If hindsight bias and confirmation bias had a baby, it would be the Texas sharpshooter fallacy.
Like any other teenager, I was fascinated by the idea of time travel. I watched a lot of sci-fi movies that sparked my imagination about how cool it would be to teleport to the future. More than the idea of going to the future, what excited me was the possibility of seeing the future. Then in 9th standard, I stumbled upon a book called “The Prophecies of Nostradamus”. Nostradamus was a 16th-century French physician who, perhaps as a hobby, published prophecies about future. What’s remarkable about Nostradamus’ is that his first book, which was published in 1955, has rarely been out of print since his death. It’s said that Nostradamus predictions about significant events including the world wars, assassinations of US presidents, many earthquakes, and other natural calamities have come true. Nostradamus has attracted a following that, along with much of the popular press, credits him with predicting many major world events.
The book that I had in my hands was of course not the original text. It was an interpretation of Nostradamus’ French quatrains (stanza of four lines). The translator claimed that Nostradamus intentionally obfuscated his writings to avoid getting persecuted by the 16th-century French government since many of his predictions were about the royal family. But that didn’t stop me from devouring the book and marvelling at this French dude’s clairvoyance.
Could Nostradamus really see the future? While you puzzle over that thought, let me share two interesting stories. Stories about coincidence.
What are the Odds?
The first story is about two US presidents.
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