Thursday, April 15, 2010

Fox News Falls for Pareidolia

Recently, Fox News ran a scare piece on the show "Fox and Friends" comparing the symbol for the Nuclear Security Summit to the crescent shape found on some Muslim nation's flags. Like the flag of Algeria:

No, I don't see it either, but this batshit insane idiot did. So our Friends at Fox promptly scoop their brains out, throw them on the floor and take this as the opportunity to prove that our current president wants to take The Ayatollah on a Rodeo Drive shopping spree followed by a bit of patty-cake.

Of course, Jon Stewart was all over this bullshit like a fat kid on a cupcake.

What fails to get mentioned in even the most well constructed take down of this lunacy is the effect of pareidolia on people.

From The Skeptic's Dictionary:

Pareidolia is a type of illusion or misperception involving a vague or obscure stimulus being perceived as something clear and distinct.

This is the same illusion that makes people see Jeezus in a cracker or Mary With a Cherry on a tortilla.

So the fact-checkers (if there are any) at Fox News are being completely dishonest. Either they have fallen for this common misperception, making them intellectually dishonest, or they are willfully ignoring the true meaning of the symbol in order to spread their ridiculous notions.

The true model for the emblem? As anyone with even a cursory science education can see,

is the model of a hydrogen atom. Like Fox said - you be the judge.

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