Fun with Pareidolia: Mr. Bill in my Soup!
Posted by mattusmaximus on September 28, 2012
I’ve been meaning to post this for awhile, but I keep forgetting to do so. During my summer vacation to the Adirondacks in New York, my wife and I took a break from hiking to get some dinner. As we were getting ready to chow down, lo and behold, I observed the following “miraculous” appearance in my wife’s soup!…
Laugh if you will, unbeliever, but you should tremble in awe at the miraculous appearance of…
… Mr. Bill! Ohhhh Noooooo!!! 😦
Of course it isn’t Mr. Bill in my soup, folks. It’s just another classic case of pareidolia, the same phenomenon by which people think they see dogs or cars in the clouds, the so-called Face on Mars, the Virgin Mary on a piece of toast, or visions of Jesus in a window. Essentially, our brains work as pattern-recognition machines, and one of the most familiar patterns which we are evolutionarily programmed to recognize is other human faces. So we tend to see human (or human-like) faces in bits of random data even when there really is no face there to begin with!
I really like how skeptical magicians Penn & Teller put it during their Bullshit! episode on supposed “miracles”, so I’ll let them have the last word 🙂