Lisa, I Would Like To Buy Your Rock

It goes like this:

[Item] or [practice] nullifies or negates the effects, presence, activity or consequences of [entity], [energy], or [phenomenon]. How can you tell? Because absolutely nothing is happening, and so the [item] or [practice] is a legitimate success. This stone keeps away bears. You can tell because you don’t see any bears around here . . . yes, this stone IS for sale. How expensive? Completely.

This kind of non-logic is still happening today, and not only is it still happening but it’s actively endorsed by government bodies. Welcome to Austria, where a hitherto fatality-laden length of motorway near Salzburg has been fixed. By magic.

Druid Ilmar Tessman has blamed the high accident rate on a local mobile phone mast, which spreads “negative radiation over 120-200 miles.”

The accident rate has been reduced to zero in two years by the use of standing stones and magnets, apparently. Responding to scientific skeptics who say “Whatever can’t be measured does not exist” (Dr Georg Walach, Leoben University), Tessman says “If you ask me to give you a scientific explanation, I can’t. I just know it works, and even critics can’t argue with our success rate.”

Guess what? They can. I find it bogglingly, numbingly depressing that such nonsense is tolerated, let alone invested in as a valid solution. Instead of subjecting such findings to further research – and think about it, if you genuinely were sure that cheap edifices of stone, plastic and magnets could prevent car accidents surely you’d research the hell out of it, given that it represents a new stage of physics – this coincidental nonsense is simply allowed to continue. Drivers on these dangerous roads, whose risk factor has not been reduced in the slightest by these druidical interventions, will drive thinking they’re safe. I’ll tell you for free what reduced the rate of accidents – coincidence. People happened not to die for two years running, which is hardly surprising on a well known accident black spot. The more notorious the area becomes, the more careful drivers will be on it. Makes sense, I feel. But now? Drivers will think that elemental magic protects them from harm, and will quite possibly drive more dangerously as a result.

Grow up, world. If Tessman has truly stumbled on a new arena of scientific endeavour, don’t you think he should write a few papers on the subject?

You can find on the internet, today, people who genuinely think they have psychic or telekinetic powers. Imagine the new depths of Tessman’s delusion now that he’s been told he can fix road traffic fatalities. It’s cruel, when you think about it.