Thursday, November 01, 2007

Arguments that Suck

I always found this “logical” argument against the existence of vampires incredibly unpersuasive:
Let us assume that a vampire need feed only once a month. This is certainly a highly conservative assumption, given any Hollywood vampire film. Now, two things happen when a vampire feeds. The human population decreases by one and the vampire population increases by one. Let us suppose that the first vampire appeared in 1600 c.e. ...[when] the global population was 536,870,911. In our argument, we had at the same time one vampire.

We will ignore the human mortality and birth rate for the time being and only concentrate on the effects of vampire feeding. On February 1, 1600, one human will have died and a new vampire will have been born. This gives two vampires and 536,870,911–1 humans. The next month, there are two vampires feeding, thus two humans die and two new vampires are born. This gives four vampires and 536,870,911–3 humans. ... The vampire population increases geometrically and the human population decreases geometrically. … We conclude that if the first vampire appeared on January 1, 1600, humanity would have been wiped out by June of 1602, two and a half years later.
Two very obvious points, apparent in almost all depictions of vampires in film and fiction, are ignored by this argument:

1. Vampires can feed without creating new vampires. There is usually some rule like “the vampire must feed from the same victim three times” or “the victim must also feed from the vampire.” Or in the words of Buffy Summers, “To make you a vampire, they have to suck your blood, then you have to suck their blood. It’s like a whole big sucking thing.”

2. Sometimes vampires die, perhaps through starvation, perhaps by getting staked or decapitated or doused with holy water.

(And before anybody asks... no, I don’t believe in vampires, this article notwithstanding.)

1 comment:

Matt said...

On a similar topic I have often thought about the existence of a so-called "Bigfoot", especially since this is in the news again with a supposed photograph of one being taken in my home state of Pennsylvania. Some basic reasons I can give for my belief that they don't exist:

1) We have clear evidence of almost every (IMO) large land-based animal in the world. There may be some in the remote jungles that haven't been seen yet, but certainly humanoids running around the United States would certainly have been witnessed/captured/killed at least definitively once such that there would be clear proof. I don't believe this has happened.

2) For a species to survive over the long term (and I am assuming such a species would have existed a very long time, except for supernatural or alien intervention) there would likely have to be a fairly large number of them. I assume a "successful" species would procreate at a regular basis. But they are "witnessed" only one at a time, and in great rarity. So I conclude that if they exist there are so very very few that they are rarely seen. (Unless they are also very very cunning)

Therefore the existence of a human-like creature that has basically escaped direct contact with us for many, many years seems improbable. It is much more probable that the evidence has been misinterpreted and/or that it is all a hoax (which would not be that hard to accomplish).