Opinion piece from New Scientist takes a quick look at logic and the past events of the year:
“BEGIN with an earthquake and work up to a climax.” That aphorism, usually attributed to legendary film producer Samuel Goldwyn, epitomises Hollywood’s attitude to movie-making: when you’ve got no better ideas, simply throw everything at the screen and hope to dazzle the viewer.
This year has felt like one of Goldwyn’s movies, beginning with the first-act earthquake in Japan and working up to the financial crisis in Europe, via nuclear disaster, tumult in the Middle East, the assassination of the world’s most wanted man and particles that travel faster than light. At times, the news was more gripping than anything Hollywood was producing.
And more bewildering, too. To put it in cinematic terms: this year’s storyline has been pretty difficult to follow. Even the “experts” have been left struggling to anticipate or explain the course of events.
Why? Because they, like the rest of us, have been seduced by simplistic models of complex systems that range from social policy to market economics to the environment. Ideology has come to prevail over evidence; among some factions, blind faith - in markets, destiny or deities - has triumphed over reason.