Imagination is a powerful tool. Particularly, it is our ability to believe in past or future events, and rationalize in the absence of hard evidence, that has undoubtedly driven humankind to accomplish great feats. But at what point do our perverted notions of possibility collide with the immovable force of probability?
Consider a hypothetical legal case involving a suspected murderer. In this example, a weapon was found to have been removed from its holster, loaded, hammer cocked, and trigger pulled three times to shoot an unsuspecting victim in the head. The prints were shown by investigators to have been cleaned, with the gun placed back in its holster then tucked neatly in the top dresser drawer.
Based on this information, would it be reasonable to conclude that a key suspect in the murder should actually be the household dog? Should a judge entertain arguments that it was the puppy, in fact, who was the shooter, who fired the weapon three times, wiped the gun down, and placed it back in the holster and back in the top drawer? As members of the jury, can we not at least assume that an extremely obscure set of events theoretically could have happened? We were not there, right? How can we truly know for sure? The killer dog theory is at least a possibility, in a sense, is it not?
No. Whether we can imagine such an event in our minds, or whether the belief that in some 5th dimension reality the puppy could have been the culprit makes us feel a certain way, the possibility vs. probability divide must be honored. While an extreme occurrence may initially strike us as a viable option somewhere in the darkness of the universe, the reasonable truth of the matter remains: a gun-toting, murderous dog is not at all probable based on the limited information we have and the facts as we know them to be in the real world.
Even if deep down we want to believe the puppy did it, and even if it makes us feel a sense of closure about the case, continuing to use the doG as a scapegoat, rather than thinking critically about the details we have, surpasses the threshold of absurdity. Some, nonetheless, insist on taking it one step further and surmise that not only is the dog the murderer, but that it actually had a motive - it was jealous or angry for being ignored, and in a fit of rage it unleashed terror upon its owner. Sadly, this line of reasoning only elevates our original contradiction to a further degree of lunacy.
There will always be those who refuse to let go of the killer puppy theory. They are entitled to believe what they may. But we as members of a coherent society should always grant a higher platform to those making genuine attempts at rationally applying facts to achieve a greater degree of certainty. Some may take offense to this. But sometimes voicing an opinion, whether based on law, religion, anti-religion, or otherwise, means demanding certain assertions be grounded upon reasonable truths; truths that are not just possible in some abstract sense, but that are probable given our reality.
Without this, the puppy is doomed, and the truth dies with it.
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