Superstition and Empirical Evidence

Friday the 13th is an unlucky day, they don't have a 13th floor in buildings, and Apollo 13 was a very successful mission - no wait, that was the one where they almost died. But that was a statistical fluke, and probably the only good example people can point to to try to convince me of the unlucky nature of this number. But it's not enough.

Why do people believe the number 13 unlucky? And why do we believe that people get crazy when there is a full moon? There are creation myths for these kinds of things to be sure, and of course most of them involve Masons and the Knights Templar (see National Treasure). But there is no empirical evidence to support any of these notions and yet they survive. People want proof in everything else in their life, why not when it comes to these questions. The foundation of our modern world is the idea that we look at the numbers for some corroboration of your hypothesis, some proof. Yet people pay millions of dollars a year for magnet therapies, good luck charms, and high-end shampoos with nothing but empty promises to back them up. Everything's got someone who "swears by it". I know I do, but why they hell should your believe me? You want to see numbers, right?

Today, let's all take a step backwards under a ladder with our black cats, regain our composure along with our rationality, and stop passing this crap on to our children so that they don't have to waste all their brainpower like I just have.