The Doctrine of Man in Sherlock Holmes

I’ve been reading Sherlock Holmes stories here recently and been a bit surprised by the number of theological-type statements that come up from time to time.  This quote is from the The Sign of Four:

“Dirty-looking rascals, but I suppose every one has some little immortal spark concealed about him. You would not think it, to look at them. There is no a priori probability about it. A strange enigma is man!”

“Someone calls him a soul concealed in an animal,” I (Watson) suggested.

“Winwood Reade is good upon the subject,” said Holmes. “He remarks that, while the individual man is an insoluble puzzle, in the aggregate he becomes a mathematical certainty. You can, for example, never foretell what any one man will do, but you can say with precision what an average number will be up to. Individuals vary, but percentages remain constant. So says the statistician…

I cannot believe that it has taken me until this point in my life to read Sherlock Holmes since I love mysteries.  But, I’m now thoroughly enjoying it.

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