Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Disassembling A Jigsaw Puzzle

I’ve had in the past many discussions with my friends about religions—mostly about them trying to “prove” to me the existence of God and why the god of a particular religion is the true one. I shall refrain from going into the specific points of their arguments in this post. Suffice to say that none of them have been successful in convincing me. 

The trouble with me is that I’m rather too rigid in my approach when investigating into something to find an answer. Of course I’m also human and can’t escape from the tendency of speculating on the result of my investigation, but most of the time I’m able to keep an open mind. 

My approach—which is the scientific and logical one—is to find all the jigsaw pieces and then assemble them one by one into their respective rightful places to form the complete picture. There will be some confusion along the way, of course, such as mistaking the tip of a tail for the black cat, because there is a white spot on that jigsaw piece, only to find out later that that cat had an awkward white spot on its tail. Therefore, there is the reluctance to try that piece on the cat, but upon trying anyway, it fits perfectly! So one by one the jigsaw pieces go into forming the complete picture, and only then can one appreciate what that whole picture is all about. 

But religions don’t really work like that. Instead, they work quite the opposite way. One sees the whole picture in the mind first, and then by disassembling the jigsaw pieces, tries to see where they fit in the holy book. If there is any part in the holy book that doesn’t seem to agree with the final picture, why then that part must be interpreted in a way that can agree with the final conclusion anyway! 

If God is said to be a loving being that tells us that we should not kill, but then suddenly loses his temper and goes on a killing spree on a grand scale by drowning the entire human race except for only a few people, then that should be interpreted as only He knows best, and He must have had a good reason for doing that! If the holy book allows slavery, then we will interpret that that was allowed only during those good old days, but not these modern days. If the holy book says a man can beat his wife, then we will say that that comes with some strict conditions. Even if the holy book tells us to be a murderer, that will be interpreted to mean something in a good way somehow. All of this is because the person seeking the answer has already made up his mind the kind of picture he wishes to see in the end! 

Here's the thing about religions—it's mainly about faith, and therefore can't be approached in a scientific way. One believes in the end result first, and is absolutely convinced that that is the truth before even seeking the whole explanation to arrive at that conclusion. It is no more no less the opposite of the scientific approach.

In much the same way, many people have already made up their minds on the complete picture of flight MH370, even if the case calls for a scientific approach. If, at all, there were initial doubts in their minds about that picture, then they would have been assisted to be fully convinced by articles written by some people who’ve suddenly become aviation experts overnight. They have in their minds the fully assembled jigsaw puzzle even if they don't really have all the relevant information to arrive at the conclusion. All that’s left to do is the reverse process of disassembling those jigsaws and then try to match those with the little available information to prove themselves right. 

In their minds, it was a big cover-up by the Malaysian government; a conspiracy of Hollywood proportion. Whatever information available out there will be twisted and interpreted in a way that will somehow arrive at the conclusion of a big cover-up. If no debris had been retrieved from the Indian Ocean, that must have meant that the plane did not crash. The plane must have been flown to Pakistan or Iran instead. If the pilot was suicidal, he could have crashed the plane even without switching off the transponder; so that must have meant he had brought the plane somewhere else to land. So, you see, it is possible to interpret whatever information to force-fit into the picture that one had decided to believe. 

There are so many other possibilities propounded by so many "aviation experts" out there whom obviously know the present exact location of MH370 and aware of all the details of the case simply by analysing data from the confines of their homes and offices. Some of these theories are mind-boggling, some are outrageously ridiculous, if not entertaining. Out of this world theories that are all more probable than the over-simplistic conclusion that the plane had crashed in the Indian Ocean.

Not the logical approach of assembling the jigsaws to form the picture like how it should be done; rather, the process of disassembling the jigsaws from a complete (fictional) picture to fit the source of the loose pieces. 


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