The religious idea of Infallibility has a very proscribed set of limits. The Pope is not deemed to be infallible on everything, only when speaking ex-cathedra and only on matters of faith or morals. When he is so speaking it’s held that he is being supported by the Holy Spirit or God Himself. Serious stuff.

But when the Pope is inspired by God he is not speaking for himself but for God. In that case the Pope has no need of human intelligence. The idea of Infallibility negates the need for thought or for reasoning ability. But the Infallible Pronouncement must be error free which is how God comes into it, presuming one believes that is so.

On the other side of the paper is the brain of a genius. Is a genius able to be infallible? Yes, of course. A genius would not make a mistake regarding genius type ideas or conclusions. Being right, getting it right, is the stuff of intelligence. The more intelligent the less fallible. A series of lines on a graph would show the more intelligence a person has the greater the probability of infallibility. Genius level people are correct far more often than non-genius types. The higher the level of intelligence the greater the infallibility.

How about someone who is never wrong? They would always get the correct answer. Someone who never gets it wrong is infallible. Not just ex-cathedra. Not just on faith or morals, on everything.

How smart would someone have to be to get everything right? Probably a lot less intelligent than genius level. Think of mom’s and dads. To their small children they never get anything wrong. Of course as the children mature their own intelligence leads them to more correct answers. Being correct; getting things right has survival value.

The range of human knowledge is limited. How intelligent wold a genius need to be to know everything? Knowledge is not infinite, it has limits so one need not possess an infinite amount of intelligence to know everything because as we have seen there’s a lot less to know than everything.

If a normal person is around people with lower intelligence levels the normal person would appear to be right so often they could be thought of as being infallible. Same goes for highly educated people who are around people with less education. More education increases the probability of being right; the probability of being infallible.

The idea of infallibility is another way to say something is correct. Once a thing is correct there’s no such thing as being slightly incorrect. It’s either/or. Right or wrong.If someone is partly correct they are not correct. Correctness is the criteria. Either correct or not. Either infallible or not.

There’s a saying: “even the dumbest chicken can find a piece of corn”. Even a dumb person can get many things right. They too can be infallible, at least sometime. That’s a great source of comfort.

This was prompted by a remark of Alan Turing who said of his machine that is a sort of papal authority, infallible rather than intelligent. He knew perfectly well he was upsetting the conventional armistice between science and religion.

Ah, the Armistice. The chasms between faith, reason, belief’s and science. Perhaps someday the divide will be crossed, … but that’s impossible. That’s the beauty of infallibility.

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