Superstition and the Internet

Reply Sun 6 Oct, 2002 08:32 am
This morning, I found this url in my mailbox:


Now, I'm well aware that online

interactive palmistry is something just done for fun, but I do wonder sometimes about people who take certain things


While the number of 'Net users in the US continues to grow - what is it, over 100 million by now? 200

million?- the number of people who read daily horoscopes doesn't seem to diminish. I realize not everyone believes in such

things, but I wonder how many do, at least a little bit.

And there's no shortage of tarot card reading, psychic and

zodiac/astrology sites on the 'Net. Just type astrology into www.yahoo.com and over 750 sites

pop up.

So I am curious - and I have no way of checking figures, this is just for speculation's sake - what kind of

percentage do you think has both Internet access and a more than

casual interest in astrology, tarot card reading, pychics, the zodiac and other types of divination?
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Craven de Kere
Reply Sun 6 Oct, 2002 02:07 pm
I think supersition

is rampant. I also venture that net access doesn't change the statistics too much, but that depends on which country we are

dealing with.

The % of Americans with net access is very high for example. Because of this I don't think the

statistics vary too much.

Now on to something polemic:

Do you think women subscribe to these beliefs more so

than do men?

[dodges tomatoes/]
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Reply Mon 7 Oct, 2002 08:07 am
I think (and I'm going to be dodging tomatoes pretty soon, too) that yes, there are more women who buy into it. But I don't think it's so much due to an intelligence thing or the like. Rather, there are some things I've observed vis a vis men versus women (a lot of these are changing):

1) Fewer women in hard science or analytical careers or educational concentrations. This is changing, yes, but there are still fewer female engineers than there are female secretaries or English majors. In engineering, you're encouraged (heck, you're required) to think for yourself. In clerical work, that's the last thing you want to do (this is what taking dictation means). In the more humanities-type areas, many viewpoints are allowed, some without rigorous study. Validation is given to all sorts of things, with less examination than you get in the sciences. As for why there are fewer women in the hard sciences, that's a matter of conjecture but I well recall there being a pretty heavy bias in school towards women going into humanities and men into science. And I'm 40, so a large percentage of all people in the US are my age or older.
2) The culture playing up the whole touchy-feely (female) versus stoic (male) stereotypes. This is the Venus and Mars thing. Look at magazines geared towards men and those geared towards women. The magazines for women focus on personal appearance, child care, homemaking and attracting a mate (See Women's Day for a good example). And yes, many of these magazines have horoscopes. The men's magazines tend to draw attention to trends and electronics, and a little bit about appearance, but more in the vein of fitness and fashion (and not too much fashion there). Are there any horoscopes? None that I've seen (See GQ). Television for women is larded with self-help and romances. Women's films are a gallery of fluffy love stories. Men's TV is about action. Men's films (which are never specifically referred to as such) are not only shoot-'em-ups but also techno-thrillers. The Matrix is seen as a men's film or at least not a women's picture, whereas Terms of Endearment will only be seen as a women's movie.
3) Overall educational levels. Let's face it, there are still fewer female college graduates than there are male ones. While educational level doesn't perfectly correlate to skepticism about superstitions, there is something of a correlation. After all, when you're exposed to rigorous thinking and the making of proofs, you learn to question what's handed to you, be it superstitions, religious dogma, political diatribes, etc. Thinking for yourself means you don't swallow this kind of stuff hook, line and sinker.

Okay, bring on the tomatoes! I got a salad to make! Very Happy
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Craven de Kere
Reply Mon 7 Oct, 2002 09:39 am
I really don't

think that it indicates less intelligence at all. Just greater emotional development and a penchant for the use of the human

side of the brain.

I've seen some studies that hinted that logic can be just as strog in a woman with a strong

emotional base and that it's more likely that men have a stunted emotional growth rather than a better grasp of


Basically I don't think they are mutually exclusive.

And your #2 is oh so valid. Pink is only a girls

color because they are taught it is. The self-help/astrology vein might be much of the same. It's peddled to females as fun

and not to males.

I'll make a nice bolognese sauce with my tomatoes.
Reply Tue 15 Oct, 2002 03:22 pm
I think that each

age in history has been dominated by either reason or mysticism Unfortunately, a long period of reason has been supplanted by

mysticism. I believe that this trend has spawned the emergence of large groups of fundamentalist religions, of all kinds, as

well as a heightened interest in all things mystic, such as astrology.
Reply Mon 28 Oct, 2002 02:21 pm
May I take this opportunity to thank you two for this new forum ; and thanks Jespah for sending the invite . I'm gonna cruise the site before I get into this topic ; but rest assured I will get into it ! lol
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Reply Mon 28 Oct, 2002 05:37 pm
Two unrelated thoughts:

First, because of the internet, I'm exposed to a number of both highly intelligent people and nitwits whom I would never encounter in my limited social world.

Second, I read the Tarot for myself and occasionally for others. Personally, I always receive excellent advice--usually along the lines of "Stop wasting time and deal with the obvious."

Because I'm relatively quick-witted and very glib I can impress my peers and snow the suckers. I try to avoid suckers--I don't want the responsibility.
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Reply Tue 29 Oct, 2002 06:34 am
Hmmmmm - I have this "thing" where I can be highly rigorous and sceptical and also fuzzy and mystical - both at pretty much the same time, and without a great deal of cognitive dissonance.

Go figure.

Maybe my corpus callos(e?)um (I KNOW that is wrong - but you know what I mean!) doesn't work?

Phoenix - I am not really sure that there are distinct "ages" - I wonder how much of the apparent move towards mysticism is more because of the communications industry and the money now being made out of it? Could you say a little more about what you are basing your argument on?

