I was lucky enough to listen to everyone’s favourite Madeley, Richard, on the radio on the way into work today. This experience came about through a combination of me always listening to the radio while commuting, choosing to tune into Radio 2, and the time being a little after eight in the morning during a period when Richard Madeley is sitting in for Chris Evans in his regular slot.
You will note that these matter-of-fact occurrences just happened to coincide and that there is no immediate need to exclaim “Holy halibut! It’s the work of angels! Explain that Dawkins!” It’s quite important to note that.
So, back to that there radio programme…
Madeley related a story – a true story because someone he knew told it to him – about a ghost cat. A summary of the story follows:
Paul couldn’t explain it. Richard Madeley couldn’t explain it. Nobody could explain it. There was nothing for it but to say this was clearly a ghost cat with the soul of the dead father residing inside. Obviously.
Or, and this is just a thought, there might be an explanation after all which has a better fit for this particular scenario. Bear with me. This explanation is: it was just a normal cat.
Ghost cat? Or normal cat? How do we decide which is more likely? Through statistical probability; for there is no other way.
The Argument For A Ghost Cat
We can ascertain the probability of the cat being a ghost cat by dividing the number of global cats that are definitely ghost cats based on confirmed ghost cat recordings (zero) by an approximation of the total number of cats in the world (many).
This gives us a likelihood of the cat being a ghost of: zero percent.
But as a sceptic I only say never when mentioning that I never say never (except for that first never) and so we add a bit that I like to call “The Sceptical Get-Out Value” to give us a final likelihood of: zero percent.
The Argument For A Normal Cat
The argument for this cat being a normal cat and not a ghost cat is more complicated as the burden of proof is always on whoever doesn’t think a perfectly normal thing is a ghost, UFO, monster, spirit, demon, or deity.
Let us consider the location: Ireland. Let us consider whether cats exist in Ireland: they do. Let us consider whether there is more than one grey cat in Ireland: there is. Let us consider whether the actions of the cat are in keeping with the sorts of things that cats do: sunning, purring, and looking for attention are considered cat traits. Let us consider whether it is possible for a cat to be in a cemetery: it is. Let us consider the chance of a cat being on any grave at any given time: quite high. Let us consider whether the cat is simply likely to be normal cat by subtracting the previously determined likelihood of it being a ghost cat from 100%: that’s quite a lot.
This gives us a final calculation of: of course it’s just a cat you bloody morons.
The Argument For Not Letting People Talk About Ghost Cats On The Radio
I almost crashed because I was shouting at the radio. You came this close to being sued Richard Madeley. You and your ghost cat.