Sep 232011

I don’t know what sort of doctor West Galway coroner Ciarán McLoughlin is.  For all  I know, he might be a witch-doctor or a saw doctor.  One way or another, though, judging by a statement he made in a case of human combustion, Dr McLoughlin is no scientist.  Summing up his findings in the tragic death of Michael Faherty whose body was found completely burnt while the rest of the room was relatively undamaged, he said

This fire was thoroughly investigated and I’m left with the conclusion that this fits into the category of spontaneous human combustion, for which there is no adequate explanation.

Well, that wraps it up then, doesn’t it?  It must have been a death ray from a flying saucer.

I find that this has no explanation, apart from aliens or Blacke Magicke, says the West Galway coroner, handing out pitchforks. ‘Tis witche crafte.

The coroner decided that he was dealing with a case of spontaneous combustion because the geniuses who investigated the incident said there was no source of ignition.  They ruled out the open fireplace even though Mr Faherty’s remains were found next to it.  For some reason, they also chose not to consider the possibility that he might have been using matches or a lighter, although how they could establish this is a mystery.  Of course, the reality is that neither the Guards not the Fire Officers are experts in fire investigation for a very simple reason.  They don’t investigate enough fires.  Ireland is a very small country and most fires don’t warrant investigation, which means that neither police nor fire service get much experience in these matters.  Therefore, the word of these experts counts for very little.

Either way, Dr McLoughlin decided that Mr Faherty must have somehow burst into flames, and on that basis came up with a conclusion of monumental stupidity.

I wonder what else he considered.  Zombie attacks?  Pyro, the X-Man?  Yog Sotthoth?  Voodoo?  This man was murdered with a headless chicken!

I have a little bit of information for Dr McLoughlin.  Human combustion has been well documented for years.  It happens to overweight people who accidentally become unconscious, perhaps due to alcohol or because they trip and knock themselves out.  If there happens to be a naked flame in the vicinity and clothing catches fire, the fabric acts like a wick and the person burns away just like a candle, causing very little damage to the surrounding area.

Can this man, who believes some things have no explanation, really be a physician and not a doctor of divinity?  Is medicine not based on scientific principles?

Compare this stupidity with the attitude of scientists at CERN who may have stumbled across particles that travel faster than light.  If true, this discovery will require a major revision of Einsteinean physics which in turn had itself revolutionised Newtonian physics.  We’re talking time travel here — that’s how major this could be.

Are the CERN reasearchers saying there’s no explanation for what they observed?  No.

Are they saying they found something that goes faster than light?

No.  They’re saying they haven’t yet found out the answer.  They’re saying it might all be due to a fault in the way they set up their tests, and they’ve released their measurements for scrutiny by the wider scientific community.  In other words, they’re holding off on judgement until other people have a chance to examine their methods in detail and find whatever flaws exist.  Then and only then might they publish something.

And then, we’ll see the scientific approach doing what it always does.  Using the new information to improve its understanding of how Nature works.

That’s what science is all about.

We can leave magic to the priests and death rays to the coroners.  Of course since the Geneva discovery implies the existence  of time travel, there’s always the possibility that a Terminator did it.

  48 Responses to “Spontaneous Human Combustion in Galway. Refining Einstein in Geneva.”

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