In the largest experiment of its kind for four years, the power of St George or his flag to have the slightest influence on worldly events, let alone bring about a miracle, has been proven beyond doubt not to exist. Following a similar outcome in 2006, when the authorities allowed a ‘double or quits’ repeat of the 2002 experiment, the so-called ‘best of five’ experiment has been accepted as conclusive proof.
St George will now be de-canonised in a short ceremony led by the Pope’s envoy Cardinal Capello. The ceremony will take place in a secret location to avoid the possibility of revenge attacks on the Cardinal by members of Opus Dei, furious at how his teaching methods have exposed the inefficacy of flagellation as a technique.
Official observer Professor Richard Dawkins said every conceivable effect on people and objects had been considered for the experiment, which took place in South Africa and involved 90 minute tests involving experimenters kicking a special sphere, called a ‘ball’, around while 20 million St George flags were displayed and prayed to in England,’ said Prof Dawkins.
‘One idea was that the flags could act through the mythical fifth ‘incredibly weak force’ postulated by some physicists. The only possible evidence was some inexplicable movements of the ball in some of the early games, which almost had me believing that God not only existed but was American, but no measurable movement was achieved by England’s technicians.’
Another potential effect was that the flags could bring about miraculous cures to defects of vision, but, in England’s final trial, the flags were shown to have absolutely no effect on the macular degeneration and cataracts of the referee and his nearest assistant, in what was described as a ‘double blind’ test.
Other possible effects were that the flags could modify the DNA of carthorses and donkeys and temporarily transform them into thoroughbreds, which was acknowledged as fanciful by even the most hardened acolytes, or that the knowledge that the flags were waving 6,000 miles away might inspire England’s technicians to rise to the level of the PhDs fielded by other countries.
Similar experiments showed that pagan rituals involving wearing expensive nylon shirts, getting drunk and shouting at the telly had no effect either, but the superstitious English are expected to continue with these ceremonies in future.