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"it was perfectly obvious" [REDH] 

In "The Boscombe Valley Mystery," Dr. Watson told Sherlock Holmes: “I am afraid that the facts are so obvious that you will find little credit to be gained out of this case.” And Holmes replied, "There is nothing more deceptive as an obvious fact."

In some ways, that feels like what we have in this week's strip from Baker Street Elementary. I Hear of Sherlock Everywhere has been given two panels with which to work.

Let's focus that phrase that Sherlock Holmes uttered — a phrase that is even repeated outside of Sherlockian circles: "nothing more deceptive than an obvious fact." Is that really true?

We take it at face value, of course, that because something looks true, it must be so. But simply because something is easy to perceive or comprehend does not necessarily make it false. But our way of comprehending things sometimes tricks the mind into believing something is so, due to our preconceived notions or expectations. In short, Holmes was cautioning Watson (and us) against jumping to a conclusion that would support a false bias.

But it does not necessarily follow that obvious facts are always deceptive. It's a bit of a leap of logic to reach that conclusion.

However, things at Baker Street Elementary may need to be on the obvious side...

Baker Street Elementary follows the original adventures of Sherlock Holmes and John Watson, as they and their friends work through the issues of elementary school in Victorian London. An archive of all previous episodes can be viewed at www.bakerstreetelementary.org.