How do you know she is a witch? October 19, 2013Posted by Ezra Resnick in Science, Superstition.
“We have found a witch, may we burn her?”
“How do you know she is a witch?”
“She looks like one! Also, last week she gave me a creepy stare when she walked by my house — and the very next day my kitten died!”
“But do you have any good reasons for thinking that witches exist at all?”
“Oh, I see: You’re one of those closed-minded, reductionist, scientism fundamentalists. Let me tell you something: Thousands of people have believed in witches for thousands of years — how many more reasons do you need? Are you calling all those people stupid? How arrogant of you, to think you’re smarter than everyone else. Science doesn’t know everything, you know. And even when science claims to know something, it sometimes turns out to be wrong. Anyway, there’s more to life than what you can measure in a lab. Just because you can’t explain something scientifically doesn’t mean it isn’t true!”
“You got me all wrong: I agree with all that. I merely meant to say that based on my own hallowed tradition and sacred texts, I believe that what you call witchcraft is actually caused by demonic possession. This calls for an exorcism, not a burning.”
“Oh. All right, then, let’s give it a shot — if that doesn’t work, we can always burn her!”