This is especially true in the abstract arena, where you are juggling concepts in your head and trying to make correlations or decide what X+Y actually produces.
This all came to mind because, as I said, I am working on revising the rules for the venerable RPG I have played for over two decades, Villains and Vigilantes. It was a great game, but like Star Trek: TOS, over the years the seams began to show and it needed a few home rules to keep it running smoothly. Like ST: TOS, it did not need a complete overhaul but rather a "re-mastering" so it would be as lovely as the old girl could be. In an effort to stay true to the original concepts, I have taken upon myself to personally delve into each rule, questioning why it works and seeing if it can be made better. Many rules are fine "as-is" and some are just plain ingenious. Others are obviously intuition and some are "intuition gone wrong."
The rules state that an object falls at a rate of 100 game inches the first turn, 200 game inches the second, 300 the third and so on and so forth until 1000 game inches a turn is reached. Using our game inches to miles per hour conversion factor of 4.4, this means a PC or object who's falling starts at around 22.7 mph and tops off at 227 mph. This VERY close to the real world measurements, with terminal velocity for a man in a 'diving' low -resistance freefall equaling about 200-220 mph. EXCELLENT!
Only one problem: the ACCELERATION should happen every SECOND, not every TURN (or 15 seconds).
So in V&V you can jump off a 40 story building and hit the ground at 22 mph, the same rate as any parachutist.
Now the NEXT paragraph covers that this is not possible, because you take the square root of your Basic Hits (human male = 4 BH so that's a 2) times the distance fallen in feet as damage. So if you jump, you are going to hit the ground at 22 mph, but take 100 x 2 or 200 points of damage.
FAR MORE THAN AN AVERAGE NUCLEAR BOMB!
No wonder the villain is about to toss the hero off of the roof on the front cover! There won't even be enough left to mop up!
Now of course this is all ameliorated by Agility, Invulnerability, etc., so for years we did not question this basic error - we were out to play a game, not do physics! We just accepted the rule as 'well-thought-out-by-minds-greater-than-us' and let it stand.
It was quirky, and we knew something wasn't right ("My hero should be MORE afraid of falling than a nuclear bomb?!") but we didn't question it.
Until we saw the error. Boy, was it a doozy.
Mary, Mother of God
Every orthodox, genuine Christian I know has accepted Jesus Christ as God incarnate. "He is the express image of the invisible God..." says Paul and we can know God as a Person because of Jesus Christ. Just by reading Colossians 1 or John 1, you can see this doctrine of Christ's divinity.
And Mary is his mother, right? So she is the Mother of God, right?
Uh, no. You see, this fallacy appeared in the 3rd century or so. Once everyone who knew Jesus and Mary personally had died, and their kids died, men began to show how easy it was to get off track and got this convoluted.
You see, Mary IS the Mother of Christ, we all can affirm that, but she only contributed the flesh for Jesus. It was the Holy Spirit working in her that brought forth the divine. Otherwise, Jesus would have just been a normal human.
26 In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27 to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin's name was Mary. 28 The angel went to her and said, "Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you."
29 Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30 But the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. 31 You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end."
34 "How will this be," Mary asked the angel, "since I am a virgin?"
35 The angel answered, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God."
I have seen and known devout Christians in the Roman Catholic Church, and I gotta say, they often show Christian charity far better than some Protestants I know.
But this error has led to so much idolatry and error, it hurts. It so easy to think the wrong things about God. It reveals our fallen nature.
If you love what you do, if you love doing things the right way, do yourself a favor.
Review the rules you have been handed and double-check the reason for them. Many will hold up because they did come from a good heart or mind. But don't be surprised when you find that men can make a most basic error about the nature of our world - or of the Lord who rules it.