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Why are some people superstitious?

  1. Aug 21, 2005 #1

    Lisa!

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    Why are some people superstitious? Is there any fact behind these belief?
    And is there any superstitious scientist in the world?
     
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2005
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 21, 2005 #2
    Because things happen in their life, and they attribute them to irrelevant things, it's experieance conditioning.
     
  4. Aug 21, 2005 #3

    Lisa!

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    Well somepeople get these beliefs from their parents. You know they avoid doing an action because it brings bad luck or stuff like that. In most cases they even don't give it a try to find out if it's true or false, because they're afraid that this action may ruin their lives.
     
  5. Aug 21, 2005 #4

    Ivan Seeking

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    Some superstitions may be rooted in reality. One possibility that I find interesting is the idea that humans may have an ancient knowledge of the potential threat from comets and meteors - through superstition. We [some cultures] have long believed comets to be bad omens or bringers of doom, which is pretty accurate considering the extinction level events possible. Perhaps a large strike was witnessed and survived many thousands of years ago.
     
  6. Aug 21, 2005 #5

    SGT

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    Many superstitions arise because of the post hoc fallacy. You find a penny in the street and take it. arriving at work your boss calls you and announces a promotion. From now one the penny starts to be your lucky coin.
     
  7. Aug 21, 2005 #6

    Ivan Seeking

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    Don't most superstitions have biblical or mythical origins; say for example unlucky thirteen? What about black cats, mirrors, ladders, horse shoes [lucky of course]... Also, if anyone knowns, how did a bird in the house come to serve as an omen for a death in the family?
     
  8. Aug 21, 2005 #7

    Pengwuino

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    Don't a small # of superstitions actually come from real world problems from the past? I vaguely remember something about it being unlucky to smoke at this certain place... but it was because in the past, there was some sort of flammable gas associated with that place that blew up. Guess its more of a safety precaution that didn't run out with new technology then a superstition.
     
  9. Aug 21, 2005 #8

    SGT

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    The unlucky thirteen may have biblical origins. Since 13 was considered a lucky number by the Egyptians, the Hebrew started to consider it unlucky. They have even considered the Levites not to form a tribe in order to reduce the count to 12.
    The superstition about 13 people at a table may come from Norse mythology, because Loki, the Norse god of evil started a riot when he crashed a banquet at Valhalla attended by 12 gods.
     
  10. Aug 21, 2005 #9

    Ivan Seeking

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    I think it was Integral who told me that the superstition that poseys would protect a person from the plague, which I think was really based on the smell keeping the bad odors away, may have been true in that poseys have a natural insect repellant which could have kept the fleas away.

    I'm being tenative here since I'm not sure if this is claimed or only suggested.
     
  11. Aug 21, 2005 #10

    Pengwuino

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    Yah I've seen that too! It was on... snoopes or snopes or whatever... or one of those truth/false sites. It was in regards to the poem that kids sing. They noted that the poem was based on the fact that it was a reminder of how to protect people from the plague. A few words were cut off as well in the modern version.
     
  12. Aug 21, 2005 #11
    Yeah superstitions are kinda weird. AS Ivan said about the comet thing, maybe it has to do with fear. False Expectations Appearing Real. And like the penny example, it becomes associated with an event that happened. I'm not superstitious except for one thing. I love to fish and it is extremely bad luck to bring bananas onboard a fishing boat. I have no idea why that is, but I won't ever bring bananas on board. Probably because all the other fisherman would get pissed at me if I did.
     
  13. Aug 21, 2005 #12

    Janus

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    I do know of a superstition that says that is unlucky to light three cigarettes with a single match. This one susposedly originated during wartime. The idea being that keeping a match lit long enough to light three cigarettes would give a sniper enough time to get you in his sights at night.
     
  14. Aug 21, 2005 #13

    Pengwuino

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    I remember hearing something about black people being told not to light cigarettes back during hte civil war because they woudl get picked off by snipers. Otherwise, they were incredibly hard to see at night during their operations.
     
