The Science of Sustainability

Superstitions and Science

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My wife is obsessed, OBSSESSED, with watching John Edward the TV psychic. (Can you hear my eyes rolling?). She truly believes that he can see spirits and offers great solace to his guests. That's all because my wife has had a few experiences where she has felt a spirit or seen a "ghost". Essentially, she relates to experiencing something paranormal.

Now I'm just about the most rational, science-y person you'll ever meet. But the conversation with my wife had me thinking, what "weird" things do I believe in?

Even I have beliefs I can't explain. I have innumerable superstitions. For example, I always put on my right shoe first so it will bring me good luck for the day. I've had a tarot reading done and yes, I read the daily horoscope from time to time. I find my mind's contradictions amazing. My rational brain doesn't believe that these will bring me more happiness or wealth… no chance. But deep down, I want to believe in the power of a horoscope.

On Friday, March 6th, explore why people believe weird things with a talk by renowned skeptic, Michael Shermer. In Scientific American, he's written about the science behind our need to find patterns and the biological reasons why the brain might cause "paranormal experiences." He'll discuss superstitions, pseudoscience, and paranormal claims . For a preview, check out Michael's video Out of Body Experiences.

Michael Shermer presents "Why People Believe Weird Things", Friday 3/6 7 PM at Ohlone College. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased online. For more info, visit Ohlone College's website.

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Kishore Hari

About the Author ()

Kishore Hari is the founder Down to a Science, a science cafe based in San Francisco. He is most passionate about making science discussion fun and accessible for adults, the kind of discussion that leads to positive change in the world. Professionally, he is a water treatment consultant in San Francisco. Originally from Buffalo, NY, Kishore came to the Bay Area to get a chemistry degree from UC Berkeley. He now specializes in residential water treatment, working with companies such as PUR, Brita, and Camelbak.
  • Jeric Santos

    I think your just mistaking your wife. besides she's just relating to that guy that you think is weird. but if you think that you should stop her and think of a way to talk to her by making her not believing that man then do it. if that's what you think you should do. Just trying to help.