Short Essay on Science: A Scare to Superstition

Superstition on the other hand arises from a lack of patience to understand a phenomenon and this leads one to believe without evidence. It disregards the true relation between cause and effect.

The foundation of superstition is ignorance, the superstructure is faith and the dome is vain hope. Superstition in other words is the offspring of ignorance and misery.

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In the olden days, it was believed that if a person was able to walk on hot coals, he or she had a pure soul. This superstition was put to rest when science unravelled how one could walk on hot coals without burning oneself.

The low thermal conductivity of wood causes the heat to remain trapped in the coals, transferring little heat to the feet. Also a layer of ash on the flaming path helps to further insulate the heat on the coals, which is why fire-walkers choose not to march on fiery steel.

In 1995, Mumbai witnessed mass hysteria and frenzy when the news spread that Lord Ganesh was drinking milk. To think that ten years ago, people, yes, educated people were gullible enough and quick to believe that a clay or metal idol of God Ganesh could drink milk seems absurd.

However this is exactly what occurred. Later, when reports came in that the phenomena occurred due to a combination of surface tension, capillary action and siphoning; people reluctantly let go of this miracle. This is one of the reasons probably, why, when the spectacle of sea water in Mahim Bay turning sweet occurred, mass hysteria was missing. People were not quick to grasp the straws of superstition this time around.

Science is boldly breaking down the very foundations on which superstitions are built. It is becoming increasingly difficult to ignore evidence, and even more difficult to fool people now, into doing things in the name of superstition.

People are now developing a scientific mind so to speak and this questioning mind will not just accept what it is given. It will question and demand proof. Educating people about science has resulted in people not getting fooled any longer by the many imposters, shamans of old who took advantage of their followers by demonstrating miracle abilities, which in actuality were just magical tricks based on chemical reactions.

Finally there is sustained hope that prejudice, fear and myths which foster superstition, will be banished from the face of the earth. In other words, what science has achieved is to push superstition into a corner. It is only a matter of time before we get rid of superstition for good.

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