Death By Planet and Other Silliness

Human beings believe a lot of funny things.

For example, of the 9,535 reported deaths in London in the year 1632, thirteen (13) of them were allegedly caused by Planet.¹

As in, “the planets were aligned” or “misaligned” or “Mercury was in retrograde.”

This “death by Planet” belief was thanks to the pseudoscience of astrology, which was popular and accepted as fact at the time. Court astrologer was an official position. Queen Elizabeth I even had her own personal astrologer. A man, John Dee, who was basically paid to make stuff up.

If you’re out of work there are lots of well-paid jobs still available in this “make stuff up and get paid” field. See: Deepak Chopra, who earns millions peddling his own charlatanous brand of misinformation and baloney.

And, of course, two of the big beliefs from our past:
– The Earth is flat.
– The Sun revolves around the Earth.

You don’t believe any of that now because you know better. Because we’ve learned some things that our ancestors did not know.

As a result, we think those formerly normal beliefs are silly now.

The more mistakes we make the more we learn. The more we keep fearlessly making mistakes and learning from them the more we’re going to look silly to the people of Earth 2414CE. Just like the beliefs people had 400 years ago make those people look silly to us today.

Which brings me to:

What beliefs do you or I hold today that are going to make future generations think we were idiots?

I can hypothesize a few. You?

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¹ Thanks to John Gaunt’s vital statistics work in the 1600s for the data.

10 Responses to Death By Planet and Other Silliness

  1. The concept of beliefs is going to make future generations think we were idiots. Is it a fact or is it not? What the hell kind of idiots just went around making stuff up…

    • On the other hand, making stuff up and testing that made up stuff is how we learn. The problems arise when we make stuff up, don’t test it, and accept it as reality.

  2. I definitely believe the madness of political correctness will be viewed by later generations as idiotic limitations on free speech and important social debate.

    • Thanks for bringing up nationality. It’s something I’ve been thinking a lot about lately. Growing up I never really felt like an American. I was Polish. I was different from the other kids. Now that I’ve been in Poland for 2 years I don’t feel Polish, I feel more American. (It doesn’t help that people in the US always told me I’m Polish and people here tell me I’m not Polish. heh) You could almost say I’m having an existential crisis. (I’m not.) But it has made me think a lot about how nationality, especially being a patriot for the sake of being a patriot, feels a little off.

  3. Just wanted to point out that it’s been well-known for over 2,000 years that the Earth was round and that knowledge was not among the knowledge lost during the following millenniums. Probably a good example of one of those beliefs that’s commonly held today which will (hopefully) disappear.

    • Well-known? Nebulous. The Romans believed that (as I recall), but Christianity stomped those beliefs into the ground for a thousand plus years. I’m talking here about what *most* people believed. ~500 years ago the small minority of people who outwardly professed that the Earth revolved around the Sun were executed for it.

      Correct me if I’m wrong as I’m heading out the door and have not fact-checked this.

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