No Polar Bear Attacks, No God, No Way
by Jason Wisdom
Suppose that a forensic investigator decided at the outset of his career that, “polar bear attack”, could never be a possible cause of death. He set his mind firmly against it. It could never be. That might seem like an odd thing to do, but let us further suppose that he lives in the Caribbean and the nearest polar bear is thousands of miles away. It is not unreasonable to think he would go his entire career without facing such a bizarre scenario. So why not go ahead and rule it out? In fact, it might be smart to make a whole list of things to rule out, just to make sure that he doesn’t waste time chasing wild geese. (Do they have geese in the Caribbean?) But suppose that one day he is called to a crime scene where all of the evidence clearly points to death by polar bear. Evidence like claw marks, fur samples, footprints etc. The majority of people he interviews claim that they saw a polar bear. There is even confirmation that a ship filled with exotic animals came into the port just the day before. What should he do?
If he sticks to his original commitment–no polar bear attacks, no way–can we really say that he is doing his job? Now, lets suppose that a polar bear is actually to blame. It escaped from the cargo ship and ran into the unsuspecting victim before wandering back to the dock. We know this, but he doesn’t. In this scenario, not only would he not be doing his job, but he would be searching high and low looking for any explanation other than the truth.
You should immediately see the obvious problem with the above scenario. Granted, I have loaded it to make my point obvious. Even so, our forensic investigator should not rule out any causes of death, no matter how unlikely they may seem to him. To do so would mean that he wasn’t able to do his job to the fullest extent…