Nostradamus: A critical Analysis.
I have found that a lot of humans like to trust in emotion and superstition rather than logic and common sense. This is not necessarily a bad thing but sometimes our imaginations seem to leep high above what is truly the case.
I will try and present the information in the most objective way possible.
A little Background on Nostradamus:
Michel de Nostredame, better known as Nostradamus, was a famous astrologer who lived in the 16th century. He made many prophecies, both for his current era and the distant future. Most famous are his Centuries, a series of 942 verses, grouped in sets of 100, describing future events. A single verse is commonly called a quatrain and 100 quatrains a Centurie.
His writings were in French and according to the "Scholar's Nostradamus" (whether they are true scholars is a question that I will not answer), they were written in code to prevent his persecution during the Inquisition.
Some Interpretations of his writings seem to indicate that he had amazing powers that allowed him to see into the future.
Here below is a sample (Century II, Quatrain 5)
Qu'en dans poisson, fer & lettre enfermee, Hors sortira, qui puis fera la guerre, Aura par mer sa classe bien ramee, Apparoissant pres de Latine terre.
En Anglais si vous plais (an interpretation/translation)
That which is enclosed in iron and letter in a fish, Out will go one who will then make war, He will have his fleet well rowed by sea, Appearing near Latin land.
Some people believe that this quatrain seems to indicate that Nostradamus knew there would be submarines and metal warships in the future.
This is from the In Defense of Nostradamus Web Page:
In Century 9 Quatrain 16, Nostradamus, who lived in the mid 16th century, wrote:
Original French De castel Franco sortira l'assemblee, L'ambassadeur non plaisant fera scisme: Ceux de Ribiere seront en la meslee, Et au grand goulfre desnie ont l'entree.
English Translation Out of Castille, Franco will leave the assembly, The ambassador will not agree and cause a schism: The followers of Rivera will be in the crowd, And they will refuse entry to the great gulf.
Here Nostradamus tells us that in Spain -- usings its traditional name "Castilla" -- there will be a fight between Franco and Rivera. Francisco Franco and Primo de Rivera happened to have been the two main opposing leaders during the Spanish Civil War of 1933. Let that fact speak for itself.
Further more every so often there is some sort of Nostradamus Special on TV in which the producer's "ahem-prove" that Nostradamus had some sort of magical power that allows him to predict The French Revolution, the World Wars, the End of the World and all kinds of things.
That seems pretty amazing. He must be some kind of magical happy super being.
What these shows usually forget to tell you (until the credits are rolling at the end (when nobody is watching)) is that these are INTERPRETATIONS of Nostradamus' writing. Of course if they made a big deal about that and included a proper logical analysis of the Quatrains (using the Scientific Method) they would probably loose ratings since a lot of people seem to enjoy believing that there are supernatural forces always at work in the Universe which science cannot explain. Wether that is true is a great philosophical question, however the point is that when Nostradamus' writing's are put to the test (scientifically analysed), it shows that he really isn't as much as he has been built up to be.
At this point I would like to introduce to you what I call the "Infinite Monkey's Principle." Let's say that I have aquired an infinite amount of monkeys and an infinite amount of typewritters or word processors (It doesn't matter). Of course, as far as we know that is impossible to do (Unless you buy factory direct from me--send 500 trillion dollars to me (gold bullion only, liquid assets are not negotiable) But I digress... If these Infinite Amount of Monkeys are allowed to bang out whatever they want on the infinite typewriter, one of them will produce the complete works of Shakespear.
How? Simple if the Monkey's write random garbage but in an infinite amount, eventually because of the simple fact that it is inevitable (simple probability thought shows this).
How does this apply to Nostradamus? Well I will show you...
If I make say a thousand prophecies that are fairly abstract for example:
In the City of God there will be a great thunder, Two brothers torn apart by Chaos, while the fortress endures, the great leader will succumb
Well let us analyse this. For Example what does City of God mean? It could be Mecca, Medina, Rome, Jeruselum, Salt Lake City, or any holy city depending on your religion. What do I mean by thunder--a storm? War? EarthQuake? lots of stuff can be described by thunder. There are a lot of two brothers on this world (I think the Number runs among the Billions) and fortress edure's what--Besiegement, Famine, etc? What Great Leader? How will he succumb? To what?
Now let the prophecy rest for a few years. Add a couple thousand more. Eventually, one of them will fit close enought with events that have happened in the future that the prophecy will appear to come true. If you make enough prophecies and are intelligent enough to word them in such a way that they are abstract you become instant future see-er person. For example those psychics you see every year that make predictions for the year 199-whatever generally get one or two out of ten predictions right. It is because they are good guessers and that there is enough of them to make it seem like people can really predict the future.
I am not discounting the possibility of a sixth sense nor of the supernatural but I would like to state that there is no scientifically proven Psychic person in the world. Ever psychic that says that she or he is a psychic and has been put to the test has failed quite miserably. It is true. There is no discounting that fact.
Further more, the Scholar's of Nostradomas seem to be taking further and further leaps in logic when they interpret his writings. For example this is a link to a page in which a person claims that Nostredomus prophesised the breakup of Canada. Click here to judge for yourself.
Further more I was watching a 1970's movie on Nostredamus and it predicted that the Third World War began in 1994 and was well on it's way by 1999. (I am holding my breath. Oh no!). The people who "analyse" the Quatrains simply scan through history until they find an event that seems to fit with the quatrain.
Perhaps Nostredamus was a futurist. I do not know. Perhaps he suffered some sort of mental illness (hardly unusual in 16th century Europe). Maybe he just had nothing better to do with his time. I do not think though that, faced with the evidence that science has shown, he was a true Psychic who could see the future. Call me a skeptic but I believe the "Phrase Innocent Until Proven otherwise" should be used to regulate any phenomena in Nature. (In this case it would be Scientifically Explainable unless shown otherwise. Or in the Case of Psychics you are not a Psychic unless you can prove beyond reasonable doubt that you have these "powers")
That is all.