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← Para-naturalistic theories cannot lead to practical engineering

SaganTheCat's Avatar Jump to comment 14 by SaganTheCat

None of the other animals on earth have superstition or belief in magic

depends on definition. look up skinner box experiments with pigeons with regards to superstition and also how elephants apparently revere relics of their dead.

superstition is usually spread through memes such as walking under ladders or black cats crossing your path etc that people take to be true. this is very human as it relies on language but other human forms of superstition are not spread (e.g. lucky underpants). they are generated within the mind of someone who's made a personal assosiation (e.g. pants worn during consecutive wins of a favorite team become "lucky")

there's nothing to say animals don't have superstition, ringing bells don't mean food is being served unless you're one of Pavlov's dogs. most animals can make a connection through association. dogs can be trained by humans because they believe they will be rewarded, similarly humans can be trained by cats.

the thing about magic is that before science (very recent thing) magic was real. spirits were real (vapour, gasses even flatulence), demons were real (any animal/human threat that had no definition).

we've destroyed these old beliefs with reason but we havent't destroyed their causes, just identified them more accurately. the term "supernatural" is a lazy faux-intellectual tool to make a safe place for all the demons and spirits we've explained away though observation. it is self-defeating as a philosphy but continues to exist because it's used by the same people who look for quick answers so wouldn't spot the falacy.

I believe all animals have a capacity for superstitious or magical thinking, it's just humans that came up with a way of spotting what's real and what isn't (logic), then other humans came up with the idea of arguing against logic

Wed, 01 Aug 2012 10:30:27 UTC | #950351