2 + 2 = 5

“No, no, no. I don’t care what your newfangled ‘mathematics’ say, I’ve got a book right here that says 2 + 2 = 5. The book says it, I believe it, that settles it. Anyone who would suggest that we take the book anything but completely literally is positively bonkers. It’s a very old book, so you know it must be the truth — no, hang on, capitalize that: the Truth. That’s better. Besides, my uncle Frank says that his great-great-grandfather’s cousin Bob knew a fellow whose sister’s brother-in-law heard that the book was right. So there.

“Now we don’t expect you to jump right in and say that you believe that 2 + 2 = 5 (at least not until we legally mandate that to be the case). Right now we’ll settle for you acknowledging in your so-called ‘mathematics’ classes that our solution has just as much validity as yours. No, there’s not a shred of observable evidence to support our solution, but really, that’s just a minor obstacle. Since most people don’t understand the difference between a ‘theory’ and a ‘wild, unsubstantiated, pulled-out-of-my-butt-on-a-particularly-tedious-Thursday guess,’ we’ll keep insisting that your solution be called a theory, thereby bringing our solution (which, you may recall, is the Truth, no matter what your silly ‘observations’ may say) up to equal footing with yours.

“Besides, some of the children we’re indoctrinating with our solution — the Truth, remember — might have their precious feelings hurt at being confronted with ‘reality,’ and we can’t have that, now, can we? And in any case, if there’s a discrepancy between reality and our book, it’s reality that’s got it wrong. We’re rather attached to our idiocy, and can’t abide anything that might work to counter it.

“Oh, and by the way, what some are calling typos, metaphors, or — still more ridiculous — mistrantlations in our book are nothing of the sort. The world is flat, non-whites are ‘mud people,’ and the world will end any moment now.

“Seriously, any moment. Just hang on a minute. Really, any moment now...”


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