Hey! That test says I am made of mush and I won't live long!
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Reply Tue 29 Oct, 2002 11:18 am
Hey tomtex! You're welcome! It's been our pleasure. :-D
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Reply Wed 30 Oct, 2002 12:27 pm
I confess.
I am a proud user of www.tarot.com.
Probably I'm not so serious about it, because I only use the "Karma coins" they give me for free, now and then.
Perhaps it's only I'm not ready to pay for anything in the internet, yet.

The I Ching is great, but I still haven't found a decent site in the internet.

Mysticism is human.
Even as we advance in our knowledge, there is always this sense about the unknown that follows us.

We know, in our brains, most of it is our own device. But then we remember, somehow, that the brain is an organ made for our survival, not specifically for our knowledge.
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Merry Andrew
Reply Tue 5 Nov, 2002 09:27 pm
An old friend of mine who died young (at age 36, some years ago) once said a very profound thing to me regarding astrology, specifically. He said: "Lots of people no loger believe in God. But then they find that just because they don't believe in God, doesn't mean they don't still need religion."
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cicerone imposter
Reply Thu 7 Nov, 2002 10:22 pm
I've had occasions of reading my 'horoscope' in the local newspaper, but it's only for 'entertainment' purposes. I don't believe in such things, but once in a great while, something will match what it says - sometimes a few days off. I call that 'coincidence.' They're general enough where many interpretations can be made from what it says, such as "you'll travel to a far off land." It's true, on Monday, I'm off to South America for fifteen days. Wink c.i..
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Algis Kemezys
Reply Mon 11 Nov, 2002 08:20 pm
The above link was fun. I am glad to see, that palmistry on the web, is moving along.

I seem to feel bits of syncronisity happen when I am deeply at work with my computer. I find that sometimes it answers me in ways I didn't even ask to see. It's hard to explain but does anyone else feel this ?
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Reply Wed 11 Dec, 2002 07:53 pm
I receive a weekly astrology report that seems to have little to do with me, but I read it anyway, amused. I've never had a Tarot reading, my psalm read. But, I have spoken with a psychic and she was right on! Just like the Pet Psychic, (:

I would suspect the people who call themselves Tarot readers, psalm readers. Aren't they just hired help? Thinking this way, I should PAY for this? The Astrology report is free.

I think I can make up a life for myself each day, better than they.
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Velkyn Streea
Reply Mon 29 Aug, 2005 01:44 pm
I don't know about other people, but i have never bothered much with horoscopes, astology, etc.
Personally, I think its just a lot of guesswork.
If it ever comes true, it is just a coincidence.

Superstition is the poison of the mind.
Joseph Lewis

The root of all superstition is that men observe when a thing hits, but not when it misses.
Francis Bacon
Reply Wed 24 Sep, 2008 05:44 pm
@Velkyn Streea,
If tarot, palmistry, astrology--all the things included in the category, "spirituality"--were true, I would still not consider them spiritual. They are no more than superstitious magical-types of pseudo technology. Spirituality is far more subtle, significant, human and naturalistic than any such "powers" or "tricks." And they have little to do with the supernaturalism of institutional religion.
Reply Wed 24 Sep, 2008 06:01 pm
I missed this topic the first time, and I do hope the bolognese turned out, for craven, since it doesn't in its pure form require that many tomatoes, indeed few.. and could be 'ruined' by too many.

ay yi yi. There are rampant elements of superstition in everyday life, and, arguably, within religions or regular old spiritualities. I see most of my spiritual friends caught on some cog of imagery (watching tomatoes fly, maybe moldy ones). There is much comfort in all this. My spiritual friends seem to have a certain happiness wrap, re their environments - a weaving, if you will, to follow. I probably know many more people who adhere to spirituality than to religion as such.

I can only guess that with the current - to me astounding - decryal of science, there can only be more pumping up of superstition.

(I'm a scorpio and have never given a damn.)

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Reply Thu 5 Feb, 2009 03:59 pm
@Craven de Kere,
Actually pink is a girl's colour because mothers evolved to favour children with healthy, rosey cheeks who were more likely to survive.

Oh shnap!
Reply Thu 5 Feb, 2009 04:04 pm
I agree. I think it is due to the state of our society at the moment. I'm not saying superstition is a good thing, merely that we do have a "God spot" of some description and that our current society focuses on more of science and technology than ever. Unfortunately, you can't fight human nature.
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Robert Gentel
Reply Thu 5 Feb, 2009 04:25 pm
aperson wrote:
Actually pink is a girl's colour because mothers evolved to favour children with healthy, rosey cheeks who were more likely to survive.

No, it isn't. Pink became associated with girls in Western culture very recently (as in around 1940), and in the years prior to that it was considered a masculine color. Furthermore, this would not explain how dark-skinned westerners share similar gender color coding even without the "rosy cheeks".

NY Times wrote:
Girls’ obsession with that color may seem like something they’re born with, like the ability to breathe or talk on the phone for hours on end. But according to Jo Paoletti, an associate professor of American studies at the University of Maryland, it ain’t so. When colors were first introduced to the nursery in the early part of the 20th century, pink was considered the more masculine hue, a pastel version of red. Blue, with its intimations of the Virgin Mary, constancy and faithfulness, was thought to be dainty. Why or when that switched is not clear, but as late as the 1930s a significant percentage of adults in one national survey held to that split. Perhaps that’s why so many early Disney heroines " Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Wendy, Alice-in-Wonderland " are swathed in varying shades of azure.


You should also check out Gender Identity Disorder and Psychosexual Problems in Children and Adolescents. On page 203 you will see this addressed with references to studies on how infants are "color coded" by parents and society, and not by evolution.

Oh shnap!

You are using that wrong. You are supposed to use it when someone else says something retarded that you correct, not when you say something retarded that they have to correct.

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