme music, wherein Celine Dion’s heart goes on and on and on and on and on and on, was played an average of 1,389,910 times a day for a year after the movie opened.
But really: what’s the big deal? [spoiler alert] The ship sinks. Lots of people drown. End of story.
But no, that’s not all there is to it, some folks say — and by “some folks” I mean “people with the IQ of a bar of soap.” Because we haven’t discussed why the Titanic sank. And it wasn’t because it ran into a great big hunk of ice.
Oh, no, that would be way too logical.
You can forget about all of that. No iceberg necessary. According to a new theory, the Titanic sank because a bunch of time travelers from the future went back to witness the Titanic sinking from on board the ship itself, and the extra weight of the passengers is what caused the ship to sink.
Now, wait, you may be saying, at least after you recover from the faceplant you undoubtedly did after reading this novel claim. “If the time travelers are what caused it to sink, then how did anyone know it had sunk, since the ship had to sink in order for the time travelers to know to come back in time to watch it sink?”
Well, if you asked that question, all I can say is . . .
I was in a discussion forum and somebody asked me to explain The Texas Sharpshooter Fallacy. I started typing when i remembered a video from several years ago that will explain it better than i can write it.
Enjoy, my friend 🙂
- You Are Not So Smart on the web.
- Read more about the Texas Sharpshooter Fallacy here on iLLumiNuTTi.com
The Woman Who Survived All Three Disasters Aboard the Sister Ships: the Titanic, Britannic, and Olympic
By Emily Upton via todayifoundout.com
Today I Found Out about Violet Jessop, “Miss Unsinkable,” the woman who survived the sinking of the sister ships the Titanic and the Britannic, and was also aboard the third of the trio of Olympic class vessels, the Olympic, when it had a major accident.
Violet Jessop enjoyed incredible “luck” from a young age. Born in 1887 in Argentina to Irish immigrants, she contracted tuberculosis as a young child and was given just a few months to live. Somehow, she managed to fight the disease and went on to live a long, healthy life.
When her father passed away, her mother moved the family to Britain, where she took a job as a stewardess on a ship. While her mother was working, Violet attended a convent school. Unfortunately, her mother became ill, and to provide for her siblings Violet decided to follow in her mother’s footsteps and become a ship stewardess herself.
The first in a long line of struggles for Violet was finding a ship that would take her. She was just 21 years old at the time and most women working as stewardesses in the early 1900s were middle-aged. Employers believed that her youth and good looks would be a disadvantage to her, “causing problems” with the crew and passengers. (Over the course of her career, she did get at least three marriage proposals while working on various ships, one from an incredibly wealthy first-class passenger.)
Eventually, Violet solved the problem by making herself look frumpy with old clothes and no make-up, and experienced more successful interviews after this. After a brief stint aboard the Orinoco, a Royal Mail Line steamer, in 1908, she was hired by the White Star Line.
Violet started out on the line’s Magestic, switching to the Olympic in 1910. Despite the long hours and minimal pay (£2.10 every month or about £200 today), she enjoyed working aboard the massive ship. She had initially had some concerns about the rough weather conditions while traveling across the Atlantic, but she reportedly liked that the Americans treated her more like a person while she served them.
It was just one year later when the trouble started. In 1911, the Olympic collided with the HMS Hawke (a ship designed to sink ships by ramming them). Both ships sustained considerable damage, including the Olympic having its hull breached below the water line, but miraculously didn’t sink. They were able to make it back to port, and Violet disembarked without being harmed.