  15. Aug 21, 2005 #14
    They used to not let black people preform the job of diver. Supposedly black people weren't as good at swimming is what they believed. A diver friend of mine told me that it has to do with muscle density or some such thing. Black people apparently have a much higher muscle density on average than white people so on average they aren't as buoyant. When you dive they give you weights, an approximate amount in relation to your body weight, to counteract the buoyancy so you wont have to continually work against your body floating to the surface. When they tried giving black people the same amount of weight as they gave white people it was more than enough to counteract the buoyancy and so it hindered their ability to swim in the suits.
     
  16. Aug 21, 2005 #15

    Evo

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    Because if you step on one you can slip. That's why people that own sailboats wear Sperry Topsiders.
     
  17. Aug 22, 2005 #16

    Lisa!

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    I read somewhere some people think most of superstitions are silly but they don't dare to take a risk and not to care them esp. about people they love.

    For example if your kid sleeps in a bed which is made by oak, it has a bad affect on the kid's soul.(I heard it long time ago, so I'm not sure what this superstition exactly is)
    Now most of parents think it's silly but none of them don't take the risk to buy such a bed for their kid.

    What about you? :wink:
     
  18. Aug 22, 2005 #17
    Yeah that makes complete sense...Anyway, my buddy showed me this that he found concerning them...
    There are many stories why bananas have been thought of as bad luck on boats. This is only one of the nautical superstitions that I know of and is particularly prevalent amongst watermen. Many stories have banana oil rubbing off on ones hands and “spooking" the fish; therefore the fish don't bite. There is always the story of a crew member slipping on the banana peel left on the deck. Some say that bananas give you the runs so you are always in the marine head and can't catch fish because you are busy "draining the pipes". Many other stories are told about bad luck and bananas, however the one that I find most plausible is a historical one.

    Back in the days of the transatlantic crossings by wooden sailing ships many hazards would befall the captains, crew and passengers. Disease, pirates, shipwrecks, storms, etc., claimed the lives of a good percentage of the captains, crew and passengers attempting the dangerous voyage. Needless to say, a transatlantic crossing in the 17th and 18th centuries was a very risky endeavor. Often the vessels would stop along the way in tropical islands to gather provisions such as food and water. There the passengers and crew would often purchase wooden crates of bananas from the locals and bring them aboard the ship. These crates would have all manner of critters in them such as bugs, spiders, vermin and snakes.

    These critters would make their way into the bilges of the ships, multiply, and then find their way into the captain's quarters. The captains circulated the rumor that bananas were bad luck in an attempt to keep the critters off the ship and out of their cabin. The crew and
    passengers were more than eager to follow suit because of the inherent risk of the crossing. So, if the captain announced prior to the voyage that bananas were bad luck and not allowed aboard the vessel, everyone complied. You must remember that these were the days of burning witches and the like, so superstitions were taken very seriously.
    Watermen are a mysterious lot. While we are known for our simple pragmatism, we also have many odd quirks. Superstitions have been prevalent on almost every vessel I have worked on. I feel that this is due to the nature of a waterman in that he sees the randomness of the world around him juxtaposed with the rhythmic, seasonal flows of nature and then tries to reconcile these observations into some sort of personal and/or environmental order. As Stevie Wonder (a blind man) pointed out so eloquently: "When you believe in things you can't

    understand, that's superstition".


    In Florida, charter boat crews have extended the prohibition beyond bananas and related food products to include objects that merely have the word banana on it, such as Banana Boat sunscreen, or items from Banana Republic, During fishing tournaments, anti-banana feelings run high. Not leaving any stone unturned, each person on board is quizzed as to what brand of underwear they are wearing. Should some clueless individual mention they are wearing Fruit of the Loom, a rather unpleasant operation is performed on them. First, they are seized by a couple of stout deckhands and given a punitive "wedgie" to prepare the surgical field. A razor-sharp fillet knife is then used to excise the label, which curiously doesn't even have a banana on it. Experts recommend not struggling during this procedure, particularly if after a hard night of carousing the underwear is on backwards.
    Some bold individuals spit in the eye of this superstition such as the Banana Lure Co., which features trolling lures that look like half a Chiquita. Attempts to inquire about how business is going have gone unanswered…..
     
  19. Aug 22, 2005 #18
    Always remember to kill an albatross and wear it around your neck. :wink:
     
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