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Beliefs versus Evidences
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Not long ago, I came across some random show on Animals TV (or maybe the Discovery channel, I don't really remember, anyway, one of those...). The show was about the journey of a young (female) biologist who were looking for specimens of a previously thought extinct sub-species of alligator, called the Nil crocodile. Her journey brought her across Kenya and Egypt.

I wasn't so much interested in the crocodiles than in the fact that, when I started watching, she was talking to some locals and they were telling her that the place she was standing is filled with crocodiles during the flood, and that maybe the sub-species she was looking for would be among them. Unfortunately it was the dry season she she could only see dry land and sand around her.

She asked the first most obvious question I would ask to them: "Right, fair enough, but then where are they right now ? Where do they hide during the dry season ?". The locals replied that the crocodiles were hiding "in the trees", with that stupid look on their faces which let you guess that they have been telling themselves the same story over and all over again during the past few thousands years, and that she would have to believe them on faith. The funny thing is that there wasn't many trees around, all of them without leaves, and it was enough to just look at them to see that there wasn't any crocodiles hiding there, but apparently this little detail didn't seem to bother the locals who maintained they explanation.

Fortunately our young biologist decided not to believe in those fairy tales (not only because her research paper would not be published with such a fantasist ending, I think she also had that thing called "scientific mind") and started to think. If those crocodiles where still alive (if the sub-species had not gone instinct), then they must be hiding somewhere during the dry season. Why not in the ground ? We have never seen crocodiles digging around, but the ground was definitively the only place they could ever be (unless of course if they migrate, but let us not explore that other hypothesis now, and just stay on the ground thing...).

So our biologist started to look around, she looked, she looked, and after a while bumped into what looked like a very dark, dangerous looking, hole in the ground. Something looking like the entrance of a cavern. She lied on the ground, put her head inside but could not see anything. If that hole was going anywhere, it was some kind of a long tunnel.

At that point she had a nice idea. She managed to buy some kind of remote controlled moving toy and strapped on the top of it a camera with a wireless connection to her laptop. She double checked everything and started driving Hole1Explorer inside the ground, with the locals behind her attentively looking at the screen, and wondering what the hell she was hoping discover in that place.

Of course she found the crocodiles.

Now, what really interests me, is what must have happened in the mind of the locals at that very moment. The moment where a pure, plain, bold, unencrypted evidence lands on some previous strange looking beliefs you had.

Additionally I would like to know whether the locals are going to tell the same stupid, tree related, story to their children, or if they are going to tell them "well, until recently we thought that the crocodiles hid in the trees during the dry season (because this is what we were told by our parents before -- but now thinking of it, that was pretty silly actually), but that biologist came up and we saw with our own eyes that in fact they just hide in the ground".


I wonder whether I will still be alive when science will bring an absolute definite proof of Evolution. I want to be there to see the face of those stupid religious believers. This said, I guess they will do just as they did last time [Galileo affair, wikipedia.com], just take 400 years to admit their mistake.

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