Posted on August 17, 2007
Word of the day: Apophenia or: (as taken from Wikipedia)
Apophenia is the experience of seeing patterns or connections in random or meaningless data. The term was coined in 1958 by Klaus Conrad, who defined it as the “unmotivated seeing of connections” accompanied by a “specific experience of an abnormal meaningfulness”.
In statistics, apophenia would be classed as a Type I error (false positive, false alarm, caused by an excess in sensitivity). Apophenia is often used as an explanation of some paranormal and religious claims. It has been suggested that apophenia is a link between psychosis and creativity.
And as an example of the word, the rest of the wikipedia entry delves into the principles of Discordianism, which I was trying both successfully and unsuccessfully to explain to a non-adherent just the other day.