Pablo, Michael Brix P. March 19, 2010
II-34 BSE Physics
Thesis Statement: Scientific Bases of some Superstitious Beliefs
a. Superstition about eclipse
b. Scientific basis of eclipse
c. Superstition about tornadoes
d. Scientific basis of tornadoes
When there was no science as we know it today, people adhere to foretelling in preparation to a predicted future. They are fond of discovering what’s and beyond and predicts the future by observing certain signs. Those who belong in a certain group mostly have the same belief. Culture affects the belief that an individual learning. Mostly, those who belong in the same group having the same culture and share common belief. As of now, we call those as superstitions. Superstitions is a belief or notion, not based on a reason of knowledge, in or of the ominous significance of a particular thing, circumstance, proceeding, or the like, is a irrational fear of what is unknown or mysterious (Webster’s Dictionary).
According to Holbrook (1992), “Scientific literacy includes familiarity with the natural world and its unity, understanding of the key concepts and the principles of science, capacity for scientific thinking, use of scientific knowledge and ways of thinking for personal and social purposes, and technology”. From that statement, we may say that people during those times were still scientifically illiterate. They only explain things using their own point of view, supported by their religion or belief. With observing certain natural phenomena and making assumptions, they also find ways how to survive in certain instances. Sometimes, their solutions in some destructive phenomena are true. They only lack the capability to explain it in scientific way. There are scientific bases on some superstitious beliefs.
The scientific method makes use of a wide range of approaches and is a perspective that is seen better as an overall rather than use of single specific method. The already adopted scientific method initially was founded on the positivism concept. This included the search for descriptive general laws, which natural phenomena could be predicted with. Scientists were able to control the phenomena ...
Nowadays, people are so fascinated and overwhelmed when watching an eclipse. What more on those who lived at early times? Thos who lived before scientists able to explain the real thing behind this phenomena were so afraid on eclipse. According to the old beliefs, eclipse is a sign that something bad will happen, a tragedy maybe. During daytime, the sun is the source of light and heat. So for them, disappearance of the source of life (the sun) is a disappearance of all. I can’t blame them because even me, if I don’t have a knowledge about eclipse, I would consider it a total chaos.
In science perspectives, eclipse is the effect of the perfect alignment of the earth, sun, and moon. When the moon moves in a line directly between earth and sun, which can only occur in a new moon phase, it casts a shadow on earth. The area wherein the moons shadow casts will experience a solar eclipse. And, when it moves behind the earth that causes plane to casts shadow in it, it produces lunar eclipse which can only occur during full moon phase. It is contrary to the superstition stated before. We should not worry about these natural phenomena; we could still enjoy watching eclipse without a doubt.
There are also superstitions on what we should do in some situations. Maybe, they’ve discovered what they should really do in such situations through observations and experiences. Though their response into that is correct, still, they don’t know the reason why it became valid. For example is the superstition that the doors and windows should be kept open when there is a tornado.
Tornadoes threaten people and property because of their extremely high winds, strong updraft, subsidiary vortices, and abrupt drop in air pressure. Tornadoes are from winds which is a result of horizontal differences in air pressure. Air flows from areas of higher pressure to areas of lower pressures. Due to too much difference in air pressure, the air flows faster and faster until it creates a tornado. It is now a whirling column of air in contact with the ground that is made visible by clouds and/or dusts and debris that are drawn towards it. Now, why do roofs collapse when there is a tornado? According to Archimedes’ principle, as the velocity of the air increases, the pressure decreases. Tornadoes make the movement of the air faster causing an unequal pressure inside and outside the house. The atmospheric pressure inside is greater than the outside, that makes the pressure inside to push the roof upward.
Pressure Pressure, is the ratio of a force acting on a surface, to the area of the surface; it is thus distinct from the total force acting on a surface. Units of pressure are force units divided by area units. Examples of these are pounds per square inch, dynes per square centimeter, or newtons (N) per square meter (Pressure n. pay). Pressure has many influences and effects on objects. When the ...
Then, there are also beliefs
Time by time, research and study has evolved. The superstition that people used to rely on in old times has been replaced by scientific fact as of now. We used to do things based on scientific facts most of the time. We use hand in hand with science in many things, but still, we believe in superstitions. Even though we’re already living in a in a modern world, beliefs without scientific bases still linger in our culture. Maybe you have already told by your parents or grandparents not to sweep the floor at night, do not wear hat or cap inside the house, etc. These are some things that I can’t explain why. Believing on those things has already been a part of our life.