Dwejra: was God talking to us? - Patrick Pullicino

Dwejra: was God talking to us? - Patrick Pullicino

Though human brains are rational and logical, they do not usually use certain and precise data to reason. The brain is able to use uncertain information. For example, if we are meeting up with a friend and he says, “I will be there soon,” what does this mean?

“Soon” is uncertain compared to, for example, “three o’clock”. To make his arrival time more certain, our brain starts to look at how punctual our friend usually is. These factors help us to determine with some accuracy how long he is likely to take.

So our reasoning takes into account a lot of other information when making decisions. Lotfi Zadeh, a Berkeley professor realised this and established “fuzzy” mathematics for dealing with uncertain data.

Fuzzy systems allow computing with ordinary words or perceptions that cannot be defined in precise scientific terms.

Fuzzy mathematics is particularly suitable in the analysis of biological systems (for example, storms and lightning), which are generally orders of magnitude more complex than man-made systems.

Fuzzy systems can interface with conventional computers to allow their control through human commands (for example, in the natural language processing systems like Siri and Alexa that we have on our computers) or by using biological parameters (wind and water, for example).

The premise of fuzzy analysis is that there is a precise message hidden within the fuzzy data and this has to be extracted. There is a parallel between this ‘defuzzification’ of a hidden message and the way God may communicate with us.

For example, on February 12, 2013, lightning struck St Peter’s Basilica in Rome within hours of Pope Benedict’s resignation, and a photo of this was prominent in the press. Was this the Lord speaking to us?

If so, it was a fuzzy message and not clear speech. The timing was suggestive and the place where it struck made many conclude it was definitely a divine message.

But what precisely the message was is open to interpretation or “prophecy”. It certainly seemed like a warning of some kind.

Is there a fuzzy interpretation for the Dwejra collapse? A massive structure that had stood for thousands of years crashed during a violent storm.

Was this the Lord speaking?

Again, the timing was suggestive: gay marriage was introduced four months later. Seven months later Daphne Caruana Galizia was murdered. Embryo freezing has now been introduced.

The arch only crashed because of its progressive weakening over the years, which could be seen as a parallel to the erosion of Malta’s morality. Dwejra was certainly iconic for the Maltese and a great loss, so this suggests the crash contains a message for the Maltese. Many think that it was the Lord speaking to us.

The message is up to individuals’ interpretation, but only the overconfident or spiritually disconnected would deny that it could have been a message for us.

Going back to St Peter’s, lightning struck the dome again more recently on October 7, 2016, the feast of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary. This could be interpreted as a further warning, telling us we need to pray the rosary for all the tribulations that the Church is going through. This might also be a message for us in Malta.

As Amos the prophet said in 760 BC: “The lion has roared; who will not fear? The Lord God has spoken; who can but prophesy?”

Patrick Pullicino is a neurologist studying for the priesthood.

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