Thought I'd tell a little about the reality that motivated me to write my philosophical Kobayashi Maru scenario.
I've been doing a lot of thinking about science and religion and am reaching a conclusion that is very hard to frame in words. The closest I can come is something along the lines of this analogy: the claim that either science is right or religion is right but not both is rather like the claim that an electron is either a particle or a wave but it can't be both. Both statements are intuitively obvious, and yet both statements are wrong. Understanding how electrons can be both a particle and a wave requires an enormous conceptual leap. Understanding how religion and science can both be "right" requires an even greater conceptual leap (and it's one of the reasons I chose to hedge by putting the word "right" in scare quotes). Because if you really want to get at the Truth with a capital T then it is not strictly correct to say that electrons are both a particle and a wave. But explaining why is very, very tricky, and I'm tripping over myself even now trying to formulate even that elementary thought so I'm going to stop there and tell you a story instead. This story is true.
I suffer from two chronic medical conditions. I have been taking medications for both of them for years. Recently one of these conditions has been getting worse, and one particularly awful incident a while back prompted me to consult my doctor to see if perhaps more drastic intervention was called for. (Dan, you may remember the episode I'm referring to.)
Since moving to the Bay Area I have a new doctor so he was able to look at my situation with fresh eyes. He suggested the possibility that both conditions might be related and have the same underlying cause, and that there is a new medication that might make both problems just go away permanently. That sounded good to me, so I had him write me a prescription. The result has been dramatic. Since I've gotten this new medicine both problems have indeed seemed to get noticeably better. Of course, this is not conclusive because both problems tend to come and go, but the change from one day to the next was striking. Before, the one problem seemed to be getting steadily worse. After (and it has been several weeks now) it has not recurred at all.
Here's the kicker: I got the prescription. I had it filled. But I haven't actually taken it yet. The full bottle of pills is still sitting on my shelf. Which is pretty frickin' weird. Because I emphatically don't believe in homeopathy or The Secret or God or any of that crap. And yet, the placebo effect seems to be working for me nonetheless.
Could all be a coincidence. Absolutely. But since this happened I have begun to notice lots of other weird things that I normally would not have paid attention to. Individually any one of them could easily be written off as just Random Shit that Happens to People All The Time. But collectively they add up to one hell of a lot of coincidences for one person. Maybe I'm just lucky (or unlucky depending on how you look at it). After all, someone has to be the luckiest person on the planet, and the odds against it being me are a mere seven billion to one. But it still seems pretty damn odd.