Bad Astronomy
The entire universe in blog form
Oct. 17 2007 10:34 AM


I know a zillion other people have blogged about this, but c'mon, none of them used this title. And it's a good one.

At a wake for Pope John Paul II on the second anniversary of his death, a bonfire took on the shape of the ex-pontiff:

Phil Plait Phil Plait

Phil Plait writes Slate’s Bad Astronomy blog and is an astronomer, public speaker, science evangelizer, and author of Death From the Skies!  


I am something of an expert at pareidolia, and I'm here to tell you, that's a pretty good one. A Polish priest, who knew JPII, even said it was him.

Now, I will be the first one to point out that seeing patterns in random shapes is just a trick of the brain, and has no meaning. But a lot of folks think it does have meaning. So what does it say when you see a man who presumably went to heaven when he died... and he's covered in flames? It says to me you can't pick and choose what has meaning and what doesn't. It either all does -- Jesus really is in an eggplant, and wood grain, and an oil stain in the basement -- or it doesn't.

I'm going with doesn't.

Tip o' the mitre to the many many BABloggees who sent me this!