There’s a fascinating frailty of the human mind that psychologists know all about, called “argument from ignorance.” This is how it goes. Remember what the “U” stands for in “UFO”? You see lights flashing in the sky. You’ve never seen anything like this before and don’t understand what it is. You say, “It’s a UFO!” The “U” stands for “unidentified.”
But then you say, “I don’t know what it is; it must be aliens from outer space, visiting from another planet.” The issue here is that if you don’t know what something is, your interpretation of it should stop immediately. You don’t then say it must be X or Y or Z. That’s argument from ignorance. It’s common. I’m not blaming anybody; it may relate to our burning need to manufacture answers because we feel uncomfortable about being steeped in ignorance.
Neil deGrasse Tyson, Space Chronicles: Facing the Ultimate Frontier (via thedragoninmygarage)
The human talent for pattern-recognition is a two-edged sword: We’re especially good at finding patterns, even when they aren’t really there — something known as false pattern-recognition.
We hunger for significance — for signs that our personal existence is of special meaning to the universe. To that end, we’re all too eager to deceive ourselves and others.
Give a kid a book, and you change the world. In a way, even the universe.