Celebrating 500 Years of Charlatanry
500 years demonstrating Human Foolishness
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On 14 December, 1503, Michele de Nostredame was born in St. Remy de Province. In his early youth, his family converted from Judaism to Catholicism under the threat of the Inquisition. Possibly this forced conversion gave him a dubious outlook on spiritual matters that made it easy for him to eventually enter the psychic prediction business.
He originally trained as a physician, and had quite the reputation for dealing with sufferers of the bubonic plague, a reputation that somehow faded when he had the misfortune to lose his wife and children to the disease.
Notwithstanding his failure to foresee this tragedy, he eventually turned to creating prophecies, using cryptic quatrains.
Luckily for this new career, Henry II, King of France met with accidental death - a death which one of Nostredame's quatrains could be interpreted to predict. Unfortunately for King Henry, this prediction was not clear until after his death. But it made Nostredame famous and respected for his psychic ability and he became wealthy.
Nostredame wrote 942 of these quatrains, each one utterly useless in predicting a meaningful future. They have no value because so many arbitrary interpretations can be read into each of them. However, given the benefit of hindsight, any significant world event can be found in a quatrain. His predictions have been linked to events in the French Revolution, Naziism, deaths and elections of various popes, assassinations of major political figures, the terrorist attack on the World Trade Centre, the war in Iraq, and many other events. No doubt, someone will successfully link Saddam Hussein's capture, coinciding with the eve of Nostredame's 500th birthday, to one of these quatrains.
Not one of the events supposedly predicted could have been specifically identified in advance. The predictions are only identified after the fact by generously reinterpreting the words afterwards to make them fit the facts.
Michele de Nostredame, popularly known today as Nostradamus became rich from his predictions. There were enough fools in his day who would buy into this sort of thing. And publishers continue to make money reprinting his work. And other writers make their living writing about the uncanny accuracy of the predictions. For the fools of the world are still with us.
No-one makes money debunking Nostradamus. The fools don't pay for that sort of thing. And those with common sense don't need to pay for the obvious.